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Subject: Re: Summary of XML Datatypes as required for B2B applications


>Ian, you said "conversion of EDIFACT dictionaries" would not be difficult;
>please provide a definitive example, into an XML DTD or schema that would
>be useful for small business, in the exchange of business messages.
I haven't converted EDIFACT data items to XML, but in a proof of concept
exercise (see www.edml.com) I  wrote code to extract the data elements
required for a generic and customisable Web-form purchase order from the
EDIFACT purchase order definition and the EDIFACT data dictionaries.  The
software converted the EDIFACT definitions into quite different elementary
structures, for use within a quite different syntantic structure. My point
is that if I could do that for EDML (it took several weeks), it would not be
any more work to do it for XML (amost certainly less, since I was defining
the EDML standard as I went along and was developing mapping software from
scratch).  I am pretty confident that the DTDs could be generated
automatically also from the EDIFACT dictionaries, since all the relevant
elementary specifications required for a DTD are already present in the
EDIFACT dictionaries.  Unfortunately I do not have the time to do this, but
perhaps someone else can pick up this challenge and demonstrate the concept.

(NB Pace Martin Bryan et al, I am not attempting to resurrect EDML.)

>EDI requires human negotiation and setup, causing costs for users, and
>revenues for EDI vendors.  Does EDI have a suitable unambiguous subset?
>Does EDIFACT provide definitions of semantic meanings or business process?

The EDIFACT message structures and data elements have been derived from
analyses of a wide range of business processes.  That does not mean to say
that EDIFACT messages (as opposed to data elements) are necessarily good
models for SME use.

>Does EDIFACT imply any consistent data model, cleansed of overlapping
>synonyms, duplicated structures, and collisions?

I believe so, apart from a minor inconsistency in how date element
qualifiers are presented (sometimes before sometimes after the related
element) .  Does anyone disagree?

>Small business has no choice but to wait, and do NOTHING, until transaction
>cost of ecommerce comes way down.  That might happen via XML if an
>vocabulary emerges from ebXML.  Or, it might happen within various
>portals, Microsoft, Checkfree, AOL, etc.  Right now the SMEs continue
>and mailing their checks and invoices, biding their time. The commercial
>companies are *miles ahead* of anything on this ebXML list.  Every day you
>waste, the commercial companies sign up 100,000 more people and their unit
>costs go down, and their rent-collecting models take firmer root.  For
>X.Com/PayPal has gone from zero to 1,000,000 users in the last 4 months,

Best regards


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