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Last modified: October 01, 2002
Joint UN/EDIFACT and ASC X12 Core Component Development Initiative

[October 01, 2002]   UN/CEFACT Releases ebXML Core Component Technical Specification for Second Public Review.    A posting from Hartmut Hermes (UN/CEFACT Core Component Project Team Lead) and Klaus-Dieter Naujok (Techniques and Methodologies Group Chair) announces the release of the UN/CEFACT - ebXML Core Component Technical Specification Version 1.85 for Public Review provided by its Open Development Process. Under the UN/CEFACT Open Development Process, all interested parties have the opportunity to review, comment on, and contribute to Technical Specifications. The public review period ends 22-November-2002. The ebXML Core Component solution described in the specification "presents a methodology for developing a common set of semantic building blocks that represent the general types of business data in use today and provides for the creation of new business vocabularies and restructuring of existing business vocabularies. The Core Components User Community consists of business people, business document modellers and business data modellers, Business Process modellers, and application developers of different organisations that require interoperability of business information. This interoperability covers both interactive and batch exchanges of business data between applications through the use of Internet and Web based information exchanges as well as traditional Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) systems." [Full context]

[September 15, 2001] An agreement was reached between UN/CEFACT/EWG and ANSI ASC X12 in February 2001 "for the development of a common set of core business objects. UN/CEFACT/EWG is the working group within the UN/CEFACT in charge of developing and maintaining the UN/EDIFACT directory. More than 300,000 companies around the world use this standard for Electronic Data Interchange. ANSI ASC X12 is chartered to develop uniform standards for inter-industry electronic interchange of business transactions -- electronic data interchange (EDI) within the United States. ASC X12 develops, maintains, interprets, publishes and promotes the proper use of American National and UN/EDIFACT International Electronic Data Interchange Standards. Both groups are willing to respond positively to the challenge of the emerging technologies in the domain of electronic business, such as Extensible Markup Language (XML) and object oriented methodology. UN/CEFACT/EWG and ASC X12 recognize that these new technologies are an opportunity to collectively develop a common approach for the future language of E-business. Considering that the members of the two groups are the most knowledgeable business experts in the various industry sectors, and that both groups are willing to develop core business objects, it seems logical and appropriate to join forces in order to leverage the experience of the experts of both communities and to speed up the work. The primary objective of this joint task force is to assist in developing the first set of core business objects. This first set of objects will serve multiple purposes: they will be a formal input to the ebXML Initiative for the Core Components Project Team; they will support early modeling activities within the UN/CEFACT/EWG and ASC X12 communities; and, they will assist in providing greater harmonization between the world's two major EDI standards. A secondary, but no less important objective will be to define a common mechanism and common processes to facilitate, validate, publish, and store the common business objects..." [from the text of the agreement]

The Universal Business Language (UBL) project will "harmonize UBL as far as practical with the ebXML specifications approved in Vienna (May 2001) and with the work of the Joint Core Components Initiative..."

Description from the February 2001 meeting: "Two standards are now being used for the electronic transmission of commercial data. UN/EDIFACT - the international standard elaborated under the aegis of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE) and applied worldwide - and X12 - a North American standard used primarily within the United States. Both standards are used by more than 500,000 companies around the world. At EWG's September 2000 meeting in Taipei and ASC X12's October meeting in Cincinnati, both organizations formally committed to unite and prepare a common language for the 21st century. By joining the resources of these two premier accredited e-business standards bodies, the resultant single set of core components will be easier to implement and affordable to all. As such, this initiative will contribute to the reduction of technical barriers to trade. UN/EDIFACT Working Group (EWG) and the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12 will join forces to prepare a common language through the development of a single set of Electronic Business XML (ebXML) compliant core components. This single set of core components will be the foundation for future developments with new and emerging technologies. In the spirit of the United Nations, this initiative will allow developing and transition economies to afford global, cross-industry, e-commerce standards. This joint effort will create the building blocks for a single set of accredited, international, cross-industry XML business standards. These business standards will be compliant with the developing ebXML technical framework, will be based on joint design rules and naming conventions, and will for the first time ensure that the standards used to trade nationally and internationally are the same." [source]

[September 14, 2001] Work snapshot. Working documents were prepared for the September 10-14, 2001 meeting of the UN/EDIFACT Working Group (EWG) in Rotterdam. Examples provide an indication of some of this work by the JCC (Joint Core Components) Initiative:

  • Core Component Primer. Interim Basic Information Entity Discovery Method. Joint Core Components. Draft Version 0.2. 31 August 2001. ; [source]
  • Business Process Modelling Primer. Version 0.2. 2001-08-31. "The following pages describe the beginning of Business Process Modelling. The first step is a simple gathering of information into one or more word documents. Section 2 raises the question 'Which business processes?' and puts forward some ideas about the different areas that may need to be tackled. Section 3 provides a template which gives a word-picture of the information that we need to capture about a business process. Note that an empty template is provided in the appendix for modellers to copy and use as the master. Section 4 emphasises that the next stage is a process of fleshing out the initial overall word-picture shown in Section 2, creating more detail. In the process, the pieces of information required or created by the process are identified..."
  • Metadata for Core Components. Core Components. 09-August-2001. Version 1.00 JCC1. 21 pages. "This document describes the metamodel of Core Components. In order to improve readability the metamodel is built up and explained in a number of steps, illustrated by a class diagram and a list of used classes and attributes, with definitions. Classes that have already been introduced in an earlier diagram are shown in grey and are not repeated in the list of classes following this diagram..." [source]
  • Core Component Discovery and Analysis. 24-August-2001. Version 1.04. JCC1. 18 pages. "This document lays out a detailed methodology for discovery and analysis of Core Components. This methodology is based on identified Business Processes and supports standardising such analysis. It describes the importance of cross-domain analysis of the resulting definitions in order to promote interoperability and includes examples illustrating multiple possible approaches... A Core Component is a building block for the creation of a semantically correct and meaningful information exchange 'parcel'. It contains only the information pieces necessary to describe a specific concept... Discovery and Analysis consists of finding Core Components of Business Processes together with their context, either by research and analysis of business requirements or searching a repository..." [source]
  • ebXML TR - Naming Conventions for Core Components Ver 1.04 JCC1. 13 pages. ebXML Core Components. 07-Aug-2001; [source]

[June 21, 2001] "ASC X12 and EWG Develop ebXML-compliant Core Components Enabling Global Trade Using EDI in X12 and XML Formats." - "The Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12 and the UN/EDIFACT Working Group (EWG) commenced work on their Joint Core Components (JCC) initiative to extend and maintain the core components work initiated by the Electronic Business Extensible Markup Language (ebXML) effort. The JCC initiative, which convened at the June 3-8 ASC X12 Standards Development Meeting in St. Louis, Mo., is developing a semantic foundation for electronic data interchange (EDI) in X12 and XML formats. The JCC will convene again at the EDIFACT Working Group meeting in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Sept. 10-14, 2001. The JCC initiative is defining and validating a set of protocol-neutral and ebXML-compliant e-business syntaxes valid within both EDIFACT and X12, which serve as the underlying data building blocks useful for future development. The primary goals of the JCC are to provide a catalog of core components and harmonization between core component and business process modeling work... ASC X12 approved at its June Standards Development Meeting a new project proposal (PP) from the X12 Finance Subcommittee for the development of Transaction Set (TS) 259, Residential Mortgage Insurance Explanation of Benefits, which is slated to transmit the results of a claim for mortgage insurance benefits between a mortgage insurer and the customer receiving the financial benefit. This TS will be used for transmitting the results of both pool and primary mortgage insurance claims. Committee representatives completed work on the next ASC X12 Version 4, Release 4, Subrelease 2, which includes 313 transaction sets and is scheduled for publication in July 2001. ASC X12 is also balloting the following new X12 TS, which will likely appear in the December annual release. Transaction Set (TS) 424, Rail Carrier Services Settlement, developed by the X12 Transportation Subcommittee, is used to provide details between railroads for charges associated with a variety of rail services. This transaction set will help streamline settlement functions between railroads for performing junction settlement or switching services..."

Related: UN/CEFACT Electronic Business Transition Working Group. "The mission of the eBTWG is to identify specific work items to facilitate the completion of the activities related to the ebXML Business Process and Core Components Projects and to oversee the further development of those items. Detailed information about these work items can be found on the ebXML Web site: In addition, this group would be responsible for developing and maintaining the UN/CEFACT eBusiness architecture to ensure consistency with the ebXML architecture specification. Within twelve months [ca. 2001-12], the CSG expects to establish a new permanent working group, which will provide a single forum for UN/EDIFACT and ebXML standardization, united through the development of common business process and information models. Given that the formation of the permanent group requires full consideration and consultation with user communities, it has been agreed that, in the interim, the eBTWG will serve as a bridge from the recently completed ebXML initiative to the future eBusiness Working Group (eBWG). The first meeting of the eBTWG will be held in California on October 8-12, 2001... The eBusiness Transition Working Group (eBTWG) was created by UN/CEFACT Steering Group (CSG) in July 2001 for the purpose of continuing the UN/CEFACT's role in pioneering the development of XML standards for electronic business. The group was formed to build on the success of the earlier ebXML Joint Initiative between UN/CEFACT and OASIS, which delivered its first set of specifications in May 2001. To help ensure the success of the eBTWG, CommerceNet will provide administrative and logistical support to the working group... The eBTWG Core Components Specifications Project Team "is to produce: (1) A consolidated ebXML Core Components Technical Specification that incorporates the material in the ebXML Discovery and Analysis, Naming Convention, and Context technical reports [and] adds material related to Metadata Definition (2) Specification for and the beginning lexicon of core components. The Core Components Specifications Project Team consists of experts with broad knowledge in the area of electronic business (ebXML, UN/EDIFACT, and national EDI/eBusiness), ebXML core components, and technical specification development." See the Core Components Specifications Project Proposal. [cache]


  • UN/CEFACT/EWG and ANSI ASC X12 Agreement. Agreement between UN/CEFACT/EWG and ANSI ASC X12 for the development of a common set of core business objects. [source]
  • Announcement 2001-02-27: "ASC X12 and UN/EDIFACT Working Group Define Business Objects to Unify EDI and XML."
  • Joint UN/EDIFACT & ASC X12 Core Component Development - Meeting schedule through September 2001. [cache]
  • UN/CEFACT/EWG Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport
  • "UN/CEFACT XML Business Document Library Project (XBDL)" - Main reference page
  • Announcement: XML Business Document Library Project (XBDL)
  • eBTWG Project Proposal: XML Business Document Library (XBDL)
  • [September 11, 2001] ] Core Component Primer. Interim Basic Information Entity Discovery Method. Draft Version 0.3. 11-September-2001. From the Joint Core Components [Initiative]. 11 pages. "This document specifies a Joint Core Component (JCC) interim paper for the eBusiness community... This primer is designed to help you, within your domain, to understand the methodology for the discovery of potential Core Components. This is a practical guide to help you get value from the ebXML Technical Reports... Upon completion of working through these exercises, it should be clear to you, how to define a potential Core Component and fill in the required information for presentment to the Cross Industry Harmonisation and Analysis Team... For each potential Core Component: a precise definition is established; useful business remarks are captured; the type of Core Component (Basic or Aggregate) is identified; the naming convention is applied to create a dictionary entry name; business terms for the Core Components that are different to the dictionary entry name are captured; a Core Component Type (CTT) is identified for Basic Core Components only; and a temporary UID is assigned. The resulting Core Components after the Harmonisation and Analysis are then assigned an official UID and passed onto the Registry and Repository..." Note: Version 0.3 was distributed in the 'Presentation' documents from the Rotterdam meeting of September 2001.
  • UN/CEFACT Electronic Business Transition Working Group, with the Core Components Specifications Project Team.
  • ANSI ASC X12
  • See also "ANSI ASC X12/XML and DISA."
  • [September 20, 2001] CommerceNet and UN/CEFACT eBusiness Transition Working Group (eBTWG) Hold Inaugural Meeting. An announcement from CommerceNet and the UN/CEFACT eBusiness Transition Working Group (eBTWG) describes the first meeting of the working group in San Francisco on October 8-12, 2001. During its initial five-day meeting, "eBTWG will continue UN/CEFACT and OASIS' efforts to further the development of XML standards for electronic business. The working group's first order of business is to pinpoint the specific work necessary to advance ebXML development as related to Business Processes, Core Components and eBusiness Architecture. For the opening meeting, eBTWG has identified three working project teams. In the coming weeks, more project teams will be added to the October agenda. The first three project teams will focus on core areas of ebXML development. The project teams include: (1) The Core Components Specifications Project Team, which is charged with producing a consolidated ebXML Core Components Technical Specification that incorporates the material in the ebXML Discovery and Analysis, Naming Convention and Context technical reports. (2) The Business Collaboration Patterns and Monitored Commitments Specification, which will be responsible for defining and showing through example, what businesses can reasonably expect and what the underlying technology must support within a fully compliant ebXML business relationship. (3) The eBusiness Architecture Specification, which will ensure that electronic business initiatives are technically and practically implementable and that the eBusiness architecture meets the requirements of businesses on a global scale." [Full context]

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