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OASIS Stamps Approval on ebXML CPPA

The OASIS interoperability group Monday has finally ratified the ebXML Collaboration Protocol Profile and Agreement (CPPA) v2.0 as an OASIS Open Standard, making the protocol law in the consortium.

ebXML CPPA defines business partners' technical rights and documents agreements between partners to allow businesses to engage in safe electronic business-to-business transactions. Such collaboration, which ranges globally, is key to harness the power of the Internet in conducting billions of dollars of e-business.

ebXML CPPA ensures interoperability between two parties despite the fact that they may use software from disparate sources. The CPP defines a party's message-exchange capabilities and the business collaborations that it supports. The CPA defines the way two business parties will interact in performing the chosen business collaborations.

Dale Moberg of Cyclone Commerce, chair of the OASIS ebXML CPPA Technical Committee, said the standard will also facilitate the transition of older applications based on Electronic Data Interchange to ebXML-based platforms.

High-tech analyst Joanne Friedman, vice president of META Group, applauded the ratification, calling ebXML CPPA "technically proficient."

"ebxml CPPA will foster global collaborative ebusiness growth by removing barriers to entry and eliminating the high cost and complexity of trading partner on-boarding," Friedman said. "Valuable to any organization focused on adopting standards."

Not all analysts harbor the same optimism for ebXML, however. If ebXML's function sounds a lot like Web services, it's because it's true. That is one of the reasons why ZapThink Senior Analyst Ron Schmelzer told internetnews.com many industry analysts are skeptical as to how readily ebXML will be adopted. While Sun and major players are backing it, Schmelzer said Microsoft and IBM prefer to support Web services standards, which are more general in nature, to the B2B-oriented ebXML protocol.

That said, Schmelzer said "a lot of us analysts think ebXML will find its way in the Web services arena" but how that might happen is unclear.

The passage of ebXML CPPA is the fruit of more than two years of development and much tweaking among its creators, which includes small and large high-tech firms alike, including: Commerce One, Cyclone Commerce, E2open, HP, IBM, Intel, IONA, Mercator, SAP, SeeBeyond, Sterling Commerce, Sun Microsystems, Sybase, TIBCO, Vitria and webMethods.

To be sure, ebXML CPPA faced a long, winding road to acceptance, including an extensive public review, OASIS ebXML CPPA Technical Committee approval, and multiple tests. The ebXML CPP committee was created in June 2001, and a number of facets of ebXML have been tweaked or completed along the way, including the ebXML Registry Services Specification and ebXML Messaging Service Specification 2.0.

In related news, the ebXML OASIS UN/CEFACT Joint Marketing Team published version 1.0 of the ebXML Adoption Update, a listing of ebXML implementations, projects, products and industry initiatives from around the world.