Microsoft publishes a draft version of its BizTalk framework, which is gaining widespread attention as a way to conduct e-commerce over the Internet.
The software giant announced BizTalk in March, characterizing it as a glue to knit together software applications and e-commerce systems for different vertical industries. The first version was due by year's end, but Microsoft said today that industry reaction has been so enthusiastic that it will release a final version 1.0 of BizTalk in July.
"It's just another effort to drive the widespread adoption of XML as a standard," said James Utzschneider, Microsoft's director of industry frameworks. "We are doing an effort to get industry standard groups to embrace the work of XML."
XML, for eXtensible Markup Language, is a protocol for sharing data and integrating e-commerce applications. It lets developers create "tags" for items, such as product types or price, that are defined in the object itself, resulting in more efficient data exchange and better Internet searching capabilities.
Microsoft is making the BizTalk announcement today at its annual TechEd developers conference.
Microsoft also announced a new Web site, called www.biztalk.org, for software developers, users, and standards bodies to post and comment on BizTalk efforts. It also announced a BizTalk steering committee that includes industry trade groups, standards bodies, four major enterprise resource planning vendors, and several users.
The World Wide Web Consortium is overseeing XML, and Microsoft said it has been working closely with that group.
Two standards groups sit on the BizTalk steering committee, the Data Interchange Standards Association, which oversees standards for electronic data interchange (EDI), and the Open Applications Group.