Applications in BizTalk 2006
I do think that introducing the concept of applications is great, and I also think Microsoft had actually went much further then I ever expected with the ability to export an MSI for an application.
so all in all - things are great. but....
As someone already mentioned it is a little bit annoying that you cannot associate ports to applications in the BizTalk Explorer inside Visual Studio but only in the BizTalk Administration Console.
this alone is a small problem, maybe just an annoyance but in my opinion - if the developer won't use the applications from the beginning there's a big chance he will not add them later as well, which means there's yet another thing to worry as the development progresses to completion.
To make things worse (again, in my humble opinion), Microsoft did walk that extra mile when it comes to the BizTalk assemblies, and if you looked carefully in the BizTalk Project properties window you've noticed that you can specify the application name.
This property is even set to a free text so you don't have to run to the Admin Console and set up the application up front (not sure if this is done on purpose though).
when you deploy an assembly with the application set, if the application does not exist it gets created and the artifacts in that assembly are automatically associated with the application. however - the next step in the development (and local testing) is to create the ports required to run your newly created orchestration and bind them to the orchestration, and here lies the problem -
because you cannot associate ports with an application the ports you create in the BizTalk Explorer are added to the default application, and then your orchestration cannot be bound to them as it's in a different application altogether....
get my drift?
I sure hope that before the RTM product is released we will be able to associate port to applications in the BizTalk Explorer