Mimic™ Extract SIF Agent

Mimic (formerly ZIUP) is an interface designed for certain types of applications that were never intended to be members of a SIF zone. These applications often maintain student information and can create comma delimited extract (often referred to as Comma Separated Values or CSV) files and have the ability to store them in a fixed location on a regular basis. Examples of applications like this might be:Mimic SIF Agent Overview

In designing Mimic, we knew that there was a need for something...

What Does Mimic Do?

Mimic looks at the extract file's contents and compares it against the file it looked at the last time it ran (the agent runs on a regularly scheduled basis).

If there are new records, it publishes SIF "Add" events to the SIF Zone; if records have changed, it publishes "Change" events and if records are missing, it publishes SIF "Delete" events.  It archives backup copies of the CSV files it has processed and audits any events it has generated

In its latest edition, Mimic also responds to SIF requests from other applications with appropriate SIF_Response messages as would a SIF agent from the application itself. 

Mimic needs a supporting database (to keep track of what your file looked like last time and to keep track of its configuration information) and we chose a specific database family:  Microsoft® SQL Server® (unlike our other products which will work with many different databases) and a specific operating system platform:  Microsoft Windows Server.  In limiting these choices, we were able to make the configuration and deployment process simple and straightforward and further reduce the cost of supporting the platform.

How Does Mimic Differ from ZIAgent™

ZIAgent is a full-featured, configurable SIF agent that works with any application, provider or subscriber.  It handles incoming requests, events and anything else defined in the SIF specification.  It works with applications that use any type of database and offers a host of application interfaces.  Mimic only provides objects and does not support inbound traffic. For more information on ZIAgent, see ZIAgent.

How Does it Work?

Mimic's configuration/management is done through a wizard process that guides the user through a simple setup matching and job configuration process.  The configuration steps are:

Select the SIF object to be configured. This example is from the Australian specification, but iMimic can be configured to work with any of the SIF specification versions. Select SIF object to be configured
Select a CSV file containing representative sample data. It should be in the directory where Mimic will eventually find the input files. Select a sample CSV file

Tell Mimic if the CSV file will contain a:

  • complete replacement of all records every time the file is regenerated
  • only those records that have changed since the last time the file was created (transactions)
Select file mode (replacement or transactions)
Choose which fields are to be included in the published SIF messages. Select Fields to be used
Choose which field (or fields) make up a unique record  in your data. Select Unique ID fields
Map those fields to SIF elements and attributes. If the names in the file are the same as (or similar enough to) the names in the SIF specification, Mimic will assume they are the same field. Map Field names
If any of the fields in the CSV file represent encoded fields, your code values may not be the same as the values SIF expects. This interface allows you to set up maps and provides you with lookup lists to help you only choose acceptable values for the field you are setting up. Create Translations
This is what a list of translations would look like after being set up for a field in the CSV file. More translations
The last thing to do for this object is to define the schedule (how often and when is Mimic going to run). Set Schedule 
There are many other options available, such setting up email connections (so that you can automatically be notified if there is an error) or auditing preferences (you can keep track of all Mimic activity). Other Settings

That's all.

Requirements

Mimic does have a few requirements to work properly:

If you would like more information, please call us at the number below or request more information.