Generate is a powerful data generation tool that allows you to create x9 files from scratch based on your specific testing requirements. The power of Generate comes from its ability to manufacture an x9 file where the x9 data matches the images that are contained within the x9 file. This is accomplished by dynamically drawing check images using information from the type 25, 31, and 61 records. Generate allows you to define and save configurations that control the header record definitions, endorsements, image generation, and other options that provide reuse from session to session for your commonly performed activities. Generate input can be either Make output, exported x9 data (created by X9Assist), or CSV files that are created by your applications.
X9 file creation within X9Assist is often a two step process, where you first run Make followed by Generate.
Input to Generate should be viewed as individual checks (or use cases). This includes the MICR lines for each check that will appear in the output x9 file (ABA, account number, process control field, and auxiliary OnUs field). You have total control over the individual checks that are ultimately generated. For example, this ensures that the appropriate ABA is used for account number, and that the right check serial numbers are used based on the account number (eg, if you need to test such things as controlled disbursements or drafts).
A large number of parameters have been created to allow you to tailor the x9 data generation process to your specific requirements. We would like to hear from you about how this function can be improved. Your suggestions are welcome.
Generate is powerful because it has the ability to manufacture images that will match the MICR line information that is being created. Hence the output x9 files can be successfully processed by your applications that perform MICR line validation between the check detail record and the check image.
Internally within X9Assist, Generate is using the SDK to create x9 records and images. All of the functionality you see from Generate is actually available from our SDK product.
Over a period of time and as part of your testing processes, you may use Generate to manufacture different test data for varying purposes. Each of these may require different parameters to allow you to assign the appropriate data for the file header records, cash letter header records, and so forth.
Generate simplifies this process by allowing you to define and then save a Generate configuration. You can then restore and reuse this configuration in the future. This eliminates the need to rekey repetitive information and also eliminates the potential for errors.
Although Generate is design to work in combination with Make, it can also function independently. You can run Generate directly from the toolbar. When you do so, you will receive a prompt screen where you will identify the input file that should be used by Generate. This must be an Excel file (XLS or CSV) that contains the logical representation of x9 records. Generate will select the x9 record types that it needs from the input Excel file and will ignore all other record types.
Generate will accept file and cash letter header records when they are present on the input CSV file. If you provide these record types, they will be used exactly as presented. If they are not present on the CSV input file, then Generate will create these control records from the configuration parameters.
Although Generate is design to work in combination with Make, it can also function independently. You can run Generate directly from the toolbar. When you do so, you will receive a prompt screen where you will identify the input file that should be used by Generate. This must be an Excel file (XLS or CSV) that contains the logical representation of x9 records.
Generate selects the x9 record types that it needs from the input Excel file and will ignore all other record types. Generate accepts file and cash letter header records when they are present on the input CSV file. If you provide these record types, they will be used exactly as presented. If they are not present on the CSV input file, then Generate will create these control records from the configuration parameters. There are three types of inputs that can be processed by Generate:
- Output from Make, which is created internally by X9Assist. You can write your own applications which create this same file format and then feed that input directly into Generate. This simplifies the process to create new x9 files, since you can specify all of the information about the checks that you want created, but then leave the remaining complexity handled by the Generate function.
- Excel files that contain type 25 records (checks) . If you are creating a deposit, then this file can also contain one or more type 61 credit reconciliation records. If type 61 records are present, they must precede their respective checks. The amounts on the type 61 credit reconciliation records can be specified as zero, allowing X9Assist to automatically calculate the credit amounts from the debits that follow. If you specify the credit amount on your type 61 record (it is not zero), then your amount will be used. You can have more than one type 61 record on your Excel file. When type 61 records are present, there must be at least one check that follows each credit.
- Excel files that contain type 31 records (returned checks).
Generate looks at the incoming Excel file and determines which of these three file types it is being presented with. This is determined based on the record types that are on the file and the number of fields (columns) that are actually present in the data. You do not need to tell Generate what type of file you have. But you do need to ensure that it follows the rules associated with these three file requirements.
Generate will create all of the items (checks) that are routed to it for processing. Your decision as to how many checks to generate must be made by the tool that you are using to create your input to Generate. For example, within Make, you can specify how many items that you want created which will control the number of checks that will ultimately be on the x9 file from Generate.
Obviously you can use other tools to create your Generate input file. The Generate input can come from the X9Assist Export function, but can also come from your tools that manufacture your own test cases or use Export output to build consolidated files that represent your specific testing requirements.
When Generate first starts, it will read the input file and extract the check information that is present. It will also assign default values to any data that is missing. For example, it must do this if you are providing an ICL extract since there will be several ICLR based fields that are not present in your input.
Generate informs you of the number of checks it has found on the input file and the total dollar amount. You can double check this against your expectations before you actually generate your x9 file.
Optional CSV Record Types
Generate allows you to provide certain record types on your incoming CSV file and can then optionally use these record types when the x9 file is constructed.
- File and cash letter headers
- Check addendum records
- Return addendum records
Use of this facility can allow you to utilize Generate for more complex situations and not have to revert to writing an application that feeds import. For example, if you need to use specific file and cash letter header records in your x9 file, you can cut and paste these records into your CSV file and then have Generate use those records. You can similarly do this with the check and return addendum records.
Use of these record types makes it possible to take Export output and then use that to easily create new x9 files. You can export an x9 file, remove various records from that file, and then have Generate use the resulting file with your defined Generate configuration.
Sample CSV Input File
This is a sample CSV input file to generate that will create a deposit using a type 61 credit reconciliation format. The credit format (Metavante or DSTU) must be selected via the Generate parameters. Note that the credit amount is zero so it will be automatically calculated by X9Assist based on the credits that follow.
Generate CSV File
Output File Types
The output from Generate will be an x9 file:
- You will select if you want an ICL or an ICLR file created.
- You can use an exported ICL to easily create an ICLR.
- You can use an exported ICLR to easily create an ICL.
All of these are interesting and powerful data generation capabilities.
Generate provides various parameters that can be selected which allow you to tailor the process to your specific needs. Please let us know if there are additional options that will improve this facility for you use.
Generate has separate tabs with specific information that drive the generation process:
- File Header
- Cash Letter
- Image Template
- Invalid Image Tests
Generate parameters include the following:•TEST or PROD indicator in the file header
- BOFD endorsements can be created
- Credit Reconciliation (type 61) records can be created
- Payee Endorsement (type 68) records can be created
- Various file header fields can be set
- Bundle size can be controlled
Generate will dynamically create images from one of two available options:
Create missing image documents Images will be created from your defined “missing image” document. Note that this document can be customized as part of your X9Assist installation.
Creating missing image documents is the fastest image generation option. This is because individual images do not need to be drawn and then converted into TIFF format (which is the most time consuming part of the image generation process). If you are doing repetitive x9 file creation as part of a testing process, you can consider initially inserting missing images until the x9 file is being created per your requirements. Once the x9 file is correct, you can then do the more time consuming process of generating individual images.
Create missing image documents that include MICR lines Images will be created from your defined “missing image” document. Note that the missing image document can be customized as part of your X9Assist installation. The created missing image documents will include a MICR line that is drawn from the x9 data.
Draw images using the generated MICR and amount information for the check Images will be drawn using the generated information that is being assigned to the type 25 check detail record. X9Assist will ensure that the image meets tiff standards. You can customize information regarding the drawn image on the “draft check” tab within program options.
The Image Templates tab is used to select the check artwork that will be used for image generation. There are two categories that are available for image generation:
If a check has an Aux OnUs field, then Generate will attempt to use a template from the business category. If no templates have been selected from the business category, then Generate will fall back and utilize a retail template.
Addition points for consideration:
Available formats are defined in the x9_assist/xml/checkFormats.xml configuration file.
Templates are defined in folder Program Files/X9Ware LLC/X9Assist/images.
Within checkFormat.xml, you can disable any formats that you do not want to utilized.
You can add formats and use them to draw your checks. These definitions include the fonts and point sizes that are used to dynamically draw check images.
Invalid Image Test Cases
Generate has many capabilities, one of which is to create invalid image test cases. To use this function, you must select the “draw new images” option on the parameters panel (on the left). This process has numerous available options:
- You can select the invalid image test cases to be generated.
- Check boxes are provided which allow you to easily select all tests or entire groups.
- You must indicate the number of images to be generated per test case, which will default to one if not entered.
- You can also indicate if the invalid image test cases should be generated for the front image only for each check, or should be generated for both the front and back images for each check.
Once you generate your invalid image test cases, you can retrieve a transmittal which details the items that were generated from folder /x9_assist/log. You can view the system log from the File drop down on the menu bar. This will also provide the file name for the system log, making it easy to view that file with other tools.
Use the “Generate” button to initiate x9 file generation. This can be a lengthy process if you are drawing a large number of images. Once the x9 file is created, you will be placed in the x9 browser and you can review the results. You can also save the generated x9 file for usage outside of X9Assist, allowing you to send it to your capture and downstream applications.