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AS4 (Applicability Statement 4) is a message protocol based on web services to securely exchange B2B messages between trading partners. The protocol was developed by the technical committee of OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) for ebXML Messaging Services. AS4's web services capability gives it the opportunity to develop into a cloud-based communication standard.
AS4 and AS2 are very similar by design. During the development of AS4, all advantages of AS2 were analyzed, worked out and inspired by them. In contrast to AS2, AS4 works within a web service context and also has better interaction patterns and delivery notifications. In addition, compared to AS2, AS4 has the option of actively pulling messages by the recipient, since the AS4 server is permanently active.
The Messaging Service Handler (MSH) is responsible for setting up the AS4 message exchange with the remote station on the sending or receiving side. Communication with the remote station must comply with AS4 specifications and be able to communicate with an internal business application.
The ebMS 3.0 specification defines the following message types defined within the AS4 usage profile:
AS4 is increasingly being used in markets that use a service-oriented architecture for B2B messaging. These include the retail trade, the health sector and the utilities sector.
For example, the European gas network operators (ENTSOG) have already defined their own usage profile in 2015. Other uses that rely on AS4 include:
SEEBURGER AG offers its customers an AS4 gateway for various purposes:
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