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Using Distinguished Fields and Property Fields

[Unless specifically noted, the content in this topic applies to BizTalk Server 2013 and 2013 R2.]

Distinguished fields are message data of special interest that you use primarily to make decisions or to manipulate data in your orchestration.

Message properties are either data—contents of the message itself—or "metadata"—context information about the message such as time stamps or routing information. You can use system-defined message context properties or transport context properties, or you can define your own properties by making reference to schema fields from within a property schema. Properties are used in subscriptions and correlations.

  • You can designate a field in a schema as a distinguished field or property field by using the Promote Properties dialog box from within the Editor. For more information, see Promoting Properties

  • You can designate a field in a .NET type as a distinguished field by decorating it with the DistinguishedField attribute, or as a property by the Property attribute.

Using Distinguished Fields

Distinguished fields are referred to by the path to the field in the message, using periods to separate the message name, the names of any records that enclose the field, and the name of the field itself:


Using Property Fields

Once you have added a field to a property schema, its value can be accessed in the orchestration with code and in filter expressions. For more information about property schemas, see Property Schemas.

Message content or data properties are essentially shortcuts to the underlying data: if you modify the property, the data will be modified, and vice versa.

Message properties are referred to by the name of the message followed by the namespace (the schema) and property name in parentheses:

When you use a reserved keyword as the name of a field in a schema, and you promote the field by selecting Quick Promotion, the property name of the field is changed to __<Reserved Keyword>. (The double underscore is added before the property name.) However, if you use this property name in an orchestration expression, you will receive a compiler error when building the orchestration. To work around this error, you need to manually add @ before the double underscore. For example,

MyMessage(Invoice.PropertySchema.@__Name) = "Product Name";

Property Sets

You can also assign all of the context properties of one message (a property set) to the context properties of another message. To assign a property set, you simply place an asterisk in parentheses after both message names, in the same way you would put a property in parentheses:


After the property set has been assigned to MyMessage2 in the example, all of the properties in MyMessage2 contain the same values as the properties in MyMessage1.

See Also

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