Content Assembly Mechanism Executive Overview
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Content Assembly Mechanism Executive Overview

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The Content Assembly Mechanism specification provides an open XML based system for using business rules to define, validate and compose specific business documents from generalized schema elements, ...

The Content Assembly Mechanism specification provides an open XML based system for using business rules to define, validate and compose specific business documents from generalized schema elements, attributes and structures. A CAM rule set and document assembly template defines the specific business context, content requirement, and transactional function of a document. A CAM template must be capable of consistently reproducing documents that can successfully carry out the specific transactional function that they were designed for. CAM also provides the foundation for creating industry libraries and dictionaries of schema elements and business document structures to support business process needs.

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Content Assembly Mechanism Executive Overview Content Assembly Mechanism Executive Overview Document Transcript

  • Executive Overview business transaction information managementWhy do Businesses Need CAM? The Issue of Context in Business Today’ business interactions are s Interchangesbecoming increasingly sophisticated, and the Particularly important is the ability of CAMlegal and social impacts more pronounced. It templates to enable the use of businessis no longer enough to simply exchange basic context. Knowing the context of anyinformation with few or no edits and checks information exchange is critical. For example ainvolved. Further more to gain maximum seller may need to know such things as: is thisbusiness advantage requires flexible shipment urgent, is this a preferred customer,information flows that can react rapidly and do they need English or Spanish, what modeleffectively to market changes and is the part for? Without context mistakes andopportunities, not to mention formal service run-on costs rapidly ensue.requirements between partners. Someexamples include: being able to adapt to cross- In automating information integration,border shipment regulations to ensure timely knowing and defining context of use is thedeliveries, tracking of goods and services, single most pervasive and important factor.ensuring appropriate delivery methods The older EDI systems however have no way(refrigeration, fragile goods, perishable goods, to support dynamic context driven contentsecurity of goods), through to parts and assembly whereas CAM provides this bettersupplies meeting exacting engineering and than any other XML syntax system today. Intechnical requirements to ensure the correct fact CAM templates work for both old EDIpart or service is provided. We need only to payloads and new XML based transactionmention the recent Mad Cow disease event to structures.realize how important all this may suddenly CAM provides a rich yet simple contextbecome, and then think about potential threats mechanism defined in XML syntax thatto supply chain providers in today’ volatile s enables interactions to be tailored byworld to realize the degree of importance specifying the context parameters (as in theaccurate information now has. seller example above) and the appropriateTo address these needs information agreed control values they will contain. Thereexchanges are moving to technical formats are also guidelines toward determining rolesusing XML technology worldwide. However and methods to deduce what these appropriateXML by itself is only a markup language, it was significant parameters should be. The conceptnever intended to support exacting business here is “ surprises” which means that users nointerchange definitions, rules and industry of CAM templates know exactly what tovocabularies. To provide that extra level of expect, and why, from their business partnersrobust information definition and exact control because they can inspect and agree to thethe Content Assembly Mechanism (CAM) has context parameters before hand.been developed as an OASIS open This context mechanism is at the heart ofspecification and toolset. Business users can why CAM is so effective. By allowing users toquickly and easily use CAM templates to quantify what their context factors aredeclaratively assert these missing business precisely, this removes the guess work fromrules and structural information requirements. business transaction exchanges between
  • Content Assembly Mechanism Executive Overview -2partners and allows them to formulize their that can successfully carry out the specificcollaboration agreements exactly. It also transactional function that they were designedmakes re-use and identifying potential for. CAM also provides the foundation forcandidate CAM template models much easier. creating industry libraries and dictionariesSimply knowing what the external parameters of schema elements and business documentare can instantly qualify if a template makes structures to support business process needs.sense for a user and allow them to therefore The figure here shows a summary of theselect it. technical components that a CAM template Relating to this is the further need in can contain. They can be used altogether or intoday’ interconnected world to be able to s combination. The structure instance section isleverage industry dictionaries of standard pre- required; the remaining four are optional, so adefined information elements. CAM directly CAM template can be as simple orsupports the use of registries of industry sophisticated as the business needs dictate.vocabulary definitions for content can have more than one structure layoutreferences within business transactions.Therefore information exchanges can be Combined XML with instance can add inline rules directlyassembled from pre-built proven structure(s) into structureindustry components and structuredefinitions. + Simple Declarative Statements makeOptional() By using CAM technology Business context rules excludeTree()businesses can secure and dramatically + item type="noun" name="Agency/@AgencyID" Content Reference rulesimprove the quality and accuracy of their UIDReference="ukt000910"information exchanges. The business + <conditional expression="//SupplierID and Data Validation rulesbenefits then accrue thorough the ability lookup(value,SGIRWSDL:sup plierID_check)"to handle more business partners + <MapRule output="type" External Mapping rulesneeds, more types of products, more input="Sales/Company/Yea r/Qtr/Product@type"/>sophisticated products, while shorteningthe time to deploy by eliminating productionerrors and making pre-production testing Next we describe how to use CAM withsimple and complete. typical production environments today such as Having established the business needs, the Microsoft’ BizTalk™ Server and .NET sremaining questions concern what the required environments, or other transaction processingsoftware components to acquire CAM systems just as the Sun J2EE basedtechnology are, how do these work, how does environments.that fit with your existing infrastructure, and Using CAM template processingwhat is involved in adoption and Integrating CAM processing into animplementation? existing environment is simple andCAM Technology Overview straightforward. First you need to determine The CAM specification provides an open what role or roles you wish CAM to perform. AXML based system for using business rules to typical role for an initial adoption is using thedefine, validate and compose specific business CAM processor to validate inbound XMLdocuments from generalized schema transactions in a processing queue based onelements, attributes and structures. who the originating sender is and the context of that transaction. A CAM rule set and document assemblytemplate defines the specific business context, An incoming transaction is selected, itscontent requirement, and transactional function profile referenced to find the appropriate CAMof a document. A CAM template must be template type for that transaction, and then acapable of consistently reproducing documents context parameter set file may also be optionally selected from that senders profile.
  • Content Assembly Mechanism Executive Overview -3The CAM processor then reads in the XML either case it is provided with parameters thattransaction, loads the CAM template and the point to the XML transaction to be processedcontext value file (if provided) and then and the CAM template and context details thatvalidates the information and structure in the apply.transaction by comparing the rules in the Another excellent role for CAM is as atemplate with the information in the actual XML design time tool, allowing business partners totransaction record(s). The figure here shows pre-validate sample business transactionsthe steps involved in CAM processing. before they use them in production. Therefore in this case you can provide CAM templates to 1 XML your partners so they can pre-test their own CAM Template process transaction transaction implementations. In this case they and content compare would run the CAM processor locally on their own systems, or remotely as a web service + 3 4 from your own network facilities. 2 Generates actual XML The next role is in automated transaction Context Statements instance processing systems such as a business definition to be used process engine (BPEL or BPSS) and it may CAM gets passed context from use a CAM processor to direct the creation or business use 5 processing of business transactions for it. In Results for given this case a step in the business process will context and have a CAM template associated with it that action will be invoked. The CAM processor can then produce the desired information processing for Importantly CAM is able to handle very the business process engine.specific structure variances and rules, such as Considering this business processingknowing when a customer number or part type picture CAM processing can be used tois needed or allowed depending on the type of assemble or re-format transactions eitheritem that is being ordered. All this is encoded outbound or inbound. This capability isusing simple and clear XML declarations in the enabled by the merge and mapping features ofCAM template itself. the CAM template. Since the CAM template CAM can also do lookups of business allows you to specify more than oneinformation using the template lookup rule transaction structure, you may decide to havemechanism. This can check information one structure for the information coming fromagainst backend application database your application databases and then anotherinformation such as part numbers, stock on structure for the resulting output layout of thehand and other volatile information that cannot transaction you require to send. In this casebe written as a static rule in the CAM template the CAM processor will determine the exactitself. If CAM detects a problem it can direct layout structure dynamically by apply itserror responses accordingly, along with context assembly rules, including or excludingappropriate error messages that have been structure pieces accordingly. For example if andefined in the CAM template. This allows order contains perishable items, those itemshighly specific and accurate problem reporting, require handling and storage instructions to berather than vague and non-specific reactions to added to the transaction structure itself.be returned back when a problem is Once the target structure is assembled,encountered. then the CAM processor will complete the The CAM processor itself is a self- transaction itself by merging and manipulatingcontained component that can either be called the information from the raw input datadirectly by the existing transaction processing structure. Again these rules are expressed assoftware, or invoked as a web service. In simple declarations using XML syntax and
  • Content Assembly Mechanism Executive Overview -4predicate commands within the CAM template Creating Industry Cataloguesitself. Since CAM templates are just simpleObtaining CAM processing XML files themselves they can also be readily An open source CAM processor is and easily shared within an industry group or aavailable that supports validating transactions business enterprise. They can be stored intowith a CAM template. The CAM templates an XML Registry or traditional onlinethemselves can be created using any simple cataloguing system and then searched for andXML text editing environment. The first thing located accordingly. Whole libraries of CAMyou require when constructing a CAM template templates can be built for popular and typicalis an actual XML model of the information industry transaction formats, such as the OAGistructure you wish to manipulate. You can BOD formats that are used extensively by ERPeither enter this directly from scratch into the systems or financial CAM templates forCAM template, in XML, or you can cut and common invoice and popular financialpaste an example from some XML that you are transaction structures. Users then simplyalready using1. Many samples are available download the appropriate CAM template andthat serve as illustrations for various scenarios set their own CAM context variable values toand industry transactions. customize it for their own use. Since the CAM processor itself is Industry Dictionaries and Vocabulariesdesigned to be highly interactive with feedback Built into the CAM templates is themessaging, this makes it also a good learning content referencing system. This allowstool for staff creating their own CAM templates. developers to create libraries of pre-definedThe CAM specifications themselves also elements with characteristics, facets andcontain helpful samples and use guides business rules associated with themthroughout. There is also a CAM template automatically. These definitions can either bemodel available in the commercial VisualScript specified directly in-line into the CAM template,editing tool product that will automatically or can reside in an industry registry of termscreate a baseline CAM template. A 30 day and structures.free trial version is available for those wanting Additionally by using the contentto try this out. referencing system the information crosswalk Unlike complex XML syntax between different industry structures can beapproaches, CAM templates are designed to automatically deduced and documented.be open and easy to read and build by hand The content referencing system is veryfor human designers. The target transaction flexible and supports a wide variety of registrystructures are specified directly in XML itself. interfaces directly. It also allows industryThis means no special knowledge is needed; groups to use their existing dictionary elementsdesigners can simply type into the CAM and code systems directly, without requiringtemplate the exact structure layout they wish to invention of new codes or details. Best of all,use. This is WYSIWYG for XML structures. existing legacy transactions that are in use Designers can also include sub- today can simply be upgraded and made CAM-structures command that insert from pre-built aware without any changes to those wirecomponents too, allowing commonly used transaction formats themselves. By creating apatterns to be made consistent across a range CAM template for any such transactions andof content assembly structures. then completing the content reference section this will automatically provide the crosswalk to the industry dictionary definitions.1 Note: a tutorial of the technical steps to create CAM When used in an environment wheretemplates is provided in the companion “CAM an industry dictionary is not readily availableTechnology Overview” brochure available from the the content referencing system allowsOASIS CAM TC documents center.
  • Content Assembly Mechanism Executive Overview -5developers to quickly construct that and • Information modelling analysts creatingclassify those element details. dictionaries and vocabulariesLocal language decoupling • Production managers running high volume eBusiness hubs A further huge benefit of the content • Mobile device engineers working withreferencing system is locale and language rendering content to small footprint displaysusage decoupling. Often XML • RFID engineers needing to link XML toimplementations become mired in arguments physical characteristics of items and buildrelating to the exact XML tag names to use for catalogues that can be automaticallycontent, and also the information content itself referencedrequires localization into another language. • Consultants advising customers on optimalThis often involves conflicts around the use of ways to deploy XML technologies.elements or attributes or both within the XMLstructure since XML itself does not provide you The following items next provide samples ofwith a single consistent way to do this possible use case for CAM processing.(attributes of attributes are not permitted, and A CAM processor can be deployed as aelements cannot be enumerated and web service to allow business partners to pre-tokenized). validate XML instances before using them in The content reference system frees you message exchanges. By presenting an XMLfrom these constraints by allowing you to instance to the web service and selecting aspecify a reference code for an element or CAM template the partner can have returned aattribute directly. You can therefore apply the detailed report about the results of the testsrules you where you need them. Therefore the and their outcomes.CAM processor can consistently apply rules Within industry standardization efforts CAMand manipulations regardless of the actual templates can be used to capture all thestructure layout, element or attribute name design rules that apply to an industries use ofused. From the CAM perspective the elements XML structures. The CAM processor can then<process_time/>, <Pdatetime/>, and provide a validation and conformance service.<madewhen/> are all functionally identical Industry groups can also create CAMwhen they all have the same content reference templates to document older legacyidentifier associated with them. transaction formats and provide XML based By providing the locale language semantics and usage rules for those.definitions or these items as well, then you When integrating with E-Forms systemshave the ability to read in codes in one the CAM processor can be used in a variety oflanguage and then output them directly to a modes. It could create forms given some inputdifferent one. business transaction, or it could take the outputWho uses CAM templates? from a form entry process and then validate it In this segment we provide examples of and re-structure the content and deliver it as aa selection of our current audience set and business transaction.people who are working with and uses of CAM In short the CAM processor can be used intemplates today: a variety of roles wherever manipulation or validation of information content structures is• Developers who are working with handling required. XML transaction content A Real World CAM Scenario• Business analysts creating industry domain transaction standards The original implementation of CAM by• Engineers working on smart applications and British Telecomm (BT) in the UK is providing agent applications with XML transaction validation against hundreds of• Business process engineers defining trouble ticket message formats that BT workflow interactions receives daily. These trouble ticket formats
  • Content Assembly Mechanism Executive Overview -6used in the telecommunications industry are provide the basis for up to 50% of informationXML messages using the xCBL syntax flowing in legacy EDI transactions. Industryapproach and are highly complex XML groups define extensive code lists for thestructures. The information carried in them is products and services used by their members.highly variable and differs according to the Yet the W3C XML schema system does notoriginators own telecommunications switches support code list definitions directly. Thereforeand configuration details. The message CAM provides a key capability with its built-indetails change frequently every three to four lookup () functionality.months as new services and products areintroduced and provisioned in response to Industry initiatives today have createddemands from highly dynamic and technology dictionaries of their nouns (elements) anddriven markets within the industry. verbs and labelled them with reference codes. They have also provided classifications and Managing these structures and formats taxonomies for these as in the case of UDEFtakes significant manpower and especially to particularly. By allowing these industry groupsdetect when solution partners have made to load their dictionaries into XML instances inchanges to their transactions and details a registry the CAM approach unlocks thewithout first notifying the systems connected to potential of these dictionaries to effectthem. This may also happen inadvertently significant improvements in interoperability ofwhen new devices are installed in the field and information in those industries.they start producing new trouble ticket reportsautomatically. Providing the means to assemble consistent Being able to direct and manage this transactions from pre-defined libraries ofimplementation space using the XML scripts in structure components and also to createthe CAM templates significantly reduces this libraries of business process definitions thatmaintenance burden and also allows changes can be context driven are key functionality thatto be implemented rapidly and easily. CAM delivers. Partners can also begin to becomeinvolved in the process themselves by By linking a CAM processor service to themanaging and maintaining the CAM template registry these industry groups can then allowdefinitions that relate to their own production members to validate XML transactions againstsystems and configurations. They can then the standard definitions in their registries orshare those templates with their partners when download CAM templates and associatedchanges are about to be placed in production. business process definitions that they can use directly in their own systems.How Does CAM Work With or Compliment By combining CAM technology with aOther Semantic Definition Initiatives (UDEF, registry in this way provides the foundation forUBL, OAG, RosettaNet, HL7, STEP, eprXML) even more sophisticated semantics in the The CAM technology has been designed future. Taxonomies and ontologies arefundamentally to leverage dictionaries of noun emerging as ways for machines to understanddefinitions and libraries of transaction formats more about knowledge in a way that today onlybuilt from industry initiatives. By providing the humans are able to. Registries can providecontent reference section in the CAM template ontology and taxonomy driven search results.the processor is able to automatically retrieve This allows agent software and humansemantics from industry registries about researchers to more effectively locate businessindividual elements in a XML transaction. This transaction processes, such as CAMallows consistent definitions to be deployed templates, and determine if they are suitableacross a set of industry business transactions. for the task they need.It also includes the ability to version and sub-version definitions. This is especially importantfor the processing of code lists. Code lists
  • Content Assembly Mechanism Executive Overview -7 Enhancing the work of industry groups is a Contacts and Additional Informationsignificant benefit that CAM technology The CAM technology is a product of thedelivers today. OASIS Business Content Assembly CAM can also be used in tandem with Mechanism Technical Committee. MoreUML. UML does have a production rules details can be found from the specificationssystem that can be used to output XML from and documents that the committee hasUML diagrams and it is anticipated that this produced. These include the latest CAMcan allow UML models to output partially specification, presentations introducing CAM,complete CAM templates that can then be and examples of CAM templates. These andhand-edited in XML to complete a full other documents can be obtained through theinformation model. OASIS website at: www.oasis-open.org. Perhaps one of the most exciting potential For more information on how to participateuses for CAM is with the emerging OASIS in CAM activities, please see the membershipwork on EPR (Electronic Process) links from the main OASIS web site or thespecifications for service oriented CAM TC area directly.applications2. Since these are required to befully model driven, having the CAM templatesable to resolve dynamically through contextparameters the information exchange formats Content Assemblyallows designers of eprAPL (EPR Application) Mechanism Technicalsolutions a rapid and consistent way of Committeeimplementing these. Chair: David Webber – drrwebber@acm.orgSummary Reviewing what CAM represents and theopportunities it opens up we find a range ofuse cases; from sophisticated discreet tasks aspart of specific architectures such as ebXMLbusiness processes or Service OrientedArchitectures environments, to simple localdocument verification as a standalonebusiness tool. The value of the CAM approach is inmanaging context and business rules directlyand tying these to consistent informationsemantics. The lesson learned is thatconsistent information exchanges must includecontext management. The result from this willbe to transform the ability of industry to deploysuccessful and interoperable eBusinessinformation exchanges simply and quickly.2 For more information on the EPR work and theeprXML and eprAPL components – please see theOASIS BCM TC area at http://oasis-open.org