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Created: November 28, 2003.
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UBL Version 1.0 Committee Draft Beta Approved for Public Implementation Testing.

Update 2004-04-30: On April 30, 2004 Jon Bosak announced that the OASIS UBL TC had voted to approve its UBL v1.0 specification as a Committee Draft, and that UBL 1.0 was available for general use. See details in the news story "Universal Business Language (UBL) 1.0 Approved as an OASIS Committee Draft."

[November 28, 2003] The OASIS Universal Business Language Technical Committee has reached a major milestone with the approval of UBL 1.0 Beta as a Committee Draft, now published to enable trial implementations of UBL in realistic business environments. A posting from Jon Bosak (Chair, OASIS UBL TC) announces the results of the TC voting and purpose of the UBL 1.0 Beta draft.

The UBL TC was chartered to: "(1) develop a standard library of XML business documents (purchase orders, invoices, etc.) by modifying an already existing library of XML schemas to incorporate the best features of other existing XML business libraries; (2) design a mechanism for the generation of context-specific business schemas through the application of transformation rules to the common UBL source library; (3) produce an international standard for electronic commerce freely available to everyone without licensing or other fees."

The UBL 1.0 Beta package approved as a Committee Draft is intended to "provide the specifications needed to begin implementation testing of UBL in advance of its recommendation to OASIS for standardization. Normative components of the CD are intended to represent UBL 1.0 as it will be released in 2004, with the exception of code list validation (which will be addressed by a Code List Subcommittee that has been formed for this purpose) and fixes for any major problems that may be discovered during the implementation phase. The non-normative parts of the draft (e.g., page formatting, illustrations, documentation) will be subject to further editorial work during the implementation phase. The implementation testing phase began as of November 25, 2003 and will end two weeks prior to the UBL TC meeting in Washington D.C., 23-27 February 2004. An implementation subcommittee (UBL ISC) is being formed to coordinate input received during implementation testing."

Bibliographic Information

The Beta package submitted for TC vote and updated through the voting period (November 19-25, 2003) is available in the form of a ZIP archive containing some 354 files; see the file listing for details. The release contains both normative and non-normative portions. In the CD approval process, 41 of 45 eligible TC members voted (unanimously, "yes") to approve the release as an OASIS Committee Draft.

Universal Business Language 1.0 Beta - Committee Draft. Edited by Bill Meadows (Sun Microsystems) and Lisa Seaburg (Aeon LLC). Snapshot version 17-November 2003. 44 pages. Document identifier: 'UBLTC-Library-beta-1.0-cd-03'. Available from: Formats: (1) HTML; (2) PDF; (3) Open Office . Contributors: Members of the UBL Technical Committee. See details in the . Abstract: "This specification defines the Library for the Universal Business Language." Comments: send email to Bill Meadows.

Table of Contents for UBL 1.0 Beta Committee Draft

  • 1 Introduction
    • 1.1 Notes about this Release
    • 1.2 Scope
    • 1.3 Support for this Release
    • 1.4 The OASIS UBL TC
    • 1.5 Document Conventions
    • 1.6 Disclaimer
  • 2 Context of Initial Library [NORMATIVE]
    • 2.1 Initial UBL Business Scenario
    • 2.2 The Order-to-Invoice Business Process
  • 3 Library and Methodology [NON-NORMATIVE]
    • 3.1 The Conceptual Model
    • 3.2 Spreadsheet Models
    • 3.3 The Implementation Model
  • 4 UBL Schemas [NORMATIVE]
  • 5 Code Lists
  • Appendix A. References
  • Appendix B. UBL Document Examples (Non-Normative)
  • Appendix C. Formatting specifications for UBL document types
  • Appendix D. Tools and Deliverables
  • Appendix E. ASN.1 Materials [informative]
  • Appendix F. Code List Schemas

About the Universal Business Language (UBL)

"The OASIS Universal Business Language (UBL) is intended to help solve the interoperability problem by defining a generic XML interchange format for business documents that can be extended to meet the requirements of particular industries. Specifically, UBL provides the following:

  • A library of XML schemas for reusable data components such as "Address," "Item," and "Payment" -- the common data elements of everyday business documents.
  • A small set of XML schemas for common business documents such as "Order," "Despatch Advice," and "Invoice" that can be used in a generic order-to-invoice trading context.
  • Guidelines for the extension of UBL in specific trading relationships.

The design of UBL schemas is modular, reusable, and extensible in XML-aware ways. The analysis and design processes used by the UBL Library Content team are described in Section 3.0 Library and Methodology. The UBL Library has been designed as a collection of object classes, their properties and associations expressed as a conceptual model. We call these components Business Information Entities (BIES). These Business Information Entities (BIES) are assembled into a specific hierarchical, document models, such as an Order or an Invoice. These document models are then transformed based upon specific UBL Naming and Design Rules into XML Schema syntax.

By publishing the models, methodology and rules for schema creation, we hope that UBL components will also be used to assemble new and customised document structures. UBL is designed to be layered on existing successful standards. For example, the ebXML infrastructure developed by OASIS and the UN/CEFACT provides for XML registry services, reliable XML messaging, standardized trading partner agreements, a standard data registry, and a business process methodology.

UBL also provides an XML implementation of Electronic Business XML (ebXML) Core ComponentsTechnical Specification (v2.0).

Significantly, UBL leverages knowledge from existing EDI and XML B2B systems. It is user-driven, with deep experience and partnership resources to call on. Our goal is to unite and harmonize a number of currently existing XML and EDI business libraries into a set of legally recognized international standards.

UBL is committed to truly global trade and information interoperability. UBL will be freely available to everyone without legal encumbrance or licensing fees.

To aid in deployment, the normative standard UBL schemas are accompanied by a multitude of non-normative supporting materials, some of which are included in the [Beta] package and some of which are available from referenced sites. These materials include:

  • UML class diagrams of the conceptual models on which the schemas are based
  • UML class diagrams describing the documents themselves
  • descriptions of two example implementations
  • sample instances of each of the UBL documents used in those implementations
  • formatting specifications for sample renderings of those instances
  • an ASN.1 specification to enable the transmission of UBL messages in binary form

Library Content Scope: The Library Content part of UBL specifies a library of business information entities to be used in the construction of business documents together with a set of common XML business documents assembled from those entities. The normative sections of this document are:

  • the context scenario and business rules used to construct the business models and business documents
  • a W3C Schema (XSD) of re-usable components
  • the W3C Schemas (XSD) of the business documents required for the context scenario

UBL Background: The widespread use of XML has led to the development of multiple industry-specific XML versions of such basic documents as purchase orders, shipping notices, and invoices. While industry-specific data formats have the advantage of maximal optimization for their business context, the existence of different formats to accomplish the same purpose in different business domains is attended by a number of significant disadvantages as well.

  • Developing and maintaining multiple versions of common business documents like purchase orders and invoices is a huge waste of effort.
  • Creating and maintaining multiple adapters to enable trading relationships across domain boundaries is an even greater effort.
  • The existence of multiple XML formats makes it much harder to integrate XML business messages with backoffice systems.
  • The need to support an arbitrary number of XML formats makes tools more expensive and trained workers harder to find.

A standard basis for XML business schemas is expected to have the following advantages:

  • Lower cost of integration, both among and within enterprises, through the reuse of common data structures.
  • Lower cost of commercial software, because software written to process a given XML tag set is much easier to develop than software that can handle an unlimited number of tag sets.
  • An easier learning curve, because users need master just a single library.
  • Lower cost of entry and therefore quicker adoption by small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs).
  • Standardized training, resulting in many skilled workers.
  • A universally available pool of system integrators.

The adoption of UBL is also expected to foster the creation of inexpensive data input and output tools and to provide a universally understood and recognized commercial syntax for legally binding business documents..." [adapted from the V1.0 Beta Spec Introduction and Scope statement]

Principal references:

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