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Documentation Methodology

The central aim of the documentation methodology is to clarify Floricode’s standards for various target groups. The criteria are:

  • Completeness by describing from various perspectives/levels
  • Definiteness in use of terms and techniques
  • Cohesion between the various types of documentation
  • Structure of archiving and dilation of documents
  • Testability and certification of implementations by software firms
  • International connection to the horizontal (industry transcending) XML standards of UN/CEFACT

The documentation methodology is described in the scheme shown on this page and consists of a number of cohering documentation levels. Each parent layer describes how a received message must be interpreted. Each underlying layer describes how a message is prepared and must be transported.

Move the mouse over the various parts of the documentation methodology below for more information.

The main documents of this methodology can be found on the next page of the SDK.

Introduction table

Glossary
The ornamental horticultural industry
LINNAEUS Data model
CLF Process Model
Identification Keys
Reference Conventions
Commercial scenarios
Logistic scenarios
Financial scenarios
Community Standards (Business rules, implementation guidelines and instructions)
Code lists Definitions
Message definitions
Floricode XML Library
UN/CEFACT Core Component Library
Code lists Distribution conventions
Conversation protocols
Transport protocols

Disclosures

The glossary exists of unequivocal definitions of all used concepts in the sector and a description of their mutual relations. Examples of concepts are actors (e.g.: Grower, Auction and Trader) and entities (e.g.: package, Danish container, delivery note etc.).

By describing the mutual relations a hierarchical information model which forms an important basis for all underlying layers of the documentation methodology is created. All concepts are described in English and Dutch.

The document about the value chain describes the ornamental horticultural industry on macro level.

The aim is:

  • to give insight in the structure and dynamics of floriculture;
  • to supply a mutual concept for all users, developers and software firms;
  • identification and description of all relevant parties within the industry;
  • to describe the daily state of affairs within floriculture apart from techniques;
  • identification of the most important business (use) cases.

 

Codes related to transactions of products in the supply chain form the core of all data exchange in our business. The LINNEAUS data model basically defines how all entities related to floricultural products and services such as the botanical naming, quality and sorting characteristics and regulations cohere. The code lists that are distinguished are defined in more detail. The aim of the LINNEAUS data model is to meet the requirements of:

  • flexibility: it should be easy to add new building blocks
  • adaptability: changes should be effected easily and fast
  • migration possibilities: the system must implemented stepwise
  • cost effectiveness: all this for acceptable costs and effort.

The process model describes the core processes at the level of the ornamental horticultural supply chain and offers insight in these processes with the accessory information flows between the various chain parties. The starting point for this process model is the division in the Commercial, Logistic and Financial processes. Therefore we call this Floricode’s CLF process model. This contains a generic context diagram in which the CLF-core processes are identified with the accessory information flows.

In these scenario descriptions the commercial processes are functionally elaborated in several use cases. An example of a commercial scenario is exacting tenders from a market place. An important advantage of Use Cases is that each standardized Floricode message can be derived directly from a generic business process within the industry.

In these scenario descriptions the logistic processes are functionally elaborated in several use cases. An example of a logistic scenario is sending a transport order. An important advantage of Use Cases is that each standardized Floricode messages can be derived directly from a generic business process within the industry.

In these scenario descriptions the financial processes are functionally elaborated in several cases. An example of a financial scenario is sending an invoice. An important advantage of Use Cases is that each standardized Floricode messages can be derived directly from a generic business process within the industry.

Communities are groups of cooperating parties who have agreed on supplementary business rules with respect to the use of Floricode standards. An example of such a community is FloraMondo, a digital market place where buyers and growers cooperate by using supplementary business rules on the Floricode standards. Community standards are necessary, as the Floricode messages are versatile and can thus contain a lot of information. For parties within a community it is not always relevant or required to fill in the complete Floricode message and exchange this. The community standards determine the way Floricode messages must be filled in and thus indirectly determine which functionality of a Floricode message they support. They consist of an implementation tutorial and an instruction for completing the message forms. These two documents can be short and sweet, as they are a supplement to Floricode’s standard documentation. Community standards can be published on Floricode’s website upon request.

Code lists are an important aid within floriculture. A code list defines the possible values of specific fields within a message. In the basis they consist of records with standardized codes with their description which are managed by an organization. An example of coding is the use of the Floricode product codes, sorting codes, colour codes and characteristic codes by the Dutch auctions, growers and traders. An example of a product code is 28616, which stands for the plant “Rhipsalidopsis mixed three colours”. However there are also codes for physical (geographical) locations and for organizations and establishments like Floricode in Roelofarendsveen.

The advantages of coding are the unambiguity and the prevention of redundancy. Thus traders as well as software systems can use unambiguous and efficient identification and meta information with respect to products, chain parties and locations.

In the message definitions the exchange of various entities within a message is determined. A message is a collection of entities which is exchanged simultaneously between two chain parties. At message level the structure and the possible content of entities is described with the help of XML and XML schemes. In the descriptions of the scenarios the Use Cases are functionally elaborated. In this step providing insight of the activities within the use case (process steps) is important. Scenarios are divided as much as possible according to the CLF model, thus in the three groups Commercial, Financial and Logistics.

In information flows the users very often refer to objects using object references like barcodes, RFID’s or UHF tags. This document describes how the most relevant object references (called ‘identification keys’) are built up so that the users easily and on an uniform way can interpret and use these references during the execution of their business processes.

The Floricode XML Library completely exists of combinations (aggregation) of entities and core components from the UN/CEFACT Core Component Library. It is a collection of specific entities for the floricultural industry. The Floricode XML Library is managed by the Floricode Library working group.

New fully developed industry transcending entities may be offered to UN/CEFACT, to make them a part of the global library of ebXML components.

 

Within every information flow between business partners references are used. A reference refers to an entity, such as an order, a product or a chain party. It is important to standardize this at the industry level, as with the reference technique the business processes of various business partners can be connected to each other. This technique needs to be very generic in its design as well as unambiguous.

A reference cannot exist without an identification and without references identification is of no use. Therefore the following is registered:

  • how information unities are uniquely identified
  • how references to unique information unities are made.

The CLF processes and the Use Case diagrams form the starting point for reference technique. This means that for all process phases and all objects as described in the glossary an identification and reference mechanism can be described.

The UN/CEFACT Core Component Library is managed by UN/CEFACT and contains industry-independent and re-usable message structures on the basis of XML schemes. These message structures are supplied for free with the aim to minimize the interoperability problems in electronically doing business. The advantage of this library with XML building stones is that these building stones will be used for the development of new standard messages.

The code list distribution conventions describe the way how code lists are composed and distributed. For this Floricode has developed a general distribution procedure which is valid for all distribution sets of code lists that are available at Floricode.

At the level of conversation protocols Floricode only applies one standard: the mandatory use of SOAP version 1.1. The reason for the use of this standard is that SOAP is the most successful standard for the exchange of information between various applications. With SOAP the Floricode XML message is bedded in an XML fragment which is designed according to the SOAP scheme. This bit of extra XML offers the following important transport functionality:

  • what type of Floricode message contains the XML package
  • for whom (which application or which system) the message is meant
  • mechanism for the communication of eventual mistakes which have occurred in the processing of a received message.

The transport of SOAP messages has not been standardized by Floricode, as according to Floricode’s vision, a message is totally separated from the way of transport. Examples of transport protocols are: SMTP (e-mail), HTTP (webservices) and FTP.

It is advised to use message brokers, so it will not make a difference through which infrastructure the messages are transported.

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