MapForce – Graphical Data Mapping, Conversion, and Integration Tool

Altova MapForce data mapping illustration
Altova MapForce® 2015 is an award-winning any-to-any graphical data mapping, conversion, and integration tool that maps data between any combination of XML, database, EDI, XBRL, flat file, Excel, JSON, and/or Web service, then transforms data instantly or autogenerates royalty-free data integration code for the execution of recurrent conversions.

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Visual Data Mapping

To use MapForce, simply open data sources and targets as mapping components, drop in data processing functions from the customizable libraries, and then drag connecting lines between the nodes you wish to associate. The built-in execution engine lets you view and save output in real time. More 

Generate Code for Data Transformations

For XML and database mappings you can view and save the XSLT 1.0/2.0, XQuery or SQL execution code. Or, you can choose Java, C++, or C# to automatically generate a turnkey application from your design. This empowers you to implement data integration and Web services applications without writing any code. MapForce-generated code is royalty-free, so you may deploy it without additional fees or deployment adaptors. More 

Mapping Output

When designing a mapping project, the built-in MapForce Engine allows you to perform data transformations on-the-fly and view the output with just one click. Executing data transformations with the MapForce Engine greatly simplifies the process of testing and perfecting complex mappings, saving time and increasing productivity. More 

Powerful, Flexible, Cost-Effective

MapForce offers unparalleled power and flexibility for advanced data mapping, conversion, and transformation, making it the ideal tool for global and intra-enterprise data integration projects. You can easily integrate data from multiple files or split data from one file into many, and MapForce supports chained transformations to empower complex mappings in which the output of one mapping becomes the input of another. More 



Visual Data Mapping

MapForce Visual Data Mapping:

  • Drag and drop connection of source and target
  • Pop-up display of node datatypes
  • Automatically connect child elements where appropriate
  • Message window displays validation warnings or errors
  • Project helper window organizes large projects with multiple files
  • Find function to locate nodes in large data mappings
  • Optionally integrate MapForce in Visual Studio or Eclipse
Visual data mapping interface in Altova MapForce

Graphical Mapping Interface

The MapForce interface is designed to facilitate graphical data integration with many different options for managing, visualizing, manipulating, and executing individual mappings and complex mapping projects. The design pane (shown above)is the part of the MapForce interface where you graphically define your mapping components, add functions and filters for data manipulation, and drag connectors to transform between source and target formats.

The design pane includes many user-friendly features that help you to easily work with, identify, and redefine even the most complex mappings. For example, clicking an item name automatically selects it for connecting to another item. Useful pop-ups can be prompted by positioning your mouse over certain parts of the mapping connections where you can view additional information such as mapping target item(s) or datatype.

Connections are easily moved by clicking and dragging to the desired target, and duplicate connectors (from the same source to another target) can be created by dragging a connection while simply holding down the CTRL key. Activating the autoconnect child items icon allows you to automatically connect all child items of the same name under the parent item.

When you move a component in the mapping window, visual auto-alignment guidelines appear, allowing you to align the component to any other component.

Data mapping function library window in Altova MapForce
Data mapping overview window in Altova MapForce
XML Schema generation in Altova MapForce

Function Libraries Window

MapForce provides an extensible library of data processing functions, which are available in the library window of the design interface. The library window displays the libraries and individual functions in a hierarchical tree structure you can expand and collapse. To add a function to your mapping, simply drag it from the library into the design pane.

Overview Window

The MapForce overview window allows you to visualize an entire data mapping project and zoom in on specific areas as needed.The overview window indicates your position within the map as you scroll through the design pane. This feature helps you navigate even the largest data mapping project with ease.

Schema Generation and Editing

If you do not have an associated schema for your XML instance, MapForce can generate an XML Schema when you open or load an XML document. You can edit any XML Schema using Altova XMLSpy by right clicking it in the MapForce design window and selecting the Edit Schema option. (XMLSpy must be installed on your computer.)

Database Query Tab

The database query tab allows you to directly query any major database independently of your mapping. When you connect to a database, MapForce displays its tables in a hierarchical tree in the browser pane. You can then use the SQL editor tab to display, edit, and execute SQL or SQL/XML statements, with auto-complete functionality to assist as you work.

Database query window in Altova MapForce



Mapping Output Preview

MapForce Output Window:

Depending on the data format of the output component, the Output preview window displays:

  • XML data
  • XSLT 1.0/2.0 stylesheets
  • SQL statements to update or insert databases
  • Flat files
  • EDI files
  • Excel spreadsheets
  • XBRL documents
Preview output of data mappings in Altova MapForce

Viewing Transformation Output

The MapForce built-in execution engine allows you to preview program code and output for XML, database, flat file, EDI, Excel, and XBRL data mappings.

Previously, viewing the output of a mapping was a time consuming process of generating program code, compiling it, and then viewing the results. The built-in MapForce Engine allows you to execute mapping transformations, then immediately view and save the result of a mapping as it would be generated in XQuery, Java, C++, or C# - all in one intuitive window.

The output tab will display an XML file if the target of the mapping is an XML Schema. Mappings to flat files have output in CSV or text files, mappings to EDI targets produce EDIFACT messages or X12 transaction sets, mappings to Excel produce Office Open XML (OOXML) markup, and mappings to XBRL taxonomies produce XBRL financial reports.

When mapping to a database, the output preview displays the SQL commands that would be executed against the database as a result of your mapping. The MapForce Engine also allows you to actually run the SQL script to execute the transformation and make the changes to the database.

Previewing XSLT Stylesheets

MapForce provides several helpful features to assist with the development of XSLT 1.0/2.0 stylesheets for XML-to-XML transformations. As you are visually designing data mappings, MapForce is generating an XSLT stylesheet for you behind the scenes. At any time, you can preview the XSLT stylesheet code by clicking on the XSLT tab at the bottom of the main design window.

In addition, when you insert a new XML Schema, DTD, or XBRL taxonomy into MapForce, you can optionally supply a sample XML instance document to accompany it. If you choose to provide sample data, MapForce allows you to easily preview the results of a sample transformation as you are working by clicking on the Output tab at the bottom of the main design window. This helps to ensure that your data mapping achieves the desired result.

Integration with StyleVision

Integration with StyleVision lets MapForce users automatically view output from their XML and XBRL data mapping projects in HTML, RTF, PDF, and Word by associating them with a template design. This powerful feature allows you to automate report generation by combining the data mapping functionality of MapForce with the sophisticated rendering engine of StyleVision.

When a stylesheet is assigned to your data mapping, simply click the relevant format tab (i.e., HTML, RTF, PDF, or Word 2007+) in the Output preview window to view your report. (StyleVision must be installed on your workstation.)

StyleVision supports dynamic reporting, letting you create layout templates for consistent formatting, while report content is determined at run-time based on the output of the MapForce data mapping. Reports can even include XPath expressions to compute additional information, and a variety of colorful charts to communicate graphically.

Data mapping output in Altova MapForce, formatted by StyleVision

MapForce is powered by RaptorXML for lightning-fast XSLT and XQuery processing. RaptorXML is also available as a cross-platform server product.



Data Conversion Code Generation

Generate Code for Data Transformations

MapForce® 2015 can automate data integration and repeatable business processes by generating program code for complex recurring data mappings.

MapForce includes a built-in code generator that can automatically generate Java, C++ or C# class files from XML Schema definitions, databases, flat files, EDI configuration files, Excel workbooks, and XBRL taxonomies. The result of the code generation is a full-featured and complete application that performs the mapping operations. You can run the application directly as generated, insert the generated code into your own application, or extend it with your own functionality.

The ability to generate royalty-free code in various programming languages can provide tremendous performance benefits in your mission-critical data mappings and conversions by enabling you to implement lightning-fast data integration operations in source code that can be compiled into your own applications.

Java application code generated by Altova MapForce

MapForce Source Code Generation:

  • Royalty-free Java, C++, and C# source code from data mappings
  • Source code implements data processing functions included in the mapping
  • Built-in MapForce engine previews source code execution result
  • Easily update code by modifying the underlying data mapping

Custom Data Conversion Code

Generated output code is completely customizable via a simple yet powerful template language.

You can easily replace the underlying parsing and validating engine, customize code according to your own writing conventions, or use different base libraries such as the Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC) and the Standard Template Library (STL).

You can even configure your code with data streams for input and output.

Integrating MapForce Code

Even though MapForce generated code is actually a self-contained application, it can also be adapted to your own application to serve as a data integration component.

You can edit your generated code directly to complete such operations as defining your own source or target files, using an XML input stream as an XML data source, or adding extra error handling code.

API & ActiveX Control

In addition to its easy-to-use graphical user interface, Altova MapForce® 2015 provides powerful Java and COM based automation interfaces that let developers access its advanced features programmatically - by calling it from another application.

MapForce can also be accessed through an ActiveX control, as well as via the command line.

Code generation menu option in Altova MapForce
Code generation settings in Altova MapForce



Powerful, Flexible, Cost-Effective Data Integration

MapForce Data Conversion:

  • Map data to and from all popular databases
  • Map XML, flat files, EDI, Excel, XBRL, & Web services
  • Data processing functions convert data on the fly
  • Process data from/into multiple files
  • Direct file input and output (data streaming)
  • Data mapping automation through scripting or royalty-free code generation
Mapping data to and from Excel files in Altova MapForce

Simplified Data Integration

Altova MapForce is an advanced data integration application with support for integrating data with virtually any formats including XML, databases, flat files, EDI, Excel, XBRL, and Web services. With additional support for automating data integration, MapForce is an ideal middleware product for connecting distributed applications in any enterprise, Web-based, or even Cloud architecture.

The data integration process can often seem overwhelming, and this is often compounded by the vast number of large-scale, complex, and costly enterprise integration applications available on the market. MapForce alleviates this burden with powerful data integration capabilities built into a straightforward graphical user interface.

MapForce allows you to easily associate target and source data structures using drag and drop functionality.

Re-usable Data Mappings

Whether it is an XML or database schema, EDI configuration file, or XBRL taxonomy and beyond, MapForce integrates data based on data structures regardless of the underlying content. This means that you can re-use your data integration mappings again and again as your business data changes.

If you need to make changes to your mapping along the way – to accommodate for underlying schema changes, for instance – MapForce offers a variety of automation features that help ease this process. For example, when you re-map a parent element, you have an option to automatically reassign child elements or other descendant connections accordingly.

Data mapping automation with Altova MapForce and FlowForce

Automated Data Integration

For XML mappings, MapForce automatically generates data integration code on-the-fly in XSLT 1.0/2.0 or XQuery, based on your selection.

As described above, MapForce can also generate royalty-free data integration code in Java, C#, or C++ for your data mappings. This enables you to implement scheduled or event-triggered data integration/migration operations for inclusion in any reporting, e-commerce, or SOA-based applications.

Another option is FlowForce Server, an exciting new server product from Altova designed to provide a robust environment to automate the execution of MapForce data transformations and other tasks on dedicated servers, virtual machines, or even desktop workstations.

MapForce data integration operations can also be automated via data integration API, ActiveX control, or the command line.

Data Manipulation

Data integration projects often require data manipulation to convert input data before it is consumed by the target system. MapForce provides an intuitive visual function builder, fully scalable data processing functions with built-in libraries, filters and conditions, and more, to empower you to easily manipulate data and integrate disparate formats.

Data mapping functions in Altova MapForce

Web Services Mapping

MapForce connects to WSDL 1.1 or 2.0-based Web services to integrate their functionality in mappings with any other supported data. You can insert a Web service as a look-up function, source, or target.

During execution, MapForce connects to the service and displays the results in the Output window. You can also generate Java or C# code to implement the mapping.

Legacy Data Integration

As technology rapidly advances, organizations are often left burdened with legacy data repositories that are no longer supported, making the data difficult to access and impossible to edit in its native format. MapForce provides the unique FlexText utility for parsing flat file output so that it can easily be integrated with any other target structure.

FlexText enables you to create reusable legacy data integration templates for mapping flat files to modern data formats like XML, databases, Excel, XBRL, Web services, and more.

In addition, legacy data formats like EDI can easily be integrated with modern accounting systems like ERP and relational databases, or even translated to modern formats like XML.

"We evaluated Altova MapForce against all the major data integration applications in the industry and found it to be the most powerful and easiest to use by far."

Mark Beede
Senior J2EE Consultant for HealthTrans

Using a Web service as a data processing lookup function in Altova MapForce