One early-spring Saturday a few years ago, I set out to do some much-needed yard work. Part of my to-do list that day was to cut back three butterfly bushes in the backyard. Since these bushes are very fast growing and since they only blossom on new wood, I needed to cut them down to the ground. I started the task trying to cut the thick branches with hand held pruning shears. That worked for a few of the smaller branches, but it was very apparent that I would need something more powerful. I went to the garage and retrieved the long-handled lopper I had purchased to cut some tree branches a few months before. That worked better, but it was still a daunting task to cut through all the thick, woody stems.

About an hour into my labor (did I mention I had failed to trim those bushes the previous spring, thus making my chore doubly difficult?), my neighbor took pity on me and brought over his power trimmer. In a matter of minutes, he did more work than I could have in a few hours. I thanked him with a cold beverage and soon upgraded my tool collection with the right tool for the job. It would have been tempting to discard the other two tools I had used that day (and, in my hot, sweaty state I may have tossed them across the yard in frustration), but that was not the right thing to do. Each tool has its intended use and did that job properly and well.

The tools available in MapWorks are similar. The Mapping module interface in MapWorks is designed for careful, data-element-by-data-element entry and analysis. It was intended to be used in the planning and analysis phase of a project where careful attention to every detail is important, much like the meticulous pruning a gardener does to a flowering plant. That said, the one-by-one entry interface is not conducive to getting a whole systems-worth of information in quickly. This is why we included the export/import capability of MapWorks, along with the metadata queries we made available a while back. But that only took you so far. You could get the basic metadata (names, data types, etc.), but you couldn’t do the same with any information about how the data was flowing in the mappings. Well, with this release of MapWorks, the importing tools got an upgrade. Now you can not only import the basic metadata, but you can also quickly import the mappings that link the data elements together.

Someone’s to-do list just got a little easier to get done.

Here’s what’s new in MapWorks in the 25 October 2017 release:

  • Source-to-target mapping data in MapWorks, including information about the filters used in the mappings, can now be exported to and imported from a spreadsheet. This, along with the existing system, table and data element export/import, will allow quick entry of existing metadata when you start a new instance of MapWorks and gives users an option to bulk upload changes to these items on an ongoing basis. Like with previously existing import capabilities, the new mapping/filter imports will compare the imported information with what is already existing in MapWorks and allow users to quickly make updates to existing mappings/filters or to create new mappings/filters from the uploaded information.
  • Security roles for users in MapWorks are now customizable. Administrators can create as many distinct roles as are needed for the organization and assign those roles in any combination to MapWorks users.
  • A setting was introduced that will, optionally, make it so users can only act on (e.g. edit, finalize, etc.) certain items in MapWorks. This setting is part of the new customizable security roles feature, meaning that administrators can set up roles that enable users to have unlimited access to systems, tables, data elements, business glossary terms and releases or roles that only enable users to have access to those items assigned to the user.