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The ebXML Initiative

You will probably have read in the computer press that business-to-business e-commerce is likely to greatly exceed in value business-to-consumer e-commerce. One of the foundations of the projected growth in e-commerce is the capability to "freely" exchange information between businesses.

As you saw in the "Discipline-Specific Markup Languages" section in this chapter, a large number of initiatives are already underway. Quite a few of these are targeting a wide scope of e-business or e-commerce activity. However, there are potential areas where discipline-specific markup languages might clash. Suppose that the automotive industry has a single XML-based standard, and suppose that the steel industry also has an XML-based standard, but a standard that differs from that of the automotive industry. Quite possibly, an automotive company will want to purchase steel for car bodies from a steel company. The two standards are different. What happens then? Someone probably writes some routines to translate from one format to another. Given the complexity of the activities of two major industries, this is unlikely to be a trivial task, but it will almost certainly be achievable.


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