Data Transfer Workbench and data migration: vini, vidi, vinci with the SDK Object Browser
Data migration is a very delicate point in a B1 implementation (not to mention in the development of a new Add-on solution that involves it). More over, to some B1 partners, the data migration process is a whole new project if is not planned properly, because importing data from legacy or third party application can become a real headache: DTW 2005 is the aspirin (a really strong one indeed). While in a project, one of my fellow consultants start using the DTW, but had a lot of problems creating the objects from the columns of the legacy software. He did what any consultant will do: ask our technicians; the answer: I got a lot of complains from them because they didn’t have the time to help the entire consultants on field about XML queries. After a lot of telephone hours the problem was clear: he did not have a profound knowledge of XML. The real problem of DTW is indeed the XML objects generated to upload the information to the Database. If you plan to include simple objects (like Stock Taking) you will only have to deal with three columns, but if you need to upload a Marketing Document you will need to deal with a lot more. The real problem for the consultants (and for some programmers) is that they do not understand clearly the content of each XML Element in the objects. Some of you may say “Well use the SDK Documentation, its all there”, but to decipher a whole object this way is very time consuming. Something I have learned on field is that many of us use different terms to refer to the same thing. The vocabulary of a functional consultant and the vocabulary of a technical consultant are in some terms like water and oil. The functional consultant has a financial knowledge that the technical consultant does not. With one of our programmers, Nicolas Ramirez, we created an application to solve this problem: The SDK Object Browser. This application gives the possibility to a functional consultant, to export to a XML document any object within a B1 Database to decipher in a very clear way the content of each field needed to import information using the DTW. The idea is simple (yet powerful): based on an object (Items, Invoices, etc.) already created in B1 you can export its information and compare it to the XML file generated by the SDK Object Browser (aha, so that is what that field is). Our consultants love it (so do our programmers!!). Some one said you always have to give to get, so here it is: you can download this application here free. It’s very simple to use, but if you need any help using it just blog! Hope you find it as useful as we have. Oh by the way, you need .Net 2.0 to run it and the link will not work, unless you are logged on with your user and password in SDN!! Happy data migration.