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Created: June 12, 2003.
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Hong Kong CECID Donates ebMail Client Software for ebXML Message Handling.

The University of Hong Kong Center for E-Commerce Infrastructure Development (CECID) has announced the release of its ebMail code base to the ebXML development community under an open source Academic Free License. ebMail is "a desktop e-mail client which helps organizations, small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SME) in particular, to engage in B2B e-commerce activities. This lightweight toolkit enables trading partners to exchange business documents cost-effectively through email, or ebXML Message Service (ebMS) over Simple Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP). ebMail is a trimmed-down ebMS handler which does not require any application server software and dedicated Internet connection to use ebXML. It allows a user to compose electronic documents offline through graphical user interface (GUI), and send and receive documents when the user is connected to the Internet. ebMail employs plug-in modules to provide different graphical user interface (GUI) forms for capturing business data into different schemas of XML documents (e.g., price quotation, purchase order, invoice, etc.) and binary file attachments (e.g., PDF, graphics, etc.). These plug-ins can load, save, and manipulate business data in the local file system, as well as import documents from office applications to the GUI for efficient document handling. ebMail plug-ins can also handle simple business processes that define choreographies of document exchanges."

From the ebMail Code Release Announcement

A Java-based and platform-neutral application, ebMail provides a Java API for third-party developers to create plug-ins. The plug-in API allows developers to program GUI handlers, convert input data into XML documents of a specific schema, and develop advanced features, such as document management in the local file system.

XML documents composed by ebMail plug-ins are packaged into ebMS messages and send and receive messages in ebMS/SMTP through central mechanisms. Furthermore, ebMail can digitally sign and encrypt outgoing documents, and decrypt and authenticate incoming documents using digital certificates, and it makes use of ebMS code from another open-source project, Hermes.

ebMail was developed by CECID under the auspices of Project Phoenix. Project Phoenix is primarily sponsored by the Innovation and Technology Commission of the Hong Kong Government. Two of the pilot project partners using ebMail are Department of Health of the Hong Kong Government and Hong Kong Observatory. CECID has developed a prototype based on ebMail for the Department of Health to streamline its pharmaceutical products import and export licensing application procedure. The Center is starting the development of a new ebMail plug-in for Hong Kong Observatory, which has been designated by the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to collect world weather information for the WMO's Website.

Established in January 2002, the Center for E-Commerce Infrastructure Development (CECID) at the University of Hong Kong conducts e-commerce research and development with the vision of helping Hong Kong increase its competitiveness in the international arena. CECID has the mission to develop e-commerce enabling technologies, to join important international e-commerce initiatives, to support e-commerce standardization for Hong Kong and the Asia-Pacific Region, and to transfer e-commerce technology and skills to the community. As an OASIS member, CECID is participating in standardization projects, such as ebXML and Universal Business Language (UBL). CECID also collaborates with a number of lead technology users in the Asia-Pacific Region on the application of advanced e-commerce technologies.

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