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Pausing to think about the process before you start

So awhile back I started working on some EDI work. Which consists of converting X12 gobbledygook into .eif flat files for our ERP to munch on. Anyways, like any problem there are many different approaches to this problem. What had previously been done was some c++ code to parse and convert it into the .eif format. Well a comment from my boss Peter (he always has a great vision of how things should be, and he remembered hearing about some cool mapping software at some conference) put me on the search for some sort of Edi mapping program. With a bit of poking I ran into Altova Mapforce. With all the posts I write about it you would think I work for them, but no. Their stuff is just good. And their support is good. And they pretty much reply to every post I make about them… which cracks me up, but hey at least that shows they are listening to bloggers as well.

Anyways so I started working on mapping the X12 into a flatfile. Which was becoming a little bit hard since Mapforce is best at spitting out CSV files and the like and the .EIF flat file is written with each new data element on a newline. So basically I guess you could call it control line feed delimited.

Well with a little more poking I found out that the ERP could process xml files. And not only that, but it had provided dtd files. So now all I had to do was connect from the X12 elements to the dtd description elements and then drop the produced xml into the folder that the ERP would run its conversion (TransformTool.jar) to create the .EIF and wala the conversion is done.

That is a pretty nice and easy way to convert these files I think!

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