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About Data Inspection: Using the FME Data Inspector

In some cases you might want to inspect data, but you don't want to actually have to write the data to do so. In other words, you want to preview what the output of a translation will be or what the input data looks like.

For example, it would be very useful to preview the results of a Workbench translation that updates a spatial database. That way mistakes can be detected before writing to the database.

There are several ways to open the Inspector application from the workspace.

Note: If there are no features to display, the Inspector application will not open, regardless of the workspace settings.

Writers menu > Redirect to Inspection Application

The output from a translation is redirected away from the specified output and sent directly to the FME Data Inspector instead.

This setting is a toggle, which means that each subsequent selection alternately turns the setting on and off.

The log file displays a distinct message to remind you that you have redirected output to the Inspector.

Route Output to the Inspector

Quickly route to the Viewer without changing anything in your workspace. This is useful if you want to view the output before writing to the output dataset,and you don't have to add anything to the workspace.

Add Inspector Transformers

You might want to add several Inspector transformers at different points in your workspace, to view different types of data.

Right-click on an output port in a Transformer, and select Connect Inspector.

This connects an Inspector transformer directly to the output port, and names it according to the output port. Through the properties button, you can further distinguish between Inspectors by setting unique pen and fill colors. Enable and disable individual Inspectors by right-clicking and selecting Disable Transformer from the command menu.

Tip: To remove Inspector transformers quickly from the Workspace, use Tools > Remove > Inspectors.

Open an Output File

You can view the output file with the FME Data Inspector. If the Inspector application isn’t already running, start it and open the output file.

Redirecting the Source and Destination from the Navigator

You can also quickly reroute your output without having to add anything to your workspace. You might want to do this if you're having problems in your workspace, and want to examine features or information before writing to your original output file or folder.

Find Workspace Parameters in the Navigator pane. Double-click Reader Redirect or Writer Redirect:

  • No Redirect: This is the same as keeping the <not set> default.
  • Redirect to Inspection Application: View data in the default inspection application before writing to the output file or folder.
  • Redirect to FFS File: Useful for debugging complex workspaces. The output is written to FME Feature Store files (FFS). The FFS files can then be viewed using the Inspector. Redirect to FFS can also be used to send database data to Safe Support. Since this option does not use the format writers configured in the workspace, it can be used to isolate problems that may be occurring in a specific FME format writer.
  • Redirect from FFS file: Used for debugging complex workspaces. Output that has been created using Redirect to FFS file can be reloaded into the workspace using Redirect from FFS file.
  • Disable Output: Instead of writing many features to a dataset, you might just want to see information or statistics gathered during processing. No features will be output.

After you run your workspace, the log window displays a message as a reminder that you have redirected your source or destination.

Note: For detailed information on the FFS format, see the FFS Reader/Writer chapter in the FME Readers and Writers manual. For help with the Data Inspector, open the Help menu in the FME Data Inspector application.