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Harness the Power of Chained Transformations in MapForce


MapForce 2011 introduced an exciting enhancement we like to call chained transformations. Chained transformations let you create complex mappings where the output of one mapping becomes the input to another. In other words, two or more components can be directly connected to a final target component. MapForce chained transformation example MapForce has long supported intermediate components and generation of intermediate output that is supplied as input further down the line in the mapping. The new enhancement provides a direct route from your original input to your final target output. Pass Through for the Express Route to Data Integration Mapping and debugging a series of intermediate components can prove to be time consuming and cumbersome, especially when you are working with huge data stores. The new Pass Through button lets you efficiently go straight to your final target. The intermediate components of a chained transformation include a Pass Through button and a Preview button, and the final component also includes a Preview button. MapForce Pass-Through and Preview buttons Activating the Pass Through button on the intermediate component disables the Preview button for that component, and the intermediate output is sent directly to the next component for transformation. You don’t have to explicitly specify input and output data file names for the intermediate component in the component’s Properties dialog. Instead, MapForce automatically supplies default file names. The MapForce Output Preview window displays the final target output from the last component in the chain. MapForce chained transformation preview window In case you want to examine the intermediate output as you design and verify your mapping, the arrow buttons at the top left or the drop-down menu at the top right let you preview intermediate data. MapForce chined transformation preview window If our mapping included multiple intermediate components, the Pass Through feature would let us inspect each stage of the transformation in a single output window. Integrating All the Local Components In other data integration projects you may want to save the data from intermediate transformations as well as the output from your final target component. When you deactivate the Pass Through button of the intermediate component, you can select either component for preview. Note that you can specify the name of the output file for the intermediate component in the Properties dialog, or you can let MapForce supply a default name. MapForce Preview button If you select the intermediate component for preview, as shown above, the Output Preview Window displays only the intermediate output. MapForce Output Preview window If the Pass Through button is deactivated and you select the final component for preview, only the final result is displayed in the Output Preview window. MapForce Preview button MapForce Output Preview window Generate Code for Your Mapping If you will need to perform repetitive transformations, MapForce lets you generate royalty-free code for your chained transformation in XSLT 1.0, XSLT 2.0, XQuery, Java, C#, and C++. All this functionality is designed to give today’s developers and data management professionals ultimate flexibility and automation to meet 21st-century data communication requirements. See for yourself how easy it is to build a chained transformation for your own data integration project. Download a free 30-day trial of MapForce!

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New Software Release : MapForce 2011


  clip_image002 On September 8, Altova released v2011 of the MissionKit with powerful new features across the entire product line. MapForce has benefitted from the addition of advanced data integration functionality like chained transformations, integration with StyleVision for rendering transformation output, new formatting functions, and extended support for the UN/EDIFACT and ANSI X12 EDI formats. Let’s take a closer look at the exciting new features in MapForce 2011 including:

  • Chained transformations
  • Integration with StyleVision for output components
  • Formatting of numbers, dates, and times
  • Extended support for EDIFACT
  • Extended support for X12

Chained transformations Support for chained transformations lets you create complex mappings where the output of one mapping becomes the input of another. This is a powerful feature that adds to MapForce’s ability to execute fully automated transformations. Each chained component becomes a modular entity in an interdependent transformation sequence, allowing for conversions to be made on-the-fly. You can create chained transformations using any number of mapping components connected to a final target component. Preview and code generation features can be displayed/generated for intermediate components, as well as for the final mapping result. Intermediate mapping components also now have a "pass-through" button in the title bar that lets you define the set of data that gets passed on to the following component.  

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For example, the mapping above shows a chained mapping where the pass-through button is active and sample data is assigned to component A. The output preview offers two separate sets of data: XML that conforms to the Contacts.xsd schema and incorporates a subset of data mapped from the Employees.xml sample file, and XML that conforms to PersonList.xsd using data from the Employees sample file. In both cases, the data has been amended with the relevant constants and functions that are shown in the MapForce design pane.   clip_image004 Integration with StyleVision for output components Support for Global Resources throughout the MissionKit has already offered you some integration between Altova software applications… But this feature takes that integration to a whole new level, allowing you to render XML and XBRL output from your data mappings into HTML, RTF, PDF, and Word 2007+ using an associated StyleVision template design. This essentially combines MapForce’s any-to-any data mapping capabilities with a sophisticated rendering engine, meaning that you can now automate report generation from virtually any data format that can be mapped to an XML Schema or XBRL taxonomy. In the example below, a StyleVision design has been associated with the mapping by simply right-clicking the output file and browsing to select a suitable SPS file using the Component Settings dialog.   clip_image005   Once the SPS file is entered or selected, you will be able to simply click on the relevant format tab (i.e., HTML, RTF, PDF, or Word 2007+) to view rendered data.   mapforce-html Formatting of numbers, dates, and times Probably one of the most requested features, this lets you easily convert numbers, dates, and times to their string representations using several different formatting functions. For example, the simple format-number function below converts a numerical input (e.g., 12345) to a monetary one in with a USD prefix, comma separating the thousands digits, and two decimal places (e.g., $12,345.00).   format-number   This post really just scrapes the surface of what the new MapForce release has to offer -download a free 30-day trial of Mapforce today to experience all of these new features and more!

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