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My company is investigating using Daffodil on the client machine to parse and unparse DFDL schemas produced by IBM DFDL on the server.

I read with interest Mike Beckerle's very helpful answer to the question binary data - charset IBM-1047-S390 on Mar. 3, 2017. There Mike wrote: 

Basically, we haven't implemented mainframe aspects of DFDL generally, as those funding our work don't have that kind of data, and IBM has a DFDL implementation that covers all the mainframe issues quite well.

So, while we could easily add an EBCDIC encoding to Daffodil, we also lack support for packed decimal, zoned decimal, IBM 390 binary floating point, the P and V parts of the number formatting, and lengthKind 'prefixed'.  Those things are a larger project to add, so can't be done quickly. We hope to have them done late this year.

I see from JIRA that EBCDIC support has been implemented. (I am having a problem using this support that I will raise separately from this question, as I assume that I am doing something wrong.)

My question is, regarding the other areas that Mike mentioned (packed decimal, zoned decimal, IBM 390 binary floating point, and perhaps others that he did not mention), do you continue to hope to have support for them done late this year? Do you have any additional insight on goals and timelines at this time?

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    2 answers

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      These are still on our roadmap, and I still consider them top priority. Late this year, is questionable as things always take longer than our estimates, and our time is split across several projects none of which require these IBM-mainframe data features of DFDL.

      Our sponsors do appreciate the importance of completing IBM compatibility, so that Daffodil can run all the published schemas on DFDLSchemas on github. Demonstrating good interoperability with IBM's DFDL will allow the standardization process for DFDL to complete.

      This is, however, a reason less compelling than actually having data of that kind in hand that needs to be parsed. We have people who are trying to use Daffodil who need other features added that compete for our time already. (Ex: IETF formats with base64-encoded sections in them, image file formats with large binary blobs in them,... several others)

      Would you or anyone from your organization care to contribute some programming time and effort to Daffodil?


      1. Ed Jordan

        Thank you for your answer. I'm sharing this information with others in the company and continuing to evaluate how compatible the DFDL that is generated for us by IBM is with Daffodil. If we can use Daffodil, we will certainly contribute time and effort to it, for example, with the packed decimal. 

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      Ed - apologies if you are already aware of this, but IBM DFDL can also run on the client machine, independently of IBM Integration Bus or other server. Details at https://www.ibm.com/support/knowledgecenter/en/SSMKHH_10.0.0/com.ibm.etools.mft.doc/df40826_.htm.

      1. Ed Jordan

        Steve, no apologies necessary. I appreciate any help, and thanks for the link. I am aware that IBM DFDL can run on the client. It may turn out that some IBM extensions to DFDL or some requirements of the application require us to use IBM DFDL, so perhaps that is where we will end up. What is motivating us to try Daffodil is an appreciation of Open Source solutions on the part of our clients and ourselves. 

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