New XML Electronic Commerce Repository Proposal Announced

Alexandria, VA. 27 July 1998 - A new project has begun to set guidelines on defining industry-wide rules for uses of the Extensible Markup Language (XML) in business transactions. XML/EDI Group, the leading authority on the use of XML in business-to-business exchanges and working with leading electronic commerce organizations, made available today a draft of its XML repositories documents for public comment.

This initiative has several objectives:

Bruce Peat, chair of the XML/EDI Group said, "XML repositories will ultimately redefine not only how companies do business but also how they implement business applications. The key is in providing an open architecture to facilitate the wholesale shift of business to the Web."

Peat added "on the first anniversary of the founding of the XML/EDI Group we are very proud to launch this key effort. Those trading partners that take advantage of the opportunities that repositories offer will lock into the next dimension of marketing channels and leave their competitors severely disadvantaged".

XML repositories will provide a means for industries to store on the World Wide Web the document-type definitions that identify the data elements and their relationships exchanged among parties doing business electronically. Repositories will also contain logic components, such as Java applets, template scripts, forms and object definitions needed to process message components.

With common registration procedures for these components, repositories will act as global libraries, and enable industry groups, government agencies, and businesses of all sizes to make their preferred message formats widely available to current and potential trading partners.

Man-Sze Li, chair of the Electronic Commerce Workshop of the Information Society Standardization System within the European Committee for Standardization (CEN/ISSS), said "The Internet and the World Wide Web are presenting a unique opportunity to the global development of electronic commerce. XML/EDI provides a very promising approach for existing EDI communities to harness the Internet technologies for delivering simpler and more cost-effective business solutions. The availability of XML repositories is a key element for communities to share experiences and build upon what others have achieved."

"It is exciting to see such rapid interest and convergence around XML in the industry around meta data interoperability standards from OMG, W3C and now the XML/EDI community in its XML Electronic Commerce Repository initiative," said Sridhar Iyengar, Unisys Fellow and chair of the OMG Object Analysis and Design Task Force. "This will lower the cost of building dynamic meta-data driven tools, repositories and commercial applications and accelerate the implementation of interoperable business applications on the Web."

Iyengar added, "The OMG has already integrated CORBA with modeling (UML) and meta-data repository (MOF) standards, and is now in the process of adopting XML for meta-data interchange in CORBA environments." Iyengar's group standardized UML and MOF last year.

The CEN/ISSS Workshop is teaming up with the XML/EDI Group to pilot the exchange of EDI messages in Europe using XML. The XML/EDI Group also works with Data Interchange Standards Association and CommerceNet to map the X12 standard used for EDI in North America to XML.

Jim Galvin, Director of eRegistry Services, CommerceNet said, "CommerceNet is committed to the global repository it is offering as part of XML Exchange. We welcome the opportunity to work with other repository service providers to develop a standard environment to serve the needs of the XML community.

XML/EDI Group has made the draft documents available for downloading at Visitors to this page may also sign up for an Internet discussion list to provide comments. The formal comment period will continue through September 30, 1998.

Ronald L. Schuldt, Chairman of the Data Integration Committee, Association for Enterprise Integration (formerly CALS), will act as moderator of the discussion list and coordinate the working group. Schuldt is a well-known authority in the field of data integration frameworks and a visionary for global repositories.

University of Denver's Center for the Study of Electronic Commerce has a pilot project involving XML repositories underway, under the direction of Donald J. McCubbrey. The project uses a fully XML-compliant object-oriented database system accessible over the World Wide Web. See:

The XML/EDI Group provides the authoritative source of information, support and advocacy for the use of XML in the transfer of structured business data, documents and processes. See:

XML/EDI Group is a special membership organization of Graphic Communications Association (GCA) Research Institute. GCA, the leading technical association promoting the application of markup languages and a supporter of XML since its creation, will compile comments and convene meetings of the XML/EDI Group to discuss responses to the draft documents.

Online Technologies Corp., home of BizServe, an Internet solutions provider specializing in developing and hosting business web sites, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, will host the repository discussion list.


Alan Kotok, GCARI, 703-519-8172 or

Bruce Peat, XML/EDI Group, 301-585-8869 or

Ron Schuldt, XML/EDI Group, 303-977-1414 or

Note: this HTML document was derived from the RTF version: press release in RTF format. See also the GCA press release, and the database entry, XML/EDI Repository Working Group. -rcc