Talk, talk and more talk about BizTalk

Calling a one-way WCF Service from BizTalk

I recently ran into a real conundrum at the end of a deployment when we discovered that we would be sending messages to a one way (i.e. fire-and-forget) web service using the inbuilt WCF adapters.

Easy!  Just use a one-way Send port with the WCF-BasicHttp binding!  Everything builds and deploys just fine, however, at run time, we started getting the following error messages:

System.ServiceModel.CommunicationException: The server did not provide a meaningful reply; this might be caused by a contract mismatch, a premature session shutdown or an internal server error.

A little research highlighted that Microsoft does not support sending from BizTalk to one-way Web Services, as BizTalk uses the response acknowledgement to confirm the original message has actually been delivered (remember, BizTalk is all about “Guaranteed Delivery”).  Despite these protestations, sometimes you have to go with “The Customer is Always Right”, even when the customer is actually wrong.

Thanks to a very helpful set of posts by Phillipe, I was able to convince BizTalk to actually send messages, using a “proxy” WCF Service.  The proxy accepts and forwards the Request message, and returns an empty Response message back to BizTalk.

We lose a considerable amount of configuration flexibility, as BizTalk is no longer the sole keeper of end-point information, and there is less visibility if something does go down, but it’s a reasonable workaround for an inbuilt limitation of the standard BizTalk adapters.

June 20, 2011 - Posted by | BizTalk, WCF |

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