Can you elaborate a little further, with respect to your repsonse below, what you mean by the sentence in quotes? "It is possible to convert EDI messages to/from XML quite easily in syntax terms. Certainly using XML notation brings with it a lot of tool and mind-share support. One possibility would be to use XML up and down-stream of the existing EDI system thus ring fencing the complexities of EDI while building on the facilities already in place."

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It is straightforward to take an EDI message data model and produce an XML equivalent. XML makes a variety of things easier than EDI (such as nesting and repetition). On a case by case basis, you might decide to use a more "natural" XML model for you EDI data but, even then, it is a simple enough proposition to convert from these to/from native EDI messages.

Consequently, you can look at mixing'n'matching XML technologies into EDI workflows. On arrival, you might decide to XML-ify an EDI message for internal processing. On the way out, you might do the operation in reverse. The result can be an internal workflow based on XML processing which, to the outside world, appears as EDI.

This was first published in April 2004

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