The iSURF eDoCreator: Electronic Document Design and Customization Tool is a data dictionary server that allows creation and customization of UN/CEFACT Core Components Technical Specification (CCTS) based document schemas. With its web accessible user interface, the user are allowed to work collaboratively.
Customizing or creating electronic business documents is tedious, labour intensive and time-consuming process, which requires (1) analyzing of available component interfaces (2) designing spreadsheet model of the document (3) creating XSD files and finally (4) creating necessary files for each coded attributes. eDoCreator 1.0, with its web user interface facilitates these processes to a great extent. eDoCreator generates the spreadsheet model of the document schema and XSD files along with the code list files.
The earlier electronic document standards focused on static document definitions, which were inflexible for adapting different requirements. The leading effort for this problem came from the UN/CEFACT Core Component Technology Specification (CCTS) in the early 2000s. The idea behind UN/CEFACT CCTS is to provide re-usable building blocks for business documents, which are available from a common repository. This increases the possibility of discovering and re-using similar document artifacts consumed in different collaborations for sustaining data interoperability. Furthermore, it constitutes an agreement base for documents through a syntax independent conceptual model.
Universal Business Language (UBL) is the first implementation of UN/CEFACT CCTS in XML and addresses the "all-in-one approach" aiming to design documents for a broad range of requirements in order to address the needs of horizontal industries.
In the current version of the tool Universal Business Language 2.0 is supported. In the upcoming versions, supports for Open Applications Group Integration Specification (OAGIS) and GS1 XML standards will be implemented.
The UN/CEFACT CCTS based electronic business document standard developing organizations can use the eDoCreator 1.0 to develop new document types (for example Utility Statement document for UBL 2.1) or to edit existing ones.
The users of the electronic business document standards can use the eDoCreator 1.0 to customize the standard documents according to their needs in a conformant or compatible way. For example, UBL-TR: Turkish UBL 2.0 eInvoice customization.
The tool basically gathers the information about the business needs of an enterprise and tries to discover previously defined document building blocks matching the needs of the enterprise. Then, users are requested to select one of the discovered components in order to initialize the creation or customization mechanisms. The user can either use the selected component as it is or, if it partially satisfies the needs; the user is enabled to customize the document building blocks to generate data elements fully conformant to UN/CEFACT CCTS.
The main aim of the modeling environment is to maximize re-use of available document building blocks and minimize duplicative efforts of document designers with discovery mechanisms and sharing of document artifacts. An online common repository is the main component to provide reusability of data models and this component provides seamless and continuous access to the users over the Internet. The repository gradually evolves and its impact on the data interoperability increases as the number of users increases.
The retrieval of the document models are realized through queries. The results list includes both standard document artifacts of UBL and the standard-based document artifacts that are either created or customized by users. The environment presents a user interface, which automatically adapts itself according to the conceptual model of document artifact and gathers keywords from users via this interface.
The data models are presented to the user as hierarchical graphical data models. The presentation first shows coarse-grained document building blocks and then allows the examination of properties of encapsulated fine-grained documents as they are navigated through inner parts in an expandable view. This expandable view allows the user to see the whole content of the component at a glance.
New document models are created in a visual interface by assembling available document building blocks by dragging and dropping components at the basic level. The tool automatically locates the dragged component according to basic rule which declares Basic Business Information Entities (BBIEs) are listed before Associations Business Entities (ASBIE) in a Message Assembly.
In the current publicly accessible version of eDoCreator, the UBL 2.0 artifacts such as the documents, common aggregate components, common basic components, qualified and unqualified data types are loaded to the common repository, initially.
The modeling environment supports UBL Conformant Customization and Compatible Customization. It allows (1) subsetting source document model, (2) extending source document model, (3) constraining document artifacts and (4) creation of new document artifacts from scratch. In cases when an action invalidating the Conformance Design Rules is taken, the tool warns the user that the design will not be conformant if the action is realized and let the user withdraw the action.
Furthermore, the designed conceptual model of the document is converted to a physical model, which provides technical interoperability according to UBL Naming and Design Rules. The XML schema generator automatically detects dependencies in BIEs and generates XSD files for both document schema and common artifacts. Furthermore, the tool generates some informative supporting materials in UBL directory format such as spreadsheet models and genericode files.
The slides briefly describing eDoCrator is available here. Furthermore, a number of viewlets demonstrating features of the tool are available online: