This month we asked Dave Schwartz to answer your questions about the functionality and operating environment for IBM's premiere Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) translator, WebSphere® Data Interchange. WebSphere Data Interchange provides advanced translation, validation, and batched information exchange capabilities for EDI standards. Dave provides worldwide technical sales support for WebSphere Data Interchange. For more information, see WebSphere Business Integration Zone.
We appreciate and thank all the WebSphere developers who submitted questions.
Question: When WebSphere Data Interchange translates the message to EDI format, can WebSphere Data Interchange automatically send the EDI message to a Value Added Network (VAN)? If so:
- Which VAN WebSphere Data Interchange supports to do this? Popular VANs are IBM Information Expedite and GE Express.
- Is extra programming required? Or just simple configuration? Is there any documentation that tells how to configure WebSphere Data Interchange to do this? (submitted by AC)
Answer: The role of WebSphere Data Interchange is to facilitate data transformation, such as application data to EDI standards or XML. WebSphere Data Interchange does not perform communications, but can work with any communication method available to the customer. WebSphere Data Interchange includes a documented communication interface that you can easily setup to pass parameters to a communication program, such as IBM Expedite. You can use Expedite with IBM's electronic mailbox service, Information Exchange. WebSphere Data Interchange can also read from and write directly to MQ message queues.
Question: Will WebSphere Data Interchange work with Oracle? Is it supported on AIX 5? (submitted by John Gavin, JE Enterprises)
Answer: WebSphere Data Interchange works with DB2®, but not with Oracle. The Multiplatform version (AIX and Windows® 2000) is shipped with DB2 Workgroup Edition. DB2 is also a prerequisite on OS/390 and z/OS. WebSphere Data Interchange is supported on AIX 4.3.3 and later.
Question: Does WebSphere Data Interchange provide support HIPPA?
Answer: Yes, WebSphere Data Interchange provides support for the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in two ways. The first is by providing the EDI standard transaction sets tailored to match the HIPAA implementation. The second is by providing maps that validate the sender maps in compliance with the HIPPA guidelines. Both the EDI standards for HIPAA and the validation maps are available on the WebSphere Data Interchange Web site.
Question: What formats are supported by WebSphere Data Interchange?
Answer: WebSphere Data Interchange supports all versions of ANSI X12 (domestic standards) and its published industry subsets, such as UCS, VICS, Rail, and HIPAA. In addition, EDI Fact standards (international EDI) and XML are also supported.
Question: What is the user interface for WebSphere Data Interchange? Is it PC-based? Can it be used on a LAN?
Answer: The user interface to WebSphere Data Interchange is called the WebSphere Data Interchange Client. It is a Windows based, GUI application used to input application definitions, create maps, maintain trading partner profiles, maintain EDI standards, and so on. WebSphere Data Interchange Client runs on individual PCs. However, the WebSphere Data Interchange database can be shared on a LAN server or maintained on the server where the WebSphere Data Interchange translation engine runs.
Question: Does WebSphere Data Interchange have the capability to take in one source document and output many application files?
Answer: Yes, WebSphere Data Interchange has the ability through a special keyword,
DIMAPCHAIN, to translate one inbound EDI transaction to many applications formats. This is done by chaining the inbound document to multiple maps during the translation process.
Question: Explain how conditional logic fits into your mapping schemes.
Answer: WebSphere Data Interchange's conditional processing lets you define how you want data processed based on rules you establish. You can insert logic, variables, and special WebSphere Data Interchange commands at every EDI data element level.
Question: What process is used to promote development maps from test to QA to production?
Answer: WebSphere Data Interchange includes an "export/import" utility that you can use to move maps from one environment to another, such as from test to production.