The Business Transaction Protocol (BTP) is an XML-based protocol being developed by the Business Transactions Technical Committee (BT TC) of the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) as a standardized Internet-based means of managing complex, ongoing business-to-business (B2B) transactions among multiple organizations. The protocol is intended to be especially useful in a Web services environment. The BT TC criteria specify that the new protocol work in conjunction with current business messaging standards, especially those in development by the ebXML Initiative. BTP can be layered over any transport technology, such as the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), RosettaNet, or ebXML messaging.
A major challenge of B2B development has been the problem of how to coordinate the information systems of separate businesses -- which typically use different business practices, equipment, and technologies -- so that they can communicate effectively. One way to side-step this problem is to establish mechanisms that are not specific to existing technologies. BTP works independently of transport protocols and messaging frameworks. Complex XML message exchanges among multiple businesses are tracked and managed as ongoing, loosely coupled 'conversations.' BTP defines the roles that a business' software agents (called actors) may perform, the messages that will be exchanged by those actors, and the responsibilities of the actors in those defined roles.
According to the technical committee, because BTP is based on a "permissive and minimal" approach, it avoids dependencies on other standards and constraints on implementation choices. BEA Systems, a prominent vendor of e-Business products, submitted an initial proposal for BTP to OASIS in early 2001 and the Committee released a pre-final draft of the specifications in October 2001.