Universal Business Language

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Universal Business Language (UBL) is an open library of standard electronic XML business documents for procurement and transportation such as purchase orders, invoices, transport logistics and waybills. 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.[1] 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.[2]

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.[3] UBL version 2.0 was approved as an OASIS Standard in October 2006, and version 2.1 was approved as an OASIS Standard in November 2013 and an ISO Standard (ISO/IEC 19845:2015) in December 2015. Version 2.1 is fully backward compatible with version 2.0, but it adds 34 new document schemas, bringing the total of business document types defined by UBL to 65.

UBL is described in an extensive overview in the article "What is UBL?" describing customizing and extending UBL, the governance of UBL, how UBL is modeled, and thoughts regarding deploying UBL.

UBL traces its origins back to the EDI standards and other derived XML standards.[4][5]




UBL 2.1 - http://docs.oasis-open.org/ubl/os-UBL-2.1/UBL-2.1.html

UBL 2.1 as ISO/IEC 19845:2015 - http://standards.iso.org/ittf/PubliclyAvailableStandards/

UBL 2.2 Public Review - http://docs.oasis-open.org/ubl/UBL-2.2.html


UBL 2.0 - http://docs.oasis-open.org/ubl/os-UBL-2.0-update/

UBL 1.0 - http://docs.oasis-open.org/ubl/cd-UBL-1.0/

UBL 2.1 - ISO/IEC 19845:2015[edit]

The following supported processes and document types are defined in UBL 2.1.[6] UBL 2.1 is completely backward-compatible with UBL 2.0 (that is, all schema-valid instances of UBL 2.0 are also schema-valid instances of UBL 2.1).

Business processes described and supported in UBL[edit]

Business process support originating with UBL 1.0 (2004)[edit]

Ordering, Fulfilment, Billing

Business process support added in UBL 2.0 (2006)[edit]

Catalogue, Quotation, Payment, Statement, Transport Services, Certificate of Origin

Business process support added in UBL 2.1 (2013)[edit]

eTendering, Vendor Managed Inventory, Intermodal Freight Management, Utility Billing,and Collaborative Planning, Forecasting, Replenishment and e-Invoice / e-Archive and e-Ledger in Turkey

Business process support proposed to be added for UBL 2.2 (2017)[edit]

Weight Statement, Business Directory, eTendering

Standard document types defined by UBL[edit]

Document types originally defined in UBL 1.0 (2004)[edit]

Order, Order Response, Order Response Simple, Order Change, Order Cancellation, Despatch Advice [Advance Ship Notice], Receipt Advice, Invoice

Document types added in UBL 2.0 (2006)[edit]

Added document types for sourcing: Catalogue, Catalogue Deletion, Catalogue Item Specification Update, Catalogue Pricing Update, Catalogue Request, Quotation, Request for Quotation

Added document types for fulfillment: Bill of Lading, Certificate of Origin, Forwarding Instructions, Packing List, Transportation Status, Waybill

Added document types for billing: Credit Note, Debit Note, Freight Invoice, Reminder, Self Billed Credit Note, Self Billed Invoice

Added document types for payment: Remittance Advice, Statement

Added supplementary document types: Application Response, Attached Document

Document types added in UBL 2.1 (2013)[edit]

Added document types for eTendering: Awarded Notification, Call for Tenders, Contract Award Notice, Contract Notice, Guarantee Certificate, Tender, Tender Receipt, Tenderer Qualification, Tenderer Qualification Response, Unawarded Notification

Added document types for Collaborative planning, forecasting, and replenishment: Exception Criteria, Exception Notification, Forecast, Forecast Revision, Item Information Request, Prior Information Notice, Trade Item Location Profile

Added document types for Vendor Managed Inventory: Instruction for Returns, Inventory Report, Product Activity, Retail Event, Stock Availability Report

Added document types for Intermodal Freight Management: Goods Item Itinerary, Transport Execution Plan, Transport Execution Plan Request, Transport Progress Status, Transport Progress Status Request, Transport Service Description, Transport Service Description Request, Transportation Status, Transportation Status Request

Added document type for Utility billing: Utility Statement

Added supplementary document types: Document Status, Document Status Request

Document types proposed for UBL 2.2 (2017) - http://docs.oasis-open.org/ubl/UBL-2.2.html[edit]

Added document types for eTendering: Enquiry, Enquiry Response, Expression Of Interest Request, Expression Of Interest Response, Qualification Application Request, Qualification Application Response, Tender Contract, Tender Status, Tender Status Request, Tender Withdrawal, Unsubscribe From Procedure Request, Unsubscribe From Procedure Response

Added document types for transportation: Weight Statement

Added document types for business directories and agreements: Business Card, Digital Agreement, Digital Capability

UBL 2.1 as ISO/IEC 19845:2015 - http://standards.iso.org/ittf/PubliclyAvailableStandards/[edit]

The OASIS UBL 2.1 specification has been approved as ISO/IEC 19845 as of 2015-12-15:

UBL 2.2 public review - http://docs.oasis-open.org/ubl/UBL-2.2.html[edit]

The first public review of UBL 2.2 was announced[7] to begin February 1, 2017 and end March 17, 2017, with a target final publication of December 2017.

UBL 2.3 requirements gathering - per governance rules at http://docs.oasis-open.org/ubl/UBL-Governance/v1.0/cn01/UBL-Governance-v1.0-cn01.html[edit]

The UBL Technical Committee agreed[8] to begin accepting new suggestions for consideration in a future UBL 2.3, with a target final publication of December 2019.

Subsets and customizations of UBL[edit]

Danish subsets: OIOXML and OIOUBL[edit]

In December 2003 Denmark legislated[9] the mandatory use of a customization of UBL 0.7, using the OIOXML specification, for electronic invoicing for government procurement starting February 2005. In March 2010 Denmark legislated[10] the mandatory use of a customization of UBL 2.0, using the OIOUBL specification.

In 2011 the Danish government documented[11] savings of €500,000,000 having used UBL.

Northern European Subset - NESUBL[edit]

As part of the Northern European cooperation on e-commerce and e-procurement, representatives from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, UK and Iceland 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.[12] 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.[13]

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).[14][15] It is also the basis of the syntax for business documents created by the CEN/BII (Business Interoperability Initiative).[16][17]

European-wide deployment of UBL in PEPPOL[edit]

PEPPOL, the Pan-European Public Procurement Online project now maintained by OpenPEPPOL, adopts the work products of CEN/TC434 and CEN/TC440 that include UBL customizations and syntax serializations of different document types for European business processes. The goal of PEPPOL is to enable public procurement across borders within the EU.[18]

It was reported[19] that CEN/TC434 has unanimously agreed to endorse UBL as one of two syntaxes complying with the forthcoming European Norm on e-Invoicing and will be listed in a specific CEN Technical Specification.

These efforts support Directive 2014/55/EU on electronic invoicing in public procurement in Europe.

Spanish UBL version based in CCI[edit]

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[edit]

The UBL Turkish Localization Subcommittee customized the UBL 2.0 to be used in eInvoice process in Turkey.

Czech UBL Customization - ISDOC[edit]

The SPIS consortium (currently named ICT unie) created an UBL 2.0 customization ISDOC to be used for e-Invoicing in the Czech Republic. The recently released ISDOC 6 supports e-Requests too.[20]

Australian UBL Customization - DBC[edit]

The Australian Digital Business Council has published[21] a national standard for e-invoicing that includes the use of a UBL customization.

Peruvian UBL Customization - SUNAT[edit]

SUNAT, the national customs and tax administration for Peru, supports[22] a customization of UBL 2.0. Plans have been announced[23] by SUNAT to migrate to UBL 2.1

Belgian UBL Customization - e-fff[edit]

In December 2011 the Belgian government specified[24] a customization of UBL to maximize the interoperability of the electronic invoice between Belgian actors.

Swedish UBL Customization - Svefaktura[edit]

SFTI, the joint project of the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKL), Financial Management Authority (ESV) and the government contracting authority specified Svefaktura, a UBL customization.

Simplerinvoicing community UBL customization[edit]

Simplerinvoicing is a community of e-invoicing, ERP and accounting software providers making e-invoicing in UBL available for everyone. It includes access to the PEPPOL network for secure and reliable transfer.

Colombian UBL Customization - DIAN[edit]

DIAN, the Colombian national tax and customs directorate, implements [25] UBL 2 as the XML document format for electronic invoicing.

Norwegian UBL Customization - EHF[edit]

Difi, the Norwegian agency for Public Management and eGovernment, has chosen[26] to use CEN BII as a base for the EHF formats and the Universal Business Language (UBL) as a foundation for the implemented syntax.

Dutch UBL Customization - UBL-OHNL / SI-1.1[edit]

In response to the European Directive 2014/55/EU the Netherlands government has mandated[27] XML Invoicing for all contracts signed after January 1, 2017 using the UBL-OHNL customization via Digipoort or the SimplerInvoicing 1.1 customization via PEPPOL.

National adoptions[edit]

  • on February 17, 2017 Canada formally adopted UBL 2.1 as Canadian national standard CAN/CSA-ISO/IEC 19845:16[28] (paid content identical to free content from OASIS download web site cited above)

Corporate support of UBL[edit]

  • MSC documented[29] their adoption of UBL 2.1 for sales invoices as of March 15, 2016
  • EDF France documented[30] their adoption of UBL 2.0 for orders as of March 23, 2010

Industry support of UBL[edit]

Textile Clothing and Footwear industry - eBiz-TCF[edit]

  • eBIZ is a UBL customization available for the Textile Clothing and Footwear industry.

Products supporting UBL[edit]

Tools for working with UBL documents and models[edit]

Community and developer resources[edit]

The UBL Developer Mail List is an open unmoderated list hosted by OASIS for developers to collaborate and post questions. Visit the OASIS mail list manager to subscribe.

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[edit]

North America - goUBL.com

UBL Vocabulary Development[edit]

The OASIS UBL Naming and Design Rules Version 3.0 documents how the UBL Technical Committee applies the OASIS Business Document Naming and Design Rules Version 1.0 specification for defining a business document creating XSD schemas on the basis of business objects described using the UN/CEFACT Core Component Technical Specification 2.01.

The committee has published a reference[32] for one to create one's own UBL subset schema by starting from the same resources used by the committee to publish the UBL distribution.

The committee announced[33] the first public review of the OASIS Business Document Naming and Design Rules Version 1.1[34] proposed OASIS Standard with new rules for creating JSON validation artefacts for JSON documents, complete with the OASIS Committee Note[5] of all UBL 2.1 document types as JSON schemas and all UBL 2.1 example documents as JSON documents, beginning February 1, 2017 and closing April 1, 2017.


  1. ^ UBL 2.0 implementation library Retrieved on 2009-12-21.
  2. ^ "UBL official homepage". Retrieved 2007-03-31. 
  3. ^ Article by Tim Bray: "Don’t Invent XML Languages" Retrieved on 2007-05-29.
  4. ^ "On UBL (an overview)". Retrieved 2008-02-09. 
  5. ^ "History of UBL | UBL XML.org". ubl.xml.org. Retrieved 2017-01-11. 
  6. ^ "Universal Business Language Version 2.1 - OASIS Standard - 04 November 2013" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  7. ^ "#UBL v2.2 begins 45 day Public Review - ends March 17th | OASIS". www.oasis-open.org. Retrieved 2017-02-01. 
  8. ^ "Minutes of Atlantic UBL TC call 18 January 2017 15:00UTC". lists.oasis-open.org. Retrieved 2017-02-01. 
  9. ^ "Danish statute for OIOXML eInvoice". www.oio.dk. Retrieved 2016-09-29. 
  10. ^ "Executive Order on Information in, and Transport of, OIOUBL Electronic Invoices for Electronic Settlement with Public Authorities" (PDF). 
  11. ^ "E-Invoicing in Denmark". 
  12. ^ "On NESUBL (an overview)". 
  13. ^ "NES official homepage". Archived from the original on 2007-03-20. Retrieved 2007-03-31. 
  14. ^ "IDABC e-Invoicing and e-Ordering project for public procurement, by Pieter Breyne". Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  15. ^ Breyne, Pieter; Philip Van Langenhove; Joao Frade; Maarten Daniëls (31 March 2009). "Analysis of Business Requirements for e-Invoicing in a Public Procurement Context : Final Study". European Commission. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  16. ^ "The CEN / BII workshop results". Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  17. ^ "The CEN / BII official homepage". Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  18. ^ "PEPPOL, Pan European Public Procurement Online". Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  19. ^ "2017-01-26: Agreement on syntaxes complying with the forthcoming European standard (EN) on Electronic Invoicing - CEF Digital - CEF Digital". ec.europa.eu. Retrieved 2016-11-07. 
  20. ^ ISDOC 6: Nový formát elektronické fakturace má zlepšit transparentnost veřejných zakázek
  21. ^ "Australia now has a national standard for e-invoicing". iTnews. Retrieved 2016-09-28. 
  22. ^ "E-invoicing in Peru". Retrieved 2016-09-29. 
  23. ^ "Google Translate" (PDF). translate.google.com. Retrieved 2016-09-29. 
  24. ^ "e-fff". www.e-fff.be. Retrieved 2016-09-29. 
  25. ^ "Dirección de Impuestos y Aduanas Nacionales de Colombia". www.dian.gov.co. Retrieved 2016-10-27. 
  26. ^ eGovernment, Agency of Public Management and. "EHF Invoice and Creditnote". vefa.difi.no. Retrieved 2016-12-01. 
  27. ^ "Mandatory XML e-invoicing towards Dutch central agencies as from 1 January 2017 - E-invoicing Platform". eeiplatform.com. Retrieved 2016-12-01. 
  28. ^ "CAN/CSA-ISO/IEC 19845:16". ShopCSA. Retrieved 2017-02-18. 
  29. ^ "MSC Belgium presents e-invoicing | MSC". www.msc.com. Retrieved 2016-09-29. 
  30. ^ "Guide techique Traduction des factures EDF en XML Version 1.2" (PDF). 
  31. ^ "The hidden OASIS: a Universal Business Language - Tradeshift Blog". 2013-05-21. Retrieved 2016-10-02. 
  32. ^ a b "UBL spreadsheet editing instructions". Retrieved 2016-09-28. 
  33. ^ "#UBL 2.1 JSON Alternate Representation v1.0 and Business Document Naming and Design Rules start public reivew - ends April 1st | OASIS". www.oasis-open.org. Retrieved 2017-02-01. 
  34. ^ "Business Document Naming and Design Rules Version 1.1". docs.oasis-open.org. Retrieved 2017-02-01.