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End of Microsoft Development?

It has been a year from not blogging at all, due to a hectic professional schedule.

I’ve been busy dealing with BizTalk 2010, WCF services and all things SOA. One thing I’ve learnt is I’m not a hardcore developer. I’m much better at implementing technical solutions and server sysadmin. I think I’ll stick to that. In the meantime my knowledge and skill level with BizTalk has gone up now having almost 2 years experience developing, deploying and maintaining an ESB based around BizTalk 2010 and WCF services. It will be good to get back to Unix systems and Git source control instead of Wintel systems with TFS.

The tale of BizTalk & BPMS

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything, so here goes. I’m currently working for a client who wants BizTalk installed as an ESB. They don’t know why they want it, they just know that they want it.

Since they are a Microsoft shop it’s an assumption on their behalf, but a good one in this case. They are dealing with external agencies who will submit data on a daily basis to be consumed within the organisation. This is BizTalk’s bread and butter especially in the B2B space. Unfortunately at the moment the client will be accepting data from business partners via manual submission using web forms on Sharepoint 2010.

At least once we get BizTalk in, we can show them how then next phase of operations can automate a number of external business interactions.

One of the other benefits of BizTalk, acting as an Enterprise Service Bus, is for facilitating communications between isolated systems and applications – allowing one to avoid point to point design when applications integrate.

So the client is, without understanding it, thinking of implementing the start of Service Orientated Architecture.

The only thing that’s disappointing is this: they understand that BizTalk can orchestrate Business processes across systems, but they still don’t think of their IT system(s) as one entire Business Process Management System (BPMS). They have 5 standalone applications at launch, and are aiming to bring on board and integrate up to 15 separate business applications – most of which will be new.

They talk ITIL, Agile, methodology, and “Frameworks” – but still practice waterfall project management and don’t understand the lifecycle of a true BPMS.

In the end IT delivers not for themselves, but for the Business. The core functions of the Business is what IT is there to facilitate and support. Business and IT departments need to be engaged and working to together right from the start, hopefully with key minds that are visionary enough to deliver a BPMS to support the process of the Business!

MAMP vhost and WordPress

I’ve setup MAMP to do some local web development on my MacBookPro, and the XDebug plugin is awesome for stepping through PHP code.

However, I had a problem with MAMP and a vhost I setup for local development. The wordpress front page and /wp-admin/ worked but any sub pages, etc. failed to load. When trying to access a WordPress page at url http://site.local/music/ The error in the apache logs was:

[error] [client] File does not exist: /Users/lantrix/devel_projects/vhosts/site.local/music

I had made sure that mod_rewrite was enabled as mentioned by Samuel B over at the WordPress support forums. I had also ensured I had updated the permalinks in the local WordPress install, thus writing out a .htaccess for the rewrites. Still no luck.

Then I remembered, one needs to tell Apache that a directory outside the webserver root /Applications/MAMP/htdocs, in this case my vhost path of /Users/lantrix/devel_projects/vhosts/site.local, needs to have an AllowOverride so the .htaccess WordPress has placed can be used. This in combination with the apache Options directive to FollowSynLinks as mentioned by Mark at the support forums worked for me. No more 404 errors!

Below is my working vhost configuration at the bottom of my MAMP apache config file /Applications/MAMP/conf/apache/httpd.conf. It works for me, but YMMV:

How to try OpenBSD

Download and try the following OS, and give it a go.

OpenBSD v4.7

OpenBSD is a multi-platform 4.4BSD-based UNIX-like operating system, and is fast, simple to install and secure “out of the box”.

  1. Download installation files
  2. Read the Installation guide
  3. Read the Frequently Asked Questions

A good introductory book for OpenBSD is the “OpenBSD Command Line Companion” by Jacek Artymiak. It walks you through an install and an intro to OpenBSD.

Other books on the OS are:

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