ebXML Approved

Business messaging standard to facilitate trade using XML

Tempe, AZ  May 14, 2001  The quest for an e-business data standard took another step forward today with the announcement that the ebXML business messaging specification has been approved.

The United Nations Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) and the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS, a non-profit standards group) have spent the past 18 months working to finalize the ebXML standard.

The goal of ebXML, according to OASIS, "is to facilitate open trade between organizations regardless of size by enabling XML to be used in a consistent manner to exchange electronic business data." Using ebXML, companies now have a standard method to exchange business messages, conduct trading relationships, communicate data in common terms, and define and register business processes.

With ebXML finalized, technology suppliers now release products able to speak ebXML-based standards languages and businesses can begin implementing baseline messaging systems that work with these specifications, according to Laura Walker, OASIS' executive director. Walker expects applications from Web browsers to high-end databases and servers to incorporate the new specification by the late 2001.

ebXML implementations are already being announced, and we expect the rate of deployment to accelerate quickly, said Patrick Gannon, chair of the OASIS board of directors. Gannon pointed to recent announcements of ebXML integration and support from industry groups.

For example, RosettaNet, a consortium of more than 400 companies in information technology, electronic components and semiconductor manufacturing, has announced plans to integrate support for the ebXML Messaging Services Specification in future releases of RosettaNet's Implementation Framework. The Global Commerce Initiative, which represents manufacturers and retailers of consumer goods, has said it will base its new Internet protocol standard for trading exchanges and B2B communications on ebXML.

Other industry organizations, such as the Automotive Industry Action Group, Health Level Seven, Open Applications Group, Open Travel Alliance, SWIFT and formal international and North American EDI standards bodies have also been active participants in the ebXML initiative.

In announcing the standard, Klaus-Dieter Naujok of IONA, chair of ebXML and member of the UN/CEFACT Steering Committee, praised the level of collaboration among organizations working on ebXML. The level of involvement and cooperation between industry groups, suppliers and users that has been demonstrated in the ebXML initiative is unprecedented, he said.

UN/CEFACT and OASIS will oversee the adoption, implementation and maintenance of the ebXML specifications under the auspices of a memorandum of understanding signed by the two organizations in Vienna. A joint UN/CEFACT-OASIS management committee will coordinate this work. 

To learn more about where e-business standards are going, read "Tearing Down the Tower of Babel" (in The Net Best Thing column) in the June 2001 issue of iSource Business.