Monday, August 02, 2010

BizTalk workflow vs NinTex workflow tool

A customer recently asked about the interoperability of the Workflow modelling tool NinTex (on top of sharepoint) with other systems like BizTalk. Since i was not familiar with NinTex i downloaded the SDK, some product sheets and the help to find out about the capabilities to interop with other systems.

Since workfows can be developed quite easily with NinTex the first customer question was;

‘How can the flows from NinTex be used in developing BizTalk’.

NinTex has the ability to export the developed workflow to (unfortenately) an propietary format only. This means that it it not possible to re-use even parts of this workflow in for example visio.

" A workflow can be exported and saved in the file format ".nwf" in order to be used in another location. "

http://nintexdownload.com/HelpFiles/NW2007/NintexWorkflow2007UserManual.html

The second question was related to integrating with NinTex;

‘How can BizTalk provide integration in such a way that the back-end is controlled by BizTalk and the front-end is controlled by NinTex’

NinTex is a fairly extensive tool and has integration capabilities. The following means make integration possible;

- Use the schemas defined in the tool and export these as schemas

- Leverage the integration capabilities of Webservice

- Use the BizTalk shape inside NinTex to communicate directly with BizTalk

Note: Communicate directly means that the correlation/schema features are used, on the BizTalk side it means that the orchestration must be published as a webservice.

Conclusion

BizTalk is good in integrating with back-end systems by the provided Adapters, NinTex is a tool that can be used to develop workflows in a easy to use interface. Integration capabilities with BizTalk are available and making the combination of NinTex as a Fron-End mediator and BizTalk as a Back-End mediator with systems as SAP / HR Soft and others an obvious choice when NinTex is already the standard within the organisation.

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