A few thoughts on XML and EDI

Richard Light richard at light.demon.co.uk
Mon Jun 2 15:06:37 BST 1997

In message <199706011613.MAA10043 at smtp2.erols.com>, Peat
<peat at erols.com> writes
>Advantages of including Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
>entities with eXtensible Markup Language (XML)
>What could the EDI entities look like?
>The general format of the transaction would be described in HTML.  The EDI
>segments and elements could go something like this...
>DUNS Number:
> <or>
>DUNS Number:


Another approach (which is compatible with that used for the XML linking
specification) is to have attributes which identify certain elements as
holding EDI information.  That way, the EDI information is explicitly
labelled, and an XML processor can be asked to return it to an
application using standard API calls.

This approach means that the EDI information forms part of the logical
structure of the XML document, rather than being a CDATA 'implant'.  It
also means that users can define their own element types to hold EDI
information, so long as they label them with the agreed attributes.
Furthermore, it allows them to use XML's built-in validation facilities
to check for structurally valid input, e.g.:

in the DTD:
<!ELEMENT DUNS-GROUP (N101, N102?, N103, N104) >

in the document:

Note that the EDI-TYPE information is declared once and once only, in
the DTD, and does not add to the markup overhead in the actual document.

Richard Light
SGML and Museum Information Consultancy
richard at light.demon.co.uk
3 Midfields Walk 
Burgess Hill
West Sussex RH15 8JA
tel. (44) 1444 232067

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