Using custom XSLT for BizTalk maps

By default, you define your message transformations in BizTalk using the BizTalk Mapper, a unique tool which uses connectors and “functoids” to construct your logic.

The mapper is quite powerful, but is another mechanism that has to be learned carefully. Beyond the basics, it’s not very intuitive and doesn’t always work the way you might guess. It can also quickly look very messy if you aren’t careful, or don’t make good use of the tabbing feature.

If the mapper isn’t right for you, there’s another option: Custom XSLT. Here’s how to set it up.

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WCF-SQL System.NullReferenceException: Object reference not set to an instance of an object

I recently got an unhelpful null reference error in a BizTalk WCF-SQL port, while attempting to connect to an Azure database.

System.NullReferenceException: Object reference not set to an instance of an object

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System.ArgumentNullException: Value cannot be null. Parameter name: key

Many of the in-built BizTalk adapters used WCF, including connections to Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle databases, and web services. BizTalk is very strict about supplying a SOAP Action header, and if you forget to specify it in the send port, you will get this particularly unhelpful error:

System.ArgumentNullException: Value cannot be null.
Parameter name: key

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Testing BizTalk WCF End Points with Anonymous Authentication

Sometimes, because my life’s so exciting, I need to test an HTTP push into my local dev instance of BizTalk. In other words, I have a one-way receive port ready to consume an XML message into BizTalk through a WCF web service. The web service IIS components and schemas have been generated through BizTalk WCF Service Publishing Wizard and deployed. Now I just want to try a local HTTP push of a sample message and ensure BizTalk picks it up.
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