Difference Between EDI and IDOC

EDI is nothing but Electronic data interchange. SAP will support EDI through Intermediate documents (IDOCS).EDI (Electronic Document interchange) – EDI is the electronic exchange of business documents between the computer systems of business partners, using a standard format over a communication network.

EDI is also called paperless exchange.

Advantages: 
Reduced Data entry errors
Reduced processing time
Availabilty of data in electonic form
Reduced paperwork
Reduced Cost
Reduced inventories and better planning
Standard means of communications
Better business process

EDI has two process
1. Outbound process
2. Inbound process

OP:
1.Application document is created.
2.IDOC is generated
3.IDoc is transferred from SAP to Operating system layer
4.Idoc is converted into EDI standards
5.Edi document is transmitted to the business partner
6.The Edi Subsystem report status to SAP

IP:
1.EDI transmission received
2.EDI document is converted into an IDOC
3.IDOC is transferred to the SAP layer
4.The application document is created
5.The application document can be viewed.
IDOC:
IDOC is a container that can be used to exchange data between any two process.
Each iDoc is assigned a unique number for tracking and future reference.
iDoc Consist of several segments,and segments contain several fields.
iDoc contains the following three type of records…
1.One Control Record.
2.One or many Data Record
3.One or many Status record.

PORT:
Port is used in the outbound process to determine the name of the EDI subsystem program,the directory path where the idoc file will be created at the operating system level,the idoc file names and the rfc desinations.

RFC Destination:
Used to define the characteristics of communication links to a remote system on which a functions needs to be executed.

Partner Profile:
Partner profile specified the various componets used in an outbound process ( Partner number,IDoc type,message type,Port,Process code),the mode in which it communicates with the subsystem(batch or immediate) and the person to be notified in case of errors.

Message Control
Used in pricing,account determination,material determination,and output determination.The message control component enables you to encapsulate business rules with out having to write abap programs.

Process:
Setup RFC destinations SM59
Port Destinations WE21
Partner Profile WE20
Message control NACE
Purchase Order ME21
Check IDOCs WE02,WE05

Explain to me about Idoc?

IDoc (for intermediate document) is a standard data structure for electronic data interchange (EDI) between application programs written for the popular SAP business system or between an SAP application and an external program. IDocs serve as the vehicle for data transfer in SAP’s Application Link Enabling (ALE) system.

IDocs are used for asynchronous transactions:  Each IDoc generated exists as a self-contained text file that can then be transmitted to the requesting workstation without connecting to the central database.

Another SAP mechanism, the Business Application Programming Interface (BAPI) is used for synchronous transactions.
A large enterprise’s networked computing environment is likely to connect many geographically distributed computers to the main database. These computers are likely to use different hardware and/or operating system platforms. An IDoc encapsulates data so that it can be exchanged between different systems without conversion from one format to another.

IDoc types define different categories of data, such as purchase orders or invoices, which may then be broken down into more specific categories called message types. Greater specificity means that an IDoc type is capable of storing only the data required for a particular transaction, which increases efficiency and decreases resource demands.

An IDoc can be generated at any point in a transaction process. For example, during a shipping transaction process, an IDoc may be generated that includes the data fields required to print a shipping manifest. After a user performs an SAP transaction, one or more IDocs are generated in the sending database and passed to the ALE communication layer. The communication
layer performs a Remote Function Call (RFC), using the port definition and RFC destination specified by the customer model.

The IDoc is transmitted to the receiver, which may be an R/3, R/2, or some external system.

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