A posting from Michael Rowell (Chief Architect, Open Applications Group) announces the release of the OAGIS version 8.0 specification. The Open Applications Group is a "non-profit consortium focusing on best practices and processes based on XML content for eBusiness and Application Integration." The principal notion in OAGIS is the BOD (Business Object Document), supporting a common horizontal message architecture. BODs are "the business messages or business documents that are exchanged between software applications or components; between companies; across supply chains; and between supply chains. The BOD Message Architecture is independent of the communication mechanism: it can be used with simple transport protocols such as HTTP and SMTP, but it also can be used in more complex transport protocols such as SOAP, ebXML Transport and Routing, or any other Enterprise Application integration system." The version 8.0 release contains some 200 XML BODs, with over 300 XML schemas and over 400 example XML instances. It includes a set of example scenarios, each of which describe the chorography or business process that OAGIS maybe used. Complete with hyperlinked HTML documentation, OAGIS v8.0 "adds support for long tag names, XML Schemas, XSL, and XPath. XSL (specifically XPath) is used to capture the required fields and other constraints that can be applied to the BODs; XPath is also used to apply the action of the Verb on particular Components of the Noun with in the BOD. OAGIS takes advantage of many capabilities of these 'core' XML technologies in order to provide a true horizontal specification for integration. Along with the UserArea, it provides support for Vertical Overlays, which can be used to by industry verticals and implementations to layer additional requirements over OAGIS allowing companies in different verticals to communicate with the same messages by simply applying the constraints that are appropriate for the given context."
All of the Version 8.0 documentation is provided in HTML format so that it may be viewed through a web browser. The OAG XML Project Team recommends that reviewers make use of an XML IDE to view the XML schemas, as "the complete structure of the Business Object Documents are not viewable from a single file."
In version 8.0, new 'long' tag names have been adopted "for all Attributes, Field, Compounds, Components, Nouns, and Business Object Document. XML Schema is used to capture the message structure and type information for the Business Object Documents.
The OAGIS Business Object Document (BODs) are used widely "for business-to-business and application-to-application integration in e-commerce, purchasing, manufacturing, logistics, human resource management, and financal services." Within automotive, the AIAG has recommended the use of ebXML messaging and the use of OAG Business Object Documents (BODs) for trading partners wanting to exchange XML documents; BODs are also used in specifications from Technology in Automotive Retail (STAR) Group, and in applications from Covisint. NIST is working with OAGI in the OAGI B2B Testing Initiatives. The HR-XML initiative developing Staffing Industry Data Exchanges Standards (SIDES) has decided to deploy SIDES within OAGIS v8.0 BODs, using OAGIS invoice, order, and request for quote; by deploying these specifications as OAGIS business object documents, HR-XML will benefit from OAGIs guidance for working within major implementation frameworks (e.g., ebXML). Earlier, OAGI announced that OAGIS had been adopted for use at over 500 live sites, with support from over 200 OAGIS solution providers.
From the OAGIS architecture overview:
In order to achieve interoperability between disparate systems, disparate companies and disparate supply chains, there must be a common horizontal message architecture that provides a common understanding for all.
Once a horizontal messaging architecture has been agreed upon these messages can be sequenced together to form scenarios. Scenario can provide the detail step-by-step exchange of information needed to perform specific tasks. These tasks can be simple or complex. As such, the scenario describing them may be simple or complex. Complex scenarios may reuse one or more simple scenarios.
The Open Applications Group Integration Specification (OAGIS) provides example scenarios that can be used as a starting point for integration. By identifying a scenario that most closely matches your needs, it is possible to identify the messages needed to achieve your needs.
The rest of this chapter describes the architecture of the Open Applications Group Integration Specifications, Business Object Document (BOD). The BOD is a common horizontal message architecture. BODs are the business messages or business documents that are exchanged between software applications or components; between companies; across supply chains; and between supply chains.
In order to do this the BOD must be able to inform the receiving system what kind of message to expect in the data area. Often there is a two-way interaction between a sender and receiver, for this reason, the BOD needs to be able to communicate status and error conditions. It is also necessary to provide for multiple actions on a common business object (Noun). For this reason the OAGIS BODs have been designed to make use of a common Nouns that a given action (Verb) may be applied. As different industries have different needs OAGIS must be extensible in order to allow industry verticals to plug in information that is needed in their industry. For this reason the BODs have been designed to be extensible, while providing a common architecture and content for integration.
The BOD Message Architecture is independent of the communication mechanism. It can be used with simple transport protocols such as HTTP and SMTP but it also can be used in more complex transport protocols such as SOAP, ebXML Transport and Routing, or any other Enterprise Application integration system.