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  • ebXML

    Electronic Business using eXtensible Markup Language, commonly known as e-business XML, or ebXML pronounced ee-bee-ex-em-el, [i'bi,eks,em'el] as it is typically referred to, is a family of XML based standards sponsored by OASIS and UN/CEFACT whose mission is to provide an open, XML-based infrastructure that enables the global use of electronic business information in an interoperable, secure, and consistent manner by all trading partners.

    The ebXML architecture is a unique set of concepts; part theoretical and part implemented in the existing ebXML standards work.

    The ebXML work stemmed from earlier work on ooEDI object oriented EDI, UML / UMM, XML markup technologies and the X12 EDI "Future Vision" work sponsored by ANSI X12 EDI.

    The melding of these components began in the original ebXML work and the theoretical discussion continues today. Other work relates, such as the Object Management Group work and the OASIS BCM Business-Centric Methodology standard 2006.

    Conceptual overview of ebXML architecture

    While the ebXML standards adopted by ISO and OASIS seek to provide formal XML-enabled mechanisms that can be implemented directly, the ebXML architecture is on concepts and methodologies that can be more broadly applied to allow practitioners to better implement e-business solutions.

    A particular instance is the Core Components Technical Specification CCTS work that continues within UN/CEFACT, whereas its cousin - UBL - Universal Business Language - specification is used within OASIS that implements specific XML transactions by applying the principles of CCTS to typical supply chain transactions such as invoice, purchase order, ship notice and so on.


    ebXML was started in 1999 as a joint initiative between the United Nations Centre for Trade facilitation and Electronic Business UN/CEFACT and Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards OASIS. A joint coordinating committee composed of representatives from each of the two organizations led the effort. Quarterly meetings of the working groups were held between November 1999 and May 2001. At the final plenary a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the two organizations, splitting up responsibility for the various specifications but continuing oversight by the joint coordinating committee.

    The original project envisioned five layers of data specification, including XML standards for:

    All work was completed based on a normative requirements document and the ebXML Technical Architecture Specification.

    After completion of the 6 specifications by the two organizations, 5 parts of the work were submitted to ISO TC 154 for approval. The International Organization for Standardization ISO has approved the following five ebXML specifications as the ISO 15000 standard, under the general title, Electronic business eXtensible markup language:

    OASIS technical committees and UN/CEFACT retain the responsibility for maintaining and advancing the above specifications.

    Collaborative Partner Profile Agreement

    Collaborative Partner Profile Agreements are XML based documents specifying a trading agreement between trading partners. Each trading partner will have their own Collaboration Protocol Profile CPP document that describes their abilities in an XML format. For instance, this can include the messaging protocols they support, or the security capabilities they support. A CPA Collaboration Protocol Agreement document is the intersection of two CPP documents, and describes the formal relationship between two parties. The following information will typically be contained in a CPA document:

    Messaging Service Specification

    The Message Service Specification ebMS describes a communication-neutral mechanism Message Service Handlers MSH must implement in order to exchange business documents. ebMS3.0 is the current version of the specification. ebMS3.0 is built as an extension on top of the SOAP with Attachments specification. The SOAP message contains the meta-data required to exchange the business document in a secure and reliable manner, while the business payload is attached to the SOAP message. Multiple business payloads may be attached to a single message, and the format of the payloads is beyond the scope of the ebXML specifications. The information trading partners place in ebMS messages is largely dictated by the CPA agreement that defines the relationship between them. The following information is typically contained within ebMS messages:

    ebMS is communication protocol neutral, although the most common underlying protocols are HTTP and SMTP.