Biztalk Server 2004 / InfoPath,Excel / Sharepoint.


In the last month or so I have been using the Sharepoint Adapter for Biztalk 2004.

What the Sharepoint Adapter does in a nutshell is allow Biztalk
Server to poll for documents posted to a Sharepoint Document Library, grab them
and process them. Biztalk Server can also post a document up to a Sharepoint Document Library.

Why should anyone care about this?

1) Sharepoint Web Sites are a snap to set up.
For example : I can easily set up a Sharepoint Site for employees to
submit vacation requests or timesheets.

2) InfoPath and Excel (part of Office 2003) easily integrate with XML Schemas.
For example: The Vacation Request or timesheets that the employee must fill in
can be easily be created using InfoPath or Excel using an XML Schema as a datasource.

3) InfoPath Scares me.
Not because it's difficult to use , but because it is a snap to design a powerful functional 
InfoPath form using an existing XML Schema or a database as a datasource.
With an InfoPath form, you can connect to a Web Service to populate a dropdown,
do validations, and very easily create a smart client interface with minimal coding. InfoPath has a whole host of 
controls such as DropDowns,  Calendars, Buttons , Repeating Tables  Master Detail Tables and many 
more. When the InfoPath document is saved it will automatically populate the XML Schema(s) that it 
is bound to.

Just to give you a high level  workflow that incorporates
Biztalk 2004/ InfoPath / and Sharepoint.

1) The user will go into the Sharepoint Web Site.
Navigate to the Vacation Request Document Library
2) Hit the New Vacation Request form button.
3) Fill out the form.
4) Hit Save.
5) The InfoPath XML document will be saved to the Sharepoint Document Libray.
6) Biztalk will pick up the XML document from Sharepoint and process it.
7) Optionally Biztalk could post the same or another XML document back up to Sharepoint.

Scott Woodgate ( ) was absolutely correct in saying that -> What Outlook is to Exchange Server ,
InfoPath is to Biztalk 2004. InfoPath provides a human interface to Biztalk Server.
As for Sharepoint, it is and will continue to be a very popular product.
Mainly because of its powerful configuration properties and I love it because it
integrates seamlessly with InfoPath and Biztalk 2004.