API Data Mapping


Web service data integration with MapForce is a popular and proven strategy to capture timely information for analysis or generation of user-friendly reports. In an earlier post we demonstrated API data mapping in 5-day weather forecasts for busy cargo shipping ports by reading Web service data in JSON format and mapping to richly formatted Excel spreadsheets. The weather API we used  is hosted by OpenWeather, a provider of historical, current, and weather forecast data.

But integrating data from any API is not a set-it-and-forget-it task. When you build a solution based on external data, you have to react quickly when the data structure changes. Since our original integration project OpenWeather revised the data delivered by their API. The API now includes wind gust predictions in a JSON property separate from wind speed. Since wind gusts are suspected as a cause of the recent Suez Canal blockage the new data is very relevant to our application! Fortunately, both the MapForce data mapping and the Excel spreadsheet are easily revised to add new data.

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Developing and Debugging User Functions in Mobile Apps


Recently I came across this note in a senior developer’s code review of a colleague’s work: “Slightly revised the user function to work correctly when languages other than English are used.” This was a surprising comment–the code is the code and it shouldn’t make a difference what language the developer or the end user speaks! A user function is simply an expression that may accept input parameters and returns a result.

Altova MobileTogether supports user functions in a cross-platform mobile development framework that combines drag-and-drop UI design and standardized functional programming for data selection and processing. Several MobileTogether demo applications are highly dependent on user functions and the MobileTogether Designer includes features that greatly assist creating and validating user functions.

Let’s take a look at user functions in mobile apps by examining one of these demo apps.

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New XML Grid and More in v2021r2


In the latest release of Altova desktop developer tools and server software products, we’re introducing a completely rebuilt XML Grid View, support for XSLT3 for XML data mapping, statistics and charts for monitoring FlowForce Server, and much more. Let’s take a look at the highlights of Altova Software Version 2021 Release 2. 

New features in Altova v2021r2
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Automatically Convert EDI to XML


Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) has proven to be a durable business-to-business communication technology in use today with history dating to the 1960s and even earlier. Efficient EDI data encoding reduced transaction payload size and improved data transfer speeds at a time when messages were sent over teletype at speeds equivalent to a 300 baud modem. EDI standards bodies promote wide acceptance among enterprises, and systematic evolution of new EDI formats extends support across industries. EDI improves profitability and is a dominant format for e-commerce data exchange.

But EDI files are barely human readable and need to be translated and mapped for compatibility with other business technologies. Altova MapForce is a graphical EDI mapping tool with native support for all major business data formats in use today, including XML, JSON, databases, flat files, Excel, and Web services, as well as the EDIFACT, X12, HL7, NCPDP SCRIPT, IDoc, PADIS, and SWIFT EDI transaction sets. MapForce can even automatically convert EDI to XML without the need to specify a target XML Schema or perform any manual mapping.

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New JSON Editing Features


In Version 2020, Altova introduced an entirely new approach to JSON editing in XMLSpy called JSON Grid View. This visual JSON editor offers a graphical representation of the JSON document structure that is immediately easier to understand and work with than the corresponding JSON code in a text editor, especially for long, complex documents with multiple nested levels of arrays and objects.

With each release we improve upon the list of unique editing tools in JSON Grid. Let’s take a look at  some important updates announced in Version 2021, which was released in October of 2020.

New JSON editing tools
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Data Mapping Binary Objects – Part 2


Binary objects – BLOBs — can be cumbersome to manage in databases. In an earlier post we described a MapForce data mapping to insert binary objects into a database with generated metadata to identify the BLOBs later. The companion challenge in data mapping binary objects is to extract binary data and save it in a comprehensible form faithful to the original.

Let’s look at how that’s done.

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Data Mapping Binary Objects


Binary objects are difficult to manage in databases. They are large, their content is not human readable, and they can contain bytes of data easily misinterpreted as control characters. Even the data type name for binary large objects – BLOB – reflects most database managers’ dislike of them. Before relational databases, the definition of a blob was “something undefined or amorphous.”

Altova MapForce, the award-winning, graphical data mapping tool for any-to-any conversion and integration, includes features for effortlessly data mapping binary objects to or from all popular relational databases. Data such as images, PDF files, video files, or any other binary data can be mapped. Let’s look at an example.

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