XML Conversion Solutions
Deploying DataDirect XML Converters on Microsoft® BizTalk® Server
Microsoft® BizTalk® Server is a Business Process Manager (BPM) enterprise solution that allows users to connect diverse software and then both create and modify the process logic that uses that software. Data inside a BizTalk Server application always moves as XML. Because of this, .NET users often need to integrate conversion operations in the context of BizTalk to manage EDI or legacy formats. DataDirect XML Converters can be deployed on BizTalk Server, enabling your BizTalk applications to work with business data in any number of non-XML formats — Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and comma-separated values (CSV) are examples of two file formats commonly found in both business-to-business (B2B) and numerous small- and medium-size business applications.
The BizTalk Architecture — Sending and Receiving Messages
One of the key elements of the BizTalk architecture is processing business messages in XML. BizTalk assumes, therefore, that incoming messages are already in XML, or that they get translated to XML upon reception. Because not all business data is XML, BizTalk provides a mechanism to plug-in third-party components — like DataDirect XML Converters — to convert input and output data from and to XML.
In order to have a flexible architecture, BizTalk allows you to configure a pipeline on input (receive) and output (send) ports that provides a way to manipulate and transform the data before it is stored in the MessageBox. BizTalk stores all messages in SQL Server, as shown in the following Microsoft BizTalk Server illustration.
Pipeline processing deals with both message content and message context. Message content is generally handled in the decoding, disassembling, and validating stages, as shown in the following Microsoft BizTalk Server illustration:
The job of the disassembler is to process an incoming message from an adapter, disassembling it into many messages, and parsing the message data. By definition, it expects that data is being converted from a native format to XML. XML Converters provides a disassembler implementation that can be used to convert a variety of flat file formats into XML.
When a message is ready to be sent from BizTalk, it undergoes a complementary process in the send port. Maps are applied to messages before the send pipeline is executed, allowing a message to be transformed to a customer- or application-specific format before being processed by the pipeline and sent through the adapter. In the send pipeline, properties are demoted from the context into the message, instead of being promoted into the message context, as shown in the following Microsoft BizTalk Server illustration:
The job of the assembler is to process an outgoing message to an adapter, and to serialize the message data. The DataDirect XML Converters assembler implementation can be used to convert XML into a variety of flat file formats.
Now that you know a little about the BizTalk Server architecture and how DataDirect XML Converters fit into the overall scheme, let's get started. The first step is to register DataDirect XML Converters as a BizTalk component.
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