BizTalk Community series: Introducing Howard S. Edidin

The Holiday is over and it is back to work. I opened up my laptop and start working on a story on a remarkable BizTalk pro Howard S. Edidin. He is currently working with me, Tord G. Nordahl and Andres del Rio on BizTalk Administration book due before end of this year. Howard is a very enthusiastic, driven and social person, who I enjoy collaborating with and share ideas on many divers BizTalk topics. So here is another story of a BizTalk community member I like to bring to the foreground.

Howard is married and has two grown sons, and two granddaughters. He resides in Libertyville, IL which is a far Northern Suburb of Chicago.

Howard has no formal education in IT. He majored in Architectural Design and had studied Theatrical Light Design at the Goodman School of Drama. He never completed his degree.

Howard has not always worked in IT. He spent many years doing Marketing and Engineering Sales in the commercial flooring industry. Working with computers was a hobby. Because of this he was also the IT guy for the company. Howard taught myself a little assembly programming, and took a few courses in C++:

“I was a “good” hacker. After a few years I decided it was time for a career change. My first job was the Web Development Manager for an Educational Foundation. Along the way I picked up my first Microsoft certification.”

Howard worked with ASP and VB Distributed for several years until .NET came along. He was introduced to BizTalk around the time when “Soap on a Rope” was first introduced by Microsoft. He didn’t get a chance to use it until BizTalk 2002 came about. Most of his career has been doing contract work. He has been able to utilize almost all of BizTalk’s capabilities, in many industries. Skipping all the ups and downs that happened in-between (which could take up about twenty pages); let’s jump to the present day:

“I am currently a BizTalk Architect specializing in providing guidance and training for companies implementing BizTalk. I recently established my own consulting company, The Edidin Group, Inc, with the hope that I could provide my services directly to companies. I am certified in BizTalk 2010 and Win95. If anyone needs any help with Win95, I’m available.”

What influenced Howard to specialize in BizTalk was that he could apply his Architectural Design training. He liked the ability to design and develop using visual tools. Howard is still amazed how quickly he can design and develop BizTalk Applications and see the results almost immediately. His opinion on BizTalk:

“Over the years I have had the opportunity to utilize BizTalk with almost every supported technology. In my opinion, it is the only product on the Microsoft Stack that relates to how all businesses function. I am a proponent of the use Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) for designing and documenting BizTalk solutions. I published an article on my blog and the TechNet Wiki about its use.”

And about learning to work with BizTalk:

“Over the years I have learned quite a bit about BizTalk. I have also learned to do things by the book. Sometimes, I had to rewrite sections of the book because I discovered a better way to solve a problem!”

Howard has also a view on my blog that focuses on BizTalk and Azure:

“What I like about your blog is originality. There are so many blogs that just repeat what someone else has already published. This sets your blog apart from the others. You provide original content and great tutorials. I have tried to pattern my blog after yours.”

On his own blog he states:

“Several of the articles on my blog can be considered controversial. I started the “BizTalk Bad Practices List”, which was renamed “Anti-Patterns”. I also posted it to the TechNet Wiki, with the hope that the rest of the BizTalk community would share their experiences. We added a section, External Anti-Patterns & Bad Practices, in which a contributor can link back to the source or their blog.What makes this list so valuable is that it is a list of mistakes. Hopefully, someone will benefit from one of these mistakes.”

Being a “Hacker”, Howard spends most of my spare time on the computer. Although he provides formal training sessions to clients, he has learn by doing, not from the classroom. In order to keep up with technology, he downloads samples of source code and “play with it”. Howard discovered a long time ago that BizTalk is not obfuscated. He was able to use Reflector and learned much about how BizTalk works. This has provided him with a lot of information, especially about the WCF LOB SQL Adapter. Using the source as a guideline, he has been able to start working on a Sybase Adapter. Once it is ready, he plans on sharing posting it on CodePlex.

Lately, Howard spends most of my spare time writing. He has published several articles to the TechNet Wiki and BizTalkAdminsBlogging.com, and my own blog, BizTalkIn. Finally he is also co-authoring a series of BizTalk books and is a Technical Reviewer for a SOA book.

Howard has never been the athletic type. Years ago he practiced Aikido. Nowadays he settles for walking. Being originally from north side of Chicago, he is a Cubs fan.

Howard is a very busy and passionate BizTalk professional and I would like to thank him for his time and contributions to the community.

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