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AS4 FAQ

What is AS4?

"AS4: Secure B2B Document Exchange Using Web Services" is a specification developed by a subcommittee of the OASIS ebXML Messaging Services Technical Committee. The intent and purpose of the formation of the AS4 subcommittee is the development of a Web Services Constrained Profile of the ebMS v3.0 specification, referred to in this FAQ as the "AS4 Profile." This profile provides guidance for a standardized methodology for the secure and document-agnostic exchange of B2B payloads using Web services.

AS4 is for the secure and payload-agnostic exchange of B2B documents using Web services. The intent is to map the AS2-like functional requirements onto the WS-* stack using ebMS 3.0 as a leverage point. AS4 constrains the ebMS v3.0 specification (and the underlying WS-I profiles and WS-* stack) for messaging packaging, transport, security, exchange patterns, and non-repudiation. AS4 is a Web services based protocol that brings simplicity to organizations that are heavily invested in Web services. It provides B2B vendors an on-ramp to Web services based B2B solutions that have otherwise resisted.

 

How does the AS4 Profile relate to AS2 RFC?

 

AS2 (Applicability Statement 2) is the RFC specification by which AS2 software vendor applications communicate EDI or other business-to-business data (such as XML) over the Internet using HTTP, a standard used by the World Wide Web. The AS2 standard continues to be one of the most widely adopted messaging standards in the world.

The technical committee which drafted the initial AS4 Profile utilized the lessons learned from AS2. However, that is the only relation between AS4 and AS2. It is not the plan that AS4 products takes the place of AS2 products. AS4 offers organizations that are already invested, or want to invest in web services, a web services based protocol with the simplicity and lessons learned from AS2.

Is the AS4 Profile a subset of ebMS 3.0?

 

AS4 has been developed in the open standard arena of OASIS to make that subset publicly available and publicly maintained. The extensible nature of Web services via the WS-* stacks gives great freedom in expanding and adding features in the future by composing other WS-* specifications. That can be done by either evolving the Profile over time, or by deferring to a full implementation of the ebMS v3 specification.

AS4 has the AS2 functional requirements, plus more functionality because it is a subset of the ebMS v3 specification. In looking over the landscape of using Web services for B2B messaging, it did not seem like there was anything as simple and elegant as what AS2 affords for that domain space. Whatever was out there was either very complicated, document/WSDL-centric, or just underspecified.

How did AS4 get started?

 

In 2007, DGI invited a large group of B2B software vendors to come together for a series of technical discussions to explore what Web services B2B might look like. Those series of technical discussions produced a high level list of business functionality. We made some general broad brush consensus on some Web services functionality around packaging, security, non-repudiation, error handling, etc.

In reviewing these requirements after consensus, the interested parties realized that there was ample common ground with the AS2 functional requirements. And, soon after, it was noticed that there was some common ground with the ebMS v3 specification development that was ongoing. Eventually, agreement was reached that the best plan was to profile the ebMS v3 specification as an "entry-level on-ramp" to Web services B2B, similar to ebMS3.

Because of the competition between various WS standards and groups, the group decided against competing with the ebMS v3 effort. Instead, they decided to join forces in an effort to help drive Web services adoption in the B2B arenas. Obviously, the fractured nature of Web services bodies and the general lack of interoperability are obstacles to Web services adoption. It was felt that this was a necessary approach to drive adoption. The ideas of our software vendor technical group and the ebMS v3 TC are congruent and both parties felt it is more conducive to work together.

What is the purpose and/or benefit of actually making this an OASIS standard?

 

Instead of the subset of ebMS v3 that would be certified based on a document, like a DGI Test Plan for instance, the subset would be officially defined as an OASIS profile. The ebXML Messaging Services TC has embraced this and an official sub-committee of that TC with the express purpose of producing the AS4 Profile has been created. By aligning ourselves as an ebMS v3 profile, it clarifies a number of opportunities.

  • The Profile jump starts ebMS v3 implementations by constraining and paring down the options for vendors to implement, as well as provides some specific guidance for using Web services as a secure, document-agnostic B2B messaging platform.
  • The Profile provides the ebXML Messaging Services TC at OASIS a tangible Profile to work on expanding ebMS v3 functionality in the areas of compression, very large message support, etc.
  • The Profile provides the marketplace an entry-level on-ramp to begin leveraging their internal SOA platforms for external B2B messaging while taking on some of the more complicated aspects of Web services.
  • At this point, there are no real ebMS v3 implementations, but, in time, DGI will expand its certification program to include not just this Profile, but full ebMS v3 implementations as they become commercially deployed.
  • By having the subset of ebMS v3 officially profiled, it makes the whole approach to Web services B2B more open.

Will this be part of the ebXML set of standards and would the profile actually include the ebXML name?

 

Named "AS4," the profile was published at OASIS as part of the ebXML standards.

Which markets would be interested in using this profile?

 

AS4 adopters include markets interested in leveraging SOA infrastructures for doing B2B messaging. While some traditional AS2 markets might consider using Web services as well as AS2, the goal for AS4 is for organizations and industries that want to use SOA architectures for B2B messaging. There has been interest in healthcare, electronics, retail, and, of course, the automotive group, which already has a history with ebMS. Software vendors and end-user markets have shown interest as well.

What are Drummond Group's plans for Interoperability testing AS4?

 

Typically, Drummond Group interoperability tests involve testing products that are already developed and/or in production. AS4, however, is fairly new and the majority of AS4 participants will be in initial development of their products. Drummond Group has learned from experience that identifying interoperability issues after the products have been developed can be time-consuming. In software development best practices, using the iterative approach has proven to be a more preferable methodology for developing quality products.

A NEW APPROACH FOR TESTING:

For AS4, DGI offers an iterative approach to interoperability testing, allowing participants to test and identify issues early in development, as opposed to the end. It synchronizes with the iterative approach to software development. When software coding milestones are achieved, testing is performed with all adopters. This allows interoperability issues to be discovered and resolved early on in the development process and provides feedback to the AS4 specification.

Advantages:

  • Start testing earlier in the development cycle as opposed to AFTER the product is complete.
  • Software will be tested in PHASES as the code is being developed to build consensus and interoperability during the code development.
  • Testing may be done by the Developers or QA staff.
  • Each PHASE will last several weeks and focus on a specific part of the AS4 profile shortening the Interoperability certification event.
  • This iterative approach to interoperability testing and product and profile development will provide immediate feedback to the profile authors and developers.
  • Many open standards require several implementations before the specification is approved and published.
  • Drummond Certified Interoperable Product are released concurrent with the AS4 specification approvals reducing the product-to-market interval.

 

 

Participating Companies and Test Communities

/n software   Abeo Solutions, Inc.   Accumedic Computer Systems, Inc.   Acmeware, Inc.   Acuitec, Inc.   Addison Health Systems, Inc.   ADS Technologies, Inc.   Advanced Provider Solutions   AdvantaChart Inc.   Agastha, Inc.   Alere Accountable Care Solutions   Alere Analytics   AllegianceMd Software, Inc.   Allscripts   Alma Information Systems, Inc.   AlphaCM, Inc.   AltaPoint Data Systems, LLC   American Business Systems, LLC   American Dental Partners, Inc.   American Well   Anasazi Software, Inc.   AppMed, Inc.   Arcron Systems, Inc.   Argyle Medical Software   Aurora Health Care, Inc.   Axway   Azalea Health   Bogardus Medical Systems, Inc.   BridgeGate   Bridgeware   Businet, LLC   CA   California Medical Systems   Caradigm USA LLC   CareCloud Corporation   CareEvolution, Inc.   ChartLogic, Inc.   CISCO   Clarkson Eyecare   Cleo Communications   Clinigence   CMR   CoCENTRIX CCP   CodoniX   Community Health Network (Indianapolis, Indiana) ClearPractice   Compinia IT Services   Comtron Corp.   Corepoint Health   Criterions LLC   Crowell Systems   CSC   Custom Software Systems, Inc.   Cyclops Vision Corporation DigiDMS, Inc.   Data Strategies, Inc.   DataNet Solutions, Inc.   Defran Systems, Inc.   Dell – Boomi   Descartes   DiCentral Corporation   DigiDMS, Inc.   Diversified Ophthalmics, Inc.   Doc-tor.com, LLC   doc2MD, Inc.   DocuTAP   DocuTrac, Inc.   DSS, Inc.   e-MDs, Inc.   e-MDs   E-Z BIS, Inc.   E2open   Easy Billing Systems   eCareSoft Inc.   eCast Corporation   eHana   eHealthCare Systems, Inc.   eHealthFiles, Inc.   EHR Doctors, Inc.   ElationEMR   Elekta – IMPAC Medical Systems, Inc.   EMD Wizard, Inc.   Emdeon Inc.   EMedicalNotes, LLC   Empower   EMRlogic Systems   Enable Healthcare Inc., (EHI)   Encite, Inc.   EndoSoft, LLC   Entrust   EPOWERdoc, Inc.   Estuary Electronic Health Records   Etransmedia   ExitCare, LLC   Exscribe, Inc.   EXTOL International, Inc.   EXTOL   Eyecom3 / HealthLine Systems, Inc.   EyeMD EMR Healthcare Systems, Inc.   EZnotes, Inc.   Falcon, LLC.   First Call   Flame Computing Enterprises   Florida Department of Health   Forte Holdings Life Systems Software   Forte Holdings   Forward Advantage Inc.   FutureNet Technologies Corporation   Gaargle Solutions, Inc.   GE Healthcare   GE Healthcare   GEMMS   Gen-SourceRX   General Electric Healthcare IT   GeniusDoc, Inc.   Genix Technology Inc.   Geriatric Practice Management   gMed, Inc.   GXS   H-DOX   HCA – Information Technology & Services, Inc.   HCA    Health Administration Systems, Inc.   Health Care DataWorks   Health Gorilla, Inc.   Healthcare Management Systems, Inc.   HealthFusion   HealthPort, LLC   HealthTrio, LLC   Hewlett-Packard Company   HHT International, Inc.   Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc.   Holt Systems, Inc.   Hospital Systems   IBM   ICAN Solutions, Inc.   ICANotes, LLC   iChartsMD   ICS Software, Ltd.   IHM Services Company   iMed Software Corporation   iMedicWare   iMedX, Inc.   InfoQuest Systems, Inc.   Infor-Med Corporation   Infor   Inforia, Inc.   Informedika, Inc.   Innovative Medical Practice Solutions, LLC   Inovis   InPracSys™   Instakare Accentia Healthcare Solutions Corporation   Institute for Health Metrics   INTEC Inc.   Intec   Integrated Health Care Solutions   Intelligent Healthcare   Interactive Practice Management Systems dba DocWorks   Interface People, LP   InterSystems Corporation   Intivia, Inc.   IntrinsiQ LLC   InTUUN Systems   IO Practiceware, Inc.   IQ-EQ Systems, LLC   IRCS, Inc.   iSALUS Healthcare   IsaNetworks, Inc.   Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center, Inc.   Kabot Systems   Keiser Computers, Inc.   KeyMedical   klipMedical.com   KPMD, Inc.   Lavender & Wyatt Systems, Inc.   Legisym, LLC   Levin Software Technologies, Inc.   LOGICARE® Corporation   LSS Data Systems   M3 Healthcare Solutions   MagView   Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN   McKesson   MD Logic EMR   MDOFFICE INC   MDoffice, Inc.   MedcomSoft   MedConnect   MedCPU Inc.   Medflow, Inc.   MEDHOST®, Inc.   Medical Informatics Engineering   Medical Messenger   Medical Voice Products, Inc.   MedicalMine, Inc.   Medicity, Inc.   MedInformatix   MediRec, LLC   Medisolv Inc.   MediSYS   MEDITECH (Medical Information Technology, Inc.)   Mediware Information Systems   MedNet Medical Solutions   MedNet System   Medrium Inc.   Medstreaming   Medtech, Inc.   MedWorxs LLC   MedXLnce, Inc.   Merge Healthcare   MicroFour, Inc.   Microsoft Corporation   Midwest Software, LLC   Mighty Oak Technology   MindLinc-Duke   Mitchell & McCormick, Inc.   Mitochon Systems, inc   Mountain Computer Systems   MxSecure, Inc.   Mychartsonline.com   National Healing Corporation   Navigating Cancer, Inc.   NaviTouch, LLC   NCG Medical Systems, Inc.   Net Health Systems, Inc.   Net Health   Netsmart Technologies, Inc.   New Wave Software, Inc.   Nexus Clinical LLC   Nth Technologies, Inc.   NTT Soft   OA Systems, Inc.   Oban Pty Ltd.   ODOS Industries, Inc.   Office Ally, LLC   Omedix   Omnicell, Inc.   Open Dental Software   Open Software Solutions, LLC   OpenText GXS   Oracle   Outcome Sciences, Inc. (Outcome)   Parkview Health System, Inc.   Patagonia Health   PatientClick   PatientNOW   PBO Corp.   PBSI – Positive Business Solutions, Inc.   PCC Physician's Computer Company – Pediatric Software   PCIS GOLD   Penn Medical Informatics Systems, Inc.   Perceptive Software from Lexmark   Phoenix Ortho, LLC   Phyaura, LLC   Physicians Computer Company   Phytel, Inc.   Ping Identity   Plexus Information Systems, Inc.   Practice Communications   Practice Director   Practice Fusion   Practice Today   PracticeFusion   Prairie Cardiovascular Consultants, LTD   PrescribersConnection, LLC   Press Ganey Associates   Procentive   ProComp Software Consultants   Prognosis Innovation Healthcare   ProMed Clinical Systems, LLC   QRS, Inc   QuadraMed Corporation   Quantros, Inc.   QuikEyes, Inc.   Rabbit Healthcare Systems   Radysans, Inc.   RelayHealth, a division of McKesson Corporation   Riverside Health System   Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative   RWHC QI Program   Sage ScriptRx, Inc.   Salar, Inc.   SAP AG Syncra Systems, Inc.   Secure Infosys LLC Nth Technologies, Inc. Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc.   SEEBURGER AG   Sequel Systems Inc.   SilkOne Inc.   SMARTMD™ Corporation   SMB Medical Billing   Smoky Mountain Information Systems, Inc.   Softech Inc.   Sophrona Solutions, Inc.   Source Medical Solutions   SRSsoft   Sterling Commerce, an IBM Company   Streamline Health, Inc.   Summit Healthcare Services Inc.   Surgical Information Systems   Systemedx Inc   TactusMD™   Tech-Time, Inc.   TechSoft, Inc.   TeleResults   The Echo Group   The Shams Group   TheraManager LLC   TIBCO Software Inc.   TIBCO   Tools4Medicine, Inc.   Tranquilmoney Inc.   Transentric   TransMed Network Inc.   Trellix Engineering Corp.   UBISECURE   Unibased Systems Architecture, Inc.   Unifi Technologies, Inc.   Unityware   US Oncology   Vanderbilt University   Varian Medical Systems   veEDIS Clinical Systems, LLC   VipaHealth Solutions, LLC   Virco Lab, Inc.   VisionTree Software, Inc.   VisionWeb   Vitalz Technologies, LLC   Vitera Healthcare Solutions, LLC   WCH Service Bureau, Inc.   WEBeDoctor, Inc.   Welligent, Inc.   Wellogic   Williams Group   WonderDoc, LLC   Workflow.com, LLC   Xcite Health Corp. and Encounterpro Healthcare Resources Inc.   Xpress Technologies   Yak Digital Corp.   Z-Geoinfo Inc.   ZipChart, Inc.  

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