The EDIFACT standard provides a set of syntax rules to structure data, interactive exchange protocol (I-EDI) and standard messages which allow multi-industry exchange. XML/EDIFACT is used in B2B scenarios as listed below.
1) Newer EAI or B2B systems, e.g. SAP XI, often cannot handle EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) syntax directly. Simple syntax converters do a 1:1 conversion before. Their input is an EDIFACT transaction file, their output an XML/EDIFACT instance file.
2) XML/EDIFACT keeps XML B2B transactions relatively small. XML element names derived from EDIFACT tags are much shorter and more formal than those derived from natural language. Such formal tags, taken from the "EDIFACT modeling language", are readable by B2B experts worldwide.
3) A company does not want to invest into new vocabularies from scratch. XML/EDIFACT reuses business content defined in UN/EDIFACT. Since 1987, the UN/EDIFACT library was enriched by global business needs for all sectors of industry, transport and public services. For XML, there is no such comprehensive vocabulary available.
4) Large companies can order goods from small companies via XML/EDIFACT. The small companies use XSL style sheets to browse the message content in human readable forms.
The EDIFACT reference provides the most comprehensive EDIFACT repository for simplifying XML and legacy data integration projects, providing detailed information on all EDIFACT structures. The enhanced EDIFACT reference site includes the following features:
• All EDIFACT data models in a Javadocs format.
• Combines references to the control and segments (e.g. UNB, UNH) with the content segments (e.g. DTM, QTY) so all searching can be done in one place.
• Graphical trees of the segments used in a message are available.
• Cross references show which tables, elements, segments and messages are available in each version, making it easy to see what has changed.
• Includes all versions of the base standard from D93A onward, including the EDIFACT B and even C variants.
• Syntax versions 3, 4 and 4.1 are all included