Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12
is meeting Feb. 3-8 in Seattle to evaluate processes to facilitate collaboration with the numerous industry groups and associations developing Extensible Markup Language (XML) specifications.
Extensible Markup Language (XML) is an open document standard for structured content, created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for use on the World Wide Web, vendor-neutral data interchange, media-independent publishing, collaborative authoring, and processing of web documents by intelligent agents. XML allows authors to use custom elements and other specialized markup constructs, making content more flexible and reusable. It plays a key role in everything from FileMaker services to Macintosh Web servers.
As one example of XML’s importance, consider Web Services for Mac OS X. They’re XML-based applications, hosted on the Internet, which provide information and services to customers and users around the world. They provide a wide variety of services such as stock quotes, news reports, currency conversions, language translation, zipcode lookup, weather reports, spell-checking, maps, and many more creative and useful tools.
Web Services applications communicate using XML-based protocols, such as XML-RPC (Remote Procedure Calls) and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol). The SOAP protocol is a working standard defined by the WC3, an Internet standards organization. XML-RPC is a UserLand Software open specification. Mac OS X 10.1 provides support for communicating with Web Services applications directly via AppleScript.
ASC X12 is purportedly attracting a diverse mix of organizations interested in working together “to expedite development, harmonization, and implementation of XML specifications.” The ultimate goal is to reduce costs by encouraging cooperative cross-industry efforts. At this month’s meeting, the group will attempt to formulate processes and define a structure within ASC X12 to enable collaboration and convergence with industry groups and associations developing XML specifications. There’ll also be a review of the first draft of XML Design Rules, which identify best practices that define the creation of XML representations of standard business messages.
Two international groups are working with ASC X12 next week: the eBusiness Transition Working Group (eBTWG) and the Techniques & Methodologies Working Group (TMWG). The eBTWG, created in July 2001 by the UN/CEFACT Steering Group (CSG), is pioneering the development of global XML standards for e-business. The TMWG researches and identifies techniques and methodologies that could be utilized by UN/CEFACT and its working groups to enhance the process by which its deliverables are produced and integrated.