Handling the XML Format the Easy Way on the IBM i
As organizations demand ever more modernization, IBM i users are increasingly being asked to share data with third party systems such as OPC clients or servers, databases, devices, or cloud systems. XML (eXtensible Markup Language) is a regular solution for this type of data sharing, offering structured data streams and file formats. Sharing data sets with an IBM i in XML makes them rapidly available - although until recently the effort required to create a reliable XML output from IBM i or import XML into the IBM i database often required a lot of work.
For your applications to work with XML content, you would traditionally need to create an XML parser to assist with the retrieval or creation of file content. However, the new breed of modern data management tools can remove the need of bespoke parsers to create XML from your data by leveraging spool files or database tables and simplifying the process of importing XML data into your database tables.
Modern data management tools will convert spool files or database tables to XML and import XML data to IBM i database tables on the fly or to schedule, automating the sharing of data and documents for employees, customers and suppliers using the IBM i platform. The best of these solutions are highly flexible, allowing end-users and ISVs to build seamless integration with both standard and bespoke applications.
Some of these tools are officially recognised through the IBM Partner Program, and this is a good place to search for reliable and established tool providers.
Ultimately, XML provides a flexible, open, and powerful way to help you exchange information among diverse platforms and applications. XML is widely accepted as a key component in the solution to the challenges of information exchange between applications and within B2B platforms. XML also provides a simple, extensible and, best of all, non-proprietary solution to these challenges.
If you are looking to make the sharing of data easier and more reliable with the IBM i, it is well worth exploring data management tools that create and handle XML stream files natively.
Jill is the Managing Director of Ariadne Software - makers of CoolSpools, the data management toolset for IBM i. With over 20 years leading a team of dedicated IBM i specialists, Jill focusses on the delivery of technology solutions that make the integration of data with IBM i and related systems easier and faster.