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Created: March 28, 2001.
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Transentric Publishes XEDI/XML 'TranXML Principles'.

A communiqué from Fred Domke (Chief Technology Officer, Transentric) reports on the availablity of XML schemas for TranXML, now scheduled for a first public release in mid-April, 2001. TranXML was announced earlier this month as "a new Extensible Markup Language (XML) solution being proposed as the new industry standard for e-commerce related activities between shippers and carriers. TranXML was created specifically for the procurement and delivery of transportation and logistics services required for supply chain execution. The work to introduce TranXML to the market was accomplished by Transentric, based on the X.12 and XMLSolutions meta data repository. Corporations without EDI infrastructure will be able to form new trading partners communities using TranXML. Initial TranXML schemas will be available for motor and rail carrier bill of lading, as well as tracing and status event reporting. Subsequent releases of TranXML will include schemas to support an open standard for Internet-enabled applications including load tendering, delivery, freight billing, reconciliation, scheduling/forecasting and equipment ordering." Transentric has produced a background document on TranXML Principles which identifies major obstacles to data exchange as "the lack of common semantic structures and repositories supporting the flow of data to and from disparate applications (e.g. different roles an entity may play in a supply chain -- whether a 'Buyer' could be considered as a 'Consignee' and a 'Seller' could be considered as a 'Shipper', depending on whether the information is coming from a purchasing or logistics system). TranXML is an attempt to transform the foundation of knowledge contained in XEDI into a more approachable format. Toward that goal, TranXML applies business rules for the transformation of XEDI data into interoperable structures that can be used by many disparate applications. Transentric's experience in Logistics will be used as a basis for the creation of the transformation rules. The new structures will create a neutral, common XML data dictionary that can be used for both internal and external applications." The design document explains why XML Schemas are being used instead of XML DTDs, and how the TranXML data dictionary is being designed to support interoperable solutions. Transentric is drawing upon work of other standards bodies such as ChemXML, RosettaNet, and EbXML; it also follows the design of logistics messages developed through CIDX and Bolero.

From the TranXML Principles white paper:

"Open-standard EDI formats such as X12 and EDIFACT have come the closest to establishing common semantic repositories for global data exchange. Since these data formats/content are commonly understood by many users, it makes sense to adopt existing dictionaries as a basis for XML development. XEDI provides the perfect bridge from traditional EDI driven applications, as it retains the semantic definitions currently used and understood by many legacy systems. Although XEDI offers users the wealth of common semantics contained in the X12 and EDIFACT dictionaries, it is restrictive in its ability to create common structures and human readable tags in XML. TranXML is an attempt to transform the foundation of knowledge contained in XEDI into a more approachable format...Transentric has a unique opportunity to develop a standardized set of XML structures that will foster the flow of information between various internal and external applications. This XML technology (TranXML) will allow for the optimization of data structures to ensure interoperability. Additionally, it allows for a format that is both human and machine readable, allowing for greater flexibility than traditional XEDI."

"It is envisioned that TranXML will first be used to create XML structures for internal Transentric applications. The first application will be to provide common structures for message conversions relating to tracing. We will also be creating common structures and transformation rules for Bills of Lading, Manifests, Advanced Ship Notices and other tracing formats. By applying these transformation rules, there only needs to be one map from the TranXML for all of the above applications. In order to make the TranXML dictionary as interoperable as possible, we will be drawing upon our own experience and applications as well as those established by other standards bodies such as ChemXML, RosettaNet and EbXML. As of this writing, the only logistics messages developed in an open standard environment have within the auspices of CIDX and Bolero. We plan to draw upon their experience to ensure that TranXML will be interoperable with those external trading partners."

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