Getting Started Guide for IT Professionals

This Guide is intended for IT Professionals who are implementing their first Exchange Network solution.

Step 1: Review Exchange Network Documentation

The following documents are critical for gaining a thorough understanding of the Exchange Network.

  • Network Node Functional Specifications: Essential technical document that defines the service interface and usage expectations for all Exchange Network web services.
  • Exchange Network Protocol: Considered a supplement to the Specifications document, the Protocol defines additional useful information.
  • Existing Data Exchange Documentation: When implementing an existing Data Exchange, review the documentation on that Exchange’s page. At a minimum, these documents include:
    • Flow Configuration Documents (FCD): A design document that defines the specific web service implementations and business logic.
    • Data Exchange Templates (DET): The DET describes the individual data elements exchanged.
    • XML Schema: Defines the structure and data types for XML to be exchanged.
  • New or Revised Data Exchange Documentation: When designing a new Data Exchange or revising an existing one, Developers should prepare and submit documentation in accordance with the Exchange Documentation Package Preparation and Review Process.

Step 2: Take Advantage of Existing Software and Tools

Participation in the Exchange Network can either mean that your agency is a service provider, typically publishing or submitting data, or you are acting as a client to existing service providers.  Participants who will be a service provider need Node software, whereas those whose participation only means interacting with other existing service providers can use other Node Client tools. The document Nodes vs. Clients describes this distinction.

  • Node Software: Several high-quality open source Node Software solutions have already been developed. While developers still have the option of building their own, it is highly recommended that developers download existing implementations.
  • Node Client Software:If you want to install and host your own Node Client software (also known as Network Clients), some software packages come bundled with Node Client software. But there are some Node Clients already installed that you can use.
    • EPA Services Center: Useful when you need to act as a Node Client (i.e., to submit data) to EPA’s Node
    • EN Browser: Useful when you only need to retrieve data from another node.

Step 3: Building Your Solution

If you are implementing an existing Data Exchange, review that particular Exchange’s page.

If you are designing a new Data Exchange, visit Develop a New Data Exchange.