Neal Walters, of Amerisoft Inc, has released his BizTalk 2020 Training Course a few weeks ago. The course is entitled “Real World BizTalk 2020 for Developers”.
Microsoft BizTalk is a Microsoft Server product that includes extensions to Visual Studio 2019 that allows developers to create automated business processes. BizTalk is an XML-centric system that uses standard XSLT (Extensible Style Sheet Language) to transform data. It provides orchestration to control the flow of data, and a business rule engine that allows parameters and rules to be externalized.
A few years ago, Neal provided all his BizTalk 2006 videos for free on YouTube.
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Once BizTalk 2020 came out, he realized it was time to dip his toes back into training, and use his 17 years of BizTalk experience to create a new great course. The training includes 26 hours of live videos. Neal uses a “Twitch”-like style, where he creates and illustrates BizTalk applications recorded live. If Neal makes a mistake, he fixes, and shows the students why it happened and how to fix it. This provides a much more interesting tutorial than just canned, pre-scripted videos.
Neal was a Microsoft Certified Trainer back in about 2000-2003, then he became a full time consultant/architect/developer. He has worked across the United States for companies in various businesses industries, including airline fueling, logistics, shipping, reverse-logistics, E-Commerce (web sales), healthcare, student loans, and government. Most of his projects have been 9 to 15 months in duration.
BizTalk is often called “middleware”, or more specifically, an Inter-Organization Middleware System (IOMS) that enables companies to automate business processes. BizTalk uses technology and line-of-business (LOB) adapters to communicate with different technologies and software systems (like SAP or JD Edwards). Many people use BizTalk for Enterprise Application Integration (EAI). This means that BizTalk can be the middleware that connects and transfers data from internal system to another, or between internal systems and commercial of the shelf (COTS) products. Other companies use BizTalk as an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) too. For example, BizTalk includes XML schemas for all the major EDI X12 and Edifact formats. A company can send an EDI 850 Purchase Order, and receive 855/856 responses (confirmation and shipping notices), followed by an 810 EDI Invoice.
The online training is available exclusively on the “Udemy” platform, and contains over 26 hours of videos. Businesses can access the course through the special business membership, that allow their IT software teams to take any course on the platform, and it is available to individuals at a very low price. It often goes on sale for under $20. Udemy is an amazing platform with over 20 million student/members.
BizTalk first came out in 2000, but didn’t really evolve into a particularly useful product until the 2004 release. Neal attended the “Train the Trainer” class held by Microsoft in Redmond, Washington. That was a 5-day bootcamp of about 10-12 hours days, provided to train a new crew of instructors. After that, Neal traveled around and taught the class over 15 times. After that he went back into consulting and now has over 16 years of consulting experience with this one product suite.