The Cover PagesThe OASIS Cover Pages: The Online Resource for Markup Language Technologies
Advanced Search
Site Map
CP RSS Channel
Contact Us
Sponsoring CP
About Our Sponsors

Cover Stories
Articles & Papers
Press Releases

XML Query

XML Applications
General Apps
Government Apps
Academic Apps

Technology and Society
Tech Topics
Related Standards
Last modified: October 19, 2002
Commerce XML (cXML)

"cXML is a streamlined protocol intended for consistent communication of business documents between procurement applications, e-commerce hubs and suppliers. The protocol does not include the full breadth of interactions some parties may wish to communicate. However, through the use of Extrinsic elements and newly-defined domains for various identifiers, it is easily expanded by such applications. This expansion is the limit of point-to-point configurations necessary for communication. The current standard includes documents for setup (company details and transaction profiles), catalogue content, application integration (including the widely-used PunchOut feature), original, change and delete purchase orders and responses to all of these requests, order confirmation and ship notice documents (cXML analogues of EDI 855 and 856 transactions) and new invoice documents."

[February 08, 1999] Commerce XML (cXML) is a new proposed standard being developed by "more than 40 leading companies" for business-to-business electronic commerce. Several companies have publicly announced support for cXML, including Ariba, Sterling Commerce, Ironside Technologies, SAQQARA Systems, POET, and Extricity Software. According to the Ariba announcement, "cXML is a set of lightweight XML DTDs -- based on the World Wide Web Consortium's XML standard -- with their associated request/response processes. . . cXML defines a request/response process for the exchange of transaction information. These business processes include purchase orders, change orders, acknowledgments, status updates, ship notifications and payment transactions. The contributors to the cXML initiative are focused on achieving reference implementations through creation and rapid iteration of cXML. The cXML specification, including reference production implementations and associated implementation knowledge, will be submitted to the appropriate standards organizations. The cXML initiative is therefore complementary to existing XML initiatives led by CommerceNet, RosettaNet, Information & Content Exchange (ICE) and Open Buying on the Internet (OBI). The cXML specification will be made publicly available in March 1999. cXML was created in a unique collaboration between buyers, suppliers, and Internet technology companies. More than 40 organizations were involved in the process including leading e-commerce companies such as Extricity Software, InterWorld Corporation, Ironside Technologies, POET Software, SAQQARA Systems, Sterling Commerce, Vignette Corporation and webMethods; members of Ariba Supplier Link (ASL) such as 1Nine Systems, Anderson Unicom Group,, BT Office Products International, CAP, a division of the McGraw-Hill Construction Information Group, Chemdex Corporation, Collabria, Compucom,, Cort Furniture Rental, Harbinger Corporation, Life Technologies, NCR Systemedia Group, Office Depot, RoweCom, Staples, and US Technologies; and Ariba customers. Collectively, these organizations provide real-world input and validation for cXML."


  • cxml.orgcXML Web site

  • cXML specification. 2002-01 or later. [cache]

  • cXML User's Guide. 232 pages.


  • cXML FAQ document [cache]

  • cXML In the News

  • Support - The Companies Behind cXML

  • CXML Press Release from Ariba

  • Sterling Commerce press release

  • Ironside Technologies press release

  • SAQQARA press release

  • POET press release

  • Extricity press release [local archive copy]

  • [March 02, 1999] "Procurement Players Clash Over Standards." By Whit Andrews. In Internet World (March 1, 1999). "Ariba announced earlier this month that it has enlisted 40 partners, none of which are also competitors, in using an XML variant to exchange product data and to conduct transactions. Pilot programs may begin this month, and specifications, including software interfaces and XML document type descriptions, are scheduled to be released later this year. That format, dubbed cXML, might conflict with the Common Business Libraries (CBL) developed by Veo Systems, which CommerceOne acquired in January. CBL has been submitted to the World Wide Web Consortium, and exists on its own without associated programming interfaces. Both schemes are expected to intersect in some way or another with eCo, an initiative of the non-profit CommerceNet industry consortium that is supposed to promote automated transactions. Meanwhile, the Open Buying on the Internet project, an effort undertaken by another consortium of companies interested in procurement, is being reworked as an XML application."

  • [March 01, 1999] "cXML: A New Taxonomy for E-commerce." By Mark Merkow. In Web Reference (February 25, 1999). "Commerce XML (cXML) is set to relegate to extinction a significant impediment in the growth of business-to-business E-commerce. . . A significant impediment in the growth of business-to-business E-commerce is on its way to extinction. Commerce XML (cXML), a new set of document type definitions (DTDs) for the Extensible Markup Language (XML), will be released to the public in March 1999 for an open comment period and pilot testing. cXML is an explicit meta-language to describe the characteristics of items available for sale. It enables the development of 'intelligent shopping agents' that help to do the dirty work of corporate purchasing. By programming the characteristics you're seeking into request messages and releasing them to the network, your request will return exactly what you're seeking or nothing at all - which in itself is sometimes important to know. Think of cXML loosely in terms of 'bar coding' for the Web, but with a far richer set of attributes to uniquely identify and describe products, and can be incorporated into computer programs."

  • [February 09, 1999] "Procurement Vendors Tussle Over XML." By Richard Karpinski. In InternetWeek (February 09, 1999). "The Extensible Markup Language has the potential to smooth electronic commerce, but only if vendors and large users can all get along. In the e-procurement space, at least for now it seems, competition is taking priority over cooperation. Yesterday, Ariba introduced Commerce XML (cXML), a set of XML document type definitions, or DTDs, to help define the exchange of transaction information between buyers and suppliers over the Internet. The cXML spec supports a variety of business processes including purchase orders, change orders, acknowledgments, status updates, ship notifications and payment transactions. The Ariba XML solution competes most directly with an alternative being developed by Ariba's largest rival, CommerceOne, which recently bought XML vendor Veo Systems. Veo's Common Business Library (CBL), which is written in XML, was recently turned over to the CommerceNet consortium, which is using it as part of its eCo Framework specification for business-to-business commerce."

  • [February 15, 1999] "Ariba Pushes CXML." By Mel Duvall. In Inter@ctive Week [Online] (February 9, 1999). "The new protocol, called Commerce XML (cXML) is being pushed by electronic procurement vendor Ariba Technologies but has managed to gain the support of a number of other procurement vendors and leading electronic commerce companies, including Harbinger, InterWorld, Ironside Technologies, Office Depot, Sterling Commerce and Vignette. It is described as a lightweight version of eXtensible Markup Language (XML), which supports all supplier content and catalog models, including buyer-managed, supplier-managed and Internet marketplaces. It also incorporates a request/response process for the exchange of transaction information, which provides a mechanism for the exchange of purchase orders, change orders, ship notifications and similar business processes."

  • [October 06, 1999] "The Face of E-Commerce: UWI.Com Provides cXML Connectivity to Ariba Network." - UWI.Com, a leading provider of XML Internet forms for business-to-business e-commerce, today announced that it will incorporate cXML (Commerce Extensible Markup Language) connectivity into its InternetForms Commerce System. The integration will provide supplier organizations with robust connectivity to the Ariba Network platform through an intelligent, standards-based front end. UWI.Com also announced that they are developing a suite of software that will facilitate the deployment, integration, and management of e-commerce documents as the interoperable front-end, or face, of both traditional and new age e-commerce systems. Both UWI.Com and Ariba are widely recognized as innovators in the business-to-business e-commerce market. Over 100 companies, including Ariba and its buyer and supplier organization customers, support the cXML standard. The Ariba network of buying organizations includes twelve Fortune 100 companies as well as many industry leaders in the Global 2000. UWI.Com's InternetForms offer an intelligent interface that will allow suppliers to quickly participate in the Ariba Network platform, while ensuring that information submitted is complete, error-free, and secure. By encapsulating the cXML business semantics used by the Ariba Network platform, InternetForms provide enterprises with intelligent and secure XML documents that can easily interoperate with a wide range of e-business systems."

  • [May 10, 1999] "Microsoft and Ariba Join Forces to Accelerate Adoption of Business-to-Business E-Commerce Standards. Companies to Cooperate in Developing BizTalk Schema for E-Commerce." - "Microsoft Corp. and Ariba Inc., a leading provider of intranet- and Internet-based business-to-business e-commerce solutions for operating resources, today announced plans to work together to accelerate the adoption of Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based standards for e-commerce. The companies will join together to integrate Commerce XML (cXML), an emerging standard for business-to-business e-commerce, with the Microsoft BizTalk framework to define schema for communicating operating resource transactions, such as catalogs and orders. In addition to collaborating on BizTalk and cXML, Ariba and Microsoft plan to work together to implement these e-commerce frameworks into products offered by both companies. Ariba will support the BizTalk framework in Ariba e-commerce solutions, and Microsoft will integrate support for cXML into upcoming releases of the Microsoft Commerce Server and BizTalk Server. This collaboration will enable seamless integration between Ariba e-commerce solutions and the multitude of supplier Web sites based on the Microsoft commerce platform. The joint work will provide the opportunity for Microsoft and Ariba customers to more easily and efficiently conduct business-to-business e-commerce with business partners worldwide."

  • [May 10, 1999] "Grainger and Ariba Combine Strengths To Expand Electronic Procurement Access. Internet Commerce Collaboration Brings Buyers and Sellers Together." - "Grainger, the leading provider of maintenance, repair, and operating (MRO) supplies in North America, and Ariba, Inc., a leading provider of intranet- and Internet-based business-to-business e-commerce solutions for operating resources, have formed an alliance to deliver expanded Internet commerce access to buyers and suppliers worldwide. As part of the alliance, Grainger has joined the Ariba Supplier Link (ASL) program and will make its product information available to Ariba customers via Network. Grainger and Ariba also announced that the two companies will collaborate on the continued development of Commerce XML (cXML), an emerging standard for exchanging supplier content and transaction information between buyers and suppliers over the Internet. Grainger will also use cXML to integrate its supplier content and make it available via Network, Ariba's standards-based Internet service that provides supplier content and routes transactions between buyers and suppliers."

  • [June 02, 1999] "A Look Inside Commerce XML (cXML) Version 0.91." By Mark Merkow. In WebReference (May 27, 1999). "In mid-May 1999, cXML Version 0.91 became available for public download from I downloaded, printed, and dissected the PDF version in response to reader demands for additional information about cXML. In this week's one year anniversary edition, we take an in-depth look at how cXML's structure provides support for secure business-to-business exchange via the Web."

  • [February 15, 1999] "Catalog Manager -- Group Proposes cXML As Standard." By Gregory Dalton. In Information Week Issue 721 (February 15, 1999) [Section: Intranets/Internet]. "A group of 40 end-user organizations and software and vendors engaged in electronic commerce is proposing to customize the Extensible Markup Language to facilitate the procurement of non-production supplies by businesses. . . CAP, a division of McGraw-Hill that publishes catalogs for furniture manufacturers, will incorporate cXML in its Offices Online software product that will connect furniture makers and business customers when it's released in April. CAP, in Grand Rapids, Mich., plans to use cXML to aggregate catalogs from manufacturers such as Steelcase and Hon and present their products in a unified fashion to Ariba customers such as Chevron. 'We'll be able to connect 140 Chevron offices with many furniture dealerships and allow them to buy from the custom catalogs we've made,' says Charles Origer, CAP national sales manager."

  • [March 03, 1999] "webMethods Announces Support for cXML Standard for Business-to-Business E-Commerce. Leveraging Industry Standards to Ensure Open Trading Communities." - "webMethods Inc., the leading provider of XML-based business-to-business e-commerce and integration solutions, today announced that it will support Commerce XML (cXML), an open XML-based standard created to facilitate e-commerce within trading communities. webMethods is among 40 leading companies that have joined Ariba Technologies in the development of cXML, a suite of lightweight XML Document Type Definitions (DTDs) and their associated processes that define the exchange of catalog content and transaction information between buyers and suppliers.

Hosted By
OASIS - Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards

Sponsored By

IBM Corporation
ISIS Papyrus
Microsoft Corporation
Oracle Corporation


XML Daily Newslink
Receive daily news updates from Managing Editor, Robin Cover.

 Newsletter Subscription
 Newsletter Archives
Globe Image

Document URI:  —  Legal stuff
Robin Cover, Editor: