OASIS Approves UBL 1.0 Beta for Testing

Implementation testing has begun on the Universal Business Language 1.0 beta, bringing UBL closer to becoming an international standard.

The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Systems has approved the Universal Business Language 1.0 beta for public implementation testing.

Jon Bosak, chairman of the UBL technical committee at OASIS and a distinguished engineer and XML architect at Sun Microsystems Inc., said the UBL 1.0 beta package is intended to provide the specifications needed to test UBL implementations before his committee recommends it to OASIS for standardization.

UBL is an international effort to define a royalty-free library of standard electronic business documents based on XML, Bosak said.

The implementation testing phase began last week and will end in February, when the UBL technical committee will hold its next meeting. The technical committee will incorporate the results of implementation testing through its recently formed implementation subcommittee.

The UBL technical committee plans to submit UBL 1.0 to OASIS for standardization in April or May of 2004, Bosak said. Upon approval by OASIS, the group will push the UBL specification through to the International Organization of Standardization for recognition as an international standard.

In addition to the new implementation subcommittee, other new subcommittees include the code list subcommittee, the Japanese localization subcommittee and the Chinese subcommittee.

"The fact that you can use XML to create an unlimited number of markup languages leads some people to think that the purpose of XML is, in fact, to create an unlimited number of markup languages," Bosak said. "But an unlimited number of languages would get us nowhere. The purpose of XML is to give groups of experts what they need to define a relatively small number of markup languages, each one designed to be the standard language for a given problem space. Its only through semantic standardization that you can get interoperability. UBL is intended to be the starting point for a standard markup language for basic business documents like purchase orders and invoices. This standardization will greatly reduce the cost of electronic data interchange and allow small businesses access to a level of electronic commerce thats currently affordable only to big, multinational corporations."

Yet, UBL is oriented to small and medium-size businesses as well as large enterprises, OASIS officials said.

In addition to the UBL 1.0 beta, the OASIS technical committee also released the UBL data model, UBL XML Schema Definition (XSD) component library (consisting of 240 data elements), UBL XSD document schemas, XML example instances, Unified Modeling Language (UML) class diagrams and more.