Standardised APIs increase interoperability

JSON, WebAPI and UN/CEFACT reference data models

GEFEG solutions enable the UN/CEFACT standards to be transferred to the world of OpenAPI 3. It is based on JSON via a RESTful interface. The design of the APIs can be derived directly from the UN/CEFACT data models.

UN/CEFACT is working on the next evolutionary stage of data exchange of business documents. After classic EDIFACT and XML-based message exchange, the next step is to connect systems via WebAPIs. To this end, UN/CEFACT is developing standards to standardize both the data structures and the API interfaces themselves. Publicly available information can be found at edi3.org

From the Web to data exchange between companies

It is already standard practice on the Web. When you shop in online shops, the payment is often no longer processed by the shop itself. Rather it makes use of the expertise of a payment service provider. The same applies, for example, to currency conversion rates or the shipping of ordered goods. WebAPIs are used to combine the various services into an overall experience.

In addition, the option that a user does not even have to explicitly register with an online shop becomes more common. You probably have seen shops where you can log in with your Facebook, Google or Amazon account, for example. And this despite the fact that it is your first contact with this shop. The relationship of trust between you and the shop is established on the basis of your existing relationship to Facebook, for example.

What is now commonplace in the private sphere is tantamount to a paradigm shift in the B2B environment. The UN/CEFACT standards (EDIFACT, UN/CEFACT XML) are among the most widely used standards for electronic message exchange worldwide. This exchange is based on the fact that there are direct business relationships between two business partners. It could be possibly via their service providers. In addition, documents such as purchase orders, shipping notifications, invoices or transport orders are usually transmitted. As a result, the original exchange of paper documents was often transferred one-to-one to the digital world. In particular, this means that even before implementation it must be clear who is allowed to access certain data and under what conditions. In other words, the entire process must be clearly defined before modeling and implementation.

Increased requirements for electronically shared information

Due to increasing globalization, the demands on data provision are rising. Especially in cross-border trade, transport companies, customs, police and fire brigades (e.g. during rescue operations) have the need to access certain data, even in real-time. For example, whether a truck has loaded hazardous materials if it is involved in an accident. And at the same time the consignee of the goods wants to be informed that his goods will not reach him just-in-time. WebAPI-supporting platforms offer solutions to this problem.

UN/CEFACT reference standards

In future, the standardised reference data models of UN/CEFACT should ensure that all parties involved have access to this data with standardised structures and definitions. A common understanding of these data structures is an essential prerequisite for several participating companies to be able to work together effectively.

GEFEG Solution

The GEFEG solutions have been in use for years to develop and maintain these data models. It was therefore a logical step for GEFEG to accompany the new development with its solutions.

But GEFEG solutions are not limited to the world of UN/CEFACT. In principle, any standard or data model can be used to develop compliant APIs and then export them to Swagger, for example.

Since the UN/CEFACT project will run at least until autumn 2020, GEFEG would like to give you the opportunity to get a first impression of the solution right now and to actively participate in its further development. To this end, webinars are offered to give you an introduction to the topic, the opportunity to actively participate and an outlook on further development.

If you are interested, please send us an e-mail or contact us.