Sunday, January 19, 2014

FME 2013 in retrospect.

FME 2014 release.

Now with FME 2014 available, it is for me a time to reflect back on the changes made in the 2013 release.
Thinking back on the adaptations made for FME 2013, especially the ones that I have used the most, I can truly say which are my favorites.

1. Conditional processing FME 2013 SP1.

Original FME Evangelist post
Funny enough my first question on the FME Community was about such conditional processing.
At the time it was only possible to achieve it with multiple transformers, testing and setting/mapping values (or an elaborate sql statement)
With the introduction of conditional processing, the amount of transformers for such processing was reduced to 1 e.i. the AttributeCretor.
The AttributeCretor has been replacing more and more transformers on the canvas, mainly testing and mapping transformers obviously.

2.  Data Inspector FME 2013 SP1.

Right from the start of 2013 I have been using the Data Inspector instead of the Universal Viewer.
Since viewing the data in question, is such an essential part of the process of transformation, it's obvious that a capable tool for the job is needed.
The Data Inspector for me is such a tool, especially since it did not only replaced the Universal Viewer, but outdated it too. The addition of the table view to the Data Inspector, did turn out to be a very useful addition that added a certain maturity to the all concept of data visualization within FME.
The last Universal Viewer remnant, that I was missing, is now also been made available in the new FME 2014 release. Saving from the Inspector is now possible in two ways, saving all the features, or just the ones viewed.

3.  New Excel reader/writer FME 2013 SP2.

Blog post
Several posts have been published in the past year about the new Excel reader and writer. It is truly an major improvement to the old reader/writer, supporting formulas, colors and a wider range of data types (XYZ coordinates to geometry), just to mention a few.

Surprisingly the new reader does not support a where clause, as the old reader did, I am still puzzled about this, especially since Excel is treated as a database. Possibly the underlying technology change is the cause of this reader parameter missing in the new reader.

The handling of multiple schema, especially originating from multiple feature types, is still an unresolved issue. Even then the advantages of the new Excel reader/writer capabilities greatly outweigh these few introduced glitches.

So there you have it, these are my favorite and most used FME 2013 improvements I wanted to share.
Now with that out of the way I can send more time on FME 2014 in future posts exploring the sea of opportunities.

Have a feeling the it will all be about nothing.....

Thursday, January 16, 2014

FME 2014 - look and feel

FME 2014 is released and available. I have only been using it for the past week, this post will be about my first impressions of the new release.

My first impression of FME 2014 is the amazing speed in which the new look makes  FME 2013 look so chunky and outdated.
This might not be (and probably isn't) the most important addition in the new release, but its a striking one, right from the start.
Its is very easy to get used to the smoothness introduced with this new FME release.

Again hat's off for the people at Safe!!

A few more apparent improvements\changes are:
  • Bookmarks and annotations have had a major touch up which makes them more user friendly and easier to use, supporting links and adjustable text properties.
  •  Naturally a new theme is also expected with every release of FME, as announced the lizard came back to vanquished the zipster into the sands of the red planet.
  • Another immediately apparent change to me, is the option to save your workspace while the translation is running. This is for me a major user interface improvement, that can save a lot of awkward moments when running unsaved workspaces crash.
  • The selection of features on the workbench canvas is another major improvement, don't forget to activate it! (Tools > FME Options >Workbench)

Well thats it for now,  as I continue to use FME 2014 and get better acquainted with all the new additions, I  expect additional posts about FME 2014 additions.