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Graphic Communications Association


Metastructures 1999

Monday, August 16th, 1999


Tutorial #1 -- 9:00 am - 5:00 pm


Michel Biezunski, Infoloom, and Steven R. Newcomb, TechnoTeacher, Inc.

Topic Maps (ISO/IEC 13250) provides a standard syntax for interchanging the information needed to support collaborative creation and maintenance of finding aids such as indexes and glossaries. Topic Maps permit such index modeling information to be maintained separately from the materials that are indexed. The indexed materials can be read-only, and they can be in any data content notations. Topic maps can be merged, making it practical to create master indexes for corpora consisting of resources that were not originally authored or indexed in combination. This one-day tutorial provides an overview of the Topic Maps architecture, covering concepts, syntax, and an assortment of applications and business opportunities.

Tutorial #2 -- 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Introduction to Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT)

G. Ken Holman, Crane Softwrights Ltd.

XSLT is an emerging W3C-developed syntax for specifying transformations between XML resources. Such transformations are often needed to complete integrations where the structure of the input resources does not fully conform to the structure of the output resources, i.e., the normal case, in which processing includes selection, reorganization, recombination and rendition.

Tutorial #3 -- 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

XML to the Rescue of Healthcare

John Aloysius Ogilvie, Killdara Corporation

"The health care industry is particularly ripe for reform through Internet technology because it involves a long paper trail among fragmented players, including manufacturing, pharmaceutical, health providers, and insurance companies." (Red Herring Magazine)

In this tutorial, John shares the results of Killdara's market and technical research with those who wish to understand the opportunities available to those who can deploy XML-based information management/communication solutions in the health care industry. This tutorial includes an overview of the industry, the emerging technical standards, and the potential for XML-powered document exchange between the providers and payers of healthcare.

Tutorial #4

1/2 Day -- 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Forest Automata

Forest Automata Theory is a recently rediscovered branch of computer science that is directly applicable to processing XML and SGML data. Forest automata can be used as a formal basis for schema languages and validation processors. They can also be used to implement efficient algorithms for transformations. This technical and mathematical talk will be of interest to XML implementors with experience in regular expression and context free grammar theory.

1/2 Day -- 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Python and XML

This tutorial will be an introduction to Python in general and its XML processing features in specific. It will show how Python currently supports both event-based APIs such as SAX and tree-based APIs such as a DOM. It will also demonstrate how Python seamlessly intergrates these features with access to Java classes, COM and CORBA objects, relational databases and Internet protocols.

Tuesday, August 17, 1999

Opening Remarks

9:00 - 9:15 Steven R. Newcomb, Co-chair, Metastructures 1999

Survey of XML in Financial Services. XML/EDI, ICE

9:15 - 9:45 Alan Kotok, Vice President, E-Business, GCA

XML.org - Goals & Directions

9:45 - 10:00 Carla Corkern, VP Professional Services and Training, ISOGEN

XML - Forms

10:00 - 10:30 Roger Gudobba, VP Strategic Alliances, CFB Inc.

ICE Update

11:00 - 11:45 Diane Kennedy, Principal, XML Xperts

Your company's ability to compete and win online is defined by a whole new set of market dynamics. These challenges demand a fresh appreciation of customer relationships and organizational strategies. An emerging category of products and services known as "Internet relationship management" assists businesses in using the Web as a new channel for customer acquisition and retention. The opportunity for businesses who take advantage of this new channel is to build long-term, high-value relationships with customers and then to use those relationships to create new market opportunities. Dianne will give an update on the ICE initiative and describe how this protocol is changing the way the world does E-business.

Form Templates with XML: All in One and One for All

11:45 - 12:30 Nikita Ogievetsky, President, Cogitech Inc.

Data processing on the web made easy with XSL transformations. Generate a data maintenance web with data-structure controlled by XML, screen designs and database API controlled by XSL.

Groves and the DOM

2:00 - 3:30 Ken Levy, DataChannel and Peter Newcomb, TechnoTeacher, Inc.

Groves at the Woodward Company

3:30 - 4:00 David Williams, The Woodward Company, and Zanetta Hancock, ISOGEN

Groves for Applications

4:40 - 4:45 Graham Moore, Consultant

This paper considers the existing use of groves and suggests that there is a missing application of this technology. The missing class is concerned with representing applications, programs with functional intent, and the states within applications as grove models. This paper presents the problems and requirements for representing applications as groves and what it means to link to a node in a grove.

Distributed Objects and Generalized Markup: A marriage made in heaven?

4:45 - 5:30 Lars M. Garshol, Information Architect, STEP Infotek

The rise of distributed component models like CORBA CCM and Enterprise Java Beans conjures a vision of a world where complex systems can be built merely by connecting and configuring ready-made software components. This paper presents the experience gained by building a markup-aware pilot publishing system framework based on distributed object components. Attempts were made to create reusable components at the system level, processing level, and options like adding more advanced functionality such as linking support and workflow integration were also investigated. The pilot system was realized in CORBA using Java and the not-yet-finalized CORBA Components Model, but many of the experiences gained should be easily transferrable to RMI/EJB and DCOM/ActiveX.

Wednesday, August 18th, 1999

STEP/SGML Harmonization: An Update

9:00 - 9:45 Eliot Kimber, ISOGEN INTERNATIONAL

The EXPRESS language of the STEP standard, ISO 10303, provides a powerful and standardized language for describing complex data models. The SGML family of standards define the formal data model of SGML documents (and other data types and data abstractions) using property sets. One goal of the STEP and SGML harmonization is to apply the more complete modeling power of the EXPRESS language to SGML and related standards by restating their existing data models using the EXPRESS language, in particular, the SGML property set and the HyTime property set. This paper presents the results of the initial effort to define these data models, first describing the EXPRESS formalism and then showing how it was used to express the structures defined by the corresponding property sets.

Meta-model Technology: Concepts and Applications

9:45 - 10:30 Jean Bezivin, University of Nantes, France

Within the OMG (Object Management Group) or the Microsoft environment, meta-model technologies are becoming ready for prime time.  One of the main enabling factors is that they are now supported by XML-related languages and this presentation will study the synergy between these two emerging fields (XML and meta-model technology), at the conceptual and the practical level.  The MOF (Meta-Object Facility) is a new emerging OMG standard that may have an important impact on many areas of object-oriented software engineering.  The MOF is an outcome of the OMG ADTF (Analysis and Design Task Force) and is rapidly gaining practical importance, between UML and XML, in the industrial strategy of several important companies.  Many product definitions, like the UML language itself, are already based on the MOF.  Many more are presently being built on a MOF-compliant basis.  this presentation will provide some comparison elements between the architecture of CDIF, MOF and the Microsoft/MDC OIM meta-model architecture.  An introduction to the XML-based XMI model interchange format, approved by OMG in January 1999, will serve to illustrate the main ideas presented in the talk.

10:30 - 11:00 Break

11:00 - 11:45 To Be Determined

Cognitive Agents for Automatic Generation of Valid XML Documents

11:45 - 12:30 Luca Iocchi and Claudio Carpineto, Researchers, Fondazione Ugo Bordoni

We propose the use of user-defined DTDs to drive the extraction of relevant information from the Web. In particular, our objective is the development of Web systems able to extract relevant data from Web information sources in the form of XML documents that are valid with respect to a user-defined DTD expressing the semantics of these data. The presence of heterogeneous information sources, whose models are not known a priori, makes scalability one of the main features for such systems. Indeed the system must be "easily" programmed for dealing with a large number of different information sources.

WONDEL: An efficient way to add semantics to web pages

2:00 - 2:45 Hicham Ouahid and Ahmed Karmouch, University of Ottawa

This paper presents an alternative and more realistic XML-based approach to add semantics to existing web pages without having to change their content. This approach, developed in our laboratory, allows automatic data extrication from the web. The approach proposes to describe the meaning of web pages in separate documents to which computer programs can refer whenever they need to manipulate or extract data from these web pages. These documents are written in Web ONtology DEscription Language (WONDEL), an XML and XPointer-based language, which we have defined to express the basic knowledge information from the web. WONDEL has been successfully used to extract information about several universities around the world. One of the main interesting features of WONDEL is that it takes advantage of the existing regularity in web pages, which reduces the amount of the WONDEL code. Indeed, the authors have been able to extract a large volume of data from several university web sites with a limited number of small WONDEL documents.

Semantic Networks and Topic Maps

2:45 - 3:30 Eric Freese, President, Electronic Data Foundry, Inc.

The apparent similarities in the structures of these concepts leads to some interesting questions. Is it possible to store semantic network information in a topic map? Is it possible to build a semantic network from a topic map? Would it be possible to design a computer program that identifies the knowledge contained within chunks of text? If such a system could be built, would a computer be able to identify and interpret the knowledge found within a collection of documents? In such a system, a user would be able to query the database for specific information. This system could be used to interpret the knowledge contained within the nodes. The user could begin a browsing session based on a piece of knowledge desired. The user could also use the system to interpret the knowledge in the databse without browsing through the nodes. This paper will describe, and possibly demonstrate, such a system and discuss possible real-world applications of these concepts.

3:30 - 4:00 Break

Topic Maps - Enterprise Portals

4:00 - 4:45 Didier Martin, TALVA Inc.

Enterprise resources could be managed with an "enterprise table of contents". Some popular ERP applications like peopleSoft are already taking a similar approach for their application collection. Internal and external enterprises' resources (information and applications) could be presented as a kind of big book and a table of contents used to browse the resources.

Technical Issues on Topic Maps

4:45 - 5:30 Dr. Hans Holger Rath, Director of Consulting, STEP Electronic Publishing Solutions GmbH

A topic map structures link networks as SGML/XML structures data.  Applying SGML/XML markup to raw data creates information.  Applying a topic map to an information pool creates knowledge structures.  The presentation will cover three technical key issues about topic maps: collecting the declarative part of a map in the "Topic Map Template", checking the  consistency of a map using constraints, and automatic generation of a topic map from a given set of structured information resources using generation rules.

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Revision date: 20 July 1999