ebXML Forum News

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

PodCasts on ebXML 2006 - noted experts interviewed

A series of PodCasts has been made available by OASIS as part of the 5 year celebration of ebXML.

Recorded in June over two dozen experts internationally in the use and development of ebXML have provided a series of interviews.

Each series focuses on a particular aspect of ebXML - including:

Monday, July 24, 2006

6th ebXML Messaging Interop Announced

The Drummond Group has announced availability of the latest in its series of interoperability testing certifications for ebXML messaging compliant solutions.

Interoperability certification assures software customers that products meet the standard and work together, thereby reducing implementation time and enabling product choice by features and price.

Use of and ebMS adoption is growing in the automobile sector, as well as in the U.S. public health industry, major government projects in the United Kingdom, The Netherlands and Norway and energy trading applications across the European Union.

Major vendors such as Oracle have recently added support for ebMS in their products and hence the need for continued interoperability certification to ensure software products have fewer bugs and interoperate more smoothly.

For more information contact the Drummond Group.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Draft IHE Actor profiles released for XDS secure exchanges

A proposal for an OASIS ebBP Profile for IHE Profiles realized within the scope of the IST 027065 RIDE Project(http://www.srdc.metu.edu.tr/webpage/projects/ride/) as a part of the Deliverable D.5.3.1 Contribution to Standardization Efforts sponsored by the European Commission, DG Information Society and Media, eHealth Unit(http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/activities/health/index_en.htm) has been published for community review.

The document describes how to express the IHE Profiles through ebBP language to facilitate the configuration of electronic relationships among IHE Actors and to provide an automated environment to help IHE users and vendors to exchange configuration information electronically and in a standard way.

The eBusiness eXtensible Markup Language (ebXML) Business ProcessSpecification Schema (BPSS) technical specification [ebBP] defines a standard language by which business systems MAY be configured. The ebBP defines generic Business Transactions between the Roles (the Requesting Role and the Responding Role) which exchange documents. The ebBP re-uses these transactions by specializing them in Business Collaborations. IHE Profiles [IHE], on the other hand, defines IHE Actors (which correspond to ebBP Roles) and IHE Transactions (which correspond to ebBP Business Collaborations) and organizes them into IHE Profiles (which correspond to ebBP Business Processes) specific to the healthcare domain. The profile described in this document is not proposing any change to existing IHE Profiles or its existing implementations. Note that ebBP Processes are not executable meaning that you cannot execute them to cause some action; but they are machine processable meaning that you can use the information content by executing a software.

The profile described in the released document is proposing to document the already existing information in IHE profiles in a machine processable way to help with configuration issues.

There are several benefits to be gained in defining IHE Profiles[IHE-ITI-1] through ebBP since ebBP provides standard, concise and machine processable configuration information which can be used in an automated way:

1. Re-usability: When an IHE Transaction is defined as a generic ebBPTransaction, its re-usability is increased. For example, when we define ageneric Patient Identity Feed Transaction [IHE-ITI-2] between two generic roles such as Patient Identity Supplier and Patient Identity Receiver;this transaction can be specialized to Patient Identity Feed Transactionin IHE XDS by setting the Patient Identity Supplier to Patient Identity Source and the Patient Identity Receiver to XDS Registry. The same generic Patient Identity Feed Transaction can be specialized to Patient Identity Feed Transaction in IHE PIX by setting the Patient Identity Supplier to Patient Identity Source and the Patient Identity Receiver to PIX Manager.

As a summary, when IHE defines a new profile which uses an already defined generic transaction, this transaction can be specialized to the new profile to be re-used.

This mechanism is ready in ebBP to be used in a standard way.

2. Configuration Management: The focus of ebXML is on building a framework that makes it possible to automate the creation and the configuration ofelectronic relationship. To achieve this goal, ebXML describes business processes through ebBP and the actors through CPPs (Collaboration-Protocol Profiles) [ebCPPA]. An IHE Actor, on the other hand, is in need of the configuration of its electronic relationship with other IHE Actors. Each IHE Actor needs to discover the other IHE Actors, the other Actor's supported IHE Transactions, the other Actor's role in the Transaction, and the configuration details about how the other Actor sends and receives Messages. For example, in an IHE connectivity marathon (connect-a-thon), the IHE Actors obtain network configuration parameters from an online database quite some time before the connect-a-thon. The ebBP provides all this configuration information needed by the IHE Profiles and helps this information to be discovered and used at run time in real life cases without human intervention.

3. Discovery of Configuration Information: The configuration information, independent of how it is defined, need to be discovered by the involved IHE Actors. When the configuration information is defined through ebBP andCPPAs, ebXML Registry mechanism can be used for discovery. Furthermore,there should be a machine processable mechanism to automatically find out the optional IHE Transactions a specific IHE Actor supports. When IHE Profiles are expressed through ebBP, it becomes possible to specify this by referring to the business process which includes the optional transactions.

4. Facilitating the grouping of the IHE Actors: Since IHE Profiles describe specific use cases, there is a need to combine several IHE Profiles to achieve the required functionality in realizing a real world scenario in the healthcare domain. When IHE Profiles are combined by grouping the relevant IHE Actors, the sequence of the transactions coming from different profiles must be decided. For example, when ATNA Secure Node is grouped with XDS Document Source, Document Repository and Document Registry Actors, the Record Audit Event Transaction (IHE-ITI-20) of ATNA appears between Provide and Register Document Set Transaction (IHE-ITI-15) and Register Document Set Transaction (IHE-ITI-14) of XDS. It is clear that, given the large number of IHE Profiles, determining the order of all the involved transaction manually for every real life scenario is a tedious task.

However it is possible to automate this task by developing software tools to allow users to graphically group the Actors involved, and generating the overall process automatically by using the precedence information among IHE Transactions.

5. Software Tool Support for Configuration: In order to make the process described in the document user friendly, we support it by software tools. We provide public domain software tools to support the following: The ebBP Editor to graphically define IHE Transactions and Profiles. This software is available at:http://freebxmlbp.sourceforge.net/ The IHE-AGT (Actor Grouping Tool) to group IHE Actors graphically and produce the resulting business processes automatically available at http://www.srdc.metu.edu.tr/ihe/tools/iheagt/iheagt.zip. The IHE Configuration Management Tool (IHE-CMT) available at http://www.srdc.metu.edu.tr/ihe/tools/ihecmt/IHECMT_METU_SRDC_180706.zip which consists of the IHE-CPP Editor and the IHE-CPA Editor.The document is organized as follows:

Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the rest of this document. Chapter 2 provides a brief overview of the ebBP Business Process Specification and the Collaboration-Protocol Profile (CPP) and AgreementSpecification (CPA). Chapter 3 provides a brief overview of the Integrating HealthcareEnterprise (IHE) Transactions and Profiles. Chapter 4 specifies how to represent IHE profiles in ebBP. Chapter 5 briefly summarizes the public domain ebBP Editor previouslydeveloped by the METU-SRDC Team. Chapter 6 describes how IHE Actors can be grouped using ebBP. Chapter 7 describes how to facilitate the configuration of IHE Profiles byUsing ebBP and CPP. Chapter 8 addresses the metadata configuration issues in IHE XDS. Chapter 9 describes IHE Configuration Management Tool. Chapter 10 summarizes how configuration issues are currently handled in IHEXDS connect-a-thon and provides the envisioned situation. Chapter 11 provides normative and informative references that are used within or relevant to this document.

XmlStylist - New update for ebXML business process modelling editor

The European Commission funded project RIDE (IST-4-027065-CA) has just released the next upgrade of an open source editor "XmlStylist" for ebXML BPSS based process modelling. The tool can be downloaded from the SourceForge resource site.

The "RIDE" project is a Roadmap for Interoperability of eHealth Systems in Support of COM 356 with Special Emphasis on Semantic Interoperability.

In addition the ebBP Editor User Manual has been also updated to reflect the new features including:

  • Capability of creating and modifying any valid ebBP instances according to ebBP TechnicalSpecification v2.0.3.
  • Validation procedure in XmlStylist has been strengthened. After each modification and closure of XmlStylist, the available ebBP instance is subjected to a validation check.
  • Packages, which are the modular ebBP elements, can be imported to an ebBP instance via XmlStylist.
  • From Start to Completion (Success and/or Failure), the flow in aBusiness Collaboration can be visualized in the ebBP Editor. This version supports displaying Roles, Business Transaction Activities, Completion elements, and the links between those elements in a Business Collaboration"automatically" after XmlStylist generates a Process Specification. The widgets used for visualization are based on BPMN.
  • Multiparty Collaborations are handled in this version.
  • Look and Feel support is added.
  • Splash screen is added.
  • Note the difference that, XmlStylist can handle any ebBP instance,but the graphical component pane (tabbed pane) can handle only ProcessSpecifications.

Some future enhancements and additions that are under consideration are:

  • The visualized ebBP elements should be enriched in type. CollaborationActivity, Complex Business Transaction Activity etc. may be included to the set of displayable elements.
  • The current version is tested with ebBP Technical Specification v2.0.3. Usage of another version of this document may cause unhandled exceptions.
  • The graphical component pane should be improved in a user-friendly manner and also, the level of coupling between this module and XmlStylist module may be decreased.
  • A communication bridge between ebXML Registries and the ebBP Editor can be constructed as a functionality of the ebBP Editor. Over this bridge, one can access ebBP instances in an ebXML Registry or upload a newly created instance to that registry.
  • The ebBP Editor should have the web accessibility capability.


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