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Research paper topic: Xml And Java - 1302 words
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.. creation of proprietary parsers for each data format. In addition, it is necessary to implement elaborate validation routines to insure that all required data is provided, is consistent, and meets the rules of the transaction. This can be a significant effort, requiring custom programming to create the data, and to process it at its destination. XML alleviates this problem by providing a standard way to encode data, validate it, and parse it.
This function requires the availability of a DTD (Document Type Definition). While DTDs are not required for all XML documents, when one is present a standard parser can refer to it and use it to determine whether or not an XML document is, in fact, valid. If application, which creates the XML data, uses the same DTD as the receiving application, we can be virtually guaranteed that all interested parties will be honoring the same rules of the game. And no custom programming and proprietary data formats will be needed. This is all based on standards and widely available java-based XML parsers and generators. Another benefit is that this content and format validation can be separated from the processing application. It can even be run on a completely different machine.
This reduces the requirements for the application, which does the final processing of the XML data, and may significantly speed such applications, since they no longer need to include elaborate validation logic. While theoretically XML parsers can be created with any language, Java is well suited to this partly because of its support of Unicode. These types of business transactions are likely to be international in many cases, and it is well known that ASCII data doesnt support enough characters to represent many foreign languages. Unicode is much better suited to representing all languages. And to repeat an earlier point, Java has supported Unicode from the start. It should be noted that this type of processing would work best when DTD vocabularies are developed and shared by all.
If there is a common definition of an invoice, then many companies can easily send and receive these e-invoices. Unfortunately, there has not been rapid progress to create shared DTD repositories yet. According to Jeff Walsh, published in Info World (July 19, 1999 Pg. 48): While it is true that it would be nice to have an agreed-upon set of vocabularies which everybody can adhere to, this is not the case yet and probably will not be the case in the near future said Norber H. Mikula, chief technology officer of both Data channel, in Seattle, and the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) industry consortium, which acts as a repository for XML schemas.
Mikula said many of the proposals need to be put through their paces and then revised before they are worthwhile, which does not quite match todays business models. There has been some headway made, however. According to the same article in Info World (pg. 48), several vendors are currently developing these specifications, including: CommerceNet(eCo Framework working Group): eCo is teaming with OBI Consortium, RosettaNet, and other industry-specific groups to come up with an umbrella framework to make the various XMNL specifications co-exist and intercorperate. cXML.org(commerceXML): this standard specifies HTTP-based protocols for information exchanges and defines a DTD for various documents such as purchase orders, order acknowledgments, and catalogs specifically targeting MRO (maintenance, repair and operations) purchases.
The OBI (Open Buying on the Internet) Consortium: OBI relies heavily upon existing standards; buying and selling organizations establish an OBI trading web or extranet using the Internet for communicating MRO purchasing transactions. Microsoft (BizTalk Framework): BizTalks charter is to provide guidelines for creating XML schemas so that developers can create DTDs and XML vocabularies in standardized and interoperable ways. RosettaNet (eConcert): eConcert outlines a set of Partner Interface Process (PIP) specifications. Central to PIP is an XML document based on specifically developed framework DTDs that specify PIP services, transactions and messages. When used with the standardized data dictionary, you can create catalog entries and e-commerce documents describing products.
XML/EDI Group (Various): This group promotes XML for electronic Data interchange applications, creating dictionaries, frameworks, and implementation guidelines for vertical industries. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) - EDI is a fairly widely used system for conducting business electronically. It nearly always uses a VAN (Value Added Network) for transmission, and uses either X12 or EDIFACT standards to define the encoding of data. EDI transactions have traditionally been reserved for larger companies and large transaction volumes because of the costs involved in setting up EDI relationships and operating the network. EDI transactions often involve customization, especially when one or both parties want to extend or modify the data, which is being transferred between parties.
It is thought that XML-based EDI can reduce the difficulty of dealing with these customizations. It is also likely to be much less costly than traditional EDI, because it can use the Internet, rather than an expensive VAN. Also, it should be much easier to validate and parse XML data, since there are standards for this process, and easily shared Java code, which implements this. And of course, this Java code runs on virtually any platform without modification. XML and Java together provide portable data, and portable code to process it. Enterprise Application Integration (EAI)- One other application that has been proposed for XML is the passing of data between applications in a large enterprise.
It has been suggested that XML is a better solution than proprietary data formats for the movement of this data between systems. In the article by JP Morgenthal, he suggested that XML could be used to send information about sales orders from the sales to the accounting department, and information about invoices from accounting to sales and collections. He proposed that such an XML-based system could generate all the necessary communications for a transaction using this standards-based data format. Perhaps we dont fully understand his vision, but we feel that this may not be an appropriate use of the technology in most cases. Current shared database technology provides for a two-phased commit process which insures that all parts of a transaction are properly recorded, or a complete rollback occurs which prevents inconsistent data.
While the idea of XML for passing data around the enterprise sounds interesting, we dont feel that this is going to be widely used until techniques are in place to insure that this same capability is available. Conclusion The introduction of XML has allowed for the creation of internet-based documents, which can be understood by software, instead of humans. XML allows the information on a web document to be described in terms of a hierarchy of descriptive tags, making it well suited to the sharing of data between individuals and organizations. But for this information to be processed, programs will need to be able to handle this data in a standard way. If these programs can be developed and run on a wide variety of computer platforms, they will be available for use worldwide, on virtually any type of computer system.
This is leading to great interest in the standard, and will result in development of many programs, which create and process XML data. For many of the reasons, which we have discussed, Java is likely to be the language used to create many of these systems. It will be very interesting to see which of the many ideas out there become viable business solutions. The next Microsoft is probably just getting started right now. Bibliography 1. Bosak, Jon (1997).
XML, Java, and the future of the Web, http://metalab.unc.edu/pub/sun-info/standards/xml/ why/xmlapps.html 2. Fuchs, Matthew, (1999). Why XML Is Meant for Java Exploring the XML/Java Connection, Web Techniques, June 1999. 3. Morgenthal, JP. Portable Data/Portable Code: XML & JavaTM Technologies http://java.sun.com:8081/xml/ncfocus.html.
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