XSLT vs. Graphic map tool - What is the best transformation technology?

My name is Johan and I have been working with system integration using BizTalk for 1.5 years. I often come across situations where the customer want changes on existing integration flows. The required changes often mean that logic needs to be added or modified. Many complex integration flows have been created by using the graphic map tool and consists of thousands of links and several hundred functoids. This can look something like the picture below.

This is a small part from such a mapping:

When I am asked to make a change on an integration flow like the one shown in the picture above I feel confused for a while before I understand how I can make the required change. It can be a time consuming task to update a mapping like this where multiple developers have made modifications over a long period of time and the integration flow have started to look like a bowl of spaghetti in the GUI even though the required changes are small. I believe it is a common behavior amongst developers to always choose the same technique (XSLT or the graphic mapping tool) for all their integrations because they are certain it is the best way of doing it or maybe just because they are lazy. To make the maintainability easier for complex integration flows I recommend XSLT as the way of creating a biztalk map. The graphic map tool is more suitable than XSLT for small integrations that haven’t got complex logic.

To summarize this blog post in one sentence: Choose the best fitting mapping technique for every situation in order to make future maintenance of your integration easier.

Posted in: •Integration  | Tagged: •BizTalk  •Graphic  •Maintenance  •Map  •XSLT