MCPD: Enterprise Application Developer and MCT: Enterprise Application Development

I finally had (made!) time to wrap up two certifications that I have wanted to complete for a long time.  One is the MCPD: Enterprise Application Developer, and I am also a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) for Enterprise Application Development, which allows me to teach all Official Microsoft .NET Development and BizTalk Server courses.

I recently stumbled across an interesting Microsoft certifications page that includes the number of people worldwide who have each of the various certifications.  It’s pretty interesting.  At last update, there are just over 13,000 MCT’s worldwide, and only about 4,000 MCPD: Enterprise Application Developers worldwide!  I was really surprised at how low the numbers are for the three flavors of MCPD after two years of availability.

This gives me a great opportunity to put some graphics on this blog for a change!  🙂





Exam 70-235: Developing Business Process & Integration Solutions Using BizTalk Server 2006

Digineer continues to be a leading Microsoft partner for BizTalk Server in the Twin Cities area.  As of this writing, we are proud to have six consultants who have passed exam 70-235, and several like myself who also completed the 2004 certification exam.  We are active in the Twin Cities BizTalk Server User Group and regularly provide content for the BizTalk Hotrod e-mag.

Since I have been so behind on my blog this year, I’m writing this in November but I passed the 70-235 exam in June (!).  Passing is 700 with 50 questions total.  I was pleased to walk away with an 842, despite the diabolical BAM questions they always throw in.

I think the exam was quite good as certification exams go.  It covered many aspects of the product and in order to pass you will have to spend hands-on time with the product.  There was quite a bit of BAM and BRE, some poorly written questions, but pretty much as expected overall.  There was a question on BRE FactRetrievers that I wasn’t expecting, but otherwise, no code-focused questions.

The question types are a lot of “choose X of Y”, some straight choose-one multiple choice and some “choose the necessary steps from a list and put them in the right order.”

If you’re a current or aspiring BizTalk developer and want to be part of a group who really knows and loves BizTalk, and you’re in the Twin Cities area, please contact me.  We are always looking for people who have a passion for BizTalk!

Recent Presentations on BizTalk Server 2006 R2

This has turned out to be a very busy year, thanks in part to Microsoft’s ever-accelerating stream of product releases.  Even five years ago I never thought that I’d hope Microsoft would slow down!

One of those exciting new products is Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 R2, which features Microsoft’s new RFID platform, extensive support for EDI and all-new native WCF adapters (my favorite!).  I had the pleasure of presenting at the Minneapolis/St. Paul-area BizTalk Server 2006 R2 Launch event on October 9th.  My session was entitled “BizTalk Server 2006 R2: A Core Component of a Service-Oriented Architecture” and was very well-attended.  Thank you to everyone who listened in!  We even had Jon Flanders from Pluralsight and Michael Woods from the BizTalk product group on hand, and Michael introduced my sessions with an overview of Microsoft’s vision of SOA.

Tonight, November 15th, I’m presenting a session with my co-worker Randall entitled “Message Queuing with BizTalk 2006 R2: MSMQ, IBM WebSphere MQ and Ordered Delivery” for the Twin Cities BizTalk User Group.  I’m going to talk about queuing and the pros and cons, go through some MQ configuration issues and demo the MSMQ and WebSphere MQ adapters for BizTalk.  Randall is going to show some code as part of a solution for ordered delivery using MSMQ.  We hope to see you there!

Microsoft SOA & Business Process Conference Wrapup

It’s the last day of the Microsoft SOA & Business Process Conference and just about time to head for home.  I’ve had a great week in Redmond and have had a chance to talk with many other members of the BizTalk community.  The conference has more than 700 attendees, and I was surprised to discover that 40% or more were international.  QuickLearn has been running some great training classes on BizTalk, WCF, WF and Atlas both before and after the conference.

Thanks to everyone who attended my session on working with large messages in BizTalk and ASP.NET Web services!  The session was well attended and, not surprisingly, a lot of people are having these issues.  As soon as I get approval from Microsoft, I’ll get a post together with the PowerPoint slides and the pipeline component code.

Overall, the conference was worthwhile, but I would have preferred much more detail in the sessions and greater presence from the MS product developers.  Hopefully that will be improved for next year.  No real news from the conference other than the limited availability to partners of an ESB guidance package for BizTalk.

Thanks for reading and please stay tuned for the session materials.

Presenting at the Microsoft SOA & Business Process Conference

The Microsoft SOA & Business Process Conference is coming soon.  This is a great 4-day conference held at the Microsoft campus at an awesome price – only $199!  Consider that TechEd costs nearly $2,000!  Of course you have to pay to get there, but really, this is still a terrific deal.

The conference features four tracks, three technical and one business:

  • Service Oriented Architecture (incl. BizTalk 2006, WCF, WF, HIS and more)
  • Connected Systems Technology and Products (.NET 3.0 and BizTalk 2006)
  • Business Process Management (Office System 2007 and BizTalk 2006 R2)
  • Business Value (Why care and what are the opportunities)

The agenda and sessions are still being finalized, so keep checking the conference website for updates.

I’m pleased to announce that I will be presenting the following session in the SOA track, so I hope to see you there!

Effective Techniques for Working with Large Messages in a Service-Oriented Architecture

In a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), small messages are easy to work with and don’t create extra challenges of their own, but various issues arise when the message size grows to megabytes in size. This session will identify the issues you should consider and then explore specific techniques that you can use to work effectively with large messages in ASP.NET 2.0 Web services and BizTalk Server 2006.

Exam 74-135 – Developing E-Business Solutions Using BizTalk Server 2004

I’ve been doing my best to procrastinate taking all of these certification exams, so I finally had to just schedule and go, ready or not.  So, a week after the 70-536 .NET exam and feeling a bit rusty with BizTalk 2004, I took 74-135, the BizTalk Server 2004 TS exam.  Passing is 700, there are 40 questions and you have two hours max.

Fresh hands-on experience definitely helps with this test, as well as a lot of facts and useless knowledge like the command-line parameters to the management tools.  Microsoft’s expert test writers seem to believe that one will not have access to the product documentation to simply LOOK UP command-line parameters!

Having not laid a hand on BizTalk (2004) for at least three months, and having procrastinated studying again, I wasn’t looking forward to test day, but I passed and it’s done, so it was worth the trouble.

So how did I prepare (or not, in this case)?  I read the first 300 pages of BizTalk 2004 Unleashed in the three evenings prior as a refresher.  Beyond that I relied on my brief experience of 6-8 weeks earlier this year developing with BizTalk messaging and orchestrations, and I have done many BizTalk installs with both 2004 and 2006, not to mention debugging other peoples’ BizTalk solutions.

The test manages to hit almost every aspect of BizTalk, including Messaging, Orchestrations, HWS, BAM, BAS, installation and management.  That’s why the hands-on experience is so important.

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