In 2009 Albalia worked for Microsoft creating FactOffice, the first free and open source solution to manage electronic invoices. The solution managed OOXML files in which spanish facturae XML format could be inserted and extracted, allowing that any unmodified Word 2007 processor could visualize and print electronic invoices.
facturae XML format includes a tiny definition on how a XAdES-XL signature can be included in the invoice. This specific kind of XML Advanced Electronic Signature (defined in the standard TS 101 903) has the advantage that, when created by the signing party, releases the receiving party from the obligation to further check validity of the included certificate, since OCSP response and Timestamping is already included.
FactOffice solution set up was very easy and created a new menu “facturae” in Word 2007, allowing several functions regarding creating, signing, sending and receiving electronic invoices.
In 2010 Albalia worked for Microsoft creating Offinvoice, the first free and open source solution to manage electronic invoices in CII (Cross Industry Invoice) XML format. By the way, Offinvoice is a big enhacement from FactOffice, since it is able to be installed in both Word 2010 and Excel 2010, and manages facturae 3.2 XML format, and UBL in addition to CII. This is specially significant if you consider that Office 2010 has justbeen released (we were working with beta VSTO development tools) and there is not yet an implementation of CII (by the way, we could not find any CII development tools, and worked with the bare schema definition 1.0).
For the electronic signature part of the invoice, we have been working with early versions of the UBL recommendations around ETSI TS 101 903, that takes into account the needs of messagges such as order or invoice. We have adhered to XAdES-XL kind of signature for the same reason this was the preferred method in Spain: to release the receiving party of any complex process regarding electronic signature, without adding complexity to the issuing party. Since XAdES-T is included as part of XAdES_XL, the selected method grants compliance to the users of those countries in which that kind of signature is mandatory (by the way, XAdES-XL includes in onion layers: XAdES-BES, XAdES-T, XAdES-C, XAdES-X and, of course, XAdES-X-L).
We really believe (and also some Microsoft guys that have been working with us and helping us a lot) that this software can be a “killer application” for SME all over Europe, because it makes easy both sending and receiving electronic invoices, creating and verifying electronic signatures and converting among different XML formats.
At this moment, Offinvoice is available in 3 languages: english, spanish and catalan. We are looking for colleages in other countries that can help us to translate Offinvoice to all EU languages. If you are interested, please contact with joaquin (dot) lopez (at) albalia (dot) com and tell us the language that you would like to translate to. We will send you the english version of the language files to manage, whith instructions on how to do the job. Thank you in advance.
We are also looking for new sponsors that can help us to include additional features in Offinvoice.
Albalia has created a special electronic signature library for Offinvoice (B4O: BackOffice for Offinvoice), which is not open source, but is free if used in connection to Offinvoice. This is the License.