Changes of SharePoint Integration in BizTalk 2013 and R2

BizTalk is Microsoft’s Integration platform and it uses various “adapters” to integrate with Line of Business (LOB) system and others. Therefore, knowing how to use existing adapters and make one if it doesn’t exist can be a key to successful Integration. There are some notable enhancements to some of these adapters in BizTalk 2013 and R2.

Here, I would like to introduce specific changes for SharePoint Integration using BizTalk.

I have been lucky having opportunity to integrate with all editions of SharePoint so far using BizTalk and I can’t be happier with these updates made for SharePoint adapter. So, let’s first look at what it was like before.

1. SharePoint Services Service Side Object Model

BizTalk integrates with SharePoint through its adapter and before BizTalk 2013, it used what was called Service Side Object Model – also called Server Side Object Model (SSOM). This was simply a web service that ships with BizTalk server and it had to be installed on all the SharePoint servers. It was for BizTalk SharePoint adapter runtime to talk to that remote web service and the web service to talk to SharePoint. Not only seeing a BizTalk component installed on SharePoint was odd but also it was pain to install as you had to follow series of steps and still often ended up failure and find yourself googling.

Install SharePoint Adapter

2. Supports SharePoint 2007 and 2010 only

Past editions of BizTalk supported only up to SharePoint 2007 and 2010 and did not provide an adapter for seamless integration with future editions of SharePoint. E.g. SharePoint 2013 and Online. Integration with those were still possible but only via out of the box web service SharePoint provides – In this case, you still benefit from using BizTalk for integration as it has other built in features that make integration easier but you had to write your own code to overcome obstacles due to lack of adapter.

So, what’s changed?

1. Client Side Object Model – No additional web service to be installed

The CSOM (Client Side Object Model) is a Microsoft generated collection of libraries that acts as a proxy to the server-side object model. The idea behind the CSOM was just to enable developers to work remotely with SharePoint sites without having to use default web services or creating new ones (This was what previous BizTalk adapter did). BizTalk 2013 now provides CSOM based SharePoint Adapter. What this means is that there is no additional web service required which need to be installed on target-SharePoint anymore. Plus, when you install BizTalk Server, SharePoint Services Client Side Object Model (CSOM) gets automatically installed. So, there is no more error-prone post steps, no googling to properly setup the adapter.

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2. Supports all editions of SharePoint

Following table shows SharePoint supportability comparing between BizTalk 2010 and 2013. As it shows, BizTalk 2013 supports adapter for all editions of SharePoint. Please note that you can use CSOM based new adapter for integration with SharePoint 2010 as well. This makes sense if you recall SharePoint first introduced Client Side Object Model for SharePoint 2010 edition. To that end, you still need to use SSOM based adapter to integrate with SharePoint 2007.

SharePointBizTalk 2010BizTalk 2013
SharePoint 2007SSOM AdapterSSOM Adapter
SharePoint 2010SSOM AdapterSSOM or CSOM Adapter
SharePoint 2013No Adapter, Web Services OnlyCSOM Adapter
SharePoint OnlineNo Adapter, Web Services OnlyCSOM Adapter

SSOM: Server Side Object Model
CSOM: Client Side Object Model

Here is a screenshot of configuring SharePoint Adapter to send document to SharePoint Online without writing a single line of code. This just shows how easy it is to integrate SharePoint using BizTalk. Not only it has become easier but also become available for every edition of SharePoint. Fantastic!


Configuring SharePoint Adapter to send document to SharePoint Online

Yes, it is possible to integrate SharePoint without BizTalk. But, BizTalk has built-in features like adapter which can help reducing huge amount of time it takes and help eliminating complexity of integration. This is why you see BizTalk sit well with SharePoint.