|Brief Overview of Anvil
|Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:32 am
|Joined: 11 Feb 2008
Anvil is a systems integration tool kit that uses state of the art technologies to allow you to tie your business systems together in a seamless whole. Besides being an integration tool Anvil extends the value of any implementation by providing a solid processing and management model for enterprise data. Unlike other available products, Anvil empowers you by providing a set of simple yet robust tools, to design processes that work best for you.
To install and run Anvil the system requirements below are needed:
• Pentium 4 Processor, 256mb memory, 50mb free disk space
• Windows XP, Windows 2000 or Windows 2003
• .NET Framework v1.1
• .NET v1.1 Service Pack 1 (for Anvil Control Center)
The Anvil Method
A method or process is a logically related series of activities for the benefit of a defined objective. Anvil creates a business system process that is expandable to meet many criteria. The 5 steps in the Anvil process are:
1) Data Source Connection
2) Process Flow design
4) Method Adjustment
Data Source Connection
Anvil uses repository drivers to access a data source. The repository driver can describe what entities are in the data source, format optimized statements for all entities, provide transaction control for the repository, and translate query options between the internal Anvil format and the native format of the specific data source. Anvil provides a number of native, general purpose and product specific drivers such as those for GoldMine™ and Heat™, that layer on top of the data drivers. Anvil can also refresh a data source which means it will recognize any changes made since the data source was first connected. Any settings that you have made are retained unless a required physical field is removed.
Process Flow Design
Within Anvil, a process is a transform that’s applied to all records that match the filter defined for the transform. A transform can be thought of as a guide on how to process a single source record. Anvil supports three types of transforms; standard, no source and callable.
A standard transform has a source entity and will process all records that match the filter. An entity is referred to as a storage area within a repository. Each entity has an identical set of fields.
No Source Transform
A no source transform does not have a source entity and will execute once only.
A callable transform does not have a source entity, and will only execute when called from another transform. Callable transforms are used to create reusable tool sets.
The Anvil spy utility allows you to test your processes in a safe environment. By default Anvil will not commit changes to any data store using the spy utility. The Spy Utility contains 3 main tabs Workspace, Watch and Information; the Information tab has 5 sub tabs. These tabs are named Statements, Executed Tool, Log, Context and Tool Settings.
The tabs within the Information tab are much more detailed then discussed here but are beneficial and required within the process flow. For example the Log tab gives a scrolling view of Anvil’s activity and the Statements tab shows all statements that have been executed against any data source since the transform started.
Once the method is tested the design can be adjusted within the Anvil Designer, based on the test results. The Testing and Method Adjustment process steps are an iterative pattern until the business need is met.
Deployment & Automation
A satisfactory Anvil file can now be deployed within either the Standalone Executor, or can be automated in the control center. This is the final step in Anvil process.
Anvil is designed as a layered database engine, with plug in capability for data drivers, wizards, and tools. If there is a wizard, formatter or converter required and available on the web site, simply download it, place it in the Anvil install directory and the next time you start the designer, Anvil will locate it.
Anvil is designed from the very beginning to be extendable. In addition to the data drivers Anvil has a set of product specific drivers (GoldMine™, Heat™, Act™, and more to come) that understand the internal structure, and business rules of the product. These drivers enable quick, simple integrations that obey all of the business rules for that product. The tool set can be, and is constantly being expanded; even the menuing system adapts to the product drivers loaded at any time.
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