These questions are directed more at EDI people, or ideally at people who work with both EDI and XML. I'm working on an article comparing the two, and I'm trying to figure out what XML's real advantages are over EDI (as opposed to the hyped advantages). Any answers to any of these questions will be much appreciated.
1. It appears that one of XML's main advantages over EDI is XSLT, which provides a relatively easy way to translate between different message formats. In contrast, I've read that EDI trading partners have to perform lots of application-specific development to introduce a new EDI message format. Is this true?
a. Doesn't most EDI translation software include a mapper that precludes the need for modifying your applications to conform to a new EDI message format?
b. Even if you have an old mainframe and no EDI translation software is available, won't a VAN perform the translation?
2. I've also read that connecting a company to a VAN is very time-consuming and expensive. Is this generally true?
3. Have VAN costs come down significantly in the past few years?
a. Are there any good VAN cost surveys out there? I've done a lot of searching on the Web and haven't found anything but anecdotal information.
4. Another of XML's apparent advantages is schemas - machine-readable message format definitions that can be used for message validation. I've read that with EDI, this validation usually takes place at the application level. However, EDI does appear to have machine-readable message format definitions with IMPDEF and gXML. Does anyone know how widely these are used, and how they compare to schemas?
Thank you very much!