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It was initially very hard for me to understand the message mapping when we are trained on SAP XI.I browsed and ended up getting more confused. After working with SAP XI for some time however the intuition is changed. I will try to simplify the message mapping by elucidating the concepts in the nutshell. Blog does not cover the message mapping in detail but just gives the basic understanding for any new XI developers. Part 1 of the blog provides a base for conceptual understanding of message mapping with suitable examples.

As we know XI produces the XML documents at the inbound/outbound of the integration pipeline, there is a need for us to map the source XML doc to the target XML doc. Message Mapping editor is a built in feature, which helps to map the source and target XML messages graphically.
In this blog we discuss various terms related to it.

Definition: Message Mapping

Firstly, let me define the message mapping in the way I look at it:

“Message Mapping is nothing but a set of rules for producing target XML from the source XML.These rules are nothing but relations between the source XML tags and target XML tags”.

These rules keep varying according to the business requirements on the source and target XML documents.

Sample Rule :

Sample Mapping


Illustration of Mapping Error:

Mapping Error

Definition: Representation:

Before we proceed further it is better if we have a clear understanding of the 3 terms:



: Simple XML tag.



: Property of XML tag.



: Logical grouping of set of XML tags.

In XI it is represented as shown below:

XML representation in XI:

XML tag representatin in XI

Additionally there is color indicator for the target XML messages:


Red Color

indicates that target nodes/elements/attributes are mandatory and has to be definetly mapped.


Green Color with a red circle

at the bottom indicates that there is a minimum occurrence specified for the tag which has to be met in the mapping.


Green color

indicates that we can map the nodes/elements/attributes according to the requirements.

Color Indication in the Mapping Editor:

Color Indicator in XI Mapping Editor

Contexts in Message Mapping:

Once the above concepts are clear we can proceed to the most confusing part of message mapping called “Context Handling”.
Initially when I was browsing through the training materials and mapping patterns it was really hard for me to exactly figure out what the term “Context” means. (Forget about context handling and context changing).

Definition: Context

After working out few examples I figured out that: “Context of an element is nothing but just the level (with reference to its parent node) where the XML tag appears in the given XML document”.
Level of any element is set to the immediate parent node by default.

Definition: Context Changing

Once the definition of context is very clear the rest of the terms are automatically clarified.“Context Changing is just changing the level of XML tag (element level in the XSD) in the XML document or It is just the flexibility provided by XI for changing the XSD of the XML document at the runtime”. Example given below might make you to understand it better. I added a


node and


element in the source data type and one


element in the target data type.

Default Context

The context of the


tag is automatically set to the


by default in XI which means that always


XML tag occurs under


XML tag as shown below.

Source XML message interpretation by the Mapping runtime before context change:

XML before Context Change

I changed the context of the


tag to the root


XML tag as shown below.

Changing Context in XI

Source XML message interpretation by the Mapping runtime after context change:

XML after Context Change

Definition: Context Handling

Contexts in XI can be handled by various ways like

node functions, advanced functions

, which will be, illustrated more in detail in the next blog. We also have queuing mechanisms for handling complex Context Changing in advanced user functions.

Once the above concepts are clear , working with the message mapping and trouble shooting any errors that occurred became relatively very easy for me. Part II will provide some more good examples for playing around with message mapping feature

provided by XI.

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  1. Former Member
    Excellent work, Sravya. I am eagerly awaiting your next blog. I am just about getting started on XI and am struggling with understanding the core concepts.

      1. Former Member
        During the migration process problems have been reported for this blog. The blog content may look corrupt due to not supported HTML code on this platform. Please adjust the blog content manually before moving it to an official community.
    1. Former Member
      Hi Sravya

      You have very neatly elucidated XI mapping basics in this blog. The terminology used in mapping world is difficult to understand for a beginner. I am sure this article which uses simple-plain-vanila English will be a great help.

      Great job.


  2. Former Member
    Hi This is sarat,I am working as GIS Consultant in Capgemini this is my first hour in XI and It was pretty clear.
         I would be expecting the same stuff further in next stage of blog.
  3. Former Member

    Hi Sravya,

    Good Blog..

    Can you clarify me regarding the following

    Source XML message interpretation by the Mapping runtime before context change:

    Source XML message interpretation by the Mapping runtime after context change:

    when you are changing the context for Descriptions you can directly change it to MT_SRC why do you change context for the first to Qualificaitons and then changed to context to MT_SRC

    Kindly Explain it briefly

  4. Former Member

    Hi Sravya,

    This is a great material for me who is just starting to learn PI…

    I’ll be following your blog to be more familiar with it. 🙂


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