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2.4. Code Generators
Early ETL code generating tools simply provided a graphical design environment for programming languages such as C or COBOL. So me of these tools have now developed to provide full ETL design and run-time capabilities able to operate in a variety of architectures.
Generally, ETL code generating tools can handle more complex processing than their engine based counterparts. It is evident that, when compared to their engine based counterparts, code generators now eliminate the need for
developers to maintain user-written routines to handle complex transformations in ETL workflows.
Code generators can produce compiled code to run on various platforms , or their own XML descriptions of transforms that can be interpreted in a variety of architectures. Although compiled code is generally accepted as
the fastest of solutions, it also enables organizations to distribute processing across multiple platforms to optimize performance. Surprisingly, although interpretation of XML transform descriptions adds very little
overhead, it can significantly speed up the design-time environment and is much easier to distribute within an organisation.
Although code generators usually offer visual development environments, they are sometimes not as easy to use as engine based tools , and can lengthen overall development times in direct comparisons with engine based
tools. ETL tools often concentrate on a much more granular level and gain many friends amongst the more technical users, but lack the higher level management or domain specific view. Both management and technical users alike recognize the flexibility that code generators provide in fitting in to the client architecture and satisfying the many different transformation requirements (pull\push modes of operation, near real time transforms or bulk load). This flexibility empowers the user rather than enforcing a rigid architecture.
A significant advantage of code generation products is that since they can generally run on multiple platforms and processing can be distributed, it allows these products to be rolled out as required without the need for
additional hardware and a major up-front investment.
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