What is FME Desktop?
FME Desktop is the authoring component of the FME platform. It is used for data translations and transformations at the desktop level (as opposed to FME Server, which is an enterprise-level, web-based product). FME Desktop consists of a number of different tools and applications. The two key applications are FME Workbench and the FME Data Inspector.
FME Desktop has various components and functions that give you the power to integrate your data exactly the way you want to. Learn about each component and the essential functions below.
Everything starts in FME Workbench, the authoring environment where you configure and run your data integration workspace. A workspace is made up of various connections to readers, transformers, and writers that are used to create your custom workflow. The visual representation of your workspace is what you see in the Main window (also known as the canvas).
Listed below are the main components of FME Workbench that you should become familiar with:
- Navigator: Provides a list of all workspace objects including readers, writers, transformers, and specific parameters.
- Main Window (Canvas): Where you build your workspace by adding a data source, transformers, and output data type.
- Translation Log: As a workspace runs, this pane updates to indicate the current status and the end result.
- Visual Preview: Displays 2D, 3D, or tabular data. View the data from your reader, writer, or at any transformation point.
The above embedded windows are the standard windows you will see when you first open FME Workbench. You can, however, remove and add other windows to display additional information about FME Workbench and your data.
Other options for personalizing your workspace include the use of tools like:
- Bookmarks: Organize readers, writers, and transformers into labeled sections for clarity
- Annotations: Add contents alongside your workflow to add any additional notes
There are two methods for inspecting your data:
- Visual Preview: View your data directly within FME Workbench
- Data Inspector: View your data in a window separate from FME Workbench
Both methods of viewing your data will help you better understand the data you are working with and how it is being integrated. By inspecting your data before, at a transformation point, or after running your workflow, you can easily quality control your data before saving it to your computer. Both Visual Preview and FME Data Inspector support viewing 2D, 3D, and spreadsheet data. If you are inspecting spatial data, you can overlay your data on background maps as well.
Visual Preview is embedded within FME Workbench, allowing you to view your data and workflow all in the same place. The components of Visual Preview include:
- Table: View your dataset’s visible attributes. These attributes can be sorted or searched to explore your data.
- Graphics: If your dataset contains graphics, geometry, or any spatial components, Visual Preview will display this data in the Graphics View. If there are no graphics or geometry, this view will not be available. (same as “View” in FME Data Inspector)
- Feature Information: Where any additional information about a feature can be found, including format-specific attributes and coordinate systems.
FME Data Inspector
FME Data Inspector is an application that is directly linked to FME Workbench. Like Visual Preview, it allows you to inspect and view your data before, after, or at a specific point in your workflow. FME Data Inspector may be preferred by those interested in viewing large datasets in a window that is separate from FME Workbench or for accessing some additional tools.