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Release of PathFinder 6.0

PathFinder 6.0

Yesterday we released the latest version of our PathFinder product. Both the tools and server distributions are now available on our extranet for download.

The upgrade to 6.0 is a significant upgrade involving changes to many tables in the PathFinder database, and therefore should be planned carefully to ensure that business dataflows are not interrupted. We have always suggested that while service packs can easily be installed by PathFinder users, full upgrades are best handled remotely or on site by Orion consultants, who can also provide demonstrations of the new features at the same time.

PathFinder contains a number of significant new areas of functionality as well as more than 90 separate fixes and enhancements, many of which were suggested by our customers.

JSON syntax

JSON syntax can be identified by its use of curly braces, and has become a common syntax for export and import to applications and for web services. Although we have had ways of managing JSON in PathFinder before, 6.0 now allows JSON as a native syntax both for PathFinder identification and in the translator and mapper.

Due to the way the mapper and translator work in PathFinder, there is no significant new technique to learn when mapping JSON – the user just needs to select the JSON syntax for the appropriate template when creating a PathFinder map.

Web services listener

To make interaction with PathFinder easier for trading partners, PathFinder’s HTTP listener now has an option to provide a web service to external or internal partners. Using six documented commands, parties can send, list, download and delete files from their PathFinder mailbox using a RESTful web service.

PDF data extraction

Although PathFinder’s document creator module has long been able to create PDF files, processing data from these is a very different process. PathFinder 6.0 can extract data from PDF files according to a template, and this will produce a data file that can then be mapped in the normal way. For example, data from incoming emailed orders PDF files can be converted into automatic orders import, saving considerable data entry time and increasing accuracy. It is important to note that this applies to PDFs generated automatically from systems, which contain the data fields within them – PDF files produced from graphical scans of documents will not be able to be processed.

Security

PathFinder 6.0 is the most secure version of PathFinder so far. For communications. we have support for certificates and digests up to SHA512, support for S/MIME email to allow both signatures and encryption, and AS/4 communications. Mailbox access has been secured further. On the user side, access to the PathFinder service manager has been tightened.

Sunset time

This is advance warning that we will be sunsetting PathFinder version 5.1 by the end of 2019. Users still on that version should make arrangements to start their upgrade process to ensure continued product support.

The end for 32-bit servers

As previously warned, PathFinder 6.0 is the first release that is only available on 64-bit servers. The PathFinder tools, however, will continue to run on 32- and 64-bit Windows workstations for at least the next year, when we will review again.

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We have been using PathFinder since 2004 and we continue to be very impressed with what the product provides and the service we receive from Orion. PathFinder is very user friendly and gives excellent visibility of all the various processes. We are now acting as the EDI hub for several Hitachi companies and we couldn’t have done this without PathFinder.

Gillian Tew, EDI Manager, Hitachi Europe Ltd