Electronic Data Interchange

ElectronicDataInterchange, commonly known as EDI, is supposedly a family of standards for ElectronicCommerce. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EDI.

With the advent of WebApplication and CommerceOnTheWeb and ExtensibleMarkupLanguage, there are new standards for the brave new world. See UniversalBusinessLanguage.

War Stories

I had an experience where some PHB thought that using EDI would AutoMagically allow our suppliers and vendors to all share data as needed by "just" pushing a few buttons. But it was classic EightyTwentyRule at play. A typical receiver's system had multiple idiosyncrasies that had to be attended to. For example, their columns had internal size limits and we had to figure out what to chop out. We kicked around automated abbreviation by kicking out certain vowels or words like "the". (EDI doesn't specify sizes.) We also had zero-price items that were essentially services that came bundled with certain other items. We wanted to make it clear that we were sending them certain items even if they were not explicitly charged for them. But, their system couldn't handle zero prices. We thus had to create an order-specific numbering convention and put the items or services into their single comment section with the reference numbers to the thing they were bundled with.

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