Exceptional Error Handling with BizTalk 2006 and InfoPath
Receiving Failed Messages
As previously stated, failed message routing is not on by default. You first must configure failed message routing on the port. Figure 5 shows the port configuration dialog.
Once enabled, any processing failure in the port or routing failure from the port will create a message in the Messagebox coupled with ErrorMessage context information. As long as there are subscribers to the ErrorMessage, for the most part you will no longer see suspended messages for the receive port in the Messagebox.
Now that failed message routing is enabled, you must set up a subscriber for the ErrorMessage. As stated earlier, a subscriber can be an orchestration or a send port. The sample implements an orchestration subscriber.
As you can see in Figure 6, the orchestration is directly bound to the MessageBox in the port properties on the ResubmitLogic orchestration.
Figure 6: Port Properties
A filter also has been applied to the Receive_FailedMessage activation step in the orchestration so only ErrorMessages from the ReceiveExpenseReport port are sent to the orchestration (see Figure 7).
Figure 7: Properties for Receiving Failed Messages
Once the appropriate messages are received, the remainder of the orchestration adds additional data to the message and then manages the resubmission process.
The introduction discussed introducing human intervention into the error-handling process. Error expense reports can be resubmitted. The ResubmitLogic orchestration intercepts the error and manages the resubmission process.
First, ResubmitLogic adds the following two pieces of information before the error is routed to the ExpenseReportOut folder:
- Error message information: The existing message must be enriched with error message information extracted from the context information. Context information is not part of the message; it is attached to the message in the BizTalk Messagebox. Therefore, context information must be explicitly copied out of the message context to the message.
- Correlation ID: A correlation ID must be assigned. BizTalk will use the Correlation ID to route resubmitted messages to the correct running orchestration.
Next, BizTalk send ports add InfoPath processing instructions to the document as it leaves the send port. Processing instructions pointing to the InfoPath document's template are stored inside every InfoPath document.
Ports are configured to use the XMLTransmit pipeline. The XMLTransmit pipeline can be configured to inject the processing instructions into the document as the document leaves the BizTalk send port. Figure 8 shows the XMLTransmit configuration dialog. Note the XmlAsmProcessingInstructions property.
Figure 8: XMLTransmit Configuration Dialog
Finally, to complete the resubmit, users can change data on the enriched error message and resubmit from inside InfoPath. Resubmissions are sent back to the ResubmitLogic orchestration. Figure 9 shows the resubmission portion of the orchestration.
Figure 9: Resubmission Portion of the Orchestration
Using the Correlation ID, the message is routed back to the correct orchestration. The orchestration creates a new expense submission on the ExpenseReportIn folder and then terminates.
Variations on a Theme
You can apply the ideas learned here to other scenarios. Instead of a set of folders or shares, imagine a SharePoint site that users can monitor to view and fix errors. Instead of using the file adapter, you can send error messages using the SharePoint adapter. The site can contain instructions and other information to supplement the InfoPath template.
In SharePoint lists, you can track comments and even initiate discussion threads. Web parts can host reports and other applications.
Users can subscribe to changing contents on the document libraries; if errors are infrequent, they can be notified via SharePoint document library change notifications.
Also from SharePoint, you can initiate separate human workflows to handle more complicated errors. For example, many users may be required to sign off on an error before it is applied.
Human Intervention for Error Handling
Proper error handling in your integration project can be the difference between success and failure. Human intervention error handling often requires business knowledge as well as the right tools. In BizTalk, InfoPath and failed message routing can be the foundation for building these tools. Failed message routing provides the mechanism for trapping and routing the error. InfoPath provides the human interface for correcting the error. The error-handling sample in the BizTalk SDK provides a good example of how to configure failed message routing and use InfoPath.
Download the Code
Download the sample for this article.
About the Author
Jeffrey Juday is a software developer with Crowe Chizek in South Bend, Indiana. He has been developing software with Microsoft tools for more than 12 years in a variety of industries. Jeff currently builds solutions using BizTalk 2004, ASP.NET, SharePoint, and SQL Server 2000. You can reach Jeff at email@example.com.
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