Microsoft Announces XML-Based BizTalk

SAN MATEO (06/27/2000) - Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday announced the XML-based BizTalk Framework 2.0, touting increases in the programming guidelines' protocol support and reliability.

First, BizTalk Framework 2.0 is designed to be fully compatible with the company's Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) for communications among platforms and applications.

Second, Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft added functionality to the syntax that ensures delivery of documents over the Internet.

Finally, the framework now supports multipart MIME attachments, so users can attach any MIME file to XML documents.

"This is the next step in giving customers what they want in a messaging and orchestration tool," said David Wascha, Microsoft's product manager for BizTalk Server.

Although BizTalk Framework 2.0 is actually part of the overall BizTalk 2000 Server, it was designed by the BizTalk Steering Committee, which consists of vendors, standards bodies and customers.

Such third-party support is key for BizTalk to succeed, according to Rikki Kirzner, director of application development and deployment at market research firm International Data Corp., in Mountain View, California.

"Microsoft is basically saying that 'this is the direction we are going' and relying on third parties to help them deliver," she said.

Kirzner also said that the impetus behind these updates is business problems that customers insisted Microsoft fix. That said, the support for SOAP is the most significant enhancement.

"SOAP is becoming extraordinarily popular, in light of the fact that Sun announced it is implementing XML basically everywhere," she said.

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