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RE: Did ebXML Help Accelerate the Web Services Evolution?

Perhaps a historical perspective on SOAP and ebXML will help clarify some
misunderstandings that seem to exist. I worked on ebXML Message Service
standard and served as ebXML's liaison to W3C and had many conversations
with the SOAP authors from version 0.9 through 1.2.

The ebXML initiative began in November of 1999. In January of 2000 the
Transport, Routing and Packaging team began development of a message
to support the reliable, secure exchange of XML, traditional EDI data and
other digital data that may be exchanged as part of a business transaction
(e.g. cad drawings). Also noteworthy is the fact that ebXML's message
service DOES support BOTH traditional REQUEST-RESPONSE (i.e. RPC) as well
async messaging. 

Recognizing the broad acceptance of HTTP the TR&P team elected to follow
HTTP's MIME based packaging approach from the start. This enabled ebXML's
Message Service to "naturally" layer on top of HTTP. The original ebXML
"message" structure consisted of two (MIME) parts, an XML header
routing and Identification data) and a "business payload" MIME part. This
separation of "business data" from "routing data" allowed each "part" to
processed independently.

SOAP v 0.9 was released by Don Box in the Fall of 1999. This version of
(which was the current version available at the time ebXML began its
efforts) had many issues that slowed its adoption by developers at large.
One significant obstacle was its dependence on the HTTP extension
(remember that one..) which was a work in process in the W3C. The ebXML
team reviewed SOAP v0.9 and made the decision that it lacked support for
traditional EDI and therefore could not be used and a pure HTTP/MIME
approach was pursued.

SOAP V1.1 was released in May 2000 and the Soap with Attachments spec soon
followed. The combination of SOAP 1.1 and SwA together were virtually
identical to the approach taken by ebXML and efforts to converge the
began in earnest. A team of interested parties from the SOAP camp (e.g.
David Turner and Andrew Layman) met with the ebXML TR&P team in February
2001 at the ebXML meeting in Vancouver to discuss SOAP and ebXML's
convergence. The decision was made to utilize SOAP within ebXML's message
header as a means to align the two efforts. The convergence work began at
the February ebXML meeting and was completed by the final release of
Message Service standard in May 2001.

I've attached a few e-mails between myself and others (Don Box, Andrew
Layman, Bob Sutor, Klaus and others) which should help you see how/why
became a part of ebXML's Message Service.

In the end ebXML's TRP team incorporated SOAP into the ebXML Message
standard for interoperability reasons. 


Dick Brooks
B2B Application Integration and CyberSecurity Consultant
Lowell, Massachusetts
Telephone: 602-684-1484


-----Original Message-----
From: Brian Repko [mailto:brian_repko@hotmail.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, March 24, 2004 5:55 PM
To: ebxml-dev@lists.ebxml.org
Subject: Re: Did ebXML Help Accelerate the Web Services Evolution?

I do think that the ebXML folks looked at Web Services specs (since they
were there already) and took the best of that and used and built on top of
it.  I'm not sure that the Web Services folks look into ebXML too much, if
at all, particular for the flurry of WS-* specs that are out there.

What is sad to me is all the WS talk related to customers and suppliers
B2B without talking about ebXML.  It feels too one sided.

Now that WS has died down a bit - is there a chance to stake
a claim in certain areas?  Say what is ebXML and where does it fit in with
the other specs out there?


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