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Last modified: April 30, 2000
SGML and XML News - 1999 Q1

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  • [March 31, 1999]   XML Thesis Project at the College of Wooster: Link - An XML/XSL/XLL Browser.    Justin Ludwig completed an independent study project in Computer Science at the College of Wooster on the W3C's XML, XSL, and XLL markup specifications. He has also implemented a general XML browser application in Java for this project; it allows a user to traverse the simple and extended links of the first XLL specification. The author hopes that this application might add a little insight into how XLinks and XPointers might actually be implemented. The tool is 'Link - an XML-XSL-XLL browser'. "Link is a simple application written in Java that allows a user to view XML documents with XSL stylesheets and XLL hyperlinking. It uses several third-party Java libraries, including the Docuverse DOM implementation, James Clark's XP parser and XT XSL processor, and the XML-DEV mailing list's SAX API. The paper portion of this project ("An Investigation of XML with Emphasis on XLL") describes the markup details of XML, XSL, and XLL, as well as some of the workings of Link's Viewer class. Link renders documents with XSL stylesheets that contain HTML formatting only, and not the formatting objects described in the XSL specification. It allows traversal of both simple and extended XLinks, recognizing the xlink:form, xlink:href, and xlink:title attributes. It treats all links as if they had xlink:actuate="user" and xlink:show="new" attributes." The Link tool is available for download. For other XML Linking software, see "XLink/XPointer Software."

  • [March 31, 1999]   XTAL - General Conversion Tool for XML and SGML.    Oliver Zeigermann has implemented XTAL (XML Translation for AntLr) as a general conversion tool for XML and SGML. Its goal is 'making complex XML transformations easier and more structured'. ANTLR and Java serve as the basis and description language. Principal features of XTAL: (1) XTAL is fully in the public domain; (2) the declarative part is implemented as tree transformation facilities of ANTLR; (3) procdural elements use Java and some custom classes for XML data; (4) XTAL can be used to convert from: XML, SGML [using sx], all text formats like MIF, RTF, plain text, etc. by generating XML using ANTLR's lexer generator; (5) XTAL can be used to convert to: XML, SGML [using XTAL's SGML backend], PDF and PS using the TeX backend, HTML using the SGML backend, theoretically all text formats." The advantages of XTAL, according to Zeigermann, are that it is "declarative and flexible (all known transformation types are possible - it's very good for complex up and cross translations, providing very powerfull and general tree transformation); its disadvantages are that it has high memory requirements and it can be 'hard to learn'." Similar general transformation tools for SGML/XML include XSLT, OmniMark, Balise, and Metamorphosis; see their comparison to XTAL. The second beta release of XTAL is available for download.

  • [March 31, 1999]   Edifecs Introduces gXML for Open Exchange of E-business Schemas.    Kevin R. Benedict of Edifecs Commerce recently announced the availability of a technical specification entitled 'eCommerce Guideline XML (gXML)'. Guideline XML is "an open XML based model for storing schemas and achieving interoperability between schema consuming applications." Guideline XML is described as a "file structure that allows the open exchange of electronic commerce guidelines, otherwise known as EDI Transaction Sets / Messages and Schemas. Guideline XML (gXML) is the world's first XML standards-based exchange format specifically designed to simplify the integration of EDI translators, validation engines, forms builders, and specification tools." The gXML specification "provides a means for companies to publish their EDI specifications database directly to the Web and thus make them more readily available to trading partners. Guideline XML was first and foremost designed to be simple; each document is completely self-contained and follows the logical structure of the message to be exchanged. As a result, vendors standardizing on gXML can load schemas directly into their e-business products and users can open and edit guidelines directly in a web browser or XML editor. As an increasing number of applications publish their XML-based interfaces, gXML can be used to convert those schemas into products like mappers, schema editors, and validators. Using gXML as the format for exchanging schemas between organizations makes it's easy to bring the schema in to different tools. Already, there are converters which go between gXML and other standard formats. In addition, Edifecs and others are currently working on converters, to convert gXML into DTDs, DCDs, and other formats. Because gXML is based on XML, many of these conversions can be implemented simply by writing XSL (Extensible Style Sheet Language) style sheets." For references to the draft specification and the DTD, see "Guideline XML (gXML)."

  • [March 30, 1999]   Position Papers for XML-DSig '99 Now Available.    Several position papers submitted in connection with the W3C Signed XML Workshop (XML-DSig '99) are now available online. This W3C workshop will be held April 15 - 16, 1999 at the DoubleTree Guest Suites Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts. The XML-DSig work addresses issues of data integrity: 'the usefulness of structured information is dependent on how trustworthy it is. [For example.] is the authenticity of an assertion or the integrity of a price list assured?' The goal of the XML-DSig workshop, according to the published Call for Participation , "is to explore current work on XML, metadata, and machine readable semantics in the context of digital signatures. A result of this workshop may be a W3C activity that produces a specification for assuring the authenticity and integrity of Web data. The workshop is an open event; space is limited and preference will be given to W3C members and experts in the field of metadata and digital signatures. Groups expected to contribute to the workshop include (1) Members of W3C working groups that are concerned about the integrity and authenticity of metadata structures and applications, such as the XML, RDF, and P3P working groups; (2) Organizations addressing Web information and capability management, and (3) Organizations addressing trust management on the Web." For other references to current work on signed XML, see also "Signed XML (W3C)."

  • [March 30, 1999]   Release of fxp Version 1.1.    Andreas Neumann (University of Trier, Abteilung Informatik) has announced the public availability of fxp Version 1.1. 'The Functional XML Parser' fxp is a validating XML parser written in Standard ML (SML). "It has a programming interface allowing for production of XML applications based on fxp. It comes with four example applications: (1) fxp, the pure parser. It parses a document and finds well-formedness errors, validity errors and other problems; (2) fxesis adds a backend to fxp, producing an output similar to nsgmls's ESIS (Element Structure Information Set) output; (3) fxcopy reproduces the document parsed by fxp. The copy can be generated in a different encoding than the input, and can be normalized in different ways concerning, e.g., expansion of entity references; (4) fxcanon produces an equivalent canonical XML document. Canonical XML was invented by James Clark for testing XML parsers. It contains only the information a processor is required to pass to the application." The new release of fxp provides support for XCatalog and contains a new sample application fxcanon, the canonicalizer. A more complete description of 'The Functional XML Parser' is provided in the news item of February 24, 1999: fxp - A Validating 'Functional XML Parser'. See also "XML Parsers and Parsing Toolkits."

  • [March 30, 1999]   New XMI Mailing List.    Simon McBride (Distributed Systems Technology Centre DSTC, University of Queensland) has announced a new public forum for discussion of the OMG's XML-based Metadata Interchange specification (XMI). Postings to the XMI mailing list will be archived. The forum at is one of two Meta-Object Facility (MOF) Related Mailing Lists hosted by DSTC. The second mailing list, at, "provides a forum for discussion on the MOF specification, products and prototype implementations, meta-modeling and any other topic relevant to the Meta-Object Facility. For more information on XMI, see "Object Management Group (OMG) and XML Metadata Interchange Format (XMI)." For other public mailing lists, see "SGML/XML Discussion Groups and Mailing Lists."

  • [March 30, 1999]   XML Conversion Tools from Sema Group Belgium.    Albert Bruffaerts (Principal Software Engineer,Sema Group Belgium ) recently announced the availability of several tools for doing XML <<-->> RTF conversions. The tools are available for Linux and the Win32 platforms. Note: The Sema Group Belgium Markup Technolog Centre has made a number of interesting SGML/HyTime/XML/DSSSL papers available online.

  • [March 29, 1999]   GMD-IPSI Announces Java-Based XQL and W3C-DOM Implementations.    On behalf of GMD-IPSI (German National Research Center for Information Technology) and the XML Competence Center at GMD, Ingo Macherius has announced Java based XQL and W3C-DOM implementations. "The engine consists of two main parts: (1) A persistent implementation of the W3C-DOM, and (2) A full implementation of the XQL language. The XQL engine implements the W3C-QL '98 workshop paper syntax of XQL. It uses a novel indexing algorithm for XML (publication pending), which indexes the document while processing the first query. Subsequent queries to the same document are considerably accelerated. The persistent DOM implements the W3C-DOM interfaces on indexed, binary XML files. Documents are parsed once and are stored in this form, accessible to DOM calls without the overhead of parsing them first. A cache architecture additionally increases performance. At this time only read access is possible, support of the full W3C-DOM API is work in progress. Note: The GMD, a member of W3C, "conducts active research on XML-based information systems. The current focus of [its] work in XML is on (1) the XML standard and XML architecture, (2) XML data management, (3) Application of XML in Electronic Commerce, and (4) Application of XML for Digital Libraries." For additional information on XQL, see the Web site maintained by Jonathan Robie. For XML query language design in general, see "XML and Query Languages."

  • [March 29, 1999]   W3C Working Draft for International Layout in CSS.    A new W3C Working Draft document on International Layout in CSS specifies a means of extending CSS (Cascading Stylesheets) to support East Asian, bi-directional, and other multilingual text formatting. This WD has been edited by Marcin Sawicki as part of the W3C Internationalization Activity, and is related to the W3C Style Activity. The draft addresses issues like types of layout flow (horizontal, vertical, vertical-ideographic, horizontal-ideographic), bi-directional character content, document grids (for East Asian languages), line breaking in non-Latin scripts, justification behaviors, punctuation-wrap, etc. The WD also touches on 'Ruby', which is addressed more completely in a separate specification (see below). For historical reasons, this Working Draft focuses on CSS, but it is "the intention of all the groups involved for the model presented in this document and the model being developed by the XSL group to converge. The end result of this convergence is expected to form part of the common and XSL syntaxes."

  • [March 29, 1999]   New W3C Working Draft for Ruby.    The W3C Internationalization Working Group has published a revised Working Draft document for Ruby (22-March-1999). The document is edited by Marcin Sawicki (Microsoft) and is also "largely inspired by the work done by Martin Dürst (W3C i18 Coordinator). The Ruby specification "extends HTML to support ruby text typically used in East Asian documents." The extensions are intended to address some requirements from East Asian typography, which "contains structural elements that are not yet exposed in HTML and thus impossible to achieve on the Web without using special workarounds or graphics." Ruby text is a "run of text that appears in the immediate vicinity of another run of text ('ruby base') and serves as an annotation or a pronunciation guide associated with the base. Ruby, as used in Japanese, is described in JIS-X-4051. This working draft supplies a 'DTD' for proposed Ruby elements: "Two DTD versions are given for each tag. The first one is in SGML (HTML4). The second one is in XML-ized HTML (XHTML). Note that in the SGML DTD, elements and attributes are intended to be case-insensitive, however, in the XML DTD, elements and attributes are case-sensitive. And also, start and end tags are always required in XML." The editors of this Ruby specification envision that a future version will be submitted to the HTML Working Group for inclusion into the next version of HTML.

  • [March 29, 1999]   Brown University Women Writers Project Textbase Now Available Online.    Julia Flanders of the Brown University Women Writers Project posted an announcement indicating that the WWP textbase is now freely available online in a beta-test version. The Women Writers Project textbase "is a collection of pre-Victorian women's writing in English. The initial publication will include over 200 texts from the period 1450-1830, with 50-100 more being added in the first year. The texts cover a huge range of genres and topics, and represent an unparalleled resource for the study of women's writing and history, and of English literature generally." Features of the current system include: "(1) The texts are richly encoded in SGML, using the full TEI Guidelines. The transcription preserves the text of the original document in full, including all front and back matter, with original pagination, typography, spelling, and rendition. Title pages, signatures, catchwords, and other bibliographic details are transcribed in full. (2) The textbase will be published over the web using Inso's DynaWeb software, giving the user full access to the SGML tagging for searching and navigation. (3) Varied style sheets will allow the user to view the text with its original typography and errors intact, or in a corrected and regularized form. (4) Users may search the entire textbase or individual texts for words and phrases, either on their own or within specified contexts, using the SGML markup. Users may also search for sets of texts which meet certain criteria such as date, genre, place of publication, and so forth. (5) The primary source material will be accompanied by topic essays and biographical information for each author." For other information, see the WWP Web site and "The Brown University Women Writers Project."

  • [March 29, 1999]   Revised Making of America Project.    Maria S. Bonn (Digital Library Initiative, University of Michigan) announced a program of major revision and enhancement to the University of Michigan Making of America Project. The Making of America (MOA) project is one of several UM digital library efforts which uses TEI SGML encoding. MOA "is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. The collection contains approximately 1,600 books and 50,000 journal articles with 19th century imprints. The project represents a major collaborative endeavor in preservation and electronic access to historical texts." The Digital Library Production Service (DLPS) at UM has now "redesigned and improved several aspects of the Making of America system, including adding search possibilities, improving navigation, and making available the plain text of the page images that make up the MoA collection. . . [Maria writes:] The redesign of the system is an important step in preparing for the addition of another 7500 volumes to the collection over the next two years, so we are particularly anxious to get feedback from users." The UM MoA resources have been encoded in a simple SGML form (a 40 element DTD conforming to the TEI Guidelines. For further description and references, see "Making of America (MOA) Project."

  • [March 26, 1999]   Debian Touts Integrated SGML Environment.    A communiqué from Adam Di Carlo describes the "integrated SGML, XML, and DSSSL infrastructure and packages" featured in version 2.1 of the Debian GNU/Linux Distribution. Debian is "a free, or Open Source, operating system which uses the Linux kernel, a free piece of software started by Linus Torvalds and supported by (probably over 1000) programmers worldwide. A large part of the basic tools that fill out the operating system come from GNU, which are also free." Debian 2.1 was released on March 09, 1999 for several architectures (Sun SPARC, Intel x86, Alpha, Motorola 680x0). "Debian's innovotive SGML subsystem positions Debian as a premier platform for SGML and XML developers, offering a complete, working toolset for documenters and markup programmers, with no manual setup required. It supports: (1) James Clark's jade 1.2.1 and SP suite version 1.3.3, enabling validation and formatting of SGML or XML; (2) SGMLOpen shared system catalog integration - no need to manually register SGML Public Identifiers or set with environment variables; (3) docbook (v3.0) and docbook-stylesheets (v1.13) available, providing an industry-standard markup convention; (4) psgml, which in conjunction with Emacs19, Emacs20, XEmacs19, or XEmacs20, provides a profession SGML editing environment; (5) jadetex, combined with jade, facilitates the conversion of SGML to PostScript or PDF, for high quality printed output; (6) a host of other SGML, XML, and DSSSL software packages are available, including but not limited to sgml-tools, expat, sdc, perlsgml, sgmlspm, and dsc." See also the earlier announcement from Adam Harris, and the Debian free software social contract.

  • [March 26, 1999]   XQL Mailing List.    Jonathan Robie (Software AG) announced on XML-DEV that he has "set up a mailing list for XQL (XML Query Language)." This new list "is intended to answer questions about the definition of the language, how to implement it, who has implemented it in what products, and whatever else seems to be of interest. [Also, Robie] will use this list to try to reach consensus in the XQL community if decisions need to be made, e.g., to add new extensions." XQL was presented at the W3C QL'98 - The Query Languages Workshop (December 3-4, 1998), along with some 65 other position papers; this workshop drew over 98 participants, and the associated mailing list now has some 211 subscribers. No formal XML 'query language activity' was established by the W3C when the W3C XML Working Groups were re-chartered in late 1998, but query language syntaxes already abound. Features currently designed within XSL, XPointer, XLink, DOM, DSSSL, and related specifications provide mechanisms for specifying locations/addresses, for tree traversal, and so forth. A current challenge, arguably, is to unify some of these expression/querying sub-languages as a basis for building generalized query facilities that are applicable to a broad range of requirements within different user communities. Interest in 'Query Languages' within the context of XML and RDF has steadily grown over the past year, and some expect that the W3C will eventually charter an XML-Query Working Group. Robie wrote: "There will be a W3C XML Query Language Activity, and it will develop its own query language, and nobody can say how similar or different it will be to any existing query language for XML." [XML-DEV, 25 Mar 1999] For more on QL proposals, see "XML and Query Languages." For other XML-related discussion lists, see "SGML/XML Discussion Groups and Mailing Lists."

  • [March 26, 1999]   XML Resources and Tools from Groveware.    Ian Graham and Liam Quin have prepared a number of online XML resources in conjunction with their new book The XML Specification Guide. This "Supplementary Resources and Tools" is a collection of additional resources, not found in the book, that are useful for understanding the XML specifications and using XML. These include, as of 1999-03-26: (1) A searchable index of all XML specifications which supports searching for words or numbers used in the 'Official XML Specification Documents'; (2) A searchable index of EBNF production rules; (3) A set of XML design patterns -- based on the approach of the same name introduced in object oriented design -- applied here to modeling document architecture; (4) Extracted EBNF for XML which defines, along with the well-formedness and validity constraints, the rules for writing well-formed or valid XML documents; (5) A list of useful online resources." See also the main bibliographic entry for the book.

  • [March 26, 1999]   DB2XML Version 0.7 Released.    Volker Turau posted an announcement on CTX for the release of DB2XML Version 0.7. "DB2XML is a tool for transforming relational databases into XML (Extensible Markup Language) documents. DB2XML provides two main functions: (1) Transforming the results of database queries into XML documents. (2) Providing attributes describing characteristics of the data It is written in Java. DB2XML can be used as a servlet or as a standalone tool. The DB2XML tool comes with an easy to use graphical user interface and accesses databases using JDBC drivers. It requires JDK 1.1.6 (or higher) and a database with a JDBC driver (or a ODBC driver using the JDBC-ODBC bridge). DB2XML is well documented and can be used freely. The DB2XML servlet tansforms the results of database queries into XML documents which are delivered to the client. Two online demos show how to use DB2XML in conjunction with XSL stylesheets." Changes in the latest version: introduces the attribute NAME; is a java servlet version; provides support for stylesheets; and offers a new GUI for the main panel.

  • [March 25, 1999]   MDServlet Released.    Simon St.Laurent released a first version of MDServlet. "MDServlet provides a highly configurable Java servlet interface for the MDSAX toolkit from, distributed under an open source (BSD-type) license. Using MDServlet, developers can build sites that serve XML and transform XML documents using components, without ever needing to learn about the internals of the Simple API for XML (SAX). MDSAX provides a framework for working with SAX-based parsers and parser filters, describing their structures using simple XML documents. MDServlet provides a servlet-based interface that makes those documents and processing structures readily available to developers (and users, to some extent.)" MDServlet requires A Java Servlet Development Kit 2.0-compliant servlet engine that can run under the Java 2 JVM and MDSAX. MDServlet is managed through the use of parameters set in the servlet administration tool. MDServlet can be configured to accept configuration information through GET and POST queries, or locked down to use a preset group of parameters." [1999-03-26: see also now the author's announcement.]

  • [March 25, 1999]   Cocoon XML/XSL Publishing Framework HTTPServlet.    On March 10, 1999, the Java Apache Project released Cocoon Version 1.0. Cocoon is an "XML/XSL publishing framework servlet that allows complete separation of content, logic and style - a pure Java publishing framework HTTPServlet that relies on new W3C technologies (such as DOM, XML, and XSL) to provide web content. Based on latest web technology, Cocoon introduces you into a new world of design and content reuse, being able to apply different rendering XSL stylesheets to the same XML content based on the requesting browser. . . The Cocoon project is able to create virtually any well-formed XML document. For this reason, its most common use is the automatic creation of well-formed HTML through the XSL rendering of statically or dynamically generated XML files. The Cocoon model divides the development of web content in three separate levels: (1) XML creation: the XML file is created by the content owners. They do not require specific knowledge on how the XML content is futher processed rather than the particular choosen DTD. (2) XML processing: the requested XML file is processed and the logic contained by the logicsheet is applied. The processing instructions and defined active tags are evaluated at this time. (3) XSL rendering: the created document is then rendered by applying an XSL stylesheet to it." As a Java servlet, Cocoon will run on any 2.x compliant servlet platform. Cocoon uses the W3C Document Object Model to specify the documents it handles and it's not based on any particular XML parser implementation using a modular and pluggable interface. These are the XML parsers currently supported: IBM XML4J, OpenXML, and Sun ProjectX. XSL processors currently supported include the Lotus XSL Processor and the Koala XSL Processor. For other XSL software, see XSL Software Support."

  • [March 25, 1999]   Open Applications Group (OAG) Releases Updated XML DTDs.    The Open Applications Group XML Team has issued a new release of its XML DTDs, reflecting recent XML work. The Open Applications Group, Inc. is a 32-member "nonprofit consortium of enterprise application software developers, formed in February 1995 to create common standards for the integration of enterprise business applications." The Open Applications Group Integration Specification (OAGIS) incorporates an extensive set of Extensible Markup Language (XML) Document Type Definition (DTD) files which "define interoperability APIs for Financials, Human Resources, Manufacturing, Logistics, and Supply Chain components." The recent XML DTD updates include: "(1) Additional information on segment qualifiers; (2) Deterministic rule models; (3) XML DTDs for all specification chapters; (4) Miscellaneous bug fixes." The XML development team may be reached via email at Further description and references for OAGIS are provided in "Open Applications Group (OAG)."

  • [March 24, 1999]   Wireless XML.    As the technical specifications for the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and Wireless Application Environment mature, an increasing number of industry applications are using the WAP's Wireless Markup Language (WML). The draft specification for WML describes WML as "a markup language based on XML and is intended for use in specifying content and user interface for narrowband devices, including cellular phones and pagers. WML is designed with the constraints of small narrowband devices in mind. These constraints include: (1) Small display and limited user input facilities (2) Narrowband network connection (3) Limited memory and computational resources." See: WAP WML. Proposed Version 3-Feb-1999. Wireless Application Protocol. Wireless Markup Language Specification Version 1.1. Recently, for example, the SABRE Group, IBM, and Nokia announced that "they are working on a real-time, interactive service -- delivered via mobile phone utilizing the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), a new open industry standard for mobile Internet -- that will allow travelers to initiate flight changes and even receive updates from airlines anywhere, anytime. The service will combine SABRE Business Travel Solutions, the company's online corporate travel purchasing system, IBM e-business technologies and the latest mobile communications technology and terminals from Nokia." Oracle also announced 'Project Panama' at CeBit '99 recently ("Oracle's Project Panama First to Enable Dynamic Web Content for Mobile Devices"): "Project Panama will remove the limitations of retrieving Web-based material by automatically translating the HTML- or XML-based format of Internet content to the languages understood by wireless devices. Utilizing protocols including Wireless Access Protocol (WAP), Project Panama will enable access to all existing Web content through mobile devices." In February, OANDA and Nokia unveiled a WAP pilot service in conjunction with a new NOKIA 7110 media phone; "this service, which provides OANDA Internet content (its currency exchange rates) to the wireless domain, is formatted especially for the small screens of mobile devices using Wireless Markup Language (WML). . . The cell phone is gradually evolving into a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) with a telephone hook-up. Equipped with a WAP-capable (Wireless Application Protocol) microbrowser, it can even access information on the Internet." See "WAP Wireless Markup Language Specification (WML)" for additional references.

  • [March 23, 1999]   Summer Institute on Creating Electronic Texts and Images.    Alan Burk (Director of the Electronic Text Centre, University of New Brunswick) has posted an announcement for the Third Summer Institute on 'Creating Electronic Texts and Images', to be held at the University of New Brunswick. The one-week course will be held August 15 - 20, 1999. It will be taught by David Seaman, Founding Director of the Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia. The course is sponsored by the Electronic Text Centre at the University of New Brunswick Libraries and the Department of Archives and Special Collections. It is "designed primarily for librarians and archivists who are planning to develop electronic text and imaging projects, for scholars who are creating electronic texts as part of their teaching and research, and for publishers who are looking to move publications to the Web. Course participants will create an electronic version of a selection of Canadian literary letters from the University of New Brunswick's Archives and Special Collections. They will also encode the letters with TEI/SGML tagging, tag an EAD finding aid and explore issues in creating digital images. Topics to be covered include: (1) SGML tagging and conversion; (2) Using the Text Encoding Initiative Guidelines; (3) The basics of archival imaging; (4) The form and implications of XML; (5) Publishing SGML on the World Wide Web; (6) EAD - Encoded Archival Descriptions." See the main conference entry for other references.

  • [March 23, 1999]   Topic Maps Implementation.    Geir Ove Grønmo of STEP Infotek as has announced a 'first release' of tmproc, intended as a technology preview. tmproc is an implementation of the new international standard ISO/IEC 13250 Topic Maps. tmproc is written in Python, and it should work on any platform to which Python have been ported. tmproc is a set of classes that represents a framework for doing topic map processing in Python. Features in this release: (1) Import, export, query and manipulation of topic maps; (2) Full set of extensible topic map classes with clearly defined interfaces. Association, AssociationRole, Facet, FacetValue, Locator, Occurrence, Topic, TopicMap, TopicMapFactory and TopicName; (3) Access to data in topic map objects using getter and setter methods; (4) Get types including transitive types of topics, associations and facets; (5) Get objects [e.g. topics, associations and facets] that are of given types or more specific types; (6) Get objects [e.g. associations] that exists in a scope or in any of the scopes' subscopes; (7) Optional architectural processing [requires xmlarch]; (8) Introduction and reference documentation." Note, in this connection, that Grønmo has also released a new version of xmlarch [0.25] - An XML Architectural Forms Processor. "The xmlarch module contains an XML architectural forms processor written in Python. It allows you to process XML architectural forms using any parser that uses the SAX interfaces. The module allow you to process several architectures in one parse-pass. Architectural document events for an architecture can even be broadcasted to multiple DocumentHandlers." For more on Topic Maps, see "Topic Navigation Maps"; for references on architectural processing, see "Architectural Forms and SGML/XML Architectures."

  • [March 23, 1999]   XSA Client Available.    Lars Marius Garshol has announced the availability of a new XSA client - a Java client for automatically monitoring XSA documents. "The client that comes with the kit can be used to automatically discover changes to a set of XSA documents (addresses, new versions, new products etc). The kit also contains an API that can be used to build custom clients or other kinds of XSA-aware software." See the XSA information page for additional information.

  • [March 23, 1999]   TransformXML.    Frank Boumphrey posted an announcment for an experimental version of TransformXML. TransformXML "is a simple ('alphaware') tool hat carries out batch transformations of XML files under windows 95, 98, or NT. It may be used to transform XML files written to one DTD to another DTD."

  • [March 23, 1999]   TclXML version 1.1.1 - An All-Tcl XML Parser.    Steve Ball (Zveno Pty Ltd.) announced the availability of an "All-Tcl" XML parser. TclXML is a non-validating, event-based parser that is plug-compatible with TclExpat, a Tcl interface to James Clark's expat XML parser. This parser can be made more forgiving of broken XML than expat, by using the -errorcommand option. This parser works with Tcl 8.0 or later, and is best used with Tcl 8.1 (which supports Unicode). Since it is pure Tcl, no compilation or extensions are required. TclXML will run on any platform where Tcl runs." Note that Steve Ball is currently "working on a range of specifications and tools for processing and manipulating XML documents using Tcl. Collectively these tools are known as TclXML. A specification for a programming interface to manipulate XML (and HTML) documents based on the DOM is called TclDOM. TclXML [also includes] a Tcl interface to James Clark's expat XML parser, known as TclExpat. See the Tcl XML Parsers documentation for other information.

  • [March 23, 1999]   Online Tutorials for Java and XML Development.    Nazmul Idris announced the availability of several tutorial resources for Java and XML developers, located on the Web site at "The site contains one of the first XML and Java2 Tutorials available on the Web - we show you how to use Java2, XML, Swing, Servlet, JDBC and RMI APIs to create real world applications using XML and Java2. Complete source code files are available for download in all the online tutorials and articles. . . [the materials include] a new tool to help you learn DOM 1.0, called DomView. This is a Swing based tool that can view any XML document and it is designed to help you see exactly how any (DOM 1.0 compliant) parser implements DOM; (2) a new comprehensive test report on the new Sun, IBM and OpenXML parsers . . . We test drive the new HotSpot Java VM and we also do part of the testing on a dual processor machine. (3) an article to show you how to use the new parsers and fix the older code to work with these new parsers. (4) an article which highlights the differences between the DOM1.0 implementation in the IBM and Sun parsers."

  • [March 23, 1999]   Production Release of MDSAX 1.0.    Bill la Forge has announced the availability of a production release of MDSAX 1.0, issued as open source. MDSAX is an open framework for building XML applications using SAX filter components. MDSAX now supports multiple document types, document webs, program composition, document update, two alternative implementations of namespaces, and more. MDSAX ('Multi-Document Simple API for XML') "is a set of tools for working with Java SAX parsers and parser filters. MDSAX provides developers with considerably more control over the creation and arrangement of SAX filters, and makes it easy to specify different filter stacks for different types of documents (as identified by their root elements.) MDSAX also provides access to a number of services, allowing filters to communicate amongst themselves and with the application. MDSAX originated as a part of Coins4, a BSD-licensed open source project that supports a flexible mapping between XML documents and JavaBeans. No understanding of Coins is needed to use MDSAX, however - just an understanding of the SAX model for event-based parsers. MDSAX will work with any SAX-compliant parser or parser filter. (Filters must implement the MDFilter interface and have a related factory class which implements MDFilterFactory.)"

  • [March 22, 1999]   TESS: The Text Encoding Summer School.    SGML/XML training is available in a week-long 'Text Encoding Summer School' offered by the Humanities Computing Unit of Oxford University. TESS 1999 will be held in Oxford on July 11-17, 1999. Upon completion of the course, students will: "(1) have had hands-on experience of digitizing texts using OCR; (2) understand the principles of document analysis; (3) understand the basics of SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) and XML (the eXtensible Markup Language); (4) have gained hand-on experience of marking-up an electronic text using the Text Encoding Initiative's TEI Lite Document Type Definition; (5) have hands-on experience of SGML/XML authoring and browsing software; (6) understand the issues involved in distributing SGML/XML documents; (7) have gained basic knowledge of the range of SGML/XML-aware software products; (8) have a clear basis for proceeding to implement an SGML/XML solution appropriate to the needs of their particular project; (9) have discussed their work with experts in the field of text encoding." For further references, see the conference entry.

  • [March 22, 1999]   tdtd Version 0.7 - Emacs Major Mode for SGML and XML DTDs.    Tony Graham (Mulberry Technologies, Inc.) has released an updated version of his tdtd package - an Emacs Major Mode for editing SGML and XML DTDs. Features in revision 0.7: "(1) Standalone mode for editing DTDs; (2) dtd-etags function for creating Emacs TAGS files for easy lookup of any element, parameter entity, or notation's definition using Emacs's built-in tag-lookup functions; (3) dtd-grep function for searching files that shares a file history with dtd-etags for easy searching of the same files with both functions; (4) Specific font lock highlighting of declarations in XML DTDs, SGML DTDs, SGML Declarations, and System Declarations so that the important information stands out; (5) XML-specific behaviour that, at user option, is triggered by automatic detection of the XML Declaration; (6) Functions for writing and editing element, attribute, internal parameter entity and external parameter entity declarations and comments to ease creating and keeping a consistent style; (7) Elements and parameter entity names referenced in declarations are stored in minibuffer history to minimise retyping in new declarations." The distribution includes a tutorial on the use of the tool. For additional information on tdtd, see the 0.7 README document.

  • [March 18, 1999]   Microsoft Delivers Internet Explorer 5.    The release of Internet Explorer Version 5 was accompanied by several announcements from Microsoft and from other companies who plan to support the new XML-capable browser. The new browser is characterized as the "World's Fastest Modern Browser Available Today." In detail: "Internet Explorer 5 improves the ease and speed with which developers can create powerful Web-based applications and content because of its support for new technologies like Dynamic HTML Behaviors, as well as its unparalleled support for XML 1.0, XSL, HTML 4.0, CSS 1.0 and 2.0, Document Object Model, and ECMA-compliant scripting. In addition, the componentized architecture of Internet Explorer enables developers to easily take advantage of portions of the Internet Explorer 5 browsing code to incorporate Web-related functionality like HTML rendering and editing into their own products. With Internet Explorer 5, users can experience page-rendering performance improvements of up to 60 percent in comparison with Netscape Navigator 4.5 on top sites; average start-up is an average of 39 percent faster with Internet Explorer than with Netscape Navigator 4.5. . . Even before the release of Microsoft's new Internet Explorer 5 browser today, more than 2 million people had answered that question by downloading the beta version of IE 5. Now, with the official launch of IE 5, a key group of Internet service providers, portal sites and content providers are adding their endorsement of this fast, flexible, easy-to-use browser. More than 140 Internet service providers, seven of the top nine portal sites and more than 300 radio stations worldwide have chosen Internet Explorer 5 technologies as the best way to serve their customers." See "XML Industry News" for a few related announcements from other software companies.

  • [March 18, 1999]   STG XML Validator Updated.    Richard Goerwitz (Brown University Scholarly Technology Group - STG) posted an announcement for experimental support of XML namespaces in the online STG XML Validator. The STG XML Validation Form is available at In the revised HTML form interface, elements and attributes in namespaces must be unless the checkbox relax namespace checks box is checked, which turns off strict validation for undeclared elements and attributes in namespaces. The announcement contains some developer comments on XML validation in connection with namespaces. Note that the source code for the XML parser used on STG's website is available for download; see the references in the technical report accompanying STG's XML 1.0 Reference Validator. The STG's XML validation tool is one of several such online tools now publicly accessible to users and developers.

  • [March 18, 1999]   XML Mailing List in Chinese.    An XML Mailing List in Chinese Language (XML_ZH) has been set up by Jian Luquin (Polo di Didattico di Crema, Universita degli Studi di Milano). To subscribe, send the message 'subscribe xml_zh' in email to Postings may be sent to See also the list's mail archive. In this connection, note also the rapidly-growing collection of resources on the Chinese XML Web site managed by Rick Jelliffe (Academia Sinica Computing Centre), Chinese XML Now!; see also is description. For a full listing of XML discussion groups (including lists in Spanish, French, Italian, German), see "SGML/XML Discussion Groups and Mailing Lists."

  • [March 18, 1999]   News Markup Language (NML) May Merge with the News Interchange Text Format (NITF).    An informational report by Glenn Cruickshank (The Salt Lake Tribune) on the status of the News Markup Language (NML) describes industry work that may lead to the merger of NML with the NITF. "In January of 1999, the American Press Institute hosted a Media Center Grammar Conference in Dallas TX to discuss the need for a news markup language within the newspaper industry. This group, consisting of representatives from a number of US newspaper chains, universities and API, developed a list of forty (40) tags which they felt were needed to identify journalistic content in news stories. Members of this first group, called the API Grammarians, enlarged on this tag set and developed a preliminary tag proposal and partial DTD." According to the report, "a collection of news representatives, system vendors, members of the NAA Wire Service Committee, representatives from API and attendees from the earlier Dallas Grammarians meeting gathered Tuesday, February 16, 1999 in Atlanta. During the all day session, the attendees discussed the reason for a news markup language, NML, and how it relates to the News Interchange Text Format (NITF)." The Grammarians Working Group plans to present a draft proposal on March 27, 1999 at a NAA/IPTC meeting in Windsor, UK, and to release the revised markup language proposal to the industry more broadly after a comment period. "By incorporating the NML tag set into NITF and creating a complete industry standard, organizations have no reason to create their own custom markup schemes." A longer report provides a draft NML - NITF mapping. For further information on the two initiatives, see "News Industry Text Format (NITF)" and "News Markup Language (NML)."

  • [March 17, 1999]   Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF) Uses XML for Common Data Formats.    The Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF), chiefly through the leadership of Microsoft, is being developed as "a blueprint for educational software interoperability and data access." (SIF) is "an initiative that draws upon the strengths of the leading vendors in the K12 market to enable schools IT professionals to build, manage and upgrade their systems. It has been endorsed by close to 20 leading K12 vendors of student information, library, transportation, food service applications and more. The SIF specification is based on open-standard Extensible Markup Language (XML). It defines common data formats and high-level rules of interaction and architecture, and is not linked to a particular operating system or platform. The key elements of SIF include: (1) XML to define the common data formats, high-level rules, and mechanisms that enable applications to interact independently of the underlying software platform. (2) Implementation guide to explain how to deploy SIF using software architecture based on Windows NT and related technologies. Because SIF is an open process, implementation guides based on multiple platforms are possible. (3) HTTP and TCP/IP to enable communications between software platforms. (4) Compliance criteria and tests to ensure full applications interoperability." A draft document Schools Interoperability Framework - Specification Document presents the proposed XML encoding model: Appendix A contains the XML tag documentation; Appendix B provides a tag reference (organized alphabetically by element name); Appendix C supplies a draft XML DTD for the 'K12Framework'. "The Schools Interoperability Framework Deployment of the first pilot sites will begin by the summer of 1999, and the first SIF-based products likely will be available by the spring of 2000."

  • [March 17, 1999]   OASIS Forms Registry & Repository Committee for XML.    "OASIS, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, has formed an XML Registry and Repository Technical Committee for XML-related entities such as schemas relevant to the growing field of e-commerce, business-to-business transactions and tools and application interoperability. The new committee will actively investigate technology for registering XML Document Type Definitions (DTDs) and related materials and make them available for search by developers and users. It will also research technology for serving DTDs on-demand. OASIS intends to develop specifications to support these functions and to implement a trial service, with a target date of Fall 1999. Terry Allen of Commerce One is chairperson of the OASIS XML Registry and Repository Technical Committee, and 'encourages interested industry members to join in this effort to make XML on the Web in real time a success.' According to Allen, the goal of the OASIS XML Registry and Repository Technical Committee is to prevent XML developers from 'reinventing the wheel,' by facilitating discovery of XML DTDs available for use and reuse. OASIS also desires to assist users of XML -- both those serving XML documents and those receiving them -- by developing interoperable mechanisms for rapid resolution of pointers to XML DTDs and similar objects. As more and more DTDs (and other schemas) for XML are being developed, the market clearly demands a place to store, categorize, locate and distribute entities that are essential for next generation data interchange. OASIS does not intend to be the one and only provider in this area, but rather the consortium hopes to define a profile that enables interoperability between such services." See the full text of the press release and a reference collection for related work, "XML Registry and Repository."

  • [March 17, 1999]   Common Markup for Web Micropayment Systems.    The W3C Micropayment Markup Working Group has issued a draft document Common Markup for Web Micropayment Systems (W3C Working Draft 15-Mar-1999), edited by Thierry Michel. The Draft specification "provides an extensible way to embed in a Web page all the information necessary to initialize a micropayment (amounts and currencies, payment systems, etc). This embedding allows different micropayment electronic wallets to coexist in a interoperable manner." In the context of this document, produced under the W3C Electronic Commerce Activity, a "micropayment system" is designed to "minimize the cost overhead of a single transaction. Most of these micropayment systems try to save costs, both monetary (bank and transactions) and network (packet round trips). To do so, systems embed vital information in hyperlinks, using proprietary encodings. . . Micropayments provide an alternative revenue source for content providers (initially of text and pictures, presumably multimedia later on) beyond advertising and subscriptions. Micropayments may also provide revenue streams for service providers (database lookup, proxy services etc.)." Embedding micropayment information using RDF and an encoding using XML ('Embedding micropayment information in XML') remain open issues in this draft: an RDF encoding of the micropayment information is currently under design within the Working Group.

  • [March 17, 1999]   XML Spy Editor Version 2.0 Released.    Alexander Falk has posted an announcement for the release of XML Spy Version 2.0. XML Spy is a shareware XML editor developed by Icon Informations-Systeme GmbH. The Windows-based editor is now available for download. XML Spy with its structured approach "allows you to quickly view and edit any XML, XHTML, XSL, 3DML, or DTD document on your PC. A rich tree and enhanced grid view provide instant access to all elements of these documents with structured in-place editing capabilities." New features of XML Spy in the 2.0 release include: "1) Full Unicode support - UTF-7, UTF-8, UTF-16, ISO-10646-UCS-2, ISO-10646-UCS-4; 2) Enhanced character-set encodings [all ISO-8859-x, Shift-JIS, EUC-JP, ISO-2022-JP, GB2312, Big5, etc.] with auto-detection and auto-correction; 3) XML Namespaces support; 4) XHTML 1.0 (HTML 4.0 in XML 1.0 reformulation) support."

  • [March 16, 1999]   XTech '99 Tutorial and Presentation Materials Online.    Several instructors and presenters at the GCA's recent XTech '99 Conference have made their presentation materials available online. Titles recently brought to attention include: (1) Steve Newcomb's "Vocabularies: Opportunities for Efficiency and Reliability"; (2) "Extending Mozilla or How to Do the Impossible,", by Heikki Toivonen and Johnny Stenbäck; (3) "Rapid XML Prototyping with Perl and XML::Parser," by Clark Cooper; (4) "Metadata Registries: Averting a Tower of XML Babel,", by Frank Olken and John McCarthy. Brief abstracts and URLs for these materials are provided in the XML articles listing. Authors are invited to send candidate URLs for online versions of their presentations for incorporation into a master reference listing.

  • [March 15, 1999]   Public Release of SAXON Version 4.1    Michael Kay has announced the release of a new version of SAXON. The SAXON package "is a collection of tools for processing XML documents. You can use SAXON by writing Java applications, or by writing XSL stylesheets, or any combination of the two. SAXON provides a set of services that are particularly useful when converting XML data into other formats. The output format may be XML, or HTML, or some other format such as comma separated values, EDI messages, or data in a relational database." Version 4.1 "focuses on support for XSL: SAXON now supports about 85% of the XSL transformation language draft." In connection with the new release of SAXON, Michael Kay has created an updated version of his DTDGenerator tool. SAXON DTDGenerator ". . . generates a DTD from a specimen document. The new version attempts to detect patterns in the ordering of child elements for a given parent, and also examines the syntax of attribute values in greater detail." Among the new features in SAXON version 4.1: "1) Support for multiple output files - SAXON allows you to split a single input document into lots of linked output documents; 2) Close integration of Java and XSL code. You can invoke Java element handlers from XSL, and XSL element handlers from Java. You can also use the full XSL syntax for match patterns and select patterns from within your Java code; 3) SAXON Stylesheets produce a text file, not a tree. This means you can use them to produce CSV files, EDI messages, SQL scripts, or any number of formats that don't use angle-bracket syntax. Of course you can also produce XML and HTML output; 4) SAXON Stylesheets can process the source document in serial mode. This means the document doesn't have to fit in memory, and output can start appearing before the input is all available; 5) SAXON Stylesheets are extensible - By writing Java element handlers you can define additional elements that extend the standard XSL vocabulary, and then use these in any stylesheet."

  • [March 15, 1999]   Sun and Adobe Offer $90,000 Cash Bounty for XSL Implementations.    A news report from the San Jose XTech '99 Conference describes three prizes being offered by Sun and Adobe as cash incentives for XSL development. The prizes have not been announced formally, but were outlined at the XML conference: "In an attempt to jump-start XSL development, Sun Microsystems and Adobe are putting up $90,000 in bounties for independent developers who come up with specific XSL implementations. Sun's Jon Bosak, chair of the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) XML Coordination Group, alluded to the prizes during his keynote presentation at the XTech 99 conference." According to the report, Sun Microsystems will "put up $30,000 for implementations of XSL to be added to the open source effort, developing the source code to Netscape Communications' Communicator browser. . . [Adobe will offer $60,000 in prizes] for a print-oriented batch formatter written in Sun's Java programming language and that supports Adobe's portable document format (PDF). The batch formatter will let a printer process information from style sheets when printing batches of data." According to the report, the prize-willing applications would be put into the public domain; 'The idea is to put the code out there so that people can use it,' Bosak said." See also: "Sun, Adobe Offer Cash for Creativity, via XML Development Competitions." By James C. Luh. In Internet World (March 15, 1999).

  • [March 12, 1999]   New XML Books.    Two new books on XML recently came to attention, serving as reminders that XML offerings are now becoming increasingly visible in bookstores. A volume entitled XML Specification Guide has been written by Liam Quin and Ian S. Graham of Groveware Inc., and is published by John Wiley & Sons (ISBN: 0-471-32753-0). The authors, both well-respected in the SGML/XML field, "provide an in-depth, annotated specification guide, complete with sample applications. . . Beyond comprehensive coverage of the XML specification, the book discusses the new 'namespaces' technology from W3C, the Tiny XML subset, databases and object-oriented models, etc." [1999-03-26: See now also the Web site for the book.] The volume Informationsmodellierung in XML und SGML is written in German, authored by Henning Lobin of Universität Bielefeld - Fakultät für Linguistik und Literaturwissenschaft (Springer-Verlag, ISBN: 3-540-65356-2). Lobin endeavors "to describe the field from a somewhat distinct perspective, with a strong emphasis on architectures and some other SGML extended facilities definied in the HyTime standard. There are chapters dealing with the grammatical restriction of PCDATA and CDATA content using architectures or the use of LINK for a flexible architectural mapping." A short list of XML Books is provided in the main XML document; a longer listing is maintained by Charles F. Goldfarb in "All the XML Books in Print."

  • [March 12, 1999]   Alexandria Digital Library Project Uses XML.    The Alexandria Digital Library Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara is representative of a growing number of digital library projects which use SGML/XML encoding for "metadata" description. The Alexandria Digital Library project "has developed three prototype digital libraries for georeferenced information. [. . .] the most recent of these efforts is a three-tier client-server architecture that relies heavily on a middleware layer to present a single uniform set of interfaces to multiple heterogeneous servers. These standard interfaces, all of which are implemented in HTTP, support session management, collection discovery and evaluation, metadata searching, metadata retrieval and online holding retrieval. An XML-based metadata encoding scheme and a simple Boolean query language have also been developed. The architecture described by these interfaces has been implemented at the University of California, Santa Barbara. See the project description for references to the XML DTDs. Another DL example? The Simple Digital Library Interoperability Protocol - SDLIP (used by clients to request searches to be performed over information sources) encodes data in XML formats. SDLIP has been developed by researchers at the Stanford Digital Libraries Project - "one participant in the 4-year, $24 million Digital Library Initiative, started in 1994 and supported by the NSF, DARPA, and NASA. . ."

  • [March 10, 1999]   ICCC/IFIP 1999: Third International Conference on Electronic Publishing.    Peter Linde (University of Karlskrona/Ronneby) has posted an announcement for the third ICCC/IFIP Electronic Publishing Conference, May 10-12, Ronneby, Sweden. "The ICCC (International Council for Computer Communications) in conjunction with IFIP (International Federation for Information Processing) is pleased to announce the Third ICCC/IFIP Conference on Electronic Publishing to be held in Ronneby, Sweden 10-12 May 1999. The title of this year's conference is Electronic Publishing '99 - Redefining the Information Chain - New Ways and Voices." The Conference Keynote Speaker is David Seaman, Founding Director of the Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia -- where much pioneering research and development on the application of SGML/XML to academic domains has taken place. The ICCC/IFIP Conference "will be concerned with electronic publishing both for specialist audiences and for the general public. There will be two parallel tracks. The first track will include case studies, presentations of projects and presentations of implemented electronic publishing in public and scholarly libraries, publishers, museums, etc. It will also include electronic provision of local community or tourist information, government information, and the like. The second track will concentrate on technical issues such as file formats, retrieval issues, etc." Several of the presentations will address the use of SGML/XML in electronic publishing. For additional information, see the main conference entry.

  • [March 10, 1999]   Topic Navigation Map Standard Passes Its Ballot.    Steve Pepper (STEP Infotek AS, and Acting convenor, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC34, WG3 [Information Association]) reports that the Final CD Text for ISO/IEC 13250 Topic Navigation Maps which went out for vote in late October 1998 has now passed its ballot. Comments will be resolved before the publication of the IS. This ISO standard is being co-edited by Michel Biezunski, Martin Bryan, and Steven R. Newcomb. "Topic navigation maps enable multiple, concurrent views of information objects. These views may be object oriented, relational, hierarchical, a combination of these, and/or other views. An unlimited number of topic navigation maps may be overlaid on a given bounded object set. The TNM notation is defined as an SGML Architecture, and this Standard takes the form of an architecture definition document expressed in conformance with Normative Annex A.3 of ISO/IEC 10744:1997, the Architectural Form Definition Requirements (AFDR). The formal definition of the TNM notation is expressed as a meta-DTD. The base notation of TNMs is SGML; an interchangeable Topic Navigation Map always consists of at least one SGML document, and it may include and/or refer to other kinds information resources. As the Extensible Markup Language (XML), a World Wide Web Consortium recommendation, is a subset of SGML, as explained in annex K of SGML (1997), also known as WebSGML. XML can be also used as a base notation for TNMs." For other information on Topic Maps, see "Topic Navigation Maps" or Michel Biezunski's Web site.

  • [March 09, 1999]   DOM Level 2 Working Draft Published.    An early release of the W3C Document Object Model Level 2 is now available in a Working Draft document, Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2 Specification Version 1.0. References: WD-DOM-Level-2-19990304, W3C Working Draft 04 March, 1999. This Working Draft has been been published by the DOM Working Group chaired by Lauren Wood (SoftQuad Software Inc.) as part of the W3C DOM Activity. The document is available in Postscript, PDF, XML, HTML, and plain text formats. The new specification "defines the Document Object Model Level 2, a platform- and language-neutral interface that allows programs and scripts to dynamically access and update the content, structure and style of documents. The Document Object Model Level 2 builds on the Document Object Model Level 1. Level 2 is expected to add interfaces for a Cascading Style Sheets object model, an event model, and a query interface, amongst others. This release of the Document Object Model Level 2 does not have all of the interfaces that the final version will have. It contains interfaces for associating stylesheets with a document, the Cascading Style Sheets object model, the Range object model, filters and iterators, and the Events object model. The DOM WG wants to get feedback on the interfaces that are in this version of the DOM Level 2 specification. The other interfaces will be added in future versions of this specification." See other references in "W3C Document Object Model (DOM)."

  • [March 09, 1999]   XML for Internet-Drafts and RFC Series Documents.    Marshall T. Rose (Invisible Worlds, Inc.) has authored an IETF Network Working Group Internet-Draft Writing I-Ds and RFCs using XML which presents a technique for using XML as a source format for documents in the Internet-Drafts and RFC series. Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), its areas, and its working groups. Document reference: draft-mrose-writing-rfcs-00.txt, Date: February 1999; Expires: August 02, 1999. The draft memo has three goals: "(1) To describe a simple XML Document Type Definition (DTD) that is powerful enough to handle the simple formatting requirements of RFC-like documents whilst allowing for meaningful markup of descriptive qualities. (2) To describe software that processes XML source files, including a tool that produces documents conforming to RFC 2223, HTML format, and so on. (3) To provide the proof-of-concept for the first two goals."

  • [March 09, 1999]   XML DTD for Standard Phone Books.    A recent 'Standards Track' Internet-Draft document from an IETF Network Working Group bears the title XML DTD for Phone Books. The document (draft-ietf-roamops-phonebook-xml-00.txt) was authored in February, 1999 by Max Riegel (Siemens AG) and Glen Zorn (Microsoft Corporation). In addition to providing an XML DTD, the document "describes the information to be included in the standard phone book for roaming applications. All data is described in XML (Extensible Markup Language) syntax leading to a concise XML DTD (Document Type Declaration) for the phone book. The goals of [the draft IETF] document include: 1) Creating a flexible, extensible and robust framework upon which to build a standard phone book; 2) Promoting a standard phone book format, to enhance interoperability between ISPs and roaming consortia."

  • [March 09, 1999]   OpenXML Publicly Available.    On March 5, 1999, announced the "general availability of OpenXML, an open source, pure Java, commercial-grade, fully featured framework for XML-based applications. OpenXML covers the entire cycle of XML documents production, processing and delivery for dynamic content publishing and application to application communication. OpenXML is distributed under an open source license that encourages distribution, integration and modifications, and is supportive of both open source and commercial applications. Collaborative work and volunteer contribution is coordinated through the Web site. The OpenXML parser is capable of reading XML version 1.0, DTD and HTML 4.0 documents, offering a wide range of options to suit different needs. In performance, OpenXML is comparable to alternative parsers from IBM and Sun. OpenXML provides in-memory document caching for improved performance, and XCatalog support for mapping remote documents to local copies. Supported document sources include network, file system, ClassLoader and database servers." Additional detail may be found in the press release, OpenXML Publicly Available: Open Source JAVA/XML Application Framework. OpenXML Provides First Open Source, Commercial-Grade Framework for Java/XML Applications."

  • [March 09, 1999]   An XML Version of SAE J2008.    A communiqué from Dianne Kennedy reports on recent design work by the DTD Working Group for SAE J2008. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) J2008 DTD Working Group met on March 3, 1999 in Detroit. Among the work items was the development of an official" XML version of the SAE J2008 DTD for posting automotive service information on the Web. The XML version of the DTD can be found at the XMLXperts Web site along with a description of how the XML version was created and sample data with a CSS style sheet as a prototype for Web viewing. See also "XML for the Automotive Industry - SAE J2008."

  • [March 09, 1999]   IBM alphaWorks Announces Xeena XML Editor.    The IBM alphaWorks lab has released Xeena - a new Java-based XML editing environment. Xeena is a generic Java application for editing valid XML documents derived from any valid DTD. The Xeena editor "takes as input a given XML DTD, and automatically builds a palette containing the elements defined in the DTD. Users can thus create/edit/expand any document derived from that DTD, by using a visual tree-directed paradigm." The two key features of Xeena identified by the developers are 'syntax directed editing' and 'self configurability'. "Xeena is aware of the DTD grammar, and by making only authorized elements icons sensitive, automatically ensures that all documents generated are valid according to the given DTD. The config file that is used to fix various parameters such as which elements to put in the iconbar for instance, is itself defined in XML. Users that work frequently according to a given DTD, can thus configure Xeena, but invoking Xeena on the config DTD, so as to generate a valid config file for Xeena to use afterwards." Other Xeena features: "1) Intuitive viewing and editing of XML documents in a tree control view; 2) Editing of multiple XML documents; 3) Includes XML source viewer; 4) Restricts adding and editing of features according to the DTD, and checks validity of produced documents; 5) Easy customization of display." How does it work? "Xeena is a Java application built on top of Swing and TRL xml parser. The XML attributes of the elements are edited via a table. Each attribute value is entered using an editing GUI component (e.g., combo-box, text-field) which is also derived from the DTD. The editor guides the user in inserting elements into the tree in a correct order (according to the DTD) by making the elements palette sensitive to the current selected tree node and by not allowing to insert elements in an invalid order. The editor is a Multiple Document Interface application (MDI) with full fledged support to edit multiple XML documents and copy, cut and paste from one document into another. Xeena ensures XML validation in two phases. Some constraints are enforced constantly (e.g., Xeena will not let the user insert an element in a place which is not allowed by the DTD). Other constraints are checked and enforced only when the user attempts to save the edited file (e.g., Xeena will inform the user of invalid attribute values, enforcing the insertion of valid values before saving the file)." Xeena is available for download from the alphaWorks Web site. For a list of other XML editors, see 'XML Document Editing, DTD Editing, Stylesheet Editing, Formatting, Browsing, and Delivery Tools.'

  • [March 09, 1999]   OASIS Welcomes New Executive Director.    Simon Nicholson (Chrystal Software, and OASIS Board Chairman) announced the selection of Laura Walker as the new OASIS Executive Director. Laura Walker brings over thirteen years of experience in the publishing industry to her new position. She comes to OASIS from Proxima Corporation, where she served as Senior Product Marketing Manager, leading the development of an e-commerce-based accessories business unit. She also held management positions at Chrystal Software, XSoft (a division of Xerox) and Intergraph Corporation, where she worked with many OASIS members. Laura's responsibilities as Executive Director will include the management of the day-to-day operations of the consortium, developing new programs for user members, growth of the consortium membership, ensuring the equal representation of all consortium members' interests and will serve as an objective resource for the press. OASIS, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, is a nonprofit, international consortium dedicated to accelerating the adoption of product-independent formats based on public standards. These standards include SGML, XML, HTML as well as others that are related to structured information processing. Members of OASIS are providers, users and specialists of the technologies that make these standards work in practice. For additional details on Laura Walker's recent appointment, see the OASIS press release.

  • [March 08, 1999]   XML Version of Timing Diagram Markup Language (TDML) Released.    The Timing Diagram Markup Language Working Group, formerly known as the 'Waveform Markup Language (WML) Working Group,' has published a new XML-compliant version of TDML. TDML, the Timing Diagram Markup Language, is an industry-backed effort to establish an open, industry standard language for the exchange of interactive timing diagrams. The language is currently being defined by the TDML Working Group of the Silicon Integration Initiative (Si2) organization as part of the Electronic Component Information Exchange (ECIX) project, with members from component vendor and EDA companies. The TDML language allows persons to exchange interactive timing diagram information in a standard form. Having a standard form for the information promotes sharing between different organizations and allows interested parties to develop tools for generating, editing, browsing, etc. the diagrams." Note also from ECIX: the 'Component Information Dictionary Standard (CIDS)'. "(CIDS) is an SGML DTD that defines markup conventions for detailed information about the key words and phrases used in a datasheet. The aim of the Component Information Dictionary Specification is to provide authors and users of component information with a computer sensible dictionary of characteristic properties of components, allowing for a common and unambiguous understanding of those characteristics. CIDS is an SGML application integrated with PCIS, that will initially be based on the contents of the IEC1360 dictionary." See the recent announcment "Lucent Technologies Joins Si2 ECIX Project. PTAB Accepts New Customer Advisory Board Proposal, Moves to XML". See: "Timing Diagram Markup Language (TDML)." and further information in Electronic Component Information Exchange (ECIX) - [Pinnacles Component Information Standard (PCIS)].

  • [March 08, 1999]   New Versions of James Clark's Expat and XT.    James Clark has announced the availability of a new Expat test release. Expat ('XML Parser Toolkit') is an XML 1.0 parser written in C (currently a non-validating XML processor). Expat has built in support for utf-8, utf-16, iso-8859-1, and us-ascii encodings. This test version "adds handlers for namespace declarations: when namespace processing is enabled these provide information about xmlns attributes; the release also fixes a few bugs." Clark has also authored an Expat FAQ document, "Frequently Asked Questions about Expat." A new release of James Clark's XT is also available. XT is a Java-based implementation of the tree construction part of XSL (WD-xsl-19981216). The new '19990307' version of XT includes bug fixes and a 'clean, simple SAX-based interface (com.jclark.xsl.sax.XSLProcessor).

  • [March 08, 1999]   XML Canonicalization Requirements Document Published.    The W3C XML Syntax Working Group has released a first draft version of an XML Canonicalization Requirements document. The NOTE (W3C Note 07-March-1999) is edited by James Tauber. This requirements document "lists the design principles, scope and requirements for the Canonicalization of XML being developed by the World Wide Web Consortium's XML Syntax Working Group. The 'canonical XML' design work is motivated by fact that it is possible for "logically equivalent XML documents to differ in their physical representation. In particular, two equivalent XML documents may differ on such issues as physical (i.e., entity) structure, attribute ordering, character encoding and insignificant whitespace. This means that equivalence testing cannot be done at the byte level for arbitrary XML documents. Such equivalence testing is useful in a number of domains including digital signatures, checksums, version control and conformance testing. The Canonical XML specification [thus] aims to introduce a notion of equivalence between XML documents which can be tested at the syntactic level and, in particular, by byte-for-byte comparison. It shall describe the canonicalization of XML documents such that logically equivalent documents will have the same byte-for-byte representation. This form is referred to as the canonical form of the document." Compare, in this context, "Signed XML (W3CActivity)", the "Digital Receipt Infrastructure Initiative", "Digest Values for DOM (DOMHASH)", and "Signed Document Markup Language (SDML)."

  • [March 08, 1999]   'Last Call' Working Draft Issued for XHTML Reformulation of HTML 4.0 in XML 1.0.    The W3C HTML Working Group has published a revised, 'last-call' working draft version for XHTML 1.0: The Extensible HyperText Markup Language Reformulation of HTML 4.0 in XML 1.0 (WD-html-in-xml-19990304). The last call ends 24-March-1999. The working draft XHTML 1.0 specification proposes a "reformulation of HTML 4.0 as an XML 1.0 application, and three namespaces corresponding to the ones defined by HTML 4.0. The semantics of the elements and their attributes are defined in the W3C Recommendation for HTML 4.0. These semantics provide the foundation for future extensibility of XHTML. Compatibility with existing HTML user agents is possible by following a small set of guidelines."

  • [March 05, 1999]   W3C Proposed Recommendation for the Resource Description Framework (RDF) Schema Specification.    As part of the W3C Metadata Activity, the W3C RDF Schema Working Group has published a Proposed Recommendation for the Resource Description Framework (RDF) Schema Specification (W3C Proposed Recommendation 03-March-1999). The document editors are Dan Brickley (University of Bristol) and R.V. Guha (Netscape). This PR constitutes a revision of the last-call working draft (1998-10-30). The goal of the Resource Description Framework "is to produce a language for the exchange of machine-understandable descriptions of resources on the Web. A separate W3C specification describes the data model and syntax for the interchange of metadata using RDF." The RDF data model, as specified in Resource Description Framework (RDF) Model and Syntax thus "defines a simple model for describing interrelationships among resources in terms of named properties and values. RDF properties may be thought of as attributes of resources and in this sense correspond to traditional attribute-value pairs. RDF properties also represent relationships between resources. As such, the RDF data model can therefore resemble an entity-relationship diagram. The RDF data model, however, provides no mechanisms for declaring these properties, nor does it provide any mechanisms for defining the relationships between these properties and other resources. That is the role of RDF Schema. The [RDF Schema Specification] document does not specify a vocabulary of descriptive elements such as 'author'. Instead, it specifies the mechanisms needed to define such elements, to define the classes of resources they may be used with, to restrict possible combinations of classes and relationships, and to detect violations of those restrictions. Thus, this document defines a schema specification language. More succinctly, the RDF Schema mechanism provides a basic type system for use in RDF models. It defines resources and properties such as Class and subClassOf that are used in specifying application-specific schemas. The typing system is specified in terms of the basic RDF data model - as resources and properties. Thus, the resources constituting this typing system become part of the RDF model of any description that uses them. The schema specification language is a declarative representation language influenced by ideas from knowledge representation (e.g., semantic nets, frames, predicate logic) as well as database schema specification languages (e.g., NIAM) and graph data models. The RDF schema specification language is less expressive, but much simpler to implement, than full predicate calculus languages such as CycL (The CYC Representation Language) and KIF (Knowledge Interchange Format). RDF Schemas might be contrasted with XML Document Type Definitions (DTDs). Unlike an XML DTD, which gives specific constraints on the structure of a document, an RDF Schema provides information about the interpretation of the statements given in an RDF data model."

  • [March 05, 1999]   Production Release of Oracle's XML Parser for Java.    Mark Scardina (Server Technologies - Oracle Corporation) has announced the production release of Oracle's XML Parser for Java. Binaries, documentation, and online support are available from the Oracle Technology Network. The source code is not available currently, but will be made available in a future release. The parser runs under any OS with Java 1.1.x support, and requires JAVA JDK 1.1.x. or above. The Oracle XML parser is an early adopter release and is written in Java. It will check if an XML document is well-formed and, optionally, if it is valid. The parser will construct a Java object tree which can be accessed. XML Parser for Java is a standalone XML component that enables parsing of XML documents through either SAX or DOM interfaces using validating or non-validating modes. Written to be compliant with all current standards, the XML Parser also supports documents in most U.S., European, and Asian character sets. Features in this version: 1) supports validation and non-validation modes; 2) has built-in Error Recovery until fatal error; 3) supports W3C XML 1.0 Recommendation; 4) intergrated Document Object Model (DOM) Level 1.0 API; 5) integrated SAX 1.0 API; 6) supports W3C Proposed Recomendation for XML Namespaces; 7) supports documents in many encodings (UTF-8, UTF-16, BIG 5, GB2312, ISO-10646-UCS-2, EUC-JP, ISO-10646-UCS-4, EUC-KR, US-ASCII, KOI8-R, EBCDIC-CP-*, ISO-2022-JP, ISO-8859-1-to-9, ISO-2022-KR, Shift_JIS. UTF-8 is the default encoding if none is specified. Any other ASCII or EBCDIC based encodings that are supported by the JDK may be used. However, they must be specified in the format required by the JDK instead of as official character set names defined by IANA. Support is available in the XML Forum on OTN to provide a collaborative area for bug reporting, technical support, and discussing other Oracle/XML issues. This forum will be used for external as well as internal beta testers." For other XML parsers, see "XML Parsers and Parsing Toolkits"; for interactive/online validation and checking tools, see "Check XML!" [Note 1999-03-29:] see now also Oracle's PLSXML Utilities and Demos."

  • [March 04, 1999]   Microsoft Announces BizTalk Framework as Part of Its E-Commerce Strategy.    Several recent industry announcements (e.g., SAP, PeopleSoft, DataChannel, webMethods, Level 8 Systems, Vitria Technology) highlight the importance of Microsoft's new "comprehensive e-commerce strategy to make it easier for companies and consumers to conduct business over the Internet." According to today's press release, Microsoft Corp. has "announced Microsoft BizTalk, a new cross-platform e-commerce framework that makes it easy for businesses to integrate applications and conduct business over the Internet with trading partners and customers. The BizTalk framework is based on new Extensible Markup Language (XML) schemas and industry standards that enable integration across industries and between business systems, regardless of platform, operating system or underlying technology. Microsoft also announced plans to incorporate the BizTalk schema into the Microsoft Commerce Platform, initiatives for the MSN network for Internet services, and future versions of Office, the BackOffice family and the Windows family of operating systems. Microsoft BizTalk Server is new technology that will make it easier for companies to take advantage of BizTalk. By supporting BizTalk and underlying XML technology, it will enable companies to exchange data and integrate applications over the Internet. BizTalk document-handling schema will be based on industry standards such as electronic data interchange (EDI), borrow from object-based industry initiatives such as the Open Application Group (OAG) in manufacturing, and will be defined in concert with ISVs, customers and industry consortia. As new XML standards emerge, contributors to the BizTalk framework will evaluate and support standards that deliver value to customers. The BizTalk services architecture will be supported natively in Microsoft products and tools. The Microsoft Commerce Platform, Office, BackOffice and Windows will use BizTalk XML schemas to store additional information about documents and to integrate BackOffice- and Windows-based applications." See "Microsoft Announces BizTalk Framework for E-Commerce, Lets Software Speak the Language of Business. SAP, PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards and Other Leading Industry Vendors Endorse New Cross-Platform E-Commerce and Application Integration Initiatives" and "Microsoft Announces E-Commerce Strategy, with New Software and Services Designed to Transform the Web into a Bustling Marketplace."

  • [March 03, 1999]   First Working Draft of W3C XML Fragment Interchange Published.    Paul Grosso (ArborText), Chair of the W3C XML Fragment Working Group has announced the publication of the working group's first Working Draft (WD) of the XML Fragment Interchange specification (W3C Working Draft 03-MAR-1999). The document editors are Paul Grosso and Daniel Veillard. The document abstract: "The XML standard supports logical documents composed of possibly several entities. It may be desirable to view or edit one or more of the entities or parts of entities while having no interest, need, or ability to view or edit the entire document. The problem, then, is how to provide to a recipient of such a fragment the appropriate information about the context that fragment had in the larger document that is not available to the recipient. The XML Fragment WG is chartered with defining a way to send fragments of an XML document -- regardless of whether the fragments are predetermined entities or not -- without having to send all of the containing document up to the part in question. This document defines Version 1.0 of the [eventual] W3C Recommendation that addresses this issue." The draft specification defines: 1) exact constraints on what portions of an XML document may constitute fragments; 2) the set of information needed to allow for successful parsing as well as for viewing or editing of a fragment in a useful and important set of cases; 3) the notation (i.e., language) in which this information (the fragment context specification) will be described; 4) some mechanisms for associating this information with a fragment, with at least one allowing for the fragment context specification to be included in the same storage object as the fragment body and at least one allowing for the fragment context specification to be in a storage object separate from the fragment body." This new WD document is available in both HTML and XML format. The XML Fragment Working Group invites comment on the draft specification; comments may be sent to the publicly archived mailing list forum. See "XML Fragment Working Group" for a description of the W3C WG and references to its published deliverables.

  • [March 02, 1999]   VXML Forum Created by AT&T, Lucent Technologies, and Motorola.    The formation of a new 'Voice Extensible Markup Language Forum (VXML Forum)' has been announced by AT&T, Lucent Technologies, and Motorola. The VXML Forum "aims to drive the market for voice- and phone-enabled Internet access by promoting a standard specification for VXML, a computer language used to create Web content and services that can be accessed by phone. AT&T, Lucent and Motorola will contribute their markup language technologies to the development of the open VXML specification. Seventeen other leading companies from the speech, Internet and communications markets have agreed to support the VXML Forum and play an active role in reviewing or contributing to the VXML specification. The initial specification will be available for public comment and contribution next month [April 1999], with the goal of submitting a final proposed specification for standardization to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) later this year. The initial VXML language specification will be based upon characteristics and functionality that includes Phone Markup Language or PML, an extension of the HTML language from AT&T, Lucent and Motorola 's VoxML." According to information provided on the VXML Forum's Web site, VXML has its roots in a research project called PhoneWeb at AT&T Bell Laboratories. After the AT&T/Lucent split, both companies pursued development of independent versions of a phone markup language. Lucent's Bell Labs continued work on the project, now known as TelePortal. The recent research focus has been on service creation and natural language applications. AT&T Labs has built a mature phone markup language and platform that have been used to construct many different types of applications, ranging from call center-style services to consumer telephone services that use a visual Web site for customers to configure and administer their telephone features. . . As an XML-based definition with an HTML-like appearance, VXML will be easy to learn for experienced Web content programmers and amenable to easy processing by tools to support desktop development of VXML Web applications." For other references, including related speech/voice markup languages, see "VXML Forum (Voice Extensible Markup Language Forum)."

  • [March 02, 1999]   Workshop on Integrating XML and Distributed Object Technologies.    A Call for Papers has been issued by the organizers of the upcoming Workshop on Integrating XML and Distributed Object Technologies, part of WET ICE 1999. The IEEE 8th International Workshops on Enabling Technologies: Infrastructure for Collaborative Enterprises will be held June 16 - 18, 1999, at Stanford University, California. WET ICE '99 will consist of parallel, three-day workshops on different topics related to collaboration technology. The goal of this XML workshop "is to investigate how XML and Distributed Object technologies such as Java, CORBA and DCOM can be integrated leveraging the strengths each have to offer: 1) Integrating XML and Distributed Object technologies; 2) Advances in XML: DOM, SAX, XSL, Schemas, XLink as it relates to Objects; 3) Advances in CORBA 3.0, Java, DCOM as it relates to XML; 4) Tools and utilities that facilitate integration of XML and object-technologies; 5) Application of XML and Object technologies in E-commerce, Finance, Healthcare, Publishing, Insurance and Manufacturing and System Integration. The purpose of these examples should be to show specific successful integration approaches of XML and objects." Submissions are due by March 22, 1999.

  • [March 01, 1999]   Public Release of DB2XML.    Volker Turau (Fachhochschule Wiesbaden, Fachbereich Informatik) has announced the public release of DB2XML, available now for download. "DB2XML is a tool for transforming relational databases into XML (Extensible Markup Language) documents. It is written in Java. DB2XML provides two main functions: 1) Transforming the results of database queries into XML documents; 2) Providing attributes describing the characteristics of the data. DB2XML comes with an easy to use graphical user interface and accesses databases using JDBC drivers. It requires JDK 1.1 (or higher) and a database with a JDBC driver (or a ODBC driver using the JDBC-ODBC bridge). DB2XML is well documented and can be used freely."

  • [February 26, 1999]   Character Model for the World Wide Web.    As part of the W3C Internationalization Activity, a working draft document has been published by the Internationalization Working Group (I18N WG) describing a Character Model for the World Wide Web. Edited by Martin J. Dürst (W3C), this new working draft document "addresses the requirements laid out in Requirements for String Identity and Character Indexing Definitions for the WWW (WD-charreq-19980710, 10-July-1998). It also contains lists of topics for explicit formulation of the character model used by W3C specifications; these lists will be expanded in the next version. [The document] defines various aspects of a character model for the WWW. It contains basic definitions and models, specifications to be used by other specifications or directly by implementations, and explanatory material. In particular, early uniform normalization, string identity matching, string indexing, and conventions for URIs are addressed." The specification "has a wide range of potential users, including several W3C-related activities (DOM, XPointer, XSL, RDF, XML element and attribute names, digital signatures) and broader technologies (e.g.,identifiers in Java, string handling in ECMAScript, filenames in FTP, folder names in IMAP, Usenet newsgroup names, identifiers in ACAP."

  • [February 26, 1999]   Fujitsu's HyBrick Browser Version 0.82 Released.    Ralph E. Ferris (Fujitsu Software Corporation) has announced a new release of Fujitsu's HyBrick SGML/XML browser, with expanded support for XLink/XPointer. It is available from the Fujitsu Software Corporation's Web site. New features in HyBrick V0.82 related to XLink and XPointer include: "1) XLink/XPointer error/warning info is shown in the error list dialog; 2) A 'Document Group' sub-menu has been added in the 'XLink/XPointer' menu; users can now navigate between inter-linked documents by using Document Groups as well as through individual links; 3) In the 'select link' dialog, link element 'role' values are displayed instead of GIs. This feature, as well as the 'Document Group' display feature, are particularly useful for creating and navigating 'Topic Maps.'; 4) The mouse cursor now changes its shape over links." Also new in HyBrick 0.82 are multiple stylesheet support (if multiple stylesheet PIs are present, users are presented with a dialog box to select the stylesheet they want to use), 'Reload hubdocument' function and 'Close window' function. 'HyBrick' is "an advanced SGML/XML browser developed by Fujitsu Laboratories, the research arm of Fujitsu. 'HyBrick' is based on an architecture that supports advanced linking and formatting capabilities. HyBrick includes a DSSSL renderer and XLink/XPointer engine running on top of James Clark's SP and Jade. It supports both valid and well-formed XML documents, XLink and XPointer (XLink implemented as a subset of the HyTime property set), SGML (ISO 8879), DSSSL (ISO 10179) online specification, printing and print previewing based on DSSSL stylesheets." See more on "HyBrick Support for XPointer" in a posting of March 4, 1999.

  • [February 26, 1999]   QAML 2.0X, an XML DTD for FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions).    A recent communiqué from Rick Jelliffe (Academia Sinica Computing Centre) announces a 'Call for Comments' on a proposed XML DTD for 'Frequently Asked Questions' documents. The new QAML 2.0X XML DTD is "based on the QAML 1.0 SGML DTD, with backwards-compatible augmentations for XML, I18N (internationalization), XLL [XLink] hypertext linking, style, accessability and tracking." Comments on the proposed DTD are solicited by the authors, Justin Higgins of digitalNation Network Services, and Rick Jelliffe. The XML DTD is available online from the website ( and from the 'Chinese XML Now!' website (

  • [February 26, 1999]   New Release of SiRPAC.    Janne Saarela (World Wide Web Consortium) posted an announcement for a new release of SiRPAC - Simple RDF Parser & Compiler. Release 1.9 of SiRPAC, in its stand-alone and online versions, has been updated to conform to the latest Resource Description Framework (RDF) Model and Syntax Specification, published as a W3C Recommendation on February 22, 1999. The new version of SiRPAC "incorporates better management of parseType='Resource' mechanism as well as the URI expansion of the about="" and xmlns="" attribute values." SiRPAC is a program which "compiles RDF/XML documents into the 3-tuples of the corresponding RDF data model. The documents can reside on local file system or at a URI on the Web. Also, the parser can be configured to automatically fetch corresponding RDF schemas from the declared namespaces. It is suitable for embedded use as well as command line use. SiRPAC builds on top of the Simple API to XML documents (SAX)." Using the SiRPAC online service from W3C, one may "validate the RDF description with respect to the corresponding RDF schemas. . . The RDF schemas specification allows the authors of new RDF vocabularies to set some constraints on underlying data model. [The] service takes one physical RDF/XML encoded document and checks its validity with respect to the RDF schemas it refers to. You can enter/paste a new RDF entry into the form and send it to the server. The server will produce you the triples of the corresponding data model and provide a visual browsing tool within the data model." For other information on Resource Description Framework (RDF), see the main RDF Web site at W3C.

  • [February 26, 1999]   Java Specification Request - XML Standard Extension Specification.    As announced previously by Sun Microsystems engineers, ax XML-related 'Java Specification Request (JSR)' has been made available through the Java Developer Connection and Java Community Process [registration required]. JSR-000005 XML Standard Extension Specification was submitted by David Brownell and Nancy K. Lee (Java Software, Sun Microsystems, Inc.) and was filed February 23, 1999. The review process closes on March 02, 1999. According to David Brownell, "The proposal is to start the discussions for what the platform level API should be . . . it's not a specific API proposal. Though it does sketch an initial set of functionality, scoped by SAX, DOM, and some appropriate extensions. . ." Summary: "The intended specification will address the need for a complete set of implementation-independent portable APIs supporting XML 1.0. . . Existing specifications for Java APIs for XML do not address the full set of requirements for complete applications. In brief, the accepted portable XML APIs (SAX and DOM) have portability limitations in basic functionality, such as validation, constructing DOM trees from input documents, writing out well formed XML, and working with XML namespaces. We propose to develop a set of modular library APIs, a 100% Pure Java Reference Implementation (RI), and a Compatibility Test Suite (CTS) . . . [such that] this core should include: (1) Event-based parsing of XML; (2) An optional basic in-memory representation of XML data; (3) Basic APIs to print the XML data; (4) Support for XML Namespaces. . . We anticipate that extensions not already defined by an external organization would be in a "javax.xml" package (or sub-package). Sun Microsystems has a highly conformant implementation of the basic standards identified above. This is accessible from at this time. This is one of several 100% Pure Java implementations of those standards, and is well advanced in conformance testing and performance tuning. . . In conjunction with the above, Sun Microsystems has developed a set of SAX and XML conformance tests. These tests build on top of well accepted tests that are freely available from James Clark, called XMLTEST (, adding validation and more complete coverage of all the testable statements in the XML 1.0 specification." For full details, see the complete text of the 'Java Specification Request - XML Standard Extension Specification' at See now also the press release "Sun Unveils XML Technology Support in the Java Platform. Leading Efforts to Define Java Standard Extension for XML Language" and [quoted] comments from Nancy Lee, Sun's senior product manager for XML.

  • [February 26, 1999]   LinuXML Project Kickoff Announced.    Part of the new vision (of some) for XML as "the new ASCII": Bill Birch recently announced a new project 'devoted to improving the command-line experience on Linux.' The LinuXML Project is dedicated to the goal of "changing the UNIX de facto standard for inter-process communication and storage from line-based ASCII records to XML. Linux is the reference platform. The new 'vision' for the project consists of combining the idea of 'object streams' and direct manipulation in the user interface. Rolling all the smarts into the user interface is an option, but we need to keep the magic of the '|' pipe alive. The original concept is still valid, but a more structured approach to getting there is needed. Remember this is 'vision' material so some of it will be beyond our immediate reach. There are some key parts which I believe we need. We need to be able to describe the format of objects in object-streams. The format of the data should itself be standard. Why have different output data for every program (so 'find' and 'ls' could share the same output format). XML appears to provide us the solution. . . [DTDs] To be completed: Definitive repository of standard UNIX DTDs for object streams. . ." See the LINUXML Project description for full details.

  • [February 24, 1999]   W3C XML Linking Working Group Publishes Three Key Design Documents.    The W3C XML Linking Working Group has publicly released three important deliverables that outline standards work authorized under its charter. The XML Linking WG is chaired by Bill Smith, of Sun Microsystems, and has been chartered to "design advanced, scalable, and maintainable hyperlinking and addressing functionality for XML." The document XML XLink Requirements Version 1.0 has been edited by Steve DeRose (with assistance from Paula Angerstein). It "specifies requirements for the XLink specification. Xlink defines XML-conforming syntax for expressing links among XML documents and other Internet resources, and defines some of the behavior of applications that support it. An XML link, as the term is used here, is the specification of an explicit relationship between resources or portions of resources, as well as XLink-defined descriptive information. The specific identification methods that locate various types of data (such as URIs, XPointers, and graphical co-ordinates) are outside the scope of XLink." The companion document XML XPointer Requirements Version 1.0, also edited by Steven J. DeRose, presents requirements for the XPointer language. XPointer provides ways to directly identify any node, data, or selection in any XML document by describing its structure and context. An identified data location is called a 'target.' The XPointer specification is particularly meant to enable hyperlinks to identify any such data, regardless of whether there is (or even could be) an ID on the target or not. The XPointer specification is now being developed in the XML-Linking Working Group, building on Working Drafts developed in the XML Working Group. Because the XPointer language must refer to structural parts of XML documents, those structures must be explicit. Document structure specifications such as DOM and the XML Information Set may wish to consider the XPointer requirements in order to insure interoperability when used with XPointer and XLink." The third document, XPointer-Information Set Liaison Statement, represents "a liaison statement from XML Linking Working Group to the XML Information Set working group. Because the XPointer specification under development in the XML Linking WG must refer to structural parts of XML documents, the structure it addresses must be explicit. Document structure specifications such as DOM and the XML Information Set may wish to consider the XPointer requirements in order to insure interoperability when used with XPointer and XLink. Thus we have set out in this document, some constraints we believe XPointer has, for its use with a system representing XML information structures." For other information on XLink and XPointer, see XLL. XML Linking Language (XLink and XPointer)."

  • [February 24, 1999]   Voyager Becomes XHTML.    The W3C has published a new draft of its XML 'reformulation of HTML' under the title XHTML 1.0: The Extensible HyperText Markup Language. A Reformulation of HTML 4.0 in XML 1.0. This W3C document (WD-html-in-xml-19990224, W3C Working Draft 24-February-1999) updates the previous draft of December 1998, in which the revised markup language was given the code-name 'Voyager'. The new Working Draft specification "defines XHTML 1.0, a reformulation of HTML 4.0 as an XML 1.0 application, and three namespaces corresponding to the ones defined by HTML 4.0. The semantics of the elements and their attributes are defined in the W3C Recommendation for HTML 4.0. These semantics provide the foundation for future extensibility of XHTML. XHTML 1.0 is the basis for a family of future document types that extend and subset HTML. Compatibility with existing HTML user agents is possible by following a small set of guidelines." The draft specification offers two justifications for adoption of XHTML: "1) First, XHTML is designed to be extensible. This extensibility relies upon the XML requirement that documents be well-formed. Under SGML, the addition of a new group of elements would mean alteration of the entire DTD. In an XML-based DTD, all that is required is that the new set of elements be internally consistent and well-formed to be added to an existing DTD. The greatly eases the development and integration of new collections of elements. 2) Second, XHTML is designed for portability. There will be increasing use of non-desktop user agents to access Internet documents. Some estimates indicate that by the year 2002, 75% of Internet document viewing will be carried out on these alternate platforms. In most cases these platforms will not have the computing power of a desktop platform, and will not be designed to accommodate ill-formed HTML as current user agents tend to do. Indeed if these user agents do not receive well-formed XHTML, they may simply not display the document."

  • [February 24, 1999]   Resource Description Framework (RDF) Model and Syntax Specification Issued as a W3C Recommendation.    The World Wide Web Consortium has published its Resource Description Framework (RDF) Model and Syntax specification "as a W3C Recommendation, representing cross-industry and expert community agreement on a wide range of features for using and providing metadata on the Web. Resource Description Framework (RDF) uses the W3C's Extensible Markup Language (XML) to define a foundation for processing metadata and complements XML. Whereas XML can be used as a general way to transport data on the Web given prior agreement between the parties on the specific form of the data to be transported, RDF layers on top of XML a general form for a broad category of data. When the XML data is declared to be of the RDF format, applications will be able to understand much of the interpretation of the data without prior arrangement. RDF provides the necessary foundation and infrastructure to support the description and management of this data. RDF can transform the Web into a more useful and powerful information resource. RDF provides interoperability between applications that exchange machine-understandable information on the Web. RDF emphasizes facilities to enable automated processing of Web resources. RDF can be used in a variety of application areas; for example: in resource discovery to provide better search engine capabilities, in cataloging for describing the content and content relationships available at a particular Web site, page, or digital library, by intelligent software agents to facilitate knowledge sharing and exchange, in content rating, in describing collections of pages that represent a single logical 'document', for describing intellectual property rights of Web pages, and for expressing the privacy preferences of a user as well as the privacy policies of a Web site. RDF with digitally signed documents will be key to building the 'Web of Trust' for electronic commerce, collaboration, and other applications." The document editors are Ora Lassila (Nokia Research Center) and Ralph R. Swick (W3C); references: REC-rdf-syntax-19990222, W3C Recommendation 22-February-1999. See also the press release and the testimonials. Comments on the specification may be sent to, and will be available in a W3C archive. Note: "The new RDF specification from W3C at does not include XML markup declarations. I have made up a set and put them on the 'XML and SGML Resources' page of the 'Chinese XML Now!' website:" [from Rick Jelliffe, XML-DEV]

  • [February 24, 1999]   Latest XTech '99 Reminders and Announcements.    Several reminders have been issued about XTech '99 -- the third annual West Coast XML conference. This XML conference and exposition will be held at the San Jose Convention Center on March 7-11, 1999. XTech '99 Program Co-Chair Jon Bosak (Sun Microsystems, and W3C XML Coordination Group Chair) characterizes the upcoming San Jose event as "the place to learn about the latest developments in XML and related technologies from the people and companies at the center of the XML revolution." Marion Elledge (Senior Vice President, Information Technologies, GCA) reminds readers that it is not too late to register for XTech '99 and for the XIO '99 Interoperability Exposition, sponsored by Microsoft. XIO '99 is more than a trade show; exhibitors demonstrate technology interoperability using a selection of XML data sets." Paul Prescod, representing the tutorial sessions, reminds developers of the half-day tutorial session 'XML Processing with Python' which extends into four days. Other tutorials include: XSL, XLink, Mozilla, Unicode, ECommerce, Metadata, Java, Perl, Document Analysis, DOM, ICE, etc. Description of other XML product announcements to be made at XTech '99 is provided GCA's press release of February 24, 1999. See the GCA's conference Web site or 'XTech '99 - XML Application Developers Conference & XIO Expo' for other references.

  • [February 24, 1999]   fxp - A Validating 'Functional XML Parser'.    Andreas Neumann (Universität Trier - Abteilung Informatik) posted an announcement for the availability of fxp - 'A Functional XML Parser' (Version 1.0). 'fxp is a validating XML parser written completely in the functional programming Standard ML (SML). It has been developed at the Computer Science Department, University of Trier, using Standard ML of New Jersey. fxp and its documentation are available at It has a programming interface allowing for production of XML applications based on fxp, and is distributed with three example applications: 1) fxp, the pure parser. It parses a document and finds well-formedness errors, validity errors and other problems; 2) fxesis adds a backend to fxp, producing an output similar to nsgmls's ESIS [Element Structure Information Set] output; 3) fxcopy reproduces the document parsed by fxp. The copy can be generated in a different encoding than the input, and can be normalized in different ways concerning, e.g., expansion of entity references. In order to install fxp, you need an SML compiler. It has been tested with version 110.9.1 of SML of New Jersey, but it might also run with other versions. We successfully compiled fxp on Linux with libc5, Digital Unix 4.0 and Solaris 2.4/6. For other unices we expect no problems; compiling with the Windows version of SML-NJ has not been tried.' Source code for fxp may be downloaded. See also "XML Parsers and Parsing Toolkits."

  • [February 23, 1999]   NIST Proposes Use of XML and RDF to Represent PSL-modeled Data.    NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce) has published some preliminary findings which "describe how the PSL semantic concepts may be mapped to the Extensible Markup Language (XML)." NIST's Process Specification Language (PSL) Project is organized under its Manufacturing Systems Integration Division (MSID). "For many years MSID has been involved in the definition of a neutral representation of product data, most recently realized through the STEP standard. With that effort well underway, another candidate area for a division focus is the representation of manufacturing process. Like product data, process data is also used throughout the life cycle of a product, from early indications of manufacturing process flagged during design, through process planning, validation, production scheduling and control. In addition, the notion of process also underlies the entire manufacturing cycle, coordinating the workflow within engineering and shop floor manufacturing." An online example "Representing PSL as XML" has been created to llustrate "how data described by PSL semantics can be represented using XML (the Extensible Markup Language). The XML representation employs RDF (the Resource Description Framework). Although RDF is designed for specifying metadata about resources on the Web, a basic type system defined for RDF enables RDF to be used for specifying schemas. The example makes use of this RDF schema language." The PSL-XML project thus "undertakes to define a neutral representation (a language) for process which could be used for the sharing of process data among all of the functions identified above. Through research and input, this work will be continuously refined and expanded over the next few months." For additional references, see "Process Specification Language (PSL) and XML."

  • [February 23, 1999]   XML Conformance Public Information Page Available.    A communiqué from G. Ken Holman of Crane Softwrights Ltd. announces the availability of public documents related to the work of the OASIS XML Conformance Technical Subcommittee. The XML Conformance Working Group provides a forum where XML vendors, content providers, and users can discuss issues that are pertinent to XML conformance. The objective of the Working Group is to develop tests to improve the quality of XML processors and determine if XML implementations and/or XML instances adhere to the XML 1.0 Recommendation. The development of tests provides implementers with the necessary measures to determine whether their implementation is conformant to the Recommendation, and ultimately, interoperable with other solutions. The co-chairs of the XML Conformance Subcommittee are Mary Brady of NIST and G. Ken Holman of Crane Softwrights Ltd. The technical lead on the project is Matt Timmermans of Microstar Software Ltd. and the character set specialist is Makoto Murata of FujiXerox." For additional information, see also "XML Conformance."

  • [February 23, 1999]   Synchronized Multimedia Modules from the W3C SYMM Interest Group.    A W3C NOTE "Synchronized Multimedia Modules Based Upon SMIL 1.0" describes "a snapshot of certain aspects of the discussions on future work on SYMM and SMIL." References: W3C Note 23-February-1999, NOTE-SYMM-modules. The document editors are Patrick Schmitz, Ted Wugofski, and Warner ten Kate. Following the approach spearheaded by the W3C HTML Working group, the Note describes how SMIL 1.0 functionality and future SYMM functionality can be represented as a set of markup modules. "The first W3C Working Group on Synchronized Multimedia (SYMM) developed SMIL - Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language. This XML-based language is used to express synchronization relationships among media elements. SMIL 1.0 documents describe multimedia presentations that can be played in SMIL-conformant viewers." The current W3C NOTE "describes a proposed modularization of synchronized multimedia functionality, based upon the SMIL 1.0 Recommendation. The proposed modules complement HTML/CSS modules to support the definition of multimedia profiles that combine SYMM and HTML/CSS modules, as well as other XML-based languages. A set of example profiles for multimedia use is described. The document is intended to form a basis for work by a future SYMM Working Group." Comments on the NOTE may be sent to the SMIL mailing list.

  • [February 23, 1999]   New Release of MDSAX and Coins.    Bill la Forge has announced a new release of MDSAX and Coins. MDSAX1.0 beta 3 now includes: "1) Coins implemented over MDSAX; 2) A lightweight version of program composition which does not require a DOM; 3) Attribute support which is a superset of DTD attribute specification, including global attributes and attributes specific to a parent context." MDSAX is distributed as Open Source Software. "MDSAX (short for Multi-Document Simple API for XML) is a set of tools for working with Java SAX parsers and parser filters. MDSAX provides developers with considerably more control over the creation and arrangement of SAX filters, and makes it easy to specify different filter stacks for different types of documents (as identified by their root elements.) MDSAX also provides access to a number of services, allowing filters to communicate amongst themselves and with the application." Coins provides "a 2-way mapping between an XML document and a graph of application-specific objects created from that document. This bi-directional capability is illustrated with the simple Swing example included under the Coins package."

  • [February 23, 1999]   XML Markup Declaration to DDML Converter Available.    Rick Jelliffe has announced the availability of a tool to convert from XML markup declarations to DDML (Document Description Markup Language) declarations. Also, among the site 'XML and SGML Resources', there are examples of DDML: the XBEL DTD, a version of the DDML DTD, our (TEI) Lite and Loose DTD, and MathML, all in DDML. The tool uses OmniMark scripts; the scripts run with OmniMark Light Edition, which is available free.

  • [February 23, 1999]   IBTWSH Draft Version 5 Released.    John Cowan has announced the availability of draft version 5 of his "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Simple Hypertext DTD." The IBTWSH DTD "is meant to be incorporated into other XML DTDs in order to provide a little bit of rich text/hypertext for use in documentation and other human-readable elements. It is a tiny but useful subset of HTML 4.0" New: "1) The references to the XML-ized entity sets are no longer commented out, so you'll need them to do validation against IBTWSH; 2) addition of the elements HTML, HEAD, TITLE, STYLE, and BODY, so that IBTWSH can be used to describe complete documents as well as document parts. Appropriate content models and attribute lists are supplied." Compare, from the W3C: "Reformulating HTML in XML" (aka 'Voyager' and now 'XHTML').

  • [February 23, 1999]   'DTDGenerator Frontend' Tool Announced.    Paul Tchistopolskii recently announced the availability of 'DTDGenerator Frontend' - a (beta version) perl script that works with the SAXON DTDGenerator tool developed by Michael H. Kay (ICL). DTDGenerator "is a program that takes an XML document as input and produces a Document Type Definition (DTD) as output [ . . giving] a quick start in writing a DTD'. The DTDGenerator Frontend "allows you to upload some XML file from your computer to the server and get a DTD to which the document would conform." Paul Tchistopolskii's Web site is called the 'XML Tube'.

  • [February 18, 1999]   XML Information Set Requirements Document Published.    The W3C's XML Information Set Working Group has released its working group document on design principles and requirements, "XML Information Set Requirements." It has been edited by David Megginson (the WG Chair) and is published as a W3C NOTE: NOTE-xml-infoset-req-19990218, W3C Note 18-February-1999. This requirements document "lists the design principles and requirements for the XML Information Set, a meta-model for XML documents being developed by the World Wide Web Consortium's XML Information Set Working Group. The W3C's XML 1.0 Recommendation describes the physical representation of XML documents. We expect, however, that XML-based standards will usually be defined at a higher, logical level: in other words, standards will tend to refer to abstract objects like element or data rather than to the physical sequences of characters that match the XML 1.0 Recommendation's syntactic productions. The XML Information Set will describe these abstract XML objects and their properties. It will provide a common reference set that other specifications can use and extend to construct their underlying data models, and will help to ensure interoperability among the various XML-based specifications and among XML software tools in general. The XML Information Set will be purely descriptive: it will identify a common set of abstract XML information without mandating a single type of processing behaviour or a specific API for XML-based software." Comments on the document may be sent to, which is an archived email list. The XML Information Set Requirements document is also available in XML format.

  • [February 17, 1999]   IBM Releases New XML Application SpeechML.   IBM alphaWorks Laboratory recently announced SpeechML -"a[n XML] markup language for building distributed network-based conversational applications. SpeechML is an XML application, meaning that it is defined as a set of XML tags. The primary elements are <page>, <body> <menu>, and <form>. Pages group other SpeechML elements, and serve as the top-level element for a SpeechML document. A body element may be plain text, or it may marked up to improve the text-to-speech synthesis using the Java Speech Markup Language (JSML)." The new package from IBM "describes Speech Markup Language, or SpeechML. It also contains a conversational browser that implements SpeechML, and some demonstration SpeechML applications. Just as HTML can be used as a markup language for building network-based visual applications, SpeechML is a language for building network-based conversational applications. A conversational application is an application that interacts with the user through spoken input and output. A network-based application refers to one in which the elements of the conversation that define spoken output and input - SpeechML documents - may be obtained over the network. SpeechML could be used to enable conversational access from (for example) a car, a telephone, a PDA, or a desktop PC, to information sources and applications anywhere on the Internet. Potential applications include the same range of services and information now available visually through HTML. Use of a markup language to describe the spoken interaction with the user has a number of advantages: it makes possible network-based applications; it provides a seamless transition from one application to another; and it provides an easy-to-use tool to describe conversational dialogs." Members of the IBM development team include Bruce Lucas, Jennifer Lai, Jung-Mu Tang, Paul Chou, Paul Moskowitz, and Steven De Gennaro. Compare: Sun Microsystems' "Java Speech Markup Language (JSML)." Differences are said to be that "1) JSML only supports spoken output, while SpeechML supports a conversation by describing both spoken output and spoken input; 2) the SpeechML design (including IBM's own browser included with the SpeechML package) makes use of Java Speech Markup Language (JSML) and Java Speech Grammar Format (JSGF) from the Java Speech API." For further references: see "SpeechML."

  • [February 17, 1999]   Reed Technology Uses XML in Congressional Quarterly Publishing System.   Reed Technology and Information Services (RTIS) has pioneered the use of SGML in a number of its electronic publishing services and products. According to a recent announcement, "Reed Technology to Build Congressional Quarterly Publishing System", XML is now in Reed's plans as well. "Reed Technology has embarked on a multimillion-dollar project for Congressional Quarterly, Inc. (CQ) to develop a Unified Data Repository (UDR) and content management system for publishing to its Web site, . . XML will be used during the conversion of data feeds into the media independent database, as well as for a dynamic product extraction module. Reed Technology's emphasis is on creating a system that makes it simple and easy for CQ's editorial staff to edit and query the relational database, edit in XML, track workflow, and create different product offerings for new market segments."

  • [February 17, 1999]   New IETF Internet Draft Proposes 'Extensible Protocol'.    A communiqué from Tom Harding (ThinLink Solutions) describes a proposed Extensible Protocol, defined in an IETF Internet Draft document. "Extensible Protocol (XP) is a formal way to build pure XML protocols, in which all requests, as well as responses, are well-formed XML documents. XP allows building up simple or complex derived protocols. XP adopts a minimalist approach, specifying just enough to allow construction of general purpose endpoint software, while allowing the details of the application protocol to be worked out in conjunction with the documents themselves." XP has been published as an Internet-Draft, draft-harding-extensible-protocol-00.txt (1-February-1999). The author solicits comments on the draft.

  • [February 17, 1999]   RXP Validating XML Parser Now Available under GPL.    Richard Tobin has announced the release of RXP Version 1.0. RXP is a GPL'd validating XML parser in C, developed by the Language Technology Group, Human Communication Research Centre, University of Edinburgh. A simple application (called rxp) is provided that parses and writes XML data, optionally expanding entities, defaulting attributes, and translating to a different output encoding. Some command-line options include: insertion of declared default values for omitted attributes; expansion of entity references; printing output as "bits"; XML well-formedness checking mode (vs. validation mode); treating the input as normalized SGML rather than as XML; producing output in a specified character encoding (ISO-8859-1, UTF-8, ISO-10646-UCS, UTF-16); specifying big- or little-endian byte order for 16-bit encoding names. There is an RXP web page at Bug reports should be sent to the author (Richard Tobin) at RXP 'is used by the LT XML toolkit, and in the Festival speech synthesis system'; it also supports an online XML checking tool. "Whereas previous versions were available only for individual, research and educational use, this version is licensed under the GNU Public Licence (GPL)." Other XML parsers: see "XML Parsers and Parsing Toolkits."

  • [February 17, 1999]   Pattern Markup Language (PML) Uses UML eXchange Format.    Pattern Markup Language (PML) was announced recently as a new markup language design effort related to UXF (UML eXchange Format). UXF itself is an "XML-based model interchange format for UML (Unified Modeling Language), which is a standard software modeling language by Object Management Group. UXF is a simple and well-structured format to encode, publish, access and exchange UML models, and allows UML to be highly interoperable. It leverages tool interoperability, team development and model reuse by interchanging model information with the the XML standard." The proposed Pattern Markup Language (PML) is an "XML-based format to describe software patterns. A pattern represents a recurring solution to a software development problem within a particular context. Patterns identify the static and dynamic collaborations and interactions between software components. In general, applying patterns to complex object-oriented applications can significantly improve software quality, increase maintainability and support broad reuse of components and architectural designs. PML provides what UXF offers to UML for patterns. Therefore, it facititates the interoperability between development tools, intercommunications between software developers and natural extension from the existing Web environment. PML allows to explicitly encode pattern information and to help developing pattern-aware tools easily. PML internally uses UXF." The PML DTDs are to be posted shortly. For additional information on UXF, see "UML eXchange Format (UXF)."

  • [February 17, 1999]   InDelv Updates XML/XSL Browser for Java.    A communiqué from Rob Brown reports on the availability of a new alpha test version [0.2] of InDelv's XML/XSL browser for Java. The new test version "is available for immediate download on all platforms. It is designed to run on Java platforms version 1.1.6 or newer. Visit for more detailed information. This version has implemented a subset of the XSL format objects as defined in the December 1998 draft. [InDelv] expects to issue updates on a weekly basis until a complete set of format objects are implemented. The browser is available free of charge for commercial and non-commercial use." InDelv also announces that "an XML editor is also planned for release over the next few weeks."

  • [February 17, 1999]   XML 1.0 Specification Errata Published.    Tim Bray (Textuality, and co-chair of the W3C XML Syntax Working Group) recently reported on the availability of 'XML 1.0 Errata, one year later.' See the document XML 1.0 Specification Errata for details. This errata document is said to represent "a moving target; we have approximately 50 reported errata, and the [XML Syntax] WG whose responsibility this is has plowed through maybe half of them, accepting all but a couple as real; so this document will grow in the near future . . ."

  • [February 16, 1999]   XML Schema Requirements Document from the W3C XML Schema Working Group.    One of the first published deliverables from the W3C XML Schema Working Group is the requirements document: "XML Schema Requirements." References: NOTE-xml-schema-req-19990215, W3C Note 15-February-1999. Edited by Ashok Malhotra (IBM) and Murray Maloney (Veo Systems Inc.). The XML Schema Working Group is co-chaired by Dave Hollander (Hewlett-Packard) and C. M. Sperberg-McQueen (University of Illinois at Chicago and the W3C). The new requirements document "specifies the purpose, basic usage scenarios, design principles, and base requirements for an XML schema language." The three principal requirements, as defined in the working group charter, relate to: 1) structural schemas: constraining document structure (namespaces, elements, attributes) and content (datatypes, entities, notations); mechanisms to enable inheritance for element, attribute, and datatype definitions; URI reference to standard semantic understanding of a construct; embedded documentation; application-specific constraints and descriptions; schemata evolution; integration of structural schemas with primitive data types. 2) primitive data typing: including byte, date, integer, sequence, SQL & Java primitive data types; a type system that is adequate for import/export from database systems; distinguishing requirements that relate to lexical data representation vs. those governing an underlying information set; user-defined datatypes. 3) conformance: describing conforming processors; the relationship between schemas and XML documents; the relationship between schema validity and XML validity; the relationship between schemas and XML DTDs, and their information sets; the relationship among schemas, namespaces, and validity; a useful XML schema for XML schemas." [The document] "represents a compromise that leaves many design questions open, creating opportunity for decision-making in the design phase. As the XML Schema work continues, the concrete implications of these requirements for the design will be worked out and documented." Comments on this requirements document may be sent to the XML Schema Requirements Comments mailing list; messages will be archived on a W3C server.

  • February 16, 1999. Michael H. Kay (ICL) has announced the release of SAXON Version 4.0. "SAXON is a Java library for processing XML documents: it provides a number of services above the SAX and DOM level to make applications easier to write and more modular. The services are particularly useful for applications performing XML-to-XML or XML-to-HTML transformations. SAXON is available as a free download with source code included." Among the 'substantial changes' in the version 4 release of SAXON: 1) 'Improved support for processing using the DOM, in a way that is forward compatible with serial (SAX-based) applications: you can use the same element handlers in both modes; the processing model (selecting an element handler based on a pattern match) is identical to that for XSL; 2) Support for Stylesheets: you can now invoke many of SAXON's capabilities without writing any Java code. SAXON Stylesheets support a useful subset of XSL and provide two important additional features: the ability to create multiple output files, and the ability to freely mix XSL and Java code: XSL can be used to process some elements, and Java for others, or you can preprocess the element in Java before rendering it in XSL. Very useful if you are doing more than simple rendering, e.g., if you are loading a relational database.' See also 'SAXON 4.0 and XSL Queries'. Note that Michael Kay also supports GedML - Genealogical Data Markup Language, a proposal for a standard encoding of GEDCOM genealogy data in XML.

  • February 16, 1999. Didier PH Martin posted an announcement for a new version of the DSSSL XML/SGML kit (for IE 4.x and IE 5.x). "The SGML/XML Kit is a browser add-on that transforms SGML/XML documents into displayable entities; [it] is based on a DSSSL script engine." See the text of the announcement for a list of changes in this release, and a 'default' DSSSL script.

  • February 15, 1999. Michel Goossens (IT Division, CERN, Switzerland ) announced that "a group of volunteers in Canada, France, and Switzerland is preparing a translation of the XML Specification." For references to German, Italian, and Romanian translations of the XML specification, see the XML Reference Documents section.

  • February 15, 1999. Katherine Morrow recently reported on a January meeting at the Bellanet International Secretariat and the International Development Research Centre, [convened] "for the purpose of exploring the potential of the Extensible Markup Language (XML) for improved information sharing in the international development community. Participants were introduced to the concepts of XML through expert presentations by Tim Bray and others. Potential applications of a Development Markup Language, an XML Document Type Definition specific to the international development sector, were demonstrated and discussed. Participants shared lessons learned from previous joint standards and information initiatives such as IDRIS, DDBS, INDIX, Dublin Core, CEFDA, and CALS. Plans for several pilot projects emerged from discussions. A follow-up meeting is to be held in May 1999 in Maastricht, Netherlands." The IDML Initiative "was formed to discuss the possibility of a International Development Markup Language, or IDML, for the international development community. IDML would become a data exchange standard for information that is specific to international development, making it much easier to share information with regional offices, partner agencies and with the public. It will also be easier to find and manage information about who is doing what, and where." See references to the minutes of the January 13-14, 1999 meeting in the main database section, "Development Markup Language (DML)."

  • February 15, 1999. Mirja Hukari (Citec Information Technology) posted an announcement for a 'DocZilla Preview and All-New Demo Kit.' "Many people have expressed interest in having a simple way of seeing XML working in a Web browser. CITEC has made its XML, SGML, and HTML browser, DocZilla Preview and all-new Demo Kit, available at We've put a lot of interesting material in the Demo Kit and made it accessible with point-and-click simplicity. DocZilla is based on Netscape's Mozilla open-source project. It uses CSS to render XML and SGML directly and also supports the DOM accessed through JavaScript. Some fairly cool interactive effects with XML and the DOM have been presented in the Demo kit. The DocZilla architecture is based on open vendor independent standards assembled into a collection of modular components called MultiDoc Engine (MDE). MDE will extend the funtionality of standard WEB technology into XML/SGML/HyTime applications."

  • February 15, 1999. Ralph E. Ferris (Fujitsu Software Corporation) posted an update on the HyBrick V0.80 support for XLink and XPointer. HyBrick is an advanced SGML/XML browser developed by Fujitsu Laboratories, the research arm of Fujitsu. HyBrick is based on an architecture that supports advanced linking and formatting capabilities. HyBrick includes a DSSSL renderer and XLink/XPointer engine running on top of James Clark's SP and Jade. It supports "both valid and well-formed XML documents, XLink and XPointer, SGML (ISO 8879), DSSSL (ISO 10179) online specification, printing and print previewing based on DSSSL stylesheets." To make the point [about HyBrick XLink/XPointer support, Ralph has] put some files with XLink/XPointer declarations in them up on the HyBrick Web site at These files are intended to be accessed over the Web. If your network access environment allows you to though, you can see XLink and XPointer at work over the Web by downloading HyBrick and pointing it at: . . ." [see the posting for caveats and full details.] HyBrick Version 0.8 with XLink/XPointer support is now available for download.

  • February 15, 1999. Mark V. Scardina (Oracle Corporation) has announced that Oracle's second XML component beta release - XML Class Generator for Java - is now available for downloading and testing on the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) XML site. "The XML Class Generator will generate a set of Java source files based on an input DTD. The generated Java source files can then be used to construct, optionally validate, and print a XML document that is compliant to the DTD specified. This is an early beta release and has the following features: 1) creates Java Classes from DTDs to enable the programmatic construction of XML documents; 2) supports validation mode to assist debugging; 3) works with the Oracle XML Parser in Java; 4) creates documents conforming to the W3C XML 1.0 Recommendation; 5) supports creating documents in the following encodings: UTF-8, UTF-16, ISO-10646-UCS-2, ISO-10646-UCS-4, US-ASCII, EBCDIC-CP-US, ISO-8859-1, Shift_SJIS." See the Oracle XML Web site for other information.

  • February 15, 1999. Uche Ogbuji (FourThought LLC) has announced the release of 4DOM Version 0.7.0. 4DOM is a CORBA-aware implementation of the W3C's Document Object Model in Python. "4DOM is a close implementation of the DOM recommendation, including DOM Core level 1, DOM HTML level 1, Node Iterator and Node Filter from DOM Level 2, and a few utility and helper components. 4DOM was designed from the start to work in a CORBA environment, although an orb is no longer required. For using 4DOM in an ORB environment, Fnorb and ILU are supported. 4DOM is designed to allow developers rapidly design applications that read, write or manipulate HTML and XML. Some new features in 0.7 are: support for using 4DOM without an ORB, a formalized factory-based node-creation interface, and support for node iterators. There are also more demos. 4DOM is distributed under the terms of the GNU Library General Public License (LGPL)."

  • February 11, 1999. The W3C has published the first Working Draft version of the SVG specification: "Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) Specification". The document editor is Jon Ferraiolo (Adobe). References: WD-SVG-19990211, W3C Working Draft 11-February-1999. Acccording to the W3C press release, the purpose of the WD publication "is to encourage public comments and contributions. SVG is written in XML, which up to now has mainly been used for text. This draft is the first step in the development of a vendor-neutral, cross-platform and ubiquitous Web-specific format for XML vector graphics. Current members of the W3C SVG Working Group are key industry players who brought their graphical and Web expertise to the design of this specification. In alphabetical order: Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Corel, HP, IBM, Inso, Macromedia, Microsoft, Netscape, Quark, RAL, Sun, and Visio." Abstract: "This specification defines the features and syntax for Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). SVG is a language for describing two-dimensional graphics in XML. SVG allows for three types of graphic objects: vector graphic shapes (e.g., paths consisting of straight lines and curves), images and text. Graphical objects can be grouped, styled, transformed and composited into previously rendered objects. The feature set includes nested transformations, clipping paths, alpha masks, filter effects, template objects and extensibility. SVG drawings can be dynamic and interactive. The Document Object Model (DOM) for SVG allows for straightforward and efficient vector graphics animation via scripting. A rich set of event handlers such as onmouseover and onclick can be assigned to any SVG graphical object. Because of its compatibility and leveraging of other Web standards, features like scripting can be done on HTML and SVG elements simultaneously within the same Web page." See also the testimonials endorsing this W3C effort, and the "Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) Requirements."

  • February 11, 1999. MURATA Makoto (Fuji Xerox Information Systems) has posted two documents to the 'forest-automaton' mailing list which may be of interest to readers following the (XML) 'schema' discussions. Both documents were (originally) written for the W3C XML Schema Working Group deliberations. Document titles: 1) "[DRAFT] Syntax for Regular-but-non-local Schemata for Structured Documents" 2) "Regularity and Locality of String Languages and Tree Languages." For other references on tree/forest research applied to XML/SGML, see "SGML/XML and Forest Automata Theory."

  • February 11, 1999. The Graphic Communications Association (GCA) expects "hundreds of Web and application developers, system architects and integrators, and others wanting the latest applications of XML technology" to attend XTech '99, according to a press release "GCA's XTech '99 Presents Solutions For Data and Content Exchange on the Web." The XML conference and exposition will he held March 7-11, 1999 at the San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, California. "The five-day event includes pre-conference tutorials on XML, related standards, and technologies; three tracks including presentations on XML development issues, applications, case studies, and management paybacks; and the XIO '99 Interoperability Exposition." For other information, see the main conference entry, "XTech '99."

  • February 10, 1999. The W3C has acknowledged receipt of a submission from NEC Corporation entitled "PIDL - Personalized Information Description Language." The document has been published as a W3C NOTE: NOTE-PIDL-19990209, 09 Feb 1999. Its authors are Yuichi Koike, Tomonari Kamba, and Marc Langheinrich. The document "describes an XML syntax for the Personalized Information Description Language (PIDL). The purpose of PIDL is to facilitate personalization of online information by providing enhanced interoperability between personalization applications. PIDL provides a common framework for applications to progressively process original contents and append personalized versions in a compact format. PIDL supports the personalization of different media (e.g., plain text, structured text, graphics, etc), multiple personalization methods (such as filtering, sorting, replacing, etc) and different delivery methods (for example SMTP, HTTP, IP-multicasting, etc). PIDL uses the following features: 1) Encapsulates both the original contents and the progressively processed personalizations in a single XML document. 2) Can contain personalized contents for multiple user in a single XML document, allowing effective distribution of personalized content over 1-to-many connections such as IP-multicasting. To protect sensitive information about each users personalization preferences from being disclosed, such personalized content can optionally be encrypted with the user's public key. 3) Supports incremental storage of personalization results in order to keep the overall document size small, even including personalization for several hundreds of users." An XML DTD for PIDL is presented in Appendix 2 of the NOTE. See also the submission request and the W3C Comment on the PIDL Submission, by Rolf Nelson.

  • February 10, 1999. TAMURA Kent (XML Technology Group, IBM Tokyo Research) announced the release of IBM XML4J (XML Parser for Java) Version 2.0.0. XML4J is a validating XML parser written in 100% pure Java. The package ( contains classes and methods for parsing, generating, manipulating, and validating XML documents. XML4J is now supported by Center for Java Technology - Silicon Valley (JTC-SV); comments and questions about XML4J may be sent to Version 2 of the XML Parser for Java adds these features: "1) Configurable, Modular Architecture; 2) High Performance; 3) Revalidation; 4) XCatalog Support." According to the Web site documentation, in a recent product review of XML parsers, "Version 1 of XML Parser for Java was the highest rated Java XML parser. . . " See "Java XML Parsers. A Comparative Evaluation of Seven Free Tools. [Product Review.]" By Juancarlo Añez. In Java Report (February 1999).

  • February 09, 1999. David Megginson (Megginson Technologies Ltd., and author of SAX) has prepared an XML Namespaces FAQ document: "19 Short Questions about Namespaces (With Answers)." This document was created in response to a significant amount of [XML-DEV] discussion/confusion about the W3C Recommendation "Namespaces in XML," published on January 14, 1999. For other technical commentary and references on XML namespaces, see the reference page "Namespaces in XML."

  • February 09, 1999. On behalf of the DocBook editorial board, Norman Walsh has announced the 'final' release of DocBook version 3.1. Readers are encouraged to report any questions or problems to the DocBook mailing list. A summary of changes in the version 3.1 DTD is provided in the announcement. DocBook is "an SGML[/XML] DTD maintained by the DocBook Technical Committee of OASIS. It is particularly well suited to books and papers about computer hardware and software."

  • February 09, 1999. Lars Marius Garshol has announced the release of xmlproc version 0.60. "xmlproc is a validating XML parser written in Python, which supports SAX 1.0, XML namespaces, SGML Open catalog files and XCatalog 0.1. The parser can be used for both well-formedness parsing as well as validating parsing, and the DTD parser in the package can be used separately. xmlproc can report errors in Norwegian and English, and more languages can easily be added." The high-level changes in version 0.60: "1) xmlproc now supports parameter entity references inside declarations; this means that support for conditional sections is now also functional; 2) the DTD parser object used by xmlproc is now made available to applications, and can be used separately from the rest of the package to parse DTDs; 3) xmlproc now supports namespaces through an external parser filter; 4) conformance to the XML Recommendation has been improved - among other things, data events are now no longer reported after well-formedness errors and default attribute values are validated when they are declared; 5) error recovery is now a bit more graceful, and memory leaks have been removed." The xmlproc parser is free, and available for download.

  • February 09, 1999. An announcement from Bill la Forge for MDSAX 1.0 Beta 2 ("MDSAX beta2 Includes Filters for Namespace and Architectural Forms") identifies several new features in MDSAX. In particular, MDSAX now uses a context markup language "to define filter structures. This is an extensible process, making it easy to add new kinds of filters. MDSAX also contains a hard-coded filter structure to process a simplified version of the context markup language, which supports four types of elements." Among the new filters included with the Beta 2 release are John Cowan's namespace filter and David Megginson's XAF filter for Architectural Forms. "MDSAX (short for Multi-Document Simple API for XML) is a set of tools for working with Java SAX parsers and parser filters. MDSAX provides developers with considerably more control over the creation and arrangement of SAX filters, and makes it easy to specify different filter stacks for different types of documents (as identified by their root elements.) MDSAX also provides access to a number of services, allowing filters to communicate amongst themselves and with the application."

  • February 09, 1999. Dr. Nadia Catenazzi (Mediatech, Research Division) posted an announcement for a two-day XML course which "will take place in Cagliari - Sardinia (Italy) the 6th-7th of May 1999, and will also benefit from the presence of Martin Bryan (SGML Centre), an eminent expert in the field. The course is mainly intended to provide the basic knowledge and skills for an effective use of emerging standards (XML, XSL, CSS, XLL, etc.) for both documents and data. Theoretical and practical sessions will enable particpants to understand the roles of different standards to structure the enterprise documentation." For other information, see the call for participation, "Emerging Standards for Network Document Management. XML: Theory and Praxis."

  • February 09, 1999. IBM's XML Parser for Java (XML4J) has been updated to version 1.1.14, as described in an announcement for 'New alphaWorks Java Applications.' XML4J is a validating XML parser written in 100% pure Java. The package ( contains classes and methods for parsing, generating, manipulating, and validating XML documents. Changes incorporated into the new XML Parser for Java v1.1.14: 1) User data object on DOM nodes; 2) Better access to DTD information; 3) Support for Swing 1.1; 4) Many bug fixes since version 1.1.9.

  • February 08, 1999. Commerce XML (cXML) is a new proposed standard being developed by "more than 40 leading companies" for business-to-business electronic commerce. Several companies have publicly announced support for cXML, including Ariba, Sterling Commerce, Ironside Technologies, SAQQARA Systems, POET, and Extricity Software. According to the Ariba announcement, "cXML is a set of lightweight XML DTDs -- based on the World Wide Web Consortium's XML standard -- with their associated request/response processes. . . cXML defines a request/response process for the exchange of transaction information. These business processes include purchase orders, change orders, acknowledgments, status updates, ship notifications and payment transactions. The contributors to the cXML initiative are focused on achieving reference implementations through creation and rapid iteration of cXML. The cXML specification, including reference production implementations and associated implementation knowledge, will be submitted to the appropriate standards organizations. The cXML initiative is therefore complementary to existing XML initiatives led by CommerceNet, RosettaNet, Information & Content Exchange (ICE) and Open Buying on the Internet (OBI). The cXML specification will be made publicly available in March 1999. cXML was created in a unique collaboration between buyers, suppliers, and Internet technology companies. More than 40 organizations were involved in the process including leading e-commerce companies such as Extricity Software, InterWorld Corporation, Ironside Technologies, POET Software, SAQQARA Systems, Sterling Commerce, Vignette Corporation and webMethods; members of Ariba Supplier Link (ASL) such as 1Nine Systems, Anderson Unicom Group,, BT Office Products International, CAP, a division of the McGraw-Hill Construction Information Group, Chemdex Corporation, Collabria, Compucom,, Cort Furniture Rental, Harbinger Corporation, Life Technologies, NCR Systemedia Group, Office Depot, RoweCom, Staples, and US Technologies; and Ariba customers. Collectively, these organizations provide real-world input and validation for cXML." See also "Commerce XML (cXML)."

  • February 08, 1999. At a recent National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention and Exposition, plans were announced for the development of a new XML-based open standard "that will help automobile dealers improve and streamline their processes for selling cars on the Internet." A draft proposal for an XML specification is available for review: "An Industry Standard Data Format for the Export and Import of Automotive Customer Leads" (Version 0.2). "The group, composed of AutoSite, Auto Trader Online, AutoVantage,, The Cobalt Group Inc., Kelley Blue Book, MSN CarPoint, The Reynolds and Reynolds Co., and, plans to work to develop a common standard based on the Extensible Markup Language (XML) for conveying consumer e-mail and purchase requests to automotive dealerships." For other details, see the text of the press release: "Leading Automotive Information Web Sites and Suppliers to Improve Car-Selling On the Internet With Common Communications Standard. Open Standard to Enable Auto Dealers to Streamline Customer Communications And Purchasing Processes."

  • February 05, 1999. Rick Jelliffe has provided an update on the "Chinese XML Now!" Web site. home of a project to help developers of Chinese XML Software. "We are pleased to announce a page "XML and SGML Resources" in which we are putting some of the results of our research and development: software, declarations, documentation, tutorials, and technology notes. In the initial offering of this page are: 1) Three SGML declarations for Big5; 2) The article 'Using XSL as a Structure Validation Language'; 3) A new article 'lineDataWrap: An Element Set for Line-Delimited Records,' which describes an element set for handling database 'dumps', e.g., comma-delimited lines (CDL); 4) The accompanying 'lineDataWrap' DTD. In the next week we plan to augment this with: 5) A lines->XML tranformation software based on the lineDataWrap DTD; 6) Updated versions of the 'XMLized' ISO public entity sets; 7) Miscellaneous XML utilities." See also the project description in "Chinese XML Now!"

  • February 05, 1999. An IETF Internet Draft (draft-kristensen-xml-map-00.txt) written by Anders Kristensen (Hewlett-Packard Laboratories) bears the title "XML Encoded Form Values." The document "proposes an XML encoding for sets of named values. The primary application is as a transmission format for form values being submitted to a processing agent over the Web. The main advantage over other form value encodings is that it allows field names to be associated with structured values without resorting to non-XML encodings. The multipart/related MIME type is used for carrying non-XML media."

  • February 05, 1999. The GNOME (GNU Network Object Model Environment) project, part of the larger GNU project 'intends to build a complete, user-friendly desktop based entirely on free software that is compliant with the OpenSource definition' -- and XML is being supported in this GNOME environment. GNOME has been selected by both the Debian [GNU/Linux] distribution and by Red Hat [Linux] Software as their desktop environment for the future. Go is a GNOME 'word processor with a plugin system, hyphenation and justification, undo system, an XML file format [gnome-xml], printing, and other features.' GNOME, according to a recent XML-DEV posting, 'ships with a libxml'. Gnumeric (the GNOME spreadsheet program) and GWP (a programmer's word processor) both use XML. Also (reportedly): "both AbiWord and KWord (2 new Linux-based word processors) have their native file format as XML." See further: The XML library for Gnome and Gnome XML Library.

  • February 05, 1999. XUL (Extensible User Interface Language) is 'an XML-based language [grammar] for describing the contents of windows and dialogs' that is currently being used in Mozilla (Netscape) development. According to its documentation: "XUL is an XML based grammer for specifying the the static GUI. XUL has language constructs for all of the typical dialog controls, as well as for widgets like toolbars, trees, progress bars, and menus. Where HTML describes the contents of a single document, XUL describes the contents of an entire window (which could itself contain multiple HTML documents). An Application Service is the code that both has access to the GUI elements and the code for for doing the specificed work. The definition of an cross-platform (XP) application is a small kernel that is able to load the static definition of the UI, the XUL or mulitple XUL files, and the Application Service(s), the code for processing the XUL. The AppRunner is available today for this purpose. . . Given a stream of XUL (and implementations for the required widgets and services) the XPToolkit can instantiate a package into the running app. The application might store XUL descriptions anywhere, e.g., in files, database entries, static strings, or at the other other end of a URL."

  • February 05, 1999. The 'Elta' (Encoded Literary Text Analysis) Software Initiative has been announced recently, and is supported by a new mailing list, ELTA-L. Tom Horton (Florida Atlantic University) and John Bradley (King's College London) are initially managing the new Etla Web site. "The Elta Software Initiative is a collaborative effort to encourage and support the development of software tools for the analysis, retrieval and manipulation of electronic texts. Our focus (at least initially) is on tools to support the needs of the humanities computing community, but we hope our results are useful for anyone interested in computer processing of texts marked up with SGML and XML. [The organizers] hope that Elta will contribute to those developing a set of modern tools with similar capabilities to past and existing text analysis tools, such as OCP (The Oxford Concordance Program), Tustep, TACT, and similar tools. A number of needs for modern versions of such tools have been discussed: sharing common user and data interfaces; support for SGML, XML and TEI standards for text mark-up; use of modern windowed operating systems (like Windows); and, when appropriate support of client-server and distributed models of interaction (like the Web)." John Bradley has posted a draft version of an architecture requirements document for 'new text analysis software,' bringing to bear the insights of several meetings, beginning with a colloquium at CETH (Princeton) in 1995/1996. See "New TA software: Some Characteristics, and a Proposed Architecture."

  • February 05, 1999. A press release from the Object Management Group reports on the recent movement of the XMI (XML Metadata Interchange) Specification through OMG's Technology Adoption process and on the current vote by the OMG membership. "OMG Members Unite in Support of XMI Technology. Consensus Brings Implementation a Step Closer." - "Unisys, IBM, Oracle, Platinum, Fujitsu, Softeam, and Daimler-Benz are just some of the many vendors who are collaborating on the Object Management Group's new XMI (XML Metadata Interchange) specification. Other supporters include Rational, Sprint, Sybase, Xerox, MCI Systemhouse, Boeing, Ardent, ICONIX, Integrated Systems, Verilog, NCR, and NTT. XMI is a new open industry standard that combines the benefits of the web-based XML standard for defining, validating, and sharing document formats on the web with the benefits of the object-oriented Unified Modeling Language (UML). It provides application developers with a common language for specifying, visualizing, constructing, and documenting distributed objects and business models." See also 'What the Industry is Saying About XMI' and 'An Overview to the XMI - XML Metadata Interchange Specification." Other references are provided in "Object Management Group (OMG) and XML Metadata Interchange Format (XMI)."

  • February 03, 1999. Henry S. Thompson (HCRC Language Technology Group, University of Edinburgh) posted an announcement regarding the published schedule for the upcoming 'Markup Technologies' workshop in Edinburgh. The Research Dissemination Workshop: Markup Technologies for Computational Linguistics will be held February 25 - 26, 1999, hosted by the HCRC Language Technology Group, University of Edinburgh. Several presentations will be given on (NLP) research-level XML applications. "The Language Technology Group, with support from EPSRC, ESRC and other sources, has invested substantial effort over the last four years in building up an inventory of tools and technologies for the markup of language data. This in turn has led to the articulation of a markup-based architecture for NLP systems, which we have used for applications as diverse as discourse relation annotation, named entity recognition and tokenisation. The goal of this workshop is to introduce our work to a wider audience, with: 1) A tutorial on XML, the W3C standard based on SGML which is at the heart of our work; 2) Details of our use of markup technologies; 3) Comparison and contrast with similar technologies developed elsewhere." For other references, see the main conference page.

  • February 02, 1999. James Clark has written a document entitled "XML Namespaces" which "tries to explain the mechanism specified by the W3C XML Namespaces Recommendation. It explains things in a somewhat different way which [Clark] hopes at least some people may find less confusing than the explanation in the Recommendation." For other references and commentary on namespaces, see "Namespaces in XML."

  • January 29, 1999. A new World Wide Web Consortium Working Draft "International Layout in CSS" has been published as part of the W3C Internationalization Activity. Reference: WD-i18n-format-19990127, 27-January-1999. The document editor is Marcin Sawicki (Microsoft). While this draft focuses on the Cascading Stylesheets, level 2 (CSS2) Specification, it is "the intention of all the groups involved for the model presented in this document and the model being developed by the XSL group to converge. The end result of this convergence is expected to form part of the common formatting model which will be expressed in both the CSS and XSL syntaxes." The working draft "extends CSS to support East Asian and Bi-directional text formatting. . . For example, the features the proposal covers include two of the most important features for East Asian typography: vertical layout flow and layout grid."

  • January 29, 1999. A communiqué from Mats Hultemark (Chair of the Swedish SGML User's Group) announces the XML/SGML '99 Sweden Conference, to be held March 16-17, 1999 in Stockholm, Sweden. It is described as "Northern Europe's biggest conference in the field of structured information -- a conference for anyone in need of high-quality information handling and parallel publishing, independent of the hardware and software involved, today and in the future." Conference theme: 'XML for rational information systems.' The organizers expect that the show will attract 300 - 500 visitors. Eliot Kimber (ISOGEN International Corp.) is the Keynote Speaker; tutorials will be taught by Ken Holman (Crane Softwrights Ltd.) and Steve Pepper (STEP Infotek A/S). See the conference Web site for the full program listing, or the main conference database entry.

  • January 29, 1999. Lou Burnard of Oxford University Computing Services has prepared "a brief report on [his] recent visit to Taipei for a conference hosted by the Pacific Neighborhood Consortium at Academia Sinica (Taiwan). The conference indicated a great deal of interest and expertise in using XML, Unicode, and the TEI, but also had a lot of interesting things to say about using GIS, and digital libraries."

  • January 28, 1999. A Web site at has been set up "to coordinate information dissemination and discussion on the use of XML in bioinformatics, and to serve as a repository for metadata describing the relationships between biological XML data resources. provides an online resource for modules, scripts, and web links for developers of Perl-based software for life science research. Bioperl is an association of developers of public domain Perl tools for computational molecular biology."

  • January 28, 1999. The BIOpolymer Markup Language (BIOML) is "a new XML language, designed to be used for the annotation of biopolymer sequence information. BIOML allows the full specification of all experimental information known about molecular entities composed of biopolymers, for example, proteins and genes. There is currently no general method of annotating biopolymer sequences, in their biological context. The goal of BIOML is to provide an extensible framework for this annotation and to provide a common vehicle for exchanging this information between scientists using the World Wide Web." A Biopolymer Markup Language-BIOML Working Draft Proposal and a BIOML DTD are available online, together with document samples. BIOML has been designed and written by Ron Beavis, with help from David Fenyö (ProteoMetrics, LLC) and Brian Chait (Rockefeller University). David States (Washington University) has assisted in the editing of the DTD language definition." See also provisionally "BIOpolymer Markup Language (BIOML)."

  • January 27, 1999. The Astronomical Instrument Markup Language (AIML) "is the first implementation of the more general Instrument Markup Language (IML). Both AIML and IML are vocabularies based on the W3C standard, the Extensible Markup Language (XML). These vocabularies are under development by NASA/GSFC and Century Computing. Dialects such as PAML (Pipeline Algorithm ML) and IGS (Instrument GUI Stylesheet [XSL]) will be added in the near future. AIML is an instrument description that encompasses instrument characteristics, control commands, data stream descriptions (including image and housekeeping data), message formats, communication mechanisms, and pipeline algorithm descriptions. AIML also supports role-specific documentation and GUI component generation." A draft XML DTD and a sample AIML (XML) document for the Astronomical Instrument Markup Language are available online. An XML for Astronomy Mail Archive is hosted on the GSFC Web site. See also the related effort, (with which the AIML group is attempting to coordinate) "Astronomical Markup Language." For other references, see the main database entry.

  • January 27, 1999. Marion Elledge of the Graphic Communications Association (GCA) has posted an announcement with updated information on the XTech '99 Conference, to be held March 7 -11, 1999 at the San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, California. Elledge announced that David Siegel, author of Creating Killer Web Sites and founder of Verso Communications is to be a Keynote Speaker at the conference; Seigel is also author of the popular weekly web-design column High Five. Siegel is a leading expert in digital typography and multimedia publishing; his book : The Art of Third-Generation Site Design, now in a second edition, "was the number one bestseller at in 1996." The XTech '99 conference "is intended for application developers, system architects, system integrators, technical publishing professionals, Web developers, technical managers, academics, and anyone with a need to know the latest applications of XML technology. Managers whose technology decisions impact the future of their organizations will also want to attend." In conjunction with XTech '99, GCA will host an Interoperability Exposition (XIO '99), sponsored by Microsoft Corporation. In this exposition, the exhibitors "will actually be demonstrating technology interoperation using a selection of XML data sets provided by the conference chairs." The XTech '99 tutorials offered on March 7-8 "will provide both background and in-depth technical discussions bringing attendees up-to-speed on the latest developments in XML, its related family of standards, vocabularies, and implementation." For registration information, see the GCA Web site, or contact GCA at +1 330 425 9330, extension 806. Note also the published program, announced by Tim Bray [1999-01-29].

  • January 27, 1999. Among several OMG Platform Technology Adoption votes recently initiated, the XML Metadata Interchange (XMI) specification represents a leading technology that is certain to raise the visibility of XML within the (object-oriented) database world. Background is provided in a recent OMG press release, "The OMG Initiates Votes on 5 New Technologies. XMI and Air Traffic Control Specifications Top the List of Technology Adoptions." Summary: "The Object Management Group recently concluded its Technical Meeting week, which was sponsored by Concept Five Technologies in Washington, D.C. Almost 600 OMG members met to work on some 90 technologies in process. Over the next five weeks, authorized OMG members will vote on various technologies presented to the Platform and Domain Technical Committees. All of the technologies presented for vote are expected to pass, and will be presented to the OMG's Board of Directors at the group's March meeting for final approval. The Platform Technology Adoption votes initiated include a revision to the existing OMG specification for CORBA Security, an Interoperable Naming Service that provides a common methodology for supporting naming conventions from multiple vendors, including Internet names, and an XML Metadata Interchange (XMI) specification that enhances a standard methodology for exchanging object-oriented programming data over the Internet."

  • January 26, 1999. An announcement from Merrilee Proffitt describes a new online text collection in The Suffragists Oral History Project, presented by the UC Berkeley Regional Oral History Office. The texts are encoded in SGML using the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) Guidelines and a TEI-based DTD, described in "A TEI-Based Tag Set for Oral History Transcription." "Along with the transcripts themselves, photos, prefaces, contents pages and in some cases, appendices, are included, so that the distant reader has full access to the complete volumes of the oral histories." The text collection is made available online via the Berkeley Digital Library SunSITE using Inso Corporation's Dynabase (Dynamic Web Publishing and Content Management System), which converts the SGML source into HTML on the fly. The DynaBase's dynamic publishing environment "includes both the Web Server Plug-In and the Web Developer Client. With DynaBase, publishers can develop interactive, dynamic and personalized Web and intranet sites; DynaBase constructs highly functional, animated Web pages on the fly, from any combination of data types, such as HTML, graphics, applets, or multimedia files, or from sources such as relational databases." See the full text of the announcement and the Oral Histories Online for more information.

  • January 26, 1999. Bill la Forge posted an announcement for the Release of MDSAX 1.0 Beta 1. Distributed as Open Source software, "MDSAX is a set of tools for organizing, managing, and directing sophisticated SAX (the Simple API for XML) processing of XML documents. Using MDSAX, developers can create clean entryways for documents, making it easier to create applications that work with multiple document types and can support some of the more sophisticated features of XML processing, like namespaces, XLink linking, XSL transformations, and architectural forms. MDSAX is one component of a set of tools that can be used to build Java applications that process XML or are even driven by XML documents. MDSAX focuses strictly on event-based XML document handling, providing an easily-configured framework for processing document events. MDBUILD supplements MDSAX with Document Object Model tree building, and further components may be added to bind XML document content to Java object instances, through wrappers and Coins. Though MDSAX works well with those additional tools, none of them are required for the use of MDSAX. MDSAX is a generic bottom layer, suitable for work both with and without the other components." The new release contains three packages, and all filters are derived from John Cowan's ParserFilter. A full API for mdsax and a test suite are available.

  • January 26, 1999. A new phase of W3C activity is revealed by the release of a CSS1 Test Suite, described in the press release, "The World Wide Web Consortium Releases CSS1 Test Suite." "As the first Test Suite to accompany a W3C Recommendation, this release is also a milestone for W3C, demonstrating that W3C is not only developing specifications, but also creating tools for developers so as to encourage interoperable implementations of these specifications. Today's release of the Test Suite covers CSS1, which is the first level of CSS. The Test Suite was crafted by Eric Meyer of Case Western Reserve University, Tim Boland of NIST, Håkon Lie of W3C, and numerous volunteers in the style sheet community. W3C's CSS and FP Working Group members contributed significant vendor experience to the Test Suite so that it would be a helpful and real-world guide for browser developers. CSS is a widely supported style sheet language that describes how Web documents (e.g., written in HTML or XML) are presented on screen, paper, in speech, etc. The CSS1 Test Suite will help implementors improve CSS1 support in their products and will enable Web page designers to verify the quality of CSS1 support in their browsers." See also the testimonials for the W3C CSS Test Suite.

  • [January 25, 1999]   XML-RPC Specification Updated.   Dave Winer (Userland / Frontier 5) posted an announcement describing an update to the XML-RPC Specification. "There were clarifications on formats for values of params and returned values. A new value type, <base64>, was added, to allow transmission of binary encoded data. There are now Python, Perl, Java and Frontier implementations of XML-RPC." XML-RPC is a "Remote Procedure Calling protocol that works over the Internet. An XML-RPC message is an HTTP-POST request. The body of the request is in XML. A procedure executes on the server and the value it returns is also formatted in XML. Procedure parameters can be scalars, numbers, strings, dates, etc.; and can also be complex record and list structures."

  • January 25, 1999. Dianne Kennedy, WG6 convener for the electronic manuscript standard defined in ISO 12083, has indicated via recent communiqué that ISO 12083 would be undergoing a 'major overhaul' during 1999. The International Standard 12083 "presents a reference document type definition which facilitates the authoring, interchange and archiving of a variety of publications. This document type definition is deliberately general. It is a reference document type definition which provides a set of building blocks for the structuring of books, articles, serials, and similar publications in print and electronic form. This International Standard is intended to provide a document architecture to facilitate the creation of various application-specific document type definitions." The ISO 12083 ("AAP", "EPSIG") DTDs for article, book, serials, and math are now being edited for XML compatability. "ISO 12083 meeting minutes, existing DTDs, newly proposed XML DTDs and more are now posted at" See the added references to these XML DTDs in "ISO 12083 XML DTDs."

  • January 25, 1999. Rick Jelliffe (Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan) has published an interesting paper on "Using XSL as a Validation Language." From the document abstract: "XSL can be used as a validation language. An XSL stylesheet can be used as a validation specification. Because XSL uses a tree-pattern-matching approach, it validates documents against fundamentally different criteria than the content model. This paper gives some examples. XSL can be used on structured documents which do not use markup declarations. And XSL used in consort with XML markup declarations seems a very nice and straight forward approach: two small languages, each good at different things. What is missing? The current XSL does not have some features which would be desirable (how to report the current line and entity, in particular) for a user-friendly system. Regular expression pattern matching on strings would be very useful. (The main thing missing from this note is a definite way to create the message "This file is valid"; validity is shown by an empty list of validity errors.)" See the main XSL document for other articles on the Extensible Stylesheet Language.

  • January 25, 1999. Lars Marius Garshol posted an announcement for the release of his XSA 1.0 Specification. "XSA is an XML-based system that allows anyone who is interested to automatically discover new versions of software products as they are released by polling XML documents describing the products. It is mainly intended to help software index maintainers keep their indexes up to date." Lars has now "finalized the XSA 1.0 specification and XSA is thus ready for use. The XSA Web site contains both a wizard for making documents, an online validator and a form for registering new XSA documents."

  • January 25, 1999. Alexander Falk posted an announcement for a new shareware XML DTD and instance editor for Windows, developed by Icon Informations-Systeme GmbH. XML Spy "with its structured approach allows you to quickly view and edit any XML or DTD document on your PC. Unlike the many Java-based XML editors available today, XML Spy is written entirely in C++ and is targeted specifically at the Windows platform. This results in a series of benefits for the PC user: 1) it is a lot faster than any Java-based editor; 2) it fully exploits the Windows user interface possibilities - e.g., drag & drop); 3) it has rich structure views for the screen and many printing options; 4) it offers unlimited levels of 'Undo'; 5) it contains detailed find and replace capabilities. A 20-day evaluation version of XML Spy is available for download.

  • January 22, 1999. Jonathan Borden posted an announcement on XMOP Open Source: "XML MetaData Object Persistence (XMOP) is now available in beta form. XML Metadata Object Persistence (XMOP) allows interoperation between object technologies such as Java, Microsoft COM and CORBA. Java provides automatic serialization capabilites for simple classes yet for classes which contain string and array members, developers have to hand code the serialization methods. COM does not provide automatic serialization for simple nor complex objects. Developers code COM serialization/persistence through the IPersist derived interfaces. XMOP provides serialization and persistence capabilities to both Java and COM objects. Using XML based serialization has several benefits: 1) Objects can be marshaled between different object systems e.g., COM <-> Java; 2) Objects can be transported between different Java VMs e.g., Microsoft <-> Sun. XML Metadata Object Persistence (XMOP) is unique in currently available object serialization mechanisms in that it is not directly tied to a particular object system. While at the same time providing an automatic serialization facility for COM components, use of XML provides the ability to interoperate with Java and is not tied to a particular Java VM. XMOP employs the Simple Object Definition Language (SODL) and its DTD. Using introspection an object is serialized in the SODL document format."

  • January 21, 1999. A recent W3C press release announces that "The World Wide Web Consortium Issues WebCGM Profile as a W3C Recommendation. Interoperability for Industrial-strength CGM Graphics." References: REC-WebCGM-19990121, W3C Recommendation, 21 January 1999. The authors include David Cruikshank (The Boeing Company), John Gebhardt (Intercap Graphics Systems), Lofton Henderson (Inso Corporation), Roy Platon (CCLRC), and Dieter Weidenbrück (ITEDO/IsoDraw). As part of the W3C Graphics Activity, the WebCGM Profile 'reflects cross-industry agreement on an interoperable way to exchange dynamic, hyperlinked Computer Graphics Metafile (CGM) files over the Web.' "Key industry players - members of CGM Open, W3C, or both - brought their expertise to the design of this profile: ArborText, Auto-trol Technologies, Aerospatiale, Bentley Systems, The Boeing Company, CCLRC, Inso Corporation, Intercap Graphics Systems, ITEDO/IsoDraw, Jeppesen Inc, Larson Software Technology, NIST, System Development Inc, Xerox Corporation, and Zeh Graphic Systems. The work was also supported by the European Commission's Esprit Project and undertaken in liaison with ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC24, the ISO working group which developed the CGM specification. The Recommendation provides a "formal specification of the content model of the CGM Version 4 functionality of WebCGM - the 'Intelligence' content. XML has been chosen as the specification language for the content model of the CGM, as validating parsers are widely available which could be adapted to perform content validation checking against WebCGM instances (either via modification of the readers, or via transformation of the intelligent content of WebCGM instance)." The WebCGM Profile also "allows hyperlinks within multiple pictures in a document, links to close-up views of parts of a picture, and links from CGM to an HTML document, including a frame in a frameset. Links can have multiple destinations - for example, the wing of an aircraft could link to structural diagrams, wiring schematics, test results and parts lists; [its hyperlinking] follows the W3C Xlink design principles and is conformant with the RFC 1738 and RFC 1808 specifications used for all URLs (Web addresses)."

    Abstract: CGM (Computer Graphics Metafile) has been an ISO standard for vector and composite vector/raster picture definition since 1987. It has been a registered MIME type since 1995. CGM has a significant following in technical illustration, electronic documentation, geophysical data visualization, amongst other application areas. WebCGM is a profile for the effective application of CGM in Web electronic documents. WebCGM has been a joint effort of the CGM Open Consortium, in collaboration with W3C staff and supported by the European Commission Esprit project. It represents an important interoperability agreement amongst major users and implementors of CGM, and thereby unifies current diverse approaches to CGM utilization in Web document applications. WebCGM's clear and unambiguous conformance requirements will enhance interoperability of implementations, and it should be possible to leverage existing CGM validation tools, test suites, and the product certification testing services for application to WebCGM . While WebCGM is a binary file format and is not "stylable", nevertheless WebCGM follows published W3C requirements for a scalable graphics format where such are applicable. The design criteria for the graphical content of WebCGM aimed at a balance between graphical expressive power on the one hand, and simplicity and implementability on the other. A small but powerful set of metadata elements is standardized in WebCGM, to support the functionalities of: hyperlinking and document navigation; picture structuring and layering; and, search and query on WebCGM picture content." For other information, see the testimonials for the W3C Recommendation, and the database entry "Computer Graphics Metafile (CGM). ISO 8632:1992."

  • January 21, 1999. Steve Ball submitted a posting to CTX Announcing Zveno Swish XML Editor Version 1.0 alpha 2, now available for Windows and Linux. "Zveno has now released its second alpha version of the Swish XML Editor. Swish is a non-validating XML editor. It features both a tree-view and a document-view of the XML document being edited, with both views being completely integrated. Another feature of Swish is extensibility and customisability. Swish uses Tcl/Tk, an easy-to-use scripting language which users or third-parties can use to add specific features to Swish."

  • January 21, 1999. Didier PH Martin submitted a posting "New DSSSL Interpreter Packaging" to the DSSSList announcing the integration of Jade into a "document explorer" as an 'SGMLKit' add-on. The 'SGMLKit' add-on transforms SGML documents into displayable documents that may be viewed within Talva Document Explorer. The SGMLKit is now in beta version, and available for download.

  • January 20, 1999. A submission of November 12, 1998 from Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC/Bellcore) to the World Wide Web Consortium has now been published as a W3C NOTE, "Universal Commerce Language and Protocol (UCLP), Version 3.0." References: NOTE-uclp-19990120, W3C Note, 20-Jan-1999. From the abstract: "The Universal Commerce Language and Protocol (UCLP) is an XML-compliant schema for tagging metadata that can be used in identifying and retrieving data residing across the Internet. The tags provide a base level of data typing while allowing industry-specific names to be defined as necessary to describe those properties and attributes which a user needs when discriminating among available choices. The introduction of data typing has been discussed as a needed extension to the XML 1.0 Recommendation, but UCLP is intended to introduce a new paradigm for dynamic data tagging for which data typing is only a required tool. Under a paradigm using the UCLP tagging, the name and other associated attributes corresponding to a given type tag is not imposed but accumulated through use. An application set making use of UCLP tagging serves the purpose of supporting the expansion of the domain hierarchy and the introduction of new properties, the parsing of pages to collect domain information and metadata on specific domain instances, and then the use (such as searching to match user requirements) of the metadata and the bulk data there referenced. Real-time use is captured and the supporting structure evolved to fit the needs of the domain community." See also the Submission Request from SAIC/Bellcore and the W3C Staff Comment. The W3C Comment relates the Universal Commerce Language and Protocol (UCLP) to the W3C XML Activity developing XML Schemas, to the W3C Metadata Activity developing RDF, and to W3C Electronic Commerce Activity.

  • January 20, 1999. G. Ken Holman of Crane Softwrights Ltd. has announced the availability of SHOWTREE - An XSL Tree Display Stylesheet. This tree display stylesheet exposes the node structure of an instance, and it thus 'useful for learning the node structure created by an XSL engine for any given instance. It has been tested on James Clark's XT 19990115 as matching the W3C's 19981216 XSL working draft. The stylesheet will report the node structure and content of an input document, noting the ordinal positions in the hierarchy of each component of the ancestry. It exposes root, element, attribute, text, comment, and pi nodes.' See the XSL main entry for other stylesheets and software.

  • January 20, 1999. "The iCalendar XML DTD" is described in an IETF Network Working Group Internet Draft (draft-dawson-ical-xml-dtd-01.txt), written by Frank Dawson of Lotus. The memo "defines a XML Document Type Definition (DTD) that corresponds to the iCalendar, calendaring and scheduling core object format defined by RFC2445 (Internet Calendaring and Scheduling Core Object Specification - iCalendar). This DTD provides equivalent functionality to the standard format defined by RFC2445. Documents structured in accordance with this DTD may also be know as 'XML iCalendar' documents. . .The iCalendar DTD promotes a number of iCalendar properties into attributes on the 'iCal' element. This has been done to express these properties as 'global attributes' for the iCalendar object, as a whole. For example, the CALSCALE, METHOD, VERSION and PRODID properties have been 'mapped' into attributes on the iCalendar object." For other references, see the main entry, "iCalendar XML DTD."

  • January 20, 1999. A proposed "Capability Card: An Attribute Certificate in XML" described in an IETF Internet Draft (draft-otani-ccard-00.txt) is also defined in an XML DTD. This Internet Draft is authored by Koji Otani, Hiroyasu Sugano, and Madoka Mitsuoka, of Fujitsu Laboratories, Ltd. The document presents a motivation for the specification, describes the basic concepts, and defined the elements of XML DTD of capability card. Abstract: "This document describes basic ideas and data components of 'Capability Card,' which is a kind of attribute certificates designed from the standpoint of a secure communication framework on the Internet. Similar to the SPKI certificates, a capability card can be used to grant a person particular access privileges to resources like WWW pages, IRC channels, and message boxes. In addition, it can carry a variety of descriptive information about the issuer, the resources, and the privileges specified in it. A capability card is written in XML, which is becoming a standard format rapidly for the internet data exchange. Consequently, users can handle various information in capability cards visually with an XML viewer. This is a fairly desirable feature for the existing internet services."

  • January 20, 1999. An IETF Internet Draft (to expire on May 18, 1999) defines "XML Encoded Form Values." This Internet Draft (draft-kristensen-xml-map-00.txt) is written by A. Kristensen of Hewlett-Packard Laboratories. The Draft "proposes an XML encoding for sets of named values. The primary application is as a transmission format for form values being submitted to a processing agent over the Web. The main advantage over other form value encodings is that it allows field names to be associated with structured values without resorting to non-XML encodings. The multipart/related MIME type is used for carrying non-XML media. Using XML for encoding form values means that XML machinery can readily be reused to allow structured and typed fields values, and to allow hyperlinking to values and from within values. These benefits can to a high degree be achieved with judicial use of MIME (RFC-2388) but as XML increasingly looks set to become the transfer encoding and even native data format of choice for many media types on the Internet it is potentially simpler and more elegant to stay within XML for functions such as form processing as well. There is nothing form- or Web-specific about the proposal. It can be used with a wide variety of applications and transport protocols. It consists of a simple XML language for encoding name-value pairs and a specification for how such data sets are carried over MIME-like transport protocols."

  • January 19, 1999. A submission to the W3C on January 5, 1999 has been published as a NOTE, "Document Definition Markup Language (DDML) Specification, Version 1.0." References: NOTE-ddml-19990119, W3C Note, 19-Jan-1999. The editors are: Ronald Bourret (Darmstadt University of Technology), John Cowan, Ingo Macherius (GMD), and Simon St. Laurent. The submission was made by GMD - Forschungszentrum Informationstechnik GmbH. Document abstract: "This document proposes Document Definition Markup Language (DDML), a schema language for XML documents. DDML encodes the logical (as opposed to physical) content of DTDs in an XML document. This allows schema information to be explored and used with widely available XML tools. DDML is deliberately simple, providing an initial base for implementations. While introducing as few complicating factors as possible, DDML has been designed with future extensions, such as data typing and schema reuse, in mind." DDML was formerly known as XSchema. For a list of differences between DDML and XSchema, see Appendix B, "Differences between DDML and XSchema". Historical information regarding the development of DDML is available at See also the Submission Request and the W3C Staff Comment. In the comment, Dan Connolly writes: [The submission represents] "a rather straightforward adaptation of XML DTD functionality into XML element and attribute syntax. Translation from DDML to XML DTD syntax is an explicit design goal, and translation in the other direction is discussed. An interesting aspect of the proposal is that translation is not 100% lossless in either direction (for example, comments, processing instructions, and parameter entities do not translate without some loss). The practical trade-offs in this area lead to interesting design choices." For other links, see the database entry Document Definition Markup Language (DDML)."

  • January 19, 1999. From a press release of January 18, 1998: "The Open Applications Group Releases XML Application. The Open Applications Group Publishes XML Document Type (DTDs) on Their Web Site." "The Open Applications Group, Inc. (OAGI), a non-profit industry consortium comprised of many of the most prominent stakeholders in the business software component interoperability arena in the world, today announced publication of a full set of Extensible Markup Language (XML) Document Type Definition (DTD) files that define interoperability APIs for Financials, Human Resources, Manufacturing, Logistics, and Supply Chain components. ion component interoperability over the last three years. The model is described in their Open Applications Group Integration Specification (OAGIS). OAGIS describes the major components, their integration dialogs, and the content of those dialogs for many key enterprise business applications, including financials, manufacturing, human resources, supply chain, and logistics. Now, the content of the OAGIS specification has been expressed in a machine readable format in the form of XML Document Type Definitions (DTDs) for all of the currently defined Open Applications Group Business Object Documents. The machine-readable Document Type Definitions (DTDs) necessary to define this integration content in XML have been published on the OAGI website and are available for public access." See: "Open Applications Group - OAGIS."

  • January 19, 1999. Michel Biezunski has announced a GCA-sponsored Topic Map Workshop, to be held in Alexandria, VA, March 2-3, 1999. The Topic Map standard (CD ISO/IEC 13250) is 'an application of SGML/XML for managing knowledge databases, (formerly known as indexes, glossaries, thesauri or library catalogs, and the like). The standard is being processed for publication, due in Spring 1999. This special workshop is a collaborative endeavor of ISOGEN International Corporation, Infoloom, TechnoTeacher Inc., and Graphic Communications Association (GCA). Details on the workshop price, registration, and content may be found at' For additional information on Topic Maps, see the main Web site and the local database entry, "Topic Navigation Maps." See ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC34 N008 for the "Final CD Text for ISO/IEC 13250, Topic Navigation Maps." See also the main conference entry.

  • January 19, 1999. Keith Visco has made the source code and latest version (v19990118) of XSLP available online. XSLP 1.0 Alpha is a "free XSL processor written in Java which implements the tree construction portion of the XSL WD 1.0 19981216 specification. XSLP has a number of non-standard feature extensions, including ECMAScript support. See the database section on "XSL Software Support" for other XSL software.

  • January 19, 1999. Differential, Inc. has posted an online draft version (0.9) of the annotated specification for the "Digital Receipt XML Data Type Definition." The document is available from the Digital Receipt Consortium Web Site. The Digital Receipt Consortium "consists of representatives from various financial institutions, accounting firms, and software development companies (see the partial membership list below). The consortium is developing an open standard relevant to the electronic commerce and data interchange infrastructure. The standard will describe the content, creation, exchange, and management of digital receipts. Digital receipts will provide authenticated evidence of e-commerce transactions, much as paper receipts have done in the past. The digital receipt standard will address the issues of risk management, legal liability, and auditing for effective management of business-to-business transactions over the Internet." An initiative to accelerate the development of a Digital Receipt Infrastructure (DRI) for electronic commerce was recently announced by David Jevans, president and CEO of Differential, Inc. Kent Davidson, vice president of engineering at Differential, is currently working with members of the Trade Working Group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) on the Open Trading Protocol specification. 'Differential is working closely with this group regarding submission of DRI to the IETF to ensure that the Digital Receipt initiative incorporates IETF drafts for digital signing of XML'." On which, see, provisionally: "Digital Signatures for XML." See also the database entry, Digital Receipt Infrastructure Initiative."

  • January 19, 1999. A proposed XML-based News Markup Language (NML) moved "a little closer to completion by a group of more than a dozen participants of The Media Center's Grammar Conference in Dallas on January 8, [1999]. The group developed a series of forty (40) tags and a five-item 'to do' list to prepare a test version of the NML for a February 1 deadline. In developing the tags for NML, the group recommended that the tags be as descriptive as possible, since the length of the tag will not affect how it works. A follow-up meeting to discuss progress of the NML project will be at the E&P Interactive Newspapers Conference, February 17-20 in Atlanta. . . nothing is written in stone at this point, so suggestions are not only welcomed, but encouraged." A simple example of the 'news markup language' is included in the American Press Institute's Grammar Conference documentation. See "News Markup Language May be Spoken Soon. The Web-based Initiative Could Affect Print and Broadcast Too. [Beyond Classifieds.]" By Martha L. Stone. In Editor & Publisher Interactive (January 19, 1999). See also the main database entry.

  • January 19, 1999. The IBM alphaWorks Lab has announced new Java/XML Applications and XML JavBeans. The announcement features several new tools and some updates. The 'XML Diff and Merge Tool' is a Java program "that can be used for reconciling or understanding changes that a single user has made to his XML document or for reconciling or understanding changes that several people have made to a single document." The 'XML Enabler' is a servlet "that can successfully implement stylesheets such as the LotusXSL technology. Using the XML Enabler, developers with any kind of browser can now send requests to a servlet and as the servlet responds, it formats the data using different XSL stylesheets." The IBM 'XML Bean Suite' provides "a set of visual and non-visual beans to view any type of well-formed XML documents." The update to 'XML TreeDiff' (a package of beans that provide the ability to efficiently differentiate and update DOM trees) "includes more examples and updated code." IBM's 'DataCraft' (a tool which provides an XML view of databases and enables publishing XML forms to the Web) now has enhanced functionality and some bug fixes. See the full text of the IBM announcement for details.

  • January 19, 1999. A new draft version of "Representing vCard v3.0 in RDF" (from Renato Iannella) is now available. From the introduction: "This memo specifies a Resource Description Format (RDF) encoding that corresponds to the vCard electronic business card profile defined by RFC 2425 (VCARD). This specification provides equivalent functionality to the standard format defined by VCARD. RDF is an application of the eXtensible Markup Language XML. Documents structured in accordance with this RDF encoding may also be known as 'RDF vCard' documents. This specification is in no way intended to create a separate definition for the vCard schema. The sole purpose for this memo is to define an alternative RDF encoding for the format defined by VCARD. The RDF vCard does not introduce any capability not expressible in the format defined by VCARD. However, an attempt has been made to leverage the capabilities of the XML and RDF syntax to better articulate the original intent of the vCard authors. This memo attempts to be consistent with other XML-based vCard formats, such as the XML DTD." For more information, see: "vCard Electronic Business Card."

  • January 15, 1999. Ronald Bourret (Informationstechnologie Transfer Office [ITO], Technische Universität Darmstadt) has published an annotated set of presentation slides on "XML Schema Languages." The presentation "briefly reviews the current state of XML schema languages (January 1999) -- why we have them, how to use them, and what each language offers. It then discusses why you might want XML schema languages, their basic syntax, and what the major differences between the four existing languages (XSchema, DCD, SOX, and XML-Data) are. It ends with a summary of what I think a schema language should have today and what languages I think you should use for what purpose. . ." See the XML articles section for further description and context. The W3C has recently chartered the XML Schema Working Group co-chaired by Dave Hollander of Hewlett-Packard and C. M. Sperberg-McQueen of the University of Illinois at Chicago. The XML Schema Working Group is now creating a list of requirements to guide its work in "defining the structure, content and semantics of XML documents."

  • January 15, 1999. Norman Walsh announced the availability of DocBook 3.1BETA1. "On behalf of the DocBook editorial board, I'm happy to announce the release of DocBook version 3.1 BETA 1. You can get it now from the DocBook website at: This is a test release. It is likely that the final release of DocBook 3.1 will differ in some ways from this test release. If you have questions or problems, please send them to the DocBook mailing list ( as soon as possible." See the full text of the announcement for the list of changes from DocBook V3.0 to DocBook V3.1.

  • January 15, 1999. James Clark announced the release of the first beta version of XT (Version 19990115), which has seen some 'significant testing' in its several alpha releases. XT is a Java implementation of the tree construction part of the Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL), WD-xsl-19981216 version.

  • January 15, 1999. Richard Rinehart of the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive has issued an invitation for the submission of papers for publication in a special journal issue on the Encoded Archival Description (EAD). Kluwer Academic Publishing is dedicating a special issue of Archives and Museum Informatics: The Cultural Heritage Informatics Quarterly to the EAD, for which SGML and XML DTDs are now in use. The volume is to published in the Fall of 1999. Researchers are invited to "submit articles about their experiences with the EAD in project implementations, development, research, theory, or as a user of EAD-based resources. One emphasis of this issue will be on the cross-community application of the EAD, so the editors welcome articles from the broad library, archive, academic, and museum communities, as well as articles which are specifically about cross-community projects or issues. This special issue is being guest-edited by Richard Rinehart of the UC Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive and Anne Gilliland-Swetland of UCLA's Department of Library & Information Science." Note that a special double issue of the The American Archivist dedicated to EAD was published in 1998.

  • January 15, 1999. Michel Goossens (Président GUTenberg) posted an open invitation for assistance in the creation of a French translation of the XML 1.0 Specification and of Peter Flynn's XML FAQ document. Alternately, if any readers are aware of the availability of such a translation already, or of a similar initiative, please communicate with Goossens about it so as to avoid duplication of efforts.

  • January 15, 1999]. Frank Boumphrey recently "posted a prototype of a web application that uses XML on the Client side. It makes use of Jon Bosak's Shakespeare XML files to build an application the can index, search and filter the files. You need the IE5 beta to use this site or, rather any W3C XML DOM compliant browser." See The Shakespeare XML Demo.

  • January 15, 1999. Gianni Rubagotti (Director, Circolo Vizioso) posted an announcement to CTS for the '1st XML-versioned magazine in the world': "The XML version of Circolo Vizioso magazine finally works. You can navigate in it directly clicking on the XML symbol at: To see it you need beta 2 of IE 5.0. In the XML version of this philosophical magazine you can see images and working hyperlinks."

  • January 14, 1999. The W3C document "Associating Stylesheets with XML Documents Version 1.0" has been promoted to a W3C Proposed Recommendation. References: PR-xml-stylesheet-19990114, W3C Proposed Recommendation 14 January 1999. Its editor is James Clark. Review comments on the PR may be sent to the designers until February 11, 1999, after which time one should expect the document to advance to a W3C Recommendation. The PR provides a mechanism to "allow a stylesheet to be associated with an XML document by including one or more processing instructions with a target of xml-stylesheet in the [XML] document's prolog." The xml-stylesheet processing instruction uses six pseudo attributes, interpreted in (approximately) the same manner as normal XML attributes, to encode the values (href, type, title, media, charset, alternate), and the semantics of the first five of these pseudo-attributes 'is exactly as with <LINK REL="stylesheet"> in HTML 4.0.' For example: <?xml-stylesheet href="mystyle.css" type="text/css"?> or <?xml-stylesheet alternate="yes" title="big print" href="bigprint.css" type="text/css"?>.

  • January 14, 1999. The World Wide Web Consortium has issued a press release announcing the publication of "Namespaces in XML" as a W3C Recommendation. References: REC-xml-names-19990114, World Wide Web Consortium 14-January-1999. The document editors include Tim Bray (Textuality), Dave Hollander (Hewlett-Packard Company), and Andrew Layman (Microsoft). XML namespaces "provide a simple method for qualifying element and attribute names used in Extensible Markup Language documents by associating them with namespaces identified by URI references. An XML namespace is a collection of names, identified by a URI reference (RFC2396), which are used in XML documents as element types and attribute names. The 'Namespaces in XML' specification resolves potential name clashes by using the Web addressing infrastructure. The new specification allows authors to mix two or more XML-based languages in one document without conflict or ambiguity, thus promoting the modular development and reuse of XML languages and applications. The modularity and simplicity of XML technology combined with namespaces paves the way for future developments, such as the work in progress in W3C's XML Schema Working Group, and data exchange based on W3C's Resource Description Framework (RDF) architecture." For background information on namespaces, see the database entry "Namespaces in XML" and "XML/SGML and Namespaces."

  • January 14, 1999. Tony Graham of Mulberry Technologies, Inc. has updated the DSSSL Documentation Project Procedures Library with the addition of two new procedures from Frank Christoph. The DSSSL Procedure Library is maintained by Tony Graham, and consists of a collection of useful DSSSL procedures contributed by various individuals, including Vivek Agrawala, Frank Christoph, Tony Graham, G. Ken Holman, Dave Love, Chris Maden, and Norman Walsh. The Procedure Library is part of the larger DSSSL Documentation Project, which also includes the DSSSL Handbook, the DSSSL Cookbook, and DSSSL Flow Object Gallery. The DSSSL Documentation Project is hosted on the Mulberry Technologies Web site, and represents "a collaborative effort by DSSSL users to write and disseminate documentation on all aspects of DSSSL, for the purposes of: a) introducing DSSSL to new users; b) supporting education for both new and experienced users; and c) providing assistance for people using DSSSL."

  • January 13, 1999. Ralph E. Ferris of Fujitsu Software Corporation has announced the availability of online archives for the xlxp-dev discussion forum - an XLink/XPointer Developer's List. Some 259 postings are now stored in the archive and are accessible via an HTML browser. With the recent re-chartering of the W3C's XML Linking Working Group under Bill Smith (Sun Microsystems), we expect that the (soon-to-be-published) revised requirements for XPointer and XLink will establish a focus for important developments in XML 'hyperlinking' technology during the coming months. In this context, the xlxp-dev mailing list promises to be a significant publication forum.

  • January 13, 1999. Inso has acquired AIS Software, according to a recent press release: "Inso Corporation Acquires AIS Software S.A. from Berger-Levrault. Complements Inso's XML Distribution Solutions." Summary: "Inso Corporation today announced that it has acquired AIS Software S.A. (AIS Software) from Berger-Levrault S.A., a leading French publisher, for approximately $3.0 million in cash. AIS Software, based in Paris, is the developer of Balise, a premier SGML and XML transformation tool and scripting language, as well as Dual Prism, a Web-based XML and SGML publishing system. With more than eight years of experience with data conversion and distribution, and over 100 customers, AIS Software will add significant technical expertise and a strong installed base to Inso's Electronic Publishing Solutions business and Inso's Enterprise Information Platform."

  • January 13, 1999. Dr. Charles Muller (Toyo Gakuen University, Resources for East Asian Language and Thought) announced the public availability of Buddhist and Literary CJK-English Digital Dictionaries encoded in XML. The sample data sets have XML DTDs and XSL stylesheets. A Dictionary of East Asian Literary CJK Terms and a Dictionary of East Asian Buddhist Terms are online with sample lexical files. Muller writes: "I have been compiling two lexicons for a number of years, extensive CJK (Chinese-Japanese-Korean) to-English references that have been on my web site since 1995 in HTML format. These have been stored during this time in a quasi-SGML-TEI structured text format. I have recently finished fully converting these to XML and validating them, and have gotten them set up so that they are browsable with the MSIE 5 beta. The format is extremely rudimentary, with little styling and no XLinking, but they are nonetheless viewable with a major browser (a major step!), so those who are constructing their first DTDs and XSL files might be able to benefit from some of the code to start their own basic documents." In this connection, note that researchers contributing electronic texts to the Electronic Buddhist Text Initiative have a long tradition of using the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) and the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) markup guidelines, which they concluded "provide a non-proprietary digital linguistic environment and concomitantly, extremely efficient means of inputting, storing and sharing data across a variety of digital platforms."

  • January 13, 1999. Bill la Forge has posted an announcement for an updated version of MDSAX - An Open Framework for Processing Multiple Document Types, for which documentation is now available. "MDSAX is a set of tools for organizing, managing, and directing sophisticated SAX (the Simple API for XML) processing of XML documents. Using MDSAX, developers can create clean entryways for documents, making it easier to create applications that work with multiple document types and can support some of the more sophisticated features of XML processing, like namespaces, XLink linking, XSL transformations, and architectural forms. MDSAX is one component of a set of tools that can be used to build Java applications that process XML or are even driven by XML documents. MDSAX focuses strictly on event-based XML document handling, providing an easily-configured framework for processing document events. MDBUILD supplements MDSAX with Document Object Model tree building, and further components may be added to bind XML document content to Java object instances, through wrappers and Coins. Though MDSAX works well with those additional tools, none of them are required for the use of MDSAX. MDSAX is a generic bottom layer, suitable for work both with and without the other components. MDSAX is distributed under the BSD license, and contributions are invited (and will be credited.) MDSAX is still very much under development and would benefit from your participation."

  • January 13, 1999. Andy Brown (Internet Projects Manager, Marshall Industries) posted an announcement indicating that the ECMdata XML specification has been updated to version 0.9. The proposed Electronic Component Manufacturer Data Sheet Library Specification - ECMData would create a standard to "enable the automatic retrieval, indexing, and cataloging of electronic component manufacturers' data sheets and contents of those datasheets." The 'ecmdata.dtd' is a simple XML DTD for exposing datasheet libraries on websites for the automation of indexing and linking datasheets to part numbers or series. The revised version of the XML model and DTD specifications have been made available, are open for discussion. See the ECMData Summary for an overview and presentation of the 0.9 DTD. For other information, see the database entry "ECMData - Electronic Component Manufacturer Data Sheet Inventory Specification."

  • January 12, 1999. The ISO TC 184/SC4 [Industrial data] Secretariat has issued an ISO New Work Item Ballot for "XML representation for EXPRESS-driven data." The NWI 'specifies the representation according to the syntax of Extensible Markup Language (XML) of data defined using ISO 10303-11 (the EXPRESS language) and/or for EXPRESS schemas. The mappings from the EXPRESS language to the syntax of the representation are specified. Any EXPRESS schema or schemas and the data they describe can be represented.' The current proposal 'arises out of the preliminary work item on SGML and Industrial Data (commonly refered to as 'STEP/SGML Harmonisation') and is seen as an important part of that initiative. The use of XML will enable increased flexibility with respect to future changes to EXPRESS schemas. The result of the NWI will enable the generalized use of XML and SGML tools and web browser technology with EXPRESS-driven data and schemas.' The facility would 'enable the use of the recommended syntax for data exchange on the World Wide Web to be applied to instances of EXPRESS-driven data, enable the use of the recommended syntax for data exchange on the World Wide Web to be applied to EXPRESS schemas, and enable EXPRESS schemas to be exchanged together with data instances they describe.' Daniel Rivers-Moore (Director of New Technologies, RivCom, and Joint Project Leader of the ISO Preliminary Work Item on SGML and Industrial Data) presented a paper on XML and EXPRESS as Schema Definition Languages at the MetaStructures 1998 Conference (August 17 - 19, 1998, Montréal). For more on STEP and EXPRESS, see 'The ISO STEP Standards' and the local database entry, "SGML and STEP."

  • January 12, 1999. The Formal Language for Business Communication (FLBC) and its associated message management system (MMS) have been described in the published research of Scott A. Moore (University of Michigan Business School, Computer and Information Systems Department) as his colleagues as "a formal language that can be used for automated electronic communication (e.g., EDI or agent communications). The FLBC language and the MMS both exploit linguistics throughout their design (speech act theory); it is this depth of integration, this usage of a wide range of influencing concepts, that is the real contribution of this system. Professor Moore has developed an XML DTD for the language. FLBC may be considered a competitor to KQML - Knowledge Query and Manipulation Language, though KQML's standard performatives are being translated into the FLBC system.

  • January 12, 1999. Keith Visco (The MITRE Corporation) has announced the availablity of XSLP 1.0 Alpha (v19990111). XSLP is a free XSL processor written in Java, described as having been inspired by Sean Russell's Docproc. XSLP uses IBM's XML Parser for Java, and FESI for proprietary scripting. The documentation is now online, and the source code "will be available this week, released under an OSD compliant license. . . Currently the processor implements the tree construction of the XSL WD 1.0 19981216 specification. The two main current limitations are Namespaces and sorting. I plan to have these done as soon as possible. There are a couple of non-standard features such as ECMAScript support as well as xsl:entity-ref."

  • January 11, 1999. "The Newspaper Association of America's (NAA) Classified Advertising Standards Task Force has introduced a common format that allows classified ad publishers, advertisers and online enterprises to readily exchange and publish classified ads. The standard will be unveiled tomorrow [1999-01-12] by task force Chairman Jack H. Stanley, Houston Chronicle senior vice president/operations and technology, during NAA's Newspaper Operations SuperConference at the Hilton at Walt Disney World Village in Orlando. The standard is represented electronically through a document type definition, or DTD, a virtual road map for classifieds. The DTD has a set of elements, or fields, which describe the product being sold. Some of the fields -- such as name and other contact information -- are required elements, and many more are recommended, giving publishers the standard information they need, while also allowing advertisers to be flexible. The DTD is built using the XML markup language, allowing it to be easily modified. It is free and available for download from NAA's Web site. The only costs to users will be implementation." See the complete text of the press release for other details: "NAA Task Force Unveils Classified Ad Exchange Standard." Background information on the new standard is presented (for Phase 1 results) in "NAA Standard for Classified Advertising Data - Technical Overview." This overview summarizes "the standardization effort and familiarizes readers with the most important issues associated with successfully exchanging classified advertising data; the 'players' involved in classified ad entry, markup, and transmission are outlined and the technologies used for ad markup and transfer are identified; potential problems that system suppliers must address are indicated." See also the database entry, Newspaper Association of America (NAA) - Standard for Classified Advertising Data.

  • January 11, 1999. "Embedding Formal Knowledge Models in Active Documents" (by Brian R. Gaines and Mildred L.G. Shaw) is one of several articles on 'Symbolic Modeling in Practice', theme for the January 1999 issue of the Communications of the ACM (CACM). Also, in "From Object Oriented to Goal-Oriented Requirements Analysis," John Mylopoulos, Lawrence Chung, and Eric Yu "provide an authoritative review of conceptual modeling which attempts to clarify the history of OO modeling, but more importantly they address the issue of nonfunctional requirements (also called quality or constraint requirements) in their approach to 'satisficing' what they call softgoals." ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is an 80,000-member "international scientific and educational organization dedicated to advancing the arts, sciences, and applications of information technology." CACM was the publication organ for one of the most influential articles ever written on descriptive markup, in November 1987.

  • January 11, 1999. Rick Jelliffe of Digital Library/Museum Project, Academia Sinica, Taipei reports that the "Chinese pages on the 'Chinese XML Now!' site are now online. The Chinese FAQ, terminology and test pages are available in Chinese. The files are available in UTF-8 and Big5, with GB2312 to come. The site is (fingers crossed) all HTML-in-XML, using Voyager, so you can use the site as general XML test pages too. See: We are currently working on a project which will put up to 100 megabytes of Chinese text online in XML (TEI) and perhaps with some kind of Xpointer linkability, too. . ." See the full announcement for other details.

  • January 11, 1999. Rick Ross (Activated Intelligence) announced the availability of an online demo page for AXSL - the Activated XSL Processor, now being used 'to drive the Java Lobby website'. "AXSL is a compact, high-performance, all-Java XSL transformation and pattern-matching processor suitable for use in both client-side and server-side XML/XSL processing. AXSL is standards-based, portable, and reliable under heavy loads. It works with all major Java XML parsers, and it leverages the best characteristics of Java and XML to achieve a new level of performance in dynamic web content delivery. XSL is in production use today, dynamically generating hundreds of thousands of page views per month in real time at the Java Lobby website. AXSL is the cornerstone of the Activated Community system used to operate the Java Lobby site, and AC will soon be deployed at a broad range of other online community sites. AXSL fully implements the XML transformation and pattern-matching features of the W3C XSL Working Draft specification dated 18-August-1998. Activated expects to complete an update to support the new 16-December-1998 working draft within the next 2 weeks [viz., by about January 25, 1999]. AXSL does not implement the formatting objects sections of the XSL working drafts."

  • January 11, 1999. James Clark announced a new release of expat, his XML 1.0 parser written in C. This release [Version 1.0.2] "fixes one rather nasty bug that was discovered in version 1.0.1." The bug fix has also been included in an updated version of the expat test release.

  • January 11, 1999. The W3C Recommendation Cascading Style Sheets, Level 1 has been re-issued in a revised form as REC-CSS1-19990109 (W3C Recommendation 17 Dec 1996, revised 09 Jan 1999). Appendix F in the revised document provides a list of changes from the 17 December 1996 version.

  • January 08, 1999. Eric Miller (OCLC, W3C RDF Model and Syntax Chair) posted an announcement indicating that W3C has issued a new Proposed Recommendation "Resource Description Framework (RDF) Model and Syntax Specification" as part of the W3C Metadata Activity. References: PR-rdf-syntax-19990105, W3C Proposed Recommendation 05 January 1999. The editors are Ora Lassila (Nokia Research Center) and Ralph R. Swick (World Wide Web Consortium). "RDF is the result of several metadata communities bringing together their needs to provide a robust and flexible architecture for supporting metadata on the web. Additional information on RDF including software, projects, and presentations can be found on the RDF home page. Public comments and discussion on this work are welcomed."

    The new PR document "introduces a model for representing RDF metadata as well as a syntax for encoding and transporting this metadata in a manner that maximizes the interoperability of independently developed Web servers and clients. The syntax presented here uses the Extensible Markup Language (XML): one of the goals of RDF is to make it possible to specify semantics for data based on XML in a standardized, interoperable manner. RDF and XML are complementary: RDF is a model of metadata and only addresses by reference many of the encoding issues that transportation and file storage require (such as internationalization, character sets, etc.). For these issues, RDF relies on the support of XML. It is also important to understand that this XML syntax is only one possible syntax for RDF and that alternate ways to represent the same RDF data model may emerge. Resource Description Framework (RDF) is a foundation for processing metadata; it provides interoperability between applications that exchange machine-understandable information on the Web. RDF emphasizes facilities to enable automated processing of Web resources. RDF can be used in a variety of application areas; for example: in resource discovery to provide better search engine capabilities, in cataloging for describing the content and content relationships available at a particular Web site, page, or digital library, by intelligent software agents to facilitate knowledge sharing and exchange, in content rating, in describing collections of pages that represent a single logical 'document', for describing intellectual property rights of Web pages, and for expressing the privacy preferences of a user as well as the privacy policies of a Web site. RDF with digital signatures will be key to building the 'Web of Trust' for electronic commerce, collaboration, and other applications."

  • January 08, 1999. Roger L. Costello has posted an announcement regarding the creation of a mailing list "to discuss XML in Electronic Commerce. The purpose of the list group is to provide a forum for discussing how XML is and may be applied to EC."

  • January 06, 1999. Technical commentary on the XML Version 1.0 specification is now available in a second 'annotated' version of the standard. Bob DuCharme's XML: The Annotated Specification has been published by Prentice Hall PTR, and is available from; it should be in stores immediately (ISBN 0-13-082676-6, $44.99). This book by DuCharme, his second in the 'Charles F. Goldfarb Series on Open Information Management,' includes the entire XML Specification with paragraph-by-paragraph explanations of the specification's text, with over 170 examples. The book is written for both XML newcomers and for markup language people who are unfamiliar with the computer science terminology used throughout the XML specification. Although the book includes a glossary, indexes of the productions by both number and name, and background on the history of XML and the W3C, over 280 of the book's 360 pages are devoted to the specification itself. Exhaustive review by Charles Goldfarb (exhausting to both Charles and Bob) has made this book an extremely detailed, carefully edited commentary on the XML specification. See the book's Web site for a Table of Contents and further description, together with an Acrobat file of the complete second chapter, available for download. Goldfarb writes in the volume Foreword: "In preparing XML: The Annotated Specification, Bob studied all of the three million bytes of email and scores of supporting documents that were generated during the long development effort for XML. From it, he has created illuminating commentary on every part of the W3C Recommendation, plus more than 170 new usage examples." [adapted from the author's description] Other books on XML are referenced in short list of SGML/XML reference works, and in "XML Books in Print (Or Nearly So)," compiled by Charles Goldfarb.

  • January 06, 1999. The DocBook DTD now has a new Web site at DocBook is an SGML DTD that is 'particularly well suited to books and papers about computer hardware and software'. While the official DocBook distribution is an SGML DTD, an XML DTD based upon DocBook version 3.0 has been under development for some time -- principally through the efforts of Norman Walsh. Walsh also maintains the DSSSL Modular DocBook Stylesheets, used for print and online publishing of DocBook documents. "Because DocBook is a large and robust DTD, and because its main structures correspond to the general notion of what constitutes a 'book,' DocBook has been adopted by a large and growing community of authors writing books of all kinds. DocBook is supported 'out of the box' by a number of commercial tools, and there is rapidly expanding support for it in a number of free software environments. These features have combined to make DocBook a generally easy to understand, widely useful, and very popular DTD. Dozens of organizations are using DocBook for millions of pages of documentation, in various print and online formats, worldwide." Originally designed and implemented by HaL Computer Systems and O'Reilly & Associates in 1991, the DocBook DTD is now maintained by the OASIS DocBook Technical Committee. The meetings of the DocBook Technical Committee are open to anyone who wishes to attend, and thus not limited to OASIS members. Norman Walsh and Leonard Muellner have been authoring a book DocBook: The Definitive Guide, which is now in technical review, and "in support of the Open Source community and DocBook users everywhere," is to be published in Open Source form by O'Reilly & Associates, Inc. See the DocBook FAQ and the Reference Documentation for other information on DocBook.

  • January 05, 1999. A communique from John Chapman (Avid Technology, Inc.) describes a new XML initiative within the news industry. MOS-X (Media Object Server - XML), still in the early proposal stage, is a vendor independent protocol which "provides a simple method for the interchange of data between a Media Object Server and a Newsroom Computer System (NCS). A Media Object Server is assumed to be a video server, audio server, or still store. A Media Object Server (MOS) provides media object metadata to a Newsroom Computer System (NCS). An NCS is expected to save this media object metadata in its local format to enable NCS users to search the metadata and link media objects to stories in running orders. A Newsroom Computer System provides running order information to a Media Object Server so that a MOS can playback the media objects in the sequence selected by users on an NCS. Each MOS-X document [in XML format] is allowed to contain one and only one MOS message, encoded in ISO 10646 (UTF-8 or UTF-16). Both the NCS and MOS can originate messages. The originating system must wait for a response after sending each message. Timeout on non-response should reset connection to a start up state to allow reconnection. MOS protocol is supported and developed through cooperative collaboration among broadcast equipment vendors, software vendors and end users. . . Our goal is to develop and implement a common communication protocol that will allow cost-effective integration of diverse NCS and MOS equipment. MOS-X is an application of the Extensible Markup Language (XML), an international standard for describing document content structure. XML is a simple, flexible text format based on SGML (ISO 8879)." It is expected that the MOS-X specification will be submitted to an appropriate standards body when it is mature. For other information on MOS-X, including reference to a provisional MOS-X XML DTD, see the Media Object Server Communications Protocol Web site, the dedicated information page, "MOS-X (Media Object Server - XML)."

    In this connection, note that the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) has created an XML version of the NITF (News Industry Text Format) DTD, and has made it available from the IPTC Web site: "This XML DTD is designed to allow news information to be transferred with markup and be easily transformed into an electronically publishable format. This new version uses the XML syntax but otherwise meets the design aims of the original NITF . . ." See also the section Newspaper Association of America (NAA) - Classified Ads Format for the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) NITF in XML format. See also "News Industry Text Format (NITF)."

  • January 05, 1999. The W3C Document Object Model (DOM) Working Group has released a new Working Draft specification for The Document Object Model Level 2, Version 1.0 (WD-DOM-Level-2-19981228). The document is available in Postscript, PDF, plain text, HTML, and XML formats. The DOM level 1 (viz., Document Object Model (DOM) Level 1 Specification Version 1.0, REC-DOM-Level-1-19981001) was published on October 1, 1998. The new Level 2 W3C DOM Working Draft, issued as part of the W3C DOM Activity, defines "a platform- and language-neutral interface that allows programs and scripts to dynamically access and update the content, structure and style of documents. The Document Object Model Level 2 builds on the Document Object Model Level 1. Level 2 adds interfaces for a Cascading Style Sheets object model, an event model, and a query interface, amongst others. This first release of the Document Object Model Level 2 does not have all these interfaces. It contains interfaces for the Cascading Style Sheets object model, the Range object model, filters and iterators, and the Events object model. The other interfaces will be added in future versions of this specification. . . The DOM Level 2 Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) interfaces are designed with the goal of exposing CSS constructs to object model consumers. Cascading Style Sheets is a declarative syntax for defining presentation rules, properties and ancillary constructs used to format and render Web documents. This document specifies a mechanism to programmatically access and modify the rich style and presentation control provided by CSS (specifically CSS level two ). This augments CSS by providing a mechanism to dynamically control the inclusion and exclusion of individual style sheets, as well as manipulate CSS rules and properties. " The chair of the DOM Working Group is Lauren Wood, of SoftQuad Software Inc. Parts of the current draft have also been edited by Vidur Apparao, Mike Champion, Arnaud Le Hors, Tom Pixley, Jonathan Robie, Peter Sharpe, and Chris Wilson.

  • January 05, 1999. James Clark recently announced the availability of new versions of his XP and expat XML parsers. Version 0.5 of XP - an XML Parser in Java "has few changes: some bug fixes, and better reporting of ID attributes (the type of ID attributes is now reported in SAX). See the XP API documentation and the download page for the beta test. The new expat test release has several features that allow compiling a smaller parser, provide for enhanced support of CDATA sections, etc. Note that this test version is not a production release: the current production release is still 1.0.1 which is available at

  • January 04, 1999. Additional online presentations are now available from the Markup Technologies '98 Conference, recently held in Chicago. (1) The slides from Brian Reid's Opening Keynote Address "20 Years of Abstract Markup - Any Progress?" are available in PowerPoint 97 format. This was a reflection on the early development of descriptive markup based upon a presentation made at the Conference on Research and Trends in Document Preparation Systems at Lausanne, Switzerland, February 27-28, 1981. Many of the slides in Reid's Chicago keynote presentation were taken from the 1981 paper, "The Scribe Document Specification Language and its Compiler." (2) A paper on architectural forms processing by Gary Simons, "Using architectural processing to derive small, problem-specific XML applications from large, widely-used SGML applications," is available in HTML format. See the XML articles section for presentation abstracts and links. For other online versions of papers from the Markup Technologies '98 Conference, see the annotated/linked program listing.

  • January 04, 1999. Nazmul Idris posted an announcement for an online XML and Java2 Tutorial. This tutorial explains and illustrates how to: 1) use the IBM parser - IBM XML Parser for Java; 2) use the Sun parser - Sun ProjectX EA2; 3) use the DOM interfaces - org.w3c.dom.*; 4) use the JFC/Swing with XML; 5) use Servlets with XML; 6) make XML information available to the Web, etc.

  • January 04, 1999. James Clark has announced the availability of a new release of XT. XT is a Java implementation of the tree construction part of the Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL). The major change in Version 19990101 of XT that "XT is now SAX-based: it uses the SAX Parser class for input and the SAX DocumentHandler class for output. It thus no longer depends on XP and can be used with any XML parser in Java that supports SAX. Also new in this release is an experimental extensibility mechanism. . . XT's new experimental extensibility mechanism is based on the idea of filtering fragments of the result tree through an object."

  • January 04, 1999. Kimberly S Moorman posted a 'Call For Articles' in connection with a special issue of the ACM Crossroads Magazine which is to be dedicated to Markup Languages. "The Crossroads editorial staff invites authors to submit articles dealing with topics drawn from several areas pertaining to Markup Languages. Articles should include a basic description of the kinds of problems being worked on, the state of the art of research, the state of the art of commercial applications, open problems, or future research/commercial development trends. Interviews with researchers; reviews of related books, software, videos, or conferences; and opinion columns on related issues are also welcome. We especially encourage both undergraduate and graduate students to submit articles. However, articles written or coauthored by professionals will also be considered."

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