Part of an XML Article Series cXML for eCommerce Solutions Part of a series on cXML, Punchout Catalogs, and their role in eCommerce integration. So What is the Difference? cXML vs XML for eCommerce cXML is the future of eCommerce, especially for Supply Chain integration, and businesses that don't switch from older systems will be left behind. First, a quick overview of XML. You can find more about XML in our article, What Is XML? XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language, and is more appropriately a standard for creating another language, also known as a ‘meta-language’. You’re able to use whatever plain text you want to map your data fields. However, with many different interpretations of XML out in the world, a standard was needed when communicating between different businesses, enter commerce XML, or ‘cXML’. Finally, an eCommerce XML Standard History of cXML and eCommerce In 1999 a company, Ariba, realized not only the benefit of XML, but one of the biggest drawbacks; that it’s customizable nature meant that integration with any other software would be difficult at best. Their idea was to unify the language and make integration more accessible to everyone. So they set out to make a standard eCommerce communication language based on XML, for the main purpose of enabling EDI or site to site communication (i.e. processing orders, etc.). Today, it has moved from a simple idea to one of the most common business-to-business eCommerce languages, and it’s still growing. Many different companies have contributed to cXML : Microsoft, HP, AMD, Visa, GM, and more. The Many Flavors of XML How is cXML different from XML for eCommerce applications? cXML is a subset of XML, of which there are many others, each specialized for a specfic field. cXML is specific to commerce, hence commerceXML. Whatever text a programmer wants to define fields, cXML has a specific list called “Schemas”. The schemas tell programmers how to reference fields when creating data. This insures that software written by Company A in cXML can communicate with software written by Company B in cXML. This wouldn’t be possible in standard XML unless the developers got together and agreed on specific fields. Lower Technical Debt Solution Why cXML for your eCommerce website? At its core, cXML is still based on XML. Which means that all of the information is arranged in a plain text format, with information located intuitively. There are no special programs needed to view XML, just a standard web browser. And the cXML standard means lower information overhead vs XML alone, but is still extensible, so any extra information you need can still be communicated. Entry into Punchout eCommerce What cXML means for your company and eCommerce platform cXML framework enables your business to prepare for the future of eCommerce and still take advantage of the most popular eProcurement systems today. cXML is the most widely adopted b2b protocol on the market today. Integrated with eProcurement software, cXML has the potential to streamline how you do business electronically. cXML has emerged as one of, if not the top, business to business eCommerce language. It is the preferred language of Punchout Catalogs, which are tools to help procurement software work together. That being said, a complete eCommerce platform will rely on many different languages, one of which being cXML. Your developer will work with you to help you understand each language means for your specific platform. Certified Integration Specialists What's next? If you're considering cXML, currently using cXML, or would like more of an understanding of how to make eCommerce integration more accessible using cXML, Clarity can help.