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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.

Michael C. Rawlins, Rawlins EC Consulting

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