When implementing any business-to-business data standard there are always barriers to implementation. Different ways of implementing the specifications, errors from users not implementing correctly, and problems with tools not generating correct data that meets the standard requirements. Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail (STAR) develops Business-to-Business XML standards for use by the Automotive, Power Sports, Marine, and Heavy Duty Truck industries. These standards are large and complex and can be difficult at times to implement correctly.
To address this problem, STAR created the STAR Workbench which is an Integrated Development Environment that leverages the Eclipse Platform 3.3.1 and the Eclipse Web Standard Tools 2.0.1 projects. The tool is freely available to all STAR members so that they have the basic tools necessary to address the interoperability issues. By using the tools provided in Web Standards Tools, STAR is able to provide the ability to validate any XML against a STAR XML Schema. This allows the user to know instantly whether their implementation is compliant against the STAR schema. STAR also includes a set of Web Service guidelines for implementing Web Services, and with the WSDL editor and WS-I Basic Profile validators STAR members can more easily test and design STAR compliant WSDLs.
With the addition of other open source tools like Hypermodel for XSD to UML modeling conversion, and FitRunner for user acceptance testing, STAR is able to lower or eliminate the barriers to implementation. Standard organizations could leverage the eclipse web tools platform to enhance and provide a basic tools set for working with their XML implementations. Getting the necessary tools into the hands of the users is the first step to lowering the barriers to implementation that implementors experience.
David Carver has over 15 years of experience working with EDI and XML related technologies to help enable Business-to-Business data exchange in the Banking, Education, Retail, and Automotive Industries. Mr. Carver worked as a consultant for 7 years, where he helped design, and implement a wide variety of EDI and XML related projects using languages such as REXX, C, Visual Basic, XSLT, JAVA, COBOL, CICS, C++, XML Schemas, and XSLFO. He was involved in all aspects of the software design, specializing in business-to-business data exchanges and structures. He works as an XML Data Architect for the STAR Standards organization implementing OAGIS BODs for the Automotive Retail Industry.