Review: MAPFORCE 2004
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As you'd probably guess from the name, MAPFORCE is a data mapping tool.
Specifically, it lets you map from XML schemas and documents, databases
(all the common types are covered) or EDIFACT messages to XML schemas
and documents or databases. Mapping is done in a drag-and-drop
environment. As you're working with the mappings, you can preview the
output of sample data. When you're set, a menu pick generates XSLT
transforms or mapping code in Java, C#, or C++.
MAPFORCE is pretty easy to work with. There's a work area that shows
your source and target schemas, and a library of transformation
functions that you can use. If you just want to map, say, CustName in
one schema to CustomerName in the other, you can drag and drop one
element or attribute to another (MAPFORCE will automatically hook up
child elements that hav the same name between the two schemas). The
function library lets you handle more complex situtions. For instance,
you can use a substring component to strip out just part of a source
element for the target. Choosing the start and length is mostly a drag
and drop process as well; add a couple of constant elements to the
mapping and drag the connectors to the right place and you're done.
This version offers much more power for database mapping than did
previous releases. One nice thing you can do is use MAPFORCE as an
interactive data transformation tools. Use ADO to connect to the source
and target databases, then the usual drag-and-drop process to hook up
tables and fields. Switch to the Output tab in MAPFORCE, and you'll see
the INSERT SQL statements necessary to move the data. If you're
satisfied, you can execute the script directly from within MAPFORCE.
If you're using XSLT to transform between XML schemas, or want to move
from database to XML and vice versa without writing code by hand,
MAPFORCE can probably handle your requirements. Like Altova's other
applications, it's quick and attractive, and packs a lot of flexibility
and power into a single integrated package.
Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.