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First Look: Data Transformations
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Data Transformation and Interoperability
Data transformation is at the heart of the interoperability of the InterSystems IRIS Data Platform™. You have the power to change the format and content of incoming data from one system to meet the requirements of a downstream system, allowing the systems to communicate with each other. Simply put, messages sent from one system can be transformed into messages that the other application can understand. With InterSystems IRIS, data transformations are simple to create, test, and maintain.
Suppose you have two retail systems that include the price of products. When System A sends data to other systems, it includes the base price of a product without tax added. However, System B needs the price to include taxes for the region. A data transformation in an InterSystems IRIS production can covert the price received from System A into the tax-added price before the data is sent to System B. Once defined, the data transformation takes care of the modifications automatically.
Common transformations include:
Exploring the DTL Editor
You can write DTL (data transformation language) code to create a data transformation or you can create one using the DTL Editor. The DTL Editor allows non-technical users to create data transformations without having to write code. For example, its graphical user interface allows you to quickly map values from the source message to the target message with a drag-and-drop action. The following tour of the DTL Editor guides you through its major features by creating a data transformation within a production. For an introduction to InterSystems IRIS productions, see First Look: Connecting Systems Using Integration Productions.
In this demo, data about a student’s final grade in a class must be converted so that a different application can use the data.
Before You Begin
Before starting this tour of the DTL Editor, you need to:
Downloading from GitHub
You do not need any experience with GitHub to download the production and data file that are used with this demo.
  1. Click Download ZIP.
  2. Extract the files from the zip archive that was downloaded to your machine. The XML file is a representation of an InterSystems IRIS production that you will deploy on your system.
Installing InterSystems IRIS
You need a running, licensed instance of InterSystems IRIS to complete the remaining steps. For instructions on how to install and license a development instance of InterSystems IRIS, see Quick Start: InterSystems IRIS Installation.
Creating a Production-Enabled Namespace
You must create a production-enabled namespace before you can import the production that you downloaded from GitHub. Within InterSystems IRIS, a namespace is a logical entity that provides access to data and code. The namespaces created when you first install InterSystems IRIS are not production-enabled. In the Management Portal:
  1. On the Namespaces page, select Create New Namespace. This displays the New Namespace page.
  2. On the New Namespace page, enter the name for the new namespace, such as DTLdemo.
  3. Next to the Select an existing database for Globals drop-down menu, select Create New Database. This displays the Database Wizard.
  4. On the first page of the Database Wizard, in the Enter the name of your database field, enter the name of the database you are creating, such as DTLdemodb. Enter a directory for the database, such as C:\InterSystems\IRIS\mgr\DTLdemodb. On that page, select Next.
  5. On the next page, select Finish.
  6. Back on the New Namespace page, in the Select an existing database for Routines drop-down menu, select the database you just created.
  7. Ensure that the Make this a production-enabled namespace check box is selected.
  8. Select Save near the top of the page and then select Close at the end of the resulting log.
Importing Demo Production
Once you have a production-enabled namespace, you can import the demo production that you downloaded from GitHub. This production will contain your data transformation. To import the production:
  1. Open the Management Portal from the InterSystems IRIS launcher.
  2. Select Interoperability > Manage > Deployment Changes > Deploy to go to the Deploy Production Changes page. If prompted, select the namespace that you created before completing this step.
  3. Go to the directory where you downloaded the files from GitHub, select DTLStudentDemo.xml, and click OK.
  4. Click Deploy.
  5. Click OK.
Creating the Data Transformation
InterSystems IRIS provides a Data Transformation Wizard to speed up and simplify the process of creating a new data transformation. For this demo, you are creating a data transformation that connects two record maps related to a student’s grade in a class. To create the data transformation:
  1. From the Management Portal home page, select Interoperability > List > Data Transformations.
  2. Click New.
    The Data Transformation Wizard opens.
  3. Select Demo from the Package drop-down list.
  4. In the Name field, enter a unique name such as DTLDemoTransform.
  5. Click the magnifying glass next to the Source Class field.
  6. Click the magnifying glass next to the Target Class field.
  7. Click OK.
    The new data transformation opens in the DTL Editor.
Transforming the Data
Now that you have created the data transformation, use the DTL Editor to:
Copying Data
One of the most powerful and time-saving features of the DTL Editor is the ability to drag and drop values from the source to a corresponding property of the target. You simply click and hold the circle on the source’s property and drag it to a property of the target message.
To copy values from the source to the target:
  1. Click and hold the circle of the ClassID property of the source (on the left-hand side of the Editor).
  2. Drag your cursor to the ClassID property of the target until it is highlighted, then release the mouse button.
    The value of the source’s ClassID will be copied to the target’s ClassID property.
  3. Following this procedure, connect the following source properties to the corresponding target properties:
The Editor should now look like:
Notice that you have changed the order in which the data will be stored simply by connecting the property pairs.
Modifying the Value of a Property
In some cases, you want to change the value of the source’s property before copying it to the corresponding target property. In this demo, the target system accepts a ClassID that starts with a two-character identifier that indicates the Source’s college. The source’s message does not include this identifier, so the data transformation must modify the value of ClassID before copying it to the target message.
  1. Click the circle on the line that connects the source’s ClassID property and the target’s ClassID property.
    Notice that the Action tab on the right-hand side of the Editor now shows information about the Assign action that was created when you connected the two ClassID properties. The Property field is set to target.ClassID and the Value field is set to source.ClassID.
  2. Change the Value field of the Action tab to: "UC."_source.ClassID. UC is the college identifier and it is added to the beginning of the ClassID using the underscore, which is the concatenate operator in the InterSystems ObjectScript programming language. It is beyond the scope of this demo, but it gives you an idea of how you can include ObjectScript code in your transformation.
Using Functions
You can use built-in functions when setting the value of a property. In this demo, you are rounding the final grade to a whole number using the Round( ) function.
  1. Select the connector between the source’s Grade property and the target’s Grade property.
  2. Click the magnifying glass next to the Value field of the Action tab.
  3. Select Round ( ) from the Function drop-down list.
  4. Click OK.
The Value field of the Action tab is now set to: ..Round(source.Grade)
Using the Table of Actions
Notice that as you mapped source properties to target properties, the DTL Editor added Set actions to the table below the diagram.
While the graphical portion of the DTL Editor makes it easy to visualize and perform actions quickly, sometimes it is better to use the table below the diagram to further define the transformation. For example, in this demo selecting the connection between the source property and target property by clicking the graphical connection was the quickest way to select the Set action. However, in a more complex transformation, it might be difficult to select the connector. In this case, it is easier to select the Set action from the table below the diagram.
Defining a Conditional Set of Actions
In transforming data, you can use conditional statements to perform actions only if certain conditions are true. In this demo, you define a transformation to indicate that the student passed the class if the final grade is greater than or equal to 65. To add an If statement to accomplish this:
  1. Make sure the last item is the table is highlighted. The If statement is placed right after the highlighted action.
  2. Select If from the Add Action drop-down list.
    Notice that an If block is added to the table below the diagram.
  3. With the If statement selected in the table, define the Conditional field on the Action tab as: target.Grade>=65. The actions that you put inside the If block are executed only if the value of the target’s Grade property is greater than or equal to 65.
  4. Select Set from the Add Action drop-down list.
  5. On the Action tab, define the Property field as: target.Pass.
  6. Define the Value field as 1. This is the boolean value indicating that the student passed the class.
  7. Select the else action in the table.
  8. Select Set from the Add Action drop-down list.
  9. On the Action tab, define the Property field as: target.Pass.
  10. On the Action tab, define the Value field as 0. This is the boolean value indicating that the student did not pass the class.
The if block should now look like:
Ignoring Data from Source Message
In the demo, notice that the Email, Phone, and Phone1 properties were not connected to the target message. No further action is needed to prevent this data in the source message from being copied to the target message.
Compiling the Data Transformation
You have the option to save your work as you go, but you must always remember to compile the data transformation. Your production does not recognize changes until you click Compile.
Performing Preliminary Testing
The DTL Editor gives you the ability to quickly test the data transformation without having to run a message through the entire production. You simply input the test message and the DTL Editor displays what the output message will look like. At this point in this demo, you are pasting an XML representation of the record map data into the Test Transform tool. Later, you will test the transformation by running a text file through the production.
Remember to compile your data transformation before testing it.
  1. Click the Tools tab on the right-hand side of the editor.
  2. Click Test.
  3. Copy and paste the following data into the Input Message text box:
    <test>
    <Record>
    <ClassID>CS241</ClassID>
    <StudentID>930698</StudentID>
    <Grade>77.8</Grade>
    <LastName>Sutherland</LastName>
    <FirstName>David</FirstName>
    <MiddleName>Timothy</MiddleName>
    <Email>david.sutherland@mail.com</Email>
    <Phone>978-343-3940</Phone>
    <Phone1>978-343-0951</Phone1>
    </Record>
    </test>
  4. Click Test.
    The Output Message text box should now look like:
    <Record>
      <StudentID>930698</StudentID>
      <ClassID>UC.CS241</ClassID>
      <Grade>78</Grade>
      <Pass>true</Pass>
      <FirstName>David</FirstName>
      <MiddleName>Timothy</MiddleName>
      <LastName>Sutherland</LastName>
    </Record>
Tip:
When working with HL7 or other EDI messages, you can copy and paste raw text from a sample message to test the transformation. You do not need an XML representation of the message.
Adding Transformation to Production
Now that you have created and compiled a data transformation, you must add it to your production so that source messages flowing through the production get transformed into the message that gets sent to the downstream application. In this demo, you are adding the transformation to a business rule associated with the business process DTLDemoRouter.
  1. From the Management Portal home page, go to Interoperability > List > Productions.
  2. Select DTLDemoRouter listed under Processes.
  3. On the Settings tab, click the magnifying glass next to the Business Rule Name field.
  4. Double-click the transform shape located in the business rule’s send action.
  5. In the Data Transform Selector dialog, select the data transformation that you created for this demo.
  6. Click OK.
  7. In the Business Rule Editor, click Save.
For more information about business rules, see Developing Business Rules.
Testing the Data Transformation
Now that you have added the data transformation to the production, run the production to see your demo in action. In this step:
Creating Required Directories
The demo production is defined to look in c:\practice\in for the file containing the source data and is defined to write out the target file to c:\practice\out. You must create these directories before starting the production.
If you cannot create directories on the c:\ drive or are using a different operating system, you must modify the business service and business operation of the production before continuing. The File Path setting of the business service defines where the production looks for the input file while the File Path setting of the business operation defines where the target file is sent.
Starting the Production
To start the production containing the demo data transformation:
  1. From the Management Portal home page, go to Interoperability > List > Productions.
  2. Click Start.
Copying csv File to Directory
The production is defined to accept a csv file containing the student information from c:\practice\in. Copy the input.csv file from the directory where you downloaded files from GitHub into c:\practice\in. If you modified the production to specify a different directory for the business service, put input.csv into the directory that you specified.
As long as the production is running, this file should disappear from the directory within a few seconds, indicating that the production has started to process the file successfully.
Verifying Data in Output
The demo production takes the csv file you copied into the production’s input directory and uses the data transformation to convert the data into a different format with new content. This outgoing file is copied into the production’s output directory with a timestamp as the filename. By default, the production’s output directory is c:\practice\out.
Use a text editor to open input.csv and the output file to compare the two.
Other Important Features
This demo provides the basics of developing and testing a data transformation. Other important, commonly used features include:
Learn More About Data Transformation
For more details about data transformations, see: