Q & A - How to Configure Parties in BizTalk 101

Monday, December 30, 2013

Q: You are developing an EDI solition, and you need to configure a new trading partner.

Trading partner management is the most significant new functionality presented in BizTalk Server 2010. The new mapper has some nice features, but it doesn't bring new functionality to the product. The trading partner configuration, on the other hand, allows for the development of EDI solutions that could not be done before. This solution outlines how to create a trading partner in BizTalk Server.

Open the BizTalk Administration Console, and click Parties (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. The Parties folder in BizTalk

Right-click any area in the Parties and Business Profiles area and select New => Party.

In the Party Properties dialogue box, give the party an appropriate name. This should be the name of the trading partner you will be exchanging documents with.

Enable the option for the Local BizTalk processing (see Figure 2). This setting is used to indicate that BizTalk Server will be used to process messages to or from the party (rather than being the default party itself).

Figure 2. Configuring the base party object

Click the "Send ports" tab. This is where ports are associated with a party, and it is used in instances where all outbound EDI documents on this port should have envelope information configured as specified in the EDI properties of the party being configured. Add any relevant send ports, and click OK.
            Now that the party object has been created, a new business profile must be created. A business profile contains all of the EDI configurations for a given business of a trading partner. For example, a trading partner may be a single company with multiple departments or divisions. Each department has its own integrations with internal and external vendors, and each uses its own X12 or EDIFACT settings. One business profile for each department must be created in order to ensure that the envelopes on the EDI documents being exchanged are set properly, and that all other EDI specific configurations are accurate for that department.

            Right-click the party that was created, and select New => Business Profile (see Figure 3).

            Figure 3. Creating a business profile on a party

            Give the business profile a name representative of the business unit or department being set up. In many cases, a party will only have a single business profile.

            On the identities screen, set the trading partner ID(s) and qualifier(s) (see Figure 4). These values are given to you directly by the trading partner, and are the way trading partners are uniquely identified.

            Figure 4. Setting the Business Profile's identities

            Once the business profile is fully configured, click OK.
            With the business profile and core party configured, an agreement can be made. However, to create an agreement, you must have two parties configured. One party represents the recipient, and one is the sender. In many cases, BizTalk is going to be one of the parties. However, in the cases where BizTalk is acting as a value added network (VAN)—essentially, as a router of documents between parties—there may be many parties sending and receiving documents to many other parties. All of the configurations representing document communication between parties are known as agreements.

            To create an agreement, right-click the business profile, and select New => Agreement.

            Initially, there will be only a single tab to configure. You must specify the party being interacted with and the protocol being used. To do so, set the Protocol property to (for example) X12, and the Party and Business properties to an available party. Once these have been set, two new tabs will appear (see Figure 5). 
            These tabs are where all of the EDI specific information is configured for the given agreement.

            Figure 5. Setting the general properties of the Agreement

            Click each of the tabs to set the EDI-specific values based on the trading partner configuration specifications. An example of the Identifiers screen is shown in Figure 6. Once you are finished, click OK to save the trading partner configuration.

            Figure 6. Setting values within the agreement

            How It Works

            This recipe outlined how to configure the different components that make up a trading partner, but without the full story, understanding all of the settings is difficult.

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