New Data Mapping Demo Video Released


We’ve recently updated our MapForce demo video to highlight the new functionality added in MapForce 2009, including XBRL mapping and HL7 mapping. Watch the short demo to see MapForce in action and learn about this new functionality. And if you’d like more detailed tutorials, check out Altova’s MapForce training course, which is free and available on demand.   Data Integration Demo

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What's New in MapForce 2009?


It feels like we’ve been writing about XBRL and HL7 for months…  Let’s move away from that topic for the moment and talk about additional essential new functionality added to MapForce in the v2009 release. Granted, some of these features have been added as a necessity for mapping to/from multi-dimensional XBRL data, but they also transcend well beyond interactive financial data reporting to the other aspects of mapping XML, database, flat file, EDI, Excel 2007, and Web services data in MapForce.

Custom Functions for Data Mapping

MapForce functions add a custom data processing layer to your mappings, letting you reformat output structure and even manipulate content on-the-fly. With v2009 we have added a grouping, distinct-values, and a predicated position function to the already well-shelved MapForce function library. Grouping functions can be selected for code generation in XSLT 2.0, Java, C#, and C++ and let you effectively reorganize source data into based on common values:

  • group-by – reorganizes data in the output document based on a specified common value, or grouping key
  • group-adjacent – applies grouping to an alternating sequence of items, assigning items that have a common value to the same group
  • group-starts-with – begins a new group based on a specified pattern and puts all subsequent items into the same group until another item matching that pattern is found
  • group-ends-with – ends a new group based on a specified pattern and puts all subsequent items into the same group until another item matching that pattern is found

The distinct-values function is a data filtering operation that, simply put, automatically ignores duplicate input values when writing mapping output results. MapForce distinct-values function MapForce also now includes a predicated position function that lets you filter out data based on its context position in the input document. For example, the mapping below will return data for only the first two people listed in the source document. MapForce position function  

Extended Database Support

For users creating database mappings, MapForce 2009 provides new native support for additional databases: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Oracle 11g, and PostgreSQL 8. It also now supports mapping XML fields in SQL Server. The complete list of natively supported databases is:

  • Microsoft® SQL Server® 2000, 2005, 2008
  • IBM DB2® 8, 9
  • IBM DB2 for iSeries® v5.4
  • IBM DB2 for zSeries® 8, 9
  • Oracle® 9i, 10g, 11g
  • Sybase® 12
  • MySQL® 4, 5
  • PostgreSQL 8
  • Microsoft Access™ 2003, 2007

Data Mapping Documentation

The ability to generate data mapping documentation makes it much easier to collaborate on large data integration projects, which often include a variety of designers, developers, subject matter experts, and stakeholders. Generate mapping documentation  

Find Dialog for Identifying Nodes

And now for a personal favorite: a new find feature. Yes, this may sound very simple and mundane – unless you have had the pleasure of mapping large and complex multi-layered data components like XBRL and EDI (there we go again!). Consider, for example, digging through an HL7 ADT A05 transaction to find the second CWE identifier field under the fifteenth PR1 segment. Find dialog Ahhh… much easier!! Take a look at the full list of new features in MapForce v2009 – and, as always, keep in mind that Altova adds new functionality to all of the MissionKit tools based on user requests… so keep ‘em coming!

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HL7 Data Integration


By now, you may be aware of the global push that is being made for data transparency – both in the realm of financial reporting* with a recent XBRL mandate in the U.S., and electronic health records – and that these efforts are focused on the creation and maintenance of XML standards. Of course most of you are among the XML savvy and can feel free to please join me in a resounding “duh” to the rest of the world that is only now beginning to realize the value of XML data in reducing errors, lowering costs, and generally increasing the overall efficiency of data management. But for now, let’s focus a bit on healthcare data and standards. Both HL7 and the HIPAA mandated X12N formats healthcare data exchange have traditionally been EDI-based, but the newest version of HL7 (version 3.x), released in 2005 is XML-based and constrained by a formal framework (HDF) that allows for an evolving data model within a carefully defined development methodology. Yes people, standards – bring it on!! Well, of course there is a need to map this data from the HL7 EDI to HL7 XML, to and from backend systems, to Web services and beyond. So what now? Do you need to become an expert in all of these formats? Weren’t standards supposed to make things EASIER? Please ladies and gentleman, return to your seats! Let me draw your attention once again to MapForce, the coolest data integration tool on the market, with support for mapping and converting data to and from XML, databases, flat files, EDI (including HL7, X12, and EDIFACT), Excel 2007, and Web services. HL7 mapping in MapForce The shot above shows a simple graphical mapping updating an HL7 v2.6 message to v3.x. Altova MapForce is an any-to-any visual data mapping tool that supports mapping HL7 data, in its legacy EDI or newer XML-based format, to and from XML, databases, flat files, other EDI formats, and Web services. Mappings are implemented by simply importing the necessary data structures (MapForce ships with configuration files for the latest EDI standards and offers the full set of past and present HL7 standards as a free download) and dragging lines to connect nodes. A built-in function library lets you add advanced data filters and functions to further manipulate the output data. MapForce can also facilitate the automation of your HL7 transaction workflow through code generation in Java, C#, or C++ and an accessible command line interface. Additional support for mapping HL7 data to and from Web services gives healthcare organizations the ability to meet new technology challenges and changing enterprise infrastructures as they unfold within internal and external provider domains. Read more on our new HL7 tools page in the Altova Solutions Center.   *The Altova MissionKit has been infused with XBRL support to meet financial reporting mandates.

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New MapForce Online Training – Code Generation


I’m pleased to announce that the next module in the Altova Online Training Series on the MapForce data mapping tool is now available. MapForce Code Generation is an advanced-level course that provides step-by-step tutorials for generating program code (including C# , C++, Java, XSLT, and XQuery) based on graphically defined data mappings and integrating that code into your own applications (royalty-free). Detailed tutorials also walk you through how to add custom XSLT and XQuery functions, add function libraries, and process mappings with multiple files.The MapForce Code Generation module is available on-demand, so you can learn when your schedule allows, and, like all Altova Online Training courses, there is no fee or registration required. Please let us know what you think of MapForce Code Generation – comments and suggestions are appreciated.

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MapForce data mapping tool now supports Excel 2007/OOXML mapping


We’re excited to have recently announced the availability of Altova MapForce Version 2008 Release 2 (v2008r2). The latest update to the MapForce graphical data mapping tool provides  powerful new functionality, including support for mapping Microsoft® Excel 2007, which uses the Office Open XML (OOXML) file format, integration with and project generation for Visual Studio® 2008, support for data streams in MapForce generated code, and much more.
Come visit us at Microsoft TechEd 2008 in Orlando this week and next at booth# 1114 and we’ll be happy to demo the new features to you.
data_mapping_tool

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Case Study: MapForce EDI Conversion Optimizes Business Transactions


National Frozen Foods Corporation, a family owned company, works with many vendors to get their products from the warehouse out to the market. Communications between the warehouse and vendors are sent via the X12 dialect of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), a standard data format for business transactions.
The company had been using the EDI format for its B-2-B transactions, but relied on outside consultants to convert their internal flat file format (EIF) into EDI for processing. Such outsourcing proved to be expensive, often untimely, and introduced bugs, which then required additional development costs. Recognizing the need to create a more efficient documentation workflow that would cut costs and save time, National Frozen Foods decided to bring their EDI conversion in-house.
The solution they chose – Altova MapForce – is a visual data mapping and code generation tool that allows you to map and convert any combination of XML, database, flat file, EDI, Excel 2007, and/or Web services data formats.
With its built-in EDI support, flat file conversion, and code generation capabilities, along with its ease-of-use, MapForce helped National Frozen Foods successfully bring their EDI implementation in-house.
Using the MapForce FlexText module, NFF can directly parse the internal flat file format using a convenient graphical user interface:

The company can now maintain a codebase that can be easily modified and re-used for future transactions and thus eliminate their need for outsourcing.
For more information, access the full case study and more screenshots or download a free 30-day trial of Altova MapForce.

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LANSA OEMs MapForce to Convert Data in Business Process Integration App


A recent article in Database Trends & Applications magazine highlights how MapForce, Altova’s graphical mapping, conversion, and integration tool is working behind the scenes for LANSA Composer to give non-technical users the power to perform business process automation tasks.
LANSA, a software company offering a development environment for application generation and integration on multiple computer systems, chose MapForce because it was the only candidate that met the project’s four most important criteria:

  • Code-free user interface
  • Support for a full range of document formats, including XML, text files and EDI
  • Database support across all the platforms LANSA supports
  • Cross platform capabilities

LANSA Composer uses the MapForce application as its transformation component. MapForce generates a platform-independent Java applet behind the scenes based on the user input from the mapping. While invisible to the LANSA Composer user, the code enables the business processing engine to execute the transformation component of the business process integration sequence.
Altova MapForce Data Mapping Tool
Read the entire article, featured in the March issue of Database Trends & Applications magazine, as well as other recent reviews and news stories here: https://www.altova.com/news_and_reviews.html
Download a free 30-day trial of Altova MapForce at: https://www.altova.com/download.html to see how easy it can be to map between XML, database, EDI, flat file, and Web services data formats.

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