Developing open business information exchange documents

February 21, 2017

G. Ken Holman

OASIS is a good place to create open business information exchange standards. This article gives you some pointers on how to go about doing that.


Open information interchange is growing in importance in many economic sectors and industries. The OASIS technical committee process was created to nurture the development of open standardized work products using accredited rules and strictures. Communities of users in any economic sector can mimic and engage the techniques and processes published by OASIS to produce useful exchange document specifications.

To illustrate an example of such as this, the OASIS Universal Business Language (UBL) is a business-oriented interchange vocabulary was developed independently of any vendor’s software or user platform’s constraints. UBL is used successfully to bridge supply chain and transportation applications with chosen information items to convey commonly-accepted business concepts in these economic sectors. Reaching beyond any one expression syntax, the UBL information model, developed by participants with domain expertise but not syntax expertise, can be realized in multiple syntaxes, such as XML and JSON.

This essay is written for development teams embarking on creating practical interchange vocabularies for user communities in any industry or economic sector. The reader is invited to project their own requirements and objectives onto the OASIS tools, deliverables and processes of all of the facets of development that successfully resulted in the UBL OASIS Standard, ratified globally as ISO/IEC 19845.

Executive summary

In April 2016 Crane Softwrights Ltd. was asked by an organization to propose a response to the request to produce an open XML document interchange standard for interested parties in its economic sector to see and use. The sector includes governmental and non-governmental organizations. The client’s pre-conceived constraints did not have room for the approach I proposed and so I submitted a “no bid” and I didn’t get the gig. But I put effort into my RFP response and I’m sharing it here, anonymizing the sector details, for the possible benefit of others who might be interested in running the same kind of project.

I don’t think an open industry-wide business vocabulary is a task one organization (even if it is the dominant one in an economic sector) can give to a consultant to produce, in isolation and with only a collection of legacy paper documents, a successful result. But I do think what I proposed for open development is not only viable but compares well against other approaches to the statement of work of producing an open interchange vocabulary standard.

The ISO/IEC Open-edi Reference Model depicts a perspective of looking at interchange vocabularies as a part of doing business in any industry or economic sector. Framed by the Open-edi perspective, OASIS (the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) has published a vocabulary standard of Naming and Design Rules for realizing such a work product using non-technical collaborative tools in addition to some technical development tools.

Moreover, OASIS has a defined committee process prescribing governance, transparency and availability within which the development of such an open and standardized work product can be successfully accomplished. As an illustrative example of leveraging the OASIS committee process, the OASIS Universal Business Language (UBL) interchange vocabulary was created primarily by domain experts using that vocabulary standard and the available free tools. The OASIS approach used by the technical committee can be examined as an example by any industry or economic sector to produce their own open standards for interested parties to see and use.

By the way, the client never did loosen their pre-conceived notions of how to run their project and I never heard from them if they found a consultant to give them what they asked for the way they asked for it, nor if so, whether or not they were successful in their economic sector with it.

1. An environment of business scenarios and roles

In any economic sector or industry, a business environment connects business entities within a common community of mutual interest. That community exists to benefit all of the participants, otherwise they probably wouldn’t be participants of the environment in the first place. Each business partner fulfills one or more roles in the community to satisfy the needs of other business partners. Examples of different business environments are manufacturing, financial services, real estate/property management, insurance and transportation logistics.

Environments overlap and participants develop business practices over the years to shape the scenarios involving entities and the interactions between the entities playing roles to fulfill those scenarios. These business practices incorporate both the external choreography of interactions between entities and the internal (often private and/or proprietary) processes an entity performs to satisfy their obligations. The external practices form both that choreography of transactions between parties and the business information exchanged in these transactions that bridge the information systems of each party such that entity each can perform their role in the dance. Examples of transactions are manufacturing work orders, property booking reservations and transportation status checks.

Consider as just an example the commonly-understood basic supply chain Buy-Ship-Pay environment connecting commercial, logistical and regulatory processes for trading partners. Such are in place when buying goods from a local company for pickup, or selling goods to someone on the other side of the world involving international intermodal transportation.

An example choreography of basic Buy-Ship-Pay processes between a buyer party and a seller party is illustrated with a number of possible steps in the swim-lane diagram in Figure 1, “Buy-Ship-Pay detailed choreography”. The business information bundles supporting the transactions are labeled in the boxes, conveying a message from one party to the other.

Figure 1. Buy-Ship-Pay detailed choreography

image/svg+xml BUYER SELLER Ask for a catalogue Receive catalogue request CatalogueRequestDocument Determine purchase CatalogueDocument Prepare catalogue Send the order Ship the goods PurchaseOrderDocument Await receipt of goods DespatchAdviceDocument Notify buyer of shipment Notify seller of arrival Determine amount payable ReceiptAdviceDocument Pay for purchase InvoiceDocument Demand payment DETAILED PURCHASE AND PAYMENT

But not every relationship need involve all of the possible transactions available in an environment. Different scenarios may require different subsets of the transactions, also called profiles of the choreography. For example, the demand for payment with an invoice might be the only transaction needed between two parties that have already agreed on everything else in the process, and so would be a simple profile of procurement. Such an invoice-only profile would need to contain less information in the invoice than such for a comprehensive profile of procurement that might demand all of the illustrated steps be formally instantiated.

Figure 2. Buy-Ship-Pay simple choreography

image/svg+xml BUYER SELLER Pay for purchase InvoiceDocument Demand payment INVOICE ONLY

Not shown in the detailed diagram is the possible choreography of transactions in intermodal transportation that might be behind the “ship the goods” action, involving parties such as freight forwarders or customs authorities. UN/CEFACT, the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and E-Business, outlines a number of possible roles engaging in the Buy-ship-Pay process in addition to the swim-lane use of just “Buyer” and “Seller” in Figure 3, “Buy-Ship-Pay roles”.

Figure 3. Buy-Ship-Pay roles

image/svg+xml Customer BuyerImporterConsigneeShip toPayor Supplier SellerExporterConsignorShip fromPayee Intermediary Transport Service SupplierFreight ForwarderBankInsurance ProviderCustoms AgentBrokerCommission Agent Authority CustomsEnvironmentAgricultureStandardsConsularHealthPortIntervention Board (EU)Chamber of Commerce

And so other scenarios might demand not only the complete choreography of Buy-Ship-Pay but an additional choreography to engage and track the movement of goods. And behind the scenes within that the participants in the transportation process will have their own choreographies oblivious to the buyer and the seller.

Perhaps the seller cannot be established until a profile of choreography of tendering and award has successfully completed. This dance happens before the Buy-Ship-Pay choreography begins between the buyer and the successful seller.

Within any economic sector environment, profiles of choreography will be well-recognized by participants, and their existing information systems would support their participation in such profiles. It is the responsibility of the community of users to establish the commonly-accepted profiles of choreography and the profiles of the documents supporting those interactions within the sector.

2. Conveying business information

Regardless of the sector environment, business information is conveyed from a sending role to a receiving role as a transaction within a profile of choreography. The sender has its own business practices developed over time to meet its obligations. The receiver could have very different business practices because its obligations and its history differ from the sender. All that needs to be in common is the understanding of the transactions in a given profile and the different subsets of information used for each transaction.

The business practices shape the data model that maintains the information that supports those practices with applications run by the parties. Accordingly, there is no guarantee (or even likelihood) that the data models of the two parties match, though probably the components of each that represent common concepts would be the same. In paper-based transactions, the sender presents these information components in a page layout, likely with labels or geometries that relate the components to each other. Figure 4, “Business information paper exchange” depicts the recipient application ingesting the business document through scanning or manual entry, relying on the labels and geometries to be properly interpreted for the information to placed correctly in the receiver’s data model to support the receiver’s business practices.

Figure 4. Business information paper exchange

image/svg+xml Sender Receiver Sender's BusinessPractices Receiver's BusinessPractices Sender's Application Receiver's Application Sender's Data Model Receiver's Data Model BusinessDocument Print ScanEntry KeyboardEntry Profile ofChoreography

The integrity of such a paper-based transaction relies on the integrity of the printing and the interpretation of the identity of the printed content. Faults in either will impact on the success of the business practices and, in turn, the entire choreography. Fixing the faults, given they can be identified, can be costly to all parties.

A digital exchange removes the challenge of printing and interpreting the printed content. It does not remove the challenge of starting off with correct information. But if the information is correct, then using digital technologies can drastically reduce the opportunities for identification errors. The sender and receiver need to agree on a syntax representing the information. Figure 5, “Business information digital exchange components” depicts how the sender marshals their information out of their application into the syntax that is transported to the receiver who unmarshals the information from the syntax into their different application.

Figure 5. Business information digital exchange components

image/svg+xml Syntax Sender Sender's Hardware/SoftwarePlatform Receiver Receiver's Hardware/SoftwarePlatform Sender's BusinessPractices Receiver's BusinessPractices Sender's Application Receiver's Application Sender's Data Model Receiver's Data Model Profile ofChoreography BusinessInformationExchangeUser Data Transport Syntax

All of the aspects described so far slot into the ISO/IEC Open-edi Reference Model [Open-edi] outlined in the left two columns of Figure 6, “Open-edi Reference Model perspective of interchange”. While the abbreviation for “electronic data interchange” historically is often associated with financial information, it has always been agnostic of the nature of the information being exchanged. From the introduction of ISO/IEC 14662 one reads:

The field of application of Open-edi is the electronic processing of business transactions among autonomous multiple organizations, authorities or individuals within and across sectors (e.g. public/private, industrial, geographic). It includes business transactions which involve multiple data types such as numbers, characters, images and sound.

The Open-edi Reference model is independent of specific:

  • information technology implementations;

  • business content or conventions;

  • business activities;

  • parties participation in business activities.

Open-edi describes two “views” of electronic business (the rows in the diagram): the business operational view and the functional services view. The business operational view (BOV) describes the abstract properties of the environment, the scenarios, the roles in the scenarios and the bundles of information conveyed between roles. The functional services view (FSV) describes the concrete machine-processable properties of user data representation of information bundles, the choreographies engaged by the roles in the scenarios of the environment and the transport of the content between the parties.

Figure 6. Open-edi Reference Model perspective of interchange

image/svg+xml Perspective ofbusinesstransactions limitedto those aspectsregarding the making of businessdecisions and commitmentsamong Persons,which are neededfor the descriptionof a businesstransaction Perspective of business transactions limited to those information technology interoperability aspects of Information Technology Systems needed to support the execution of transactions amongOpen-edi Community parties. ISO/IEC 14662Open-ediReferenceModel UserCommunityOpen-ediConfiguration BusinessInformationExchangeSpecification Business objectsand definitionse.g. CCTSe.g. UML Syntax Bindings/Validation Artefactse.g. XML andW3C Schema XSDe.g. JSON andjson-schema.orge.g. ASN.1 encodingand ASN.1 schema Scenarios Roles InformationBundles UserData Choreographies Transport Environment Implemented BOV Implemented FSV Community Customization Open-edi Implementation BOV - Business Operational View FSV - Functional Services View Naming andDesign Rules

Also shown in the diagram, in the rightmost column, is the bridging of the business specification of the information objects and definitions to the machine-processable specification of the binding of the information objects to actual syntax representations suitable for applications to produce and ingest. The two examples of syntax-independent information bundle description technologies cited are the UN/CEFACT Core Component Technical Specification (CCTS) and the Unified Modeling Language (UML). The three examples of syntax technologies cited are the text-oriented XML and JSON, and the binary-oriented ASN.1. The technology that bridges the two is the set of naming and design rules governing creating from the business view of information bundles (the models) the functional view of user data (the syntax).

3. Models and syntax

It is typical for developers to tailor schemas of syntax to their application’s use of the concepts. But as described earlier, the applications deployed by a sender are likely different than the applications deployed by the receiver. An independent representation of the information in a syntax, not favouring any one application over the other, is needed for all applications to support.

Vendor-, platform- and product-independent purpose-built vocabularies exist for prose and poetry (TEI [TEI]), office documents (OASIS ODF [ODFTC]), and technical documentation (OASIS DITA [DITATC] and OASIS DocBook [DocBookTC]). These particular vocabularies would not be appropriate for structured business information in sectors such as manufacturing, financial services, real estate/property management, insurance and transportation logistics.

Producing for an economic sector an open business vocabulary to be published, made available, and maintained for interested parties to see and use cannot be left to a single developer. Creating syntax specifications is a specialized technical task, and technical experts or teams are often tasked with doing just that for an application’s data. Rather, what is needed is the development of the information bundles of the semantic components from which the syntax specifications can be derived.

But it is untenable to expect a technically-oriented third party, presumably without a formal background in the economic sector milieu specifically, to fully comprehend and understand the nuanced semantics behind the information bundles required for that sector’s applications. This information might have historically been presented in multiple physical documents of forms and transmissions, thus requiring recognizing duplicates, determining structure, establishing granularity, specifying cardinality and appropriately labeling all of the perhaps thousands of semantic information components. And because of looking for semantic similarities across different documents, analyzing multiple documents would be very difficult work to do entirely in parallel. Stakeholders in the economic sector are the ones who should be identifying and specifying the information bundles required by the applications deployed by the roles in the choreographies.

UN/CEFACT created the syntax-independent Core Component Technical Specification [CCTS] Version 2.01 as a modeling technique for business documents. It comes complete with a specification of a base library of core component data types typical in business documents, such as currency amounts, quantities with units of measure, date and time values and others, including metadata facets for most of the types. It describes a rigorous structuring of containment resulting in tree-like branches and leaves of content, each leaf being structured itself at the lexical and metadata levels by its core component data type. While UML can describe any structure, it does not include a library of agreed-upon content data types nor does it constrain the containment with CCTS-like rules.

Producing the actual tree-like syntax specification is the smallest of the tasks in the project and is rote in nature. For large-sized vocabularies this shouldn’t be a manual task, but should be automated from the semantic descriptions. Thus, the semantic descriptions in CCTS should be in a machine-processable format on which to base the automation.

The OASIS Business Document Naming and Design Rules [BDNDR-v1.1] formally describes the application of CCTS 2.01 in a constrained fashion to ensure the automated generation of validation artefacts in either or both XML [XML 1.0] with XSD [W3C Schema] and JSON [ISO 21778 - ECMA JSON] with JSON Schema [JSON Schema]. Crane Softwrights Ltd. has made the validation artefact generation tools freely available for anyone to use [Crane Resources]. These are the tools used by the committee to create the distribution artefacts, and by the community to create subset specifications.

The formal definition of CCTS 2.01 can be found at http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/cefact/codesfortrade/CCTS/CCTS_V2-01_Final.pdf with minor corrections (not impacting the OASIS BDNDR) at http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/cefact/codesfortrade/CCTS/CCTS_V201_Corr_1_12FEB07Approved.pdf. The following should be noted regarding CCTS:

  • For a short period of time a CCTS Version 3.0 was in development, but it never gained traction and continued development of it has been abandoned. The modeling and core types found in CCTS Version 2.01 are proven to be sufficient to the task.

  • There is an ISO/IEC 15000-5:2014 IS specification of CCTS derived from CCTS Version 2.01, but it was released after the release of the first NDR from OASIS and so is not considered relevant to the OASIS work already established using CCTS Version 2.01 as its base.

  • UN/CEFACT have, themselves, created a suite of naming and design rules for creating XML validation artefacts from CCTS Version 2.01 models, but the resulting schema work products cannot be deployed with the same flexibility for real-world business requirements as those created with the OASIS BDNDR rules.

Illustrated in this essay, the OASIS Universal Business Language (UBL) [UBL-2.1], internationally standardized as ISO/IEC 19845:2015, implements the Buy-Ship-Pay example of a business interchange vocabulary developed using the principles described. How the UBL committee employs the BDNDR is described in the UBL Naming and Design Rules Version 3.0 [UBL-NDR]. The UBL distribution includes both the CCTS models and the XML/XSD syntax validation artefacts as the two normative components for 65 document types in UBL 2.1. There are separate non-normative publications of the model in UML (derived from the XSD with CCTS data types) [UBL-2.1-UML] and syntaxes in ASN.1 [UBL-2.1-ASN.1] and JSON [UBL-2.1-JSON].

And so, in essence, when hiring assistance for a project to develop an exchange vocabulary, one shouldn’t be looking to engage, for example, primarily XSD or JSON expertise. What is needed is modeling facilitation assistance to empower and mentor a team of stakeholders to develop the information bundles of the document models themselves in CCTS. The need for XSD or JSON expertise is secondary, rote and preferably supported by the generation tools. The need is not absent, it is just not primary. And the primary task can be supported with a well-defined committee process, such as is published by OASIS.

4. Leveraging the OASIS TC process

Important in any development of such an open specification, in order to gain the trust of potential users, are three critical aspects: governance, transparency and availability. The rules of engagement and obligations by contributors are formalized by the governance of the project. The openness of the development process to public scrutiny is needed for transparency. The openness of the work product is characterized by its unfettered availability (recognizing that even “mandatory registering for a free copy” is a barrier to availability).

If you asked me (as my client did), I would propose that to accomplish these project goals you become an organizational member of OASIS [OASIS], the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards. Following the recognized TC process at http://www.oasis-open.org/policies-guidelines/tc-process (accredited by ANSI in the US and ISO internationally as suitable for creating national and international standards) would create an OASIS Sector Information Exchange Technical Committee for the economic sector with a charter for the creation of transfer schemas for the sector community. I would also propose that you engage an OASIS member resource, such as I offered myself to my client, familiar with both CCTS technical issues and OASIS committee work as a founding technical co-chairman (being responsible for the syntax, (the minor role), the CCTS principles and committee functioning). You, as an organizational member, would provide a domain co-chairman (being responsible for the model and the membership). These would be two of the required five member companies needed to form a committee. You would then engage the interests of stakeholders to find at least another three charter members, hopefully more. If you had a particular geographic focus for the economic sector, you might get some interest internationally in participating if other geographical areas had similar interests, thus making it a globally-interesting specification.

Many years ago I participated in the creation of the OASIS TC process and governance. The objective was general enough that “if Japanese subway operators wanted to get together to create an XML vocabulary for interchanging scheduling information, the process should be straightforward and flexible enough that they would find a home at OASIS to do so”. (I don’t think any Japanese subway operators actually did so, but it exemplified the kind of framework OASIS was striving for.) The process has matured and become very successful, and OASIS offers assistance to technical committees to help promote membership in the TCs. And the legal folks at OASIS have covered off in the detailed process all of the very important issues of copyright and intellectual property rights involved in group developments of open-use standards.

Having worked out such IPR issues, the TC process and procedures protect the work product from being blind-sided by IPR claims (provided that the TC members respect their membership obligation and members of the public only use the Public Comment list to submit, which has obligations built in to subscribing to the list). The OASIS process dictates that all meeting agendas, minutes, TC mail list and documents be transparently open to the public at all times. OASIS puts no encumbrances on the work products, not even “register to use”, and puts all work products in the publicly-accessible file repository. Ownership of the resulting specification rests with OASIS, but the specification is fully open.

The OASIS TC process for public review and creating a committee specification is extensive and rigourous. The TC administration support of wikis, JIRA ticket management (very important for building and maintaining the specification), a document repository and a file repository are all available to use by a TC at no charge. No software to install or maintain ... public visibility (mandated) for all of the projects actions: meeting agendas and minutes, discussions, document drafts and final versions, committee specifications and distribution artefacts.

The new technical committee can be arranged with subcommittees responsible for certain domains, and the subcommittees make recommendations to the technical committees to include in deliverables.

Given that OASIS is an accredited ISO/IEC JTC 1 Publicly-Available Specification (PAS) submitter, the option is there to make a work product an ISO standard. For example, UBL 2.1 is now ISO/IEC 19845:2015, a recognized ISO Standard. ODF is another example of an OASIS Standard that has become an ISO standard, initially ISO/IEC 26300:2006 and now split into many parts.

The work of the UBL committee has progressed for a long time to become an effective and comprehensive document exchange specification for the Buy-Ship-Pay environment. UBL 2.0 had 32 document types and 1,972 information elements, and it took many months (a few years) to develop it by a group of volunteers not working full time. UBL 2.1 went much more smoothly with a honing of the tools employed to produce the results of 65 document types and 4,112 information items. UBL 2.2 is anticipated to be developed even more quickly because the tools are now mature and turnkey, even though we are adding another 16 document types and 500 information items. And with the recent interest from the user community for UBL subsets, the generation tools can now create and document tailored UBL schemas created for specific deployments of the vocabulary. The tools can also be used to measure backwards compatibility between versions.

Within the proposed new OASIS Sector Information Exchange Technical Committee, after an initial setup configuration, schema generation would only take minutes, not months as in the early days of UBL. During vocabulary development one can produce daily suites of validation artefacts when taking daily snapshots of the information models. The tools for creating artefacts are free to download and use from http://www.CraneSoftwrights.com/resources/ubl/#obdndr.

One can find the UBL 2.1 information model, expressed using CCTS, at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1amzk8jn1boD2q3ze9rR14PVB6OGDyHTc2pQl92JutvE/view. The use of Google Drive allows international members of the committee to collaboratively edit the content simultaneously. It also allows the interim work to be publicly transparent. For archive purposes, periodic snapshots of the ever-changing live document are made and stored in the OASIS repository.

An overview of the process to create the validation artefacts from the Google spreadsheet is found at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RSvewwdS-lp4sl-gYHI5gjNxrgXXqCc5wuA6UI5hhWA/view.

The technical co-chair I proposed above would participate in the newly-created OASIS Sector Information Exchange Technical Committee on an hourly services contract as the technology-related co-chair responsible for establishing the committee, running the committee and meetings within the OASIS process, initiating the master spreadsheet of CCTS-expressed information items, facilitating those responsible for populating the spreadsheet with direction regarding using CCTS, producing the syntax validation artefacts and producing the Committee Specification documents per the TC process. Your designated semantics-related co-chair would be responsible for the quality and integrity of the concepts expressed using CCTS.

The following are examples of the many facets of the work being done within the UBL TC that would have parallels in a newly-formed OASIS Sector Information Exchange Technical Committee:

All of that (except the additional governance document which was a TC effort) comes just with being a TC, being supported by OASIS TC Administration, and so justifies the cost of membership (see https://www.oasis-open.org/join/categories-dues for details).

You, as the domain co-chair, and the sector stakeholders would focus on the semantics and building the exchange document types and common library in CCTS, documenting guidelines where seen fit, handing it all to the technical co-chair to create committee deliverables for voting and public review and, ultimately, acceptance as an OASIS Standard. The heavy lifting of information design is best done by the stakeholders because the stakeholders would know the semantics better than any third-party consultant not familiar with the domain. The technical co-chair would also facilitate the CCTS model creation by the domain experts.

The work can start small. Within a couple of weeks the entire committee and development framework can be in place, creating stub artefacts and skeleton documentation. The process can be debugged and technical staff brought up to speed in its use. The model just builds up from scratch and at any time one can snapshot the modeling task. Anyone can produce a set of schemas with which committee members can test syntax documents. The lead technical co-chair is available to help with problems with CCTS and with the syntaxes.

Regarding the publishing of OASIS specification documents, I am also the creator of the OASIS DocBook XML specialization for OASIS standards, now used by a number of committees. It is used for writing up the UBL, OASIS Business Document Envelope (BDE) and OASIS XLIFF TC specification documents (standards and committee notes). The DocBook environment produces output in both HTML and PDF formats for publishing, and has the added bonus of being machine-processable if a user in the community would find that helpful. Other committees use OpenOffice or Word to create the specification documents without such features. Based on the success of UBL I would commend the use of the off-the-shelf DocBook environment for your technical co-chair to create the specification documents.

5. Value validation

A comment to make regards the OASIS BDNDR perspective of the scope of XSD and the use of other technologies. It is the UBL committee’s firmly-held position that XSD is suitable only for structural validation, that being the arrangement and cardinality of elements and attributes, and the lexical expression of the text strings found in leaf elements and their attributes. Value validation regards the constraints on the values of the text strings found in leaf elements and their attributes. Value validation can be subject to external pressures and scenarios, such that different value constraints are needed when dealing with different exchange partners. In UBL the validation process separates structural validation in XSD and value validation in OASIS Context/value Association [CVA] files that reference OASIS genericode [genericode] files (both developed within the OASIS Code List Representation Technical Committee [CLRTC]). The CVA files are translated through Schematron [Schematron] into XSLT [XSLT 2.0]. Instances are then run through a two-phase validation process: first to confirm the information is in the correct place, the second to confirm the information has correct values. This is depicted at http://docs.oasis-open.org/ubl/os-UBL-2.1/UBL-2.1.html#A-UBL-2.1-CODE-LISTS-AND-TWO-PHASE-VALIDATION. All of the tools used to create the value validation artefacts are freely-available.

6. Digital signatures

One final technical note regards digital signatures that should probably be included for all information exchange document types. Digital signatures provide non-repudiation as well as authentication. It might seem overkill for small innocuous documents, but it has no overhead when it isn’t being used and it is there for anyone in the user community who may have a business need to use it. For backward compatibility, the UBL extension point first child of the document element has scaffolding within which digital signatures are embedded in UBL documents. The BDE schemas developed from scratch provide both for an extension point as the first child of the document element and separately for a set of digital signatures as the last children of the document element. In new schemas this latter approach would be used for document models large and small.


[BDNDR-v1.1] Business Document Naming and Design Rules Version 1.1. Edited by Kenneth Bengtsson, Erlend Klakegg Bergheim and G. Ken Holman. 11 January 2017. OASIS Standard Track Work in Progress. Latest version: http://docs.oasis-open.org/ubl/Business-Document-NDR/v1.1/Business-Document-NDR-v1.1.html.

[CLRTC] OASIS Code List Representation TC http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/codelist

[Crane Resources] Crane Softwrights Ltd. Free developer resources

[DITATC] OASIS Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) TC https://www.oasis-open.org/committees/dita

[genericode] Tony Coates OASIS Code List Representation (Genericode) Version 1.0, 2007-12-28

[ISO 21778 - ECMA JSON] ISO/IEC 21778 Information technology — The JSON data interchange format http://standards.iso.org/ittf/PubliclyAvailableStandards/, ECMA 404 The JSON data interchange format https://www.ecma-international.org/publications/standards/Ecma-404.htm

[JSON Schema] JSON Schema Validation: A Vocabulary for Structural Validation of JSON, A.Wright, G.Luff, Editors, http://json-schema.org/latest/json-schema-validation.html

[ODFTC] OASIS Open Document Format TC http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/office/

[Open-edi] Open-edi Open-edi reference model – ISO/IEC 14662:2010 http://standards.iso.org/ittf/PubliclyAvailableStandards/

[UBL-2.1] Jon Bosak, Tim McGrath, G. Ken Holman Universal Business Language Version 2.1. 04 November 2013. OASIS Standard. http://docs.oasis-open.org/ubl/os-UBL-2.1/UBL-2.1.html. ISO/IEC 19845:2015 International Standard http://www.iso.org/iso/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=66370

[UBL-2.1-ASN.1] UBL 2.1 Abstract Syntax Notation 1 (ASN.1) Alternative Representation Version 1.0 23 October 2013. Latest version: http://docs.oasis-open.org/ubl/UBL-2.1-ASN.1/v1.0/UBL-2.1-ASN.1-v1.0.html

[UBL-2.1-JSON] UBL 2.1 JSON Alternative Representation Version 1.0 11 January 2017. Latest version: http://docs.oasis-open.org/ubl/UBL-2.1-JSON/v1.0/UBL-2.1-JSON-v1.0.html

[UBL-2.1-UML] UBL 2.1 Unified Modeling Language (UML) Alternative Representation Version 1.0 23 October 2013. Latest version: http://docs.oasis-open.org/ubl/UBL-2.1-UML/v1.0/UBL-2.1-UML-v1.0.html

[UBL-NDR] UBL Naming and Design Rules Version 3.0. 20 July 2016. Latest version: http://docs.oasis-open.org/ubl/UBL-NDR/v3.0/UBL-NDR-v3.0.html.

[XSLT 2.0] Michael Kay XSL Transformations (XSLT) Version 2.0 2007-01-23