Getting Started with the Talend Metadata Bridge (FAQ) - 6.1

Christophe Toum
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Getting Started with the Talend Metadata Bridge (FAQ)

The Talend Metadata Bridge accelerates the implementation, maintenance and continuous improvement of integration scenarios by allowing the synchronization, the sharing and the conversion of metadata across the different components. Metadata is information that describes the characteristics of any data object, such as its name, type, location, author, date created, size, and so on, together with relationships with other data objects that the enterprise has to manage or that an IT tool may generate. Metadata can be created manually or automatically by a system.

In IT systems, each tool, including Talend, stores a proprietary definition of its own metadata. A modeling tool, such CA ErWin or SAP PowerDesigner, uses metadata to represent data and process models; Business Intelligence tools heavily use metadata to expose information to business users as a self-service and to model navigation paths such as hierarchies, dimensions and metrics; databases such as Oracle has a catalog that defines tables, columns, stored procedures, and so does Hadoop through environments such as Hive or HCatalog; an ETL tool has mappings, rules, input and output schemas, transformation routines...

This translates into reduced time to deliver new applications, reduced costs for changes related to applications updates, conversions and re-platforming, and better agility for continuous improvement.

The Talend Metadata Bridge brings into our unified platform import and export capabilities for metadata. For example, using the Talend Metadata Bridge you can import into and export from our Studio:

  • Modeling metadata : This allows reusing and staying in sync with objects designed with a data and/or process modeling tools such as CA ErWin, Embarcadero ER/Studio, IBM Infosphere Data Architect or SAP Power Designer.
  • Business Intelligence metadata : This allows reusing and staying in sync with semantic layers needed in Business Intelligence databases or front-ends such as Oracle Essbase and OBI, SAP BW or Business Objects, Microstrategy, QlikView, Tableau, and so on.
  • ETL metadata : This allows importing/exporting metadata from other ETL tools such as IBM Infosphere DataStage, Informatica PowerCenter, and so on.
  • Productivity Tools: This allows exposing or editing Talend metadata through Excel, Access, or Visio. For example a business user can use it to review, validate or even update Talend’s metadata definitions and mappings without having to learn our Studio.
What version(s) of Talend does the Metadata Bridge work with?

The Talend Metadata Bridge works with Talend version 5.6.1 and later. For version 5.6.1, the Talend Metadata Bridge is provided as a plug-in that you install on top of the Studio; from 5.6.2 onward, the Talend Metadata Bridge is included with licensed Studio distributions (on subscription).

Which platform and OS does the Metadata Bridge work on?

Windows is the only operating system supported at this time. We are in the process of porting most bridges to Java in the next versions of Talend. However some bridges will always depend on Windows, simply because they exchange metadata with tools that are Windows only.

The Talend Metadata Bridge is supported on Microsoft Windows 2008 Server, Windows 2012 Server, Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1.

Is there documentation about the Metadata Bridge?

The documentation at this time is:

How do I get the Metadata Bridge? How do I install it?

The Talend Metadata Bridge is a Studio plug-in that extends the Studio with a new import/export capability through the File > Import or File > Export menus. This plug-in is provided as an Eclipse RCP “update site” which you can install right from within the Talend Studio.

Once again, this plug-in only works when the Talend Studio runs on a Windows machine or appliance.

To install the Talend Metadata Bridge plug-in:

  1. Get the update site URL by contacting the Talend Support . Only licensed 5.6 customers are eligible.
  2. Start your Talend Studio and go to Help > Install External Software .
  3. Provide the URL to the update site hosted by Talend in the Work with field and press Enter , or use the Add... button to add the URL, and then click Next to start the installation.
  4. Follow the installation wizard. When getting a security warning, click OK to safely ignore it and continue with the installation.
  5. When the plug-in installation completes, Eclipse offers you to restart or continue. You must restart the Studio.

Note : There is another component to install for working with Excel. This is addressed in a separate Q&A below.

I am not on Windows, how can I use the Metadata Bridge?

Sorry, you just can't at this moment. You need to find a Windows machine or VM to perform the metadata import/export on. Hopefully this is not an every day activity so you will be able to get back to your Linux or Mac machine after the import/export is done.

Note however that there are two active projects in the roadmap:

  1. Port the bridges to pure Java
  2. Remote Bridge “agent” that you will be able to install on a separate Windows machine or VM
How do I install the Excel add-in to use the Excel bridge?

The Excel bridge indeed assumes the spreadsheet is formatted in a certain way. This is why the Metadata Bridge also comes with a Microsoft-compliant Excel add-in to help you follow the expected format.

Once again Windows is a prerequisite (the add-in will cause a pile of many VBA error dialogs on Excel for Mac).

The Bridge add-in extends Excel with a new “Metadata” ribbon. The new buttons help you insert pre-formatted worksheets.

The Excel add-in is located within the plug-in (at the time of this writing; actual path may vary slightly depending on the version of Talend):


Excel "add-ins" is a Microsoft Office standard so you may want to follow Microsoft’s directions to install it. Here is a typical sequence of steps to install the Metadata Bridge add-in:

In your Excel, go to File > Options , then in the Excel Options dialog box go to the Add-Ins pane, and then click on the Go... button.

In the Add-Ins dialog box browse to (actual path may vary slightly depending on the version of Talend):


then point to the file: Standard-Addin.xlam

Click OK . You should see the new Metadata ribbon in Excel from now on. You can go back to the Add-Ins dialog box and uncheck the add-in to uninstall.

Does the Metadata Bridge software require a license to work?

No it does not when used on a licensed Talend Studio (on subscription). The Bridge plug-in has a built-in license to make it transparent to Talend users. Note however that this license only allows the Bridge to work from within the Talend Studio.

How do I use the Metadata Bridge in the Studio?

The Metadata Bridge plug-in extends the standard Eclipse import/export wizards through the File > Import or File > Export menu, not the Import Items or Export Items tools, which are specific to the Talend repository.