BTS2013 features explained: Dependency tracking

A while ago we started a series on explaining some of the new features that were introduced in BizTalk 2013 in more detail. We’ve already discussed the XslCompiledTransform API and the Improvements in dynamic send ports. A complete list of the new features in BizTalk 2013 can be found in our post when the product launched.
To continue the series of new features, we would like to digg a little deeper in the announced feature ‘Dependency tracking’… what does this mean?

The dependency tracking is a newly added feature in BizTalk 2013. The dependencies between artifacts can now be viewed and navigated in the Admin console, but what exactly will be shown and how does it work?

BizTalk artifact dependencies

First of, I’ll like to give a bit more details on dependencies in BizTalk. You’ll probably all know that a typical BizTalk Server application involves various artifacts such as orchestrations, send ports, receive locations, pipelines, schemas, maps, etc. . And also that all of these artifacts can have dependencies on each other. There is a useful post on msdn explaining the dependencies between these BizTalk artifacts and listing the dependencies of BizTalk artifacts as in the below table.

DependencyTable
As the table suggests, there are two modes of dependencies.

  • Uses (Using) – An artifact uses another artifact, for example, a send port uses a pipeline.
  • Used By (Used by) – An artifact is used by another artifact, for example, a send port is used by an orchestration.

As a consequence of these dependencies, there is a hierarchy of the BizTalk artifacts that needs to be followed on re-deploying these artifacts. And you’ll need to know which dependent artifacts need to be stopped or re-deployed.

Dependency tracking pane in BizTalk 2013

Now… as of BizTalk 2013, the dependency information of these artifacts is available in the BizTalk Server Administration console. It will display both kinds of dependencies (when artifacts use another artifact as well as if the artifact is used by another artifact) in a brand new dependency tracking pane.

How to view the dependency tracking pane?

  1. In the BizTalk admin console, go to the artifact of which you wish to have the dependencies shown.
  2. Now right-click on the artifact and choose View dependencies.ViewDependencies
  3. NOw you can see that the dependency statistics pane on the bottom will be filled. It will show both kinds of dependencies. Under Used by it will show the number of artifacts that use the selected artifact. While under Using the number of artifacts that use the selected artifact will be shown.
    DependencyStatisticsPane
  4. Clicking on the number of artifacts will bring up the list of the dependent artifacts. In the shown list, you again can bring up the dependencies and click through to any level of the depency tree you want. On top, you’ll see a trail of bread crumbs to show the level of depency you are viewing.DependencyTree

Note

Note however that the shown dependencies are only the directly dependent artifacts. So for example if a send port is part of a send port group, it will be show the dependent send port group. But if the send port group is again dependend on an orchestration, the dependent orchestration will only be shown on the dependencies of the send port group. So in the dependencies of the send port, you will not find the dependend orchestration directly.
You will need to go through the dependency tree using the above explained trail of bread crumbs to view all of its dependencies.

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