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Subject: [ebxml-iic] A couple of things...

Title: A couple of things...


Some TC members have reported on the interest of their company in addressing the interoperability aspect of ebXML MS.
Initially, the idea was to stage MS Conformance and MS Interoperability over time, and possibly prioritize the latter
with the Conformance of other ebXML specs, given our resources.

However, considering that: (1) MS being first to hit the market, needs the most focus for now, (2) current IIC membership

is far from being fully used by current activities (conformance, impl guidelines), (3) a small but committed team (as for MS Conformance)

would be sufficient to tackle this, then it seems realistic to consider an MS Interoperability task force in parallel to MS Conformance.

These two activities are certainly different, but also synergistic (test case formats, test drivers, validation process...)

So I will make a couple of motions, at the next IIC conference call (Monday April 1st), that we should be ready to debate/vote on.

Feel free to discuss them on our elist prior to the meeting:

1. (something mentioned before, not related to Interoperability:)
The opening of each IIC Conformance sub-group (CTTFs for Messaging, CPPA, RegRep...) to 1 or 2 subject matter experts
from the relevant TC, to help define conformance tests for its specification. This means that, in case these experts
do not become -or are not- full IIC members (though they could) and don't vote , we recognize their authority in *helping* us define

and author test cases for their respective specs. (Note: I checked with Karl Best on the feasibility of such cross-teams.

That is OK, knowing external members will not vote on the IIC output.)
So, if this motion passes, the CTTFs accept the involvment of these experts (to be named by their TC) and will factor in their input.

2. The undertaking of an MS Interoperability effort, in parallel with MS Conformance and MS Implementation Guidelines.
Please see the details of the mission of the MS Interoperability Testing Task Force, attached.
Part of the motion is also a timing requirement (that would test the team's committment...) :
Given the expertise IIC already has on this topic, a first version of the team's ouput (spec for test cases
and operating guidelines) must be ready by end of May 2002.
Also, setting-up this team should not be detrimental to other current activities, staffwise...
If this motion passes, an MS Interoperability team would be set-up, *only* if it finds members who fulfill these conditions...

(of course, the output document will be for review and vote by all IIC.)


Jacques Durand
IIC chair

MS Interoperability Testing Task Force:

As ebXML Messaging Services specification is getting support and committment from a
growing number of companies, the need for testing and maintaining Interoperability
is also growing. 

A specific challenge for the MS ITTF group will be in designing interoperability
tests that are easy to operate, if not fully automated. Indeed, interoperability
cannot be secured once-for-all. B2B messaging systems are dynamic environments: 
they are upgraded like any other system, they rely on third-party software for advanced
services, their configuration may change, and they need also to support changing
modes of communication (CPAs) (and to agree on the precise semantics of these.)
All this is calling for a testing procedure that is easy to set-up and to repeat on a 
periodical basis.

The MS ITTF will have two subteams working in tandem:

1. Test Definition team:

- Will define which Interoperability Test Cases need be done, overall scenarios, 
configuration, logistics and operating options.
- Main objective: come up with a test set that would make sense for the user community.
- Output: an Interoperability Test Suite and scenarios, described in a user-readable way, 
along with operation guidelines, message and MSH configuration material, 
validation rules, etc.

Note: We actually have a lot of expertise on this in member companies of IIC TC. 
(IONA has experience on RosettaNet interoperability testbed and procedures, 
Drummond Group with ebXML MS interoperability testing, and last but not least, 
the participants in previous POC demos who spent long hours debugging interoperability 
between their MSHs.)

2. Test Operation team:

- Will define (a) a format to describe the Test Cases (XML schema, input/output, 
MSH configuration), along with (b) a design of the test driver technology able to 
process these descriptions, execute the tests, generate reports, validate. 
Although implementing the testbed technology is not part of the deliverable, its design 
is paramount to properly define (a), and should also serve as guideline to implementors.
- Main objective: define test format and procedure that can be easily reused/repeated
and largely automated.
- Output: (i) a format to describe the Test Cases, their sequencing, input, output & report, 
(ii) recommendation on how to process these in an automated way (driver design, translation 
of these inputs for MSH, validation of outputs).

Note: It is expected that (2) will share a lot with the work being done currently for 
Conformance Test definitions (Matt McKenzie & Michael Kass & Jacques)

The final Test Cases selected by ITTF will be those agreeable to both teams 
(Definition and Operation), with regard to their respective objectives.

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