ebXML - Introduction

Businesses inevitably interact with each other in various ways. Until recent years, many large companies used to communicate automatically through Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), which allows two companies to communicate using predetermined signals.

The trouble with EDI is that it is very expensive and originally it was created for the mainframe world. Now ebXML is replacing EDI.


ebXML stands for Electronic Business Extensible Markup Language. It is a global standard for electronic business that enables anyone, anywhere to do business transactions with anyone over the Internet.


The features of ebXML are as follows:

  • ebXML is an end-to-end B2B XML framework.
  • ebXML is a set of specifications that enable a modular framework.
  • ebXML relies on the Internet's existing standards such as HTTP, TCP/IP, MIME, SMTP, FTP, UML, and XML.
  • ebXML can be implemented and deployed on virtually any computing platform.
  • ebXML provides concrete specifications to enable dynamic B2B collaborations.

ebXML Vision

ebXML is designed to create a global electronic market place where enterprises of any size, anywhere can:

  • find each other electronically.
  • conduct business -
    • using exchange of XML messages.
    • according to standard business process sequences.
    • with clear business semantics.
    • using off-the-shelf purchased business applications.
    • according to mutually agreed trading partner protocol agreements.

Why ebXML?

  • Existing B2B Frameworks are not adequate:
    • EDI and RosettaNet are too heavy-weight and too rigid.
    • BizTalk is proprietary, single-vendor, and single-platform.
  • Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP); Web Service Definition Language (WSDL); and Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) alone are not adequate:
    • WSDL does not address business collaboration.
    • SOAP in its basic form does not provide secure and reliable message delivery.
    • UDDI does not provide repository capability for business objects.
  • There is a growing requirement to standardize business collaborations to address the following:
    • Business processes
    • The parties involved in business collaboration and their roles
    • Exchanging XML documents in the business collaborations
    • Security, reliability, quality of service requirements of business collaboration

    All these needs are addressed by ebXML.

ebXML Founding Organizations

ebXML is a joint initiative by UN/CEFACT and OASIS.


  • It stands for United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business.
  • It maintains the UN/EDIFACT standards for Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).


  • It stands for Organization for Advancement of Structured Information Standards.
  • It creates and maintains XML interoperability specifications, broad industry support.