Welcome!

Industrial IoT Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Stackify Blog, SmartBear Blog, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Industrial IoT

Industrial IoT: Article

Comparing ebXML And UDDI

Comparing ebXML And UDDI

Two standards are emerging that could very well impact the way we conduct e-business in the future. These are ebXML (electronic business XML) and UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration), the former a UN/CEFACT (United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business)/OASIS- sponsored initiative whose charter it is to create a single global electronic market. UDDI, however, is a vendor-sponsored initiative led by IBM, Microsoft, and Ariba.

Let's explore each of these efforts individually and then examine their overlaps and gaps.

ebXML Overview
UN/CEFACT is the same group responsible for EDIFACT, one of the electronic commerce standards more heavily used throughout the European and Pacific continents (the U.S. primarily uses its own version, called X12). Hence, it's my belief that if this work can meet some modicum of maturity and gain a modest following, it's clearly in line for promotion to the throne of e-commerce. That said, this effort is clearly understaffed and the work completed to date seems to illustrate a rudimentary understanding of e-commerce without having actually been part of a real solution.

When complete, Version 1.0 of the specification will consist of six key areas:

  • Technical Architecture
  • Repository and Registration
  • Transport, Routing, and Packaging
  • Business Processes
  • Core Components
  • Global ebXML Definition Dictionary
Of these, the most complete is the Transport, Routing, and Packaging (TRP) specification, which defines the facilities for secure and reliable delivery of messages throughout an ebXML network. This includes, but is not limited to, audit trail verification, methods of adoption for new security protocols, exception handling, and interfaces for interacting with communications facilities.

The second most complete body of work is the Repository and Registration (R&R). This specification will provide a framework for the automated registration, storage, and retrieval of business object descriptions. These descriptions deal primarily with the interactions between application services, such as query, messaging, and transformation applications, and the overall core architecture.

Additionally, the Repository and Registry will leverage the work completed on the eCo Framework under the leadership of CommerceNet. It details how businesses can interact dynamically through the exploration and discovery of publicly documented services. The eCo Framework discusses the need for multiple types of registries, such as Market, Business, Service, Interaction, Document, and Information types.

Currently, the specification available from the R&R Working Group discusses a framework for a generic repository. Although descriptions of business objects are critical to enabling e-business components to communicate, the generality of this framework will come at considerable cost for development and find little support from off-the-shelf tools, a critical component in the adoption of any new technology. Focusing on the eCo Framework types is an excellent way to constrain this work and provide more utility faster.

The ebXML Proof of Concept (POC) Working Group focuses on demonstrating how available technology can be used to implement each of the technical specifications. So far, the only demonstrable technology has come from groups having reliable and secure messaging products illustrating their support of the TRP specification.

However, relative to conducting e-business, the three most critical components are far behind in development: Core Components, Business Processes, and Trading Partner Agreements.

The Core Components Working Group will provide the specifications for business object elements and the methodology for creating new business objects. With regard to the focus of enabling e-business, these are the lifeblood of the system. Without definition of the Core Components, this group will have provided yet another framework for the transport and delivery of empty containers.

The effort undertaken by RosettaNet illustrates how important it is to provide both the specification of the messages themselves and the processes for exchange of documents over a network. The Business Processes Working Group will provide detailed workflows that need to be implemented to exchange documents in an ebXML network. In ebXML, data and processes are viewed as two sides of the same coin, that is, both are needed to enable global trading.

Most recently, IBM turned over to the ebXML initiative its work on Trading Partner Agreements Markup Language (TpaML). TpaML specifies a grammar that captures the metadata of a trade relationship between two trading partners. Examples of this metadata include business contact information, transport facilities, message formats, security protocols, and message vocabularies. Since some of this information already resides in the metadata captured as part of the eCo Framework, adoption of any part of TpaML will require further analysis and assimilation.

In an interesting aside, the ebXML effort relies heavily on a centralized repository model to enable discovery, integration, and automation of its global e-business market. However, experience has shown that attempts to use centralized repositories that support multiple metamodels in real time often won't produce the responsiveness needed by a real-time, transaction-oriented environment. I believe this will cause considerable redesign midstream as implementation efforts by the POC bring this to the forefront.

UDDI Overview
The September 6, 2000, press announcement of support for the UDDI.org group caused quite a stir among those participating in the formation of ebXML. Of most concern was how the formation of UDDI will impact ebXML.

UDDI is designed to implement a naming and directory service for Web-based business services. By design, companies can provide, as part of their Web sites, a descriptive document that details what services they offer, the transport method to communicate with those services, and the input and output parameters required for exchange. UDDI, however, doesn't provide details or designs for building a facility for initiating a service, an important factor in deciphering its place in the e-business market.

UDDI is based on SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), which essentially defines how to create an XML document that will invoke a process on a remote machine and return a particular type of response. SOAP is transport method-agnostic, which means that a SOAP message can be delivered over a number of transport protocols, but is used primarily in tandem with HTTP.

Cause for Concern?
Thirty-six companies, most of considerable size and wealth, have come out in favor of the UDDI specification. In addition, many of them are participating in ebXML, the strongest support for both coming from IBM. What does this mean for areas of ebXML and UDDI that overlap?

First, ebXML is based on SOAP, which is already in opposition to the direction of ebXML's TRP specification. Indeed, those heading up this particular specification find SOAP sorely lacking as a messaging protocol for e-business, and it doesn't look as though they'll accept it anytime in the near future. Therefore, for a minimum of interoperability to occur, it appears that UDDI will have to make the first accommodating move. However, if the business community as a whole accepts SOAP, it may not matter that it isn't the best protocol, and ignoring SOAP could prove to be a liability for ebXML.

Second, UDDI competes with many tenets of the eCo Framework. As I mentioned earlier, the eCo Framework underlies much of the work of the ebXML R&R specification. However, the work completed to date by the R&R working group could easily support either UDDI or the eCo Framework. Interoperability between these two efforts will require some effort to be made on the part of the R&R group.

In many ways UDDI is architecturally superior to ebXML. First, the UDDI repository is a peer-based architecture, which is finally catching on, thanks in part to people's hunger for free MP3 music on the Web (all great technologies need a killer app). Second, the cost of building a global services repository using UDDI is shared by all who would participate, not just one organization spending millions to build a similar centralized version.

UDDI isn't attempting to own the world of e-business, but simply trying to put a consistent face on all Web-based services for query and introspection. By creating this interface, and through the appearance of off-the-shelf software to support it, the industry gains a worldwide repository of Web-based services by default. On the other hand, EDI (electronic data interchange) has proved the need for a global e-business standard, such as ebXML. However, creating a standard of this size and magnitude takes time and patience, which the industry either can't afford or chooses not to provide at this time.

Therefore, to analogize this as a horse race, UDDI is clearly ahead at this time, but ebXML is favored to win. The only thing that could hinder it is ignoring the fact that UDDI is rising in popularity and not overtaking it through adoption. The last thing the world needs right now is another bout with splintered standards.

More Stories By JP Morgenthal

JP Morgenthal is a veteran IT solutions executive and Distinguished Engineer with CSC. He has been delivering IT services to business leaders for the past 30 years and is a recognized thought-leader in applying emerging technology for business growth and innovation. JP's strengths center around transformation and modernization leveraging next generation platforms and technologies. He has held technical executive roles in multiple businesses including: CTO, Chief Architect and Founder/CEO. Areas of expertise for JP include strategy, architecture, application development, infrastructure and operations, cloud computing, DevOps, and integration. JP is a published author with four trade publications with his most recent being “Cloud Computing: Assessing the Risks”. JP holds both a Masters and Bachelors of Science in Computer Science from Hofstra University.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and sh...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time t...
What are the new priorities for the connected business? First: businesses need to think differently about the types of connections they will need to make – these span well beyond the traditional app to app into more modern forms of integration including SaaS integrations, mobile integrations, APIs, device integration and Big Data integration. It’s important these are unified together vs. doing them all piecemeal. Second, these types of connections need to be simple to design, adapt and configure...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and Bi...
Contextual Analytics of various threat data provides a deeper understanding of a given threat and enables identification of unknown threat vectors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David Dufour, Head of Security Architecture, IoT, Webroot, Inc., discussed how through the use of Big Data analytics and deep data correlation across different threat types, it is possible to gain a better understanding of where, how and to what level of danger a malicious actor poses to an organization, and to determin...
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use of real time applications accelerate, legacy networks are no longer able to architecturally support cloud adoption and deliver the performance and security required by highly distributed enterprises. These outdated solutions have become more costly and complicated to implement, install, manage, and maintain.SD-WAN offers unlimited capabilities for accessing the benefits of the cloud and Internet. ...
The deluge of IoT sensor data collected from connected devices and the powerful AI required to make that data actionable are giving rise to a hybrid ecosystem in which cloud, on-prem and edge processes become interweaved. Attendees will learn how emerging composable infrastructure solutions deliver the adaptive architecture needed to manage this new data reality. Machine learning algorithms can better anticipate data storms and automate resources to support surges, including fully scalable GPU-c...
The Founder of NostaLab and a member of the Google Health Advisory Board, John is a unique combination of strategic thinker, marketer and entrepreneur. His career was built on the "science of advertising" combining strategy, creativity and marketing for industry-leading results. Combined with his ability to communicate complicated scientific concepts in a way that consumers and scientists alike can appreciate, John is a sought-after speaker for conferences on the forefront of healthcare science,...
Machine learning has taken residence at our cities' cores and now we can finally have "smart cities." Cities are a collection of buildings made to provide the structure and safety necessary for people to function, create and survive. Buildings are a pool of ever-changing performance data from large automated systems such as heating and cooling to the people that live and work within them. Through machine learning, buildings can optimize performance, reduce costs, and improve occupant comfort by ...