• United States
Senior Editor

EDI by another name?

Feb 25, 20042 mins
Enterprise Applications

* EDI may be on the way out, AS2 may be on the way in

Electronic Data Interchange – the standard by which most order processing has taken place for what seems like 100 years, may be on its way out – at least in its familiar form.

That’s thanks in part to the emerging Applicability Statement 2 (AS2) proposal. AS2 is an IETF draft specification that describes how to create a connection and securely transport an EDI file over the Internet. AS2 provides security for the transport of HTTP packets through digital signatures and data encryption. AS2 also provides for non-repudiation – proof that a transaction was performed at a certain time and by legitimate parties – through the use of receipts.

The AS2 specification was developed by the IETF’s EDI over the Internet (EDIINT) working group, which was formed in 1996 to create a set of secure standards for sending EDI data over the ‘Net. Its predecessor is the AS1 specification, which details how vendor applications should securely exchange business messages over the Internet using SMTP as a protocol. The AS2 specification references AS1 packaging and security standards and defines how to use HTTP instead of SMTP to transport this data.

Driving the trend to Internet EDI are mandates from influential companies – including Wal-Mart and the Department of Defense. As of the end of 2003, Wal-Mart requires many of its suppliers to send and receive EDI data via the Web.

There’s bound to be more machinations over this technology, experts predict.  For more on this story see: