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Re: SV: interoperability

At 09:24 AM 7/22/2004 +0200, Bryan Rasmussen wrote <snipped>:

> >>which I don't know how others see it but standing outside it does look
> >>that ebXML's search for interoperability is more serious than that of
> >>WS-1 group.
> >I don't contest tour general observation about the web services
>tour? from the context I'm guessing this was something that meant don't
>agree with your?

My e-mail client does a great job correcting spelling, but not grammar and

usage.  You are correct.

> >That would be fine, if you could get everyone to agree on UBL as the
> >expression  ;^)  (and common semantics and vocabulary as well).
>how about:
>Interoperability could be further enhanced by relying on UBL for
>the Common Expression, perhaps also Common Vocabulary.

I doubt that you will find any disagreement with this statement.  However,

for a balanced perspective you might want to acknowledge that there are 
challenges to this proposition.

>Actually I'm having some difficulty understanding the sharp delineation
>between Common Expression, Common Vocabulary, and Common Semantics.
>It seems to me that Common Semantics is that if we have a concept of x
>referred to by the term y we should not suddenly use y to refer to
>But then that also seems to me to be what Common Vocabulary is. I
>that Semantics refers to meaning, but meaning invariably devolves to its
>referents at some point.
>What these terms seem to refer to for me is the possible confusion
>engendered by situations such as the xml and uml terms for things not
>matching in BPSS, necessesitating section 7.2
>Common expression I can see as not being interoperable because all sorts
>sets of terms are allowed.

I agree that the subtle differences among these concepts may escape many 
readers.   But, in developing the ebXML Requirements Spec the team thought

they were sufficiently different to call out as separate concepts.
2.5.1 of that spec, dealing with interoperability of the ebXML 
architecture, is where the criteria are specified.  Given the confusion 
over how these concepts are different it might have been better if we had 
been a bit more detailed in defining them, but so it goes.

However, more to your point, your concept of Common Semantics is
and that is why you are confusing it with vocabulary.   I think the
probably arises when we're dealing with cases of fairly simple and clear 
cut semantics.  In those cases it is easy to confuse semantics with 
vocabulary, per your example.  However, it becomes more clear  in cases 
where the semantics may not be so unambiguous.  Take the case of an 
overloaded term such as "fly".  Do we mean the insect or the verb?  It is 
even more important when people from different industries use the same
differently, i.e., with different semantics.  A vocabulary is just the set

of tags (no pun intended) for the semantics.  An extensive definition, 
preferably with examples (like from a dictionary) is semantics.

Hope this helps,


Michael C. Rawlins, Rawlins EC Consulting
Using XML with Legacy Business Applications (Addison-Wesley, 2003)

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