Understanding the Flat File Utility

When external systems send flat files to you for inbound transactions, you must develop complementary processes to translate incoming files into messages or translate outbound messages into files.

This is the flow for inbound file processing when you use the Flat File utility:

  1. The utility receives a flat file in the form of a file layout object from an external system.

    The flat file consists of one of the following items:

    • The relevant data.

    • An index file that contains pointers to the data.

      Each index file lists the names of a set of data files to be processed. These files contain the application data, which is in one of the following formats: fixed record, Comma Separated Values (CSV), or XML.

  2. The utility reads the file that is submitted for processing:

    • If the file is an index file, the Flat File utility loads the list of data files that are associated with each index file to be processed into a parameter table.

    • If it is a single data file, the utility inserts the single data file into a parameter table.

      Note: If additional fields in the file layout are not in the message definition, the additional fields are ignored during the copying of the flat file data to the message and are not included in the message.

  3. The utility loops through the list of data files to be processed and reads each data file.

  4. The utility copies the row sets of the data files into the message.

  5. The utility publishes the message.

  6. The subscribing systems receive the message and initiate normal inbound data processing.