BizTalk to Azure Migration – Migration Challenge – SOAP + WCF

Welcome to our latest episode in the BizTalk Migration series.

Today, we dive into a common yet complex challenge in the world of enterprise integration: transitioning from SOAP and XML to REST and JSON. We’ll explore how BizTalk, a product traditionally rooted in XML, can adapt to the modern RESTful APIs and JSON standards, especially in the Azure ecosystem. Join us as we uncover strategies and tools to seamlessly migrate your applications and overcome this technical hurdle.

Let’s get started!

Today, we are continuing our series on BizTalk’s Rides in Migration. And today, we’re going to talk about a thorny challenge, which is SOAP and WCF. Now, if we go back a bit, around the 2000s, when BizTalk was born, everyone thought SOAP and XML were the way to go. That was going to be the future of everything. Web services would unlock the future of the Internet. And we achieved a lot in those days with that technology. BizTalk can publish web services and consume web services, relying quite a lot on the WCF stack. Particularly, apart from the very, very earliest versions, WCF is quite heavily integrated. So, it’s all geared towards SOAP and XML. Later versions adopted REST because, around 2008, which was also when Azure was launched, SOAP and XML became outdated. The future was REST and JSON. BizTalk is designed as a product natively to work with XML. When you send it JSON, it will try to convert that to XML under the hood. In the Azure world, everything is JSON under the hood, natively using JSON.

If you send XML, it will try to convert it to JSON under the hood. So, there is a very different underlying way in which we work with data. But the world of REST and JSON allows us to have simpler APIs, making things much more easily interoperable. There are very different paradigms with the underlying data and the way that different systems connect together. There are some things we can do if you have an application in BizTalk and you want to migrate that into Azure. The first thing is to use Azure API Management to convert SOAP to REST. That’s very effective a lot of the time. We can also rely on the connectors that ship with Logic Apps to do much of that conversion for us. If all else fails, we can write custom code, put that in a function, and get the API to consume the REST and either expose it as WCF, or we can get it to consume the XML and publish that as REST.

So, there are ways of doing this. It’s a common thorny problem, but we know how to fix it.

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