This section outlines the basic concepts that will help you get started with data mapping.
A MapForce mapping design (or simply "mapping") is the visual representation of how data is to be transformed from one format to another. A mapping consists of components that you add to the MapForce mapping area in order to create your data transformations (for example, convert XML documents from one schema to another). A valid mapping consists of one or several source components connected to one or several target components. You can run a mapping and preview its result directly in MapForce. You can generate code and execute it externally. You can also compile a mapping to a MapForce execution file and automate mapping execution using MapForce Server or FlowForce Server. MapForce saves mappings as files with .mfd extension.
Basic structure of a MapForce mapping
In MapForce, the term "component" is what represents visually the structure (schema) of your data, or how data is to be transformed (functions). Components are the central building pieces of any mapping. On the mapping area, components appear as rectangles. The following are examples of MapForce components:
•Flat files (CSV, fixed-length, and other text files)
•EDI documents (UN/EDIFACT, ANSI X12, HL7)
•Excel 2007+ files
•Simple input components
•Simple output components
•XML Schemas and DTDs
A connector is a small triangle displayed on the left or right side of a component. The connectors displayed on the left of a component provide data entry points to that component. The connectors displayed on the right of a component provide data exit points from that component.
A connection is a line that you can draw between two connectors. By drawing connections, you instruct MapForce to transform data in a specific way (for example, read data from an XML document and write it to another XML document).
A source component is a component from which MapForce reads data. When you run the mapping, MapForce reads the data supplied by the connector of the source component, converts it to the required type, and sends it to the connector of the target component.
A target component is a component to which MapForce writes data. When you run the mapping, a target component instructs MapForce to either generate a file (or multiple files) or output the result as a string value for further processing in an external program. A target component is the opposite of a source component.