BizTalk RawString – How to receive non-XML message into Orchestrations without a Custom Pipeline

I needed to implement RawString functionality to be able to read a non-XML file into an orchestration. Scott Colestock had a great article on this on his TraceOfThought blog, but when I needed it the other day, it had been hacked (hopefully only temporary).

1. Deploy the C# code towards the bottom of this log; it is not a pipeline, so can be added to new class to an existing C# helper library you might have, or you can put it in its own assembly. Change the program name and namespace to match your naming conventions. It’s sad Microsoft doesn’t include this in one of their libraries.

2. Add a reference to this C# Assembly in your orchestration.

3. In your orchestration, create a multipart message type. It will have only one part, but that will be the RawString class from the code below.

4. In the orchestration, create a message of type System.Xml.XmlDocument, and assign this to your activating receive. But wait Neal, I thought you said we wanted to receive a non-XML message. Trust me, this will work.

5. In the orchestration, add a Message Assignment shape and code similar to below:

<pre>
//convert the message received to a new message with a multiple-part-type of RawString 
msg_rcv_RawString.MessagePart_1 = msg_XML_Doc; 
</pre>

6. At this point, you can access the message as a string, for example:

<pre>
varText = msg_rcv_RawString.MessagePart_1.ToString();
</pre>

Voila – you have now have the text of the file in a variable called varText. You can then parse it, or do whatever you want with it.

Source Code for RawString

The code below needs to be in a C# helper class that you can access within your orchestration. (Obviously give it a strong name and GAC it.) I can’t remember which site I got this code from, but I think it’s out there on several.

<pre>
using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
using System.Threading.Tasks;
using System.Xml;
using System.Xml.Serialization;
using System.Runtime.Serialization;
using System.IO;
using Microsoft.XLANGs.BaseTypes;

namespace Shared.BizTalkNonDB.Helpers
{

    public abstract class BaseFormatter : IFormatter
    {
        public virtual SerializationBinder Binder
        {
            get { throw new NotSupportedException(); }
            set { throw new NotSupportedException(); }
        }

        public virtual StreamingContext Context
        {
            get { throw new NotSupportedException(); }
            set { throw new NotSupportedException(); }
        }

        public virtual ISurrogateSelector SurrogateSelector
        {
            get { throw new NotSupportedException(); }
            set { throw new NotSupportedException(); }
        }

        public abstract void Serialize(Stream stm, object obj);
        public abstract object Deserialize(Stream stm);
    }

    public class RawStringFormatter : BaseFormatter
    {
        public override void Serialize(Stream s, object o)
        {
            RawString rs = (RawString)o;
            byte[] ba = rs.ToByteArray();
            s.Write(ba, 0, ba.Length);
        }

        public override object Deserialize(Stream stm)
        {
            StreamReader sr = new StreamReader(stm, true);
            string s = sr.ReadToEnd();
            return new RawString(s);
        }
    }

    [CustomFormatter(typeof(RawStringFormatter))]
    [Serializable]
    public class RawString
    {
        [XmlIgnore]
        string _val;

        public RawString(string s)
        {
            if (null == s)
                throw new ArgumentNullException();
            _val = s;
        }

        public RawString()
        {
        }

        public byte[] ToByteArray()
        {
            return Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes(_val);
        }

        public override string ToString()
        {
            return _val;
        }
    }

}

</pre>

Other reasons for using RawString

The BodyPart and AttachmentPart of an SMTP email message needs to be a RawString.

How to Convert a String to a Raw String in BizTalk/C#

<pre>
emailMsg.BodyPart = new Shared.BizTalkNonDB.Helpers.RawString(strVariable); 
</pre>

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