The ebXML architecture is a unique set of concepts; part theoretical and part implemented in the existing ebXML standards work.
The melding of these components began in the original ebXML work and the theoretical discussion continues today. Other work relates, such as the Object Management Group work and the OASIS BCM (Business-Centric Methodology) standard (2006).
While the ebXML standards adopted by ISO and OASIS seek to provide formal XML-enabled mechanisms that can be implemented directly, the ebXML architecture is focused on concepts and methodologies that can be more broadly applied to allow practitioners to better implement e-business solutions.
A particular instance is the Core Components Technical Specification (CCTS) work that continues within UN/CEFACT, whereas its cousin - UBL - Universal Business Language - specification is used within OASIS that implements specific XML transactions by applying the principles of CCTS to typical supply chain transactions such as invoice, purchase order, ship notice and so on.
ebXML was started in 1999 as a joint initiative between the United Nations Centre for Trade facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) and Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS). A joint coordinating committee composed of representatives from each of the two organizations led the effort. Quarterly meetings of the working groups were held between November 1999 and May 2001. At the final plenary a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the two organizations, splitting up responsibility for the various specifications but continuing oversight by the joint coordinating committee.
The original project envisioned five layers of data specification, including XML standards for:
All work was completed based on a normative requirements document and the ebXML Technical Architecture Specification.
After completion of the 6 specifications by the two organizations, 5 parts of the work were submitted to ISO TC 154 for approval. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has approved the following five ebXML specifications as the ISO 15000 standard, under the general title, Electronic business eXtensible markup language:
OASIS technical committees and UN/CEFACT retain the responsibility for maintaining and advancing the above specifications. The freebXML.org initiative was established to promote development and adoption of ebXML-based open-source software.