I have been in the final stages of a large BizTalk EDI project and I have been struggling with the appropriate infrastructure for managing a single AS2 HTTP endpoint that interacts with a VAN over which multiple trading partners’ data is sent. The main challenge has been that if a single endpoint to BTSHTTPReceive.dll is exposed, it will provide data for many trading partners yet these partners may be used across one or more BizTalk applications. Since the endpoint usually exists as a 2-way receive port with As2EdiReceive/As2Send as the pipelines, I have been using send ports with filters to catch the messages after they are pushed to the MsgBox from the exposed endpoint. When just a single BizTalk application exists that includes the endpoint, all messages can be routed easily. But when more than one BizTalk application exists, it becomes much more complicated.
For example, if you have the exposed endpoint in Application 1 and two send ports in Application 2, these send ports will be able to pick up messages received on the exposed endpoint but you will see errors being logged from Application 1 that the messages could not be routed successfully. For this reason, I have found that it is important to have send ports that are used for picking up messages received through BTSHTTPReceive.dll in the same BizTalk application as the receive port for the endpoint. So I have written to disk the messages received from the endpoint that are used in other BizTalk applications as a way of offloading the messages to processes and orchestrations in the other BizTalk applications.
One problem with this approach is that sometimes the messages received in Application 2 do not have the correct ISA/GS headers or may have been altered through the application of the Global EDI properties. These properties can make understanding BizTalk routing very painful because they frequently cloud or disguise the intended recipient of messages. In my project, messages that are received in Application 2 have been placed in the correct folder so I know that the routing infrastructure was able to match the ISA and GS headers to the party properties, yet at some point during the routing the Global EDI properties were applied anyway. Today I identified a workaround for a situation in which a message has been routed with incorrect headers.
For send ports that have filters that write messages out to offload to other BizTalk applications, you can use a PassThruTransmit pipeline on the send port filter to write the body of an EDI message out to disk. You are probably thinking that this is crazy because this will represent the XML of the EDI message body. For me this worked great because the EDI message body stayed intact even when the EDI global properties got applied. Then on a receive port you can use the XmlReceive pipeline to pull in the message text written out via PassThruTransmit, which is an XML version of the EDI message body. This identifies the root of the message and identifies that it is the XML version of the message. In essence this functions a lot like an EDI receive without needing to worry about the resolution of the ISA/GS headers to determine the namespace because the namespace is included on the root of the EDI-XML message. So to summarize the process of getting an EDI message body from an exposed AS2 endpoint when the EDI global properties get messed up, use the following pipeline pattern in your ports:
BTSHTTPReceive.dll –> (R) AS2EdiReceive / AS2Send –> (S with Filter) PassThruTransmit –> (R) XmlReceive
Good luck to everybody working with EDI in BizTalk. Its easy once you get the hang of it, but until then its usually bumps and bruises. 🙂
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