After more than a year's work on a common framework for global electronic business, sponsors of ebXML (electronic business extensible markup language) have submitted the specification to the initiative's quality review process.
The announcement was made in a statement by the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Commerce (UN/CEFACT) and the Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Systems (OASIS), the two organisations that started the ebXML initiative in late 1999.
The ebXML specification, which is designed to make electronic trading possible for small and medium-sized businesses, is expected to be ratified by May. Last week, nearly a dozen companies met in London to demonstrate how key parts of the ebXML standard will smooth electronic business transactions.
The specification, which is expected to be supported in many e-commerce software packages, is designed to create a standard XML dialect so companies can find each other over the Internet, develop partner agreements and provide each other with necessary documents electronically. It is also intended so companies can exchange information for e-commerce without the need for relatively expensive and complicated EDI (electronic data interchange) software.
The ebXML Messaging Services Specification integrating Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), which was developed by Microsoft and others, is among the new specifications submitted to the ebXML review process. The effort to integrate SOAP and ebXML started just five weeks ago, sponsors said. SOAP uses XML and HTTP to let one software component identify and activate others on remote servers.
Some of the companies backing the specification include BEA Systems, Bowstreet Software, Commerce One, IBM and Sun Microsystems.
EbXML specifications can be viewed at www.ebxml.org/. OASIS can be reached at www.oasis-open.org/.