EDI Overview

EDI automates information exchange between trading partners, and it reduces the information processing work as well. The process of EDI may consolidate many types of information exchange, performing all transfers at the same time. The following topics show how a single process for data exchange can be decomposed into two types of warehouse operations, receiving and shipping, each with its own operational sequence.


Traditional EDI uses store-and-forward mail service bureaus, or Value Added Networks (VANs), to transfer data. [1] These networks provide data consolidation, distribution, storage, reporting, and other services to guarantee reliable data transfer. Desktop e-mail software cannot replace the functions of a VAN, because e-mail lacks the automation, data replication, and consolidation and distribution functions which a VAN provides. However, EDI data may be transferred using FTP (File Transfer Protocol) through an Internet Service Provider (ISP) without recourse to a VAN.

Table 5. Process Outline, Receiving data.

Step Description
End – Originating Partner Application and Transfer
- - - - - - - - - - - - - FTP Process - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Start – Receiving Partner Transfer and Application
Connect to FTP site
Copy files in directory /ftp/B_to_A/* to /CONNECT/RCV/*
A.2 Concatenate files from /CONNECT/RCV/ into /CONNECT/RECEIVE.EDI
A.3 Archive RECEIVE.EDI in filename /CONNECT/HISTORY/yymmddAA.RC$
A.4 Separate data into documents and write them to RECEIVES table
Validate documents against corresponding EDI standards version
(Write 997 Functional Acknowledgments in TRANSMITS table for later)
A.6 Translate accepted documents into application database

Table 6. Process Outline, Transmitting data.

Step Description
B.1 Extract data to send to a single partner
B.2 Update database to mark extracted records
B.3 Write EDI document records in TRANSMITS table
B.4 Concatenate EDI documents in file /CONNECT/SND/TRANSMIT.TX$
B.5 Archive TRANSMIT.TX$ in file /CONNECT/HISTORY/yymmddAA.TX$
Connect to FTP site
Copy file /CONNECT/HISTORY/yymmddAA.TX$ to directory /ftp/A_to_B/
End – Originating Partner Application and Transfer
- - - - - - - - - - - - - FTP Process - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Start – Receiving Partner Transfer and Application

In the tables above, WARES performs receiving actions steps A.2-6 using menu selection Exchange ‣ Interchange ‣ Receive. WARES performs transmitting actions steps B.1-5 using menu selection Exchange ‣ Interchange ‣ Transmit. [2] The combination of steps A.2-6 and B.1-5 are performed by selection Exchange ‣ Interchange ‣ Send/Receive.

Download the DOS batch file ftp.bat for a DOS script to handle operating system files for data exchange.

Where WARES is run in a multiuser environment, we use program lftp to perform actual FTP transfers using a cron job on the Linux file server.

A sample configuration file waresedi.conf is provided to use with lftp. Server configuration is described elsewhere in our documentation at http://servers.aaltsys.info.

rubric:: Footnotes

[1]BOLD VAN is an inexpensive alternative to traditional VANs at a fixed price of $49.00 per month per partner.
[2]The transmit process is problematic with multiple trading partners. By default WARES bundles all data to transmit into one file, to be parsed and distributed by a VAN. A replacement process which would transmit data for each partner separately, sending it to the correct FTP site, is not currently provided.