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Subject: RE: Should ebXML standards be based on XML?


The bottom line on this is that **current** XML standards do not **yet**
meet **all** our requirements. Please note the emphasis. Specifically, it
does not support encryption, which is a real business requirement. Below I
present the choices we have and then an analysis of each one ... which leads
to a conclusion. 

If you disgree with any of this reasoning please state clearly the reasons

I am also copying this to the Requirements group so that they can also
understand the choices we are *having* to make.



We have a few choices for going forward:
1. Wait until the W3C develops the standards that we need. On encryption
this could be 12? 18? months away.
2. Develop an ebXML but leave gaps where the w3C cannot (yet) provide
3. Develop our own "XML" equivalent to cover the gaps, e.g. for encryption.
4. Adopt an existing accepted standard method of encryption as our one and
only ever solution. The only one I know of is S/MIME.
5. Adopt a hybrid approach. Specifically, we do an "XML only solution" when
encryption is not needed and some other (S/MIME?) when it is.
6. Adopt a non-XML solution in the short term, then when the W3C or other
standards groups have developed technology that meets our needs move towards

KIT. Do you agree that this is a comprehensive list of alternatives - please
suggest others if you think not ?

Option 1 - Wait for the W3C
If we wait for the W3C to develop standards before we can completely specify
ebXML transport, then we should stop NOW, contribute to these other efforts
to speed them and then reform later when the missing standards are becoming
more stable. This means that no implementations of ebXML Transport could
start until say at least 12 months away. This is unacceptable in my view -
frankly if ebXML is not going to deliver anything useful for 18 months, then
my company has much better use to make of time.

Option 2 - Leave gaps until the W3C develops a solution
Some of the gaps (e.g. encyrption) are reall business requirements (e.g. for
C1). This means we would have to devise our own separate solution to meet
the need. However this would non-interoperable with other solutions and
would require implementers to devise two solutions.

Option 3 - Develop our own XML technology to cover the gaps
I would seriously question that the ebXML group has the appropriate skills
to develop, for example, an XML based encryption approach. If we did try, we
will probably get it wrong and anyway it would compete with the W3C
approach. This is also unacceptable as we should only do things we have the
skill to do and we shouldn't compete with the W3C.

Option 4 - Adopt an existing standard method as our one and only solution.
This will allow us to continue working now on ebXML and will have the
"benefit" that we will never change it ... except that existing standards
change anyway over time. So even if, for example we only ever wanted to use
MIME, we would have to change at some point in the future as MIME evolves. I
think we can't ever commit to a single "standard".

Option 5 - Adopt a hybrid aproach.
This is unacceptable, at least in the short term, since it means that
implementers would *have* to develop two alternative solutions at the same
time when there is no need. It would also overly complicate the solution and
delay its adoption.

Option 6 - Adopt a non-XML solution in the short term.
This is like Option 3 in that we can continue to move forward immediately.
However it recognizes that existing standards evolve and new standards are
developed. Therefore, when "good" new standards are developed that meet our
requirements, e.g. for encryption. Then they can be adopted.

It is my honest opinion that the W3C and the XML community in general will,
over the next 12-18 months, develop XML based solutions that will meet all
our requirements. I also anticipate that we will more than likely adopt them
in a new version of the ebXML transport. But until then, we MUST NOT make
the completion of our work dependent on the development of standards that
not only do not yet exist - no work has even started on them. I think
therefore that option 6 is the only viable approach we can take.

If you disagree with my analysis, please state clearly the reasons why and
what alternative "choice" you think meets our needs better.



-----Original Message-----
From: Kit (Christopher) Lueder [mailto:kit@mitre.org]
Sent: Friday, April 14, 2000 5:39 AM
To: ebxml
Cc: ebxml-requirements
Subject: Should ebXML standards be based on XML?

There is an active debate currently going on at the ebXML
Transport/Routing/Packaging list about whether the ebXML standards
should be based on XML. The current direction of that group is to use
MIME for the outer envelope, not XML. They are proceeding with a
specification that will be brought forward for vote, but that seems like
a pretty late time to ask for a change in direction, if you disagree
with their approach. If you have any concerns, this may be an opportune
time to express them.
Kit Lueder.

    _/    _/             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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