I'm not going to bore you readers with who Charles Young is, if you are following my blog and you are into BizTalk you'll know who Charles Young is
From BizTalk360 perspective I wanted to give away few copies of "Microsoft BizTalk Server Unleashed" book to people in the community. To make it special I wanted the book to be signed by some of the authors. Unfortunately except Charles everyone else lives outside UK. If I had the idea before I could have got it signed by Jan Eliasen few weeks ago, when I was in Denmark.
Anyway, this is how it all started, we exchanged few emails, and decided on the date when we are going to meet up. Charles was kind enough to come to our place, I picked him up from the station at 11:30am this morning and went to a coffee shop near by. I was expecting may be an hour or bit more, but when we finished our conversation I looked at the watch it was 16:15.
These things don't happen often, you sit down with someone like Charles who is really excited and enthusiastic about technology and have a one-to-one chat for nearly 5 hours. I have spoken to him in the past in MVP summits, but nothing to this extend. We had great conversation around so many things, BizTalk, Windows Azure, Amazon, Google, a new term Cloud Service Vendor (CSV), what he thinks is missing on the Azure for CSV's. Interesting chat about iCloud and the whole rumours around their use of both Windows azure (here and here ) and Amazon S3 for the service.
Quite a bit of talk was around BizTalk and the future directions, problems we face on the enterprise space, and how BizTalk penetrated into that space as a matured product. We discussed a bit about the book and how he structured his chapters in the book.
He thinks the subscription engine we got in BizTalk is just a flavour of rules engine. If you think about it, it's very true, all it does is evaluates certain rules and matches the subscribers. He also got this great vision of building solutions based on policy driven layered approach. Ex: Subscriptions are bottom layer, static ports are layer above it, dynamic ports are one layer above static ports where you need to provide additional information like address.
Conversation went deep into RulesFest and how people are using rules to solve real world problems that requires artificial intelligence and rule matching like soil analysis for farming.
We also discussed quite a bit about J#, and how death of J# closed the doors for .NET community to have access to the wide matured open source projects like Drools
The interesting part of the conversation was how a failed POC project around 2005, made him interested in the RETE algorithm and rules engine. Only after the POC he realized he was trying to build a forward chaining inference engine with BizTalk orchestrations. If he had known enough about rules engine that time he could have build a much sleeker solution to the problem.
Of course we did have a chat about BizTalk360 and one thing I understood was not everybody got a clear idea of real benefit of BizTalk360 and what problems it's trying to solve. He was honest to admit, it didn't strike him first time until a co-worker pointed out the real use case for BizTalk360. I need to do some work to improve here.
We will soon announce how we are going to give all the signed copies of the book "Microsoft BizTalk Server Unleashed 2010", keep tuned. Follow us on twitter (http://twitter.com/biztalk360) or on facebook (http://facebook.com/biztalk360) to get the latest updates.