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Subject: Re: [Fwd: Re[2]: Concern with basic ebXML TRP Syntax/Semantics]

I believe we have agreed to support:

1) Pure XML for Message Headers
2) Pure XML for payloads
3) *optionally* non-XML payloads (because there is a large non-XML legacy).

The fact that the current packaging proposal recommends using 
multipart-related to bind the elements into a single message is simply 
pragmatic. IMO. We are proposing to use an existing Internet standard. No 
application will ever have to see the outer wrapper (be it in MIME or 
whatever) - in the same way that one normally doesn't see TCP headers or 
"200 OK" from HTTP. Most importantly applications will see pure XML if 
that's in the message payload. If this approach offends the sensibilities 
of some then we should go out of our way to solicit counter proposals - and 
review them openly.

Jon, are we completely off-track here ?


At 01:30 PM 4/7/2000 -0400, Christopher Ferris wrote:

>-------- Original Message --------
>Subject: Re[2]: Concern with basic ebXML TRP Syntax/Semantics
>Date: Fri, 07 Apr 2000 11:56:39 -0400
>From: "Mark CRAWFORD"<mcrawfor@lmi.org>
>To: <chris.ferris@East.Sun.COM>
>CC: <ebXML-Requirements@lists.oasis-open.org>
>     I think we will have to agree to disagree.  My argument all along
>has been
>that we are about XML, not using the guise of ebXML for individuals to
>their pet technology standards projects of the last several years. (and
>I am not
>just talking about TRP, but some of the other efforts within ebXML as
>well).  If
>webMethods can exchange information using XML wrappers, and if BizTalk
>exchange information using XML wrappers (yes I know they use mime to
>binary objects within the XML document instance), then why can't we?
>And oh by
>the way, if MIME is the answer and simple e-mail attachments are the
>solution, explain to me how come people still have serious email and
>interoperability problems? Also, if we are going to use MIME as the only
>solution, which MIME RFC are we going to use?
>     At a more basic level, there is a philosophy issue that I am afraid
>is being
>overlooked.  In the ISO and IETF world, there is a lot of good standards
>that goes on by some very smart people, but in many cases that work is
>just for
>the sake of building standards without regard to who really wants them.
>clients really could care less about ebXML if it is just rehashing IETF
>MIME or
>OO technology, or Open EDI, or Business Message Modeling, or X12 SITG
>and repository, or any of the other hidden agenda's that I see moving
>behind the
>scenes of ebXML.  I can only sell ebXML as a solution if it provides XML
>standards for exchange - and more importantly - content. We are not
>headed in
>that direction, and I am under increasing pressure to just go implement
>CommerceOne or webMethods and stop the XML "standards" push.  Despite
>all the
>ebXML stuff about creating an interoperable technical framework, the
>interest being expressed by my clients is in standardizing the content,
>not the
>wrapper so they know what data elements they need to support in their
>and applications (databases and applications that will not be moving to
>an OO
>environment for years and years).
>     If TRP believes that XML technology does not support all of
>requirements for
>interchange they have addressed, then I believe this is an issue for the
>ebXML plenary not just TRP.  There are a number of alternatives open -
>     1) Provide XML solutions for those requirements that can be
>(reduce requirements)
>     2) Provide dual path XML and MIME solutions
>     3) Provide a MIME solution and publically state that we are not
>XML based solutions, but another MIME standard for exchanging XML
>because the technology is too immature to support B2B data exchanges.
>     .
>     Mark
>Mark Crawford
>Research Fellow
>LMI Logistics Management Institute
>2000 Corporate Ridge, McLean, VA 22102-7805
>(703) 917-7177   Fax (703) 917-7518
>"Opportunity is what you make of it"
>Chris Ferris Wrote -
>Not at all! Again, I think that the issue is getting overblown.
>The MIME wrapper is merely a means of packaging
>XML documents (header information and payload) which
>can be:
>     - parsed separately so that for routing purposes, the
>     entire message need not be parsed
>     - separately signed (there might be a different certificate
>     applied to the header than to the payload)
>     - include non-XML content such as medical images (JPEG, MPEG)
>and more. The MIME use is simply a mechanism which existing
>technology can handle, enabling SME's to jump right in without
>having to expend significant resources. There does not yet exist
>a W3C XML packaging specification to achieve these aims.
>Our intent is to submit these requirements to the W3C so that
>they are considered in any packaging work and ultimately so that
>the ebXML packaging approach can be migrated (in a later
>release) to such technology.
>Mark CRAWFORD wrote:
> > Chris,
> >
> >     Perhaps we should just change our name to ebMime since TRP 
> considers XML
>too immature or hard.
> >
> >     Mark
> > Mark Crawford
> > Research Fellow
>Chris Ferris Wrote -
>While I wasn't able to participate the the f2f meeting in
>Dallas and can't speak to the finalized packaging minutia
>I can address this from the perspective of one of the
>members of the packaging sub-team.
>We discussed this in depth in the packaging sub-team.
>We felt that there was inadequate support in the various
>W3C XML recommendations to support our requirements
>which follow:
>- 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
>- Low processing overhead
>- Support for recursive documents
>- Able to preserve digital signatures
>- Able to unambiguously identify signed data
>To quote Dick's minutes of our sub-team meeting:
>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
>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.
>Another consideration in our work, and something clearly called out
>in the ebXML requirements document are the vision bullets. Specifically:
>     - is fully compliant with W3C XML technical specifications holding a
>         recommended status
>     - maximizes interoperability and efficiency while providing a
>         transition path from accredited electronic data interchange
>         and developing XML business standards
>The first is key. It refers to W3C technical specifications holding
>a *recommended* status. The second is also key. It refers to
>a requirement to enable existing solutions such as RosettaNet and
>EDI/INT, etc. to interoperate (at least that's how I read it).
>This second bullet is called out again in the "General ebXML
>Principles" section in the Requirements document. Someone certainly
>thinks it s important. I for one concur.
>Another consideration which went into our thinking is the availability
>of software to handle the package. HTTP and SMTP clients and
>servers already support MIME and are both inexpensive and
>widely available if not ubiquitous.
>In the Requirements document, under the TR&P sub-section, #2
>     "Leveraging existing technology encompasses both the ability to
>     interoperate with existing technology as well as the ability to
>     migrate to the new technology".
>In fact, that whole section pretty much sums it up for me.
>I believe that there is consensus that ultimately, we will transition
>to an XML-based approach to packaging, but at least for the
>first go, MIME is the only solution which satisfies all of the
>To my knowledge, the ebXML Requirements document doesn't
>say "use XML to the exclusion of any other technology just because".
>MIME seems to meet our requirements and since the content
>of the MIME segments is XML (except in cases where an
>"attachment" is of some other type such as image, etc.) we're
>also meeting the spirit of the ebXML requirements.
>If you have knowledge of a purely XML-based packaging
>solution which meets all of the stated requirements, and which
>the packaging sub team has missed in its considerations, I'm
>sure that we'd be glad to reconsider.
>"Kit (Christopher) Lueder" wrote:
> > I have a concern with the basic ebXML TRP approach. As I indicated last
> > month, as far as I know, the TRP approach is in conflict with the ebXML
> > Requirements specification. If I understand right, the ebXML TRP
> > solution is MIME based only, which is not an XML solution.
> >
> > I quote the last paragraph from Section 1 Introduction of the ebXML
> > Requirements:
> > "A key aspect for the success of the ebXML initiative is adherence to
> > the use of the W3C suite of XML and related Web technical
> > specifications.  Although these specifications may not provide the
> > optimal technical solution, acceptance of ebXML by the business
> > community and technical community is tied to XML.  Alternative
> > technologies and technical specifications may be incorporated as part of
> > the ebXML solution.  However these alternative technologies and
> > specifications will only be provided as an alternative to the provided
> > XML solution unless the W3C XML and related Web technical specifications
> > can not accomplish the same business functionality."
> >
> > Kit.
> >
> > Todd Boyle wrote:
> > >
> > > I would appreciate any information or links regarding the duplicated
> > > or overlapping information in multiple layers of headers and wrappers.
> > > My understanding is that a typical ebXML message might contain
> > >
> > >   HTTP/MIME multipart/related header
> > >     ebXML header
> > >     payload1
> > >       Biztalk, or MSMQ/MQseries etc. header
> > >       Biztalk, or MSMQ/MQseries etc. header
> > >          Rosetta, OAG, CBL2, etc. document
> > >              Rosetta, OAG, CBL2, etc. required document header
> > >                  The XML message content which would usu. include
> > >                  all the parties' identities and reference codes
> > >     payload2
> > >     payload3   etc.
> > >
> > > No doubt I've got this screwed up someplace.  I imagine for the coming
> > > 12-24 months MOM or MQ servers will be required no matter what ebXML
> > > comes up with, and accordingly ebXML header and MOM headers will both
> > > be transported?
> > >
> > > My real question is, how to eliminate all duplication and if that is
> > > impossible, will there be a need for applications which navigate
> > > up and down the layers of headers to ensure they are consistent?
> > >
> > > Todd Boyle
> > >
> > > Christopher Ferris said 4/3
> > > > IMHO, our role should be to provide the content for the semantic
> > > > meaning of the elements we include in the header, etc. as well as
> > > > any information related to semantic equivalence with other existing
> > > > standards such as RosettaNet, EDI/INT, etc.
> > >
> > > [...]
> > > > > 2. namespaces
> > > > >
> > > > > MILR: Namespace can help avoid element name clashes, but IMO it 
> doesn't
> > > > > addresss the equivalence of semantic entities across namespaces.
> > > > > Each option should be explored for possible appication within the 
> ebXML
> > > > > header specification.
> > > > > I firmly believe the issues you raise, relative to the actual 
> business
> > > > > transactions, needs to be addressed by the parties responsible for
> > > > > specifying these standards (e.g. OTA, et al).
> > > > >
> > > > > MILR:  I believe ebXML must adopt some XML syntax rules that 
> adequately
> > > > > address the issue of semantics...
> >
> > --
> >     _/    _/             Kit C. J. Lueder
> >    _/   _/         _/   The MITRE Corp.         Tel:  703-883-5205
> >   _/_/_/    _/  _/_/_/ 1820 Dolley Madison Bl  Cell: 703-577-2463
> >  _/   _/   _/    _/   Mailstop W722           FAX:  703-883-7996
> > _/    _/  _/    _/   McLean, VA 22102        Mail: kit@mitre.org
> > Worse than an unanswered question is an unquestioned answer.

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