For engineers without a BizTalk Server background, the Flat File encoding and decoding may prove a steep ramp up as it is a mature technology with a number of parameters in the XML schema (XSD) describing any given Flat File. The schema used for Logic App Enterprise Integration Flat File Encoding and Decoding is the same as the schema used by BizTalk Server. Much of the existing documentation from a combination of community contribution and official Microsoft publication will show up only when looked up with the BizTalk keyword. You can interchangeably use the BizTalk Server SDK Flat File wizard (the SDK is found on the BizTalk Sever installation CD/image and one of the installation options) or the Logic Apps Enterprise Integration Tools for Visual Studio. Even the command line tooling from BizTalk Server SDK can be re-used to locally test Flat File schemas later used in Logic App in the Azure cloud.
Engineers starting integration with Logic Apps may also not be aware what Flat Files are in the first place and may be looking by keywords for one of the sub-categories of Flat Files such as text files, .csv (comma separated values) files, positional files (records containing values have fixed size, records have relative positions), delimited files (one or more specific characters or symbols are used as delimiter between records) and the more challenging files using record tag identifiers. What you get out of Flat Files decoding is an XML document and you may further convert that document to JSon using the workflow definition language json() function. In the opposite direction you may convert JSon data to XML content using the xml() function of the workflow definition language.
Here is for your reference a list of Flat File documentation compiled by my colleague Vinay Singh:
- Walkthrough: Creating a Flat File Schema From a Document Instance
- How to Use BizTalk Flat File Schema Wizard
- Flat file schema by Sandro Pereira
- BizTalk Flat File Schema Wizard by Kent Weare(MVP)
Upcoming just this week by speaker Sandro Pereira on integration Monday from BizTalk 360 “BizTalk Server: Teach me something new about Flat Files (or not)”. (Past events records are available so this link should remain valid.)
Also you can use the Flat File tag on this blog post to navigate to other blog posts on the same topic.