At the heart of the Bell-Connector Technology is the BHSDK.dll dynamic link library. This .Net library enables a .Net program to manipulate business data objects without having to write all the code to access an underlying database or SOAP/XML web-services interface.
The business objects are accessed and manipulated through parameterized Lookup, Fetch, Store, Run, Delete, Select and Sort calls which avoid the need to write any SQL code, create any XML or understand the complexities of ODBC or web-services interfaces. Fetch calls can specify whether to return all of a class of data object, just specific members, or only the ones that have changed since the last Fetch.
The names of business objects and their strongly typed parameters are related to the underlying tables, fields, views, stored procedures and web-services XML objects through XML meta data files. This enables the BHSDK to dynamically generate the needed interface code, including handling indirect references in a database. It also enables the BHSDK to check that bad data is neither read from or written to the external application.
BHSDK automatically handles a wide variety of data transformations, including substituting default values when needed, as well as performing leading and trailing character trimming on source fields and padding on destination fields.
The XML files, plus any specialized data translation routines are distributed as a Bell-Connector Adaptor for specific systems, such as BellHawk/BellHawk-on-Line and QuickBooks. Clients can also use the WebDEXEL program to create XML Metadata files for specific external systems. They can also use standard ODBC/SQL adaptors for Microsoft SQL and Access, MySQL and Oracle databases.
BHSDK can handle multiple active Adaptors at the same time, enabling multi-way automated data transfer programs to be written at the business object level.
The Bell-Connector Framework provides a pre-built software framework for implementing these data transfer programs. It provides all of the needed code, including a user interface, except for the data object translation rules, which can be written in VB.net or C#. This is what is used by BellHawk Systems' staff when they implement automated data exchange interfaces between systems.
Within the framework, we refer to the set of definitions to transfer a single type of business object as a Data Transfer Object (DTO). An interface may can consist of many DTOs. The running of these DTOs can be scheduled on a periodic basis through the Bell–Connector forms-based or web-based user interface.
The XML meta-data files are maintained using a web-based program called WebDEXEL. This program enables the business data objects and their parameters to be related to the underlying database or web-services objects to be defined in terms of Excel spread sheet templates. These business object definitions are read by DEXEL and used to update the XML meta-data files. WebDEXEL can also output the Excel definition file corresponding to a specified business data object. This enables these relationships to be self documenting.
WebDEXEL program uses can also use the XML meta data files to exchange data with a database or web services interface in the form of Excel spreadsheets or comma delimited files. This includes the ability to import and export just selected parameters.
Please click here for an overview of the Bell-Connector Data Transfer Process .