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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert
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Many a times as an Integration Architect / Integration Consultant / Interface Designer we are faced with choices on which technology / tool to use. There are several ways to skin a cat. In tech speak that translates to how do we deliver an interface with the "right" mapping technology? That usually boils down to "Best Practice" (SAP recommended approach) or "Best Fit" (for the client). However, it is more often determined by available skill set and what the said resource is comfortable with.

So what is the "right" answer? Is there such a thing as a "right" answer? What works well for a particular client may not hold true for others. There is no "one size fits all". Hence I will not attempt to answer this question. Instead I will provide my point of view drawn purely from personal experiences.

The below table is a summary of my experiences from several sites and projects over a period of close to 10 years. This is not a guide by any means; but a philosophical approach to the world of integration and associated mapping tools.

Mapping Technology
Rating (out of 5)MeritsLimitationsSites
  • SAP recommended
  • Preferred by most Consultants (new age)
  • Graphical representation
  • Easy to follow
  • No coding required
  • In built functions to do almost everything
  • Drag and drop mechanism
  • Widely used
  • Deeply nested structures can make the mapping complex
  • Need to resort to Java UDFs / XSLT for simplification
Graphical w/ Java UDFs4
(best of both Graphical and Java worlds)
Use Java where your canvas looks almost unreadable / difficult to maintain
  • Not many (a complex schemas will always pose a challenge irrespective of technology)
  • Need very good Java skills
  • Gaining preference
  • Tool of choice for traditional middleware Consultants
  • It’s not coding but skilful manipulation of XML trees is a skill set that not all have
  • XSDs not required; hence no schema; and thus name value pairs would work
  • Lightweight
  • Perfect where your data model can be dynamic and hence there is no fixed schema (name / value pairs)
  • Very good understanding of XML
  • Needs a different skill set – XSLT and Xpath
  • Extra tools required for XSLT mapping
A few large sites
Java (not Java UDFs)1Anything can be done programmatically if you are a Java guru
  • Old school
  • Needs a highly skilled Java resource
Few sites with small number of interfaces
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