Message Player, our free HL7 listener/router utility designed for HIT software developers, interface developers, and interface analysts, is now out.
You might have seen other HL7 listeners and routers out there. What makes Message Player different is that it’s dead-easy to use. There are no bells and whistles. It’s independent of other software and engines, so once you’ve downloaded the installation package, you can run it on a desktop machine and get going quickly.
Why Use Message Player
- first and foremost, test connectivity: is the port working?
- listen and record HL7 messages.
- play and route HL7 messages, simulates an hl7 feed or interface
- automate development testing: if you’re writing interfaces, you can test code hassle-free.
Dogfooding Message Player
We wouldn’t be much of a software team if we didn’t use our own applications (aka eat our own dog food). And do we ever use Message Player. Here’s how:
1. We’ve been developing an integration engine environment for a customer with a distributed scheduling application, and we use Message Player as a quick-and-dirty way to send test messages. During the project, we were working with about 30 test messages that covered our development test cases. So we did a portion of our software testing by playing and replaying those messages through Message Player whenever we needed to.
2. We do performance testing with Message Player. Whenever we develop an interface for a customer, we push bursts of messages through the TCP/IP connection and the interface to test transmission and connectivity under massive load conditions for scalability.
3. We’ve simulated inbound and outbound systems with Message Player. We helped a customer with architecting the integration environment within their application, and we used Message Player to simulate inbound and outbound feeds. So we had Message Player sending messages to their integration engine, which was essentiallly a simulation of an inbound feed. Then the engine transformed the message, and sent it to another instance of Message Player, which simulated the outbound system.
4. We work around the quirks of legacy interface engines with Message Player. One of our customers has an interface engine that sends every single message to separate file. So when we needed 10,000 messages, they gave us 10,000 files. Now, we could run a grep command to dump those 10,000 messages into a single file. But instead, we used Message Player, since it has a nifty File Split feature that lets you specify how you want to listen to messages. You can dump them into a single file, split them based on file size (for instance, 1 MB each), or split them based on message count (for instance, 5,000 messages per file).
Feedback makes a huge difference to our products. Let us know how you’re using Message Player in the comments below.