IDEAlliance Announces MailXML 9.0 Draft

IDEAlliance today announces that it has posted the DRAFT of the most significant redefinition of the MailXML Specification to date! The final MailXML 9.0 Specification will follow later this year and will serve as the basis for major automation efforts across the mailing industry.

 

According to Dianne Kennedy, IDEAlliance VP of Information Technologies and Technical Editor of the MailXML Specification, “The mailing industry is moving forward at an amazing speed. Powering the advancing efficiency and automation efforts is MailXML. Because MailXML 9.0 represents a very significant re-engineering of the XML specification, we are releasing a DRAFT version of the specification far in advance of the final specification release later this year. The goal of posting the Draft MailXML 9.0 to enable those across the industry to test the new specification and to provide sufficient time for input before a final MailXML 9.0 is release for USPS implementation. We encourage every mailer to test the draft specification and provide their input toward finalization of this important industry specification.”

About MailXML

The Mail.XML™ Specification is bringing a paradigm change to the industry by increasing business function specific B2B (Business to Business) communication within the industry that supports automation and in the end enables cost avoidance and higher profits through improved competence and effectiveness of communication. Mail.XML is designed to increase efficiency and lower costs by removing many manual data entry processes and enabling quick near-real-time communication between business partners. Mail.XML currently supports appointment scheduling supply chain communication, support for eDocs (postage statements and qualification reports), co-palletization support, and data distribution support where the USPS can make Full Service ACS, StartTheClock, Container scan and Full Service compliance information available to the customers. The core focus of Mail.XML is communication between industry members and from industry to the final mail processing and delivery organization that delivers the mail to the end consumer, e.g., USPS. Also, USPS is making all communication back to the mailers accessible and available through Mail.XML. To learn more just link to http://www.mailxml.org.

The Impact of MailXML 9.0

Prior to the ninth version of the MailXML specification, the entire specification was contained within just two XML schemas. This code configuration meant that anyone implementing MailXML must implement the specification in its entirety. At first this paradigm made sense. But over the past two years, many business messages, outside the scope of transportation scheduling, were included. Soon the requirement to implement the entire specification became a challenge. It turns out that many messages within Mail.XML applied to unique industry sectors and not to others within the supply chain. Hence the decision to modularize MailXML was taken.

Today, with the release of the draft of MailXML, the specification has been broken into 6 distinct implementation modules. These modules include:

  •          Transportation Messages
  •          Mailing Messages
  •          Data Distribution Messages
  •          Identification Messages
  •          Supply Chain Messages
  •          System Messages

MailXML modules are designed to stand alone, enabling those interested in one or more message sets to develop and validate just those message sets without the requirement to address the entire MailXML specification. Each module may be validated by itself or in combination with all other message sets when the entire MailXML Specification is considered.

Reviewing the Draft

The draft of MailXML 9.0 has been posted at www.mailxml.org and at www.idealliance.org. The specification consists of a set of 8 schemas, or XSDs. In addition a complete set of documentation is provided. To review the draft just download it and test in your environment. According to Shawn Baldwin, BCC Software and co-chair of the MailXML effort, “MailXML 9.0 will move toward finalization during the summer.  If anyone has issues or comments about the specification, reviewing the draft gives all in the industry a chance to have their input considered. Comments are to be given in a special MailXML 9.0 Change Request (CR) form and posted to PM Stage. Since this is a closed specification development repository, available to those engaged with the MailXML Working Group, those outside the group should contact the technical editor, Dianne Kennedy to provide their input.”

About IDEAlliance

IDEAlliance (International Digital Enterprise Alliance) is a not-for-profit membership organization. IDEAlliance advances core technology to develop standards and best practices to enhance efficiency and speed information across the end-to-end digital media supply chain - creation, production, management, and delivery of knowledge-based multimedia content - digitally and in print.  IDEAlliance members represent a unique convergence of the leading brand owners, agencies, publishers, printers, materials suppliers and solution providers. IDEAlliance provides a user-driven, cross-industry, and open environment in which its members can strategize, innovate, standardize, and implement solutions to real business challenges in eMedia-based publishing. Learn more about IDEAlliance at www.idealliance.org.

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Date: 
June 15, 2010