Business basics: A Common Business Language (1/2) - exploring XML | WebReference

Business basics: A Common Business Language (1/2) - exploring XML

Business basics: A Common Business Language

Continuing our tour on XML for business, we examine the heritage of the newly to-be-developed Universal Business Language, the XML Common Business Library (xCBL).

xCBL is a set of XML building blocks and a document framework that allows the creation of robust, reusable, XML documents to facilitate global trading. It creates interoperability by providing one language that all participants in e-commerce can understand. This way businesses everywhere can easily exchange documents across multiple e-marketplaces, giving global access to buyers, suppliers, and providers of business services.

The latest version, xCBL 3.5, provides a smooth migration path from EDI-based commerce because of its origins in EDI semantics. xCBL will be able to support all essential documents and transactions for global e-commerce including multi-company supply chain automation, direct and indirect procurement, planning, auctions, and invoicing and payment in an international multi-currency environment.

While xCBL is the result of extensive collaboration between Commerce One, a provider of e-marketplace software solutions, and the leading XML standards bodies, e-commerce enterprises, and hardware and software vendors; as well as analysis of existing e-commerce standards including Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), RosettaNet, and Open Buying on the Internet (OBI), it is only one of a number of XML standards for business documents. Even though industry leaders Compaq, Microsoft, SAPMarkets, and Sun Microsystems are leveraging xCBL 3.0 as a key standard in the development and delivery of their business-to-business solutions, fragmentation in the business document area could lead to a crisis in electronic business.

Therefore OASIS announced the UBL on October 17, 2001 stating that xCBL will be the starting point. Specifically the UBL Charter states that the UBL Technical Committee will ... "Begin with xCBL 3.0 as the starting point ... to develop the standard UBL library by mutually agreed-upon changes to xCBL 3.0 based on industry experience with other XML business libraries and with similar technologies such as Electronic Data Interchange."

We can expect a mutual embrace-and-extend between UBL and xCBL in the future, but let's hope that OASIS can save the day in a similar fashion to the W3C, whose effort to consolidate the many DTD replacement initiatives resulted in the XML Schema standard.

Inside xCBL...

Produced by Michael Claßen

Created: Dec 10, 2001
Revised: Dec 10, 2001