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Subject: Getting Back to Basics - How to describe Dates and Times and Events?

Section 8.1 Ground Rules for Constructing & Validating Core Components,
of the ebXML Methodology: Core Components Discovery and Analysis (March
23, 2001) Version 1.02 specification, states "A core component is a
basic building block for the creation of a semantically correct
information exchange parcel. It is atomic in its fundamental construct.
It contains only the essential information pieces necessary to describe
the concept in a non-contextual manner."

I think that's a good definition of a BASIC core component - the atomic
building block of aggregate core components.  Did we ever settle on Date
and Time basic core components?  And once we've done that, how do we
make Dates and Times useful?  It's not enough to just say something is a
particular Date or Time (or even DateTime combination) - what event are
we describing?

We always pay lip-service to UN/EDIFACT, so why not look at how it
describes events? In UN/EDIFACT, Events are described with the DTM
(DATE/TIME/PERIOD) Segment, which basically gives the event or function,
and the Date, Time or DateTime when the event occurs.  You can see the
DTM at http://www.unece.org/trade/untdid/d01a/trsd/trsddtm.htm.  D.E.
2005 (Date or time or period function code qualifier) has a huge list of
every possible event known to mankind in the area of trade and commerce.

The DTM can be used a number of ways in a typical message, like the
ORDERS Purchase order message;  if you take a look at the ORDERS at
http://www.unece.org/trade/untdid/d01a/trmd/orders_c.htm, and read
Section 4.1: Segment clarification, you'll see that the DTM can be used
in the front (header) of the message to describe events related to the
entire message - e.g., The Date/Time of the message itself (when it was
created), or the Requested Delivery date/time: the date you expect most
or all of the junk you ordered to be delivered.

Or the DTM can be used within a PO line item to override or augment the
dates in the header - to say that this particular product has to be
delivered 2 days before the rest of the order is expected.  Or the DTM
can be used to augment a reference (RFF) - e.g., to identify the date
the Blanket PO was issued. The placement of the DTM segment, in addition
to the function code qualifier, determines its "context."  And only a
few of the codes in D.E. 2005 will be applicable in a certain context
(you could pick a dozen or so that have any real meaning in the ORDERS

So how is all of this going to be done using ebXML core components?  How
do you model this? Where does context arise?  Any examples?

William J. Kammerer
4950 Blazer Pkwy.
Dublin, OH USA 43017-3305
+1 614 791-1600

Visit FORESIGHT Corp. at http://www.foresightcorp.com/
"accelerating time-to-trade"

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