Flat File Messages with Delimited Records
Delimited records within a flat file instance message contain nested records and/or individual fields (items of data) that are separated by a predefined character or set of characters. The fields are parsed according to these separating delimiters. For example, consider the following delimited records from a flat file instance message, which contain two line items from a hypothetical purchase order:
A reasonable definition for this record in a flat file schema can be described as follows:
A delimited record named items with child delimiter (,), child order prefix, and the tag ITEMS.
A delimited, repeating record named item with child delimiter |, child order infix, and the tag ITEM.
An attribute named "partNum".
An element named "productName".
An element named "quantity".
An element named "USPrice".
An element named "powerSource".
An optional element named "shipDate".
Given these record and field definitions, the flat file disassembler produces the following XML equivalent of these records.
<items> <item partNum="872-AA"> <productName>Lawnmower</productName> <quantity>1</quantity> <USPrice>148.95</USPrice> <powerSource>Electric-120vac</powerSource> </item> <item partNum="926-AA"> <productName>Baby Monitor</productName> <quantity>1</quantity> <USPrice>39.98</USPrice> <powerSource>Electric-4AA</powerSource> <shipDate>2004-01-21</shipDate> </item> </items>
There are a number of considerations related to delimited records that will affect how the record is parsed when received and constructed when sent, including:
The character or characters used to override the interpretation of delimiters so that they are treated as part of the data. For more information, see Ways to Interpret Special Characters as Part of a Field Value.
An optional tag at the beginning of the record, used to distinguish the record from other similar records. For more information, see Tag Handling in Delimited Records.
How data is justified within fields with minimum lengths, relative to the accompanying pad characters. For more information, see Field Padding, Field Justification, and Minimum Field Lengths Within Delimited Records.
Positional records nested within other delimited records. For more information, see Nested Positional and Delimited Records.
How data is justified within a fixed length field, relative to its accompanying pad characters. For more information, see Field Justification.
Considerations concerning the positioning of delimiters relate to the data that they delimit. For more information, see Child Order Considerations.
Preservation and suppression of delimiters when flat file messages are received and sent. For more information, see Delimiter Preservation and Suppression.
To help you better understand how to work with delimited flat files, see the samples in the FlatFileReceive and FlatFileSend folders located at \Program Files\Microsoft BizTalk ServerSDK\Samples\Pipelines\AssemblerDisassembler\.
If your flat file contains both delimited and positional records, you must set the Structure property of the root node to Delimited and the Structure property of subordinate record nodes to either Delimited or Positional as appropriate.
Delimited fields in flat files have a limit of 50000000 characters.