Posts

EDI Data Mapping with MapForce


Any computer industry standard that promotes reliability and clear communication between independent enterprises will have a long life. EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) originated in the 1960s to enable automated transactions between corporate computer systems. EDI remains in widespread use today and continues to evolve to meet modern requirements, under the administration of the UN/EDIFACT and ANSI standards bodies.

Altova MapForce supports EDI data mapping between EDI messages and XML, JSON, relational databases, flat files, Excel, or other data formats to bridge between commonly used information interchange and in-house technologies.

MapForce includes support for the latest EDIFACT versions 2015B and 2016A including the new VERMAS message. Mapping and translating EDIFACT messages to other usable data types for transfer, storage, and management is a common business requirement solved by MapForce.

container_ship1

Read more…

Tags: , , , ,

Faster EDI Data Translation


Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) standards accelerate commerce worldwide by allowing companies and other organizations – even those in different regions, using different languages and currencies – to send and receive unambiguous information. Some EDI communication protocols and message formats still in wide use today were developed over 30 years ago, when telecommunication systems were slower and data storage was more expensive.

119647393_700px

Read more…

Tags: , , ,

Updated Industry Schema Library


“The nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from.” – Andrew S. Tanenbaum (attr.)

Maybe we can help. Altova’s updated schema library is a collection of over 100 industry and cross-industry XML Schema and DTD specifications – all in one central location. XML standards (and technology standards in general) are used to promote information sharing and interoperability across disparate software and systems. In a perfect world, this would translate to a global network of data being exchanged seamlessly between information partners… in a perfect world. However, there are some industries that are reaping the rewards of standardization, and hopefully these efforts will pave the way for more. Very recently we have seen an increased interest and even some actionable mandates in XBRL for financial data, HL7 for exchanging healthcare messages, and NIEM for inter-agency communication within the United States government. Of course, if you do find yourself working with some conflicting technology standards, you should probably take a look at Altova MapForce. With native support for visually mapping pretty much any data formats you can think of (XML, databases, flat files, EDI, Excel 2007+, XBRL, and Web services), easily adding data processing functions, and a whole bunch of automation options, you may even find that creating data integration solutions is well… kind of fun. Check out Altova’s Industry Schema Library, or download a free 30-day trial of MapForce today!

Tags: , , , , , ,

HL7 and XML Healthcare Data Integration at HIMSS10


Altova is kicking off the 2010 trade show season with our first participation in the annual conference of the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS). The HIMSS10 conference will be held on March 1-4 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. We’re looking forward to demonstrating the functionality in XMLSpy 2010 for editing, analyzing, and validating HL7 healthcare data. We will also show how MapForce 2010 can map older EDI-based legacy healthcare records to the latest XML-based HL7 v3.x standard. The example below shows a simple MapForce mapping to update an HL7 v2.6 message to v3.x. MapForce mapping for HL7 This will be our first opportunity to demonstrate the new Altova MissionKit 2010 Release 2 with significant speed and performance enhancements across the product line. Come see the new 64-bit versions for yourself, or download a free trial today. If you are one of the expected 30,000+ attendees traveling to Atlanta for HIMSS10, stop by and see us at booth 5744. Or click here to get more information on the Altova MissionKit and HL7.

Tags: , , , , , ,

HubKey Case Study


  Overview HubKey is a technology company offering e-commerce solutions and services to small and mid-sized organizations. Their flagship product, ILXA, is a hosted application that uses the document and workflow management capabilities of Microsoft Sharepoint, combined with the power and flexibility of Altova MapForce and XMLSpy, to deliver a scalable, end-to-end, business-to-business (B2B) solution for outsourced EDI. ILXA builds an intuitive user interface and superior content management controls and functionality around e-commerce/EDI data sources, giving customers the freedom to quickly and accurately process electronic transactions without the need for costly software and hardware systems.   The Challenge The HubKey team wanted to build a comprehensive EDI management and translation system that would give their clients the ability to track their EDI transactions across a customized workflow and also transform the messages into virtually any other data format. EDI systems are required to handle a large and constant flow of transactions going back and forth between trading partners. While the actual volume of the data being transmitted is often very small, the amount of individual communications can be overwhelming. HubKey ILXA contains the chaos of EDI automation by giving organizations the ability to view and manage tasks and processes in batches or on-the-fly. Recognizing an increasing demand for B2B integration systems that comply with both EDI and XML, HubKey decided to build a platform that had powerful support for both data formats and could generate application code to automate these translations. Complex EDI-XML and XML-EDI mappings would run behind-the-scenes, but users would be able to access these mappings, as well as the raw data, for quality assurance and error fixing.   The Solution HubKey ILXA is a hosted e-commerce solution that gives non-technical end users the ability to seamlessly manage their EDI transactions without being exposed to complex data syntax. To easily manage the document workflow, HubKey chose to build their system on top of the Sharepoint platform, creating a customizable .NET application with advanced functionality for a collaborative workflow environment. The ILXA system draws upon the versatility and quality control capabilities of XML, with EDI-XML conversion powered by Altova MapForce. The end result is sophisticated translation software combined with validation and workflow management capabilities, all in one easy-to-use system.

  • Translator – performs virtually any to any document translation for integration with backend ERP and accounting systems or trading partner requirements
  • Tasks Engine – gives users a Web-based interface through which to view and orchestrate document management tasks
  • Business Rules Engine – handles data validation, alerts, substitutions, and more through generic or specific processing rules devised by the user

1hubkey_diagram ILXA is delivered to customers in the form of a personalized, secure Web portal. Connections are easily set up between backend accounting/ERP systems (including technologies from Microsoft, Sage Software®, Exact®, and Intuit®) and member trading partners for sending and receiving messages via virtually any connectivity option (AS2, VAN, HTTP, etc.). The modularity of the ILXA system, combined with the experienced solution providers at HubKey, work together to make setting up the system a seamless process that can be implemented and up and running within 24 hours.

Translator Using the data transformation and code generation capabilities of MapForce, ILXA translates raw EDI data into XML based on generic XML Schemas (developed using Altova XMLSpy) stored on the system. Once in XML, the data becomes much more usable within the Sharepoint environment, enabling users to work easily with messages and respond to tasks. Non-technical users can create workflows, assign tasks, and send and receive messages within the ILXA interface without even seeing a line of EDI or XML code.   2hubkey_sales_order   However, if changes or adjustments need to be made, ILXA customers are given the freedom to apply these in-house using the data maps saved in the SharePoint document library. MapForce’s intuitive graphical interface enables users to redraw connections, add functions from the function library, and apply filters to the mappings. Any saved changes cause compiled code to be saved back to the system and will affect ensuing automated transformations. 3hubkey_edit_mapforce   4hubkey_mapforce_thumb   MapForce generates program code in Java, C++, and C#. HubKey opted to have code generated in C# to make it easily consumable by the Sharepoint platform. 5hubkey_c_sharp   Once the data has been translated, users can even launch XMLSpy to view and make changes directly in the XML. The generated XML displays the original EDI format in the file for an easy comparison. 6hubkey_xmlspy   Using MapForce, ILXA can also be easily configured to convert data into other EDI specifications, databases, flat files, Microsoft Excel 2007, and Web services. Tasks Engine The ILXA Tasks Engine enables users to manage advanced workflows, as well as track and resolve processing and validation errors that occur during the translation process. Users can view all of the documents in their workflow and take actions based on their status. Once an issue has been resolved, the document translation automatically resumes. 7hubkey_sales_docs   The ILXA Tasks Engine builds upon the advanced capabilities of Sharepoint to make a document management and publishing system that is ideal as an EDI/e-commerce solution. Users can easily assign, resolve, and review tasks in a secure setting based on assigned permissions and defined roles. The ability to streamline these vital business processes in one central application helps increase the quality and consistency of error-prone large-scale message translation and transmission. Business Rules Engine HubKey’s patent-pending Business Rules Engine provides customers with a powerful tool for implementing specific rules based on documents, trading partners, and/or date/time parameters. This gives organizations the ability to apply filters to transactions based on customized definitions and constraints that apply to a particular situation. 8hubkey_business_rules   The HubKey team offers its customers the option to have their business rules set up and implemented, or the training to do so in-house.

The Results ILXA breaks down the barriers to costly EDI implementation, giving organizations an affordable, flexible, and reliable alternative to fully outsourced solutions through a modern, Web-enabled, component-based application. By combining content management functionality with age-old e-commerce business process requirements, HubKey is able to offer its customers a centralized EDI management application with resources and personalized services customized to meet any level of e-commerce data expertise. Altova MapForce and XMLSpy provide the translation and XML structure behind-the-scenes, but are also available to more technical users to make adjustments and confirmations at the source. This gives HubKey the ability to offer a flexible and changeable solution to their end users, giving them the power to decide upon hands-on EDI management, or an assisted solution that still falls within their budget.   Find out how MapForce and XMLSpy can add functionality to your business applications. Download a fully functional free trial of the Altova MissionKit today!

Tags: , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , ,