The ESB Add Namespace and Remove Namespace Components

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Many companies were early adopters of XML technologies at the time when standards were still emerging and document sharing was uncommon. Therefore, they did not enforce the requirements for including unique root namespaces as strictly as is usually the case today.

However, BizTalk Server performs document identification based on a combination of the root node namespace and the root node name, so documents that have no namespace for the root node are difficult to positively identify if several different types have the same root node name.

The Add Namespace and Remove Namespace components solve this problem by making it possible to add namespaces to documents on receipt and remove them prior to delivery. Therefore, documents can reside in the default namespace (or in a namespace common to several different document types) when sent and received but reside in a transient unique root namespace during processing within the ESB and BizTalk.

The components are also useful when integrating legacy systems that use a Document Type Definition (DTD) instead of an XML Schema definition or that use legacy XML parsers that cannot create documents containing a root namespace.


Installing the ESB Core automatically installs the Add Namespace and Remove Namespace classes in the pipeline components folder. To install these components for design-time use, see the instructions about how to add the components to the Visual Studio Toolbox palette in the topic Installing Services and Components.

How They Work

The Add Namespace component adds a specified namespace to an XML document. The component can add only a single namespace to a document. Using the Add Namespace component on a document that already has a root node namespace is not a supported scenario because a single unique namespace is all that is required.

The components are not namespace-aware and do not persist any of the namespace values. However, the Add Namespace component compares the requested namespace in the existing namespace of the message and simply returns the original message to the pipeline if they match.

Developers include the Add Namespace component in a receive pipeline or a send pipeline and set the appropriate properties. The following validation is performed at run time:

  • The XPaths property or the NamespaceBase property must contain a value.
  • The Separator property can contain only valid characters (such as '/' or '\'), or an empty string.
  • The NamespacePrefix property value cannot be one of the reserved values (ns0 to ns6), and must be alpha numeric.

Any variation from these rules causes the component to raise an exception at run time, suspend the message (marking it as "Suspended - Resumable"), and write an entry in Windows Application Event Log.

The Remove Namespace component removes all root namespaces from an XML document. The number of namespaces that the component can remove from a single document is constrained by the physical memory available to hold the current node during processing. However, the component uses standard BizTalk Server 2006 pipeline message streaming processes and loads only the current node in the document into memory instead of loading the whole document.

The Remove Namespace component also re-encodes the document to the specified encoding ("ascii", "unicode/utf16", or "utf8") and can remove the Byte Order Mark (BOM) from the beginning of the stream if required.

Using the Add Namespace and Remove Namespace Components

Developers might use the Add Namespace component in any of the following circumstances:

  • The inbound message has no root namespace.
  • The inbound message uses element or attribute data to describe the message type.
  • The data describing the message type is consistent and available using XPath queries.

The Add Namespace and Remove Namespace components can reside in any stage of a receive pipeline or a send pipeline. You can chain instances of the component if required, such as if you are using the Remove Namespace component followed by the Add Namespace component to change the root namespace of a document.

If you have multiple receive locations that require the use of these components, you can create a single pipeline and use the BizTalk Server "per instance" component configuration to set the component properties for each instance of the send or receive pipeline. By using BizTalk Server 2006, you can set properties on a per-instance basis for pipelines, which means that you can reuse a single pipeline across multiple receive locations and perhaps have different component properties for each instance. This is a run-time setting that allows administrators make the change using the BizTalk Server Administration Console without requiring changes to the code or redeployment.

Component Properties

The Add Namespace component exposes five public properties:

  • NamespacePrefix. This is the prefix of the namespace, inserted between the xmlns: part and the following equals sign ( = ). To avoid conflicts with standard BizTalk Schema namespace prefixes, avoid using the values ns0 through ns9.
  • NamespaceBase. This is the static section of the namespace that will prefix the result generated by the values in the Separator and XPaths properties.
  • ExtractionNodeXPath. This is an XPath statement that resolves to a single element in the document that contains the element or attribute values you want to use for the generated parts of the namespace.
  • XPaths. This is a pipe ( | ) delimited list of XPath queries used to extract each of the components that will combine to form the namespace.
  • Separator. This is the separator to use between the namespace segments. The most common value is a forward slash ( / ), but it can be an empty string if required.


All XML nodes, such as element and attribute names, are case sensitive.

The Remove Namespace component exposes two public properties:

  • Encoding. This is the encoding for the output message, one of the following values: "ascii", "unicode/utf16", or "utf8".
  • RemoveByteOrderMark. This is a Boolean property that indicates whether the component should remove the byte order mark (usually 0xEFBB, 0xBFFFFE, or 0xFEFF) from the beginning of the XML document stream.

For an example of how to use these components, see Installing and Running the Namespace Component Sample.