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

On Mon, 17 Apr 2000 09:04:14 +0100, James Whittle wrote:

>After reading this string of mail I have to make a brief comment. Are you
>all aware of the massive amounts of resource that go into implementing
>UN/EDIFACT and maintaining it even in a small tading community? Todd is
>correct that UN/EDIFACT is just not accessible enough for SMEs.
>I have to frank and say that if the solution to the worlds XML b2b problems
>were simply about translating UN/EDIFACT "warts and all" into XML do you not
>think the worlds software vendors would not have done so already? Lets not
>miss a trick here, I agree that we do not want to throw "the baby out with
>the bath water" but lets make sure we lever maximum advantage from XML as a
>syntax and please, please lets make implementation a more simple, standard
>and cost effective process of all.

This is a valid point.  We need to benefit from all those years 
of EDI experience, and this includes taking not of both its 
strengths and its shortcomings.

In my view the most basic deficiencies in EDI have been:
 1. The development of multi-purpose message types that are a 
     large subset of anything that is used in any single application.
 2. Imprecise semantic definition of semantic elements.
 3. The focus on data to the (comparative) neglect of process.

The result is standards that cannot be used as is.  For any 
particular application you need to have, in addition, the 
specification of message subsets, tighter semantics and 
multi-interchange processes.  IMHO this is the main 
source of expensive implementation.

A move to OO modelling provides an opportunity to improve
the situation - with a focus on process and the development of
families of models that build from basic *subsets* of
real processes to form usable models rather than carving up

I believe that EDI directories provide a useful resource for
this kind of standarisation - particularly in core components.  
However this needs to be done in a way that does not replicate
the warts.

My 2c worth.
Robert Dakin
Dr Robert Dakin
Dakin Technology
Home page:   http://www.pcug.org.au/~daktec/
Tel: +61 2 6255 1436  Fax: +61 2 6255 1304

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