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ebXML and Web Service Protocols

The Role of ebXML and Web Service Protocols

The Role of ebXML and Web Service Protocols
Mikkel Hippe Brun, UBL-DEV Posting

Comments from the UBL-DEV Discussion list on "Danish Implementation of UBL Published as Good Practice Case in the EU eGovernment Good Practice." Mikkel Hippe Brun (National IT and Telecom Agency, Center for Service Oriented Infrastructure) says:


I was personally one of the promotors of using ebMS in the VAN infrastructure in Denmark. The National IT and Telecom Agency facilitated a process, where the VAN-operators developed the ebMS profile, and we were very happy with the outcome. ebMS is a simple and easy to read spec.

However: we have not chosen to go with ebXML in the public sector for a number of reasons.

  • We had CBDI analyze and compare ebXML and the WS-* standards. See "The Role of ebXML and Web Service Protocols" at The pdf contains a Danish introduction but the rest is in English. The report emphazises that the WS-* standards has more traction and vendor support than ebXML.

  • We asked the industry and the public sector in Denmark to come up with business requirements for an infrastructure. We also asked them about their preference in regards to the choice of standards. We made it clear that the easy choice (from a technology viewpoint) would be to go with ebXML. The feedback we got was that they wanted us to follow the WS-* road rather than an ebXML road because large suppliers like BEA, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle were supporting the WS-* stank of standards and the resolution of interoperability issues in WS-I.

Denmark is part of the NES group and discussions about infrastructure is also an important part of the collaboration. We have spent considerable time on discussing how we ensure that messages can flow freely between different network infrastructures (i.e., and ebXML framework and a WS-* based framework). It is our goal that it should be possible to exchange UBL messages across borders and between networks. Sweden has been using an ebXML infrastructure and now Denmark is building an WS-* infrastructure. Denmark has a strong PKI infrastructure and Sweeden does not. None of this matters because the establishment of gateways will ensure that messages can flow freely.

We are currently establishing gateways to the VAN-operators such that UBL messages will be able to flow between the networks. It would be possible for us to make a similar gateway to a pure internetbased use of ebXML her in Denmark should anyone request it.

We have invested lots of resources in ensuring interoperability between the .Net platform and the Java platform (Axis Sandesha and Rampart). Supporting SMTP in addition to HTTP in combination with WS-Security and WS-ReliableMessaging has also been a difficult nut to crack. It has been difficult to achieve some of the same capabilities that we meet in ebXML. But it was a deliberate choice we made. We support the use of open standards and every line of code we produce in this projcet is donated to open source.

We are in no way relegious about these issues. I do not beleive that Europe will have one homogenious infrastructure because of national and regional differences in how security is handled. I congratulate the people behind ebXML for producing high quality standards and free tools. I would love to see more use of UBL around the world on any infrastructure.

Best regards


Mikkel Hippe Brun
Chief consultant, M.Sc.
Direct: +45 3337 9220
Cell: +45 2567 4252
E-mail: <>

National IT and Telecom Agency
Center for Service Oriented Infrastructure
Holsteinsgade 63
DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø
Tel: +45 3545 0000
Fax: +45 3545 0010 <>;


  • Posting source. See also the thread.

  • Description of the Danish Implementation of UBL for e-invoicing, published at the EU eGovernment Good Practice Framework: Abstract and Case description.

  • "ebXML og webservice protokollernes rolle i den serviceorienterede arkitektur." Analyserapport. Videnskabsministeriet. November 2005. CBDI Report, with text in English. "This paper assesses ebXML and Web Service Protocols (WS-Protocols) in support of e-business. ebXML and WS-Protocols are overlapping sets of standards with differences in protocols in some areas, and common protocols in others. This report focuses on the areas of overlap and makes comparison between the two on the basis of functional capability, the status of standards, user and vendor adoption, and anticipated directions." [cache]

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive.

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