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Subject: Just what is Interoperability?
Since in some circles it appears a fait accompli xCBL will be chosen as the basis of ebXML's core components, I thought it might be nice to check it out at http://www.xcbl.org/. I talked earlier today about the EDIFACT ORDERS message and how the DTM segment is used in it. xCBL contains an analogous Order document, which in turn contains an OrderHeader. In that header are the RequestedShipByDate, RequestedDeliverByDate, PromiseDate, ValidityDates, and CancelByDate elements - all with descriptive names - augmented by the ListOfDateCoded element which can contain any number of DateCoded elements which are other, non-specified, dates qualified by a code from a code list dwarfing the already complex EDIFACT D.E. 2005. I reckon the explicitly named date elements are derived from commonly used date qualifiers in EDIFACT D.E. 2005 (or the analog in ASC X12 D.E. 374 Date/Time Qualifier). Arofan Gregory had earlier said to me: "I don't understand what your interest is in ebXML. If you want to use EDIFACT - by all means, use EDIFACT. But when you take away the ability to determine semantic equivalence across syntaxes, you abandon the goal of interoperability that was ebXML's charter at the core component level." Can Arofan or someone please describe how "to determine semantic equivalence across [the xCBL and UN/EDIFACT] syntaxes?" I didn't see any annotations in the DTDs or schemas which could be used to equate, say, RequestedShipByDate with the date in a DTM segment qualified by a code like "10" (Shipment date/time, requested). Are there any formal models for these classes with the relevant tie-backs? If this information wasn't recorded, then however can we determine semantic equivalence? If such information is lost or was never maintained, then I'm not too concerned. I have no use for auto-converting xCBL schemas or documents into EDIFACT MIGs or messages, respectively. I understand "interoperability" to be the standardized exchange of business information between two organizations, regardless how disparate their internal processes. Interoperability has nothing to do with the sterile exercise of converting EDIFACT to xCBL or vice versa. William J. Kammerer FORESIGHT Corp. 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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