BizTalk: E-Commerce the Microsoft Way I (1/3) - exploring XML | WebReference

BizTalk: E-Commerce the Microsoft Way I (1/3) - exploring XML

BizTalk: E-Commerce the Microsoft Way I

While the non-profit sponsors of ebXML, OASIS and the United Nations, aim for the high grounds of world-wide electronic commerce, Microsoft enters the same field with what it does best: delivering a piece of software, in this case BizTalk Server.

More precisely BizTalk consists of three parts:

  1. The BizTalk Framework, defining documents and messages for e-commerce
  2. The BizTalk Server, implementing the framework
  3., a Web site repository for BizTalk implementations

In this installment we'll have a look at the framework, and postpone the server and Web site to the next.

The BizTalk Framework

Extensible Markup Language (XML) and XML-based schema languages provide a strong, yet easy to adopt, set of technologies. These languages enable the exchange of structured information between different applications or business partners in a platform-independent way.

As a result, domain-specific standards bodies and industry initiatives have started to adopt XML and XML-based schema languages to specify both their vocabularies and content models. These schemas are becoming widely published and implemented to facilitate communication between both applications and businesses. Wide support of XML has also resulted in independent solution providers developing solutions that enable the exchange of XML-based information with other third-party or custom-developed applications. Several solution- or middleware/platform-specific approaches have been taken to address the lack of middleware-neutral, application-level communication protocols. However, no single proprietary solution or middleware platform meets all the needs of a complex deployment environment.

These proprietary initiatives have generally resulted in customers facing broad interoperability issues on their own. The BizTalk Framework addresses these interoperability challenges in a platform- and technology-neutral manner. It provides specifications for the design and development of XML-based messaging solutions for communication between applications and organizations. This specification builds upon standard and emerging Internet technologies such as Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME), Extensible Markup Language (XML), and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). Subsequent versions of the BizTalk Framework might be enhanced to leverage additional XML and Internet-related messaging-standards work as appropriate.

It is important to note that the BizTalk Framework does not attempt to address all aspects of business-to-business electronic commerce. For instance, it does not deal directly with legal issues, agreements regarding arbitration, and recovery from catastrophic failures, nor does it specify specific business processes such as those for purchasing or securities trading. The BizTalk Framework provides a set of basic mechanisms required for most business-to-business electronic exchanges. It is expected that other specifications and standards, consistent with the BizTalk Framework, will be developed for the application- and domain-specific aspects. BizTalk only defines the format of documents and messages in e-business exchanges.

Let's examine BizTalk Documents.

Produced by Michael Claßen

Created: Jan 07, 2002
Revised: Jan 07, 2002