Jitterbit can connect to a variety of sources, using ODBC or JDBC, but there are no native drivers as found in Talend. There is also no JMS support and no direct support for working with PDFs or EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) files. An SDK plug-in allows you to leverage external Java rules, but you're otherwise limited to working in Jitterbit's proprietary scripting language.
There are other shortcomings. Although debugging is enhanced by live data views, actual interprocess debugging capabilities are absent. Projects involving multiple data sources with requirements such as data de-duplication and orphaned record management will still require preprocessing. Jitterbit's forte is normalizing or denormalizing translations rather than actually scrubbing data.
Also of note: I was disappointed to discover the Jitterbit Integration Server phoning home behind my back. While generating server usage reports via the admin shell, I witnessed the Jitterbit server send a blind copy of data to jitterbit.com -- despite my expressly opting out of the User Experience Program during the installation process. Jitterbit indicated that none of the data it siphons is personally identifiable. I've yet to evaluate the claim.
Jittering the bits
Jitterbit won InfoWorld's 2008 Bossie Award for Data Migration for good reason: Jitterbit is perhaps the most uncomplicated tool available to get your data from point A to point B. In my testing, Jitterbit made simple work of configuring source and target specifications with its form-based wizards. Although database table relationships must be defined manually, the tool did a fine job picking up Web service details via WSDL. In addition to databases and Web services, Jitterbit can also pull data from XML, FTP, HTTP, LDAP, and flat files.
Transformation mappings are configured via a drag-and-drop wiring process. A simple double-click on a node spawns a separate interface for building formulas to modify data en route. Here you can draw on decent string manipulation tools and regular expressions. Math and logic functions could use some filling out, but a variety of other functions -- for handling XML, date and time, and e-mail -- round out the options. You can even pull live data into the transform for on-the-fly validation.
I found job scheduling to be very flexible, and the granular ability to set runtime priorities was a plus. The onboard dependency checker is also smart, helping to provide impact analysis for easier change management across operations, including WSDL file updates.
Additional features, including a quick test of active connections and ongoing project validation, helped polish the experience. Collapsible panes and auto-formatting in the process designer help keep designs orderly. However, a thumbnail overview would make it easier to navigate larger projects. A few other minor nits -- including slow sync during object renaming and the lack of an onboard SQL builder -- were similarly easy to live with.