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|Digital Artefacts Europe Contributes Open Source Implementation for ebXML Core Components.|
An announcement from Diego Ballve of Digital Artefacts Europe describes the donation of an ebXML Core Components vocabulary management implementation to the open-source community through the freebXML initiative.
The freebXML CC project on SourceForge includes a set of tools developed to facilitate the work of domain experts managing data dictionaries. The the project is now available under LGPL terms for use by the open-source community, and will be further developed under the freebXML umbrella.
Core Components are defined in the UN/CEFACT Core Components Technical Specification as Part 8 of the ebXML Framework. The UN/CEFACT Plenary voted in May 2004 to submit the ebXML Core Components Technical Specification to ISO TC154 as Part 5 of ISO 15000 (Technical Specification). The specification is now in process for ISO fast track approval, and will join other parts of ISO/TS 15000 Electronic business eXtensible Markup Language (ebXML), including Collaboration-protocol profile and agreement specification (ebCPP), Message service specification (ebMS), Registry information model specification (ebRIM), and Registry services specification (ebRS).
The ebXML Core Components technical specification (CCTS) "presents a methodology for developing a common set of semantic building blocks that represent the general types of business data in use today and provides for the creation of new business vocabularies and restructuring of existing business vocabularies. It provides a way to identify, capture and maximize the re-use of business information to support and enhance information interoperability across multiple business situations."
Several organizations and standards bodies now base their data structures and information exchanges on the syntax-neutral Core Components model. The Universal Business Language (UBL) 1.0, approved as an OASIS Committee Draft and under ballot as an OASIS Standard, is an implementation of ebXML CCTS, supporting the concept of a common semantic library of business core components.
The freebXML CC implementation "is based on the ebXML Core Components specification and comprises a developer API as well as an end user GUI. Where the freebXML CC API gives the developer a chance to use Core Components without concern for the implementation itself, the freebXML CC GUI will allow domain experts with reasonable awareness of the Core Components specification to model their vocabularies and manage their data dictionaries using this methodology with minimum effort."
freebXML CC "uses the ebXML Registry to store vocabulary data. More specifically, it uses the freebXML Registry through the Java API for XML Registries (JAXR). Currently the freebXML CC API is in production use state, while the GUI is still a prototype. The API maps Core Component concepts to ebXML Registry Information Model concepts through JAXR API, abstracting details about the Registry itself and providing simplified query and life cycle management features focused on Core Components and Vocabularies."
The Java API for XML Registries (JAXR), included in the Java Web Services Developer Pack, "provides a uniform and standard Java API for accessing different kinds of XML Registries. An XML registry is an enabling infrastructure for building, deploying, and discovering Web services. Simplicity and ease of use are facilitated within JAXR by a unified JAXR information model, which describes content and metadata within XML registries. The JAXR specification includes detailed bindings between the JAXR information model and both the ebXML Registry and the UDDI Registry v2.0 specifications."
The freebXML CC vision is to "further develop the API into a 'Java API for Vocabulary Management', accompanied by a Vocabulary Management application. This will require generalizations and extensions of the current API and a set of Graphical User Interfaces. For the graphical interfaces, the current idea is to take advantage of the existing RegistryBrowser clients for the freebXML Registry: the thin client (a JSF based web GUI) and/or the thick client (a Java Swing application). This will require the freebXML registry to support a set of pluggable graphical interfaces, which shall be developed in collaboration with the freebXML CC project."
freebXML "is an initiative that aims to foster the development and adoption of ebXML and related technology through software and experience sharing. The mission of freebXML.org is to provide a centralized site for developers to access and share 'free' ebXML code and applications." Its other projects include the freebXML Registry (a general registry adopting a generic and extensible information model that includes the ability to have arbitrary associations between entries in the registry), the Hermes Message Service Handler, and the ebMail GUI system.
The open-source freebXML CC project is managed by Digital Artefacts Europe, an open source standards-oriented software company in Jyväskylä, Finland. The freebXML CC project "is the open-source continuation of an API developed by Republica Corp., which was meant for storing Core Components in an ebXML Registry. The API was primarily developed to be used in the LomakeFi pilot, developed for the Finnish government."
The UN/CEFACT Core Components Technical Specification "describes and specifies a new approach to the well-understood problem of the lack of information interoperability between applications in the e-business arena. Traditionally, standards for the exchange of business data have been focused on static message definitions that have not enabled a sufficient degree of interoperability or flexibility. A more flexible and interoperable way of standardising Business Semantics is required. The UN/CEFACT (United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business) Core Component solution described in this specification presents a methodology for developing a common set of semantic building blocks that represent the general types of business data in use today and provides for the creation of new business vocabularies and restructuring of existing business vocabularies.
The Core Components Technical Specification (CCTS) provides a way to identify, capture and maximize the re-use of business information to support and enhance information interoperability across multiple business situations. The specification focuses both on humanreadable and machine-processable representations of this information.
The Core Components approach described in this document is more flexible than current standards in this area because the semantic standardisation is done in a syntax-neutral fashion. Using Core Components as part of the ebXML framework will help to ensure that two trading partners using different syntaxes [e.g., Extensible Markup Language (XML) and United Nations/EDI for Administration, Commerce, and Transport (UN/EDIFACT)] are using Business Semantics in the same way on condition that both syntaxes have been based on the same Core Components. This enables clean mapping between disparate message definitions across syntaxes, industry and regional boundaries.
Key Core Component Concepts: A Core Component is building block for the creation of a semantically correct and meaningful information exchange package. It contains only the information pieces necessary to describe a specific concept. There are four different categories of Core Components: Basic Core Component, Association Core Component, Core Component Type and Aggregate Core Component.
- A 'Basic Core Component (BCC)' is a Core Component which constitutes a singular business characteristic of a specific Aggregate Core Component that represents an Object Class. It has a unique Business Semantic definition. A Basic Core Component represents a Basic Core Component Property and is therefore of a Data Type, which defines its set of values. Basic Core Components function as the Properties of Aggregate Core Components.
- An 'Association Core Component (ASCC)' is a Core Component which constitutes a complex business characteristic of a specific Aggregate Core Component that represents an Object Class. It has a unique Business Semantic definition. An Association Core Component represents an Association Core Component Property and is associated to an Aggregate Core Component, which describes its structure.
- A 'Core Component Type (CCT)' is a Core Component which consists of one and only one Content Component, that carries the actual content plus one or more Supplementary Components giving an essential extra definition to the Content Component. Core Component Types do not have Business Semantics.
- An 'Aggregate Core Component' is a collection of related pieces of business information that together convey a distinct business meaning, independent of any specific Business Context. Expressed in modelling terms, it is the representation of an Object Class, independent of any specific Business Context.
See the bibliographic reference for Core Components Technical Specification — Part 8 of the ebXML Framework and the accompanying Core Components Primer, UN/CEFACT — Core Components User's Guide.
Freely available to everyone without legal encumbrance or licensing fees, the Universal Business Library (UBL) "defines a generic XML interchange format for business documents that can be extended to meet the requirements of particular industries. The specification is designed to provide a universally understood and recognized commercial syntax for legally binding business documents and to operate within a standard business framework such as ISO 15000 (ebXML) to provide a complete, standards-based infrastructure that can extend the benefits of existing EDI systems to businesses of all sizes."
The "Universal Business Language (UBL) Version 1.0 specification approved as an OASIS Committee Draft and under ballot [2004-10] as an OASIS Standard is designed as "an implementation of ebXML Core Components Technical Specification 2.01 (CCTS) and the UBL Library uses XML schemas that are modular, reusable, and extensible in XML-aware ways." Of the six UBL Common Schemas, Common Basic Components (e.g., Amount, BackorderReason, BuildingName, CityName, Condition, CurrencyBaseRate, Date, DiscountPercent, HandlingInstructions, Measure, Percent, Quantity, StreetName, TimezoneOffset) and Common Aggregate Components contain the UBL library of reusable data components from which the main document schemas are assembled.
Schemas containing definitions needed to implement CCTS conformance include three Reusable Datatype Schemas: (1) The Core Component Types schema provides Core Component Types as defined by CCTS and are used to construct higher-level datatypes in a standardized and consistent manner; types include AmountType, BinaryObjectType, CodeType, DateTimeType, IdentifierType, IndicatorType, MeasureType, NumericType, QuantityType, and TextType. (2) Unspecialized Datatypes "defines Unqualified Data Types for primary and secondary representation terms as specified by CCTS; these XSD complexType structures are derived from Core Component Types and are the basic data types from which all other data types must derive." (3) The Specialized Datatypes schema provides Qualified Data Types as defined by CCTS. These XSD complexType structures are derived from Unspecialized Datatypes by extension, restriction, and other contextual constraints, such as facets. The Specialized Datatypes have been customized for the UBL 1.0 procurement process and may be further extended to support additional datatypes required for other business contexts." A Core Component Parameters schema also "defines the structure of the annotation/documentation sections that appear in all the other schemas, providing a consistent format for metadata such as object class, representation terms, semantic descriptions, and other supplementary information."
From the ebXML-DEV list archives
Matthew MacKenzie: "Diego, quick question: Why did you choose to use the JAXR API, when using the ebXML RS API directly would have afforded you greater interoperability?" Diego Ballve: "Answer is simple: at what cost?! JAXR provides a convenient Java API which hides all details of XML, SOAP, XML DSIG signing & verification, SAML SSO. All that, added to the fact that I'm an experienced JAXR user (and a bit of developer, too) makes it a very attractive, hard to drop choice. Besides, JAXR is the standard Java API for ebXML Registry. It gives me the best interoperability with registries as long as language is Java (I expect that it will work with other registry/repository standards if they come about). I chose to go for platform independence whereas language independence would probably lead to platform specific stuff — which I try to avoid as much as possible!... convenience is important. Also, since JAXR uses exactly that SOAP based protocol defined by the ebXMLRegistry TC, I'm safe on the interoperability issue."
Farrukh Najmi: "freebXML CC approach is quite pragmatic given that no standard exists for expressing CCTS in XML form. ebXML RIM syntax does provide a standard XML syntax for representing CCTS for the present. UN/CEFACT ICG is defining a normative spec for how CCTS will be stored in an ebXML Registry. This spec will use an XMI an XMI profile as an expression syntax for CCTS in XML. Once UN/CEFACT ICG defines a normative spec for using XMI as an expression syntax for CCTS then freebXML CC could potentially consider using that syntax and storing CC as repository items in their native XMI expression syntax after cataloging them into RIM metadata as defined by the UN/CEFACT ICG specs. That evolution should be natural and straight forward..."
Duane Nickull: Diego, FYI, the UN/CEFACT ICG is apparently looking into using XMI as a model interchange format. This probably could be generated from the RIM and RSS by retrieving an instance in XML, then transforming into XMI (not a fun process I might add)..." Anders W. Tell: "Duanne is right in that we are looking at XMI and its details. At the next meeting in december at AIAG we plan to invite UML vendors in order to get practical advice on details regarding how to apply XMI and UML. All in all to attract more tool vendors. A side note is that some work has been actaully done using MOF+XMI, which could interesting to look at together with the work Odette did on XMI..."
freebXML "is an initiative that aims to foster the development and adoption of ebXML and related technology through software and experience sharing. The mission of freebXML.org is to provide a centralized site for developers to access and share 'free' ebXML code and applications. Users and developers can also share their ebXML development and deployment experience at freebXML.org.
freebXML.org is sponsored by the Center for E-Commerce Infrastructure Development and the Department of Computer Science at the University of Hong Kong. Founding members include technical leaders from international technology firms, government organizations, standardization bodies and academic institutions.
The objectives of freebXML are (1) to create a centralized site for the sharing of 'free' ebXML code and applications as well as development and deployment experience, and (2) to promote ebXML as an e-commerce enabling technology...
Steering Committee: The Steering Committee of freebXML provides guidance on technical and promotional direction for the freebXML initiative. Members include technical leaders from international technology firms, government organizations, standardization bodies and academic institutions..." [freebXML.org web site description]
- Announcement 2004-10-28: freebXML CC Project Supports ebXML Core Components Specification
- freebXML CC Vocabulary Management Announce page
- freebXML CC Project page at SourceForge
- Comments on freebXML CC via the ebxml-dev list archives
- UN/CEFACT - ebXML Core Components:
- UN/CEFACT ATG and Core Components Technical Specification (CCTS):
- Applied Technologies Group (ATG) is a permanent group of United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT). The purpose of the ATG is to create and maintain the United Nations trade, business and administration document structures that are deployed by a specific technology or standard, such as UN/EDIFACT, UN Layout Key, UN e-docs or XML.
- The Applied Technologies Group (ATG): Purpose, Mission, Activities, etc. ECE/TRADE/C/2007/3. 11-September-2007. GE.07-25353. For second session, Geneva, 22-25 October 2007, Item 3(a) of the provisional agenda. Subsidiary Body Reports: Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business. Renewal of UN/CEFACT sub-groups. [source PDF]
- ATG Data Type Catalogue. As of 2007-12, "The Data Type Catalogue Project is responsible for developing and maintaining the catalogue of Core Component Data Types for use in defining CCTS conformant Basic Core Components and Basic Business Information Entities."
- Data Type Catalogue Project Version 3.0. This project is to develop the next major version (Version 3.0) of the UN/CEFACT Data Type Catalogue. The 3.0 Catalogue defines a comprehensive set of allowed data types for use with the CCTS Version 3.0 specification. It is backwards compatible to the 2.01 catalogue to the maximum extent practical notwithstanding design decisions that have been made to optimize the use of data types by CCTS users based on reported experiences. The CDT Catalogue will be maintained through the normal DMR process.
- UN/CEFACT Core Components Technical Specification (UN/CEFACT CCTS) - Information from SAP
- UNTMG Core Components Working Group
- CCTS 2.01 Data Type Catalogue
- Using CCTS Modeler Warp 10 to Customize Business Information Interfaces
- "Core Components Technical Specification — Part 8 of the ebXML Framework." UN/CEFACT (United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business). CCTS. 15-November-2003. Version 2.01. 113 pages. Previous version: UN/CEFACT — Core Components Technical Specification, Version 2.0 of 11-August-2003. "This [2.1] edition is an updated version of Core Components Technical Specification Version 2.0, first published 11-August-2003; it merely incorporates a title correction and minor first-edition errata related to ebXML references as a convenience to readers." To become an ISO Technical Specification as Part 5 of ISO/TS 15000. ZIP sources: CEFACT, OASIS.
- ISO/PRF TS 15000-5. Electronic Business Extensible Markup Language (ebXML) -- Part 5: ebXML Core Components Technical Specification, Version 2.01 (ebCCTS). Approval stage (for ISO Technical Specification) as of 2004-12-02.
- ISO/TS 15000-5 ebCCTS. ebXML Electronic Business Extensible Markup Language, Part 5: ebCCTS ebXML Core Components Technical Specification, Version 2.01 (2003-11-15). See Result of Voting on New Work Item Proposal ISO/TC154N466," ISO/TC154N466 Add.1, posted on 2004-11-09 by François Vuilleumier (ISO/TC154 chair + ISO7372MA secretary) with note of press release to be issued by the UN/CEFACT Secretariat in Geneva, ebCCTS now an ISO Technical Specification, results of the ballot in file 154n466a1. Alt sources: OAGI Core Components Work Group List and OASIS ebxml-jc list (PDF). Original from 154n466a1 ebXML votes TS15000-5.pdf via ISO/TC154 portal.
- UN/CEFACT — Core Components User's Guide. Version 1.0. 16/30-October-2003. 96 pages. Also referenced as the Core Components Primer. PDF source from the the website of the Electronic Commerce Platform in the Netherlands (courtesy Fred van Blommestein) "This user guide is approved after completion of the TMG review process that ended 21-September-2003. This document contains information to guide in the interpretation or implementation of the UN/CEFACT ebXML Core Components Technical Specification... The primer illustrates the discovery and implementation of Core Components by elaborating two real life examples in detail: the Boeing Part Ordering System and the EAN.UCC Delivery Process for Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG). It should be used as a supplemental document to the ebXML Core Components Technical Specification. This primer shows how the employment of the Core Components methodology may be used for analysing the needed information flows in cross-organisational processes and how it can lead to information models and communication systems that are usable internationally and cross-industry..." Note 2004-10-30 from Mark R. Crawford (Chair, UN/CEFACT XML Syntax Working Group; Editor, UN/CEFACT Core Components) "... the Core Components User's Guide is an unofficial document that has never received a final formal review or approval within CEFACT."
- "ebXML Core Components and UBL - A Recipe for eBusiness Data Interoperability." By Sue Probert (Commerce One). Presented at XML Europe 2003. The ebXML Core Components Technical Specification "is part of the larger ebXML framework. Specifically, the Core Components specification provides the basis for the ebXML payload by providing a new approach to creating reusable, semantically neutral, information building blocks. The OASIS UBL, OAG, EAN-UCC, SWIFT, UN/CEFACT, ANSI ASC X12 and a host of other standards organizations are already using this new approach as the basis for building interoperable XML business standards... This presentation will present an overview of the United Nations ebXML Core Components Technical Specification and will explain how the OASIS UBL (Universal Business Library) TC has built a foundation set of XML procurement schemas upon this specification. In addition, this presentation will explain how such an approach provides the data interoperability benefits which are pre-requisites for successful XML B2B adoption..."
- "ebXML Core Components. The Master Data Dictionary?" By Michael C. Rawlins and from Lisa M. Shreve. April 16, 2002.
- "Organisations Providing Specific Support to the ebXML Core Component Effort." European ebXML Information Centre. 2003-10-21 or later. "Each of the organizations below have committed to submit the business content of their XML payloads as Candidate Core Components to the UN/CEFACT ebXML Core Components:
- See also:
- UBL and Core Components. Also summarized above.
- UN/CEFACT Applied Technology Group (ATG). Working Group "ATG2 - XML Assembly Documents/Production Rules" chartered to "focus on XML syntax-related work to include development, maintenance and technical assessment of: (1) Schema Design Rules; (2) Schema Production; (3) XML expressions of ebXML Core Components; (4) XML expressions of ebXML Context Methodology; (5) UML to XML Methodologies. See [ATG2] UN/CEFACT — XML Naming and Design Rules for Core Components, Version 1.0 of 3-August-2004 [source]
- UN/CEFACT TBG17 WG (Harmonisation). "Working Group TBG17 (Harmonisation) is responsible for Project P1 — Business Process and Core Components Harmonisation. "The purpose of the project is to take responsibility for ensuring the consistency and harmonisation of Business Process models and Core Components across business domains and sectors by developing a concise and well-defined library of business terms and business data semantic definitions for the structuring of data exchanges in a syntax neutral manner. The scope of this project is the collation of Business Process models and their corresponding definitions of business Core Components, which presents the requirements of cross industry domains in a consistent and analysable manner. Analysis and harmonisation will result in a catalogue, which will form the foundation of the UN/CEFACT Global Business Process and Core Components Library." See the TBG Project 1 Overview and TBG17 Terms of Reference.
- Open Applications Group Core Components Work Group. "The OAGi Core Components work group is reviewing the existing OAGIS standard in order to add the UN/CEFACT CoreComponentTypes to a future release of OAGIS. Also the group is identifying the larger grained Components or BIEs of OAGIS. These larger grained components are being submitted for inclusion/consideration for the global CoreCompenents that are being proposed by UN/CEFACT." The UBL v1.0 Committee Draft's Appendix G.3.3 ('Common CCTS Schemas') clarifies that the UBL schemas for Core Component Types and Datatypes "were developed in cooperation with representatives of the Open Applications Group, Inc., but the versions currently used by the two organizations are not yet identical. Differences between the CCTS schemas used in UBL 1.0 and OAGIS 9.0 have been identified in these five areas: (1) Naming of Supplementary Components as attributes; (2) Use of XSD normalizedString for code, identifier, and text components; (3) Use of XSD built-in dataypes requiring format Supplementary Components — Date Time, Indicator and Numeric; (4) Restrictions on Binary Object for Graphic, Picture, Sound and Video data type; (5) Patterns for Indicator data type. A common set of CCTS schemas are expected to be available for UBL 1.1 and will be included at that time. This is not expected to affect the validity of UBL 1.0 instances."
- Electronic Business using eXtensible Markup Language (ebXML)
- "Electronic Business XML Initiative (ebXML)" - Local references
- Earlier news stories:
- Digital Artefacts Europe web site
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