Web Services and ebXML

An article on InternetNews examines ebXML and Web Services:

With ebXML, the focus is a little less broad than Web services, although the computers-talking-to-one-another ideology remains the same. Fostered by standards groups UN/CEFACT and OASIS, the goal of ebXML is to enable a global electronic marketplace where enterprises can meet and conduct business with each other through the exchange of XML-based messages. Or, as Ron Schmelzer, analyst with XML and Web services technology research firm ZapThink, says: “ebXML envisions a future where businesses can describe their interfaces electronically and then allow businesses to dynamically locate those interfaces and then bind to them when they choose to actually do business. It’s a good vision, but depends on two big things: standards and the actual implementation of those standards by businesses.”

B2B arrangements are devised of horizontal and vertical parts. On the horizontal stacks, there are software functions such as messaging, routing and packaging data. On the vertical side, there are business processes, such as a purchase order. That’s in general; there are cases where a PO can be part of the horizontal stack.

As Forrester Research analyst Ted Schadler pointed out about ebXML stacks, bottom layers hear each other and understand what the other is saying, the middle layer consist of those that hear each other and know what the other is saying, and the last layer is the actual business process or trade, such as a purchase order. That is what ebXML seeks to enable.

This is a longish and excellent article on ebXML — just what I’ve been wanting to know. ebXML, along with RosettaNet and BizTalk, are creating standards for business processes. What we will need to decide soon is in the context of what we want to do, which of the paths should we follow.

Also see: Can EDI Survive XML Challenge?, OASIS ebXML Presentations

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.