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XML as an EDI type format...dont we need Java on each end?

George Thomas
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 06, 2000
Posts: 35
I've be re-designing our current configuration management system,taking an open source direction; Java, Apache, Tomcat, XML. I've been able to produce some well formed (but not valid...heh heh) XML files using JDOM. So I'm evangelizing to my boss, "hey look at this!" And he says "I looked at it in the IE 5 browser and it has all these tags in it whats the point?" So I try to explain and he says "I understand that this could be our universal format but we'd have to convince everyone else here to use that format."
My question is (I think): What makes XML different from any other proprietary format (even comma delimited text) if you need a program that KNOWS that format on either end of the transaction?
So I need a Java program to write it and a Java program to read it? (or some other language).
Mirko Froehlich
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 21, 2000
Posts: 114
No matter what data format you use, the applications on both sides will obviously always need to be aware of it. Still, XML offers a number of advantages over traditional data exchange formats. For example, it is easily readable by humans, it is easy to validate using a DTD, etc. And even if you are using Java, the application on the other end can be written in any other programming language.
-Mirko
Originally posted by George Thomas:
I've be re-designing our current configuration management system,taking an open source direction; Java, Apache, Tomcat, XML. I've been able to produce some well formed (but not valid...heh heh) XML files using JDOM. So I'm evangelizing to my boss, "hey look at this!" And he says "I looked at it in the IE 5 browser and it has all these tags in it whats the point?" So I try to explain and he says "I understand that this could be our universal format but we'd have to convince everyone else here to use that format."
My question is (I think): What makes XML different from any other proprietary format (even comma delimited text) if you need a program that KNOWS that format on either end of the transaction?
So I need a Java program to write it and a Java program to read it? (or some other language).

Peter den Haan
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 20, 2000
Posts: 3252
Originally posted by George Thomas:
So I try to explain [to my boss] and he says "I understand that this could be our universal format but we'd have to convince everyone else here to use that format."
My question is (I think): What makes XML different from any other proprietary format (even comma delimited text) if you need a program that KNOWS that format on either end of the transaction?

First, like comma delimited files, and unlike SGML, it is simple enough to become a lingua franca between applications. Its very ubiquitousness then becomes its strength (the networking effect).
Second, like SGML and unlike comma delimited files, it is expressive enough for the complex data structures modern applications need to exchange.
So you could say it hits just that sweet spot between simplicity and complexity.
Third...

So I need a Java program to write it and a Java program to read it? (or some other language).

there's XSLT, which allows you to glue two different XML interfaces to each other without programming. Although, arguably, learning XSLT in its full glory takes at least as much brainpower as becoming a Java expert.
- Peter
George Thomas
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 06, 2000
Posts: 35
Thanks for the replies. I guess I was thinking along the lines of if a new tag somehow appeared like so:

<server>
<cabinet> </cabinet>
<cpu> </cpu>
<new-kind-of-hard-drive-thingy />

</server>
that I could deal with "polymorphically". I'm still thinking along these lines and your clarification has really helped me.
I thought I might be missing something.
Thanks again.
George Thomas
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 06, 2000
Posts: 35
Thanks for the replies. I guess I was thinking along the lines of if a new tag somehow appeared like so:

<server>
<cabinet> </cabinet>
<cpu> </cpu>
<new-kind-of-hard-drive-thingy />

</server>
that I could deal with "polymorphically". I'm still thinking along these lines and your clarification has really helped me.
I thought I might be missing something.
Thanks again.
William Brogden
Author and all-around good cowpoke
Rancher

Joined: Mar 22, 2000
Posts: 12823
    
    5
Look at the simple XML-RPC protocol
www.xmlrpc.com
There are other languages besides Java that support it.
For something a bit more complex, and supposedly at the core of MS dotNET initiative, look at SOAP - it is "the coming thing" for data movement between systems in XML.
Ajith Kallambella
Sheriff

Joined: Mar 17, 2000
Posts: 5782
Here is the SOAP Spec @ Microsoft
------------------
Ajith Kallambella M.
Sun Certified Programmer for the Java�2 Platform.


Open Group Certified Distinguished IT Architect. Open Group Certified Master IT Architect. Sun Certified Architect (SCEA).
 
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