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ebMail Source Code Donated to ebXML Development Community

Hong Kong, Peoples Republic of China - June 12, 2003 - Center for E-Commerce Infrastructure Development (CECID), Department of Computer Science and Information Systems (CSIS), The University of Hong Kong (HKU) is pleased to announce its code base donation of ebMail to the ebXML development community. This open-source project is released under the Academic Free License ( http://www.opensource.org/licenses/academic/hph) that permits royalty free use of the source and binaries. Developers are encouraged to download ebMail at freebxml.org and subscribe to the mailing lists set up at sourceforge (http://sourceforge.net/projects/ebmail) for enquiries.

ebMail is a desktop e-mail client which helps organizations, small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SME) in particular, to engage in B2B e-commerce activities. This lightweight toolkit enables trading partners to exchange business documents cost-effectively through email, or ebXML Message Service (ebMS) over Simple Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP). ebMail is a trimmed-down ebMS handler which does not require any application server software and dedicated Internet connection to use ebXML. It allows a user to compose electronic documents offline through graphical user interface (GUI), and send and receive documents when the user is connected to the Internet.

ebMail employs plug-in modules to provide different graphical user interface (GUI) forms for capturing business data into different schemas of XML documents (e.g. price quotation, purchase order, invoice, etc.) and binary file attachments (e.g. PDF, graphics, etc.). These plug-ins can load, save, and manipulate business data in the local file system, as well as import documents from office applications to the GUI for efficient document handling. ebMail plug-ins can also handle simple business processes that define choreographies of document exchanges.

A Java-based and platform-neutral application, ebMail provides a Java API for third-party developers to create plug-ins. The plug-in API allows developers to program GUI handlers, convert input data into XML documents of a specific schema, and develop advanced features, such as document management in the local file system.

XML documents composed by ebMail plug-ins are packaged into ebMS messages and send and receive messages in ebMS/SMTP through central mechanisms. Furthermore, ebMail can digitally sign and encrypt outgoing documents, and decrypt and authenticate incoming documents using digital certificates, and it makes use of ebMS code from another open-source project, Hermes (http://freebxml.org).

ebMail was developed by CECID under the auspices of Project Phoenix. Project Phoenix is primarily sponsored by the Innovation and Technology Commission of the Hong Kong Government. Two of the pilot project partners using ebMail are Department of Health of the Hong Kong Government and Hong Kong Observatory. CECID has developed a prototype based on ebMail for the Department of Health to streamline its pharmaceutical products import and export licensing application procedure. The Center is starting the development of a new ebMail plug-in for Hong Kong Observatory, which has been designated by the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to collect world weather information for the WMO's Website.

About CECID (http://www.cecid.hku.hk):
Established in January 2002, the Center for E-Commerce Infrastructure Development (CECID) at the University of Hong Kong conducts e-commerce research and development with the vision of helping Hong Kong increase its competitiveness in the international arena. CECID has the missions to develop e-commerce enabling technologies, to join important international e-commerce initiatives, to support e-commerce standardization for Hong Kong and the Asia Pacific Region, and to transfer e-commerce technology and skills to the community. As an OASIS member, CECID is participating in the standardization projects, such as ebXML and Universal Business Language (UBL). CECID also collaborates with a number of lead technology users in the Asia Pacific Region on the application of advanced e-commerce technologies.

About ebXML (http://www.ebxml.org):
The mission of ebXML is to provide an open XML-based infrastructure enabling the global use of electronic business information in an interoperable, secure and consistent manner by all parties. ebXML (Electronic Business using Extensible Markup Language), sponsored by UN/CEFACT and OASIS, is a modular suite of specifications that enables enterprises of any size and in any geographical location to conduct business over the Internet. Using ebXML, companies now have a standard method to exchange business messages, conduct trading relationships, communicate data in common terms and define and register business processes.

About OASIS (http://www.oasis-open.org):
OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) is a not-for-profit, global consortium that drives the development, convergence and adoption of e-business standards. Members themselves set the OASIS technical agenda, using a lightweight, open process expressly designed to promote industry consensus and unite disparate efforts. OASIS produces worldwide standards for security, Web services, XML conformance, business transactions, electronic publishing, topic maps and interoperability within and between marketplaces.

PR Contacts for Press and Analysts:
Dorris Tai (cwtai@cecid.hku.hk)
Business Manager
Center for E-Commerce Infrastructure Development (CECID)
Dept. of Computer Science & Information Systems
The University of Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2859 2818
Fax: +852 2547 4611
URL: http://www.cecid.hku.hk