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Following almost one and a half decades of effort by the OASIS Technical Committee, the OASIS Universal Business Language (UBL) V2.1 was approved as an International Standard: Universal Business Language (UBL) v2.1 (ISO/IEC 19845) on Friday 18 December 2015.
UBL, the Universal Business Language, is the product of an international effort to define a royalty-free library of standard electronic XML business documents such as purchase orders and invoices and was developed by an OASIS Technical Committee with participation from a variety of industry data standards organizations.
The UBL originated out of efforts in 1999 to create a set of standard XML "office documents" within OASIS. The working group that came to be known as UBL was established as an in November 2001. This approval of the Universal Business Language (UBL) v2.1 (ISO/IEC 19845) ensures that UBL is both recognized in public sector policies and will also provide additional layers of governance for the long-term sustainability of UBL. Sparx Systems has been a long term supporter of the work of the OASIS Technical Committee responsible for this development and has demonstrated this relationship with provision of Enterprise Architect licences for the standard development effort.
Sparx Systems support for standards was extended with the addition of the Schema Composer in the release of, Enterprise Architect 12 earlier this year. Following expressions of concern about the lack of semantic interoperability between various standards communities and the impact that this was having on the adoption of standards by the stakeholders in various industry ecosystems, Sparx Systems created the Schema Composer which enables semantic interoperability, by automating the building of XSD and similar data definitions from a model subset, using simple check boxes.
Direct Support for Key Industry Standards
The Schema Composer currently targets a number of key industry standards including CIM, NIEM, UN/CEFACT, UBL and generic XSD, RDF, OWL and other formats and allows the rapid design and build of XSD and similar data definitions such as RDF and JSON, from a selection of elements within the model.
NIEM schema definition and model transform (for creating NIEM model extensions and schemas) is directly supported in Schema Composer and a NIEM subset can be created directly within your model ready to define extension and exchange schemas.
Similarly CIM XSD schemas are directly supported in the Schema Composer as is CIM Augmented RDFS which includes both forward and inverse property for each bi-directional Association in the message. See http://www.sparxsystems.com.au/products/ea/12/index.html
Enterprise Architect provides the following resources for the composition of business documents using UBL:
- UBL 2.1 Main Document Libraries
- UBL 2.1 Common Component Libraries
Business Document Composition
- Schema Composer for component composition
- Schema Composer for document composition
- Schema Composer for schema generation
- Add-in integration
- Scripting integration
For more information, please visit the Enterprise Architect User Guide.
"OASIS", ["UBL" and "Universal Business Language" ] are trademarks of OASIS, the open standards consortium where the [UBL] specification is owned and developed. [UBL] is a copyrighted © work of OASIS Open. All rights reserved.
Any business can benefit, from the solid foundation that standardization brings. The development of new technologies and opportunities, to share and enhance existing practices, are just two of the many benefits, to be derived. Furthermore the economies introduced by standardization dramatically reduce tooling and process duplication while increasing the competency of the work force while the efficiency and effectiveness of standards can ultimately save lives.
However, for enduring economic health and prosperity, the adoption of standards that support interoperability between business partners, is essential. In recent history there has never been a period of standards development like that which we are currently experiencing. Communication circles the globe in a click while global competition is on our doorstep 24x7 and legislation-driven change is creating a tsunami of disruption and opportunity where standards offer navigation and increased survivability.
Interoperability,- that is, the ability to transfer and use information in a uniform and efficient manner across multiple organizations and information technology systems- underpins the level of benefits accruing to enterprises, government and the wider economy through e-commerce. To enable two information systems to interoperate, they have to be implemented based upon a mutually agreed set of specifications covering both the business aspects (e.g. how the business activities of one party interact with those of its business partners, what the legal consequences of such interactions are, what information needs to be sent from one party to another, the semantics behind the exchanged information, etc.) and the technical aspects (e.g. what protocol and message format should be used to send information from one party to another).
Successful communication has traditionally been effected by laborious and error prone processes. It takes the “dedicated” quite some time, to gain a degree of familiarity with the dense and interconnected style in which XML schema specification is written. Most people simply cannot afford such a luxury. Meanwhile on the receiving end the user finds it very difficult to decide whether the error is in their schema/instance or a bug in their processor.
In the standards area the Schema Composer in EA 12 represents a key enabling technology. Standards and frameworks such as NIEM and SWIFT provide the grammar to communicate between organisations and at low level, this requires a common information model. The Schema Composer allows an organisation to quickly create XML files in XSD which specifies how to formally describe the elements in an XML document. This description can be used to verify that each item of content in a document adheres to the description of the element in which the content is to be placed, enabling propagation of data between different organisations. With these types of data interchange you want to be able to define various interchanges that support communication of details from sub-sections of your broader schema. For example, as a vehicle manufacturer you may want a data interchange with a parts supplier which involves a different data interchange that you would have to a retailer selling your models. These can involve different data sets, with specific data types, from the same overall schema.
For more information or to evaluate the Schema Composer please visit www.sparxsystems.com and download a copy of Enterprise Architect version 12
Not since Y2K, has there been tumult of anticipation and apprehension about the impact of technology change that is predicted by the Nexus of Forces (Cloud, Social, Mobile and Big Data).
At the turn of the millennium, the perceived threat was enough for governments to take action before the event, which serendipitously strengthened the existing computer infrastructure. The “millennium bug” crisis created an opportunity to get rid of antiquated systems and modernise and according to an IDC report from 2006 the global cost of remediation was $308 billion (or $422B adjusted for inflation).
A programming bug and a poor understanding of process and outcomes caused the millennium crisis and factors which have relevance today. Together with an absence of standardised processes and ad-hoc decision making, (no repositories or collaboration tools) a lack of adherence to programming standards, project expedience, un-coordinated codebase modifications and uncompleted changes are some of the many factors that lead to technical debt or IT debt. In 2010 Gartner estimated “global 'IT Debt' to be $500 Billion with potential to grow to $1 Trillion by 2015”.
Applications drive the business and management makes decisions based on these applications, many of which were built to meet the needs of discreet business areas at a time when the idea of holistic management of applications as a portfolio was uncommon. With the need to create a single view of the customer from all parts of the enterprise the application silos must now be addressed. However, enterprise will continue to rely on those applications and adapt them to meet the nexus of forces.
The next period of uncertainty presents global industry with risk and opportunity in equal measure and just as with the response to Y2K, the forces of change can be harnessed to drive the digital workplace and promote workplace agility. If not maintained applications will eventually cause problems that can threaten the hard won competitive advantage of an organization and the ability to succeed through periods of dramatic change.
If there was ever a clear measure of change since the beginning of the 21st century one must only look at the growth of the forces in the digital convergence. In 1999, the total amount of data globally was 1.5 Exabytes, in 2010, 1.2Zb (12000 Eb) and will reach 7.9Zb in 2015. There were 300 million mobile phone subscribers in 1999 and today there are more than 7 billion. In 1999 there were 248 million Internet subscribers and today there are 3 billion. Such exponential growth has an impact on enterprise architecture, creating a demand for visual tools that are capable of engaging the whole organisation. Through the innovative use of technology, the enterprise can become a disrupting influence rather than be subjected to disrupting influences, while using the tide of digital change to reinvent itself.
The adoption of standards based tools that provide the templates and frameworks to reduce risk and increase efficiency is a major step towards technical debt reduction. The automation of processes will provide the time savings demanded by the agile enterprise while improving data quality. This in turn will reduce costs, create savings and support better informed investments, improved decision making and the fostering of innovation. The digital future requires both speed and agility while nurturing and growing organizational innovation.
Standards codify the best practices of an industry, with the built in adaptability and flexibility that is informed by having an eye to the future. In situations where compliance is mandated or where there is uncertainty, such as that generated by digital convergence, standards are designed to provide assurance and guidance.
Enterprise Architect supports the collaborative visualisation to remediate the software legacy and take control of the software development for evolving systems. This award winning, repository based technology, which is built on open standards, offers a number of automated best practices that can be adopted to shrink technical debt, while supporting the diverse viewpoints of stakeholders, geographically distributed throughout the enterprise. A powerful low cost solution to integrate critical information legacy with future systems design.
In the rapidly changing world of aviation, standards are the measure by which successful transition from the norm to the new can be made. Over 60 years, IATA has developed the commercial standards that built a global industry and its mission is to represent, lead and serve the airline industry. With a membership made up of 240 airlines, among them the world's leading passenger and cargo airlines, IATA represents 84% of total air traffic.
Passenger numbers topped the 3 billion mark in 2013 for the first time, with the value of goods carried as air cargo totalling one third of world trade.
Passenger and Airport Data Interchange Standards Board - or PADIS is a set of working groups responsible for the maintenance of technical specifications such as XML schemas in support of various business standards maintained by IT experts who can turn business standards into precise technical specifications that systems need to communicate.
It is against this industry backdrop that IATA has chosen Enterprise Architect to build the Aviation Industry Data model. The data model will enable interoperability across the entire spectrum of services providers and agents, who work with airlines to provide a seamless travel experience.
For more information, please read the official press release.
The Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE™) Consortium is an aviation focused professional group managed by the Open Group. Recently Sparx Systems contributed a collection of licenses to assist members in their development of the FACE Data Model. The Open Group, via its latest news release and the FACE website thanked Sparx Systems for their assistance:
"[Enterprise Architect has] been instrumental towards the development of the FACE Data Model and DoDAF 2.0 representations of FACE Enterprise Architecture products. In addition we appreciate their assistance in setting up a shared working environment for these efforts."