Readings in XML, EDI and open standards

...from an accountant's perspective. Back
XML Extensible Markup Language XSL Extensible Stylesheet Language XSLT XSL Transformations
XPath XML Path language SAX Simple API for XML DOM Document Object Model
IETF Internet Engineering Task Force OFX Open Financial Exchange PKI Public Key encryption Infrastructr
W3C Worldwide Web Consortium IFX Internet Financial Exchange EDI Electronic Date Interchange
EBPP Electronic Bill Presentmt/Paymt SSL Secure Sockets Layer DBS Digital bearer securities
OAG Open Applications Group inc. OTP Open Trading Protocol ICE Information & Content Exchange
OMG Object Management Group DC Dublin Core RDF Resource Description Framework
UML Unified Modelling Language cXML Commerce XML xCBL Common Business Library
XBRL Extens. Bus. Reporting Lang DSML Directory Svcs Markup Lng FpML FinancialProducts markup lang. 
biztalk Microsoft biztalk IMAP4 email access protocol ACH Automated Clearinghouse
bizcodes Business XML codes LDAP lightweight directory access protocol IOTP internet Open Trading Protocol
ebXML Electronic business XML ECML E-comm model'g lang.(wallets) LDAP Lightweight directory access protocol
WAP Wireless Access Protocol SOX Schema for Object Oriented XML  OBI Open Buying on the Internet
SOAP ** Simplf'd object access protocol XFlat Flat file schema  eCo E-commerce Framework
tpaML Trading Partner agreemt markup Basda Bus/Acctg software devlp assocn  STR Public Transaction Repository
smbXML Small/Medium Business XML MeT Mobile Electronic Commerce Links more GLDialtone Links

See  Introduction to the Extensible Markup Language (XML) by the SGML Centre, UK and the XML FAQ.

ebXML is the which is the most important standards group. There is a very active technical mailing list.

XML.COM -maintains a list of W3C, ISO and IETF standards for XML and many good articles.

OASIS, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards. They host Robin Cover- the most comprehensive and current XML News digests. The organization launched XML.ORG, to provide a repository and registry for DTDs, namespaces, schemas for XML commerce.  Their committees operate in private but you can read their public committees page.   Notably: OASIS together with UN/CEFACT gave birth to ebXML, which is the most important standards group.

The Open Applications Group, Inc. (OAG), a non-profit industry consortium for interoperability.  Creators of a broad horizontal set of XML schemas for A2A integration. contributed schemas to Biztalk during 1999.  This is a very effective organization with broad membership of both buyers and sellers (fortune 500 cos. and ERP vendors).

CommerceNet - a think tank. Costs betweeen $5,000 - $50,000 per year to gain access to their proceedings: CommerceNet Portfolios. Here is an early report about CommerceNet. Ecosystems XML partners -The Red Herring Feb 1998 They bought eRegistry Service to create CommerceNet's XML Exchange which flopped, I guess. They have published their  monthly buzz newsletters online. Their eCo Framework is great--see the eCo website. It was so great that nobody implemented eCo, it would have put so many software companies out of business, it was a value destruction process. But the ideas lived on, in many software companies and ebXML.

The AICPA's August 1999 initiative, XML for Financial Reporting XBRL (formerly called XFRML) this is a richly detailed site, with XML schemas and a well documented specification with taxonomies of all financial reporting terms, online.  Readers can drill down into every DTD at the tag level, to provide feedback to AICPA. In effect, XBRL is the US Plan Comptable.  It defines for the first time, every classification of statutory or regulatory GAAP in the U.S.

The deliberations and decision process behind XBRL remain fairly opaque unless you pay $5,000 to become a member.  In my opinion the designs seem to primarily serve the financial industry (e.g. investment managers), the Big 5, certain large software companies, and fortune 500 audit clients. The May and July 2000 releases caused a stampede of defensive memberships from smaller software companies, so now has $ millions in revenue.

xCBL (Common Business Library) by CommerceOne is an extensible, public collection of DTDs, schemas, etc. that companies can customize and assemble to develop XML-based commerce applications. This is all about purchasing, inventory, selling, etc. not finance or  general ledger etc. But there is a ton of good material to read

Commerce XML (cXML), an emerging standard for business-to-business e-commerce is an XML and XML schema platform standard, supported by over 40 companies

The Rosetta Net Organization articulates technology and standards for supply chain automation in the IT industry, including XML DTDs.  Rosetta is unquestionably the largest, most advanced rollout of XML e-commerce among any of the industry groups.  Their solutions for transport, protocol, security, etc. are setting the pace for ebXML and numerous commercial XML platforms.

Microsoft BizTalk Initiative outlining plans for a future XML and Schema platform. Includes plans for BizTalk Server.  The BizTalk consortium has been joined by hundreds of partners--half the software industry.  Microsoft publishes more complete details at  Print out the BizTalk Framework, it's required reading for anybody using XML in business.  Microsoft will do and say whatever it takes to ensure that BizTalk servers are necessary to conduct business.  Small business needs to send and receive invoices orders and payments over the internet. Mickey will make sure you can't do that without Biztalk Server someplace in the middle.

BASDA, the European Business and Accounting Software Developers' Association has no equal anywhere else in the world, maintains standards on many important issues related to european currency, etc.  BASDA issued EBIS 10/13/99, an XML spec which was too good to last independently; merged their activities under United Nations/OASIS see announcement 10/26/99. They have released an Invoice and Purchase Order schema Dec. 1999

European Commission's Open Information Interchange (OII) Bi-monthly reports

Introduction to XML/EDI, more XML/EDI material, the Mailing list. and XML-EDI Frequently Asked Questions 

European XML/EDI Pilot Project and their interim report with Example XML/EDI pages in pursuit of standard DTDs and other XML implementation.  There is a foundation whitepaper 8/31/98  Surf the EDI-TIE data dictionary!

XEDI is an approach for representing X12 and EDIFACT EDI semantics in XML syntax

ECML is the spec behind all digital wallets including Microsoft Passport.  It came together very powerfully 1999 since it is agnostic with respect to payments vendors. IOTP, OFX, etc. seem to be a bit paralyzed in comparison.

Ontology.Org - Enabling Virtual Business

DISA (Data Interchange Standards Organization) seems to be a company that services the X12 organization .  X12 s the EDI boss for North America (see homepage but their elements cost $3000.  Sheesh.

Here are the actual EDI standards on UN/EDIFACT .  Surf around in there a while.  Interesting.  

FpML - Financial Products Markup Language

XML in plain english

e centre uk (the successor created by merger of the Electronic Commerce Association (ECA) and the Article Number Association (ANA) also in pursuit of a concrete XML implementation Simpl-EDI.

AIT News - Example of vendor offering EDI for less than $1000

ICE - Internet Content Exchange and W3C Submission

OBI - Open buying on the internet Consortium, Backgrounder, an article.  Good stuff.  But it's EDI not XML as of this writing.

The Digital Receipt Consortium has XML DTDs for a standard, authenticated evidence of e-commerce transactions. Read more about the Digital Signature Act

iCat Software brings together merchants, ISPs and website developers

XML-RPC Remote Procedure Calls using HTTP as the transport and XML as the encoding.

Pioneer Planet January 1999 article on Electronic Billing and their excellent Electronic Billing Links To follow EBPP, read the Transpoint and Checkfree websites, Integrion -Home of Integrion Gold, partner in the OFX standard (Open Financial Exchange ) with Microsoft/Intuit. The Council for Electronic Billing and Payment seems to emerge as the author and final arbiter of IFX, originally started off as a merged standard of Integrion Gold and OFX. Here's an interesting June 1999 development

More of Geri Speiler of Gartner Group in Red Herring and in Infoworld



Oracle Technology Network

What is RDF and why does it matter

PC WEEK XML holds promise as EDI replacement

View Source EDI on Internet

xml faq

Electronic Commerce Magazine

Wired Magazine XML and the New Industry Order by Lisa Rein

XML Seen as Key to Boosting Electronic Data Interchange -IW June 1, 1998

Yahoo's XML Links/Directory

Seattle XML Special Interest Group

Electronic Payments Forum, information exchange and to identify and examine issues regarding financial payment systems on the Internet

Thompson EDI Resources - huge website with good articles

Jari Korva's XML resources, University of Oulu Finland.

Jeff Sutherland's XML page

Visual Basic Developers: VBXML.COM for code samples, links to open source VB modules etc.

If you want to serve XML with Apache, try Apache JServe and Cocoon, both from  Also, look into Enhydra open source application server.

XML Editors list on

John Haluska won a Crossroads Common Sense Award for his achievements in development of NEMA Product Descriptor Database (PDD), IDEANet private frame relay EDI network, etc.

The Uniform Code Council, Inc. maintains the standard UPC bar codes for the United States. No breakthrough in automation of product inventory handling are possible until small business implements standard item codes, or at least, mechanisms for mapping the codes used by a Vendor with those of a Supplier in any given transaction.

UPC Link, UPC Scan Services, Bob Ford's remarkable, free, mSQL Barcode database are examples of the many resources for establishing common product numbering in your accounting systems based on UPC Codes for ubiquitous, frictionless commerce between small businesses.

Directories of Businesses

Dun & Bradstreet home of DUNS numbers.  Got a better idea for universal entity numbers? Lots of luck. There is nothing comparable.  The DNS system would be better but nobody will use it at $50/year per entity.

International Business Directories paper based directories broken down by Geographic Region, by SICs (Standard Industry Codes), etc.

Miscellaneous XML links:
Microsoft XML site
XML Hack
XML Developers list reviews/extracts
XML Software
IBM XML Developer's site
CommerceOne newsletter
Tutorials's XML email archives

Todd Boyle CPA Kirkland WA - BACK