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The previous patterns describe how to construct messages and how to route them to the correct destination. In many cases, enterprise integration solutions route messages between existing applications such as legacy systems, packaged applications, homegrown custom applications, or applications operated by external partners. Each of these applications is usually built around a proprietary data model. Each application may have a slightly different notion of the Customer entity , the attributes that define a Customer and which other entities a Customer is related to. For example, the accounting system may be more interested in the customer's tax payer ID numbers while the customer-relationship management (CRM) system stores phone numbers and addresses. The application’s underlying data model usually drives the design of the physical database schema, an interface file format or a programming interface (API) -- those entities that an integration solution has to interface with. As a result, the applications expect to receive messages that mimic the application's internal data format.

In addition to the proprietary data models and data formats incorporated in the various applications, integration solutions often times interact with standardized data formats that seek to be independent from specific applications. There are a number of consortia and standards bodies that define these protocols, such as RosettaNet, ebXML, OAGIS and many other, industry specific consortia. In many cases, the integration solution needs to be able to communicate with external parties using the ‘official’ data formats while the internal systems are based on proprietary formats.

How can systems using different data formats communicate with each other using messaging?

Use a special filter, a Message Translator, between other filters or applications to translate one data format into another.

The Message Translator is the messaging equivalent of the Adapter pattern described in [GoF]. An adapter converts the interface of a component into a another interface so it can be used in a different context.

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Related patterns: Canonical Data Model, Channel Adapter, Content Filter, Content Enricher, Message Channel, Message Endpoint, Message Router, Message Translator, Messaging Bridge, Normalizer, Pipes and Filters, Shared Database, Claim Check


Enterprise Integration Patterns Find the full description of this pattern in:
Enterprise Integration Patterns
Gregor Hohpe and Bobby Woolf
ISBN 0321200683
650 pages
Addison-Wesley
Creative Commons License Parts of this page are available under the Creative Commons Attribution license. You can reuse the pattern icon, the pattern name, the problem and solution statements (in bold), and the sketch under this license. Other portions of the text, such as text chapters or the full pattern text, are protected by copyright.

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Table of Contents
Revision History
Preface
Introduction
Solving Integration Problems using Patterns
Integration Styles
File Transfer
Shared Database
Remote Procedure Invocation
Messaging
Messaging Systems
Message Channel
Message
Pipes and Filters
Message Router
Message Translator
Message Endpoint
Messaging Channels
Point-to-Point Channel
Publish-Subscribe Channel
Datatype Channel
Invalid Message Channel
Dead Letter Channel
Guaranteed Delivery
Channel Adapter
Messaging Bridge
Message Bus
Message Construction
Command Message
Document Message
Event Message
Request-Reply
Return Address
Correlation Identifier
Message Sequence
Message Expiration
Format Indicator
Interlude: Simple Messaging
JMS Request/Reply Example
.NET Request/Reply Example
JMS Publish/Subscribe Example
Message Routing
Content-Based Router
Message Filter
Dynamic Router
Recipient List
Splitter
Aggregator
Resequencer
Composed Msg. Processor
Scatter-Gather
Routing Slip
Process Manager
Message Broker
Message Transformation
Envelope Wrapper
Content Enricher
Content Filter
Claim Check
Normalizer
Canonical Data Model
Interlude: Composed Messaging
Synchronous (Web Services)
Asynchronous (MSMQ)
Asynchronous (TIBCO)
Messaging Endpoints
Messaging Gateway
Messaging Mapper
Transactional Client
Polling Consumer
Event-Driven Consumer
Competing Consumers
Message Dispatcher
Selective Consumer
Durable Subscriber
Idempotent Receiver
Service Activator
System Management
Control Bus
Detour
Wire Tap
Message History
Message Store
Smart Proxy
Test Message
Channel Purger
Interlude: Systems Management Example
Instrumenting Loan Broker
Integration Patterns in Practice
Case Study: Bond Trading System
Concluding Remarks
Emerging Standards
Appendices
Bibliography