20-12-2012 has past … 2013 is here … what’s next ?

HappyNewYear2013A new year has started, so happy new year to all of you !!!

This blog entry, unlike my previous ones, is not about .NET, although there are a few technical links 🙂 .

The end-of-year period has always been a period for resting, meeting with family and friends, reflecting on the year just past … thanking god for the good life and the good people around me … and thinking about what could come soon …

For resting, I really enjoyed the reading of a comic book serie called “Les Naufragés d’Ythaq” or in english “Ythaq: The Forsaken World” (see references below):

Les Naufrages d'Ythaq

The scenario is from Christophe Arleston and the drawings by Adrien Floch. I started the reading 3 years ago but the serie was not finished at the time. Now the first cycle (book #1 to #9) is finished – no more wait, so hurry ! (more…)

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Windows 8 – Not that easy to uninstall programs …

UPDATE – 27th October 2012 – THIS WAS DONE ON THE WINDOWS 8 CONSUMER PREVIEW, BACK IN FEBRUARY 2012. NOT ON THE RECENT PUBLIC RELEASE OF WINDOWS 8 (OCTOBER 2012). THINGS HAVE IMPROVED SINCE.

Good news, Microsoft just put out last Wednesday, 29th February 2012, their new “Windows 8 – Consumer Preview[Ref 01]. I had the “Developer Preview” on my beautiful tablet (gift from Samsung and Microsoft to the BUILD conference attendees last September, thank you!), but it was not that stable, so I have been patient and I was looking forward this new release.

So, I updated my tablet (I did not sell it like some did 😉 ) on Thursday 1st March and played with it for the last 2 days. I must say it is a lot more stable and it boots on my tablet in about 10 seconds : that’s a change !

I went to the “Appication Store” and started to download almost everything they had on the first page – it was free. Then, As I developer, I started to install Visual Studio 11 Beta from the link provided by “Microsoft App Dev Center page” [Ref 02]. It is only at the end of the installation that I noticed it was “Express edition” and not “Ultimate” or “Pro” edition. This was not the edition I wanted – sorry, nothing wrong with “Express” : it is a fantastic product and its is free, but I am used to “Pro” and “Ultimate”. So, after half-hour of installation I am reduced to unsinstall “Visual Studio 11 Beta Express Edition” and start again.

Wait a minute ! Where is the “Add/Remove Programs” on Windows 8? (more…)

Robert Scoble is leaving Microsoft / PodTech

 
The world’s most famous corporate blogger, Robert Scoble, credited with helping to break down a siege mentality at his employer, Microsoft Corp., confirmed on Sunday he is leaving to join a recently formed Silicon Valley Internet media start-up (http://scobleizer.wordpress.com/).
 
Scoble’s offers succinct advice to other corporate bloggers who wish to keep their day jobs: "Understand your company’s culture before you start mouthing off. When you start breaking the rules, you better know you are breaking the rules."

BizTalk SQL Receive Adapter – where to host it?

Currently, I am working on a BizTalk Server 2006 solution and I came across an interesting point about how a SQL receive adapter should be hosted.
Bytheway, I am not the only one with this scenario ; Richard Seroter posted the same issue on his blog, “BizTalk SQL Adapter Advice Requested” (http://blogs.msdn.com/richardbpi/archive/2005/11/22/496020.aspx) .
So, the scenario involves at least two physical servers, each one hosting the same biztalk host, e.g. “host1”. Host1 host many things, and in our case it is the one hosting a SQL receive adapter, e.g. SQL_R1.
The main function of SQL_R1 is to call a stored procedure on a production database, see whether or not there is any work to be picked up. If there is some, then it returns the TOP 10 records (or whatever), and set a flag. All of this is happening inside a distributed transaction (assuming that the production DB is on a different server than the BizTalk MessageBox DB):
– Our production table is enlisted in that transaction
– The BizTalk messagebox which will receive the message is also enlisted in that transaction
Under some circunstances (e.g. loads), a concurrency issue arises: one of the instance of SQL_R1 will have its transaction process terminated by the Resource manager on the production DB server (this is due to lock issues). Ok. this might raise some warnings on the BizTalk server hosting that SQL_R1 which had the error, but the real issue is that after a number of errors raised on the receive location for  SQL_R1, Biztalk will disable that receive location and both instance of SQL_R1 will stop running.
At the moment, the solution I implemented is as follow:
– Create a new host to host the SQL receive adpater.
– Create two host instance (in-process) – one per server (set “do not start” on one of the server).
– Allow the SQL adpter’s receive function to be hosted by the new host.
– Change the setting of the SQL_R1 in my Application to use the new “receive handler host”.
Pros and Cons:
+ we do not have anymore the SQL recieve adapter disabled by BizTalk (the transaction is not anymore terminated)
– We have lost the “automatic failover” facility  on the SQL receive adapter. Now, when the server hosting SQL_R1 is down, we need manually to  start the second host instance for SQL_R1 on the second BizTalk server.
I will carry on searching for other solution/implementation for this scenario.
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