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News from GCA
News From Graphic Communications Association


Issued May 26, 1998

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

Alexandria, Va., 26 May 1998 -- Electronic business standards organizations align to globally enable Extensible Markup Language (XML) use for business-to-business communication by providing a common framework for interchanging "document structure grammars" between trading partners.

A document structure grammar formally defines the data elements that make up messages to be exchanged between organizations, and describes the relationship of the data elements to each other.

With common registration procedures for message components, and Internet-based repositories acting as global libraries, industry groups, government agencies, and businesses of all sizes can make their preferred message formats widely available to current and potential trading partners.

In XML parlance these library repositories will contain Document Type Definitions (DTD's) along with logic components, such as Java applets, template scripts, forms and object definitions, which are needed to process message components.

There is a need to develop a registration, authentication and accreditation authority with global credentials that can satisfy industry requirements for coordinated Internet-based repositories.

DISA, who manages the development of the ANSI X12 series of business-to-business messages, affirms its commitment to providing global standards to enable the E-business needs of tomorrow. In coordination with GCARI, the parent of the XML/EDI Group, and in liaison with the RosettaNet Consortium, the W3C and UN/EDIFACT working groups, DISA and GCARI announce their continuing efforts to create open standards for the global E-business marketplace.

Bruce Peat, chair of the XML/EDI Group said, "Common registration methods and repositories will give businesses anywhere in the world the ability to identify their information requirements and provide the tools to underpin global XML document interchanges".

Peat added, "Only through an open standards approach can electronic commerce become a truly universal medium for exchange."

In the first stage of this process, DISA and participating groups are mapping the American national standard for electronic data interchange (EDI), known as X12, to XML. This preliminary mapping, first draft scheduled for delivery in June, will provide a means for integration of current X12 systems with those using the newer XML format.

In a related effort, Denver University Electronic Commerce Department is collaborating with the XML/EDI Group in the development of a pilot XML repository system using POET Software's new POET CMS object oriented data store, which is fully XML document compliant and operates over the World Wide Web.

Industry Groups and Government bodies are currently being solicited to provide input to the project. The HL7 Healthcare group has already developed the RIM repository for healthcare, and efforts such as this provide the fundamental information that can enable XML by delivering a consistent grammar with which to create specific XML DTD's and interchanges.

It is anticipated that sample repositories and glossaries will be available via Web interfaces on the Internet for early testing later this summer.

The World Wide Web Consortium or W3C developed XML as a subset of the Standard Generalized Markup Language (ISO standard 8879) that enables the transfer of structured data over the Web. XML, now in version 1.0, supplements the HyperText Markup Language used to display text and image information on Web pages.

About XML/EDI Group
The XML-EDI Group is a special membership organization of GCARI, an affiliate of Graphic Communications Association (GCA) in Alexandria, Va. The XML/EDI Group provides the authoritative source of information, support and advocacy for the use of XML in the transfer of structured business data, documents and processes.

About GCARI - Graphic Communications Association Research Institute
GCA is a technical management association in the publishing and printing industries that has supported XML since its creation.

About DISA X12 - Data Interchange Standards Association
Since 1985 DISA and X12 have been the custodian of the North American standards for electronic data interchange and is the North American representative body to the UN/EDIFACT for international electronic data standards.

SOURCE Joint announcement of DISA and GCARI.

CONTACT Judy Kilpatrick, DISA, 703-548-7005

Alan Kotok, GCARI, 703-519-8172 or akotok@gca.org

Bruce Peat, XML/EDI Group, 301-585-8869 or peat@erols.com

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Revision date: 26 May 1998