Mapping and Data Transformation Components

Sterling B2B Integrator manages data translation and transformation of complex flat files that are in positional, fixed length, and variable-length delimited formats, supporting both standard and extended rules.

It translates data according to the instructions you provide in the form of translation maps, which you create and manage using the Map Editor tool. A translation map specifies how data in one format relates to data in another format.

Using the JDBC adapter, data, such as the following, can be input or output to databases supporting Java Database Connectivity (JDBC):
  • Tables defined in translation maps
  • Structured Query Language (SQL) queries, stored procedures, and stored functions

How Translation Works

From a technical perspective, translation services perform run-time translation based on the translation maps you have created, using translation objects and XML encoder objects to translate data from one format to another.

The translation objects (files with a .txo extension) and XML encoder objects (files with an .ltx extension) are the compiled translation maps.

Within a translation process, the services:
  • Verify if the document that is received complies with the validation and transformation rules defined for the map.
  • Store errors in a report and send these to the business process for appropriate action.

Supported Translation Formats

Sterling B2B Integrator translates data that is in the following formats:
  • Positional
  • Variable-delimited (including, Comma-Separated Values)
  • XML, with full support for XML schemas, DTD (document type definition), and namespaces
  • EDI (ANSI X12, UN EDIFACT, Tradacoms, Japanese Center for Informatization of Industry [CII] ).

Map Editor Tool

You can create, modify, and compile translation maps using the Map Editor tool. The Map Editor is an offline, Windows-based program that you download from Sterling B2B Integrator. It includes preloaded standards and provides flexibility in mapping complex data transformations.

The Map Editor is built on software from the proven IBM® Sterling Gentran® product line. Customers familiar with the IBM Sterling Gentran Map Editor do not require re-training.

Translation Maps in Sterling B2B Integrator

Using the Map Editor, you can create data transformation maps for the system to use at run time. You can then include the appropriate translation map and related services in your business process models to configure run-time translation activities.

The Map Editor enables:
  • Direct mapping from an input format to an output format (no intermediate format required)
  • Mapping any supported input format to any supported output format
  • Mapping any field or segment of an input map to any field or element of an output map (for example, fields occurring in the trailer section of an input format can be mapped to header fields in an output format)
  • Complex rule-based data mappings
  • Custom calculations and data type conversions
  • Custom Java code user exits for extended rules enable further customization of map behavior
  • User exits that support custom Java code

The Map Editor provides tools that allow you to migrate or convert maps from the IBM Sterling Gentran for Windows, IBM Sterling Gentran for UNIX, and IBM Sterling Gentran for zSeries® products.

The following figure is an example of a translation map in the Map Editor:

Trading Partner Code Lists

Using the Map Editor, you can create code lists. A code list is a list of values for a field and their corresponding descriptions that you can include in a translation map. You can associate a rule in a translation map so that the system either checks values against the code list or selects a value from the specified list. For example, you can cross-reference a list of internal codes, such as item codes, with corresponding codes from a trading partner. At run time, a map can look up the codes and map the internal item code to an external partner's code or the reverse.

Without this code list capability, you would have to create such cross-reference functionality using an extended rule, a user exit in an extended rule, or some other custom processing outside of the translation service.

XML Transformation Components

The following table describes some aspects of the XML data transformation support available:
Feature Description
XML Encoder

An included XML Encoder component provides high-performance translation of the existing application data into XML.

The XML Encoder receives a given input format and writes an XML-wrapped output document, without requiring an output map. The XML-wrapped document is then available to a business process for manipulation because the Business Process Modeling Language supports XPath specifications.

XML Schema Repository functionality

You can maintain a repository for XML schemas and DTDs for use by any appropriate component or service in a translation business process.

Schemas are stored in the Sterling B2B Integrator database, much like translation maps. You can store multiple versions of a schema.

XSLT transformations

XML Stylesheet Language Transformation (XSLT) canbe enabled with a special service that you can configure in a business process to perform transformations.

You can use XSLT for XML-to-XML transformation and creation of static HTML pages from XML documents.

XPath Expression Builder

To ease the creation of XPath-based business rules (content-based routing, content filtering and querying, and calculations), an XPath Expression Builder tool is provided. You can save XPath expressions with a logical name, and re-use them.

The following figure shows the XPath Expression Builder:

Adapting to Increasing XML Demand

Sterling B2B Integrator has comprehensive support for XML technologies throughout the product. In addition to the items listed in the table under XML Transformation Components, this includes:
  • Use of BPML for process model representation
  • Web Services support (SOAP adapters)
  • WSDL
  • RosettaNet Partner Interface Processes (PIPs)
  • The ebXML messaging service
  • XML Digital Signature support (required by the ebXML messaging service)
  • Support for various ERP/CRM application XML interfaces, such as PeopleSoft
  • Representation of process state data in a format (using an XML DOM tree) for presentation in a browser window