ISO Signs Off on ebXML Standards

A specification for conducting global business transactions over the Internet has achieved the gold standard of validation.

The International Organization for Standardization (IS0) Monday said in a public statement it has approved a suite of four Electronic Business Markup Language (ebXML) standards from OASIS, the consortium responsible for shepherding the spec to fruition.

The ISO endorsement is a ringing validation of the value of ebXML, which was created as a replacement for electronic data interchange (EDI), whose time, many analysts have said, is past because it is expensive and hard to construct.

Developed by OASIS and the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), ebXML is designed to help companies exchange business messages, trade and transfer data via the Web data in common terms, regardless of language or other barriers. Experts say the universality of the Web could help ebXML users open up new markets.

The concept is particularly popular among the government sectors who
regularly conduct international trade. Patrick Gannon, president and CEO of OASIS, said the ISO designation “makes the already widely adopted ebXML standards even more accessible to adopters.” Some analysts agree.

Ronald Schmelzer, senior analyst with XML and Web services research firm ZapThink, said the news is major because ebXML has been struggling to reach adoption among major companies. The backing of ISO will go a long way to helping to establish ebXML as a viable set of specifications, Schmelzer told

“For a while, non-ebXML Web Services-based specs were gaining the limelight for B2B integration, but it seems that ebXML has gotten some significant traction, especially among government and European companies. The result is that the future looks like it will be more of a hybrid between the Web Services and ebXML approaches.”

The OASIS submissions will be published as ISO technical specifications, ISO/TS 15000, and will consist of four pieces: ISO 15000-1: ebXML Collaborative Partner Profile Agreement; ISO 15000-2; ebXML Messaging Service Specification ISO 15000-3; ebXML Registry Information Model; and ISO 15000-4: ebXML Registry Services Specification.

Geneva, Switzerland’s ISO is made up of 148 national standards institutes from all over the world. It’s goal is to oversee the development of technical standards to improve commercial production and safeguard consumers and users

In related electronics trading news, OASIS recently vowed to standardize the way Web services interact using WS-Notification and the Web Services Resource Framework (WSRF), which are specs created by HP, IBM and others.

A committee will be set up to help WS-Notification and its complementary WSRF allow one Web service to disseminate information to other Web services, without prior knowledge of those services.

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