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Re: Genuine interoperability & the tower of Babel

From: Anders W. Tell <opensource@toolsmiths.se>
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2003 15:38:22 +0200
Message-ID: <3F72EFCE.8000600@toolsmiths.se>
To: "Cutler, Roger (RogerCutler)" <RogerCutler@chevrontexaco.com>
Cc: www-ws-arch@w3.org, Ugo Corda <UCorda@SeeBeyond.com>

The UBL is built ontop of UN/CEFACT (ebXML) Core Components technology 
and adds XML production rules.  CEFACT ATG and CC team worked together 
and the intention/agreement was to merge the groups into CEFACT since 
thats where the global business expertice is concentrated.

CEFACT has started a process to review EDIFACT messages and look for 
Core Components candidates so a large CC library is in the making.

Personally Im not sure what OASIS is progressing towards, they seem to 
move into all sorts of directions, mostly from a technical (xml) 
perspective.

/anders

Cutler, Roger (RogerCutler) wrote:

>Is the UBL group in OASIS in this space too?  As far as I have been able
>to figure out they may be more in the business of making a framework to
>put such information into -- but it seems to me that the UN/CEFACT work
>has something of that flavor, too.  Whether we are talking about
>competing or harmonizing frameworks is utterly unclear to me.
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Anders W. Tell [mailto:opensource@toolsmiths.se] 
>Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2003 5:38 AM
>To: www-ws-arch@w3.org
>Cc: Ugo Corda
>Subject: Re: Genuine interoperability & the tower of Babel
>
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>Hi Ugo,
>
>One of the initiatives is the Core Components work done by UN/CEFACT 
>Techologies and Methodologies group. 
><http://webster.disa.org/cefact-groups/tmg/> (site is down for the 
>moment) See download/general menu for downloadable documents.
>
>This groups work with technology neutral semantic interoperability with 
>well defined mappings to EDIFACT and XML.
>
>/anders
>
>Ugo Corda wrote:
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>>I recently came across an initiative that seems to address this type of
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>>issues. It's called Universal Data Element Framework (or UDEF - see 
>>http://www.udef.org/). According to its Web page, "the objective of the
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>>UDEF is to provide a means of real-time identification for semantic 
>>equivalency, as an attribute to data elements within e-business 
>>document and integration formats".
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>>If somebody else knows of similar initiatives, it would be nice to 
>>mention them in our document.
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>>Ugo
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>>>-----Original Message-----
>>>From: www-ws-arch-request@w3.org [mailto:www-ws-arch-request@w3.org]On
>>>Behalf Of Cutler, Roger (RogerCutler)
>>>Sent: Monday, September 22, 2003 7:26 PM
>>>To: Champion, Mike; Frank McCabe; www-ws-arch@w3.org
>>>Subject: RE: Genuine interoperability & the tower of Babel
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>I agree with Mike's answer -- but I also agree with Frank's analysis. 
>>>Three or five years ago we sort of thought that the XML bandwagon was 
>>>going to solve this by industry-wide efforts to define common formats 
>>>for core data.  I know this very well because I wrote various program 
>>>plans based on this assumption that I now either live with or modify 
>>>accordingly. Whether this did not happen because it is very difficult,
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>>>or whether it didn't happen because there was no analogy to MS/IBM/BEA
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>>>to force the process is probably not relevant -- it has not happened.
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>>>This is a shame, but we must somehow struggle on.
>>>
>>>So, Frank, granted that this is a problem, and an expensive one, just 
>>>what do you propose doing about it?  Weeping, gnashing our teeth and 
>>>rending our garments is probably indicated, but once we have done all 
>>>that, do you have any other suggestions?
>>>
>>>I would personally not be very receptive if your suggestions involved 
>>>starting over from square one in the WSA.
>>>
>>>-----Original Message-----
>>>From: Champion, Mike [mailto:Mike.Champion@SoftwareAG-USA.com]
>>>Sent: Monday, September 22, 2003 9:10 PM
>>>To: Frank McCabe; www-ws-arch@w3.org
>>>Subject: RE: Genuine interoperability & the tower of Babel
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>>>>-----Original Message-----
>>>>From: Frank McCabe [mailto:frankmccabe@mac.com]
>>>>Sent: Monday, September 22, 2003 9:40 PM
>>>>To: www-ws-arch@w3.org
>>>>Subject: Genuine interoperability & the tower of Babel
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>>>>The tower of Babel referred to above is the huge number of 
>>>>application-specific systems that can't leverage each other because 
>>>>of trivial but lethal incompatibilities. There has to be a better 
>>>>way.
>>>>
>>>>Before we look at solutions, it is helpful to see that there is a 
>>>>problem. Is this analysis off the mark, and if so, why?
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>>>I'm not sure.  There's a danger in taking things one step at a time if
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>>>the steps don't lead anywyhere, e.g. climing a tree as the first step 
>>>to get to the moon. But there's also a danger in saying that it does 
>>>no good to get to the moon if you really really want to reach the 
>>>stars.
>>>
>>>Let's look at the world of 15 years ago vs the world of
>>>today, the near
>>>term future, and the future we want to shape.  15 years ago a typical
>>>computer simply could not communicate with another computer chosen at
>>>random, except very inefficiently and with all sorts of human
>>>intervention (remember zmodem etc.?). That's because there 
>>>was no common
>>>wire level protocol or addressing scheme (in widespread use 
>>>anyway).  10
>>>years ago the Internet solved that problem at the lowest level for at
>>>least the typical commercial/university system, but there 
>>>wasn't much in
>>>the way of common data formats or application-level 
>>>protocols.  5 years
>>>ago HTTP and HTML solved those problems for human-readable 
>>>text, but not
>>>for machine-machine interaction without human intervention.  Today XML
>>>and SOAP/WSDL are providing the framework for machine-machine
>>>interaction, but there are a bazillion details such as transactions,
>>>choreography, security, etc. etc. etc. that have to be worked 
>>>out in an
>>>ad hoc way.  In 5 year we'll presumably have this stuff standardized,
>>>BUT THEN we will still face the problems that Frank is 
>>>talking about.  
>>>
>>>So, I think that the WSA document needs to focus on the issues facing 
>>>the next few years, and simply make reference to the problems of 
>>>automating the semantic alignment of operations and data that will 
>>>still be there when the short-term issues are solved.
>>>
>>>So, there is a problem, but lots of useful work can be done without 
>>>solving it, and there are worse problems to solve first. After all, 
>>>businesses have been coping with these semantic mismatches for 
>>>centuries while the mechanical aspects of business communication have 
>>>been improved.  Sure, at some point the mechanical stuff will be
>>>nailed down
>>>and then the labor-intensive, error-prone approaches used by 
>>>application
>>>writers to align semantics will be the worst problems that systems
>>>integrators face, but there is a lot of work to do before we 
>>>are in that
>>>situation.
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Received on Thursday, 25 September 2003 09:39:05 GMT

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