Why use UBL

There are different reasons that, without entering in specific comparisons, are key in favor of using UBL instead of other XML vocabularies for the electronic business document preparation.


  • UBL does not try to reinvent business rules. Instead of this, it tries that companies of any size enjoy the benefits of the electronic commerce with a minimum impact in their present infrastructures. That's why it defines standard formats XML for common documents as the invoice, the order or the despatch advice, and the specific mapping between the elements of these documents and their representation in paper (specifically to the standard representation a Layout Keys).

  • UBL is designed to be useful for people and for the machines. The UBL focus is on the data and not in the processes that produce them or consume. This causes that the representations of data are comprehensible for the people and equipment in later contexts to the interchange of the original information. UBL is build upon other levels of the stack of collaboration for the definition of processes. In the context ebXML, from where UBL comes, the process definitions come from layers BPSS and CPP/A.

  • UBL is the product of a Technical Committee of OASIS, open, auditable and neutral, whose procedures of generation are publicly available.

  • UBL was born from the donation of xCBL 3,0 on the part of CommerceOne and SAP. Therefore, from CBL 1,0 (1998), CBL 2,0 (1999), xCBL 3,0 (2000), and UBL 0,7 (2003), UBL 1,0 (2004), UBL 2,0 (2006) we are before the sixth generation of a specification that at this moment represents more than 6 years of continuous development in the creation of the syntax of businesses XML.

  • UBL is the first standard implementation of the specification ebXML Core Components Technical Specification (ISO 15000-5), and continues collaborating with UN/CEFACT TBG17 for the definition of the library of Core standard Components.

  • The localization subcommittees have translated the UBL library into the Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Italian and Danish outcoming the UBL 1.0 International Data Dictionary that contains more than 600 data items and their corresponding translations. This is an available resource uniquely in UBL and that causes that UBL instances are comprehensible for more than two thirds of the world-wide population.

  • The Naming and Design Rules of UBL schemes have been adopted by great industries (chemical, petroleum, agriculture and real estate), and by different departments from the government of the U.S. The Naming and Design Rules of UN/CEFACT are based partly on the UBL NDRs (Naming and Design Rules).

  • A subcommittee oriented specifically to PYMES has been created (Small Business Subcomittee) that has generated a simplified version of documents.

  • In Denmark, UBL is mandated by law for all the invoices of the public sector. In the three months from the beginning of the project, in February of the 2005, they have interchanged around 1,4 million UBL invoices per month. The Danish government estimates that the adoption of invoice UBL has supposed savings of 94 million annual euros. The implementation of order UBL next year can increase the savings in 160 million annual euros. This it is a real case of adoption and savings, not marketing.

  • UBL 2.0 was released at the beginning of the 2006. It is compatible with UBL 1.0 and it includes:
    • List of specifications for the creation of forms of document entrance.
    • Support to requirements of taxes in Europe, specified by OASIS Tax XML TC.
    • Four new types of documents for international transport (Bill of Lading, Waybill, Forwarding Instruction and Certificate of Origin)
    • Ten new documents that extend the model of supplying UBL proposed by IDA (EC) and OGC (UK) that implement the process of eprocurement of a government.

UBL and ebXML initiatives are gaining traction and are being endorsed at international level, and different organizations and governments are beginning to implant it with great success and important economic returns.

XML.org Focus Areas: BPEL | DITA | ebXML | IDtrust | OpenDocument | SAML | UBL | UDDI
OASIS sites: OASIS | Cover Pages | XML.org | AMQP | CGM Open | eGov | Emergency | IDtrust | LegalXML | Open CSA | OSLC | WS-I