Mailing Systems Technology - May/June 2009 - (Page 30)

trends Mail.XML T he last article, “Getting to know Mail.XML — Understanding the latest specification from IDEAlliance: Mail. XML, focused on the basics of XML as a language over” whelmingly used on the Internet and the fundamental business functions and current implementation of the IDEAlliance Mail.XML specification v6.0. The article described the USPS’ and industry’s phased approach for implementing IMB FullService solutions through Mail.XML and the business solutions available now and in fall of 2009 from the USPS. In simple terms, we defined XML as a way to describe and communicate data and Mail.XML as an IDEAlliance specification designed in collaboration with the USPS to move business transactions and communications into Mail.XML from Mail.dat for certain business functions. We also briefly described SOA, stating that the Mail.XML specification is designed to use web services or SOA where computers are “talking” with each other in a conversational mode using XML messages. In this article, we will focus on defining SOA. We will also focus on explaining the future direction of IDEAlliance Mail.XML specification and Services Oriented Architecture, which is the communication architecture driving the IDEAlliance Mail.XML specification development. We will describe the possible usages and benefits of SOA to a company and the industry as a whole. and Services Oriented Architecture (SOA) Use cases for the mailing industry By Shariq Mirza How Can We Tell if SOA Is in Use? The main characteristics of SOA services include: a. defining who can access which service and how, mainly authorization, authentication and predefinition of security and roles; b. XML -based communication, which is predefined and used to describe and communicate the data; c. XML communication structure existing in the form of messages or schemas, also called XSD (XML Schema Definition) where the actual services are defined by WSDL (Web Services Definition Language). WSDL defines which services are available and how to access them; d. Just like when we type in our Internet browser’s URL and the Internet “knows” through a directory listing to show you RB Publishing’s website, the same way the SOA services are registered through a Universal Description, Definition, Integration (UDDI) registry, which serves as a directory listing for web services. What Are the Benefits of SOA to an Enterprise? Most companies, whether they are printers, consolidators, publishers, transporters or any other type of enterprise in the mailing industry, have a mixture of both legacy and new technology solutions in their IT environments. Several IT organizations in the mailing industry are already increasing the value of their legacy and new IT assets by converting the existing business applications into customized services for their customers. The SOA architecture allows these companies to utilize existing hardware, software and business applications while increasing the usage and value of existing IT assets for the enterprise by converting the existing assets into services. The SOA is making decision making faster for many mailers, bringing the cost of doing business down by bringing more efficiency through automation. Think about it: instead of processing a whole Mail.dat to do sample analysis on cost of printing and transportation, have a service that takes sample container data from Mail.dat and gets the mailer answers in minutes on the printing, postage and transportation costs in a request/ response messaging model. What Is Services Oriented Architecture (SOA)? Services Oriented Architecture is a request/response communication methodology that allows computers (business applications such as CRM, transportation management, operations management, financials, HR, sales, inventory management) on a network (Intranet or Internet) to “talk or conduct business” with each other in a standard pre-defined XML language. This mode of communication bypasses the need to understand what old or new technology is used to implement each of the business applications. In an SOA environment, a business application’s logic is modularized to enable a service request/response mode creating a standard communication method that uses the Internet protocol for bi-directional communication; bypassing any technology and application security limitations of the business applications such as Cobol, Mainframe, .Net, Java, Unix, Windows, etc. What Are the Benefits of SOA to the Mailing Industry? The basic case study of SOA for the mailing supply chain started with the implementation of the IDEAlliance Transportation Messaging specification in 2004, now called Mail.XML. The IDEAlliance and the USPS collaborated to bring in a SOA solution to automate 30 MAY - JUNE 2009 a

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Mailing Systems Technology - May/June 2009

Mailing Systems Technology - May/June 2009
Editor’s Note
Real Life Management
Software Byte
Employing Technology
Everything IMB
Ship It
Best Practices
What You Think
From the Source
The Key to Approval
Practical Insights
Mail.XML and Services Oriented Architecture (SOA)
Implementing the Intelligent Mail Barcode
Internet-Powered Postal Mail
Using Personalization Technology
Reality Check
Pushing the Envelope

Mailing Systems Technology - May/June 2009