Ugo Barchetti, Alberto Bucciero, Luca Mainetti and Stefano Santo Sabato
GSA Lab, Innovation Engineering Dept., University of Salento, Lecce, Italy
E-Procurement and Web-based Supply Chain Management, Middleware Integration, Legacy Systems,
Enterprise-Wide Client-Server Architecture, Database Security and Transaction Support, Multi-channel,
The e-commerce has become a point of strength for the companies that desire to increase their billing enlarging
their clients park and reducing the management costs. Therefore the demand has been born to use platforms
able to support the interoperability between heterogeneous systems and the multi-channelling with variegated
devices to access different services in reliable manner and to allow, so, a spread of the market toward partner
with particular needs. Furthermore, many available services have been typically designed for a single channel
the web one. In a real world scenario, an ever-growing number of users take advantage of different kind of
communication channel and devices. In this paper we propose a B2B oriented framework able to support
the interoperability among heterogeneous systems developed according to the ebXML reference model for
the business messages interchange suitable to any B2B marketplace that foresees the commercial interaction
among partners with different roles and profiles (including channel and device). Such framework has been
developed and experimented for the TRAME research project that has as objective to create a room of district
compensation of the peaks of productive ability demands within the Textile/Clothing sector and to give the
needed infrastructure for the business messages exchange among the partners of the productive spinneret.
The evolution in ICT opens new perspectives in the
development of multi-channel applications that en-
ables the access to operative information systems via
different devices or media format. An objective is
therefore the development of augmented services that
enhance their effectiveness by adapting the behav-
ior to different devices and communication means.
The use of different devices determines technologi-
cal requirements that concur to the definition of dif-
ferent interaction modes (called sometimes conversa-
tions (Boualem Benatallah, 2004)). Therefore, multi-
channel delivery is progressively more integrated to
support seamless channel switches. For example, a
cellular phone and a personal computer introduces
new issues because of not only screens and keyboards
of different sizes, but also because a personal com-
puter is statically located on a office desk, while a
cellular phone dynamically changes its spatial posi-
tion with the user. Consequently, the phone channel
enables for contextualized interaction that requires
location-aware services. In the enterprise applications
the database provides the medium to the applications
to save and to share data and metadata. Nowadays,
the enterprise applications are evolving towards Web
Applications or Web Services that have, also them,
the need to save and to share data and metadata. The
ebXML Registry (OASIS, 2005) is a powerful and
flexible registry and it is the implementation of a
repository founded on a generic and extensible infor-
mative model; it provides a set of services that allow
the sharing of information among different commer-
cial party in order to integrate their business processes
founding itself on the ebXML specifications. The reg-
istry makes available the needed information to ac-
complish a typical service application. The shared in-
formation (as a file, application, multimedia data or
XML document) are kept as objects in a repository
and managed by the ebXML Registry services. The
ebXML registry provides advanced services of infor-
mation management and through ebXML Collabora-
tion Profile (OASIS, 2005) specifications, it allows
the high level of formalization of the cooperation.
Barchetti U., Bucciero A., Mainetti L. and Santo Sabato S. (2008).
In Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems - DISI, pages 179-189
DOI: 10.5220/0001690901790189
ebXML Registry Services can seem a simple regis-
tration service according to Web Service specifica-
tions similarly to UDDI, however, it allows, besides,
to publish and share the data that formalize com-
pletely not only the service interface proposed by a
public administration, but also the possible sequence
of information exchanges among two or more actors.
UDDI (OASIS, 2005) is an initiative born for creat-
ing a global registry of companies, organizations or,
generically, suppliers of good and services, organized
for services and products: a medium through which
to be able to find suitable partners with which to in-
tegrate own productive chain in automatic and effi-
cient manner. The lack of centralized systems through
which to get information around the potential com-
mercial partner, has involved to drastically limit the
potentialities that the interconnection offers. In or-
der to obviate such a problem, various attempts have
been developed as marketplaces and online address
books, although these have not produced exhaustive
results in the search of potential commercial counter-
parts. In this paper we propose an extension of the
concept of registry and its implementation in terms of
multi-channelling and multi-modality. Therefore, we
have structured this paper in three parts. In the first
one is exposed a survey of software system for the
B2B integration and the interoperability. In the sec-
ond one is exposed the motivation for the new archi-
tecture and the detailed explanation of the proposed
framework. In the last one, the project experimenta-
tion is presented explaining the reached objectives.
In this section we will analyze tools and software sys-
tems proposed by suppliers of marketplace solutions
proper for the B2B integration and the interoperabil-
ity. BEA WebLogic platform (WebLogic, 2005) is
a software foundation for the development and the
management of enterprise applications. BEA We-
bLogic platform tries to simplify the processing al-
lowing the IT organizations to develop theirs appli-
cation infrastructure providing an understanding of
the business guidelines to follow. BEA WebLogic
Platform combines three core products (Server, Inte-
gration, and Portal) to provide a platform for devel-
oping and deploying enterprise applications and ser-
vices. BizTalk Server 2006 (BizTalk, 2006) is the
Microsoft server for the development of solutions for
the business processes integration. BizTalk doesn’t
represent a new solution, but it is born from a col-
lection of existing tools, besides Microsoft guaran-
tees the full adhesion of these to the XML 1.0 spec-
ifications (XML, 2006). BizTalk Server is able to
elaborate the followings formats: EDI (EDI, 2006)
(ANSI X12 and EDIFACT (EDIFACT, 2007)), well
formed XML documents, Document Type Definitions
(DTD, 2002), hierarchical Flat File, delimited and po-
sitional (for instance, SAP (SAP, 2007) and IDOCS
(IDoc, 2007)). BizTalk conforms to Business Pro-
cess Execution Language (BPEL) standards. Com-
merceNet’s eCo architecture (eco, 2007) provides an
interoperability framework that consists of an Archi-
tectural Specification and a Semantic Specification.
The Architectural Specification presents information
about an e-commerce system in seven different cat-
egories. The Semantic Specification, on the other
hand, provides a simple set of business documents
that can be used inside the eCo framework. Roset-
taNet framework (RosettaNet, 2007) consists of Part-
ner Interface Processes (PIPs), a master dictionary
and an implementation framework, the relationship
among these parts can be expressed with the follow-
ing analogies: RosettaNet dictionaries provides the
words, the RosettaNet Implementation Framework
(RNIF) acts as the grammar and RosettaNet Partner
Interface Processes (PIP) form the dialog. Commerce
XML (cXML) (cxml, 2007) is a standard for facili-
tating exchange of catalog content and transaction in-
formation between trading partners. The cXML cata-
log definitions consist of three main elements (Sup-
plier, Index, Contract). Seller organizations create
catalogs so that buying organizations’ procurement
applications can see their products and service of-
fering (Dogac and Cingil, 2001). The Sun Service
Registry is an open source implementation based on
the ebXML Registry specifications. Besides this im-
plementation supports UDDI specifications provid-
ing a discovery interface of the services through re-
quests developed using this standard specifications.
The combined support for both these standards in an
only package, offered by the Sun Service Registry,
provides wide management capability of the Web Ser-
vices, for a solution that tries to become a point of ref-
erence for the Service Oriented Architecture (SOA).
The freebXML Registry project (freebXML, 2006)
is a open source project that provides a free imple-
mentation of the ebXML Registry 2.0 specification.
The project is managed by many authors of the same
standards of OASIS and is introduced therefore as
”the first mostly compatible implementation of the
ebXML Registry specifications”. Usability, flexibil-
ity and multi-channelling, key issues for our approch,
seem to be weak points of previous systems.
ICEIS 2008 - International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems
Global economy improves cooperation among enter-
prises. Effective cooperation is important for the en-
terprises to create and better respond to the valuable
market opportunities. Virtual enterprises (VEs) are
an appropriated cooperation alternative and a way of
gaining competitive advantage for enterprises. VE
consists of independent enterprise, which share the
costs and technologies to catch fast changing op-
portunities. One of the main goals of the TRAME
Project is to overcome the limits due to the local-
ism of some “self-centered close-enterprises” indus-
trial districts especially in terms of flexibility of re-
sponse the market requests, proposing a dynamic re-
configurable collaborative networked structure based
on cooperation among different actors. Recent ap-
proaches in such a field goes under different names:
Intelligent Enterprise (Quinn, 1992), the Extended
Enterprise (J. Browne and Wortmann, 1995), the Ag-
ile/Virtual Enterprise (Cunha, 2000) and other mod-
els, each with its characterizing nuances. Coopera-
tion is a key aspect in the VE paradigm (Camarinha-
Matos and Afsarmanesh, 1999) (Camarinha-Matos
and Afsarmanesh, 2001). In a VE, autonomous en-
terprises cooperate with each other to form a dynamic
alliance in order to meet the changing market rapidly
and achieve a common goal. Because a VE is built
according to the changing business opportunity, the
cooperative partners in a virtual enterprise may be
different. These partners may have different behav-
iors, different motivations, and different priorities.
They can efficiently utilize complementary capabili-
ties and resources to achieve their goal in this tempo-
rary alliance, optimizing the utilization of resources,
reducing high investments and risks. In this scenario,
TRAME projects aims to define a flexible technologi-
cal framework, that, exploiting the ebXML specifica-
tions, allows the cooperation of the enterprises of T/C
industrial sector, enabling each of the to share their
productive capacity providing a multichannel deliv-
ery of the business information.
3.1 History
Our experience in the field of VEs started with
MODA-ML project (Moda-ML, 2007). The MODA-
ML project was funded by the European Commission
(IST Take-Up Action Line IV.2.5, V Framework Pro-
gram). The project aimed to facilitate the flow of tech-
nical and operational information between the firms
of the T/C supply chain thanks to the exchange of
XML documents via Internet. The concrete objective
of the project was the definition of a common data
format, suitable for the exchanges of information via
Internet along the supply chain: a format with fea-
tures enable to simplify the legacy systems integra-
tion. The quality of the documents was thought to be
high enough to propose their formalization as a part
of an international standard for the T/C sector in Tex-
tWeave initiative. TexWeave (Moda-ML, 2007) is
a standardization initiative of CEN (European Com-
mitte for Standardization), promoted by Euratex (Eu-
ropean Association of the T/C Industry). The aim
of TexWeave is the definition of a common reference
model for the data exchange (and enterprise network-
ing) in the European T/C industry. In the past an-
other initiative, TexSpin, was promoted by CEN and
Euratex in order to start the construction of an Eu-
ropean common language; then, with TexWeave, Eu-
ratex and CEN intended to improve that experience,
covering new aspects of the supply chain and begin-
ning to face the issues of cross-sectorial collabora-
tions (towards footwear, furniture and automotive in-
dustry). Starting from the previous results, during the
DISCoRSO project (Discorso, 2005) we investigated
”Inter-marketplace interoperability”. It had its main
result deploying a new and innovative ICT platform
for brand new processes and technologies in order to
coordinate enterprises belonging to the T/C sector but
being member of different marketplace, thus using a
different formats and operations for their electronic
data interchange transactions. The TRAME project is
the last step in our research activity.
3.2 Motivations for a New Architecture
The central problem on which the TRAME project
wants to operate, is to create a district compensa-
tion of the peaks of productive ability demands. For
this purpose it is needed to guarantee not only the
quality and the format of the exchanged information,
but also the information compatibility among differ-
ent systems. Multi-channel and multi-modal delivery
can offers the proper interoperability to make avail-
able all the needed elements to the business manager
to optimally plan the production. From the instant
of the business message (i.e. a textiles purchase or-
der of fabric supplying process) reception in elec-
tronic format, the companies have to be able to an-
swer in brief times on their own capability to satisfy
it in optimal manner, also resorting to external avail-
able resources absolutely in transparent way. Needed
condition is that such information have dynamically
and accurately been made available. Practically every
company on the one hand, publish for all partners the
own productive ability (capability to effect well de-
fined manufactures with suitable characteristics) and
the own availability (real availability of the machin-
ery for new orders of production in a well defined pe-
riod). On the other hand, after the production plan-
ning, the company can indifferently see own machin-
ery and the external resources and optimally allocate
the own loads. From an architectural point of view
in an informative collaborative system as TRAME,
the cooperation among different organizations is got-
ten sharing and coordinating online services (usually
called e-service). These services must be flexible not
only in the deploy mode(distributed and centralized
system), but also in the access channels.
3.3 Reference Model
After a deep analysis of the various standards,
we have considered the specifications proposed by
ebXML as the more flexible and the more extensible
reference model. The United Nations (UN/CEFACT)
and OASIS sponsored the ebXML specifications for
use in e-business frameworks. ebXML Business Pro-
cess Specification Schema (BPSS) (OASIS, 2005) is
a proposed standard for specifying collaborations for
use in exchanging business documents through a set
of choreographed transactions. A business transaction
is an atomic unit of work between trading partners.
Each business transaction has one requesting (incom-
ing) document and an optional responding (outgoing)
document. BPSS also supports business signals, or
application-level documents that communicate a busi-
ness transaction’s current state (i.e. an acknowledg-
ment document). Each actor that takes place to the
business transaction is described by a CPP (Collab-
oration Protocol Profile) (OASIS, 2005) which de-
scribes IT capabilities in terms of supported transport
protocols, messaging, security constraints, and bind-
ings to the business process. ebXML also provides
the CPA (Collaboration Protocol Agreement) (OA-
SIS, 2005) which describes the capabilities that two
parties have agreed to use to perform a business col-
laboration. Aligned to this ebXML approach there is
a set of federated electronic Registry services, that al-
low partners to discover each other and, more impor-
tantly, to store central definitions and the components
that are needed to configure the interchange between
them. These can then also be catalogued and shared
across an industrial community. The last feature of
ebXML is to provide secure and reliable communica-
tions across the Internet. A special XML based mes-
saging transport system based on XML SOAP server
foundation was developed. This is known as ebMS
(ebXML Messaging Service) (OASIS, 2005) which
is universally the most common component used by
implementers of ebXML. The ebMS server has now
evolved into a sophisticated component that, not only
exchanges messages but also checks trading partner
profiles to ensure that the exchanges conform to the
business agreements are being routed accordingly. In
the latest version ebMS can also perform business rule
3.3.1 Hermes Platform
In order to facilitate and promote the use of ebXML,
several implementations have been provided to help
companies taking full advantages of the technology.
One of the most used implementations is Hermes
(freebXML, 2006) which is an electronic message
transfer gateway that enables the exchange of ebXML
messages. Hermes is developed as a platform for
execution of ebMS that ensure a secure and reliable
information transmission. Hermes (Figure 1) pro-
vides individual listeners in handling different mes-
sage types, but all of them can be operated simulta-
neously in the common platform. Hermes also allows
to send ebXML message only invoking the endpoint
needed and letting the programmer mainly focus on
the business logic. Hermes operates as a Java web ap-
plication; the ebMS messaging capability is operated
by the corresponding plugin, written according to the
ebXML specification. The messaging operation re-
quires a database with JDBC connectivity in keeping
track of the messaging status. The message transmis-
sion can be secured by using SSL or electronic cer-
tificates, which are provided by the public standard.
Figure 1: Hermes components diagram (freebXML, 2006).
3.3.2 Limits and Lacks
Even though Hermes is a robust and performing ar-
chitecture, already at its second major release, it only
supports P2P messaging. In a real and complex enter-
prise scenario often the degree of informatization as
well as business needs are very differentiated. Many
ICEIS 2008 - International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems
business sectors, for example the Italian T/C supply
chain are based on a multitude of small and medium
enterprises with very heterogeneous information sys-
tems, different business profiles and practices, and
very different connectivity degrees, going from cases
of poor presence over the Internet, usual in the famil-
iar micro enterprise, to the bigger company with sev-
eral servers always connected and reachable. In such
a situation it’s not technically always possible to set
up the Hermes architecture in all the enterprises that
potentially could belong to the marketplace. It is thus
needed to relax the strict requirement of having a Her-
mes client/server installed in the company domain in
order to perform a P2P message exchange, and to al-
low also the smallest and not informatized companies
the access to the marketplace services (partner discov-
ering, B2B messaging, etc.). To overcome this limits
TRAME project provides an extension of the Hermes
architecture toward two main targets:
Multi-modality: TRAME architecture intro-
duces a service centre that works as mediator be-
tween companies not provided with the Hermes
system through a web application, in a “webmail
fashion”, able to send and receive message to a
generic Hermes server.
Multi-canality: TRAME architecture is able
to dynamically select and use different delivery
channel (es. SMS, fax) in order to auto adapt it-
self to the specific business transaction as well as
to the particular Collaboration Profile of business
3.4 TRAME System Architecture
Following the guidelines offered by ebXML and us-
ing the experiences on Hermes platform, a logical
architecture of inter-company communication system
has been defined, exploiting the specification related
to the Message Service v2.0 (OASIS, 2005) and
ebXML Registry. This system is able to give sup-
port to the electronic management of the documental
flow. It manages processes and structured information
(documents) beyond to implement an e-procurement
system that works as electronic broker to mechanize
the buying and selling processes of productive ability.
The TRAME architecture (Figure 2) is based on the
following components:
Transport System: it manages the information
transmission from a business party to the central
database and vice versa through communication
client called MSH (Message Service Handler) for
the companies supplied with informative system,
moreover it provides a web application for the
companies without informative system.
Central Infrastructure: it manages the search, the
retrieval and the reservation of productive abilities
and it attends to the advertising of the business
profiles and the business agreements between the
Supporting Tools: they automate the creation of
own profiles according to the CPP ebXML spec-
ifications and the generation of agreements docu-
ments between two different companies according
to the CPA ebXML specification.
The Dictionary: it provides messages schematiza-
tion that describe the most common marketplace
production processes according to the needs and
the roles of the several companies (tertiary, man-
ufacturer, and so on).
In the next paragraph we’ll explain in detail the used
approach for the creation of a multi-modal and multi-
channel architecture and its main components.
3.4.1 Multi-modal and Multi-channel Approach
The lack of a “de facto” standard for the specific
problem of the Supply Chain Management has lead
to a proliferation of approaches and proprietary so-
lutions suitable to satisfy the requirements of specific
applicative domains. P2P is a widespread model. This
paradigm is characterized from a multitude of actors
with different informatization level and availability
degree on web. A weak point of the P2P model is
the need of the companies not equipped with infor-
mative system “to make use”, for the interaction with
the counterpart, of the services with which any com-
pany must interact, forcing every spinneret partners to
provide outside accessibility of these services and in-
creasing so, data security risks. Another widespread
model in this area, is the HUB one. In this paradigm,
every interaction between two organizations is medi-
ated from a central entity, a kind of service center,
that manages different supporting tasks as: to carry
the business messages exchanged between the sender
and the buyer, to maintain a copy of the attached data
to every transaction, to expose the spinneret services
through a web application, to work as documents
repository, to work as central authority agency. The
weak points of the HUB model are the following:
The presence of a central archive containing busi-
ness information is viewed with distrust from the
The operation of the entire system is strongly de-
pendent from one only node of the architecture,
the central HUB.
The problems deriving from the previously described
models, have raised the need to use a multi-modal ap-
proach for the definition of the TRAME architecture,
trying to take advantage from the strength points of
the previous models (P2P and HUB) and giving ade-
quate guarantees to the business partner. So, TRAME
system is based on a hybrid model, and is therefore
composed of two functional distinguished parts: the
peripheral systems and the central infrastructure. The
first one are composed essentially from the message
transport system, called ”Message Service Handler”
(ebXML MSH) that interacts with Company Infor-
mation Systems. The central infrastructure stores the
information on the companies, such as their profiles
(CPP) and other general information. Furthermore,
for the development of the TRAME architecture it has
been considered the need to give support to the multi-
channel delivery and therefore it has been foreseen
the business messages transmission not only through
the transport protocols that, by now, are consolidated
such as HTTP and SMTP, but also through more spe-
cific protocols able to interface with different devices
such as SMS and fax.
3.4.2 Transport System
The transport system has been developed as an
ebXML message based applications that allows the
business documents dispatch and reception. Such sys-
tem can ensure the interoperability among all the part-
ners, providing for the needs of all the companies of
great and small dimensions. We made a separation
Companies of big dimensions that have an infor-
mative system: the message system needed to ex-
change business documents, does not have nowise
to force to eventual changes or updating. These
companies can develop a driver that extracts in-
formation from own informative system and sends
business message through MSH. The driver is the
interface with MSH application.
Companies of small dimensions without informa-
tive system: they must not have the need to equip
itself of an informative system for being able to
use the message system with own partners.
The interoperability among companies is obtained
making reference to the OASIS ebMS v2.0 specifi-
cations. The business documents come, therefore,
enclosed inside a ebXML envelope and transmitted
to destination, respecting the agreements, defined ac-
cording to CPA specification. The communications
among the companies follow the P2P paradigm, but
there is also a central system on which the applica-
tions are installed that allow to the companies without
informative system of being able to use the message
system. Thus, a P2HUB communication joins to the
P2P ones between two companies: it is possible, how-
ever, to consider the central system as a “special” peer
to which a company does not correspond effectively,
but an automated system.
Figure 2: TRAME architecture.
The general TRAME architecture is showed in
the figure 2.
Companies with Informative System. A com-
pany that has an informative system, does not have to
be forced to modify it: in order to make it compatible
with the ebMS v2.0 specifications it is needed
therefore to add a module, called MSH (Message
Service Handler), and a MSH connector, that allows
to interface the business informative system to the
MSH. To simplify the integration with the enterprise
informative system, the MSH connector is composed
by a driver that interface itself with the enterprise
database through a polling mechanism. The devel-
opment of this driver is delegated to the companies,
because it’s closely correlated to the internet database
structure. So the driver doesn’t became nowise
invasive for the business informative system and
moreover extends his potentialities, making it able
to communicate with the outside. All that implies to
three types of considerations:
The business informative system has only the re-
sponsibility of the creation of the business docu-
ments and its storage in the “sending” documents.
The driver must extract from database such docu-
ments, but it cannot access to other information.
The business informative system doesn’t know of
the MSH existence, not even in phase of messages
reception: the received documents are saved in the
business database from the driver.
ICEIS 2008 - International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems
Any other information, from the notification of
communication errors by MSH to the validation
errors, cannot be communicated directly by MSH
to the business informative system.
The figure 3 shows the components if the transport
architecture for the companies that already have an
informative system. The business informative sys-
Figure 3: MSH communication modules.
tem is not nowise altered and, in order to maintain
a high level of generalization, the only obligatory as-
sumption is that the business informative system has a
database. The driver is taken care to put in communi-
cation the business informative system with the MSH
Client in the both directions. In sending phase, the
driver is taken care to carry out a periodical polling
on the business database. Beginning from contained
information into the database, the driver creates busi-
ness documents in XML format according to cho-
sen and shared schema by all the companies that use
TRAME system, and stores them into file system
shared with MSH Client. In the receiving phase, MSH
Client sends a document to the driver that carry out
the polling in the shared file system and takes care to
insert it into the business database. In the MSH Client
architecture we can identify the following modules:
Filesystem poller: it controls XML outgoing files,
inside of the shared filesystem. It is, therefore,
an interface between business informative system
and MSH Client.
XML Parser: it extracts the message content, veri-
fies the data correctness and takes the needed data
for the transmission.
Web Service Poller: it cyclically controls the pres-
ence of new messages on the server. Such opera-
tion is developed through the Axis Stub for the
Web Service invocation.
The MSH Server is composed by the Hermes server
opportunely configured. It will usually find beyond
a firewall, inside of a DMZ. The communication
between MSH Client and MSH Server takes place
using a MSH Stub object.
Companies without Informative System. A
company that haven’t an informative system must
be able to access to the service supporting the lower
possible cost. The solution that better answers to
such requirement is the web application, that allows
the companies to access the service through any
device provided with an Internet connection. The
central system results the perfect candidate in order
to accommodate such a web application, because
it already has all the needed logic to communicate
with the companies (thanks to its MSH module):
the web application will have therefore to interact
with the MSH on the central system (Figure 2). This
system provides several functionalities for every
preventively registered company such as an own
private area. From the private area it can be reached
the ebXML messages exchange functionalities with
the other companies. There is a database for the
storage of the messages exchanged among companies
in which there are the needed information for the
proper working of the overall system, such as the
documents that describe the agreements between
parts (CPA). The Web application uses a typical logic
of the web-mail through which the deputy person
can send, receive, examine the exchanged messages
with the counterpart, controlling also that if there are
errors found during the transaction.
3.4.3 Central Infrastucture
Central infrastructure offers the discovery service of
business partners. It can be a useful support in the se-
lection of the companies using the database contain-
ing the presumptive productive abilities of the bidder
companies. Using these information, the target com-
panies will be able to define contract contests and,
through the transport system, to opportunely select
the companies with which to establish a partnership.
Therefore, the infrastructure centers is based on a reg-
istry that contains the companies’ productive abili-
ties and manages the negotiations among the com-
panies. Moreover the registry acts as remote repos-
itory to which making reference for being able not
only to discover new company, but also, to find busi-
ness documents usable in spinneret for the B2B mes-
sages exchange. The system flexibility can give sup-
port to all the actors of productive spinneret (supplier,
buyer, and tertiary) allowing their identification in the
system as bidder and target companies. The registry,
moreover, is perfectly integrated in the transport sys-
tem providing the capability to send service messages
on the contests defined by target companies through
the creation of CPA between bidder companies and
registry. In this context, the registry, considered as
guarantee authority, takes care of the sending and the
receiving of the messages about negotiations among
the companies through a integrated adapter in the web
application that allows the communication with the
transport system. The registry architecture has been
thought in order to decouple the presentation layer
from the business logic layer (Figure 4). The pre-
sentation layer has been designed according to MVC
pattern using struts as reference framework. The busi-
ness logic layer is composed, besides DAO module
for interconnection to the database, also by the trans-
action manager module that manages the interaction
with the MSH Server, and the CPA manager module
that manages the CPA creation between company and
3.4.4 Supporting Tools
Two applications, named CPP-Editor and CPA-
MatchMaker, have been developed to allow the cre-
ation and editing of the collaboration ebXML pro-
tocols documents. CPP-Editor allows the creation
and modification of ebXML CPP profiles; CPA-
MatchMaker allows the creation and editing of CPA
agreement. Such tools have been integrated inside
of the central infrastructure, providing the offered
services access through the registry. The CPAs ob-
tained using the CPA-MatchMaker describe Company
to Company communication agreement according to
formalized business processes with the ebXML ebBP
(OASIS, 2005) standard.
3.4.5 Dictionary
For the TRAME project has been used the acquired
experience with TexWeave (Moda-ML, 2007) in or-
der to identify and to use dictionaries of business doc-
uments for the B2B transactions between companies
of the T/C sector. The (template of) documents of
each release are represented by:
XML Schemas, that are used to validate the XML
Figure 4: Registry architecture.
User Guides, that completely describe the struc-
ture and the aim of the business documents, to-
gether with the elements and their coding rules.
In some cases, Samples and Stylesheets XSL
(XSL, 2007) might be available and can be used to
visualize with a browser the content of the XML
documents. The proposed stylesheets should be
considered as a sample or a reference to be used
directly or customised or ignored at all and substi-
tuted with custom stylesheets.
TRAME project is born from the textile district of
Biella, Italy; its participants are 23 companies, usu-
ally localized in the district of Biella. They are lead-
ers in woollen sector and their tertiary. They are inter-
ested to share and to optimize the use of own produc-
tive ability for a inter-business collaboration while the
clothing companies are interested to implement with
their suppliers, a fast answer strategy to the evolutions
ICEIS 2008 - International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems
Table 1: The supported processes by XML documents.
Process Activities
Fabric Supply Selection of fabrics, Pur-
chase of fabrics, Despatch
of fabrics with groupage,
Fabric delivery and Quality
reporting activities
Fabric Manufac-
Subcontracted warping,
Subcontracted weaving,
Subcontracted fabric
dyeing-finishing, Subcon-
tracted fabric printing,
Subcontracted fabric
darning activities
Yarn Manufactur-
Subcontracted yarn twist-
ing, Subcontracted yarn
dyeing activities
Yarn Supply yarn products, Delivery of
yarn activities
of market and improvement of the performances in
the cloth supply. To obtain concrete feedbacks on the
proposed platform, it has been foreseen and carried
out a validation and experimentation phase with the
companies that had the following objectives:
Prototype functional validation (trasport system
and central infrastucture).
Loading of the participants’ registry office and
filling of the archives with technical content.
Inner test to the companies verifying the inte-
gration and the supporting procedures for the
company informative systems interoperability and
combined test of the centralized services.
From a functional point of view, the centralized ser-
vices structure has been thus delineated:
Central service: “Repository of the productive
abilities and the availabilities”, accessible via
web, but fed from the business systems thanks to
electronic messages (XML).
Reservation service of the accessible productive
abilities via web or directly from the company in-
formative systems.
Development of advanced business front-end for
the management of automatic answer and sucure
communication mechanisms.
In this phase has been foreseen the use of specific
messages in order to test possible benefits in real con-
ditions. The use cases tested during the experimen-
tation are the “normal” and “short” search. In the
first one, the target company defines a first selection
(anonymous) of prospective tertiary according to type
of service identified, selecting a number of parame-
ters (first level parameters) about manufacture, ma-
chinery and service. This pre-selection can help the
target company to define a subset of bidder compa-
nies able to potentially satisfy the demands. In the
next step, the target company can select other spe-
cific parameters (second level parameters) to define
a contract contest. Instead, the short search is used by
target company to find the bidder company and de-
fine a contract contest in the same step. In order to
clarify the previous use cases and to understand bet-
ter the cental infrastucture, the figure 5 shows the se-
quence diagram of “short” search describing the reg-
istry components interactions (Figure 4). The figure
6 shows the bid request message schema and a frag-
ment of bid request message instance. This message
is generated when the target company begins a con-
tract context (for examaple through a “short” search)
as shown in the figure 5.
For giving support to the several companies, Dom-
ina, a project partner, it has been taken care to guide
and to check up on the companies for the all experi-
mentation activities, creating the customized adapter
in order to allow the interconnection between the
company informative system and the transport sys-
tem. At last, Domina has been taken care to man-
age through a district server, all the information re-
garding the registry and the trade transactions, de-
ploying the central infrastucture on aforesaid server.
Still, the services pre-industrialization feedbacks are
being collected with the experimentation of a final
pre-competitive version of the system. The first result
have shown a effective benefit for the companies part-
ner giving thus encouraging feedbacks for the future.
The TRAME project is currently in the experimenta-
tion phase. Estimable results could be evaluated at the
end of such phase.
In this paper has been introduced a B2B oriented
framework able to support the interoperability among
heterogeneous systems developed according to the
ebXML specifications. The illustrated architecture
bases its strength and effectiveness on technological
solutions of proven value (Hermes), and on market-
place standards that have caught up a wide spread
level (ebXML, J2EE). Moreover, such framework
supports the multi-modal and multi-channel delivery
through a P2P and P2HUB architecture, and the use
of different communication protocols such as HTTP,
SMTP, SMS, and fax. In this framework it has been
Figure 5: Sequence diagram of “short” search use case.
developed a central infrastructure able to give support
to the peaks of productive ability demands within the
T/C sector and to give the needed infrastructure for
the business messages exchange among the partners
of the productive spinneret. The future works foresees
to extend the framework supplying greater flexibility
to the all system and extending the multi-channel abil-
ities. This system has been moreover used also for
the FIM project experimentation in the furniture sec-
tor. At last, a system evolution foresees its use in the
footwear sector through an experimentation with the
companies localized in the area of Casarano (Lecce,
Thanks to Domina S.r.l and ENEA research center for
the contribution to the architecture. Moreover, partic-
ular thanks to the Italian Ministry of the Economic
Development that has founded TRAME project, and
to the 23 companies of the textile district of Biella
(Italy) for their contribution to the experimentation
BizTalk (2006). http://www.microsoft.com/biztalk/-
default.mspx. Microsoft.
Boualem Benatallah, Fabio Casati, F. T. (2004). Web
service conversation modeling: A cornerstone for
e-business automation. IEEE Internet Computing,
Camarinha-Matos, L. M. and Afsarmanesh, H. (1999). The
virtual enterprise concept. In Proceedings of the IFIP
TC5 WG5.3 / PRODNET Working Conference on In-
frastructures for Virtual Enterprises: Networking In-
dustrial Enterprises, pages 3–14. Kluwer, B.V., De-
venter, The Netherlands.
Camarinha-Matos, L. M. and Afsarmanesh, H. (2001). Vir-
tual enterprise modeling and support infrastructures:
applying multi-agent system approaches. New York,
Cunha, M.M., P.-G. v. P. (2000). Towards focused markets
of resources for agile virtual enterprise integration.
In Proceedings of the TC5/WG5.3 Forth IFIP/IEEE,
pages 15–24. Kluwer, B.V., Deventer, The Nether-
cxml (2007). http://www.cxml.org. Commerce XML.
Discorso (2005). http://www.discorso.eng.it/. Discorso
Dogac, A. and Cingil, I. (2001). A survey and compari-
son of business-to-business e-commerce frameworks.
ACM SIGecom Exchanges, 2(2):16–27.
ICEIS 2008 - International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems
DTD (2002). http://xml.coverpages.org/ieeestandards.html.
IEEE Standard.
eco (2007). http://eco.commerce.net/. CommerceNet.
EDI (2006). http://www.w3.org/ecommerce/. W3C.
EDIFACT (2007). http://www.unece.org/trade/untdid/-
welcome.htm. UNECE.
freebXML (2006). http://www.freebxml.org/. freebXML.
IDoc (2007). http://www.thespot4sap.com/articles/. SAP.
J. Browne, P. J. S. and Wortmann, J. C. (1995). Fu-
ture manufacturing system-towards the extended en-
terprise. COMPUTERS IN INDUSTRY, 25:235–254.
Moda-ML (2007). http://www.moda-ml.org/. ENEA.
OASIS (2005). http://www.oasis-open.org/. OASIS.
Quinn, J. (1992). Intelligent Enterprise: A Knowledge and
Service Based Paradigm for Industry. Free Press, New
RosettaNet (2007). http://www.rosettanet.org. RosettaNet.
SAP (2007). http://www.sap.com/index.epx. SAP.
WebLogic (2005). http://www.bea.com/. BEA.
XML (2006). http://www.w3.org/tr/rec-xml/. W3C.
XSL (2007). http://www.w3.org/style/xsl/. W3C.
Figure 6: Bid request message.