1. Abstract

"Practical Universal Business Language Deployment"overviews the OASIS Universal Business Language (http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/ubl/) - ISO/IEC 19845 suite of publicly-available files, process and methodology descriptions, deployment strategies and documentation from a technical perspective of the roles that all these artefacts play in information systems and how to work with each artefact with hands-on experience.

UBL is the product of an international effort to define a royalty-free library of standard electronic XML business documents such as purchase orders and invoices. Developed in an open and accountable 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, eliminating the re-keying of data in existing fax- and paper-based supply chains and providing an entry point into electronic commerce for small and medium-sized businesses.

The morning session begins the full-day class with the half-day "Introduction to UBL" lecture, describing the roles of all of the files found in the UBL distribution, and the relevance of each of the files to the day-to-day tasks of learning and working with them.

The afternoon finishes the class delving into the technical detail of deployment and customization of UBL, including the conception, specification and deployment of subsets and extensions of UBL document models and schemas. Hands-on exercises walk the student through the creation of conforming subset UBL schemas and validating instances with those schemas and with the distribution schemas.

This is a course supporting the deployment and use of UBL artefacts, but this is not a course in the interpretation of specific UBL information items in a business context or the adaptation of financial systems to the semantics expressed by UBL.  The instructor is not in a position to offer financial or legal advice regarding the application or suitability of UBL to any particular scenario or purpose.

Hands-on exercises are provided in a turnkey fashion for a Java-based environment under either Windows command-line or Linux shell invocation.  Students may use any editing tool they wish for modifying the exercise files when completing the exercise objectives.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their customization requirements and deployment objectives to class to exercise the concepts and tools with their own intentions in mind. Students will be creating customized subset schemas and associated documentation in class using the software tools provided as part of the curriculum.

Note that while this UBL class refers to code lists, there is no detailed code list part of the syllabus. Candidate attendees of this UBL class, especially those responsible for specifying UBL for a community of users, may be interested the Practical Code List Implementation full-day hands-on class because that methodology for code lists supports the code lists defined in UBL.

2. Expected outcomes

Attendees of the "Introduction to UBL" half-day session will learn the role of the OASIS Universal Business Language, internationally standardized as ISO/IEC 19845 and adopted by countries and companies worldwide. Used for procurement, e-Invoicing and transportation logistics, this open and free-to-use XML vocabulary can be embraced by any organization to satisfy an electronic format for important business documents. This introduction overviews the steps necessary to consider how and where to use UBL in a solution for all parties in a business scenario.

Attendees of the "Practical Universal Business Language Deployment" additional half-day session will then engage in hands-on exercises for validation and customization using their own laptops. This practical experience exposes the implementer to some of the critical necessary steps when deploying UBL in a real-world solution. The tools used in the classroom are the same freely-available tools used by the UBL committee in creating validation artefacts.

3. Expected audience

This course is aimed at people needing to understand both conceptual and practical aspects of the files published by the UBL committee, as well as deployment methodologies and strategies. The morning of the course is more high level and has less technical detail than the in-depth afternoon portion.

4. Prerequisites and the exercise environment

There are no formal prerequisites for this course, and the exercises are optional. The instructor assumes the student who participates in exercises understands they will be working with XML at the markup level. This is not a course to attend to learn XML in detail, but important aspects of XML for UBL are covered. The exercises are geared to engage students who are comfortable editing and working with software tools from command line invocation interfaces.

To participate in the hands-on exercises on the first day, attendees must have working knowledge of markup and a Java-equipped personal computer. Copies of the exercise materials are available on USB sticks at the course. Complete solutions are provided to research in place of attendees deriving the exercise solutions on their own. More details regarding the exercise and working environment are below.

Attendees must have a firm knowledge of the operating system environment as there is no time for coaching from the instructor regarding the command-line environments of today's operating systems. Windows users will be working from the DOS command window. Mac and Linux users will be working from the terminal window.

5. Synopsis

There are many artefacts found and methodologies described in the Universal Business Language (UBL) deliverables. Without an awareness of the roles played by these, UBL can be perceived more complex or considered "too hard" to tackle successfully. This technically-oriented course is written for both the user of UBL and technical manager (the morning) and for either the implementer of information systems to specify and support customizations of UBL (the afternoon). For the implementer and specifying authority it is important to understand candidate opportunities to work with the artefacts and to gain hands-on experience in their use and applicability in the context of the documented methodologies and deployment strategies.

The following topics are covered through the class:

  • Morning ("Introduction to UBL" lecture)

    • parties, document types and profiles - use case and business documents

    • information items - data description spreadsheets

    • model conventions - Naming and Design Rules

    • model semantics - data dictionary

    • documents and document models

    • reference to methodology for code list and value validation

    • customization and system design considerations

    • specification governance and committee procedures

  • Afternoon (Hands-on technical component)

    • working with the validation artefacts

    • specifying customizations, profiles, subsets and extensions of UBL

    • adding custom documents to the UBL suite

"Practical Universal Business Language Deployment" successfully equips the attendee with an understanding of the components found in UBL deliverables and overviews methodologies and strategies to better understand their respective roles.

The hands-on exercises help cement concepts by leading the attendee to resolve basic, often initially frustrating, obstacles under the supervision of the instructor and collaboration with fellow students. Exercises cover important concepts with simple objectives. Attendees are invited to research completed exercise solutions without needing to derive the solutions on their own. Answers to all exercises are available to attendees.

While this is a course supporting the deployment and use of UBL artefacts, this is not a course in the interpretation of specific UBL information items in a business context or the adaptation of financial systems to the semantics expressed by UBL.  The instructor is not in a position to offer financial or legal advice regarding the application or suitability of UBL to any particular scenario or purpose.

The author and instructor of the class is the chairman of the UBL Technical Committee, responsible for the generation of all of the distribution artefacts published in the UBL deliverable, as specified by the other members of the technical committee.

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