The text below is based on the beta release of BizTalk 2010. It might not (completely) apply to the RTM release.
No doubt that, of all the new and changed BizTalk 2010 features, the enhancements to the BizTalk mapper are the most salient. For the current and previous BizTalk versions a lot of BizTalk developers do not use the mapper tool. Especially when transforming big XML messages they switch back to manually writing XSLT code.
In BizTalk 2010 Microsoft has tried to make the mapper tool more powerful and more user friendly. The future will tell if Microsoft succeeded in this and if more developers are willing to use the tool for their mappings. The questions is will they start dragging or drop the mapper again?
Besides making the mapper more suitable for big transformations I think Microsoft has another reason to put so much effort into enhancing it. In the future we will probably see a broader range of .Net developers use the tool for their transformations outside BizTalk. I think in the future Microsoft will position it as the general tool to do XML or maybe even object transformations.
Anyway, in my view Microsoft did a very good job. In the following blog posts (which I will publish in the coming days) I will show my favorite and most useful new mapper features. Those are:
· Intelligent Linking (part 1)
· Functoid Intellisense (part 2)
· Relevance View (part 3)
· Suggestive Matching (part 4)
· Optimized Display of links (part 5)
· Highlighting selected objects (part 6)
· Bringing selected objects in view (part 7)
· Search support (part 8 )
I wonder what you think about the new mapper and what your favorite new features are. So please feel free to comment.