AS2 Protocol for Business Data Interchange via HTTP – Part 1 – Overview

The Applicability Statement 2 or AS2 specification defines a mechanism for the secure and reliable transfer of structured business data over the Internet.

AS2 Message Payloads

The AS2 protocol itself does not dictate any limits on the payload of an AS2 message. However. typical AS2 payloads are structured business documents such as Invoices, Purchase Orders etc. and thus AS2 systems facilitate the Electronic Data Interchange or EDI. Some of the major sets of EDI standards are:

  • The UN-recommended UN/EDIFACT is the only international standard and is predominant outside of North America.
  • The US standard ANSI ASC X12 (X12) is predominant in North America.
  • The TRADACOMS standard developed by the ANA (Article Numbering Association now known as GS1) is predominant in the UK retail industry.
  • The ODETTE standard used within the European automotive industry

AS2 messages can carry non-EDI payloads such as XML, CSV, Fixed Width, Text, or payloads of other standards or proprietary formats, including any binary files.

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Processing Elements for Enterprise Integration Needs

In February, AdroitLogic released UltraESB-X, a completely redesigned ESB which is developed by the very same team who developed the UltraESB six years ago. UltraESB-X is developed inline with UltraStudio, a user friendly graphical tool to easily create, manage and test integration flows. In the user’s point of view, UltraESB-X mainly has two new concepts namely connectors and processing elements.

What is a Processing Element?

A processing element is an element which performs a specific processing requirement or business logic on the message. It can be one among a wide range of operations such as filtering using conditional branching, transformation, flow control, scope handling such as a transactional scope and many more. Usually processing elements in the UltraStudio editor are represented by an icon with a  bluish background except for  a few exceptions. One of those exceptions is the scope processing element family which uses a purple background and another set of special flow control processing elements which uses a reddish background.

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The structure of a processing element is as shown in the above image. There is an In Port (grey colour) which takes a message in, then depending on the type of processing there can be zero or more Out Ports (light yellow) which gives a processed message out and finally there is the On Exception Port (red) which is used to forward the message in case an exception occurs during the processing logic of the element. UltraESB-X ships with dozens of built-in processing elements which covers a wide range of integration processing requirements and more processing elements are continuously added with each release cycle. Current list of processing elements can be browsed through the developer portal of AdroitLogic here. Apart from the inbuilt processing elements, UltraStudio allows user to write their own custom processing elements as explained in the documentation.

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