The HL7Browser application was developed to be a simple tool that allows you to explore HL7 records, edit them and produce reports on them. You can also send them via TCP/IP (using the MLLP protocol) or receive them and save them to disk. It has many of the same features as some commercial programs, but because it’s Java it runs everywhere.
There are four ways to get access to your data within this suite of programs. The first three are basically file operations, the last is through the network. First off, you may have noticed that there is a menu entry underneath File that say, rather unambiguously "Open File". That menu entry is the same as the icon on the main browser menu bar of an open folder. They will both open a file system browser that will enable you to browser for a file on your machine or network drive to open.
After you have selected your file to open, you will be presented with a list of options as to how the file should be handled. Currently available options include limiting the amount of data raid to a number of records that you specify, and turning on an advanced parser. The record limiter is to allow you to view only a subset of the records present in the file.
You may wish to view just a sample of data from a large file, without worry about how much memory you have available. The Advanced filter is to help read HL7 records that have newlines in them. Sometimes the carriage returns are converted to "
" and this option would allow you to view the records anyway. Alternatively, you can specify a file on the command line.
On most operating systems, that would look like this:
java -jar hl7browser.jar filename.txt
Upon loading the HL7Browser will attempt to open that file and read its contents into your main window. Another way to get information in from the command line is to pipe it into the program. That method will look like this on many operating systems:
grep MSH filename.txt | java -jar hl7browser.jar
Notice that a grep is used here, which is the reason for having this method. If you are working with extremely large data sets or want to preprocess the data in any way this can be far more efficient than using HL7Browser's built in parsing utilities.
You should note that in any of these scenarios the HL7Browser will run a few checks on the data before rendering it. Specifically, if the data is in a log file, for example, the extraneous information will be stripped from the data and only the pure HL7 information will be retained. It is assumed that there are no newlines within the HL7 record and that there is a newline between every HL7 record. Sorry if that poses a problem for anyone, but I think that is a reasonable minimum expectation to set upon the data being received.
There is a known bug with respect to the two command line options for opening a file. For some reason, even though the same method is used for loading data in all three scenarios, the two command line options will sometimes have visual artifacts upon the initial rendering. Opening the first record (if you can find it, it might be hidden at the very top of the document) will correct the problem. I'm at a loss to explain it or correct it at the moment.
The last method you have for getting data into the application is to launch the network receiver from an empty browser window. Any data received will immediately be made available to you in the browser window. From there you can work with the data and even save it as you would normally.
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