In tutorial 8, we examined how to use SOAP to improve cross-platform interoperability using the Web and XML. In this tutorial, we will look at BizTalk Framework 2.0, which is an extension of the SOAP 1.1 specification. BizTalk Framework 2.0 provides a structure for building solutions that move data contained in a SOAP document across boundaries. A boundary is a point at which information passes between two different systems.

For example, a corporation and its partner may both have their own systems for processing orders. When an order is passed from the corporate system to the partner's system, the order is moved across a boundary. Often, the movement of information across boundaries is also a movement across different operating system platforms. Thus, BizTalk is also a framework for moving information across different platforms.

BizTalk Framework 2.0 addresses the following problems associated with moving information across boundaries and platforms using XML:

  • The need for an easy-to-use, flexible standard to specify, package, publish, and exchange structured and unstructured information across system boundaries using XML
  • The need for an easy-to-use, flexible standard to specify, package, publish, and exchange business rules for transforming information from one system's format to another system's format using XML
  • The need for middleware applications that allow communication across a system boundary
  • The need for a standard that provides error detection and document receipts when moving information across system boundaries

BizTalk Framework 2.0 is not one of the W3C standards; XML is the standard. BizTalk's purpose is to facilitate the implementation of the XML standard using a standardized framework. Because BizTalk addresses these problems using XML, BizTalk's solutions should be platform and technology independent.