Subject: XML interfaces emerging in Quickbooks, NetLedger etc.
XML vocabularies and transaction interfaces are gaining momentum in the SME market. Links are at the bottom if you want to skip my comments. SMEs will not maintain secure bastion hosts on the internet, to conduct business electronically. They will conduct most of their buying, selling, and paying thru web services, ASPs, BSPs. The websites will process B2B interactions with third parties. Will all those trading partners have to visit N-squared websites, chosen by each of their trading partners? No. The dealings will largely flow back to a home or consolidated view for each party. Thus, BSPs need B2B to touch a 3rd party, and A2A architectures to bring a consolidated view to the Owner. What you're seeing from proprietary vendors below is the A2A vocabulary of the future, for small business. Look at the DTDs. How do you like them? ebXML, RN, and OAGI have apparently failed to convince internet based BSPs (business service providers) to adopt the idea of standard vocabularies, transport, or other technologies. If this trend continues, then, the handwriting is on the wall: SMEs will go forward with vendors using proprietary XML vocabularies. The web BSPs for SMEs will not likely operate Biztalk servers or other XML translation or mapping. If proprietary vocabularies succeed, the independent web iBSP must choose which "alliance" of XML to join. An web BSP costs $millions to build and operate, and can usually realize way below $5/month therefore must support at least 10,000 users simultaneously---this is a generalization but the bigger picture is very clear: internet BSPs cannot compete on price/functionality if they must maintain powerful, secure, commercial XML translation engines on 10,000 simultaneous sessions. The licensing costs alone, make this infeasible and the support costs, hardware costs also. Why would they do that?? They would be killed by the proprietary alliances. BSPs simply require a standard vocabulary and it must be fairly small, and it must be available RIGHT NOW in 2001. ebXML and OAGI are uniquely able to provide a subset version of your large vocabularies, and tighten up the object model a little bit, and add any Elements these BSPs seem to need. Just an expression of interest, and recognition, of the smaller BSPs would make a huge difference. OK now the links. You may be aware Intuit has announced a developer version of Quickbooks, and has bought http://www.apps.com and has also been offering an online database http://www.quickbase.com, which also has an HTTP API. Intuit has approx 90% marketshare in US small business software. Intuit has maybe 10 million Quicken and maybe 7 million Quickbooks sites, who are *very* fed up with paper and postage and banks and tax filings. Quickbooks has a completely new, different product called Quickbooks Web, which is web-based. http://www.quickbooks.com/quickbooks/qbweb/ This is quite a decent little package, not feature rich but reasonably well balanced for a Version 1.0 product. Intuit releases an XML DTD http://developer.intuit.com/quickbooks/tools/qbxmldtd.txt and more, http://developer.intuit.com/tools.jxp http://developer.intuit.com/quickbase/tools/QuickBaseAPI.html NetLedger documented its XML interfaces http://www.smbxml.org last May. SMBXML has been in production with integration partners such as YahooStores since last summer. Netledger http://www.netledger.com will allow their subscribers to access the XML interfaces this week; Netledger appears to be approx. one year ahead of Intuit on features and XML interfaces. Microsoft also has a webledger in beta, which they have been working on for several years. Many accountants have been reviewing it. It may be marketed by the AICPA www.cpa2biz.com which is heavily funded by Microsoft. Incidentally, Microsoft recently bought Great Plains. The M$ webledger is widely expected to have XML interfaces, perhaps forming the centerpiece of Bcentral. Peachtree, the no. 2 desktop software for SMEs in U.S. has been running a web based http://www.epeachtree.com approx. 1 year. Their current strategy, at http://www.peachtree.com/pwa/ seems to provide some web transport for some limited remote access and synchronization of the desktop Peachtree 8.0. Other webledgers including Biztone, http://www.biztone.com and Intacct http://www.intacct.com have XML interfaces in prototype stage, and have publicly stated plans for open XML interfaces during press conferences and meetings. There are countless internet BSPs or web apps having various XML interfaces in production. I have never found any BSP for SMEs using any standard XML vocabulary. But I don't know much, Hope this helps, TOdd Boyle CPA www.gldialtone.com www.netaccount.com -------- - -
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