Data Exchange Through XML
IPMA Forum 2003
May 21, 2003
St Martins College
Lacey, Washington
Presentation by:
Guy Outred – Windsor Solutions, Inc.
Louis Sweeney – Ross and Associates
Tom Clarke – Office of Administration of the Courts
Data Exchange Thru XML
• Guy Outred – Windsor Solutions
– Challenges and History of Data Exchange
– What is XML? How will it improve exchange?
• Louis Sweeney – Ross & Associates
– The National Environmental Information Exchange
Network (NEIEN)
• Tom Clarke – Office of Administration of the
Courts
– Justice Information Network (JIN)
Data Exchange Thru XML
From a government perspective
•Challenges and History of Data Exchange
•What is XML?
•How will it improve data exchange?
www.windsorsolutions.com
Data Exchange Thru XML
From a government perspective
•Challenges and History of Data Exchange
•What is XML?
•How will it improve data exchange?
www.windsorsolutions.com
Processes Span Many Organizations
G2G Examples
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Environmental data
Judicial data
Procurement data
Financial data
Business and tax information (e.g., UBI)
Demographics / GIS data
Federal agency inter-change
B2G Examples
• Tax returns
• Environmental reporting
• Productivity information
• Financial reporting
• Real estate history
5 Steps for Data Exchange
1. Define and agree what data to exchange
2. Specify the agreed definition to ensure quality of
exchange; i.e., Data Structure + Data Rules
3. Develop an extraction and transformation process to
procure the data
4. Develop a transformation (and loading) process to use
the data
5. Develop a repeatable process to facilitate exchange
History of Data Exchange
Technologies
1975
– Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
• First standard way to communicate over a network
• Complex and costly, only major implementations
• 80s and 90s
– Universal conduits attempted
• CORBA, DCOM, Unix RPC, Java Remote Method
Invocation
• Inadequate momentum gained
Historical Lesson Learned
Standards and their Adoption is a two way street.
Web to the Rescue
• A low level transport standard was born
– The web has been adopted using TCP/IP and HTTP
– Has become a universal business standard
– Messaging and data encapsulation missing
• Feb 1998 draft XML 1.0 by W3C
– Provided the platform-independent data description
• Dec 1999 SOAP revealed
– Provided a protocol to process data exchange
• Fall 2000 WSDL announced
– Standard to invoke and service web data exchange
• Cross-vendor support unprecedented
What about flat files?
• The cheap (non-EDI) way to share data
• Flat files provide the data Structure
• The Rules can be captured by:
– A specification document of the rules
– A parser application used after receipt
– A parser application for use during file generation
• Simple, technology independent, but messy
Data Exchange Thru XML
From a government perspective
•Challenges and History of Data Exchange
•What is XML?
•How will it improve data exchange?
www.windsorsolutions.com
XML in a Nutshell
XML supports Step 2: Specify the agreed definition to
ensure quality exchange
Reusable Good Information = Structure + Rules + Data
An XML Schema defines the Structure and the Rules
An XML Document contains the Data (and references the Schema)
Create an XML document, open it with IE and it validates itself
Underlying Technologies
XML Is the Glue
Connectivity
Connect
the Web
Presentation
Browse
the Web
Connecting
Applications
Program
the Web
XML Overview
• eXtensible Markup Language
• XML is designed to represent and transfer
structured data
– In HTML: <p>Jan 15, 2000 </p>
– In XML: <OrderDate>Jan 15,
2000</OrderDate>
• XML does not display or transform data
XML Overview
XML Syntax
• XML is composed of tags and attributes
– Tags can be nested
• Representing entities, entity properties, and entity
hierarchy
<ROOT>
<Orders OrderID="10643" CustomerID="ALFKI"
EmployeeID="6" OrderDate="1997-08-25T00:00:00"
RequiredDate="1997-09-22T00:00:00"
ShippedDate="1997-09-02T00:00:00" />
</ROOT>
XML Schemas
• XML schemas describe the structure of an
XML document
– XML schemas describe the tag and attribute
specifications
– XML schemas also describe constraints
• Schemas can reference other schema
(inheritance)
– Encourages reuse of data definitions
– Enables cross-fertilization of data exchange
Step 5: Develop a repeatable process
to facilitate exchange
Publish & Find Services:
UDDI
Formal Service Descriptions:
WSDL
Service Interactions:
SOAP
Universal Data Format:
XML
Ubiquitous Communications:
Internet
SOAP
• SOAP is the protocol used by Web Consumers for
sending requests and receiving responses
• It enables cross-platform interoperability
– OS, object model, programming language neutral
– Hardware independent
– Protocol independent
• Works over existing Internet infrastructure
SOAP
Message Structure
SOAP Message
The complete SOAP message
Headers
Protocol binding headers
SOAP Envelope
<Envelope> encloses payload
SOAP Header
Headers
SOAP Body
Message Name & Data
<Header> encloses headers
Individual headers
<Body> contains SOAP message name
XML-encoded SOAP message name
& data
Data Exchange Thru XML
From a government perspective
•Challenges and History of Data Exchange
•What is XML?
•How will it improve data exchange?
www.windsorsolutions.com
Example: Washington’s TurboWaste
• Regulatory reporting of hazardous waste activities
• Old way
– Dept of Ecology provided flat file capability in 1995
– Software distributed to validate data with rules
• New way
– XML Schema provided to reporters, web submission ability
– Structure + Rules encapsulated
• The Future
– States to exchange monthly data exchange to identify missing
trans-state hazardous waste
• Faster, better quality data interchange
XML is not a silver bullet
• Agreement on the definition of data is still the
same old challenge
• Standards are still maturing
• Infrastructure for XML exchange is non-trivial
• It takes two to tango
– And government agencies prefer to rumba
– Adoption amongst constituents will take time
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