BizTalk Server schemas are now available in open source code
Microsoft today announced that the schemas used with BizTalk Server are now open source.
BizTalk Server 2016, released last year, is Microsoft’s “enterprise integration server” for orchestrating various applications and services. All schemas used with the product, representing 3,539 files, are now hosted in this open source GitHub repository. They are accessible to everyone.
The product group for BizTalk Server at Microsoft plans to manage open source code. However, Microsoft also accepts contributions of open source code, and not just for schematics. Developers can also contribute code for “samples, adapters, pipeline components, or whatever else you think the community can take advantage of,” the Microsoft announcement explains.
However, Microsoft is unlikely to make all of its proprietary code used in BizTalk Server available as open source code, explained Saravana Kumar, founder and CTO of BizTalk360, a Microsoft partner supporting BizTalk Server. He offered a lot more detail than Microsoft’s terse announcement in this blog post.
In particular, Kumar noted that while Microsoft accepts contributed code, it will not officially support that code in BizTalk Server products, even though it ships in the next product release:
Microsoft only opens open source code for some components and will not support the version modified by end users. Microsoft will only support the version of the components that ship with the product, either out of the box or through feature packs or cumulative updates. Microsoft also plans to accept contributions from the community, which could then be published as part of the “Feature Pack” or in the product vNext. However, only officially shipped components will be supported. This is something the end user should be aware of.
Contributors to BizTalk Server must sign a Microsoft Contribution License Agreement, which grants Microsoft an “irrevocable perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license” to the code.
Microsoft has opted for open source in order to sell more licenses of BizTalk Server, according to Kumar. Using open source code will make it easier for organizations to customize the product or even fix software flaws before a feature pack is released, he argued.
Currently, there are a lot of contributors to BizTalk Server, which is why activating open source code will be invaluable, according to Kumar. The Microsoft partner community on BizTalk Server, on the other hand, remains small, he noted:
Whereas for some reason even though BizTalk Server is a perfect candidate for a thriving partner ecosystem to build[d] adapters, boards and pipeline components, etc., for some reason, the partner ecosystem has not taken off. There are very few companies like BizTalk360, nSoftware, Active Adapter, etc. that have tapped into this market.
In April, Microsoft released Feature Pack 1 for BizTalk Server 2016, a new approach to updating the product. It may have borrowed from the SharePoint Server Feature Pack release template. So while it appears that Microsoft intends to continue with the server product, which is installed at the customer’s premises, the cloud-compatible version becomes obsolete. For example, Microsoft announced in June that it plans to end Azure BizTalk Services in about a year.
Kurt Mackie is Senior News Producer for 1105 Media’s Converge360 Group.