Business Process

The ebXML Business Process (ebBP) OASIS Standard provides a business process foundation that promotes the automation and predictable exchange of business collaboration definitions using XML. The specification is advanced by the OASIS ebXML Business Process Technical Committee, a group that remains open to new participation.

Getting to know ebBP

Collaborative business processes using ebBP encompass some basic premises and include:

  1. Activities

  2. Partners or parties

  3. Roles that partners or parties assume

  4. Conditions whereby they interact

  5. Business transaction patterns that support the activities and the conditions expected

The ebBP defines a standard language to configure business systems for business collaboration execution between collaborating parties or business partners.  It is targeted for monitoring of collaborative business processes these entities.  Today, ebBP has evolved from previous versions to integrate the use of other emerging technologies as part of eBusiness solutions focused on SOA.


  • Integrates internationally defined or partner-specified business transaction patterns.
  • Allows infrastructure flexibility for underlying messaging protocols used while providing computable quality of service and conditional constructs.
  • Handles complex activities, choreographies and business collaborations including multi-party relationships that involve role binding changes.
  • Is monitoring focused.
  • Is primarily targeted for eBusiness and collaborating partners rather than enterprise applications.
  • Has gained more attention in user communities than with technology vendors.

ebBP interest and adoption

In its current iteration, the ebBP has garned interest across several industries and user communities including:
Communication has been fostered with groups such as those that support or plan to use Universal Business Language proponents such as with open source freeubl and Health Level 7.

Note: Links are provided to emerging process definitions used by or of interest to these communities.

The freebxmlbp Editor from METU

An open source project on Source Forge using ebBP provides a start for user communities to engage business collaborations. Middle East Technical University in Turkey has created and provided the tools while significant work continues in the health care domain.

The ebBP team appreciates the strong effort by METU and those in the health care domain.

ebBP OASIS Standard

The ebBP v2.0.4 set of packages are an OASIS Standard. The packages include:
  • Technical specification and appendices
  • Core and business signal schemas with documentation
  • A transformation snippet to enable previous versions, and other supporting details
Take a look at the ebBP OASIS Standard:

Also see the link at the OASIS Open home page for ebBP.


Review answers to the frequently asked questions below on ebBP. Post new questions and additional comments at the FAQ Forum. See also: ebXML FAQ, ebCPPA FAQ, ebMS FAQ, and Registry FAQ.

For five core facts - What you always wanted to know about ebBP in five simple questions...

What is ebBP?

The ebBP OASIS Standard is a technical business process specification. It defines a standard language so that business systems can be configured to support the execution of business collaborations between partners or collaborating parties rather than the processing accomplished from the perspective of one business partner. The formal designation has been eBusiness Extensible Markup Language (ebXML) Business Process Specification Schema (BPSS). It is more commonly known as ebBP (after the OASIS ebXML Business Process Technical Committee).

What is a Business Transaction?

A Business Transaction is realized as Business Document Flows between Requesting and Responding parties performing roles. A Business Transaction is a specialized protocol used to achieve and support enforceable transaction semantics and state alignment between collaborating parties. The patterns listed in the technical specification provide semantic guidance, and options for a Business Transaction. One or more Business Signals can be exchanged as part of a Business Transaction to ensure state alignment of the respective parties.

When is the ebBP technical specification used?

The ebBP technical specification can be used to specify any shared collaboration. The specification may be effectively used with the other specifications in the ebXML framework, and with other technologies, for example when Web Services software components are being specified to execute Business Collaborations. Or, the ebBP business semantics and syntax are well-suited to enable definition of modular process building blocks that are combined in complex collaboration activities. The ebBP technical specification is also used to specify the business process related configuration parameters for configuring a software component to execute and monitor the collaborations.

What is an ebBP definition?

A business process definition created using the semantics and syntax provided in the ebBP technical specification is referred to as an ebBP definition. ebBP definitions describe interoperable business processes that allow business partners, or collaborating parties, to cooperate and achieve a given business goal. It contains the specification of the Business Transaction, the choreography for using the Business Transaction(s) that comprise a Business Collaboration, and the Business Collaborations themselves. An ebBP definition is a machine computable and interpretable specification. The software component that manages these activities on behalf of a business partner is termed a Business Service Interface (BSI).

What is a Business Signal?

Business signals have a specific business purpose and are separate from lower protocol and transport signals. One or more Business Signals can be exchanged as part of a Business Transaction to ensure state alignment between both parties. Evaluation of business signals enable the state of a Business Collaboration to be explicitly calculated at run time. The ebBP technical specification provides both the structure and choreography of Business Signals, including allowing for user defined signals.

What function does a Business Signal provide?

A Business Signal is computable. This provides the collaborating parties with a mutual understanding of the business activity. This function allows the parties to know if their expectations in a Business Transaction are realized. This is state alignment, and is important in order for the ebBP specification to have commercial viability. The ebBP specification provides the ability to conduct intended transactions if that is the intent of the collaborating parties.

What is Business Collaboration?

A Business Collaboration is a set of roles interacting through a set of choreographed Business Transactions by exchanging Business Documents. A Business Collaboration is defined by the parties in the collaboration; it can be simple or complex, it can include expected and unexpected (but contingent) actions and the collaboration can allow for other than eBusiness options. The ebBP technical specification is used to specify the business process parameters to configure the Business Service Interface (BSI) needed to execute and to monitor the collaborations, including the capability to transition to human interactions or decisions that may be important to eBusiness activity, e.g. a phone call.

How is the ebBP technical specification used?

The ebBP technical specification provides the structure and semantics for ebBP process definitions. The goal of the ebBP technical specification is to provide the bridge between eBusiness process modeling and the execution of eBusiness software components.

All the parameters of the ebBP definition are intended to be specified at design time or, where applicable, acquired at deployment or runtime. This can be done by creating a business process and information model although modeling is optional. The ebBP definition expresses the expectations of the collaborating parties or business partners and provides the mechanisms to support state alignment. The ebBP technical specification provides the capability to leverage international business transaction patterns and the operational semantics that enable their use; and, well defined business signals to compute state alignment. The ebBP definition and a CPA may be used to configure a BSI.

What is included in the ebBP Version 2.0.X series?

The ebBP Versions 2.0.X includes normative documents, and non normative examples and artifacts to better inform users. The approved standard is Version 2.0.4. The documents and artifacts included are:


  • the technical specification and designated appendices
  • the core ebBP schema and documentation
  • the standard Business Signal schema and documentation
  • description of the Business Service Interface
  • other important guidance including the pattern matrices included in the specification

Non normative

  • transformation functions for v1.05 => 2.0.1
  • CPA — ebBP mapping
  • a glossary
  • the Public Review comments
  • other relevant use cases and guidelines
  • all examples

What are the major features and capabilities that have been added or significantly expanded in the ebBP v2.0.X series?

  1. The six business transaction patterns specified by the UN/CEFACT Modeling Methodology (UMM Revision 10, Chapters 8 & 9) for business messaging exchanges have been further articulated. Concrete parameters have more fully defined and operational semantic spelled out. These six patterns could enable the majority of business transactions in eBusiness or other shared collaborations. In addition, an extensible pattern has been specified to enable anticipated industry or partner specific business transactions. This pattern is the Data Exchange pattern.
  2. Enabled the use of hybrid, ebXML or Web Services in the business message exchange. Done by creating an Operational Mapping for the business messages and signals used in the business transaction patterns to abstract operations used in the WSDL message exchange patterns.
  3. Enable an ebBP definition to reference a set of logical Business Documents. Logical business documents can be specified from multiple sources or namespaces. The actual Business Document can be realized by using external specifications to include ebXML CC and Universal Business Language (UBL) Small Business Subset (SBS), Domain specific business documents can also be defined.
  4. Business partners can assume different roles throughout the collaboration. These roles can be attached to the Business Collaboration definition as it is composed so as to understand how the role change enables the business message exchange in a business transaction whether it is binary or has multiple parties. These expanded role binding capabilities support communities such as RosettaNet.
  5. A status visibility function has been provided. This allows third parties to be visible in a business transaction although they do not have a first class role in the business transaction but their activities are important to one of the collaborating (first class) parties.
  6. Use of semantic information to support the capability to take a generic business process and specialize it for a specific use.
  7. Improved linking constructs and transition capabilities to support the process definition as they are composed.

What is the status of ebBP?

ebBP v 2.0.4 has been approved as an OASIS Standard. The OASIS eBusiness Business Process Technical Committee plans to promote the ebBP to ISO 15000 status as soon as practical while encouraging and promoting adoption. Future collaboration with UN/CEFACT and Object Management Group (OMG) is anticipated.

Errata are included as non normative artifacts and found on the public web site:

Are there tools that use ebBP?

Yes, there is an open source editor, freebxmlbp, which was developed at Middle East Technical University (METU). The tool is under development with an initial user's guide recently circulated.

See ebXML deployments for more information.

What known user communities are using or interested in ebBP?

  • Textiles
  • Transport
  • Local government
  • High technology
  • Health care
  • Financial Services
  • Agencies/departments of National Governments

How does ebBP relate to BPSS?

Briefly and simply, ebBP is a short name, or alias, for the technical specification that realizes business collaboration, ebXML BPSS. They are one and the same. The objective is to define business processes in a standard way to allow interoperability between systems, organizations, business partners and collaborating parties. This will enable eBusiness. Labeling the latest and more substantive version ebBP focuses on the objective rather than the mechanism for achieving the objective which is the technical specification.

What you always wanted to know about ebBP in five simple questions...

1. How does ebBP relate to other process standards?
ebBP is a standard process definition language for eBusiness collaboration to configure eBusiness and monitor business expectations of the business quality of service contract. It could be used in a complementary way with other process standards such as WS-Choreography Description Language (WS-CDL) for web services choreography, and/or WS-Business Process Execution Language (WS-BPEL) for orchestration. ebBP provides the business quality of service and semantics important for business stakeholders, particularly the conditions, constraints, and visibility criteria needed. ebBP could be used when leveraging WS-BPEL for managing enterprise applications that support the eBusiness exchanges. ebBP can also be mapped to the Business Process Definition Metamodel interaction protocol and represented in Business Process Modeling Notation as these latter two efforts converge to provide a flexible modeling environment for business processes, their semantics, and visualization.

2. What value add does ebBP provide for eBusiness stakeholders and when compared to other process languages?
ebBP's origin began with the UN/CEFACT Modeling Methodology and the international business transaction patterns that support eBusiness. Those patterns, and the business quality of service expectations defined to support them are key to the successful use of ebBP.  ebBP provides a level of business abstraction independent of any platform, software or services, which also adds flexibility to its use with web services and other XML based technologies.  ebBP also allows mapping semantic details and content to business documents and business transactions. Coupled with the use of business signals, business stakeholders can effectively manage their eBusiness document exchanges.

3. What general applications are targeted for the use of ebBP?
ebBP documents the document-based, business message exchanges important to eBusiness automation.  It therefore provides a basis for and supports the business monitoring of those messages exchanges. When represented in BPMN and mapped to BPDM, ebBP provides a computable abstraction from  business modeling views and links to the technical contract or other drivers or guides to enterprise processes.  ebBP definitions, such as the modular descriptions developed by Universal Business Language (UBL), a library of business process modules can be developed to speed the definition of, consistent application using and other domain aspects important to many domains.

4. What use cases are met by ebBP? What tools are available or can be used?ebBP practically can be used with many XML based design tools, including Oxygen, XMLSpy and other editors. A freebxmlbp editor is available on Source Forge. In addition, another collaborative effort is underway to support use of ebBP with other modeling languages using Eclipse.  Visual Studio also supports ebBP. ebBP has  been applied in domains such as textiles, transport, health care, financial services, and eGovernment.

5. Where is ebBP going?
The focus is adoption and promotion of this ebBP OASIS Standard v2.0.4 to ISO to join the ISO 15000 set.  Future efforts are under discussion with several organizations.