All Exchange Network tools and products, which include Nodes, Node Clients, and the Virtual Exchange Service, are available at no cost to all EN Partners. Because these pre-developed solutions allow Partners to take advantage of others’ development work and lessons learned, they are often more cost-effective than independently building new tools.
Virtual Exchange Service
Created by EPA, the Virtual Exchange Service (VES) is a cloud-based platform for creating data exchanges on the Exchange Network. The VES eliminates the need for Partners to create and maintain a Nodes or Node Clients. The VES supports all of the functions of a Node and simplifies the creation of data exchanges. It also supports a new communication model to simplify connectivity, (i.e., the internet services bus).
A Node is software that securely initiates and responds to requests for informations. The following Node products are available:
- OpenNode2 – Owned and maintained by ECOS. Built as a collaboration between State Partners and Windsor Solutions, Inc. Both .NET and Java versions are available. Supports Node 1.1 and Node 2.1 specifications.
- EN-Node – Owned and maintained by ECOS. Built as a collaboration between State Partners and enfoTech & Consulting, Inc. Both .NET and Java versions are available. Supports Node 1.1 and Node 2.1 specifications.
- CGI Node 2.0 – Owned and maintained by CGI. Open source solution supporting Node 1.1 and Node 2.1 specifications.
- Next Generation Node (NGN) – A collaboration between EPA and Computer Sciences Corporation. Open source solution supporting Node 1.1 and Node 2.1 specifications. Contact helpdesk [at] epacdx.net.
A node plugin is a generic term for the container that provides the functionality for one or more services for a particular data flow. Partners can download and install these free node plugins to support the particular data flow. Additional configuration steps such as data mapping may need to performed after the plugin is installed.
The two most widely used Node platforms, OpenNode2 and EN-Node, both employ a pluggable architecture.
Partners can create their own OpenNode2 plugins using the OpenNode2 Altova MapForce Bridge, a tool designed to work with Altova’s MapForce product. A license for MapForce from Altova is required. Documentation and tutorials follow.
Node Clients (also known as Network Clients) can interact with Exchange Network Nodes by submitting data to Nodes and retrieving data from Nodes. Node Clients provide the following benefits:
- An easy-to-use interface for interacting with Nodes
- Semi-automated alternative to a fully functioning Node that allows users to submit data to or download data from a Partner’s Node
- Assists in testing the development and implementation of a Node
Node Clients cannot respond to data queries from other Nodes and, therefore, cannot publish on-demand data on the Network. They may be a cost-effective solution for Partners who do not have a compelling business need to publish their data. Node or Node Client: To be or not to be describes the differences between a Node and a Client.
These Node Clients are available online:
- EN Services Center – A Network Client hosted by EPA that makes submitting data to EPA Nodes easier.
- EN Browser – A Network Client that can be used to retrieve data from any Exchange Network data publisher.