Issue No 9:
XML FOR B2B e-COMMERCE
for Business-to-Business (B2B) Trading Communities and Enterprise Application
XML for Business to
FOR BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS e-COMMERCE
PERTH, AUSTRALIA – March 17, 2000:
We discussed the
role of Enterprise Portals (Corporate Portals) as a central gateway to the
enterprise in previous issues of TEN
This issue continues the theme. It discusses Business-to-Business (B2B) Trading
communities such as RosettaNet, Commerce One and Microsoft BizTalk. It discusses
the use of XML for Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) within and across
enterprises. It describes some of the products and services that are available
to support EAI – such as from eXcelon and Visible. And it points you to
further information on these products and services.
TEN - The Enterprise Newsletter
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FOR B2B TRADING COMMUNITIES
B2C and B2B e-Commerce
has been written about Business-to-Consumer (B2C) electronic commerce via the
Internet. One of the best-known examples is Amazon.com. B2C e-Commerce is
growing rapidly. But it pales into insignificance when compared with the rapid
growth of Business-to-Business (B2B) e-Commerce.
Gartner Group in February 2000 projected that the B2B market – which was worth
$US145 Billion in 1999 – will grow to $403B in 2000, $953B (2001), $2.18
Trillion (2002), $3.95T (2003) and $7.3T in 2004. In this same period, B2B
e-Commerce in the Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan) will grow from $US9.2B
in 1999 to $29.9B in 2000, $93.4B (2001), $258.5B (2002), $510.7B (2003) and
$995.8B in 2004.
are witnessing the most significant and rapid transformation of business as the
world moves online. Business-to-Business (B2B) e-Commerce is generating an
earthquake of change. Large established "bricks and mortar"
enterprises of the old economy will fall, unless they also become as nimble as
their new competitors: the “dot.com” businesses of the new economy. And by
forming "clicks and mortar" strategic alliances, these old economy
strengths are also merging with new economy flexibility.
trading communities are rapidly evolving so that old economy businesses can
achieve Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) between the databases, systems
and workflows of themselves and their suppliers, customers and business
partners. Based on the Extensible Markup Language (XML), access is provided
seamlessly by XML to structured data in operational and legacy systems and
databases, as well as to unstructured data in documents, reports, email, images,
graphics, audio and video resources of these many different enterprises.
Corporate Portal (or Enterprise Portal) is a central gateway to the databases,
systems and workflow of an enterprise. When personalized to the job
responsibilities of employees via the Intranet, the Corporate Portal provides a
seamless, single point of access to all of the resources that employees need to
do their jobs. When further personalized securely via the Internet and Extranets
to the interests of suppliers, customers and business partners, the Corporate
Portal becomes the integrating conduit of the many disparate databases, systems
and workflows each enterprise uses to carry out business with others. It also
becomes a single place to manage rapid enterprise change. We will examine B2B
trading communities and EAI in the following sections.
B2B Trading Communities
– a trading community for Computer and Electronics industries – was
established in May 1998, with IBM and Microsoft testing the first XML-based
Partner Interface Processes (PIPs) in April 1999. The initial focus on
electronic ordering, pricing and adding products to catalogs had expanded by Dec
1999 to 10 PIPs. These had been completed for basic supply chain functions to
distribute product information, for purchase order management, for querying
technical information and for transferring shopping carts. RosettaNet now also
includes many organizations, such as CompUSA, Compaq, Ingram Micro, 3Com, Cisco
Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, SAP, Quantum, Federal Express, UPS, Arrow
Electronics, Avnet and Marshall Industries. More information is available from
RosettaNet at http://www.rosettanet.org/.
has positioned itself as a leader in global e-commerce solutions for business.
It established the Global Trading Web, so that buyers and sellers around the
world can trade in a barrier-free environment – creating business
opportunities for all trading partners. It offers a number of trading solutions:
for companies who want to establish a portal on the Global Trading Web; those
who want to host portals for others; and those looking for a comprehensive
e-procurement solution. Its products include the Commerce
One BuySite, an e-procurement application and the Commerce
One MarketSite Solution so that Internet market makers can build open
marketplaces and link them to the Global Trading Web.
organizations, Commerce One offers e-procurement solutions to streamline
procurement operations, while for suppliers
they offer a way to streamline selling and order entry processes – with access
to the buying power of the trading community on the Global Trading Web. For Internet
market makers who want to establish an e-marketplace on the Global
Trading Web they offer solutions to help set up a B2B portal as a service to
customers and partners. More information about Commerce One is available from http://www.commerceone.com/.
Commerce One developed the XML Common Business Language (xCBL) as an XML
document framework and set of building blocks for electronic commerce. xCBL 2.0
is available for download from the Commerce One web site at http://www.commerceone.com/,
from the Microsoft BizTalk web site at http://www.biztalk.org/
and from XML.org at http://www.xml.org/.
has been developed by Microsoft and is supported by many
organizations. These are technology vendors such as SAP and Commerce One, to
technology users like Boeing and BP/Amoco. BizTalk is not a standards body.
Instead, it is a community of standards users, with the goal of driving the
rapid, consistent adoption of XML to enable electronic commerce and application
BizTalk Framework™ is a set of guidelines on how to publish schemas in XML,
and how to use XML messages to easily integrate software programs to build new
Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) solutions. The design emphasis
leverages existing data models, solutions, and application infrastructure –
and adapts it for electronic commerce through the use of XML. Details about
BizTalk are available directly from the BizTalk web site at http://www.biztalk.org/
or the BizTalk web site at Microsoft – http://www.microsoft.com/biztalk/.
Microsoft plans to release its BizTalk Server 2000 product, to support
the BizTalk market, in late 2000.
defines XML tags (called “BizTags”) for document handling and routing
information. They define information similar to that used by a physical envelope
for message delivery. This includes a <header>, with <delivery> tags
defining the <message>, <to> and <from> address details and
relevant processing applications, a <manifest> detailing for the receiving
application information that is transmitted in the message … and then the
document <body>, as shown in the following example.
defines details for the message envelope-->
contains tags for Purchase Order documents-->
… … …
… … …
… … …
Figure 1: A Typical
typical BizTalk message above shows a platform-neutral XML message with delivery
details defined by the BizTalk tags as in an envelope. BizTalk does not dictate
any specific hardware, operating system or language for message transmittal,
receipt or processing. The sending and receiving organizations can make these
decisions independently of each other.
actual documents to be delivered are contained in the <body> of the
message. Clearly, in this example these documents are one or more Purchase
Orders. The XML tags that detail the content of these Purchase Orders are
defined by the sending enterprise (customer.com in this case) and must be
understood by the receiving enterprise (supplier.com). The definition and
interpretation of these XML tags must be agreed by both enterprises. Hence the
establishment of trading communities as discussed above, typically organized by
example, in February General Motors, Ford and Daimler-Chrysler, strong
competitors in the USA, joined forces to create one of the world’s largest
trading communities, to buy $US240 billion per year from tens of thousands of
suppliers. In this case, the relevant document XML tags will be defined by these
large customers, and must be understood by their many suppliers if they are to
do business with them in the future. But in most cases, customers and suppliers
that trade with each other in many industries must all agree on their own common
we saw in earlier issues of TEN, XML tags are based on agreed definitions of
metadata. This metadata is defined from integrated data models, using
established data modeling methods such as Information Engineering (IE) and
Enterprise Engineering (EE). Once identified, this metadata is captured and
managed in metadata repositories by modeling tools. This integrated metadata is
used to generate Data Definition Language (DDL) scripts automatically for
we are now seeing the emergence of a new class of modeling tools that also use
this same metadata to generate XML data files, Document Type Definition (DTD)
files and Document Content Description (DCD) files required by XML for use by
BizTalk and trading communities. We are also seeing the emergence of new XML
database products and B2B Integration servers. Two examples of modeling tools
that automatically generate XML are Visible Advantage and Visible Analyst.
Examples of an XML database and B2B Integration Server are available from
eXcelon. These are discussed in the next section on Enterprise Application
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FOR B2B ENTERPRISE APPLICATION INTEGRATION
products have recently been released to support the development of XML
applications and XML databases for use in B2B Enterprise Application Integration
(EAI). Three of these products are described below:
Advantage and Visible
Corporation): These two modeling tools support Forward Engineering, Reverse
Engineering and Business Reengineering. Visible Advantage is an
enterprise-wide modeling tool that provides full support for strategic planning,
activity modeling, activity-based costing, data modeling, process modeling,
object modeling, database design and generation. It supports large
enterprise-wide projects to develop integrated data models for enterprise
application integration. Visible Analyst is a workgroup based
modeling tool that provides full support for structured methods, objected
oriented methods and UML. These modeling tools are described at
and also at http://www.visible.com.au/.
Download free evaluation copies from these web sites.
models developed with the latest versions of Visible Advantage and Visible
Analyst can be automatically generated as DDL scripts for most RDBMS products.
They can also be automatically generated as XML data files and Document Content
Description (DCDs) files for use with eXcelon (see below). Metadata defined using these modeling tools can be used for BizTalk messaging
applications, as discussed above.
Corporation, previously Object Design, Inc): One of the first XML database
products was released by eXcelon in 1999. They announced the eXcelon B2B
Integration Server in February 2000. These products provide a full - function
XML application development environment, with high - performance and a highly
scalable XML database and XML data server support. It includes the eXcelon
Explorer and eXcelon Studio, which support high productivity drag-and-drop
development of XML databases and applications. eXcelon Stylus uses XSL to
transform XML documents and databases to HTML, for access via browsers. During
operation, eXcelon supports very high performance web applications with XML
cache databases. This is achieved using eXcelon Manager, with automatic load
balancing across multiple XML data servers running on Windows NT/2000.
technology has been harnessed in the eXcelon B2B Integration Server for the
Enterprise Application Integration market. As discussed above, Visible Advantage
and Visible Analyst automatically generate the XML data files and DCD files that
are required by eXcelon for XML database installation and application
development. Further information about the complete range of eXcelon products is
available from http://www.exceloncorp.com/.
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