EDI Form 810 Import Data from Access

Posted on 2002-04-04
Last Modified: 2008-02-01
I use EDI to do my invoicing.  However, I have an Access db that I keep invoice information in for future reference.  I exported the Access information to a .cvs file format.  Now, my question is how do I import it into the EDI system?  Do I have to use Xml tags between the field names?  Is there a certain format for the XML tags if you are using form 810?  If anyone has done this before I would really be interested in knowing what is involved in doing this.  I am using TrustedLink as my EDI system.  Any information would be healpful, since I have never done this before.
Question by:zippy21
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Expert Comment

ID: 6920649
I have done this with a number of EDI systems, but not specifically with form 810.  If you can get me a copy of the software, I might be able to help.

Author Comment

ID: 6920685
I can't give you a copy, since you'd have to register it to use it, but all I need to know is what language I would need to use to write this, and what kind of format would it have to be in...basically how do I get started and how do I do this?  We have other forms that I would like to add to my EDI processing as well and would love to know how to go about doing this.  If you could suggest a book or tell me where you learned to convert files for use with EDI then that would be great!  

Accepted Solution

payperpage earned 300 total points
ID: 6920848
I guess the first place to start is the documentation for the EDI software you are using - you are looking for two things really - does it have any documented method for importing the EDI messages, or an API that you can make calls to?  Does the documentation mention the format that the messages should be in before you import them - I think it is usual to prepare the messages in EDI format, or XML.  

Whether it is EDI format or XML, the messages will be made up of individual elements, or segments, and each segment will contain two types of data - the information you are sending, and the structural information that defines the segment (segment name, segment number, etc).  You will need to understand how the segment is constructed, what each segment is for, and what information each segment contains.  If your EDI software is looking for XML files, then you need to find out what the DTD looks like, and build the XML files to match that DTD.

We were using a UK-specific retail EDI format called TRADACOMS, which I think is a derivation of the Edifact standard.  Our EDI software allowed us to import messages which we had to prepare in the TRADACOMS standard, so that the EDI software could transmit them to our partners without modification.  We got hold of a copy of the TRADACOMS standards document, worked out how a message was structured, and then wrote some VB software to read our databases, and construct the message files in the TRADACOMS standard.  If you have to construct your own EDI messages in the standard format, then it is not too difficult to write a program for, and Access should be able to do it just fine, but you need to understand the message format to get it right.

So first off, does your EDI software documentation tell you what standard format of files it is looking for?
Second, do you have a copy of the EDI standards document that details how the standard files are made up?
If your software is looking for XML, do you have access to the DTD?
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Expert Comment

ID: 6920863
One other small comment - EDI was always supposed to 'standardise' the process of sending invoices and other documents, and XML is just the latest standard in the EDI idea that goes back 20 years.  

OK, fair enough - a 'standard format' makes it easy for one company to send invoices to another company.  But what always seemed to happen with the companies I worked with was that as soon as a company used EDI with multiple trading-partners, each one used the standards in a slightly different way.  The same is true with XML - the DTD ties things down somewhat, but each company will tend to use the DTD in a subtly different way.  This becomes more of a problem if you are receiving messages in from your partners, rather than sending message out to them, but it pays in the long run to write your interface software in a very flexible way, so that it can cope with all the different ways your different trading partners make use of the standards.  

Expert Comment

ID: 6920878 gives some details of the structure of the 810 message, and a web search will probably find some other references for you.  

I would say that you should try to get hold of an example of an actual EDI file, so that you can relate this to the documented standard, and see how your data fits to the file.  

One other small wrinkle to beware of - although 810 is a 'standard', the standard changes over time, and comes in various 'versions'.  Make sure you know which version of the standard your trading partners are expecting, and build your interface software so that it can cope with multiple versions for different trading partners.

You would also want to build in test facilities - when you are trying out a new trading partner, or a new message, or a new version, you and your trading partner will want to work in 'test mode' at first to check that everything is OK before you go live.  You might find that the format of the test message is slightly different from the format of the live message, so make sure that your software can do this - for instance, when your partner specifies that they are going to start using a new version of the message standard, they may want to receive your invoices in the old version in 'live' mode, and copies of the same invoices in the next version up, in 'test' mode.

Author Comment

ID: 6921059
Wow, there seems to be alot to this.  I will try what you said and see what I can do.  Hopefully, I can figure it out.  Thank-you for all the information you gave me, I know it will help me.

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