Open Applications Group and Microsoft Announce First Pilot Project To Migrate Industry Standard to BizTalk Framework Specifications

CHICAGO and REDMOND, Wash., July 21, 1999 — The Open Applications Group Inc. (OAGI), a nonprofit industry consortium composed of business software component interoperability stakeholders, and Microsoft Corp. today announced a pilot project to review migration of the Open Applications Group Integration Specification (OAGIS) XML Definitions to the BizTalk TM Framework specifications. The XML working group within the OAGI, which includes Candle Corp., Compaq Computer Corp., HK Systems Inc., IBM Manufacturing Systems, Microsoft, NEC Corp., PeopleSoft Inc. and PricewaterhouseCoopers, plans to update the current OAGI XML documents, which were developed under the W3C XML 1.0 specification, by prototyping them under XML-schema and BizTalk Framework specifications. The goal is to produce a compatible set of XML-schema documents and publish them in the BizTalk.Org library.

The OAGI, which has a track record of fast delivery, plans to be in a position to have the prototyping and architecture issues completed as soon as possible after the W3C finalizes the XML-schema recommendation currently in review before that group. Once the XML-schema specification, which the BizTalk Framework will support, is completed and formally recommended by the W3C, the OAGI plans to very quickly publish its work under the XML-schema format and, subsequently, the BizTalk Framework.

The OAGI, a charter member of the BizTalk steering committee that oversees BizTalk.Org and guides the development of the BizTalk Framework, promotes the easy and cost-effective integration of key business application software and shares Microsoft’s vision of accelerating the adoption of XML for e-commerce and application integration.

The OAGI has been building a rich body of work for the past three years called the Open Applications Group Integration Specification. OAGIS defines a set of components, processes and interfaces for integrating many key enterprise business applications, including financials, manufacturing, human resources, supply chain and logistics both inside and outside the enterprise. This work could also be said to contain the context as well as the content of application integration.

By the fourth quarter of 1999, the OAGI working group plans to migrate its existing OAGIS XML Document Type Definitions (DTDs) to be compatible with XML-schema and the BizTalk Framework specifications recently published in draft form. The BizTalk Framework fits nicely with the current OAGI design guidelines for XML development. This effort seeks to ensure convergence and will accelerate the adoption of the OAGIS standard by providing easy integration with BizTalk Framework-compatible schemas across multiple industries. The OAGI plans to publish its BizTalk Framework-compatible schemas in the BizTalk.Org schema library so they can be downloaded and used by any individual or organization free of charge. The BizTalk.Org library for BizTalk Framework-compatible schemas is located at .

“The Open Applications Group sees the enormous potential of XML for integrating business software, but there is a definite need for an industrywide framework that encourages industry consortia, customers and vendors to consistently define XML schemas,” said David Connelly, president of the Open Applications Group. “The BizTalk Framework helps to provide this consistency, and the OAGI supports Microsoft’s efforts to ensure high-quality XML development efforts and convergence to rally the industry and move XML forward.”

Through its BizTalk Framework initiatives, Microsoft aims to work closely with industry consortia like the OAGI to encourage the consistent use of XML across industries and to gain input on BizTalk Framework specifications. By extending existing standards with consistently developed XML schemas through the BizTalk Framework, industry consortia will preserve the richness of their industry-specific standards while making it easier to engage in e-commerce and integrate software across multiple industries.

“A major goal of Microsoft’s BizTalk Framework initiatives is to facilitate an open process for working with leading industry standards group like the OAGI to help accelerate the adoption of XML,” said James Utzschneider, director of industry and BizTalk frameworks in Microsoft’s Business Solutions Group. “Microsoft’s approach is to work with industry consortia, partners and customers to define a common set of guidelines for implementing schemas based on standard XML and to then make those schemas available to a broad community.”

About the BizTalk Framework

Introduced in March, the BizTalk Framework makes it easy for businesses to exchange information between software applications and conduct business over the Internet with trading partners and customers. The BizTalk Framework includes a design framework for implementing an XML schema and a set of XML tags used in messages sent between applications. Microsoft, other software companies and industry standards bodies will use the BizTalk Framework to produce XML schemas in a consistent manner to enable integration across industries and between business systems, regardless of platform, operating system or underlying technology. More information about the BizTalk Framework is available at . More information about Microsoft’s BizTalk Framework initiatives is available at .

The Open Applications Group Inc. is a leading business software interoperability consortium. It advances industry awareness of issues and solutions regarding interoperability of software business components and strives to evolve those solutions into a best practices model while providing an impartial forum for all the stakeholders in the industry to further improve the model and learn. The OAGI membership is composed of many of the most prominent application vendors and associated organizations in the world, and includes American Software Inc., AT & T, Candle, Compaq, Component Software, Computer Associates, CrossWorlds Software, DataChannel, DATEV eG, Extricity Software, Ford Motor Co., Fortress Technologies, GloTech Solutions, IBM Adv. Mfg. Solutions Unit, Indus International, Integrated Systems & Services, J. D. Edwards & Co., Lucent, Marcam Solutions Inc., Microsoft, NEC Corp., ObTech, OnDisplay, Oracle Corp., PCS, PeopleSoft Inc., PricewaterhouseCoopers, PSDI Inc., QAD Inc., Robocom Systems Intl., SAP AG, Teklogix, Trilogy, TSI, USDATA, Vitria and webMethods.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft and BizTalk are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

For further information on the Open Applications Group, please visit the OAGI Web site at or contact David Connelly, president, OAGI, telephone (770) 426-0184, fax (770) 426-0711, or e-mail [email protected].

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