Flat files are rows of text that convey pre-defined information. Typically, a flat file will begin with a line identifier, letting a system know what string of data is about to follow. A Flat File can contain multiple lines of data with each line containing different line identifiers. Each line can have many fields of data, separated by a special character. Many systems use Flat File formats to import and export data as it is very favorable to understand easily for a machine.
In order for a Flat File to work properly, the sending or receiving system has to understand the definition of that file. Since there are no indicators on what each field represents within the file itself, something called a Multirecord Definition must be created in order for a system to understand the meaning of each field.
Here you can see that each line has a line identifier value as its first data, HDR, CLD, OLD, and TRL. This tells a system (based on their Multi Record Definition) that each line will contain a certain string of data, one field after another.
Flat Files have two distinct types, fixed-length or delimited. Fixed-length files give an exact character to length to each field. This means that field 1 starts at position 0 and is 3 characters long, field 2 starts at position 4 and is 2 characters long, etc. The other type, delimited, is agnostic to the length of each field and only starts a new field when it encounters the delimiter character. In the example above, the character is ‘|’
You can see that each field is broken out within Babelway. This gives you the ability to manipulate each field of data however necessary. Each possible line type is defined and Babelway gives the user the ability to map each field within each line type however they need.
This does require the building of a Multirecord Defintion, we’ve created a guide on how to do so here. Babelway support is also always there to help you build this file if you do not yet have one.
Create your incoming or outgoing flat file structure from a multirecord definition file or have our team build one for you
Use simple drag & drop tools to map your flat file message to any other format for easy import/export in/from your database
Connect your Babelway environment using any EDI or non-EDI communication protocols
Babelway is not only a great self-service platform but also a team of pros ready to help you succeed.
IT Department, Vandeputte