ebXML Standard is OKed

It took 18 months, but UN/CEFACT and OASIS organizations have formally approved the ebXML specifications. Meeting in Vienna, Austria, earlier this month (5/11/01), the two groups brought to a conclusion an international initiative launched in late 1999. The purpose of the initiative was to research and identify the technical basis upon which the global implementation of XML (Extensible Markup Language) could be standardized.

The result of that project is ebXML, a modular suite of specifications designed to enable enterprises of any size and in any geographical location to conduct business over the Internet. ebXML provides a standard method for exchanging business messages, conducting trading relationships, communicating data in common terms, and defining and registering business processes.

UN/CEFACT ( is the United Nations tech and e-business group charged with developing and promoting tools for the facilitation of global business processes. OASIS ( is the international, not-for-profit consortium of technology companies formed to promote open, collaborative development of interoperability specifications.

"ebXML implementations are already being announced, and we expect the rate of deployment to accelerate quickly," says Patrick Gannon, chair of the OASIS Board of Directors.

Other industry groups making ebXML announcements include:

  • RosettaNet, a consortium of more than 400 companies in information technology, electronic components, and semiconductor manufacturing, which plans to integrate support for the ebXML Messaging Services Specification in future releases of RosettaNet's Implementation Framework (RNIF).
  • The Global Commerce Initiative, which represents manufacturers and retailers of consumer goods, has chosen to base its new Internet protocol standard for trading exchanges and B2B communications on ebXML.
Other industry organizations, such as the Automotive Industry Action Group, Health Level Seven, Open Applications Group, Open Travel Alliance, SWIFT and formal international and North American EDI standards bodies, have been active participants in the ebXML initiative.

Adoption, implementation, and maintenance of the ebXML specifications will be conducted by UN/CEFACT and OASIS under the auspices of a Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed by the two organizations in Vienna, Austria. Coordination of this work will be achieved through a joint UN/CEFACT and OASIS management committee.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at [email protected].