An ebXML Messaging Service Handler (MSH) Deployment Case in Hong Kong
August 15, 2002
by Dorris Tai (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This document describes how two companies (a buyer and a seller of office supplies) have deployed Hermes, the ebXML Messaging Service Handler that is in compliance with the OASIS ebXML Message Service (ebMS) Specification V2. The deployment demonstrates the applicability of Transport, Routing & Packaging (TRP) of the ebXML infrastructure in B2B document exchange.
In March 2002, the Center for E-Commerce Infrastructure Development (CECID) of the University of Hong Kong commenced an e-procurement pilot project using ebXML technology with two local industry partners. MTR Corporation is the major subway operator in Hong Kong; Saggio (Asia Pacific) is a vendor of office supplies with businesses in the Asian region. The new system has three purposes. First, it enables Saggio to send delivery notes, statements and invoices to MTRC electronically. Hence, costs related to paper document preparation, such as paper and administrative costs, are reduced. Furthermore, MTRC can store a copy of the data in its own database for other automation, planning and statistics activities. Second, the system automates some of the current manual reconciliation of invoice and statement records. Productivity will be increased. Third, with the use of Hermes, an ebXML Messaging Service Handler that is in compliance with the ebMS Specification V2, CECID demonstrates the applicability of Transport, Routing & Packaging (TRP) of the ebXML infrastructure in Business-to-Business (B2B) document exchange. As of August 2002, the new system is undergoing User Acceptance Test (UAT) and is expected to be in full operation by the end of September.
Implementation of an e-Procurement System with the Use of ebXML Messaging Service Handler (MSH)
CECID has created six 'sub-systems' in MTRC and Saggio to automate document exchange and capture procurement document data into MTRC's database system. With the captured data in its database, MTRC can also partially automate the invoice-statement reconciliation process. A 'sub-system' is a collection of software programs. Two of these 'sub-systems' are the focus of this article: Saggio Document Processor (SDP) and MTRC Document Processor (MDP) (in bold-face below). These two 'sub-systems', composed of Java programs, deploy the ebXML Messaging technology.
Price List Maintenance System (PLMS)
- To provide an interface for MTRC users to update contract item price list to a database
Saggio Document Processor (SDP) (See Figure 1)
- To package data of statements, invoices and credit notes in ebXML-format
MTRC Document Processor (MDP) (See Figure 2)
- To process received ebXML documents and store the data into a database
Delivery Handling System (DHS)
- To provide an interface for MTRC users to check invoice data against delivery notes, and to confirm invoices
Departmental Statement Endorsement System (DSES)
- To provide an interface for MTRC Department Head to reconcile statement and invoice data, as well as to endorse a statement
Financial Control Statement Endorsement System (FCSES)
- To provide an interface for MTRC Financial Control to process an endorsed statement
Figures 1 and 2 depict the system architectures of Saggio and MTRC. Both Saggio and MTRC have the Messaging Service Handler (Hermes) installed. Furthermore, Saggio Document Processor (SDP) and MTRC Document Processor (MDP) have a Java program called Data Packaging Handler installed. Finally, a Java program Data Extraction Handler is installed in SDP and another program called Data Insertion Handler is installed in MDP. Together, this collection of programs meets the requirements of the ebMS specification V2 and demonstrates Transport, Routing & Packaging of the ebXML infrastructure. The following describes the document exchange process after automation is achieved through these programs.
Data Extraction Handler at Saggio first collects the delivery note, statement and invoice data from the company's database. It then communicates with Data Packaging Handler, where it then constructs the data into ebXML-format document. Next, the Data Packaging Handler sends the ebXML document to Hermes (MSH) through HTTP. Hermes then constructs (packages) the document into the standard envelop-and-message format for delivery. The packaged message is then transported through HTTPS to the Hermes at MTRC.
To ensure the message is sent reliably and securely, Hermes has implemented three other features stated in the OASIS ebMS V2 specification. First, Hermes makes use of the protocols and algorithms defined in ebMS V2 specification to guarantee the message is delivered to the destination once and only once. Second, the data in the message is encrypted using SSL protocol (HTTPS) during transportation. Third, the system maintenance feature provides system monitoring, recovery and logging to enhance 'house-keeping'.
After it receives the ebXML message, the Hermes at MTRC passes the received message to Data Packaging Handler, where it extracts statement, invoice and credit note data from the message. Next, Data Insertion Handler takes the extracted data from Data Packaging Handler and stores it into MTRC's database. Furthermore, the ASP intranet-front-end program connected to the database allows users to reconcile the procurement data online.
The e-Procurement system of MTRC and Saggio has implemented the ebXML Messaging technology to facilitate document exchange between a vendor and a buyer. The two companies plan to extend this application to other suppliers and customers. Furthermore, this deployment has confirmed the applicability of Transport, Routing & Packaging (TRP) of the ebXML infrastructure in B2B document exchange. In particular, Hermes1, a Messaging Service Handler (MSH) that is in compliance with OASIS' ebMS specification V22, is the key component in ensuring the security and reliability of the document exchange process. In a nutshell, Hermes has implemented:
- Packaging of ebXML Messaging
- Data Encryption using SSL protocol (HTTPS)
- Transportation of messages using HTTP protocol
- Reliable messaging to guarantee message delivery
- Message repository on database and file systems
- Error handling
- System maintenance (e.g. system monitoring, system recovery, and system logging, etc.)
- RDBMS persistent storage
Figure 1: Architecture Overview of the e-Procurement System at Saggio
Figure 2: Architecture Overview of the e-Procurement System at MTRC
The author would like to thank the technical staff at CECID for their assistance on this document.
- The code and binaries of Hermes can be downloaded for free at freebxml.org.
- For more information on the OASIS ebMS specification V2, visit http://oasis-open.org/committees/ebxml-msg/.
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