Terminology:examples of the types of technologies - IBM Websphere

Here are several examples of the types of technologies that you will encounter with a B2B solution.

Messaging and queuing

Message queuing has been used in data processing for many years. Without queuing, sending an electronic message over long distances requires every node on the route to be available for forwarding messages. Also, the addressees must be logged on and conscious of the fact that you are trying to send them a message. In a queuing system, messages are stored at intermediate nodes until the system is ready to forward them. At their final destination, they are stored in a queue until the consumer of the message is ready to retrieve them.

Even so, many complex business transactions are processed today without queuing. In a large network, the system can be maintaining thousands of connections in a ready-to-use state. If one part of the system suffers a problem, many parts of the system become unusable. In message queuing, a message is simply a collection of data sent by one program and intended for another program.

Queuing is the mechanism by which messages are held until an application is ready to process them. Queuing allows you to:

  • Communicate between programs, which might be running in different environments, without writing the communication code.
  • Select the order in which a program processes messages.
  • Balance loads on a system by arranging for more than one program to service a queue when the number of messages exceeds a threshold.
  • Increase the availability of your applications by arranging for an alternative system to service the queues if your primary system is unavailable.

A message itself normally consists of two parts:

  • Control information, which contains information, such as:
    • The type of the message
    • An identifier for the message
    • The priority for delivery of the message
    • Whether a response is required
  • Application data, for example:
    • Business message type, such as purchase order or shipping notice
    • Business identifiers, such as sender and receiver

MQ message

MQ message

Electronic data interchange

Electronic data interchange (EDI) is the direct computer-to-computer transfer of business information between applications using a standard message format.

EDI over value-added network
EDI over value-added network (EDI/VAN) is a private third-party network. It usually has built-in security features that help protect against unauthorized access to customer data. It is 99. 9% available and usually has an archive capability for data copies. It is secure and reliable, but more expensive than the Internet.

EDI over the Internet
EDI over the Internet (EDI-INT) is the transmission of EDI over the Internet. The major purpose of EDI-INT is to reduce the cost of transmission. Four key message transmission standards are used for EDI-INT:

  • AS1: Uses Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) and Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)
  • AS2: Uses MIME and HTTP
  • AS3: Uses MIME and FTP
  • AS4: Uses Web Services Security and Web Services

Message format standards
The following message format standards are used:

  • ANSI X12
  • American National Standards Institute committee X12 (ANSI X12) defines data that is separated by characters. The message is organized into documents called Transaction Sets. These Transactions Sets are in groups called Functional Groups, which are then “wrapped”in an envelope called an Interchange.

  • Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport (EDIFACT) defines which data segments are mandatory or optional, and the number and order of elements

  • Other formats include:
    • United Nations Trade Data Interchange (UNTDI) Standards
    • Organization for Data Exchange through Teletransmission in Europe (ODETTE)
    • Healthcare Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
    • Health Level 7 (HL7)
    • Voluntary Inter-industry Communications Standards (VICS)
    • Verband Deutscher Automobilhersteller (VDA)
    • Universal Multi-Octet Coded Character Set (UCS)
    • Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development (ACORD)

Transport protocols

Three transport protocols are used mostly when transferring documents in a B2B solution.

HTTP is the common standard for transferring World Wide Web documents. This protocoloperates over Transmission Control Protocol(TCP) connections, usually over port 80. An HTTP client sends Get, Post, or Head messages to an HTTP server, which allows the exchange of data and resources, such as a URL or file, for example:

Also called “Fetch”, FTP requires a client and a server. The client connects to the server and might have permission to do everything that can be done locally on the server, except create new files from scratch. However, FTP is mainly used for uploading and downloading large groups of files at one time.

SMTP is the Internet standard host-to-host mail transport protocol. It is traditionally over TCP on port 25. SMTP uses a request-response protocol. Because SMTP is limited in itsability to queue messages at the receiving end, Post Office Protocol 3 (POP3) or InternetMessage Access Protocol (IMAP) is used to save the message in a server mailbox.


Security technologies are involved at several layers in a B2B solution. They simply protect access to a resource as well as make a resource unreadable for parties not involved in the interaction.

Access control list
Access control list (ACL) specifies a set of rules regarding who is allowed to accessa particular resource.

The major use of encryption is to assure the confidentiality of an exchanged document:

  • Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)
    With PKI, the encrypting and decrypting functions are comprised of mathematical algorithms and the keys are represented by numbers.
  • Secret key cryptography With secret key cryptography, also known as symmetric key encryption, one key is used to encrypt and the same key is used to decrypt
    Secret key cryptography
    Secret key cryptography
  • Public key cryptography
    With public key cryptography, there are different keys for encrypting and decrypting functions. something encrypted with key 1 can only be decrypted with key 2.
  • Public key cryptography

    Public key cryptography

    Hashing a document is mainly used to protect a document against intended changes or tampering. Recalculating the hash from the received document and comparing it with the received hash value is a technique to discover any changes. You can choose from several algorithms to achieve hashing:

  • SHA-1, 256, 384, 512
    Secure hash algorithm (SHA) takes the message and pads it by adding bits to make it a certain length. It is then parsed into n Mb blocks to make sure that the message is a multiple of 512 or 1024 bits. Next, the hash value is set. This ash value is determined by the hash algorithm and by taking the first m-bits of the fractional parts of the square roots of the x through y prime numbers
    Note: The values of m, x, and y are determined by the hash algorithm.
  • MD5
    Message digest algorithm 5 (MD5) takes the message and then pads it by adding bits to make it 64 bits shy of being a multiple of 512 bits. Next, a 64-bit representation of the message is added so that the message is exactly a multiple of 512 bits. Next, four 32-bit values are used to compute the message digest. This message digest is used to produce the output values.
  • Digital signatures and certificates
    This technology uses a public and a private key. Either key can be used for encrypting the data, but then only the corresponding key can be used to decrypt the data.

Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) allows messages to contain:

  • Multiple objects in a single message
  • Text having unlimited line length or overall length
  • Character sets other than ASCII, allowing non-English language messages
  • Multi-font messages
  • Binary or application specific files
  • Images, audio, video, and multimedia messages

Secure/MIME (S/MIME) adds:

  • Message privacy
  • Digital signatures
  • Tamper detection
  • Interoperability
  • Seamless integration
  • Cross-platform messaging

Secure Sockets Layer
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a protocol that was designed to provide secur communications on the Internet. SSL authenticates that the server is “who” it is supposed to be. SSL creates a secure communication channel by encrypting all communication between the client and the server. SSL conducts a cryptographic word count(checksum)to ensure data integrity between the server and client. Checksum is the number of bytes in a document, and it is sent along with the encrypted document when the server receives the message.

Extensible Markup Language

XML has gone from the latest buzzword to an entrenched technology in record time. These days, many businesses use XML to solve business problems. XML is an open messaging standard that provides a cross-platform portable mechanism for exchanging data. XML refers to a family of specifications based on a tagged message format for metadata. The tag language has been developed from older markup standards, including Generalized Markup Language (GML) and Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML).

XML definitions for specific business objects, such as messages used by EDI or financial applications, are grouped using “schemas&rdquoor document type definitions(DTDs). The XML standardis growing quickly. It is being adapted to, and supported by, an increasing number of products.

Electronic Business using Extensible Markup Language

ebXML is a standard sponsored by OASIS and UN/CEFACT. It is an open messaging standard that builds on top of XML, and it enables the use of electronic business information by trading partners that is interoperable and secure. This standard consists of the following five parts:

  • Core Components Technical Specification
  • Messaging Service Specification
  • Collaborative Partner Profile Agreement
  • Registry Information Model
  • Registry Services Specification

The two most common parts of the ebXML standard being used by companies today are the Messaging Service Specification and the Collaborative Partner Profile Agreement.

Web services

Web services are self-contained, self-describing, modular applications that can be published, located, and invoked over a network. Web Services utilizes the SOAP protocol and Web Services security to protect your data. With Web services, there is a Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) server. On this server, Web services can be located, published, and updated. When the desired Web service is located, a Web Services Description Language (WSDL) file is associated with it and contains information about the interface, the implementation, and the service provider. With this information, a Web service can be invoked. The use of a UDDI server is optional. Web service clients can typically retrieve the WSDL from other sources as well.

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