I have had enough and I am not going to take it anymore. I am tired of
spending hours and hours fighting with the visual mapping tool only to
discover that no combination of links and functoids will create the
mapping output I need. Instead of using the visual mapper, I will
instead be creating all of my BizTalk maps using XSLT scripts. What has
taken hours to get working using the visual mapper can be built in a
fraction of the time by writing a script. In many cases there is no way
to get the visual mapper to handle complicated looping and the only
option is using a custom XSLT script. The past few weeks I have been
scripting out more and more of my maps and each time I kick myself for
not pursuing this technique sooner.
The only downside to this technique is that it requires somebody fluent
in XSLT and functional programming to create and maintain the maps. This
pretty much eliminates the possibility of having a non-developer
maintaining maps. As a consultant, it means I have to be sure to perform
the necessary knowledge transfer to a client resource so that they can
continue to maintain their maps after I have moved on to a new
assignment. I think I can live with that.
If you are tired of fighting with the visual mapper I highly suggest you
look into creating maps using custom XSLT scripts. Once you get used to
it, I guarantee you will not want to go back to using that clunky visual
interface ever again.