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Ansi Standard X12 design concept Question

Ansi Standard X12 design concept Question

(OP)
Although I have no formal training with EDI, I have managed to successfully design and maintain several Maps with Mercator for my client for over 10 years ... please excuse me my lack of proper jargon.

To date I have alway been able to find a way to maintain one Document type for multiple partners by using minor rule exceptions for conflicting fields. In other words, for any given ANSI document, all partners are being satisfied by one map.

This past week a new partner has approached us to start exchanging data using one of our existing Maps ... at issue: they are rejecting our transactions due to what I believe is a lazy design ... they have taken a segment which has a loop element 0:10 structure and defined it as a flat data structure, ignoring in my opinion, that a loop/instance element should never be fixed to a position within the structure.

Consider we already have several partners using this map and this particular loop already has 3 defined instances to this loop structure:

instance 1 = Red widget
instance 2 = Yellow widget
instance 3 = Green widget

This new partner has requested a new instance of lets say a White widget. So as per my normal process, I just added the White wiget as the next Instance:

instance 1 = Red widget
instance 2 = Yellow widget
instance 3 = Green widget
instance 4 = White widget

This Partner is rejecting our transaction and demanding the sequence to be changed to:

instance 1 = White widget
instance 2 = Red widget
instance 3 = Yellow widget
instance 4 = Green widget

My position is the X12 Standard loops should not be restricted in this manner. This leads a map to becoming unique and therefore only useful for possibly one partner.

One map per partner, in my opinion, leads to higher maintenance, development, not to mention extra supporting infrastructure to handle alternate maps.

Sorry for the long lead up but a couple of questions:

Do I have a valid position here?

Can anyone site some guidelines to support my position?

Basically in my minde a loop structure is a container of like widgets much like XML tags ... in my opinion, a container shouldn't restrict the order of the widgets contained within it.

I believe this Partner designed their data tree because it is simpler to retrieve the data from a flat fixed segment.

What do I tell my client ... cave in or insist they follow the ANSI STANDARD ... just wish I could site some documentation to this effect.  

RE: Ansi Standard X12 design concept Question

We used to have Mercator do the talking with EDI until we found out it is costing us a lot of money because not all clients or vendors are using the same ANSI standard(version). There is no single bullet for EDI. Your recourse is to create a separate tree/map for an exceptional clients.

Since then we moved all our EDI data mapping to Perl scripts which we find a lot easier and faster than Mercator. You can start with one standard and clone it for different client/vendors that have different version. We did saved a lot of money when we used Perl. For one thing Mercator is too rigid(rules) and has no flexibility specially when parsing string objects.

We are still using Mercator (DataStage) but for other simple straight forward data mapping.

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