Universal Business Language
Universal Business Language (UBL) is a library of standard electronic XML business documents such as purchase orders and invoices. UBL was developed by an OASIS Technical Committee with participation from a variety of industry data standards organizations. UBL is designed to plug directly into existing business, legal, auditing, and records management practices. It is designed to eliminate the re-keying of data in existing fax- and paper-based business correspondence and provide an entry point into electronic commerce for small and medium-sized businesses.
UBL is owned by OASIS and is currently available to all, with no royalty fees. The UBL library of business documents is a well-developed markup language with validators, authoring software, parsers and generators. UBL version 2.0 was approved as an OASIS Committee Specification in October 2006 and version 2.1 is under public review (as of 2012). Version 2.1 is fully backward compatible but adds 33 new document schemas.
UBL traces its origins back to the EDI standards and other derived XML standards. In version 2.0 there are 31 documents covering business needs in the phases of presale, ordering, delivery, invoicing and payment.
Northern European Subset - NESUBL
As part of the Northern European cooperation on e-commerce and e-procurement, representatives from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, UK and Iceland have set up a working group for developing a Northern European subset of UBL 2.0 documents. The main focus of NES is to define the semantic use of UBL 2.0 as applied to specific business processes. To achieve this the UBL 2.0 standard is restricted on additional levels by using "profiles" that apply to defined business situations. The use of individual elements is specifically described to avoid conflicting interpretation. Additionally each country has developed guidelines that describe the application of the NESUBL subset to domestic business practices. The goal is to enable companies and institutions to implement e-commerce by agreeing to a specific profile and thus eliminate the need for bilateral implementation. Additional countries have shown interest in joining the work. The NESUBL subset was published in March 2007.
Since its publication, NESUBL subset has influenced government eProcurement initiatives across Europe, for example in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, The Netherlands, Turkey. It is also the basis for an eProcurement initiative, ePrior, by the European Commission, Directorate General's of the European Commission, starting with the Directorate General for Information Technology (DIGIT).
Further development of NES has progressed over to CEN/BII workshop and will be the basis for the PEPPOL project, Pan-European Public Procurement Online project. The goal of PEPPOL is to run public procurement pilots across borders within the EU, based on harmonised procurement documents developed by CEN / BII workshop.
Spanish UBL version based in CCI
In Spain, UBL is being used primarily for electronic invoice encoding. The UBL Spanish Localization Committee has been actively developing UBL awareness and has created implementation guidelines to allow easy adoption of UBL based on previous work done by CCI.
UBL Turkish Customization - UBLTR
The UBL Turkish Localization Subcommittee customized the UBL 2.0 to be used in eInvoice process in Turkey.
Community and developer resources
The UBL online community is an open wiki-based forum hosted by OASIS for the community to build persistent resources for sharing information about UBL and news from users and vendors.
Regional UBL user/developer communities
North America - goUBL.com
- iSURF eDoCreator 1.0 allows creation and customization of UBL document schemas.
- phloc-ubl Java library for reading and writing UBL 2.0 documents.
- UBL Larsen C# .NET 4.0 library for reading and writing UBL 2.0 documents.
- UBL 2.0 implementation library Retrieved on 2009-12-21.
- "UBL official homepage". Retrieved 2007-03-31.
- Article by Tim Bray: "Don’t Invent XML Languages" Retrieved on 2007-05-29.
- "On UBL (an overview)". Retrieved 2008-02-09.
- "NES official homepage". Archived from the original on 2007-03-20. Retrieved 2007-03-31.
- "IDABC e-Invoicing and e-Ordering project for public procurement, by Pieter Breyne". Retrieved 2010-04-03.
- Breyne, Pieter; Philip Van Langenhove, Joao Frade, Maarten Daniëls (9/03/2009). "Analysis of Business Requirements for e-Invoicing in a Public Procurement Context : Final Study". European Commission. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
- "The CEN / BII workshop results". Retrieved 2010-04-03.
- "The CEN / BII official homepage". Retrieved 2010-04-03.
- "PEPPOL, Pan European Public Procurement Online". Retrieved 2010-04-03.
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