Microsoft Updates XML Data Routing Specification

FRAMINGHAM (06/27/2000) - Microsoft Corp. today announced the release of a draft update of its BizTalk Framework, an XML-based specification that the software vendor has proposed for use by companies that are looking to exchange business documents over the Internet.

The updated framework, which has been posted on Microsoft's Web site, now uses the company's Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) as its transport technology for sending XML documents across networks. SOAP is a key component of Microsoft's new .Net strategy for converting its software into a set of Internet-based computing services, and it has also been submitted to the World Wide Web Consortium as a proposed standard.

"It's important for Microsoft to show how committed they are to SOAP," said James Kobielus, an analyst at The Burton Group in Alexandria, Virginia.

The updated BizTalk Framework 2.0 specification will drop its own XML envelope format and use SOAP instead, said Dave Wascha, a product manager at Microsoft.

Other additions to the specification include additional syntax for guaranteed one-time-only delivery of XML messages and support for Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension guidelines that will let users include non-XML attachments within BizTalk documents.

The BizTalk framework is driven by Microsoft but has the backing of other software vendors such as Baan Co., J. D. Edwards & Co., PeopleSoft Inc. and SAP AG. It will be supported in Microsoft's BizTalk Server 2000 software for routing XML documents across the Internet, which is in beta-testing now and is scheduled to ship later this year.

At this point, Kobielus said, the BizTalk Framework is more advanced in development than a similar, industry-neutral XML framework called ebXML. The latter framework, which is being developed by an organization within the United Nations, is still in the early draft stage, according to Kobielus.

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