CommerceNet News: CommerceNet Issues XML-based eCo

ZOT Group (
Mon, 11 Oct 1999 22:16:55 -0400


Worldwide Industry Leaders Collaborate to Develop "Plug and Play"
Architecture and Building Blocks for eCommerce Applications

Also available in Japanese

For Immediate Release

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ZOT Group

Sally Khudairi

B.K. DeLong

CUPERTINO, CA, USA -- 12 October, 1999 -- Furthering its mission to shape
the future of eCommerce, CommerceNet today announced the release of the eCo
Interoperability Framework Specification, which builds a bridge between
disparate, proprietary electronic commerce solutions, in most cases letting
businesses interoperate online without manual intervention. "eCo compliance
means freedom from limited eCommerce solutions," said Randall Whiting, CEO
of CommerceNet. "With the eCo Framework, eCommerce solutions can seamlessly
interoperate in a world where tools such as agents and auctions are
starting to impact almost every business process."

When no common basis exists for interaction, the growth of eCommerce is
restricted. The challenge with eCommerce interoperability today lies in
unifying the numerous solutions in which eCommerce is carried out.
CommerceNet members spearheaded the development of basic interoperability
principles through the launch of the eCo Framework initiative in 1998.
Today, eCo provides a common, interoperable framework within which the
diverse environments of eCommerce can be represented. By adopting the
framework and a common way of describing its elements, business trading
communities can maintain a level of interoperability without sacrificing
their ability to innovate and adapt.


The eCo Interoperability Framework provides a single common protocol
through which eCommerce systems can describe themselves, their services and
their interoperability requirements. The eCo Framework Working Group, which
developed the specification, includes key industry players such as 3Com,
American Express, American Power Conversion, ASC/X12, Berkeley National
Lab, Cisco Systems, Commerce One, Compaq, CSC, GEIS, Harbinger,
Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Intuit, ISO, Microsoft, Mondex International,
NEC, Netscape, Novell, Royal Bank of Canada, Sun Microsystems and,
as well as experts in XML, OBI, OFX, OTP, XML/EDI, RosettaNet and CBL.

"It is CommerceNet's role to direct a project with such a unique depth and
breadth of expertise brought to solving the critical problems of
interoperability in electronic commerce," explained Dave Hollander,
CommerceNet's Director of Interoperability and co-author of the XML
Specification. "eCo is the result of intense collaboration by all parties
involved in eCommerce, including leading banks, vendors, service providers
and major end users."

The eCo Interoperability Framework consists of two components:

- The eCo Architecture defines the way businesses describe themselves and
their commerce services, as well as the markets or trading communities to
which they belong. The specification offers ascending levels of compliance,
with an easily implementable first level that lets organizations achieve
interoperability with other eCommerce systems in less than a hour.

- The eCo Semantic Recommendations describe best practices for developing
XML based e-commerce documents. The recommendations also define a set of
XML building blocks and document definitions that will let future XML
specifications to interoperate easily with existing ones. It includes a
"starter set" of example business documents, such as purchase orders and
invoices. The library of building blocks includes XML encodings for ISO and
related standards for currency, time/date, country codes, measurement,
address and other reusable components.

"The eCo Framework is an important contribution towards the future of
electronic commerce," added Whiting. "Companies can use the eCo
specification to jump-start or enhance electronic commerce interactions
with their existing supply chain while also laying the foundation for
opening their trading systems to new customers and suppliers."

See eCo in action at CommerceNet 99 on 1-3 November 1999 Participate in the eCo Registry to see the
steps a business would take to become a participant in an eCo-enabled
marketplace. To register an actual business and make it first stage
eCo-compliant takes less than one hour.

The eCo Interoperability Specification has been produced as part of the
CommerceNet eCo Framework Initiative. Please see attached Fact Sheet and
Testimonials document for additional information on eCo Architecture and
Semantic Specifications.

For information on eCo in particular, see

CommerceNet is the largest grouping of electronic commerce influencers in
the world, working to make eCommerce easy, trusted and ubiquitous. Launched
in April 1994 in Silicon Valley, its membership has grown to more than 500
eCommerce developers and end-users worldwide from hardware and software
companies, financial institutions, telcos, government agencies,
integrators, service providers, net market makers and others.

For more information about CommerceNet, see