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Last modified: February 14, 2002
QuickBooks Extensible Markup Language (qbXML)

[September 24, 2001] Intuit's QuickBooks Extensible Markup Language (qbXML) is a language "at the core of a new framework that allows electronic exchange, creation and management of accounting and other business data." Following the design maxim "Never Enter Data Twice (NED2)," Intuit is constructing the XML specification for third-party applications to use to exchange data with QuickBooks. "Data integration will be supported with both Web applications and Windows desktop applications. With qbXML, software developers will be empowered to build specialized vertical applications and horizontal productivity applications that mine, enrich and share this data. Businesses stand to benefit by gaining maximum leverage of their most critical data." A draft version of the QuickBooks XML specification was made available on the company web site in June 2001. A pre-release, open version of QuickBooks has been made available to participants in the QuickBooks SDK Beta program. The next major release of the US version of QuickBooks, QuickBooks 2002, will be accessible through the qbXML API, and is expected to be released in late fall 2001.

From the overview document 2001-02:

Application Types: "Virtually any application can use qbXML. Desktop applications can use it to interact directly with QuickBooks. Web applications can use framework services to interact with QuickBooks. qbXML allows multiple requests to be batched together in one qbXML transaction. This option enhances the efficiency and performance of applications and suits certain batch-oriented applications well. The qbXML developer sets an option flag to determine how processing errors in batch requests should be handled. With one option, the batch processing is halted and the appropriate data and status information is returned in the response. With the other option, processing of the remaining requests continues and the appropriate data and status information is returned."

Applications: "A desktop application can interact with QuickBooks directly using qbXML. It must first build a qbXML request, or batch of requests, adhering to the syntax defined in the qbXML DTDs. Next, it must pass the qbXML request to QuickBooks by means of a Microsoft Component Object Model, or COM, interface supplied by the framework. This COM interface is a very simple and light interface that only requires three parameters: business designator, qbXML request (input) and qbXML response (output)... Web applications build qbXML requests the same way desktop applications do. These applications can then take advantage of the framework's Web-based intermediary services and its support of HTTP. Requests are processed immediately on the server and the response returned to the application. Subsequently, the QuickBooks user synchronizes QuickBooks records with data on the server."

qbXML 0.6 data objects and the operations supported by them: Account, Non-Inventory Item, Sales Receipt, Customer, Other Charge Item, Credit Memo, Employee, Discount, Purchase Order, Vendor, Payment, Check, Job, Sales Tax, Credit Card, Terms, Invoice, Vendor Credit, Service Item, Receive Payment, Bill, Inventory Item, Estimate, Journal Entry.

[September 20, 2001] QuickBooks SDK Beta Program: " The QuickBooks SDK Beta Program is underway with about 40 members, who are working with a pre-release copy of QuickBooks compatible with the qbXML API. As this is the first launch of an API-accessible version of QuickBooks, we are intentionally keeping the SDK beta program quite small. This will enable us to work very closely with and learn from beta participants, and to focus on building the organization necessary to support a high quality QuickBooks SDK. Due to the program's small size, we were forced to turn away many highly-qualified developers. The QuickBooks SDK is expected to be released later [in 2001]; we encourage developers not participating in the SDK Beta Program to register to receive the latest information and updates."


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