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News from GCA
News From Graphic Communications Association



Issued March 17, 1999

Press inquiries: Contact Don Thieme
+1 703-519-8190

(Alexandria, VA) — On 26 February 1999, Matteo Mariani of Italy became the 1,000th member of the XML/EDI Group. The next week, Robert Fuchs of Austria became the 100,000th visitor to the XML/EDI Group’s web site at http://www.xmledi.org/. These two events signify how the XML/EDI Group has become the largest and fastest growing grass-roots organization for applying XML to electronic commerce.

In July 1997, an international group of visionaries lead by Bruce Peat and David Webber in the USA, Martin Bryan in the U.K., and Benoit Marchal in Belgium started the XML/EDI Group. In its brief 20-month history, the group has worked extensively with the XML and EDI communities to foster key work in the development of XML/EDI. The group has made available guidelines for the exchange of business data and specifications for repositories of business applications based on XML. In March 1998, the group became a special membership organization of the Graphic Communications Association (GCA) Research Institute.

Peat, chair of the XML/EDI Group, said, "The grass-roots nature of the XML/EDI Group reflects the benefits of XML, where anyone with the desire to contribute to the development of the technology can take part. We have people from all over the world contributing to our online discussions or attending meetings in-person at industry events."

Webber, North America chapter chair, added, "XML’s ability to exchange business data over the Web using ordinary browsers will revolutionize how companies interact. XML/EDI provides the structure needed for companies to exchange data without the high costs of EDI."

The European Community is seizing key opportunities by supporting the XML/EDI Group’s work. Under the leadership of Europe chapter co-chairs Bryan and Marchal, the European Standardization Bureau’s (CEN’s) workshop on electronic commerce has started a pilot test of XML’s ability to exchange business data, especially with smaller businesses. This pilot test focuses on statistics gathering, health care, and transportation industries. Bryan will discuss these developments at GCA’s April 1999 XML Europe conference in Granada, Spain.

Betty Harvey of Electronic Commerce Connection in Germantown, Md., an early member of the XML/EDI Group, said "These coordinated efforts in Europe and North America, as well as comparable work in Asia promise to make XML/EDI a worldwide standard for exchanging data, something traditional EDI has not done. Separate EDI standards for North America and the rest of the world have hampered global electronic commerce."

The XML/EDI Group’s networking structure makes it possible for participants to quickly learn XML/EDI principles and apply them to their own business needs. An impressive and growing list of applications includes:

XML/EDI Group members took part in the initial mapping of the North American (X12) EDI standard to XML, working with the Data Interchange Standards Association and CommerceNet. Advanced examples of the many other areas are group members working with HL7 Healthcare and their development of the V3 XML pilot, and the FIX Protocol FIXML development pilot. The group organizes workshops, seminars and presentations worldwide, for major corporate sponsors, local organizations, universities, and groups such as the ACM (American Computer Machinery Association). Transcripts and materials are available on-line.

The XML/EDI Group is a special membership organization of the GCA Research Institute. GCA (www.gca.org/) is the leading technical management association promoting the application of markup technologies and a supporter of XML since its creation.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: For more background on the XML/EDI Group and technical questions, contact Alan Kotok, vice president, Management Technologies, GCA at akotok@gca.org or +1 703-519-8173.

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Revision date: March 17, 1999