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Subject: RE: Jon Bosak's suggestion that xCBL be adopted as the ebXML Busi nessDocument framework


Some of your comments about xCBL and EDIFACT surprise me. I was involved in
the design of xCBL 3.0, and therefore spent many, many hours trying to
reconcile the models used in four "dialects" of EDIFACT, several of X12,
RosettaNet, and a handful of other common business vocabularies. I am, I
suppose, what you might call a "modelling expert" in that it has been the
focus of my work for the past 10 years, mostly in the sense that I have been
designing DTDs for XML and SGML applications as a consultant, in a variety
of settings.

EDIFACT is a huge piece of work, but it has many failings when viewed from
the point of interoperability, even as a "global data model". I will admit
that it is the best place to start from when you are looking to get the
whole overview of the data used in e-business, and I have said this in
presentations at major XML conferences in the past. But it also has gone
somewhat overboard in that regard, providing semantics that are not used
very often, and generally requiring a thorough subsetting before actual use
in the real world. These are the conclusions that I drew from trying to
create a useful subset (based on EANCOM, SIMPL-EDI, and some "real-world"
implementation guides of EDIFACT) to incorporate in xCBL 3.0.

ebXML will take us beyond that, to a point where you need to identify the
true *core* of business data, and then extend that to include the other bits
you need, based on a concept of context. I thought that was why we had
started with X12 and EDIFACT in the core components analysis work.

That's not all that xCBL has as its good points, really - this has been done
many ways by many people in the past. What xCBL offers - and we are looking
ahead to a re-design - is a solid XML-based approach to modular management
of such a vocabulary, based not on DTDs, like other XML business
vocabularies, but on the schema technology that will be the basis of the
coming wave of XML tools for e-business.

I guess  my point is this: I thought core components had already mined
EDIFACT for its business semantics and was planning on doing so into the
future through the offices of EWG. What EWG is most clearly not focused on
is leveraging the best ways of expressing those semantics in ways that agree
with the best of XML technology. I would argue that this is what xCBL does. 

I have noticed that some members of UN/EDIFACT has a very different attitude
toward "software vendors" than do most members of standards organizations in
the states. It seems they are often greeted with distrust - the sort of
thing your comment about "expert modellers" conveys. It supposes that
business people - by dint of being business people - will do better
modelling than those who are professional data modellers. I think this
attitude is bigoted, silly, and generally wrong.

I say get the best semantics from those who *do* have this expertise, the
busines people, and get the best technology approaches from those who spend
their lives working in that arena. I thought that's why the UN and OASIS had
joined forces in ebXML. Personally, I think it's a great idea, even if you
do not.

Just some thoughts...


Arofan Gregory

-----Original Message-----
From: Stuart Campbell [mailto:stuart.campbell@tieglobal.com]
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2001 5:39 AM
To: 'William J. Kammerer'; 'ebXML Core'
Subject: RE: Jon Bosak's suggestion that xCBL be adopted as the ebXML
Business Document framework

Hello William

I hope you are joking.

Whilst proprietary xCBL is of interest, having studied it from previous work
its a very nice presentation which gives some nice statements about learning
from other standards but IMHO it seems its been modelled by modeling experts
rather than users (ie lacks reality of real trade except in very specific
cases and is not encompassing) and such statements of reuse are just that.
It is also very limited especially when comparing to EDIFACT and other open
business standards which of course should be the base for the future.  The
fact that xCBL is XML does - by a LONG WAY - not make it a strong contender
for the future.  At the end of the day it is very easy to make XML from a
complete set of global trade models; its the global trade modals that are
difficult.  EDIFACT+ has over 10 years of producing good models forced into
a heritage syntax but if you extract out the underlying semantics and
structures (and remove the syntax independent fluff) then you have something
decent and XML is easy to derive.  I have been involved in several projects
which do just that.

Please keep us informed about this if you learn anything new.


Technical Strategy Director, Technical Strategy Team
Business Development Unit

Stuart Campbell
TIE Holding NV
UK          T:+44 1270 254019   F:+44 7971 121013
Netherlands  T:+31 20 658 9335   F:+31 20 658 9901
Global       M:+44 7970 429251   E:stuart.campbell@TIEGlobal.com
		 W:www.TIEglobal.com P:www.stuartcampbell.co.uk

-----Original Message-----
From: William J. Kammerer [mailto:wkammerer@foresightcorp.com]
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2001 15:02
To: ebXML Core
Subject: Jon Bosak's suggestion that xCBL be adopted as the ebXML
Business Document framework

I've heard nary a reaction to Jon Bosak's suggestion that xCBL be
adopted as the ebXML Business Document framework.  Bosak - the "Father
of XML" - made this proposal at the UN/CEFACT EWG in Washington, DC
(well, actually, McLean, VA) last week. Or, at least, I could swear
that's what I heard and saw Bosak present.  I do have a rich imagination
which may have led me astray.  If I could get hold of his slides, that
might prove that I am not making all this up.

Is the silence due to 1) shock, 2) Jon Bosak is regularly ignored, or 3)
ebXML is going to handle this in secret sessions?  What impact would
this have on the Core Components work to date, if any?

William J. Kammerer
4950 Blazer Pkwy.
Dublin, OH USA 43017-3305
+1 614 791-1600

Visit FORESIGHT Corp. at http://www.foresightcorp.com/
"accelerating time-to-trade"

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