ebXML CPPA-ratified as OASIS open standard

After more than two years of tugs and tweaks, the OASIS interoperability standards consortium last week ratified the ebXML Collaboration Protocol Profile and Agreement as an OASIS open standard. ebXML CPPA Version 2.0 defines the technical rights of business partners and provides a record of agreements between partners, enabling organizations to conduct secure business-to-business transactions.

''ebXML CPPA ensures interoperability between two parties, even organizations that use software from different sources'' said Dale Moberg, chairman of the ebXML technical committee. ''The CPP defines a party's message-exchange capabilities and the business collaborations it supports.''

The OASIS open standard also facilitates the migration of both traditional EDI-based applications and other legacy applications to ebXML-based platforms, Moberg said.

The Electronic Business Extensible Markup Language (ebXML) is a set of specifications that together enable a modular electronic business framework. Based on the work of the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), ebXML provides descriptors for modeling business processes that includes the definition of software components.

The ebXML CPP committee was created in June 2001. Since OASIS began its work, several pieces of ebXML have been ratified, including the ebXML Registry Services Specification and ebXML Messaging Service Specification 2.0.

OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) is a not-for-profit consortium charged with creating worldwide standards for security, Web services, XML conformance, business transactions, electronic publishing, topic maps, and interoperability within and between marketplaces. The group defines itself as a driver of  ''the development, convergence, and adoption of e-business standards.'' OASIS members set the group's technical agenda using a lightweight, open process designed to 'promote industry consensus and unite disparate efforts.'

High-tech analyst Joanne Friedman, vice president at Meta Group, applauded the ratification, calling ebXML CPPA ''technically proficient.''

Friedman added that ''ebXML CPPA will foster global collaborative e-business growth by removing barriers to entry and eliminating the high cost and complexity of trading partner on-boarding. [The ratification is] valuable to any organization focused on adopting standards.''

OASIS and UN/CEFACT are the direct sponsors of ebXML, but its development is supported by a number of technology, industrial, shipping, banking and other general-interest companies. Several standards bodies also have an interest in ebXML, including NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) and W3C (World Wide Web Consortium).

ebXML CPPA was developed by Commerce One, Cyclone Commerce, E2open, Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM, Intel, Iona, Mercator, SAP, SeeBeyond, Sterling Commerce, Sun Microsystems, Sybase, Tibco, Vitria, webMethods and other members of the OASIS ebXML Collaboration Protocol Profile and Agreement Technical Committee.

The committee is still working on the CPPs, as well as the Collaboration Protocol Agreements (CPAs). A CPA documents the technical agreement between two (or more) partners to engage in electronic business collaboration. The committee is developing enhancements to the Version 1.0 specs, which will result in at least one 'substantive' new version.

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About the Author

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


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