4.         Advanced Robots for Data Integration

Using Irobot, you are able to:

1)      Define new data sources for databases and files;

2)      Draw data from data sources;

3)      Save results to databases or files.

 

4.1.        Define New Data Sources for Databases and Files

Data sources are defined where you map data to form inputs.  Bring up the form-value panel from the menu “View à Value List”, or clicking the  icon on the toolbar: .  The form-value panel looks like:

 

Right click on the an entry in the list box, and select the “From Database …” like:

 

Existing data sources are listed after the “Data sources:” in the browser window.  You can select and existing data source from the drop down list or create a new data source by clicking on the “New” after the list of data sources. 

 

Currently, Irobot support three types of data sources:

4.2.            Access database: Microsoft Access database;

4.3.            CSV file: Each CSV file includes a line of data fields, and a list of lines for data records, each field is delimited with a delimiter such as ‘,’, ‘|’, or a ‘\t’ (tab).

4.4.            Data input: You can type in data from Irobot interface, in a line-separated format.

 

The selection for the type of a new data source is shown after you clicked on the “New” from the previous page, like:

 

Click on the radio button before the “Access database”, “CSV file”, or “Input” to select a new data source type. 

 

1)     Create a Data Source from “Access database”

Click on the “Access database” radio button from candidate data source types.  It opens the page like:

 

Click on the “Browse …” or “浏览” button and select an access database ending with ‘.mdb’. Then click the [Next] button.  It shows a page like:

 

Select a table in the Access database by clicking the radio button before it, for example, the “test” table in the above example, and click [OK], a page is shown like:

 

Click the “Done” button to confirm the creation of the “test” data source.  It returns to the data source page and you can choose the newly created data source from the drop-down list like:

 

 

Once selected, the table fields are listed on the right of the page (shown above).

 

2)     Create a Data Source from “CSV file”

Click on the “CSV file” radio button from candidate data source types.  It opens the page like:

 

Click on the “Browse …” or “浏览” button and select a CSV file such as ‘D:\test.txt’. Then click the [Next] button.  It shows a page like:

 

 

Give this new CSV data source a name like ‘csvtable’ and click the [OK] button. The new data source is shown.  Click the “Done” to confirm the new data source.   Refer previous section on: Create a Data Source from “Access database”

 

3)     Create a Data Source from “Input”

Click on the “Input” radio button from candidate data source types.  It opens the page like:

Give this data source a name and enter data in the text box, separating each data with a new line, and click the [Next] button.  The new data source is shown.  Click the “Done” to confirm the new data source.   Refer section on: Create a Data Source from “Access database”

 

4.2.        Draw Data from Data Sources

When form inputs are connected to table fields of a data source, the robot will continuously draw data from the data source, fill into the corresponding form inputs and complete the form action.  For this purpose, you need to first create a data source for each database and file where your data is located.  Then set up the mapping between the data source fields and the form inputs. 

 

Follow the previous section (8.1) and bring up the form-value panel.  Right click on the an entry in the list box, and select the “From Database …” like:

 

On the top of the browser window, there is a drop-down list of available data sources.  If you have not created your data source, click the “New” link and follows the steps in section (8.1) to create a new data source. 

 

Select a data source from the drop-down list.  On the top-right side of the browser window, data fields of the selected data source are shown under the “Table:”.  On the right of the browser, all variables defined in events are shown under the “Variables”.  Form inputs are listed on the left of the browser window, where the “Input” column shows the surrounding text of the form inputs, and the “Value” column shows the name of the form input. 

 

To connect a data field or a variable to a form input, click on the input box under the “From Database” column of the “Input group:” table, then click on a name under the “Field” column of the “Table” or “Variables” table, a name will appear in the focused input box.  You can alternatively type in the data source field name, or the variable name prefixed by “$”, in the input box. 

 

You can optionally enter a condition expression in the text box under the “Input condition:”.  Only data satisfying the condition will be used for form submission. 

 

Click on the [Confirm] button to confirm the changes. 

4.3.        Save Results to Databases or Files

Saving data are defined in events.  Shows the task panel by choosing from “Viewà Path List” menu, or clicking on the  icon on the tool bar of .  It shows the task panel like:

 

Right-click on an action in the list box and select the “Save Variable …” from the pop-up menu, like:

 

On the browser window, it shows a page like:

 

Click the [Create a save variable action] button, it shows a page like:

On the top of the page, select an event when the variables will be saved after the “When:”, and write an optional condition expression after the “Under condition:”.

 

Additional variables can be created under the “Define new variables:”.  A new variable can be an expression to compute a new variable, a transformation in HTQL expression to extract data from the current action page, or a constant of a sequence of text. 

 

For the “Save on condition”, write an expression condition when a group of variables will be saved to a target file.  Select a target type from the choice of “Database”, “XML file”, and “Text file”, and select a file name or a data source for it. 

 

Now add multiple variables to the “Save Variables” table, each with a target field name and an expression.  If you are saving to a database, the target field name has to be a field name of the data source.  If you are saving to a XML file or a text file, you can give any name to the target field name.  An example is like:

 

Remember to click on the [Update] button to confirm the changes.