Questions and Answers
When should I use eb-Forms?
You should use eb-Forms if you want or need to exchange structured business information with your trading partners, and you:
  • do not use a business information system
  • have a business information system that contains only part of the data to send or receive
  • do not have time, budget or priority to configure an adapter or interface to your business information system
Why should I exchange structured business information at all?
  • to save time and money
  • for reasons of reliability, security or quality
  • because your trading partner or the government asks you to
Can I adapt the look of the forms to my preferences?
Yes. eb-Forms comes with an 'annotation file', an XML file that contains the form presentation definitions. You may change that file with an XML editor, such as XML Spy, or with the friendly WYSIWYG editor that is available in the eb-Forms download section.
When the XML Schema changes to a new version, or for a new partner, do I then need to redefine the look of the form?
No. The annotations are not schema dependent, but dependent on data groups and data elements. The presentation definitions of the old schema are inherited by the new schema.
Can I set the language of the forms?
Yes. Language is one of the annotations.
Can I store and print forms?
Yes. You can print forms just as you print web-pages. Forms are saved as XML messages. You may also print the forms as PDF files to store them as readable business documents.
In my industry we exchange EDI messages. Can I still use eb-Forms?
No. eb-Forms work only with XML messages.
In my industry we exchange XML messages that are not UN/CEFACT compliant. Can I still use eb-Forms?
Perhaps. For some proprietary XML formats it is possible to adapt the XML Schemas to eb-Forms. Look in the eb-Forms Library. However, you should encourage your industry to migrate to UN/CEFACT compliant messages.
My trading partner uses SAP. Should he also use eb-Forms?
No. The XML messages eb-Forms produces and interprets are completely standard. They may be exchanged with partners who have SAP, but also Oracle Financials, Peoplesoft, BaaN or any off-the-shelf small business package.
I have a business information system and I don't want to re-key data. Are eb-Forms useful for me?
Yes. Tools are available to im- and export selected form data into and from your business system. Look in the eb-Forms download section
Can't I just access my partners' system or a portal?
Sure you can, but then:
  • for each partner you'll have a different user interface
  • you pay portal service fees
  • you normally can't save the documents
Do eb-Forms check message integrity?
  • eb-Forms always check the messages against the XML Schema
  • you may add additional integrity rules in your annotations
  • you may even check message data against external data, e.g. data in earlier received or sent messages.
How much do eb-Forms cost?
eb-Forms are free. If you however wish to access the eb-Forms library or download section or wish to participate in the eb-Forms community forum discussions, we ask for a moderate subscription fee. That enables us to maintain the forum and to enhance the software.
Who developed eb-Forms?
eb-Forms were developed by flowcanto using research conducted at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands in cooperation with GS1 Netherlands.