DataMirror Updates XML Transformation Software
September 6, 2005 Alex Woodie
Five years ago, XML was seen as a cure-all for the escalation of disparate document formats and the new common language for conducting business online. While XML has become a key standard, it hasn’t replaced other types of documents, such as EDI and flat files, which are still in widespread use. DataMirror, one of the companies filling the need for data transformation tools, recently updated its DB/XML Transform software to better support flat files.
DB/XML Transform serves as a data conversion hub for a range of IT projects, including handling B2B transactions, populating Web portals, transforming EDI to XML and vice versa, and integrating databases. It can translate between XML documents and relational database systems, including DB2/400, DB2, SQL Server, and Oracle, via a JDBC driver. It can also translate between XML and text files, including the flat files that are still in widespread use in legacy applications. But the most common use of the product is translating between XML and EDI formats, including EDIFACT and X.12. Even if there is no XML in use at your shop, the product can still be used to translate between EDI files, text files, and database files.
Connecting the various formats a company uses is key to getting the most use out of data, says Paul O’Hagan, DataMirror’s director of product development. “Companies are aiming to gain a competitive advantage with the data they have in their organizations. It’s all about the data being in motion within in their organizations,” O’Hagan says. “DB/XML Transform is one way to get that data in motion.”
Last week DataMirror announced DB/XML Transform version 3.0. One of the biggest changes it has made with this release is including its PointBase database, which it acquired in 2003. Embedding a full-featured, SQL92/99 JDBC-compliant Java relational database into the product brings a number of new features. The most important among them is providing a built-in staging area for performing joins and other complex data transformations, O’Hagan says.
With PointBase powering joins, DB/XML version 3.0 brings the capability to join several flat files, and use those as the input to a database. DataMirror also says this release enables users to define the file structure of source flat files in a schema file when integrating XML, EDI, and text with applications, relational databases, or message queues.
There is also a new feature to handle situations where there is a failure to join multiple flat files. DataMirror has included a new log file for rejected records that stores the flat file in the same structure as the data source, the company says.
Message queues is another area of improvement for DB/XML 3.0. With this release, DataMirror is now supporting Java Message Service (JMS) queues, giving users the capability to bring data into applications through a message queue by targeting native JMS queues.
Last but not least, DB/XML Transform 3.0 brings better support for service oriented architectures (SOAs). Basically, this means transformations can be called as a Web service, giving programmers another option when integrating DB/XML into new applications.
DB/XML Transform is not the only data transformation product offered by DataMirror. The company also sells a product called Transformation Server. The difference between the two products is DB/XML predominantly targets flat files, while Transformation Server targets the changed-data function of relational databases. While DB/XML uses JDBC to gain access to relational databases, Transformation Server accesses the major databases through more native means, providing a faster connection, which makes it more useful for very large data integration projects such as extract, transform, and load (ETL) workloads.
While they do similar things, Transformation Server and DB/XML Transform are also complementary, and together form the foundation of a new product DataMirror plans to announce later this month called Event Manager. Event Manager will provide the means for users to make the integration of complex business transactions into messaging middleware much smoother and cleaner, O’Hagan says.