GS1 XML Overview

 

What is GS1 XML?

XML is an acronym for "eXtensible Markup Language". XML is designed for information exchange over the internet. Within GS1 set of standards, XML is used for Electronic Data Interchange - GS1 eCom.

GS1 XML is designed in such a way that the messaging is transport agnostic. GS1 supports reliable and secure messaging via the use of AS1, AS2, AS3, AS4 and ebMS, as well as other transport protocols. It is very simple to exchange GS1 XML documents using any technical solution or profile, such as Web Services. 

 

GS1 XML – how does it work?

The standards are published as XML schemas, defining the content and structure of messages. The actual message is exchanged between business partners in the form of XML instance documents. 

The schemas are used as a base to create the instance messages and to validate them. Each of the business partners holds a copy of the standard XML schema defining the given message. When the message is generated by the sender’s system, it should be validated against this schema. Any potential errors should be corrected before sending.

At the receiver's side the validation takes place in the receiving point of the exchange software, before any data is transmitted to the users' business application.

 

GS1 XML Messages

The GS1 XML messages are developed using the business process modelling methodology. First, the business process is described, including identification of business data that need to be exchanged between the main parties. This information is then mapped to the electronic messages. Thus, the GS1 XML messages are not always equivalent of traditional paper business documents. 

The messages available in the GS1 XML standard cover the following areas of the supply chain:

  • Data Synchronisation messages that enable sending information about the trade item attributes and support its automated synchronisation  between business partners, using the Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN) 
  • Messages used to order goods and respond to this order; 
  • Messages used to announce the despatch of goods and confirm their receipt
  • Messages requesting payment for the goods sold and informing about the payment being sent
  • Messages for planning and execution of transport
  • Messages supporting automated replenishment of goods

GS1 XML standards support both Downstream (between the consumer goods manufacturers and retail) and Upstream (between the consumer goods manufacturers and their suppliers of raw material, packaging, etc.) communication.

 

What are the benefits of using GS1 XML standards?

GS1 XML is fully compliant with UN/CEFACT methodology. The GS1 XML message development is based on the Global Data Dictionary (GDD). The GDD is the repository of:

  • data components, used to create the GS1 XML standards, developed according to the UN/CEFACT Core Components Technical Specification (CCTS)
  • business terms and their representation in GS1 XML and other target standards

The GS1 Core Components are submitted as an input to UN/CEFACT development. GS1 is actively involved in several efforts within UN/CEFACT, CCTS being only one example.

Though the development of the actual UN/CEFACT XML standard (UN/XML) is still in the early stages, GS1 is participating actively and continues to incorporate the UN/XML standards into the GS1 XML suite. Additionally, the development of GS1 standards is based on the same modelling, design and technical principle as UN/CEFACT.

GS1 develops standards that can serve international business anywhere in the world, but are also extensible to meet specific regional and industry requirements. This approach allows for new industry requirements to be easily added to the existing set of messages and enable new processes without interrupting the installed base. It assures the scalability of GS1 XML solutions.
GS1 XML standards provide solutions for multiple sectors using the same XML business message. This is achieved through context driven extensions applied to general XML schemas.