IBM Expedite Base for Windows Communications Module

Information Exchange provides a means of sending, storing, and retrieving information electronically and makes it possible for users on dissimilar computer systems to communicate with each other. By establishing a computer-to-computer communication network between different locations, Information Exchange can both speed and simplify the delivery EDI data. Information Exchange is a service of IBM Global Services. With Information Exchange as an alternative to terminal-to-computer communication, you send files to a mailbox and retrieve the files waiting for you in a mailbox. Through the network, Information Exchange can link the geographically scattered locations of a single company or of different companies; for example, a manufacturing company can use Information Exchange to communicate with its suppliers or distributors.

 

Your computer can communicate with one or more Information Exchange addresses through a single Information Exchange session. IBM Global Services assigns Information Exchange addresses during registration; each Information Exchange address is independent of other Information Exchange addresses. You can access Information Exchange as shown in the following figure. It shows how Expedite Base for Windows, installed on a PC running Windows and your user applications, communicates to the network and Information Exchange through a modem.

 

Expedite Base for Windows is a 32-bit application that provides the interface that makes it possible to use Information Exchange from a Windows environment.  Expedite Base for Windows uses Information Exchange to deliver and receive electronic data interchange (EDI) data. Expedite Base for Windows runs as an application on a Windows system, which uses American National Standards Code for Information Interchange (ASCII). It can communicate with some extended binary coded decimal interchange code (EBCDIC) systems as well as with other ASCII computers through Information Exchange. To communicate with Expedite Base for Windows and transfer data files to and from Information Exchange, you use the ECS/IBM Expedite Communication module to manage the execution of Inbound and Outbound EDI Interchanges. 

 

In order to connect to Information Exchange, you must have two sets of corresponding accounts, user IDs, and passwords defined in the ECS/IBM Expedite Communications Settings. The first of these sets allows you to log on to the network. The individual fields in this set are the network account, user ID, and password. Expedite Base for Windows requires these three values before you can log on to the network. The second of these sets allows you to log on to Information Exchange on the network. These fields are the Information Exchange account, user ID, and password. Expedite Base for Windows requires these values before you can connect to Information Exchange. 

 

The following diagram shows the components required to exchange EDI Interchanges using IBM Information Exchange: 

 

       

Getting Started

 

Before EDI Interchanges can be exchanged using the IBM Information Exchange Value Added Network the following implementation steps need to be performed, in order: 

(1) Obtain your Network and Information Exchange Account, User Id and Passwords from your IBM Representative. 

(2) Download, Install and configure IBM Expedite Base for Windows, Version 4.6.2. This can be obtained direct from IBM at: http://ieas.services.ibm.com/expedite/basewin/downloads.shtml 

(3) Obtain and configure any required Hardware (modem, drivers, etc..)

(4) Configure the ECS/Expedite Communications Module. 

 

Further information on implementing steps (1) through to (3) can be obtained from IBM Information Services at http://edi.services.ibm.com/edisvcs/index.shtml

 

The remainder of this document will focus on the configuration of the ECS/Expedite communications interface module. Step (4).

 

Configuration of the ECS/Expedite communications interface module

 

The ECS/Expedite communications interface module manages the transmission and receipt of EDI Interchanges for the ECS/EDI Processor. The ECS/Expedite module communicates with the IBM Information Exchange (IE) Value Added Network (VAN) via IBM Expedite Base for Windows. The ECS/Expedite module is responsible for synchronising the contents of the IE Mailbox with local Inbound and Outbound Folders. The EDI Interchanges in the local folders are retrieved and populated by the ECS/EDI Processor. 

 

To configure the ECS/Expedite communications interface module, perform the following:

 

  • Move to Sent Folder

  • Delete when Sent

  • Leave in Outbound Folder

 

Open Internet Access for Information Exchange

 

The ECS Expedite communications module can also be configured to use IBM Information Exchange Open Internet Access.  If Open Internet Access is required then the required software and certificate should be first downloaded from IBM and configured. 

 

The following changes are required to configure the ECS/Expedite communications module to use Open Internet Access: 

 

(1) The Dial up Number must contain the value, *NONE. This change will ensure that an Open Internet Access compatible Profile is used (INPRO_Open_Internet_Access) instead of the Dial Up Profile (INPRO_Dial_Up).   

 

(2) The control of Open Internet Access can be controlled by the ECS Expedite communications module. The following batch files are executed at the Start and End of the Expedite processing; "ECSEXP_Start.bat" and "ECSEXP_End.bat".  Edit the files to reflect your environment requirements.  Full details can be found in the document "Open Internet Access for Information Exchange" as supplied by IBM. 

 

 

Controlling the ECS Expedite communications module using an External scheduler. 

 

ECS/ie will invoke communications with IBM Expedite every time the ECS/EDI Processor executes, by default. It is possible to disable the control within ECS/ie and allow the ECS/Expedite communications module to be executed via a separate application, such as the Windows job scheduler. The ECS/Expedite communications program ECSEXP.EXE (located in the ECSie folder) must be executed to invoke IBM Expedite communications from a third party application.

 

The control of the ECS/Expedite communications module can be removed from ECS/ie by changing the value of the System Parameter record for "ECSEXP_Auto_Execute" from "1" to "0". 

 

 

Troubleshooting

 

Most problems regarding IBM Expedite are related to the initial configuration and set up. There are several aids to assist you in resolving any possible problems: 

 

(1) IBM Expedite related error reports are automatically emailed to the defined Expedite Administrator. 

 

(2) The ECS/Expedite Communication module can be configured to log internal commands by enabling the ECS/integrated email "Command Logging" functionality. This can be enabled by selecting "Help" from the main ECS/ie window, then select "Troubleshooting" and then "Enable Command Logging". On the next execution of the ECS/Expedite Communications module the log file ECSEXP.LOG will be automatically created. View this log or use the option to "Send ECS/ie Configuration to ECS Support" for further analysis.

 

(3) The following IBM Expedite Base for Windows files are a useful source of informaition. They are located in the IBM Expedite Base for Windows Folder (default is C:\EXPEDITE) and can be viewed with a text editor:

 

 

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