Data transportation capabilities in Middleware, Integration, or EDI Software

Data transportation capabilities in Middleware, Integration, or EDI Software

Data Transportation capabilities in Middleware, Integration, or EDI software

The purpose of Middleware, Integration, or EDI software is to transfer data from one trading partner to another (e.g. transfer Order information from customer to supplier), or from one business application to another (e.g. copy Order information from customer management system to warehouse management system). A variety of industry-standard transfer techniques are available, and some of the common ones are described below.

Transfer Technique

Description

Copy or move internal file

Within the computer network of an organisation, files can be moved or copied on one computer or from computer to computer within that network (subject to permission levels). This technique is not usually available for accessing files that are on computers outside the organisation.

FTP

FTP (“File Transfer Protocol”) is the traditional technique for moving files from one organisation to another. One organisation “hosts” an FTP file location and other organisations access files at that location (to upload or download). A typical FTP set-up will use ID and password credentials to control access, and might provide a different (i.e. private) sub-location for each set of credentials.

FTP/S

“Secure” FTP. This extension of FTP provides encryption of the files while they are being transferred between organisations. This hides the contents of files from third parties (e.g. from someone intercepting a file on an open network connection such as the Internet). Encryption techniques include SSL and TLS, and security is achieved through the exchange of special files that identify each computer or organisation.

SFTP or SSH

Conceptually similar to FTP/S, but using different internal protocols for file encryption and transfer.

HTTP

Standard protocol for requesting and receiving web pages from a web server. Also used to exchange files with a web server (download or upload). ID and password credentials can be used (and also secure HTTP, as below). “REST” (or “RESTful”) web services use HTTP, but do not have the same message-coupling

HTTP/S

“Secure” HTTP. This extension of HTTP provides encryption of web pages and files while they are being transferred from or to the web server. This hides the contents of files from third parties (e.g. someone intercepting a file on an open network connection such as the Internet). Encryption techniques include SSL and TLS, and security is achieved through the exchange of special files that identify each computer or organisation. This can happen automatically, as is often done for Internet shopping and banking websites.

REST (or RESTful)

A protocol for web services. A web service involves the exchange of messages between computers using web protocols. The messages will usually contain data that might otherwise have been transferred as files (e.g. Customer details, or Order details). Each REST web service call tends to be more unidirectional (either upload or download) than the characteristic request/response coupling of SOAP web services (see below).

SOAP

A protocol for web services. A web service involves the exchange of messages between computers using web protocols. The messages will usually contain data that might otherwise have been transferred as files (e.g. Customer details, or Order details). A feature of SOAP web services is the coupling of a request message and the corresponding response message.

AS2

A specific implementation of data transfer over HTTP or HTTP/S.

SMTP (email)

SMTP is a technique for sending email messages without requiring a mailbox as such. Messages can be “plain text” or they can be formatted (e.g. HTML) and they can include file attachments. Often used to send notifications from a system, or to send files to unique recipients each time.

POP or IMAP (email)

System-level protocols for accessing messages in an email account. Provides a very simple means for receiving data from external parties, but can be subject to unwanted messages (e.g. “spam”). File attachments can be detached and processed.

Message Queues

Message queuing (e.g. IBM MQ, MS MQ) acts as an intermediary in the exchange of files between organisations: senders and recipients connect to the queue, instead of connecting directly to each other, and the queue management software arranges for delivery from sender to recipient.


Flow Software Limited is a software company headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand, specialising in the development, marketing, and support of Integration and EDI software.

 

Further information can be found at www.flowsoftware.com


 

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