Much of the business transacted on the Web today takes place through information exchanges made possible by using documents as interfaces. For example, what seems to be a simple purchase from an online bookstore actually involves at least three different business collaborations—between the customer and the online catalog to select a book; between the bookstore and a credit card authorization service to verify and charge the customer's account; and between the bookstore and the delivery service with instructions for picking up and delivering the book to the customer. Document engineering is needed to analyze, design, and implement these Internet information exchanges. This book is an introduction to the emerging field of document engineering.
The authors, both leaders in the development of document engineering and other e-commerce initiatives, analyze document exchanges from a variety of perspectives. Taking a qualitative view, they look at patterns of document exchanges as components of business models; looking at documents in more detail, they describe techniques for analyzing individual transaction patterns and the role they play in the overall business process. They describe techniques for analyzing, designing, and encoding document models, including XML, and discuss the techniques and architectures that make XML a unifying technology for the next generation of e-business applications. Finally, they go beyond document models to consider management and strategic issues—the business model, or the vision, that the information exchanged in these documents serves.