Flat File Processing Tutorial

Duration:  20 - 30 minutes

In this tutorial you will create a flat file schema to define a flat file structure and a service to read in and parse that flat file.

Prerequisites #

· The only prerequisite is access to Integration Server, a browser and the Designer IDE.

 Make sure you have set up the file access controls so that you can access your flat files through Integration Server.

For same you can refer to webMethods ESB and Integration- Setting File Access Controls


Step 1:  Create a Flat File #

·  In this step:  You will create a CSV flat file.

·  In Windows Explorer, navigate to the C:\ directory.  Right click in this directory and create a new text Document.  Name the text document ffTutorialInput (remove the .txt).

Open ffTutorialInput in Notepad and copy/paste the 3 rows/records below into the text document, Save and close it.  This is a Customer CSV consisting of Customer Number, Name, Address, City, State and Zip attributes.

12345,John Smith,123 Main St,San Francisco,CA,27262

54321,Bill Jones,3636 Hale Ave.,Chicago,IL,60643

19283,Mary Olson,74746 N. Dodge St,Philadelphia,PA,64722


Step 2:  Create a Flat File Dictionary #

·  In this step:  You will create a flat file dictionary, mapping to the records and attributes in the CSV file.

 If you already have Software AG Designer started, just make sure you are in the Service Development perspective.  If this is the first time starting Software AG Designer, open it from the Start Menu -> All Programs -> Software AG -> Tools -> Software AG Designer 9.5.

·  In the Software AG Designer Welcome page, click on the Open the Service Development Perspective link:

  ·  In the Package Navigator view, create a new package called FlatFileTutorial.  Under the FlatFileTutorial package create a folder called FlatFileTutorial.  Under the FlatFileTutorial folder create 3 folders called docs, ffschemas and* services.  It should look exactly like the following:

·  Right click on the ffschemas folder and create a new Flat File Dictionary

  ·  Name the Flat File Dictionary ABCCorpDictionary and click Finish.

·  Right click on Record Definition and select New

·  Name the new record Customer and click Finish

·  Right click on Customer and select New.  In the wizard, select Field Definition and click Next.

·  In the drop down, select ExtractorType of Nth Field.  Click the Insert Row icon 5 times to add 5 new fields to the record definition.  You should see entries for 6 rows with no names entered so far.

·  Using your cursor enter the values as shown below: CustNum, Position0 (column indices are 0 based), etc. and click Finish.


·  Your dictionary should look like the following.  Save your work Ctrl-S.

Step 3:  Create a Flat File Schema #

·  In this step:  You will create a flat file schema describing the format of your input file.

·  Right click on the ffSchemas folder and select New ->Flat File Schema

·  Name the new Flat File Schema Customer and click Finish.

·  Select Delimiter for Record parser type, (you may have to scroll down) carriage return line feed for Record Character (delimiter), and enter a comma (type into field) for Field or composite (delimiter) as shown below.  Leave all other fields as they are.  

·  Select the Flat File Structure tab at the bottom.

·  In the Properties view, to the right, place your cursor in the value box for the Set option.  This will make the elipsys appear, to the right, as shown below.  Click the elipsys button.

·  Select the ABCCorpDictionary entry under ffSchemas and click Next.

·  Select Customer, click Finish and Save your work: Ctrl-S.

·  Click on the Customer record and click the Create Document Type button along the top tool bar. This will automatically create an Integration Server document type from our schema structure. 


·  This creates CustomerDT under your ffSchema folder.  Double click CustomerDT to open it and expand your record.  We now have an IS doc type matching our flat file schema structure.  Drag and drop your newly created CustomerDT to your docs folder.

Step 4:  Create a Flow service to read and parse your flat file. #

·  In this step:  You will create a flow service to read in your flat file, parse it, and loop over it so it can be processed.

   ·  Right click on the services folder, select New->Flow Service 

·  Name your flow service processCustomerFF and click Finish.


·  In the Package Navigator view, navigate to the pub.file:getFile public service, under the WmPublic package.  Drag getFile into the flow editor of your processCustomerFF service as shown below.


·  With pub.file:getFile selected, click the Pipeline tab, and double click filename in the Service In column.  This will open the Enter Input for ‘filename’ dialog.  Enter the file path of the CVS input file; in our example this is c:\ffTutorialInput.  Click OK.


·  Navigate to the pub.flatFile:convertToValues service under the WmFlateFile package.  Drag convertToValues onto the flow editor of the processCustomerFF service, under the getFile service, as shown below.


·  Under Pipeline In, expand body and map bytes to ffData in the Service In column, as shown below.


·  Right click on the Customer flat file schema in the Package Navigator view and select Copy.  Double click ffSchema in the Service In column.  This will open the Enter Input for ‘ffSchema’ dialog.  Position your cursor in the Value field and paste.  This will set the Customer schema as input. Click OK and Save.


·  Map the convertToValues output to the CustomerDT IS Document Type.  In Package Navigator, right click on CustomerDT (in the docs folder) and select Copy.  Right click the bottom of the Pipeline Out column (lower right) and Paste.  This will copy the CustomerDT document with a name of Untitled. Change the name to CustomerDT, as shown below.  Lastly, map ffvalues to CustomerDT by dragging and dropping.  Save (Ctrl-S).


·  Drag a MAP step from the Palette on the right side of the flow editor into your service as shown below.  If the Palette is not displayed, you can expand/collapse the Palette by clicking the small arrow highlighted below.  Save your work.


·  Your service is now completed and your CSV input file is now converted to an IS doc type.  The IS doc type can be mapped as input to any other service within the IS by dragging and dropping – left to right. 

Step 5:  Test your Flat File Service #

In this step:  You will run your service which will go out and read in the flat file and convert it to an IS doc type.

·  In the Package Navigator view, right-click on your newly created service, processCustomerFF, and select Run As -> Run Flow Service from the popup menu.  There are no input parameters to this service so click OK.


·  Double click on the Results tab, to maximize/minimize the view.  As you can see the flat file input has been parsed and mapped to an IS document type. 

Conclusion #

You have created a service to get a CSV flat file from the file system and converted it into an IS document type where it can be mapped into other services/systems.  We created a Flat File dictionary containing our record layouts.  Because we created our flat file elements in a dictionary they can be shared across all flat file schemas, simply by referencing them from the schema.  While this tutorial processed a fairly simple CSV file, the flat file capabilities are very powerful.  We can process delimited, fixed length, variable length, hierarchical, EDI and many other type of flat files.

To import the solution of this tutorial download End FlatFileTutorial.zip and follow the directions in the Import an IS Package tutorial.

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