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Integrate 2016 - Day 1 Recap

InfoQ is currently attending the Integrate 2016 event in London, where Microsoft Integration technologies take center stage. The event is a hosted by BizTalk360 in collaboration with Integration related Microsoft Product Groups. The event includes participation by Microsoft BizTalk Server/Azure Logic Apps, Azure API Management, Azure Functions and Azure Service Bus Cloud Messaging teams.  In addition to Microsoft presenters, the event also includes Microsoft MVPs who are industry experts identified by Microsoft.  The event is a 3-day event with Microsoft showcasing many new developments on day 1.

Here are some of the developments that InfoQ is tracking:

Tight Integration between BizTalk Server and Azure Logic Apps

Jon Fancey, principal program manager at Microsoft, demonstrated new capabilities which included a Logic Apps connector in BizTalk and a BizTalk connector within Logic Apps.  A key use case for Microsoft is the ability to bring more SaaS connectivity to on-premises BizTalk customers.  Currently Logic Apps ships with more than 30 SaaS connectors that is growing each week.  By bringing these SaaS connectors to BizTalk Server, customers can accelerate their development efforts by reducing the amount of custom configuration and coding that is typically required when integrating SaaS applications in BizTalk.

Microsoft also re-iterated their commitment to Hybrid Integration.  By providing a BizTalk Server connector inside of Logic Apps, customers are able to integrate their Line of Business (LOB) systems with cloud-based SaaS platforms using this bridge between BizTalk and Logic Apps.

Visual Studio Integration for Logic Apps is coming

Currently Logic Apps are authored inside of a web browser.  There is a drag and drop canvas that also includes a JSON code-behind experience.  Providing a Visual Studio development experience is the #1 User Voice request for Logic Apps.  During his presentation, Jeff Hollan, program manager on the Azure Logic Apps team, was able to provide some early samples of the upcoming developer experience.  By using Visual Studio, developers can also deploy Logic Apps through ARM based templates while parameterizing connectivity details to account for different customer environments.

Azure API Management and Azure Functions

At launch, Amazon introduced their API Gateway with support for serverless apps called Lambdas. With the recent introduction of Azure Functions, Microsoft can now provide a similar offering within its Azure API Management service.  Vlad Vinogradsky, principal pm manager on the Microsoft API Management team, demonstrated this capability in his presentation on Day 1.

Enterprise Integration Pack Private Preview

Customers focusing on Business to Business (B2B) Integration will see a new service in the near future.  The new service, currently called Enterprise Integration Pack, will allow organizations to centralize many of their artifacts that they require when integrating with trading partners. These artifacts include Maps, Schemas (X12 & Edifact), Certificates, Partners and Agreements.  These artifacts can then be used from Logic Apps in conjunction with AS/2 and X12 Decoders.  This service will be a premium add-on for Logic Apps.  Pricing was not announced.

Microsoft Flow

Charles Lamanna, principal group engineering manager at Microsoft, walked the audience through a set of use cases and demos involving Microsoft’s IFTTT-like offering.  The service is targeted towards Business Users and non-developer Specialists.  Flow sits on top of the Logic Apps engine, but is intended for lighter-weight uses cases that allow individuals to automate tasks that would typically be achieved through copying and pasting data (i.e. SharePoint to Salesforce). Simple approval workflows are also targeted use cases for Microsoft Flow   A template library is currently available that allows users to get started building automation with little friction by using canned workflows.

Day 2 at Integrate includes presentations from the Azure Functions, Azure Service Bus Messaging teams and Microsoft MVPs.  Should any developments emerge during the sessions, InfoQ will be providing coverage.

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