XML / EDI Basics

Message Standards

Message standard, message format, message description, a beloved child has many names. These terms refer to the specification, which describes how the data / document are presented using certain syntax (XML). The standard therefore defines the sequence and the structure, in which the data must be presented. The standard additionally defines names (tags) for each piece of data, as well as the frequency of each data item. The term message standard should only be used for a message definition by an official standardization organization, but commonly the term is used often broadly.

Commonly known XML message "standards" include the UBL (Universal Business Language), XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language), which are message formats for the business documents previously transmitted in paper form. In addition, many industries have their own message standards, which serve the vertical business. Such standards include, papiNet (forest and paper), RosettaNet (ICT industry) and HL7 (healthcare).

Message standard usually covers several message types (product catalog, order, order confirmation, invoice). In order to use a number of message types in parallel, message standards often have a common component library, which sets out the general reusable structures of various types of data presentation. For example, the party information is common to all message types; therefore it is easiest for this data to always be presented in exactly the same format for each message type. The disadvantage is that the information requirements may vary depending on the type of message and the role of the party (buyer, seller), in which case some of the mandatory pieces of information cannot be re-used in set structures. Refinements to the mandatory pieces of information and other necessary refinements are described in the implementation guideline.

Next article: Message Implementation Guideline