How EDI work with XML
EDI and XML systems have been seen as the opportunity to create a holistic approach to data information exchange that can deliver and process simple, durable and effective business transactions by electronic means. To achieve this, methods must be employed that are not only of value within the market today, but have an extension into the future. To guarantee the technology will be widely accepted and used, it must be made freely available as an open standard. In this way, the systems can work in conjunction to create a truly effective solution to business data exchange.
Using XML/EDI is far more than enveloping EDI with XML. These two powerful technologies work conjointly to provide a system of data information exchange that is interoperable and can give a range of presentation options, as well as improve the efficiency of the exchange. XML provides for a file format for data representation, whereas EDI creates standard messages formats enabling the data to be sent via any electronic messaging service. Therefore, by combining the two technologies, a more powerful data exchange too is created which will improve the services and styles of businesses and corporations.
How XML/EDI works
XML/EDI is the combination of five technologies: XML, EDI, templates, agents and repository.
XML (eXtensible Markup Language) comes out of the history of the Web based language known as HTML. However, HTML was just a subset of the original and highly complex SGML document syntax. Now, XML mitigates the two, as it is not as highly complex as the SGML, but is holds greater capabilities than the HTML. XML tokens and frameworks are the structure that moves the other components throughout the network. XML tokens substitute or complement existing EDI segment identifiers. XML also comes with the generally enriched components of the Web and the Internet.
EDI provides a way to send data in a simple format, and allows the receiver to interpret the information they have just received. XML/EDI is compatible with all previous EDI transactions, but also provides progression to the new wave of data transaction. Therefore, it is mot merely discarding old systems, but incorporating them into new ones. Templates provide rules that maintain the cohesiveness of the entire system. Templates are parallel to XML as a special section and set of tokens, and can be easily read and interpreted – they appear more as a spread sheet. They are supplemented by DTDs or Document Type Definitions, which allow the documents to be run in other operating systems. The templates enable processing of the transactions.
To interpret these templates, Agents are required. Agents not only interpret, but also interact in order to provide the best template for each task. They interact not only with the user, but also the transaction. The agents will research which template is best for each task. They can also reference DTDs for presentation of the information. Repository is a store of information which is a Shared Internet Dictionary that allows user to manually look up meaning and definition of EDI elements. The more advanced level provides automatic lookup for the user. It sets up the software the Agents require to cross reference unknown entities. It is an important component of the entire framework, as it provides the semantic grounding for business transactions.
Why XML/EDI works
The combined system of XML/EDI allows for a variety of interaction models to occur such as the following:
These models demonstrate the different styles of information interchange available to the various systems in operation. The Star model is an organization which would be considered the oldest style of current data exchange. It is where a major business sets the standards for the younger or smaller partners. The ad hoc model is the new net based model, whereby smaller trading partners set up their own interactions which are malleable over time, and may or may not become formal methods. The hybrid model combines these first two. The Web model is one where the content is the most information being received. It can either be ordained by pre-set rules, or can come from a request for information. These frameworks are in place in order to provide a variety of solutions to the issues of creating more flexible E-business systems. These models also require an overall framework of interlinked systems which allow for the ready and easy reading of documents.
This model is not an all or nothing model. Where certain elements are required they should be used. But by new means is it intended to set up a definite framework by which a company or business should set up their E-Commerce or business trading. All of the layers can be used independently and simply provide increasing layers of sophistication both within the document and its presentation. In simplest terms, the framework can be used to validate the message, or check that they are well formed XML. However, it can also be set up for the documents to be linked to the rule-templates, and have inbuilt rules for processing the data you received. It is up to the user to decide how to make the framework function.
Why XML/EDI is different
Mainly the difference between XML/EDI and other systems is that the information is able to be decoded from one operating system to another much more easily and with a greater style within the presentation of the product. However, the system can also be used at its most basic level when that is required. XML/EDI transactions are self describing through the use of XML tags and DTDs. This means that other applications processing XML/EDI documents are able to understand the content through access to just the content of the transaction.
There are various reasons why XML/EDI is important in the new direction of technology. It is founded on open standards, and provides for self-describing transactions. This gives greater access to a variety of systems wishing to access just the content of the document.
XML/EDI allows for those using the tool to expand upon existing products and create new and malleable systems of data exchange. The XML/EDI system interfaces with legacy systems well; it also uses a framework of evolving best practice by incorporating shared dictionaries, which allow for a greater access to templates and their best use. The XML/EDI framework allows for object-based documents – and creates a system whereby data and rules are in parallel.
It provides the way to follow a move down to a document-centric environment. Components within the model allow for a more flexible business model which is cheaper and easier to implement, thereby allowing greater access to more trading partners. However, most importantly, it creates interactivity between transactions enabled by the web rather than having one off transactions. XML/EDI is not simply two technologies thrown together; it is the use of complementing technologies in combination to create a new and advanced style and form of data exchange.
The combination of EDI and XML to create a new vision of XML/EDI allows for a more efficient and modern approach to data exchange within an environment of changing technologies. It presents a new wave of data exchange that can be utilized at various levels of complexity by simple businesses to large corporations. It works upon a framework of interconnected, but not intrinsic levels which can be manipulated for the specific use of each data exchange. At its simplest form, the content of the exchanged data piece can be read and analyzed; however when required, the data can be presented within the current possibilities of technology due to the abilities of the XML tool. As such, XML/EDI allows for a great range of applications within the range of data exchange.
The data can be transported using any electronic messaging device such as modem, floppy, LAN, WAN, Internet and so on. It is the combination of these tools which allows different types of data to be efficiently exchanged while also having an interaction between the data and the user and the system – through the use of Agents and Repository. Hence a document can be manipulated by initially implementing the EDI dictionaries and extending the vocabulary through on-line repositories to include business language, rules and objects.
Thus a brand new way of analyzing received messages is created, which is greater than the sum of the parts. These can be combined in various practices of business whether it be between smaller and large trading partners, or between sole traders, this combination of technologies improves data exchange, and brings it in line with current business language and presentation of ideas.