Canonical Management Strategy

What method are other forum participants using for documentation and management of canonicals? In our first two projects we used spreadsheets and word documents but have found that keeping them up to date is a nightmare. Also since several different target applications (developed at different times) will receive the canonical trying to keep documentation up to date that is in “project view” just doesn’t make sense.

We’ve built a data dictionary in Lotus notes to cross reference canonicals with canonical fields with mappings to native fields but haven’t populated it yet. Are there commercial offerings that could be used for this or is everyone just “rolling their own” for their own needs.

It would certainly be helpful if XMI (or a subset of XMI) was supported to allow the canonical model to be documented as a UML Class diagram. The purists may throw a hissy fit but I suspect it would work well enough for most purposes!

I am currently evaluating a product called Contivo which provides a repository along with version control for all mappings and canonicals. It is a design time tool whic generates run-time librarries for webMethods mapping and transformation.

Hi, I was just curious how the Contivo evaluation is going.

Hello,

I�ve just started to evaluate Contivo for my organisation, it appears there are at least three companies doing the same thing now. I would be very interested in hearing about your experiences, problems, successes and of course I will do the same.

Let me know?

Best regards
Tim

We use Contivo for all of our Integration Server (B2B) mappings. It seems to cut down on the amount of work in the long run because we can easily catalog and reuse mapped components.

There are two main pieces of Contivo: EIM and Contivo Analyst. The Analyst is the mapping GUI. Open the analyst, select source and target. When you are connected to the EIM (can’t remember quite what it means) but it is the canonical management engine that stores the dictionary meanings of all the fields in each document selected. The Analyst, when connected to EIM, permits “auto” mapping of fields like PurchaseOrderNumber from one document to the next based on the canonical meanings stored in the EIM. The Analyst also allows for custom transformations like a Date Time Stamp from one format to another. And you can set values for a field based on derived value in the document.

If you are producing a lot of mapping work and plan to reuse the code, Contivo is a good way to go. If you have project that you want to jump start quickly, Contivo is the way to go. But, you have to weight the expense with the expected time savings versus the amount of code reuse expected. There will be a learning curve. If you have excellent B2B developers, they’ll pick it up quickly. Many people use business analysts because they are plugged into the actual meaning behind a particular document and tend to look at the document structure from a business standpoint.

Contivo requires a B2B runtime. You may also use a stand-alone JAR file but you will need to develop a java wrapper to communicate with the JAR. We’ve done both with similar results.

Hope this helps.

We are looking at Contivo as well and appreciate the candid feedback. You touched on my questions a little bit but I would appreciate more details.

Is Contivo Analyst still useful to a wM developer if used without the EIM / semantic repository layer? For istance, if I mapped one document to 3 different trading partner 850’s would Contivo save me some time and effort in completing some quick and dirty mappings?

Can I easily load my DTD’s into Analyst?

Can I export the Analyst mappings for documentation purposes (e.g. Excel, Word)?

Any limitations with the code generator tool, such as toubleshooting and debugging the code within wM?

Thanks.

Hi

I am working with Contivo tool for the last 15 months and I have gone through the different versions of it.The tool is improving from version to version.

To your first question without the EIM / semantic repository layer ,it is not possible with contivo to get quick mappings to be done by the tool it self. we have to use the repository Server for quick mapping or other wise also once you are familiar with the business concepts ,you can work with the tool very easily.

2.Yes it is very easy to load the DTD’s in the tool.
3.Yes,there is a provision in Contivo to get the mapping as document in an Excel Sheet.
4.The code generated by the tool is exclusively for the mapping and it it does not do any trouble shooting.You can put trace in the webmethods flow service to debug the mapping (Code).You can also write rules with in the mapping to infuse some error handling.

Hope this will help to some extent.

Rao Bhushan