Wednesday, April 17, 2013

BizTalk Community Series: Introducing Maxime Labelle

I was pretty busy last couple of weeks preparing for my integration session for Lead Architect Program Norway. I will more or less teaching a class full of students about integration with Microsoft Integration stack. My focus will be on Windows Azure Service Bus and BizTalk Server 2013.

The day before I will head over to Norway I would like to share another story with a BizTalk community member. I was in Paris beginning of the month and I will be focusing on France BizTalk Community this month. Today’s story will be on fellow Microsoft Integration MVP Maxime Labelle a software architect and developer, who has been involved in software development on the Microsoft Platform for more than 15 years.

“I'm mostly interested in science and technology and that's why I chose to work in computer science which, I feel, is one of a few areas where it's possible to "create" things starting from a simple idea.”

Maxime lives in Paris, France, with his wife and three children (aged 12, 11 and 8). He enjoys sharing time with them, cooking and playing or teaching music. He is a big fan of Indian curry dishes, which he learned how to cook when he spent a year in London with some of his former colleagues. He also likes to prepare and cook various pastries. This is something I have in common with Maxim as I enjoy curries myself when I am in the UK and learned to prepare them when I worked in Swindon for few months ten years ago.

Maxime love for music has been an inspiration for all his children. All of them practice a musical instrument, oboe for one, piano for the others and he himself practices classical piano. He likes to spend time training his children to improve their skills. When he is not with them, he enjoys his technical hobbies.

“I'm mostly reading a lot of blogs, related to space and computer science.”

Maxime is a puzzle collector - and likes to resolve "twisty" mechanical puzzles - those akin to the famous Rubik's Cube. He has a collection of more than 30 different puzzles of various "cuboid" shapes and sizes and is always on the lookout for new variants.

Maxime is a big fan of Formula 1 racing, and is always trying to watch the Grand-Prix as the season unfolds. He likes the technological aspect of the sport - particularly the endless ability for engineers to try and find clever tricks to improve the performance - as much as the drama underlined by the rivalry between drivers.

“Although I'm not much of an athlete, I have been practicing water-skiing in summer times for more than ten years and, once a year, have the immense privilege to spend a week practicing casual skiing. I'm also a big fan of Motorsport and like to practice go-karts from time to time. But, most of the time, we spend the summer holidays together with my family just trekking around in places with gorgeous landscapes - mountains mostly.”

Finally Maxime also likes to read books that read like you're watching a fast paced movie, particularly from English or American authors, in their native language. His favorite authors are John Grisham, Michael Crichton, and Lee Child. Some of my favorite authors too.

“I think I've read every single one of their books!”

Three years ago, Maxime started to specialize in designing and building EAI/ESB solutions with BizTalk at a large consulting firm. When he had acquired a reasonable experience of BizTalk, he started to create some training courses on BizTalk Server 2009 and 2010 for an external audience.

“That's when I started to be involved in the community and wanted to contribute my knowledge. Being a "problem solver" kind of guy, I thought that creating a blog to share tips, workarounds and clever solutions to various problems I encountered during my projects would be a good way to communicate.”

Maxime also started developing and maintaining a PowerShell Provider for BizTalk Server around that time. Very quickly, he joined forces with Randal, who had independently come up with a similar provider. They merged their code and have been maintaining the project since then.

“Although it's been several long months I haven't contributed to the project, I plan to improve and modernize it for BizTalk Server 2013 sometime this year.”

June 2012 Maxime offered his help to a small company called Moskitos, a startup company where, with the help of his fellow MVP Jérémie, design and build an EAI/ESB Platform on Windows Azure, available as a service for our clients. It has, since then, consumed all his focus and energy, and that's why is he has been a bit quiet on the BizTalk front for a while.

Maxime’s BizTalk expertise is a bit of architecture and a lot of development, particularly custom pipeline components.

“I think BizTalk is a great product and, like all Microsoft products, offers a lot of ways to be extended. I'm very interested in building solutions as lightweight as possible and using as few orchestrations as possible. I think messaging-only solutions are very elegant and I like to build custom pipeline components to overcome basic limitations that other developers or architect would use an orchestration for. Besides, even in scenarios involving orchestrations, message transformations are best done using an in-memory pipeline.”

Final quote from Maxime:

“I like to thank you very much for taking the time to get to know people involved in the community and promote their work and contributions. The community of BizTalk experts is fantastic. They all know that BizTalk is a huge product, difficult to master and yet, they take the time to contribute solutions, side projects, articles and blog posts for sharing their knowledge. I myself have taken advantage of all those resources to help improve my skills and, although I haven't had the chance yet, am looking forward to participating in a future MVP summit to meet members of the community in person.”

I like to thank Maxime for his time and contributions to the BizTalk Community.

Cheers,

Steef-Jan

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