XML / EDI Basics

Message implementation guideline

Message implementation guideline provides instructions for implementing a certain message type using a certain message standard in a certain context. In other words, implementation guideline determines the refinements for the selected message type in a given context. Common refinements are limitation of elements used (message subset), setting the mandatory fields, listing the permitted code values, as well as setting the technical and business rules.

When the use of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is initiated between the trading partners, a message recipient sends the implementation guideline to a message sender (or vice versa). This guideline specifies how data should be presented to enable the receiver to process incoming data automatically.

Testing starts after a sender has generated XML message/document following an implementation guideline. Testing is often a mutually binding iterative process because there are no tools for running comprehensive tests independently. Usually a sender has access only to XML schema, for performing schema validation. This does not cover for details and rules specified in an implementation guideline. This will leave independently conducted testing insufficient.

Especially when many deployments shall be implemented using a same guideline, it's highly recommended to set up a test profile to provide detailed validator as a self-service. The best approach is to specify both message documentation and message validator using the same tool to minimize work effort and to keep validator and documentation always aligned. XML Subset Editor is the right tool for this purpose.

Next article: EDI Onboarding / Deployment