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HL7 Version 3 Tooling

Publication date: Nov 16, 2022

We'll have a look at the last known working installation of the HL7 version 3 toolstack. How does it compare to the current FHIR tooling ?

HL7 version 3 toolstack

As the inofficial HL7 historian I've been looking to add some detail to the HL7 RIM and HL7 v3 whitepaper. The original focus of that whitepaper was on the HL7 RIM, not as much on the associated HL7 Development Framework (HDF), nor on its toolstack. As it turns out there's only one known working installation of the v3 toolstack, a virtual machine environment maintained by Alexander Henket, HL7 Teamlead at Nictiz.

For some of us this'll be a blast from the past, for those of you that joined HL7 after the demise of HL7 version 3, this'll give you a flavor of the toolstack used in the 1998 - 2012 (or thereabouts) period.

  • RIM Database: definitions of the v3 Reference Information Model (RIM)
  • R-MIM Designer: supports the modelling of information models
  • RoseTree: model serialization tool, generates HMDs (Hierarchical Message Definitions) and MIF (Model Interchange Format)
  • v3 Generator: XML schema generator (based on HMDs)

HL7 v3 toolstack

Comparison with the FHIR Toolstack

Comparing the functionality of the HL7v3 tools with the current FHIR tools is tricky, given that these standards are based on different modelling principles.

RMIM designer has similar functionality as Forge, the RIM database is the v3 equivalent of the FHIR core package. MIF in HL7v3 is the equivalent of the conformance resources in FHIR.

HL7 v3 tools compared to FHIR Tools

The IG Publisher reminds me of the v3Generator: lots of command line options, tons of files in an 'input directory' that are processed into an 'output directory'. I'm not sure that's a good thing in the long run.. if there's one lesson to be learned here, it's that tooling is brittle, and it will rise and fall in conjunction with the standard it was created for.

I'd like to thank Alexander for his willingness to present an overview of the HL7 v3 toolstack and for maintaining the final working copy of the v3 tools.


P.S.: (just for fun:) Grahame explains the purpose of the MIF (2008 video).

MIF for Dummies

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