Do they do it on purpose?

eGovernment

GovTalk.gov.uk has announced eGIF 4.1:



Version 4.1 of e-GIF Part Two is now up on GovTalk for a six week consultation period from Monday, 16th September to Friday, 25th October. Please post your comments directly on the site or, if you have difficulties doing so, email them to GovTalk (link to: mailto:govtalk.gov.uk)


I had difficulties finding out how to post directly on the site, and found no trace of anyone else having done so. I wanted to alert someone about the bad email link, and found an contact email address in the Contact Us section. That mail bounced!


Oh well.


Nonetheless, the e-GIF 4.1 is required reading. I’ve copied some central sections and made a few comments …



Some highlights:


“6.3 The OeE supports the activity of the Web Services Interoperability (WS-I) initiative.  Future versions of e-GIF will mandate standards for Web based services together with best practice guidance on their use; current guidance is to use the following standards for Web based services:”



  • SOAP

  • WSDL

  • UDDI

We’re facing the same issue here in Denmark. It is not clear what our position will be, partly due to me and a collegue raising issues with the “SOAP-school”.


“7.1 The technical policies for systems data integration and transformation are:



  • XML and XML schemas for data integration 

  • UML, RDF and XML for data modelling and description language

  • XSL for data transformation.”

Well, I personally support this, but am not sure it is the Danish approach, which differ on the second issue, where our XML-group seems to have given up on RDF and goes for something simpler, xml-schema-based, I think. 


“8.3



  • not all systems are required to be directly XML enabled
  • where appropriate it is acceptable to use middleware …”

That’s cutting it a bit short, methinks. Our green paper goes into some details on this issue.


“14.1 There are various standards bodies, business communities and other groups working on XML based and other specifications for the exchange of specific content related information. They fall into two broad classes, one represents particular business objects, such as invoices or resumes, the other class defines a transaction, for example the submission of an invoice or a deposit into a particular account. Some specifications focus on common business objects and some on standardising complex transactions. Further, some proposed specifications include a single schema for a single business object, while others are frameworks that propose rules and structure for classes of schemas and may include more than a hundred individual schemas.”


Hmmm. Sounds like an interesting learning system there, much more evolved than ours, for sure. 


“14.2 Specifications generated by these groups are at a wide range of maturity levels. While some are now mature specifications they must be widely supported by implementations in the market and be the clear market leader for the transaction type before they are included within the e-GIF.”


Provided is also “a list of specifications that are designed to meet specific business areas’ requirements, the specifications are at various levels of maturity and the list is not exhaustive.  Ad-hoc working groups are being set up to study maturing business specific specifications with the view to making recommendations as to their applicability and inclusion into future versions of the e-GIF.”


Good, maturity as an issue. My maturity meter is way different from, say, Gartner’s. 


“14.4 There are, or will be, vertical international market schemas that contain fragments that will conflict with standards or schemas laid down in the e-GIF. For example ebXML uses the international address standard whereas the UK has its own address standard.


Clearly where this happens it makes sense to use the vertical international standards in their entirety without trying to unpick them and substitute any UK specifications.  However departments need to be conscious that when they are exchanging data within UK government sectors they will have to do so using the UK specifications, so some mapping may become necessary. As the e-GIF follows international standards wherever possible this should not become a serious problem.”


Right. In Denmark, we have lots of language issues, so we may have a few more problems than UK, but it does make sense to plan for at least some alignment with the vertical international market schemas evolving. But remember that the markets markets are different from the more horisontal market, government.

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