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LANSA Integrator

LANSA’s data integration software simplifies exchanging data between applications and transferring files and documents between companies.Data integration software that connects applications and businesses

LANSA’s data integration software simplifies exchanging data between applications and transferring files and documents between businesses. It enables bi-directional flows of data and/or files in almost any format including XML, text, image, email, PDF, Microsoft Excel, EDI X12 and EDIFACT.

LANSA Integrator is strategic middleware that provides tools and services to enable:

  • Application-to-application data exchanges.
  • Business-to-business document transfer and data interchanges.
  • Automating manual data integration processes.
  • Simplified data integration solution design and reduced development effort.

Integrator comprises services for data transformation, communications, email, messaging and Web services, complemented by interface tools and utilities. It supports multiple data formats, including XML, EDI, text, video, SMS, email, Microsoft Excel workbooks, PDF files and relational databases. Developers can use these services in their integration applications to transform data from one format to another. It supports multiple data transport methods to move data including HTTP, FTP, SFTP, Web services and message queue software. Any application can call Integrator's services using simple APIs.

Integrator comprises services for data transformation, communications, email, messaging and Web services
Figure 1: LANSA Integrator Server Components, Services, Interface Tools and Utilities

Integrator's interface tools provide ready-made functions and APIs that developers can use in their applications. Developers can also extend Integrator's capabilities by adding their own functions and services.

The User Agent is a deployable utility for managing file transfers. Users can send data in Excel workbooks, text files or XML files from their desktop, laptop or mobile device to remote servers. Developers can customize the User Agent so that users can initiate file transfers by clicking an icon, thereby simplifying the management of recurring file uploads to a server.

Integrator's administration utility is a tool designed to assist system administrators who manage LANSA Integrator.

The Java Service Manager provides the infrastructure and management services that co-ordinate Integrator's data integration services.

How can you use Integrator?

LANSA Integrator is data integration software for integrating applications and sending data to/from customers, suppliers and partners. It includes services that developers can use to manage integration interfaces, call upon communications protocols and transform data from one format to another. With Integrator, developers don't need a deep knowledge of the underlying technologies used to build integration solutions.

Examples of how to use the LANSA data integration software:

  • Send orders to a manufacturer automatically as XML, text, email or in an EDI format .
  • Transfer files securely from desktop or laptop computers to remote servers.
  • Send data from a mobile device to an application running on a server.
  • Generate SMS text messages to a mobile device describing the status of orders or deliveries in real-time.
  • Connect a Java-based credit card application to an order entry system.
  • Integrate back-office applications using data formatted as XML and sent via IBM WebSphere MQ messaging services.
  • Provide PDF documents, secured with digital certificates and password protected, sent via email for contract negotiations and agreements.
  • Provide Web service interfaces to existing line-of-business applications.
  • Send procurement documents to suppliers and receiving acknowledgements from suppliers.
  • Receive a text file via FTP, converting it to a PDF and sending the PDF as an email attachment.

Some of your customers, suppliers or partners may mandate the use of XML or EDI to exchange data; others may use more generic formats like spreadsheets or text files. Integrator's flexibility allows you to choose from an array of many formats to satisfy any data transformation and integration requirements.

Why should business and corporate executives choose Integrator?

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Suppose a new supplier offers you a deal that provides products, with improved customer service at a reduced cost, but requires an application-to-application interface that your line-of-business (LOB) applications do not support. To take advantage of the deal and purchase from this supplier you will have to develop additional interfaces to your LOB applications that conform to the interface requirements prescribed by the supplier's application.

Without Integrator, your developers must build both the interfaces to extract data from your LOB applications and the data integration services that Integrator already provides. If your developers don't have integration skills or tools, you will have to outsource the work to build the interfaces and the services.

With Integrator, your developers build only the interfaces to extract data from your LOB applications and pass the data to Integrator. They define which Integrator services to use to transform the data to a format that complies with the interface requirement of the supplier's application.

Don't overlook the fact that you can also use Integrator to automate and/or improve the efficiency of interfaces with existing suppliers.

Your developers will be more productive when using Integrator. The interfaces will be developed quickly so that your company can begin a relationship with a new supplier sooner.

Why developers should use Integrator?

The technologies used in application interfaces are many and complex. Developers must learn the technologies and their APIs or find an alternative way to build the interfaces. Integrator provides ready-made interfaces for the technologies including XML, Web services, message queues and email. Developers issue commands like connect, get and put and Integrator manages the interfaces to the underlying APIs and services. Developing interfaces and transforming data is easier using Integrator and also the integration solutions are less error prone.

Integrator's APIs and built-in functions simplify the task of building interfaces using Visual LANSA or RPG which results in faster development and implementation of integration requirements.

Integrator manages Web services to provide interoperable data exchange across heterogeneous computing platforms. Using Web services, companies can implement application-to-application integration across corporate boundaries. A customer's LOB application can place an order by accessing an order processing Web service. The data integration software design requires no amendments for specific customers and the order entry program requires only the addition of an interface to Integrator to publish the Web service. Integrator takes care of the data transformations, the Web service interfaces and the request-response process management.

A complex task made easier

What is the most difficult task associated with developing and deploying applications? The answer is designing and building data flows to link a new application with existing applications, especially data flows that cross corporate boundaries. How do you send data from one application to another? How do you exchange files with suppliers, especially when you have little control over the data format and transport mechanisms? How do you manage data transformation and ensure applications receive data in a format they understand? These are the questions to consider when designing data integration software.

Integrator provides the data transformation, transport services and infrastructure that can assist developers when building data integration software solutions. It simplifies integration design by providing the tools needed to receive, extract, transform, and send data. Developers only need to define the data, transformation rules and choose a data transport. Integrator takes care of the detailed work that ensures the data is in the desired format and reaches its destination successfully.

Designing data integration software

Implementing a data integration software solution involves the following actions:

  • Defining an interface between the source of the data and Integrator.
  • Describing an interface between Integrator and the data's destination.
  • Choosing the Integrator services that will extract, transform and send the data.

Developers interact with Integrator's services to manipulate the data using simple commands rather than coding complex APIs. Integrator uses no invasive integration techniques that require changes to source or target applications for the integration to operate successfully.

Let's look at an example. Suppose a company's financial data resides in a database and the requirements are to send balance sheet data to an Excel workbook and an XBRL version of the balance sheet to the company's auditor. The first step is to use Integrator's SQL services to describe the interface to the database. The next step is to define how to transform the data for the workbook so that Integrator's Excel service can create the workbook. The last step is mapping the balance sheet data from the database to XBRL so that Integrator's XML service can create and send the XBRL document.

LANSA Integrator can extract financial data from a database and deliver it as a financial eporting XML file with a companion Excel workbook
Figure 2: LANSA Integrator can extract financial data from a database and deliver it as a financial reporting XML file with a companion Excel workbook

Integrator's data access services (SQL and file system access) retrieve the financial data. The XML services create an XBRL file, the document and file services generate an Excel workbook, and Integrator uses its data transport services to convey the XBRL file and Excel workbook to their destinations.

Features

Summary

  • APIs and built-in functions for Visual LANSA and RPG developers
  • Ready-made services for application-to-application integration
  • Services for enabling business-to-business integration
  • Multiple data transformations
  • Extensible service catalogue – extend supplied services with customer-built services
  • XML and EDI document parsing, generation and transformation
  • Real-time and batch data integration and document exchange
  • Real-time and batch file transfer
  • Event monitoring and trigger capabilities
  • Deployable file transfer utility (User Agent) for uploading files to remote servers

LANSA Integrator architecture

  • Integrator's Java Service Manager manages interfaces and marshals services
  • Fast and scalable multi-threading in a single Java Virtual Machine
  • Integrator Studio (property editor and management tools)
  • Secure communications (e.g. HTTPS, SFTP, TLS and SSL)
  • Extensive tracing and logging for debug and audit
  • LANSA Repository for metadata management

Document and file services

  • File management (move, copy, delete)
  • PDF service to create text and graphical PDF documents
  • ZIP service to create and extract archive files and directories

Data access services

  • Access data using SQL from ODBC or JDBC databases including DB2 on IBM i, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase, and MySQL
  • File formats include CSV, TSV and TXT
  • Microsoft Excel workbooks
  • LANSA working list services
  • Remote function invocation for Java developers
  • Supports ASC X12 and UN/EDIFACT EDI file formats and Standard Exchange Format Editor
  • Handles data encoding Unicode, ASCII and EBCDIC
  • Manages multiple clients with different encoding and locale information simultaneously

Email services

  • Send and receive email messages (POP3 and SMTP)
  • Email attachments

Message services

  • Messaging interfaces support ActiveMQ (Apache), SonicMQ (Progress Software), Rendezvous (Tibco), WebLogic JMS (Oracle) and WebSphere MQ (IBM)
  • Supports Java Message Services API
  • Send SMS text messages via SMTP or HTTP

Web services

  • REST, SOAP and XML Web services
  • Supports JavaScript Object Notation (JSON)

XML services

  • Automatically generates XSL style sheets for data transformation (XSLT)
  • Embedded XML parser with XML editor
  • Visual XML Wizard maps XML schemas and XML documents to LANSA and 3GL program data structures
  • Read, write and parse XML
  • Supports streamed XML
  • Validate XML documents using DTD and XML schema grammars

Transport services

  • Transport services include HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, SFTP, SMTP, POP3 and messaging software
  • JSM Direct HTTP service extension for Web services
  • EDIINT AS2, AS3 and EDI
  • Secure SMTP email
  • TCP/IP versions 4 and 6

Database support

  • DB2 on IBM i (System i, iSeries, AS/400) servers
  • Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle and Sybase on Windows servers
  • Oracle on Linux servers
  • JDBC accessible databases

IBM i specific services

  • Native services support data queues, message queues and user space communications
  • Read and write documents stored in the Integrated File System

Requirements

LANSA Integrator on IBM i:

  • IBM i V5R4 or later
  • Java Runtime Environment version 1.4 or later (QR codes require 1.5)
  • IBM Toolbox for Java

LANSA Integrator on Windows:

  • Windows Server 2008 or later
  • Java Runtime Environment version 1.4 or later (32-bit only)

LANSA Integrator on Linux:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server (Intel) version 5.4 or later
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (Intel) version 10 or later

Integrator Studio

Integrator Studio is a tool used by administrators to manage Integrator's services and includes:

  • Configuration and property editor
  • Editor for EDI Standard Exchange Format (SEF) files
  • Trace data viewer
  • XML editor
  • XML viewer displays data and schema

Studio also provides a single management point for multiple instances of Integrator.

User Agent file transfer utility

The User Agent is a stand-alone application that can transfer files to Integrator. The application has a graphical interface and also operates from a command line. Users can send files using the graphical interface and developers can use the command line mode in scripts to automate file transfers. Supported file types include Microsoft Excel workbooks, text files (comma or tab delimited), PDFs, images and XML files.

The User Agent stand-alone application can transfer files to LANSA Integrator

The User Agent runs on computers equipped with a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) including Windows and Linux PCs and also Windows, mid-range and mainframe servers.

The file transport options include HTTP, HTTPS, SFTP, FTP and JMS message services.

Integrator's services for transforming and transporting data make it the "Swiss Army Knife" of data integration. When developers confront a situation requiring data exchange and/or transformation there is an Integrator service that can simplify the task, and they can extend Integrator's functionality by developing their own services or requesting LANSA to build services.

Here’s an explanatory list of all the services Integrator provides.

Expand All

Business documents: EDI and AS 2, 3
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)EDI is a set of standards for structuring business documents exchanged between businesses, organizations and government entities.

Integrator's EDI services can:
  • Send and receive EDI documents using FTP, SMTP, HTTP, HTTPS and AS2/AS3.
  • Parse and validate EDI documents.
  • Transform an EDI document into a data set, or a data set into an EDI document.
  • Update a database with data from an EDI document or create an EDI document from data in a database.
  • Collate multiple documents into a single EDI document.
Applicability Statement (AS2 and AS3)The AS2/AS3 specification defines how to transport data securely over the Internet using digital certificates and data encryption.Integrator's AS2 and AS3 file transfer services can:
  • Receive and send AS2/AS3 transactions.
  • Send message disposition notifications.
  • Manage X.509 certificates.
Documents and files
Excel serviceThe Excel service reads and/or creates Microsoft Excel workbooks.

Use case: Many companies distribute information in spreadsheet format as a convenient way to exchange data between suppliers and partners. Developers can use the service to create an Excel workbook including data extracted from a corporate database or line-of-business application, and then use the SMTP mail service to send the workbook to users on a distribution list.
PDF service for documentsThe PDF service provides developers with the tools to generate PDF documents including text, images, bar codes and QR codes.

Use case: An application can merge data and images into PDF documents and optionally add password protection to distribute information in read-only mode.
PDF service for IBM i spooled filesThis service generates PDF documents from IBM i spooled files.

Use case: Using this PDF service, developers can write applications that automatically convert reports (spool files) to PDF documents and send them to nominated recipients via email using Integrator's email services.
Zip serviceThe zip service accepts one or more files and creates a single compressed (or zipped) file.

Use case: Use the zip service in an online banking application that includes the option to download copies of statements. When a user selects 10 statements, the zip service sends an email containing a single zipped attachment including all 10 statements instead of sending 10 emails or 1 email with 10 attachments.
Data access
SQL serviceThe SQL service allows IBM i applications developed using LANSA or RPG to access data in databases that reside on other IBM i, Windows, or Linux servers. Any database with a JDBC driver is accessible, including DB2, MySQL, Oracle and SQL Server.

Use case: Developers can use the SQL service to include data from multiple databases in an application. For example, combine product item data from a DB2 database (IBM i server), customer data from a SQL Server database (Windows server), and logistics data from an Oracle database (Linux server).
File system managementThe file system management service allows applications to manipulate objects in a server's file system, such as the Integrated File System (IFS) on an IBM i server. Applications can perform actions including copy, rename and delete.
LDAP serviceThe Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) service provides developers with the tools to access and retrieve information from LDAP directories. Examples are accessing telephone numbers, email addresses and network devices such as printers.
Email
POP3 mail serviceThe POP3 service enables applications to receive email messages and examine their content including sender details, subject, message text and attachments.

Use case: Use the mail service for task management in Human Resources (HR) processes. Employees can send email messages to a HR email address and an application can examine the message content and then create a workflow task for a person or group in HR.
SMTP mail serviceThe Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) mail service enables applications to send email messages. Applications can set property values such as recipient addresses, subject and message text, content type and character encoding, and also include one or more attachments.

The service also supports a variety of encryption techniques.

Use case: Use this service to distribute PDF copies of month-end reports, or automatically respond to data in incoming email messages.
File transfer
File transferIntegrator provides multiple options for sending and receiving files:
  • File transfer using FTP or FTPS.
  • Secure file transfer using Secure Shell network protocol (SSH).
  • Secure document transfer using EDIINT AS2 and AS3.
  • File transfer using HTTP or HTTPS.
Messaging
Message servicesMessage services enable programs to send messages and files to message management software such as IBM WebSphere MQ. Programs create messages, pass them to Integrator using commands such as send and receive, and Integrator provides the interfaces to the messaging software. The messaging software transports messages and files to their destinations.

LANSA Integrator Message Service

Use case: Using the message services and WebSphere MQ, an RPG application can receive an order on an IBM i server in Chicago, send the order to a Windows server in London and fulfil the inventory from a German warehouse managed by software running on an AIX server in Berlin.
SMS serviceThe SMS service allows an application to send Short Message Service (SMS) text messages to mobile devices.

Use case: A typical use of the SMS service is to automate sending messages to on-call employees when events occur, for example sending messages to engineers when a failure occurs in a production process, or to data centre staff to indicate the status of long-running jobs.
Web services
SOAPThe Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) services provide tools to consume or publish Web services using the Web Services Description Language (WSDL).

Applications can use a Web service to retrieve product information from a manufacturer, or publish a Web service that accepts orders and updates an ERP system.

Use case: A Web service that accepts orders can receive an order from a customer, call a distributor's Web service to determine stock availability, then call the UPS Web Service to calculate shipping price, and finally send back an order confirmation.
RESTREST (Representational State Transfer) defines a set of architectural principles for building HTTP-based Web services.

Integrator's REST services support these principles and developers can implement the example above using REST Web services.
XML
XML serviceThe XML services provide tools for developer to use when working with XML files including reading, parsing, creating, sending and receiving the files.

Integrator can read and parse any XML document and map it into data structures in an application.

Use case: Integrator can receive AS2 encrypted documents via SOAP, map the XML documents into IBM i files, then create XML invoices.
Data transport

The data transport services provide multiple ways to send and receive data.

FTP serviceThe FTP service allows an application to send and receive files to or from servers and supports both standard and secure FTP. Service commands include connecting to a server, creating, deleting, renaming and navigating folders on the server, creating and deleting files, and transferring files to or from a server.

Developers can automate moving files from one server to another, regardless of platform or operating system.

Use case: Moving daily sales and/or customer data from several servers to a business intelligence server.
HTTP and HTTPSTransport data across the Internet.
FTP, FTPS and SFTPSend and receive files to or from one computer to another.
  • FTP is the TCP/IP file transfer protocol.
  • FTPS is the TCP/IP file transfer over SSL.
  • SFTP (secure FTP) uses Secure Shell (SSH) to transfer files.
Messaging software and Java Message ServicesSend and receive data via messages.

Integrator supports messaging software interfaces for ActiveMQ (Apache), WebSphere MQ (IBM), SonicMQ (Progress Software) and Tibco Rendezvous (Tibco).

Java Message Service (JMS) API is message middleware for sending messages between applications.
SMTP and POP3Send and receive email messages and attachments.
Remote function invocation
Remote Function Invocation (RFI) serviceThe Remote Function Invocation (RFI) service allows Java programs to interact with RPG or LANSA programs to access data on IBM i servers without using JDBC. The data in a data structure on an IBM i server can be a row from a database table, a collection of data combined from multiple data sources, data from a file in the IFS, or even a single data item.

LANSA Integrator Remote Function Invocation Service

Java programs work with the data as if it is a local object and can send objects to, or receive objects from the RFI service as serialised, class-like objects. Data is available in read-only mode or Java programs can update the data. When a Java program updates data it can send a revised copy of the object to a program on a server via the RFI service.

For example, a distributor who requires real-time access to a manufacturer's ERP system running on an IBM i server can use a Java program to access stock availability, pricing and shipping data on the server from a Linux server, Windows desktop computer or mobile device.

Advantages of the RFI service are:
  • Java programs do not need to know anything about where the data resides.
  • Accessing data is faster because the RFI service requires no remote database connections using JDBC or similar database access methods.
  • There is no need for an exchange of XML documents and the implicit overhead of creating and interpreting the XML.
Transport mechanism for moving the data is WebSockets over HTTP or HTTPs and the RFI service can operate via proxy servers.

Java programs can run on any server, computer or mobile device that has a Java Virtual Machine (JVM), including IBM i, IBM AIX, IBM z/OS, Windows, Oracle Solaris, Linux, Apple iOS and Android.

Java programs can run on the same server as the RPG or LANSA programs or on a remote server, desktop computer or mobile device.
aXes terminal service
aXes Terminal ServiceThe aXes Terminal Service allows an application to connect to and interact with aXes Terminal Server to navigate, interrogate and/or edit 5250 application screens on IBM i servers. Applications can interact directly with 5250 applications running on the same or remote IBM i servers.

LANSA Integrator aXes Terminal Service

Applications can issue commands including:
  • Connect (and logon) and disconnect the 5250 session
  • Interrogate the values of current screen identifiers, labels and field values
  • Set or edit the values of fields on a screen
  • Send function keys such as ENTER and F3
  • Perform multiple operations with a single command by using aXes terminal operation scripts
This service allows developers to automate data entry tasks. For example, customers can place orders on a Web site and Integrator can automatically insert the orders into an ERP system .

These examples provide insights into how our customers are using Integrator.

The implemented solutions column describes the projects, the transport column defines the protocols used to move data and files, and the formats column identifies the data transformations used.

Implemented SolutionsTransportData Formats
Accept customer orders in XML format from a global e-business platform.HTTPXML
Accept customer orders via multiple business-to-business channels using XML and text files (CSV).FTP, HTTPText (CSV), XML
Allow retail and wholesale dealers to submit orders from their procurement systems directly into the company's ordering system to avoid re-keying orders via the Web site.HTTPText (CSV, TSV), XML
Automate a slow and costly manual order entry process to avoid keying errors, paper mishandling and distribution problems.HTTPXML
Automate an exchange of electronic documents to remove the need for printed copies of the documents.HTTPPDF
Automate receiving orders and integrating with the ERP system to reduce the cost of customer service representatives processing orders manually.HTTPMS Excel, text (CSV, TSV), XML
Comply with a corporate mandate for integration with Microsoft BizTalk Server using XML as the data format.FTPXML
Generate PDF reports providing statistics of business activity for distribution by email.SMTPPDF
Implement support for a strategic commitment to XML for real-time integration between applications.WebSphere MQXML
Integrate a Windows CRM system and IBM i applications with an outsourced Web site.FTPXML
Integrate and share data between government agencies and departments.FTP, HTTP, SMTPMS Excel, text (CSV, TSV)
Integrate applications running on IBM i servers with in-store kiosks and cash registers to capture sales in real time.HTTPText
Integrate data exchanged with an externally hosted WebSphere Commerce site.WebSphere MQEDI, MS Excel, XML
Integrate line-of-business applications with amazon.com.HTTPXML Web services
Provide a download for secure PDF files from the company's Web site.HTTPPDF
Provide a real-time interface with the eHealth Insurance portal.HTTPEDI
Provide a secure data exchange for sensitive data.HTTPS, SFTPMS Excel, text (CSV, TSV)
Provide an automated integration solution to remove manual intervention from an insurance quotation process.HTTPXML
Provide an EDI integration solution that complies with HIPAA code requirements.FTP, HTTPEDI
Provide an integration solution that accepts both batch and interactive requests and also supports remote procedure calls.HTTPSOAP, XML
Provide an integration solution that accepts multiple orders in different data formats, from multiple business partners and returns data including order acknowledgements and invoice details.FTP, SMTPMS Access, text (CSV), XML
Provide an interface to a BPCS ERP system.HTTPMS Excel, text (CSV, TSV), XML
Provide customers with information in PDF and text files for download from a Web site.HTTPPDF
Provide sales lead information from a Web site to the corporate CRM system.FTPXML
Provide support for receiving files in multiple data formats and exchanging data with customers of varying levels of technical knowledge.POP3, SMTPEDI, MS Excel, text (CSV, TSV), XML
Receive email attachments from customers and insert them into a line-of-business application.POP3EDI, MS Excel, text (CSV, TSV), XML
Send documents via EDI to trading partners.FTPEDI
Synchronise data between a DB2 database on an IBM i server and an Oracle database on a Linux server.HTTPSQL, XML
Transport data from a line-of-business application to Siebel CRM.WebSphere MQXML
Use a Web service payment gateway for credit card payments.HTTPXML Web services

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