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CEN/ISSS Electronic Commerce Workshop


European XML/EDI Pilot Project

Project Plan


By Martin Bryan


For Information


CEN/ISSS Electronic Commerce Workshop




European XML/EDI Pilot Project

Project Plan


Version: Draft 1.0

Date: 98-06-05

Status: Approved by CEN/ISSS EC Workshop

Author: Martin Bryan



This project plan should be read in conjunction with the project team's Terms of Reference.


This project plan is a living and dynamic document. Whilst the framework will not be changed, the precise operational and implementation details (actions, decisions…) may be amended or extended over time.

Change Between Versions:

    1. preliminary draft for comment by EC Workshop Officials & ISSS Secretariat
    2. includes comments made by Man-Sze Li and documentation requested by John Ketchell
    3. discussion draft for XML/EDI project meeting 1998-6-4
    4. output from project meeting to CEN/ISSS EC workshop 1998-6-5

Reflects the following comments which were raised at the XML/EDI project meeting:

Make the project applicable to applications other than those using EDIFACT for message interchange.

Provide on-going support to people wishing to start using XML for electronic data interchange.

Develop criteria against which XML/EDI applications can be evaluated.

1.0 notification of approval by CEN/ISSS EC Workshop


    1. Proposed Team Composition
    2. Objectives
    3. Deliverables
    4. Timescale
    5. Reporting Mechanism
    6. Methodology
    7. Approval
    8. Success


1 Project Team Composition

The project team is open to all interested parties. The project will led by a project manager.

2 Objective

To test the applicability of XML for interchanging data, between SMEs and their business partners, of the type currently exchanged using EDI messages .

The project will build on the findings of existing and proposed European initiatives on the use of XML for EDI data interchange, including work being done by projects such as:

EuroStat and the Norwegian government on the interchange of statistical data
CEN TC2251 for healthcare informatics
TIEKE in Finland on transport-related messaging
EDIFRANCE on E forms
UK/CEDIS on Simple EDI.

3 Deliverables

3.1 Interim

XML document type definitions (DTDs) for a sequence of related messages.
Documentation explaining the use of selected XML messages, and the relationship between their use and those of equivalent EDI messages.
Publication of a report detailing any problems encountered while preparing the DTDs. In particular to consider the relevance of this process to the development of some general guidelines on the use of XML for EDI, such as those published by The XML/EDI Group in the Guidelines for the use of XML for Electronic Data Interchange.
Set up a web site and discussion list on which the EDI community can discuss the use of XML.

3.2 Final

A demonstration system that will allow users to:
  1. create XML messages that conform to the relevant DTDs by accessing information stored in relevant databases and/or prompting users to input data;
  2. receive XML messages, check that they conform to relevant DTDs and contain valid data, display the message in a form that is meaningful to the SME (e.g. in local language and style) and load information into the user's database as required;
  3. allow information to be submitted to third parties for further processing and provide the necessary message workflow/maintenance facilities to ensure that the correct sequences of messages have been sent/received.
Provide an XML/EDI message type validation mechanism, and mechanisms for creating registries of approved document type definitions.
Provide relevant project management co-ordination facilities through the development of a support centre that can link XML/EDI projects and their deliverables.
Development of a recommendations and issues list for consideration by the editors of guidelines, such as those being developed by The XML/EDI Group.
Analysis of existing and planned activities with respect to the findings of the project and related pilots.
Preparation and dissemination of CWA describing the project, its results and findings.

The deliverables will be neutral in that all willll be allowed to contribute and all will be encouraged to provide input on an equal basis within the resources of the project.


4 Timescales

Project duration: 18 months

Start date: 98-06-30

Interim Deliverable: 6 months from project start

Final Deliverable Due: 18 months from project start

5 Reporting Mechanism

The Project Team shall report through the Project Manager to the Electronic Commerce Workshop. For day-to-day activity, the Project Manager shall report to the nominated ECW liaison official.

6 Methodology

The project consists of the following main components:

Project Management
XML DTD creation
XML/EDI tool development
XML/EDI support centre
General aspects

6.1 Project Management

The following functions will be enabled:

Project co-ordination : The overall organization and co-ordination of the project team and its work, the overseeing all activities and establishing priorities to satisfy dependencies of the project objectives.
Formal management: To ensure the timely delivery of formal deliverables.
Steering : Steering the partnership and organization, assuring the relevance of output with respect to the project objectives.
Communications: Preparing relevant reports, processing other forms of project team communications and ensuring that all communications are distributed and/or accessible via the website. Liaise with ECW liaison officer and ECW secretary as appropriate.
Deliverables: Ensuring that all project deliverables are available on time.
Organization: Organizing meetings related to the project.
Other activities:
Creating conditions necessary for successful collaboration;
Track, manage and motivate participation;
Present to bodies as applicable to encourage the use of XML/EDI;
Establish and monitor a team to develop and manage the software solution;
Update project plan as required;
Jointly administer Email exploders with CEN/ISSS;
Maintain issues list;
Maintain actions list.


6.2 XML DTD creation

The precise requirements are:

Identify set of messages to be used for pilot project.
Identify a set of business processes that need to be activated by specific segments of the messages, including processes that take place at the message sender, at the message receiver and at third party (e.g. an independent auditor) locations
Obtain realistic examples of each message, with documentation explaining how the message is created/used (which data goes in which fields).
Create XML document instances to represent example messages.
Create XML document type definitions that formally describe selected message types.
Develop a repository for the storage of XML DTDs which users can query.


6.3 XML/EDI tool development

This activity is composed of:

Data capture tool
Data display and distribution tool
Data management tool.

It is anticipated that these three tools will be integrated one with another, but will be developed separately in the form of plug-and-play intelligent agents. All tools will be based on the use of existing freely and/or widely available XML tools.


6.3.1 Data capture tool

This activity will concentrate on using an existing XML editor to create XML/EDI message by:

  1. Making calls to local databases that contain the required information, based on locally stored rules for mapping data sources to message fields.
  2. Prompting users for new information required.


6.3.2 Data display and distribution tool

This activity will concentrate on using existing XML browsers to:

  1. Display received XML/EDI messages in a form that is locally understandable (e.g. in the language of the reader, and using field names that have relevance to the user's work).
  2. Use local rules to map received message fields to appropriate fields in local databases.


6.3.3 Data management tool

This activity will concentrate on:

  1. Formally defining rules for controlling who messages should be sent to.
  2. Ensuring that confirmation of receipt of messages is duly logged and report overdue reciepts
  3. Ensuring that appropriate action has been taken to deal with received messages, and to log when and by whom this action was taken.


6.4 XML/EDI Support Centre

The project will set up a support centre that will provide facilities for promoting best practices in the use of XML/EDI. The support centre will:

  1. Develop a web site that provides a wide range of information on the use of XML for EDI, and the findings of projects using XML/EDI.
  2. Develop an e-mail discussion group that potential users of XML/EDI can use to ask questions about their proposed use of XML.
  3. Provide a service whereby publicly available XML/EDI DTDs can be made accessed through the Internet.
  4. Provide a service whereby users can submit their XML/EDI DTDs for expert evaluation and review for relevance to other user communities.
  5. Provide a competence centre on best practices for developing XML/EDI applications.


6.5 General Aspects

6.5.1 Meetings

Due to the nature of this activity the number of face to face meetings will be minimized. The meetings should only been seen as guiding and ensuring progression of this activity rather than as ‘working parties’. Wherever possible such meetings will be held back-to-back with ECW meetings to ensure the greatest possible spread of information.

All other contact will be through email, individual liaisons, telecom, etc

6.5.2 Email/Web

Project Email exploders/Web addresses are:

Item Suggested Name
An open email exploder will be used for awareness, receipt of comments, airing discussion, etc ISSS-WS-EC-XMLEDI
Web Site Via http://www.cenorm.be and http://www.xmledi.com

6.6 Project Team Obligations

Attend meetings as requested.
Participate actively in the open discussion forum.
Use appropriate occasions to generate enthusiasm, awareness and contributions to the public repository.
Contribute to the interim and final deliverable project team approval.
Contribute to the support centre data repository, and provide other types of support facilities.
Contribute to the other activities defined in the project plan.
Contribute to, and review, documentation produced to further the distribution of the project team findings.
Provide a point of liaison for discussions relating to the use of XML for EDI with other bodies working in this field.
Contribute to project plan.
Develop software modules.
Provide time-sheets.
Contribute to recommendations and issues list.


7. Approval

To ensure conformance with management expectations, short, informal updates on progress will be issued to the ECW officials as and when requested.

The interim deliverable will be delivered to the ECW for acceptance and publication on the CEN website.

The final deliverable will be presented to ECW for approval and publication on the CEN website.


8. Success Factors

The success and progress will be measured in terms of identifiable success factors such as:

Success Factor

Addressed by

The quality of the XML document type definitions Ensuring that all DTDs are widely reviewed by both XML and EDI experts, both within the project team and more widely by making the DTDs available on the websites developed by CEN and The XML/EDI Group.
The acceptability of the software tools to end users Through involvement of SMEs in the design and testing of tools and by ensuring that the methods used to develop the tools are applicable to a wide range of XML editors and browsers.
The acceptability of XML and an alternative to EDI. Through demonstrations of the advantages of integrated XML/EDI solutions to as wide a community as possible.
The reporting and resolution of technical difficulties and conflicts Project Manager and ECW Liaison Officer correspondence
The conformance to the project plan Through quarterly reports


Last update: 10 August, 1998