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Subject: Re: ebXML Requirements Specification Draft

I just noted that the web page incorrectly lists this document as being out
for comment with a comment period May 2 - May 8.  This is not correct and I
have requested the web page be changed.  It should instead say only that
this document will be voted on at the May 8 plenary.


"William J. Kammerer" wrote:

> Mike Rawlins has invited us to review the final version of the ebXML
> Requirements Specification which will be submitted for approval at the
> plenary May 8.  See http://www.ebxml.org/specindex.htm.  Since the
> comment period on this version starts May 2, and closes May 8, I guess I
> can make some observations:
> (1) Front piece says "See acknowledgements" for authors.  There is no
> "acknowledgements" section.
> (2)  There's no problem statement; i.e., what problem are we attempting
> to solve?  What was wrong with EDI, EDIFACT or X12?  Section 1.2.2 -
> ebXML Scope - barely touches on one of the purported problems with EDI,
> in that SMEs can't or won't participate in EDI, perhaps because of
> complexity and expense.
> But are we serious that ebXML will "[deliver] specifications that will
> be used by all trading partners interested in maximizing XML
> interoperability within and across trading partner communities"?  The
> emphasis should be on producing a standard which can be incorporated in
> shrink-wrapped or packaged solutions, a point not made until section
> 2.2 - Conducting Electronic Business using ebXML.
> Another supposed problem with EDI is that it requires extensive trading
> partner negotiation up front.  This isn't mentioned (parenthetically)
> until Section 3.4 - Technical Architecture.
> (3) Section 2.3 - Globalization says "all ebXML technical specifications
> [in English] will be translatable into the other official UN languages-
> French and Russian. Translation into languages other than French or
> Russian is the responsibility of the intended user..."  This is
> superfluous.  Of course, English can be translated into French and
> Russian.  But are we making a promise that the UN will do so?  This was
> never done within UN/CEFACT for UN/EDIFACT directories or any other
> documents, excepting a very few in French.  I'd suggest taking out the
> entire clause about the specifications being "translatable," as it only
> detracts from the very important points that (a) we're going to work in
> English and that (b) the ebXML Repository should support alternate
> languages.
> Again, repeating my note from Saturday, the statement that "in keeping
> with the requirements of XML 1.0, all work will shall be compliant with
> Unicode and ISO/IEC 10646 for characters, Internet RFC 1766 for language
> identification tags, ISO 639 for language name codes, and ISO 3166 for
> country name codes" should be clarified or softened.  XML 1.0 itself has
> some requirements to use these standards (for well-formed and valid
> documents), but the business data contained within may very well depend
> on other standards (such as FIPS 10-4, instead of ISO 3166, for
> identifying countries).
> (4) All references to CEFACT should read "UN/CEFACT".  "insure" should
> be "ensure" in Section 3.5 -  Core Components.
> (5) Section 2.5.2 - Transport, Routing, & Packaging says the messaging
> system is required "to Realize reliable secure sending and receiving of
> messages over any network capable of carrying XML."  Since XML is text,
> presumably any network can "carry XML."   Since TR&P has settled on MIME
> packaging, perhaps some verbiage about "capable of carrying MIME encoded
> packaging."
> (6) Section 4 - ebXML Organizational and Procedural Requirements -
> should not mention private corporations or their own proprietary
> initiatives, such as BizTalk and CommerceOne, unless in an explanatory
> non-normative note to explain what we mean by "private initiative."
> Private, for-profit corporations, or their respective products and
> trademarks, should not be mentioned in the normative text.
> William J. Kammerer
> 4950 Blazer Memorial Pkwy.
> Dublin, OH USA 43017-3305
> (614) 791-1600
> Visit FORESIGHT Corp. at http://www.foresightcorp.com/
> "Commerce for a New World"

Michael C. Rawlins, Rawlins EDI Consulting

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