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Subject: What's a Core Component and why should I care?
I hate taking time away from more productive (read revenue producing) activities for this and *surely* don't want to create another rat hole for people to dive into. However, people still seem to find that these are burning questions and I humbly offer my own opinions. With all due respect to the fine work done by my esteemed colleagues in the other project teams, I believe that Core Components may be the most significant, and perhaps only, enduring technical contribution of ebXML. I won't here go into my reasons for believing that, but if you're interested in them please visit my web site after the Vienna meeting. If I have at times seemed very critical of some aspects of the CC work, it is only because I think it very important to get it right. So, what's a core component? Core components and the methodology to develop them can be thought of as the data dictionary for e-Business, whether based on XML or some other technology. But, more than just a data dictionary of simple items, it is a set of complex items such as party and address. Furthermore, all who have worked in more than one industry know that even fairly common data items such as a location or part number can require different sets of detailed information in different industries. Core components, through the context mechanism, provides a way to define and reuse these complex data definitions tailored for specific cases such as automotive manufacturing or hospital supply. Compared with EDI definitions, core components includes all of the features offered by element, composite, and segment definitions, and goes beyond them with what might be thought of as reusable segment groups and segment groups tailored for specific contexts. The value proposition: A fully defined set of core components, with extensions for specific contexts such as industry and geography, provide the basic building blocks for assembling XML messages. Message designers are thus saved a significant analysis cost since they can adopt this set rather than develop their own and negotiate a common set with trading partners. This set is reusable across the whole spectrum of message exchanges - all the way from ad hoc bilateral exchanges to complex, modeled supply chain processes involving several transactions and parties. Also, by tying core components to syntax neutral universal identifiers, core components offer the promise of resolving differences in XML vocabularies and enabling automatic transformation of documents between XML based languages. We thus may be able to circumvent the almost religious arguments over long vs. short tag names, industry specific names, and spoken languages. Cheers, -- Michael C. Rawlins, Rawlins EC Consulting www.rawlinsecconsulting.com
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