The advantage of USEBIO is its standardisation; all parties who adhere to the specification will be able to communicate with each other without having to agree on their own formats, or implement lots of special cases. Scoring programs which output USEBIO files will be able to interface with services which accept them, whether they are national bridge organisations, club management services or website display software. Do the work once and enjoy automatic compatibility with any future software that comes along.
USEBIO 1.0 dates back to the 1990's and was successfully used for a long time. There were some limitations, however. The specification was very flexible and could result in substantially different interpretations between two different scoring systems. It was also lacking a few features, particularly the ability to include pairs cross-IMPs into a teams result, which was desirable for the EBU's National Grading Scheme.
USEBIO 1.1 was developed to address many of these issues and tidy up a few other things. Parties which wanted to take advantage of the new capabilities could upgrade their software, while those who didn't wish to change could continue to use 1.0. The EBU implemented USEBIO 1.1 in April 2014.
USEBIO 1.2 is a minor update, clarifying some aspects of 1.1 and adding some new features that are relevant to NBOs and more complex tournaments. The EBU implemented USEBIO 1.2 in July 2015.
USEBIO 1.3 is a more substantial update, predominantly focused at supporting the ACBL.
USEBIO is maintained by a group of people involved with English Bridge: Mike Christie (EBU volunteer and NGS developer), Michael Clark (EBU webmaster), Gordon Rainsford (EBU General Manager), Jeff Smith (scoring software developer) and James Ward (Pianola founder).
For more information on USEBIO, to make a suggestion, to express an interest in helping out, or just to let us know that you're using it, please email Harry Watson.