Added functoid to read from app.cofig

by eliasen 27. November 2008 20:20

Hi all

A new functoid has been added to the collection of functoids that an be downloaded at

The functoid simply takes one parameter, which is used as a key against BizTalks app.config (The BTSNTSvc.exe.config file in BizTalks installation folder) to read an application setting from the appSettings group.

So given a .config file like this:

<add key="eliasen" value="eliasenValue" />

and the parameter "eliasen" to the functoid, it will return "eliasenValue". If the key cannot be found, an empty string is returned.

And the documentation has also been updated - look at



Added CSV Extract functoid

by eliasen 24. November 2008 01:06

Hi all

I have added a new functoid to my functoid library.

This functoid will take a string, that is separated by some character as input and split it up into the substrings it is, given the separator. It will then return the substring given by a third parameter.

So for instance, given these three inputs:

  1. Jan,Eliasen,BizTalk
  2. ,
  3. 1

You would get "Eliasen" as output.

You can download my functoid library at and here you can also find updated documentation describing this new functoid.



Documentation for functoids

by eliasen 21. November 2008 23:03

Hi all

As you have probably read in my previous posts this month, I have started creating a functoid library, which is freely downloadable if you want to. Now, I have also written some documentation for it (Wauv, I know...). So go to for the software, and here you can find a link to which contains the documentation for the downloadable software.



Date Converter functoid

by eliasen 19. November 2008 23:41

Hi all

I have added a new functoid to the collection of functoids I am building. This time, I have programmed a functoid that converts between different datetime formats, which comes in handy when mapping between two schemas that have date elements, that require different formats of the date.

You can find version 4 of my functoid collection at



Windows Live Writer

by eliasen 19. November 2008 21:37

Hi all

Recently, I started using Windows Live Writer in large scale. Until then, I used the built in editing functionality of dasBlog, which is my blog software.

I must say, I love it!

Now, don't get me wrong, I have no other software products that do what Windows Live Writer does to compare it with, so there might be other and better products out there, but I am SO happy with not using the built in functionality of dasBlog anymore, I just had to tell you all :-)

The obvious advantages for using Windows Live Writer over the built in functionality in dasBlog are the possibility to work offline, either if my blog is unavailable or if I am in a train, and so on.

But also, I am quite fond of the way I can have multiple entries as work in progress at the same time, edit existing posts, etc. And all in a thick client on my laptop.

Really, I am quite thrilled :-) And I encourage all to use it... There is a newer version out than the 2008 that I am using, but it is a beta version, and some people have reported issues with using it against dasBlog, so I will wait a bit before I try that version.



Solving the "If-Then-Else" problem in a map - part II

by eliasen 18. November 2008 00:01

Hi all

This is the second post in a series about solving the "If-Then-Else" problem in a map. In my first post I discussed how to use BizTalks built-in functionality to solve the problem. Neither of the three proposed solutions really seem nice to me, so I wondered how difficult it might be to code a custom functoid that does the trick. It turned out to be unexpectedly hard, and this post tries to clarify my findings and explain them.

So, to continue from my previous post, to me the best solution is to code your own functoid, that mimics the value mapping functoid, but adds an "else" part. So basically just a third parameter to the value  mapping functoid that is returned in case the first parameter is false.

For information about how to program a custom functoid, please visit - I wont go into details about that here. I will just comment on the issues I have had with creating this particular functoid.

The final solution should give me the possibility to have a map like this one:


YES, I know my icons are very bad... Anyway, three inputs: a boolean and two values.

So, getting to the code, my first try looked like this:

this.Category = FunctoidCategory.ValueMapping;
this.OutputConnectionType = ConnectionType.AllExceptRecord;

I have removed irrelevant lines, such as setting up the resources, setting the ID, and so on.

First of all, in the code of a custom functoid, you need to specify which category the functoid should belong to. The possibilities are listed at I hadn't really looked at this list, since I thought that the intellisense in VS.NET 2005 was good enough. Since my functoid is an advanced value mapping functoid, I chose he value mapping category. This turned out a but different than I thought. It turns out, that the category you assign to a custom functoid not only determines where in the toolbox it should be placed, but also sometimes some extra functionality is added to the functoid. Given my map above, I had expected that the created XSLT would just call my functoid with the three parameters and then my code would do the rest. But the generated XSLT looks like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-16"?>
<xsl:stylesheet xmlns:xsl="" xmlns:msxsl="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:xslt" xmlns:var="" exclude-result-prefixes="msxsl var s0 userCSharp" version="1.0" xmlns:s0="" xmlns:ns0="" xmlns:userCSharp="">
  <xsl:output omit-xml-declaration="yes" method="xml" version="1.0" />
  <xsl:template match="/">
    <xsl:apply-templates select="/s0:InputRoot" />
  <xsl:template match="/s0:InputRoot">
    <xsl:variable name="var:v1" select="userCSharp:LogicalEq(string(qualifier/text()) , &quot;Jan&quot;)" />
      <xsl:if test="string($var:v1)='true'">
        <xsl:variable name="var:v2" select="IfTrue/text()" />
          <xsl:value-of select="$var:v2" />

I have removed all the lines associated with the equals-functoid as that included three inline c# methods which are irrelevant. Anyway, as you can see, my functoid is not being called at all. Because I chose the ValueMapping category, the generated xslt assumes it is actually a built-in value mapping functoid and it totally overrules the logic inside the functoid.

So, this really came as a surprise to me... but makes sense when you think about it, naturally. Some of the types of functoids just require logic that goes beyond the code inside a functoid.

So, the ValueMapping category just didn't work for me. Then I thought; "Oh, who cares?"? I will just use the String category instead, because those certainly do not have weird functionality around them... they get input and return a string as output, that is it. And the functoid will just appear in the String group in the toolbox in VS.NET.

That gave me a new headache, that was another surprise; You cannot connect the output of a logical functoid to the input of a string functoid. So... I was stuck.

One of my solutions would accept the output of a logical functoid as input, but my functoid logic was overridden. The other simply wouldn't accept the output of a logical functoid as input.

I have tried the following FunctoidCategories:

Category Description
Assert Terminates when logical functoid returns true. Has the wrong value in output field when logical functoid returns false.
Conversion Cannot connect output of logical functoid to input.
Count Cannot connect output of logical functoid to input.
Cumulative Cannot connect output of logical functoid to input.
DatabaseExtract Cannot connect output of logical functoid to input.
DatabaseLookup Cannot connect output of logical functoid to input.
DateTime Cannot connect output of logical functoid to input.
ExitenceLooping Cannot connect output of logical functoid to input.
Index Cannot connect output of logical functoid to input.
Iteration Cannot connect output of logical functoid to input.
Keymatch Cannot compile. You get an "Object not set to an instance of an object" exception.
Logical The output field isn't created.
Looping Cannot connect output of logical functoid to input.
MassCopy Cannot connect output of logical functoid to input.
Math Cannot connect output of logical functoid to input.
NilValue Only creates output field if logical functoid returns true and then it adds the xsi:nil attribute and no value in the output field.
Scientific Cannot connect output of logical functoid to input.
Scripter The scripting functoid has no script type set, either external or inline, so proper code cannot be generated for it.
String Cannot connect output of logical functoid to input.
TableExtractor Cannot connect output of logical functoid to input.
TableLooping Needs the table grid configured and is therefore useless.
Unknown Cannot connect output of logical functoid to input.
ValueMapping Only creates the output field if the logical functoid returns true.
XPath Cannot connect output of logical functoid to input.

So, basically, I haven't been able to do it... for now. Either I cannot connect a logical functoid to my custom functoid, I get an error either at compile time or something goes wrong semantically at runtime.

I haven't given up 100% yet... but I must say, that the task has turned out to be a whole lot more difficult than I thought it would be.

Look out for a part 3 in this series... if it comes, I will have solved this issue :-)



FunctoidCategory of custom functoids - Part I

by eliasen 16. November 2008 22:57

Hi all

I am doing a lot of functoid implementation these days, and therefore, I have for instance decided to find out what these FunctoidCategories are and where in the toolbox the different categories belong.

In the toolbox, we have the following groups of functoids:

  • String
  • Mathematical
  • Logical
  • Date/Time
  • Conversion
  • Scientific
  • Cumulative
  • Database
  • Advanced

I still remember my first custom functoid - I was really expecting that in my code I could decide in which group my functoid should appear and maybe even create my own group. But that isn't the case. There are 24 different FunctoidCategories that I can assign my functoid, and only the above 9 groups. You can read more about the different functoid categories here. Basically, I will just give a very short resumé of this information and then I will match each category to a group in the toolbox, so you have this information for future reference.

So, this is what I know:

Category Toolbox group Description
Assert Advanced For internal use only.
Conversion Conversion Converts characters to and from their numeric representation, and to convert numbers from one base to another.
Count Advanced For internal use only.
Cumulative Cumulative Performs various kinds of accumulation of the value of a field that occurs multiple times in a source document and outputs a single output.
DatabaseExtract Database For internal use only.
DatabaseLookup Database For internal use only.
DateTime Date/Time Adds date, time, date and time, or add days to a specified date, in output data.
ExistenceLooping Advanced For internal use only.
Index Advanced For internal use only.
Iteration Advanced For internal use only.
Keymatch Advanced For internal use only.
Logical Logical Controls conditional behavior of other functoids to determine whether particular output data is created.
Looping Advanced For internal use only.
MassCopy Advanced For internal use only.
Math Mathematical Performs specific numeric calculations such as addition, multiplication, and division.
NilValue Advanced For internal use only.
Scientific Scientific Performs specific scientific calculations such as logarithmic, exponential, and trigonometric functions.
Scripter Advanced For internal use only.
String String Manipulates data strings by using well-known string functions such as concatenation, length, find, and trim.
TableExtractor Advanced For internal use only.
TableLooping Advanced For internal use only.
Unknown Advanced For internal use only.
ValueMapping Advanced For internal use only.
XPath Advanced For internal use only.

To see this for your self, download

. Unzip the zip file, copy the dll to "%BTS%\Developer Tools\Mapper Extensions", where %BTS% is the installation folder of BizTalk. Then go to VS.NET 2005 and reload the toolbox. If you want use one of the functoids, remember to also GAC the dll. All the functoids have the exact same implementation, but they do not generate the same XSLT by the mapper because of the chosen category. Perhaps a new blog post on that later on...



Solving the "If-Then-Else" problem in a map - part I

by eliasen 15. November 2008 20:49

Hi all

I have often wondered why the built-in functoids doesn't encompass an If-Then-Else functoid. The Value Mapping functoid only has an If-Then-part and not the Else-part.

This is the first of two blog posts. This post will explore how to solve the issue with the built-in functionality of BizTalk. The next post will be about creating a custom functoid to do the job instead and the issues that come with this task.

So, using the built-in functionality:

Imagine this input schema:


And imagine this output schema:


My goal, now is to create a map that will map the value of the "ifJan" element to the destination IF the "qualifier" element equals the word "Jan" and otherwise the value of the "ifNotJan" element should be mapped.

So basically, given this input:

<ns0:IfThenElseInput xmlns:ns0="http://IfThenElse.IfThenElseInput">

I want this output:

<ns0:IfThenElseOutput xmlns:ns0="http://IfThenElse.IfThenElseOutput">

And given this input:

<ns0:IfThenElseInput xmlns:ns0="http://IfThenElse.IfThenElseInput">

I want this output:

<ns0:IfThenElseOutput xmlns:ns0="http://IfThenElse.IfThenElseOutput">

Using a map and the built-in functoids, that would look like this:


Basically, you need one value mapping functoid for each possible value to pass on, and a logical functoid for each value as well, to use in the value mapping functoid. The "String Concatenate" functoid is just my way of returning the string to use for the qualifier - in this case: "Jan".

You can also do it using one scripting functoid like this:


where the scripting functoid is an "Inline XSLT Call Template" scripting type, and the script looks likes this:

<xsl:template name="IfThenElse">
  <xsl:param name="qualifier" />
  <xsl:param name="ifJan" />
  <xsl:param name="ifNotJan" />
  <xsl:element name="field">
      <xsl:when test="$qualifier='Jan'">
        <xsl:value-of select="$ifJan" />
        <xsl:value-of select="$ifNotJan" />

Now... IF my good friend Henrik Badsberg is reading this, then by now he is screaming: "USE A BLOODY C# SCRIPTING FUNCTOID!!!!!" :-)

This, naturally is also an option:


with an "Inline C#" script containing this script:

public string IfThenElse(string qualifier, string ifJan, string ifNotJan)
  if (qualifier == "Jan")
    return ifJan;
    return ifNotJan;

Both scripting solutions can be altered to accept the output of a logical functoid as the first input. Just change the string "Jan" to "true" in the scripts, and change the name of the parameter if you want.

Now then... I am not a big fan of either of these three options. Generally, I avoid scripting functoids when I can because it is difficult for a new developer to know what is happening when he opens the map because he will have to open up all scripting functoids and find out (and remember) what they do. Also, I am not really a big fan of the first solution either. First of all, there are too many functoids, and it can messy if this solution is needed several times in a map. Secondly, you get a warning every time you compile, because you have two inputs to one element.

You can find my project with the three working maps here.

In my next post, I will look into creating a custom functoid that does the job and I can tell you right now; That isn't as easy as I had imagined...



BizTalk 2004 | BizTalk 2006

BizTalk presentation for the Aalborg .NET User Group

by eliasen 15. November 2008 11:35

Hi all

On October 29'th I did a BizTalk presentation for the Aalborg .NET User Group. It was the first in AANUG, so it makes sense that the topic should be the best topic ever :-)

Those who were present will remember that I completely broke the time frame I was bound by, and didn't even make it all the way through my presentation.

Weird, how I always get side tracked when I talk about something I am good at and/or like :-)

Anyway, this blog post has two purposes:

  1. Just a little more advertising for Aalborg .NET User Group. If you live close by, sign up and come to our meetings
  2. To make the slides available.

    They can be found here.

    Only in Danish, I am afraid.



StringReplace functoid added to collection

by eliasen 14. November 2008 13:48

Hi all

So, I have just added one more functoid to the collection of functoids. This time, I have added a string replace functoid, as I think that is really missing from the standard functoids that BizTalk supplies.

You can get version 3 of my functoid collection here:

And for those of you that are not bothered to read further on the download page than the download section, let me just repeat some text from the download page:


As you can probably see from my extremely lousy icons, layouts, and so on, graphics really isn't one of my strong sides. So if you are good at creating icons and so on, and would like to help me with this part, please contact me.




About the author

Jan Eliasen is 37 years old, divorced and has 2 sons, Andreas (July 2004) and Emil (July 2006).

Jan has a masters degree in computer science and is currently employed at Logica Denmark as an IT architect.

Jan is a 6 times Microsoft MVP in BizTalk Server (not currently an MVP) and proud co-author of the BizTalk 2010 Unleashed book.

BizTalk Server 2010 Unleashed

Buy from Amazon

Microsoft MVP

6 times: July 2004, July 2008, July 2009, July 2010, July 2011, and July 2012. Not currently an MVP.


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