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Subject: Minutes from Packaging sub-group con-call on 3/17

The packaging sub-group held a conference call on Friday 3/17 at 11:00
Central time. The primary purpose of the meeting was to reach consensus on
the technology used for packaging (XML or MIME).


Bob Miller - GEIS
David Burdett - CommerceOne
Chris Ferris - Sun
Dale Moberg - Sterling Commerce
Dick Brooks - Group 8760

The group began by defining a set of requirements for ebXML packaging. The
following requirements were identified:

- Able to handle large documents
- Able to envelope any document type
- Minimize intrusion to payload (special encodings or alterations)
- Minimize potential for abnormal termination caused by envelopes
- Facilitate a migration path for existing installed base and technologies
- Low processing overhead
- Support for recursive documents
- Able to preserve digital signatures
- Able to unambiguously identify signed data

Both MIME and XML were discussed relative to these requirements. It was the
groups consensus that MIME was better positioned today to meet the stated
requirements. However, it was also believed that XML would mature as a
packaging technology and the ebXML group should continue to monitor XML's
progress for possible inclusion at a later date. It was also believed that
Microsoft may have addressed some of the issues affecting XML's packaging
ability. Dick Brooks accepted an action item to contact Microsoft to request
information describing BizTalk's packaging functions to see if this may
provide an XML packaging solution that meets the above requirements.

Following the decision to use MIME the group focused on the options for
outer wrappers. Several MIME types were discussed including:

- Multipart/related
- Multipart/Mixed
- Multipart/form-data

There was some discussion over the similarities of multipart/related and
multipart/mixed, both of which appear to offer similar capabilities and
could meet stated requirements. However, the group converged on
multipart/related, believing it to be more semantically appropriate for
ebXML. There was a discussion about the current use of multipart/related by
RosettaNet and the broad support of this type by the large installed base of
e-mail clients and servers. Chris Ferris raised concerns over multi-vendor
interoperability of multipart/related across e-mail clients (Outlook,
Netscape, U*x based MUA's) and he offered to perform some interoperability
testing. The group consensus was that multipart/related appeared to meet the
requirements stated above and this should be the "preferred" outer wrapper.

The group also discussed support for optional outer wrappers, including
multipart/form-data and multipart/mixed. Existing web browsers are capable
of producing multipart/form-data outer wrappers, but do not support
multipart/related. The multipart/form-data outer envelope is used by a large
installed base from the Energy Industry for E-commerce. There was some
discussion that a 3rd party service could potentially provide "conversion
services" between parties using incompatible enveloping. The group seemed to
agree that both multipart/mixed and multipart/form-data could be included as
optional outer envelopes. However, no clear consensus was reached on this
point, comments from others in the ebXML TP&R community could help decide
this issue.

Does anyone have a compelling reason why multipart/form-data SHOULD NOT BE
SUPPORTED as an optional wrapper.

Does anyone have a compelling reason why multipart/mixed SHOULD NOT BE
SUPPORTED as an optional wrapper.

The group requested that the list of requirements be published to the list
for comment. Please review and comment on the list of packaging requirements
listed above.

The meeting concluded at 12:00 central time.

Please review these meeting minutes and send all changes to

Dick Brooks

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