FlowHeater, cheap sophisticated file format conversions

Moving data from one format to another usually becomes, at best, an exercise in patience. At worst, it involves a lot of swearing, sweating, and frustration. 


I have found an answer: FlowHeater, a cost-effective, simple-to-use, graphical Windows application that can translate between CSV files, MS Excel spreadsheets, MS Access databases, MySQL databases, MS SQL Server, Oracle databases, SQLite databases, PostgreSQL databases, ODBC data sources, OLEDB data sources, dBASE databases, and .NET Data Tables.

Flowheaters main screen

FlowHeater's main screen

But FlowHeater goes a lot further than just moving data from one format to another; it can also transform the data along the way. Each data format, whether for input or output, is handled by an “adapter” and adapters can be graphically wired together either directly or via “functions”, otherwise called “heaters” (the software is described using a weird water heater metaphor).

adapter sql server config 1

Configuring a FlowHeater SQLServer adapter

Heaters include functions for strings, numbers, date and time, control structure (if-then-else), and general purpose operations. 

if then elseif condition

Configuring a FlowHeater If-Then-Else heater

For example, you might take order data from an Oracle database adapter on the “write” side (that’s actually the left side of the GUI) which you have configured to have a “Euro zone” locale and wire it’s order value field via a multiplication heater to an X-Value heater (this represents a fixed value) then to to a CSV adapter on the “read” side. When the conversion is run the source data would be multiplied by X-Value heater value to convert the amount into to a different currency. You could even have a second database and instead of a fixed  X-Value heater you could use a Lookup heater to find the current currency conversion rate.

My only complaint is that FlowHeater only supports .NET scripting (i.e. C# and VB.NET) which is OK but an interface to other languages such as JavaScript and Python would be enormously useful.

FlowHeater pricing is very reasonable: Free, which can only process a limited number of records; Designer ($89); Batch ($129), which executes Designer definitions at scheduled times, Designer+Batch ($198), RunTime Designer ($529), which is Designer with the ability of reading and writing conversion definitions that be executed by the Free version; and Company ($789) which allows single branch use with unlimited machines.

FlowHeater gets a Gearhead rating of 5 out of 5.

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