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In 1998, I invented a novel approach to converting electronic data interchange (EDI) documents such as X12 and EDIFACT into XML documents. This was critical for moving large companies off expensive, proprietary networks (call value-added networks, ironically enough) to the Internet for business-to-business electronic commerce.

To understand the breakthough, one must understand the prevailing approach of conversion. Huge efforts were launched by IBM, Microsoft and others to create new XML schema for EDI. The manual approach is memorialized in the W3C paper Business Data Interchange.

My approach was to use the existing semantics defined by X12 and EDIFACT and simply enrich them with metadata and make them easier to parse. Companies such as SAP, Mulesoft and Progress still use this invention 20 years later.

The company expanded its product line to a whole suite of applications to enable B2B e-commerce such as workflow and metadata management. Other things that were novel about XMLSolutions in 2000 (during the Dot Com Boom):

  • We were one of the first companies to use off shore software development teams for product develop. Up till then, teams in India were only used for rote work
  • We were one of the first to use a service-oriented architecture in our product
  • We were releasing enterprise software every 90 days with a process that was prescient of what would be called agile. Companies at that time released software every 12 to 18 months.
  • We were profitable.


XMLSolutions was an electronic commerce software company and the first company dedicated to extensible markup language (XML) technology. The company raised $25 million in venture capital, grew from 6 to 160 employees in 18 months. Vitria Corp [NASD:VITR] acquired XMLSolutions in April 2001.

  • Founded the first company dedicated to XML technology. Wrote the corporate strategic business plan and product development strategy. Key participant in raising $25 million in venture capital and in pursuing four mergers and acquisitions
  • Led a team of 36 senior software developers, including four PhDs, located in Chicago, Ill.; McLean, Va.; Charlotte, NC; and Bangalore, India that consistently delivered product releases every 90 days in a formalized methodology we called RADXP
  • Led the technology vision and execution and architected of the company’s product solution framework. Invented XEDI (patent application 20020049790), an XML-EDI translator, company's core technology.
  • Advised technology executives of Fortune 500 companies, including Boeing, GM and JP Morgan, on e-commerce and enterprise integration strategy. Wrote e-commerce and enterprise integration strategies for Lockheed Martin, MasterCard and others
  • Advised large electronic commerce portals, including Covisint (automotive), Envera (petrochemical), Exostar (aerospace) and GNX (retail), on architecture and webservices-based application integration between trading partners
  • Defined the federal government architecture for electronic business for the chief of electronic commerce, Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
  • Met regularly with market analysts such as Gartner, Giga, Forrester and Aberdeen, and interviewed with editors of industry magazines such as Information Week, InfoWorld, CIO, Business 2.0 and Forbes
  • Led the company's interests and advancements of electronic commerce standards such as ebXML, WfXML, XMLSchema, XBRL, RIXML, MDDL and FIXML


Articles about XMLSolutions are archived on Opticality Ventures.