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Last modified: April 30, 2000
SGML and XML News - 1999 Q2

Related News:   [Current SGML/XML News] -   [News 1999 January - March] -   XML News -   XML Articles -   SGML/XML News for 1998 -   [SGML/XML News for 1997] -   [SGML/XML News for 1996] -   [SGML News for 1995]

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  • [June 29, 1999]   TReSy - Text Retrieval System for SGML/XML.    A communiqué from Francesco Corti (Computer Research for Cultural Heritage Centre, Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa, Italy) reports on research underlying an SGML/XML search and retrieval engine. The team has been studying and developing structures for a new search engine for SGML/XML documents, TReSy. TReSy (Text Retrieval System for SGML/XML) "has been designed to manage efficiently the huge volume of information contained in one or more SGML/XML conformant texts. TReSy's numerous potentialities make it a program destined to meet the needs of its users especially thanks to its flexibility that allows for a wide range of practical applications. The encouraging experimental results and the growing interest in the scientific communities all over the world for SGML and XML have lead TReSy to be a part of a wider project aiming at the study of SGML/XML software and at the development of the search engine which should establish itself as an efficient tool for text retrieval on texts. The project has been named after the engine with the generic name of TReSy. . . . The data structure of the textual search engine is based upon the full-text indexing of the documents. The same degree of efficiency is thus guaranteed for the single word search as well as for the phrase search or for the portion of words search. TReSy searching supports: (1) Pattern search independently of its context, (2) Pattern search depending of its context, (3) Context search on indexed documents. . . TReSy's flexibility makes it the ideal tool for a wide range of text retrieval applications from the philological analysis of literary texts, up to the archiving of documents collections. All such applications can run over the Web as well as being easily manageable through external media such as CDROM." In this connection, one may compare Structured Information Manager (SIM), which provides index/search/retrieval for SGML/XML document corpora.

  • [June 29, 1999]   New W3C Recommendation: Associating Style Sheets with XML Documents.    A recent announcement bears the title: "W3C Issues Associating Style Sheets with XML Documents as a Recommendation. Allows XML to Leverage Display Power, Flexibility of CSS." Associating Style Sheets with XML Documents Version 1.0 (W3C Recommendation 29-June-1999) is a document specifying a method whereby a style sheet may 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 editor of the Recommendation is James Clark. The publication of the document reflects "cross-industry and expert community agreement on the first efforts for allowing style sheets to be associated with an XML document, thus bringing a wider range of design and display options to XML authors. Microsoft, Netscape, Opera Software, and SoftQuad have products that support the new recommendation. Other vendors have promised to support the specification in upcoming products." The relevant W3C working group "expects additional mechanisms for linking style sheets to XML document to be defined in a future specification. Work is already underway to develop technologies that will allow developers to place the style sheet link outside the XML document itself in ways that are extensible, self-documenting, and that can be validated. 'We can now concentrate on developing a more sophisticated mechanism that takes advantage of ongoing W3C work in metadata, schemas, and linking,' Clark added." The association between XML document and style sheet is specified by means of a processing instruction that can have six pseudo attributes; the semantics of the pseudo-attributes (href, type, title, media, charset, alternate) are effectively the same as for the HTML construct <LINK REL="stylesheet">. As for the use of the XML processing instruction: "The W3C does not anticipate recommending the use of processing instructions in any future specification, [and] the use of XML processing instructions in this specification should [therefore] not be taken as a precedent." A collection of Testimonials for Associating Style Sheets with XML Documents accompanies the W3C announcement.

  • [June 29, 1999]   TalkML.    Together with Guillaume Belrose, W3C's Dave Raggett (on assignment from HP Labs) "is developing a voice browser to test out ideas for using context free grammars for more flexible voice interaction dialogs. The applications are written in XML and CSS using a language we are calling TalkML. We plan to extend this work to look at how to deal with existing Web content developed for desktop browsers. Some ideas for this are covered in a W3C NOTE ['Voice Browsers'] I wrote last year with Microsoft's Or Ben-Natan. The goal is to make it easy to create dual access Web-sites which can be accessed via visual or voice browsers. See also my talk on Style sheets for Voice Browsers, as presented at the Developer's Day at WWW8. . . TalkML is an experimental XML language for voice browsers, and is being developed by HP Labs for use in the following markets: (1) Call centers (IVR++) -- sales and support services accessed via 800 numbers, adding speech recognition to today's DTMF (touch tone) systems; (2) Smart phones with displays; (3) Access to email, appointments, news and travel services etc. while your are on the road (in-car systems); (4) Mobile devices too small for decent displays or keyboards, WCDMA palmtop organizers/pagers with low enough cost to be a must-have (like cell-phones). TalkML supports more natural conversations than dialog systems based on keywords, while remaining simple to author. Other work is underway to investigate how to author 'dual-access' applications, where the same application can be accessed by both conventional visual browsers and voice browsers." See "TalkML" for additional references.

  • [June 29, 1999]   Updated Version of IBM's XML for C++ (XML4C).    IBM alphaWorks lab has published a new release of its XML for C++ parser (XML4C). XML4C is a "validating XML parser written in a portable subset of C++. XML4C makes it easy to give an application the ability to read and write XML data. It is a single shared library that provides classes for parsing, generating, manipulating, and validating XML documents. XML4C is faithful to the XML 1.0 Recommendation and associated standards (DOM 1.0, SAX 1.0). Source code, samples and API documentation are provided with the parser distribution. The version 2.2.0 update for XML4C++ contains more platform support, better conformance to XML Spec(s), bug fixes and higher performance. XML4C++ is now available for WinNT/98, AIX, Solaris, Linux, HP-UX 10.2 (aCC & CC), HP-UX 11 (aCC & CC)." See "XML Parsers and Parsing Toolkits" for related tools.

  • [June 28, 1999]   Digital Property Rights Language (DPRL).    Complete with XML specification, the Digital Property Rights Language (DPRL) "is a computer-interpretable language, developed at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center under the leadership of Mark Stefik. DPRL is intended to support commerce in digital works, that is, publishing and selling electronic books, digital movies, digital music, interactive games, computer software and other creations distributed in digital form. [DPRL] is also intended to support specification of access and use controls for secure digital documents in cases where financial exchange is not part of the terms of use. One of the goals of DPRL in digital property rights is to develop an approach and language that can be used throughout the publishing industries and other industries as well." Xerox DPRL 'is an XML based syntax for specify the terms and conditions governing the use of a digital content'. Version 2.00 of the DPRL specification, as documented in Digital Property Rights Language. Manual and Tutorial - XML Edition, ('November 13, 1998', review version ) provides a provisional XML encoding: "Usage rights specifications are represented using the element/attribute markup model of eXtensible MarkUp Language(XML). Collectively, the markup tags indicate what rights are in effect on a digital work." The formal grammar is presented in Appendix B (Grammar for the Digital Property Rights Language) in the form of an XML 'work specification' DTD. DPRL is used to specify fees, terms and conditions governing the use of digital content. DPRL is extremely flexible and supports multiple business models and rights protection policies, giving publishers the flexibility they need for their current and future businesses. DPRL supports multiple pricing models: subscription-based, outright purchase, purchase of individual rights (view, print, copy, edit, etc.), metered usage, time-based usage, and membership pricing. DPRL defines syntax for specifying rights for a digital document. Rights such as 'play,' 'print,' 'copy,' 'edit,' etc. can be grouped into named 'rights groups'." In connection with the recent release of the DPRL XML version, John Erickson (VP of Technology Strategy, Yankee Book Peddler, Inc.) has written a sketch for a broad-based '' forum to address interoperability. In his memo "Toward an Open Rights Management Interoperability Framework" he writes: "I'm curious to see if [Xerox] will work to foster a rights management interoperability framework analogous to (or perhaps falling within) the likes of ICE, cXML (Ariba), BizTalk (Microsoft), e-speak (HP), etc. . . After participating for some time in various international "rights metadata" discussions, it is clear to me that a critical element to true distributed rights management will an open, service-level framework that enables peer-to-peer interoperation of rights management services and agents. On a broader scale, I've been trying to collect these thoughts as a working concept that I'm calling RightsTalk. I envision that the definition and evangelism for RightsTalk would be managed under a structure called . ." See the document Digital Property Rights Language (DPRL) for details on the project.

  • [June 28, 1999]   Cost Version 2.2. Released.    Joe English has announced the release of Cost version 2.2, which now provides 'preliminary support for XML'. Cost is a free "structure-controlled SGML application programming tool. It is implemented as a Tcl extension, and works in conjunction with James Clark's nsgmls and/or sgmls parsers. Cost provides a flexible set of low-level primitives upon which sophisticated applications can be built. These include: (1) A powerful query language for navigating the document tree and extracting ESIS information; (2) An event-driven programming interface; (3) A specification mechanism which binds properties to nodes based on queries. Cost can be dynamically loaded into a Tcl application with the usual package mechanism, or it can be statically linked into a custom Tcl interpreter. There is also a command-line interface, costsh, which can be used interactively or as part of a command pipeline. A windowing interface, costwish, is also available for building GUI applications with Cost and Tk. New features in Cost version 2.2 include: (1) It should compile and install out-of-the-box on most Unix platforms, with any Tcl release from 7.5 through 8.1.1 - courtesy autoconf; (2) One can load more than one document at a time, and switch between them with the new 'selectDocument' and 'withDocument' commands; (3) It allows comments at certain places in specifications. (4) It provides preliminary support for XML, courtesy expat by James Clark. Note: XML support is largely untested and has a few known deficiencies (and probably several unknown ones!); I'd appreciate any feedback/bug reports. (5) It is released under a Tcl-style license instead of the 'Artistic' license. (6) Cost can now be loaded as an extension into multiple Tcl interpreters without conflicts. (7) Many minor bugfixes, enhancements, and cleanups."

  • [June 28, 1999]   Morphon XML Editor BETA 1.    An announcement from Lunatech Research reports on the availablity of a beta version of the Morphon XML Editor. "The Morphon XML Editor is a XML editor which lets you easily create and modify XML documents. It makes sure your document is a correct one (considering the DTD you are using) and presents the data in a user friendly way. Both the XMLEditor and the EXSLEditor are written in java. The Morphon XML Editor is available in jar, tar.gz and zip format and can be downloaded for free from Lunatech Research' site. The demo will expire on the 15th of August 1999 at which time a new version will be available. The Editor needs a working Java installation (jdk/jre 1.1 or 1.2) with the latest swing. Morphon XML Editor features: (1) Create/edit documents based on a DTD; (2) Create/modify Editor Stylesheet; (3) Edit the structure of you document as well as the XML Entities and Notations (4) Supports different languages; (5) Preview of the document being processed by an XSL stylesheet." For related software, see "XML Document Editing, DTD Editing, Stylesheet Editing, Formatting, Browsing, and Delivery Tools."

  • [June 28, 1999]   How to Validate XML.    XML parser writers will be interested in a note written by Joe English under the title "How to validate XML." The note describes a regular expression matching algorithm. An accompanying note posted to CTX provides some background (initated by Joe's comment that 'a validator is far easier to write in a functional language than in C++ or Java.'). "XML validation is an instance of the regular expression matching problem: given a regular expression e and a string s, is s in L(e)? (Here L(e) denotes the language accepted by e). The most commonly-used technique to solve this problem is based on finite automata. There is another algorithm, based on derivatives of regular expressions, which deserves to be more widely known. . . [the referenced document] contains a (very brief) description plus a Haskell program fragment demonstrating the algorithm. . ."

  • [June 26, 1999]   expat - XML Parser Toolkit Supports Parsing External DTDs and Parameter Entities.    James Clark has announced a new test version of expat (Version 19990626) which adds experimental, optional support for parsing external DTDs and parameter entities. Expat (XML Parser Toolkit) is an XML 1.0 parser written in C; it aims to be fully conforming, though it is currently not a validating XMLprocessor. Expat is available for use under the Mozilla Public License Version 1.1; alternatively you may use expat under the GNU General Public License. The current production version of expat can be downloaded from Version 19990626 of expat is "a test version which adds support for parsing external DTDs and parameter entities. Compiling with -DXML_DTD enables this support. There's a new -p option for xmlwf which will cause it to process external DTDs and parameter entities; this implies the -x option. See the comment above XML_SetParamEntityParsing in xmlparse.h for the API addition that enables this. The expat distribution comes with an xmlwf application, which uses the xmlparse library. The arguments to xmlwf are one or more files which are each to be checked for well-formedness. An option -d dir can be specified; for each well-formed input file the corresponding canonical XML will be written to dir/f, where f is the filename (without any path) of the input file. A -x option will cause references to external general entities to be processed. A -s option will make documents that are not standalone cause an error (a document is considered standalone if either it is intrinsically standalone because it has no external subset and no references to parameter entities in the internal subset or it is declared as standalone in the XML declaration)." For other information, see the expat FAQ document. For related tools, see "XML Parsers and Parsing Toolkits."

  • [June 25, 1999]   IETF/W3C XML-Signature Requirements Document Published.    The first Public Working Draft of the IETF/W3C XML-Digital Signature Working Group requirements document has now been published. The document is XML-Signature Requirements (W3C Working Draft 1999-June-23); the editor is Joseph Reagle Jr. (W3C). The WD content is based on the working group's Charter, the XML-Signature Workshop, Richard D. Brown's IETF draft [Digital Signatures for XML], and the SIG mailing list discussion. The XML-Signature WG is a joint Working Group of the IETF and W3C. The working group's mission is "to develop an XML compliant syntax used for representing signatures on Web resources and portions of protocol messages (anything that can be referenced by a URI) and procedures for computing and verifying such signatures. Signatures will provide data integrity, authentication, and/or non-repudiatability." The WD abstract: "This document lists the design principles, scope, and requirements for the XML Digital Signature specification. It includes requirements as they relate to the signature syntax, data model, format, cryptographic processing, and external requirements and coordination." The draft has been "published prior to the June 25 IETF deadline for consideration at the IETF in Oslo as an IETF-draft and W3C Working Draft. The first draft of a Working Group consensus version should be produced by July [1999]." See further references in Signed XML (IETF/W3C)."

  • [June 25, 1999]   Medlane Experiment - MARC to XML.    A communiqué from Pamela Murnane (Interface Development/Digital Materials Librarian, Lane Medical Library) describes an experimental XML application being developed at at Lane Medical Library, Stanford University Medical Center. The 'Medlane Experiment - MARC to XML' project was recently presented at the annual meeting of the Medical Library Association. The Medlane Experiment concerns restructuring serial, circulation, and traditional bibliographic data for deployment in changing digital environments. "The main idea is using XML over MARC, an old library standard, for management of bibliographic data. [The Medlane Experiment] is an experimental effort to create a flexible retrieval and display mechanism for bibliographic, authority, and other 'library' information using XML (Extensible Markup Language) and Oracle 8i. Essentially, we have mapped Lane Library's 200,000+ bibliographic and authority records, including links to over 5,000 Internet resources, into XML. Circulation and serials checkin servers bypass our CARL System's interface and web catalog. With burgeoning web development, we felt that our 'library information' was under-utilized due to its segregation from mainstream web resources, and in danger of becoming marginalized." For other details, see the text of a presentation given by Dick R. Miller.

  • [June 25, 1999]   WAP Binary XML Content Format.    The W3C has acknowledged receipt of a submission from from Ericsson, IBM, Motorola, and for WAP Binary XML Content Format (W3C NOTE, 24-June-1999). The document editors are Bruce Martin ( and Bashar Jano (Motorola). Abstract: Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) is a result of continuous work to define an industry-wide specification for developing applications that operate over wireless communication networks. The scope of the WAP Forum is to define a set of specifications to be used by service applications. The wireless market is growing very quickly and reaching new customers and services. To enable operators and manufacturers to meet the challenges in advanced services, differentiation and fast/flexible service creation, WAP defines a set of protocols in transport, session and application layers. For additional information on the WAP architecture, refer to "Wireless Application Protocol Architecture Specification." This specification defines a compact binary representation of the Extensible Markup Language. The binary XML content format is designed to reduce the transmission size of XML documents, allowing more effective use of XML data on narrowband communication channels. Refer to the specification for one example use of the binary XML content format. The binary format was designed to allow for compact transmission with no loss of functionality or semantic information. The format is designed to preserve the element structure of XML, allowing a browser to skip unknown elements or attributes. The binary format encodes the parsed physical form of an XML document, ie, the structure and content of the document entities. Meta-information, including the document type definition and conditional sections, is removed when the document is converted to the binary format. See also the W3C comment on the WBXML Submission (from Dan Connolly, W3C Team Contact), and note its summary of differences between WBXML and XML. The W3C participants of the XML Activity and the Mobile Access Activity have been invited to review WBXML for possible use in their work. Other references: "WAP Wireless Markup Language Specification."

  • [June 25, 1999]   SCOOBS XML Search Engine Now Open Source.    Troy D. Milner (Monash University) posted an announcement to the effect that the SCOOBS XML Search Engine is now open source, viz., governed by the GNU Public License. SCOOBS (Search and Classification Of Object Based information Sources) is a 'Context Based Search Engine' that "allows for the context to be derived from an XML document. This means that we can now search for documents that exhibit a certain context. We can search for 'plum pudding', that has a context only of a 'recipe', and SCOOBS will return 'plum pudding recipes', and not 'plum pudding' from restaurant menus and the like. SCOOBS also returns XPointers to exact locations in XML documents, and allows users to locate sub-documents of documents. Now you can travel from a search result straight to the position in a document where that search information is located. SCOOBS offers a very unique merged XML output, where you can request that it gathers all the XML documents of your results and merge them together, removing all the irrelevant information in the original document." For other information, see the SCOOBS Web site.

  • [June 24, 1999]   POIX: Point Of Interest eXchange Language Specification.    The W3C has acknowledged receipt of a submission entitled POIX: Point Of Interest eXchange Language Specification (W3C Note 24-June-1999). The editors are Hiroyuki Kanemitsu (Toyota Motor Corporation) and Tomihisa Kamada (Access Co., Ltd.); the document was created in cooperation with the POI Working Group in MOSTEC (MObile Information Standard TEchnical Committee). The document specifies the data format for exchange of location-related information over the Internet. "POIX is a location-related information descriptive language prepared with the aim of exchanging location-related information over the Internet, and is designed with XML 1.0 (Extensible Markup Language). Not only does POIX denote a simple location, but it also provides an environment capable of representing various information comprehensively with the targeted location." Abstract: "The Internet is rapidly growing toward wireless and mobile environment beyond the wired world. Nowadays, various types of mobile devices including PDAs and car navigation systems can access to the Internet. These devices are required to exchange the location-related information such as position data on the map. The 'POIX' proposed here defines a general-purpose specification language for describing location information, which is an application of XML (Extensible Markup Language). POIX is a common baseline for exchanging location data via e-mail and embedding location data in HTML and XML documents. This specification can be used by mobile device developers, location-related service providers, and server software developers." An interesting aspect of the proposal, according to W3C, is that "it is capable to describe not only specific location information, such as latitude and longitude, but also various supplemental information about the target location such as route to the target location and contact information for the target location. Such supplemental information might be useful for some applications, such as car navigation systems, but there will be other applications which only need specific location information. In this respect, it might be useful to modularize the POIX language so that applications can use appropriate modules they need. Such modularization will make it easier to combine with other languages, e.g., modularized XHTML." See also the Document Type Definition POIX.DTD. The development team suggests "that the related group in W3C such as Mobile Access Interest Group should pick up this submission for discussion; then, if there might be enough attention in this topic, related working group should be formalized." See the W3C Team Comment by Tatuya Hagino (W3C lead for Mobile Access Activity).

  • [June 23, 1999]   Generic Interoperability Framework (GINF).    Sergey Melnik (Digital Libraries Project, Database Group, Stanford University) posted an announcement to the RDF-DEV mailing list concerning the public availability of software characterized as 'RDF parser/serializer/validator/middleware'. To wit: "the RDF parser/serializer/validator we're using to implement the Generic Interoperability Framework (GINF) is now available for public download. GINF middleware is included in the distribution. Please note that it is still alpha and is subject to frequent changes. Comments are highly appreciated. Enjoy!" According to the Web site documentation: "The Java library includes following features: (1) RDF parser: a modified version of SiRPAC using XML parser Ælfred; (2) RDF serializer; (3) RDF model interface; (4) RDF schema validation; (5) HTTP protocol mapping." The software is free for non-commercial and educational purposes." For additional background, see the working paper "Generic Interoperability Framework" and "Application of the Generic Interoperability Framework to Digital Libraries."

  • [June 23, 1999]   Oracle XML/XSLT Technology Blast.    Steve Muench (Oracle XML Technology Evangelist) has announced an Oracle XML Technology Blast consisting of "six new XML technology components made available today on the Oracle Technet Website. These components include: (1) New XSLT engine inside a faster "v2" Java XML Parser; (2) XML SQL Utility for easier database "XML-out" and "XML-in"; (3) XSQL Servlet for easily serving up SQL/XML/XSLT-powered "datapages"; (4) XML Parsers in three new languages (C, C++, and PL/SQL). See the text of the announcement for complete details. From Oracle's document on XML and the Oracle Internet Platform: "Most critical business data is managed by relational databases. In order to realize the promise of XML as an enabler for exchanging business information, we must be able to read and write XML data to and from the database and to integrate this data with existing applications. The information and software available on these pages is designed to help developers build database applications that can read and write data formatted as XML just as easily as they can read and write data in any other form. With the integration of XML technology, the Oracle Internet Platform, which includes Oracle8i, Oracle Application Server and new message broker technologies, is an increasingly powerful alternative for deploying Internet applications."

  • [June 23, 1999]   ECIX QuickData Specifications.    The Electronic Component Information eXchange (ECIX) project has recently published ECIX QuickData Specifications which "enable real-time, business-to-business transactions (queries and responses) to be conducted over the Internet. With these specifications, customers may send the same query to multiple semiconductor manufacturers and receive multiple part information records from each manufacturer. They are designed for the interchange of component information about semiconductor and electronic components based on XML, a proposed standard by the World Wide Web Consortium. In order to enable such business-to-business communications, a Registry of participants standard protocols, and message formats are required. The ECIX QuickData Protocol Specification defines the communication protocols to support such interaction. The ECIX QED Specification defines the specific dictionary and associated constraints that apply for queries and responses for selected component information in support of the "component search and select" phases of product design. There are two ECIX QuickData Specifications, collectively referred to as the QuickData Specifications: (1) The ECIX QuickData (QD) Protocol Specification, and (2) The ECIX Quick Evaluation Data (QED) Specification. The QuickData Protocol Specification has an accompanying XML DTD, and samples are available from the QuickData Web site. See also the ECIX XML specifications for the Timing Diagram Markup Language (TDML) and "ECIX Component Information Dictionary Standard (CIDS)."

  • [June 23, 1999]   Stylus - An Integrated Development Environment for XSLT Stylesheets.    Carl Sjogreen (President, Transformis LLC) announced an alpha testing phase for "Stylus, an Integrated Development Environment for XSLT stylesheets. Stylus provides a unified, graphical interface for visualizing input data, editing stylesheets, and viewing the result. Stylus is now available for Windows 95, 98, and NT platforms. Current key features of Stylus include: (1) Integrated XML Parser / XSL Processor: Parsing and processing errors automatically display the offending code; stylesheet output is updated and displayed at a keystroke. (2) Structural Data View: Stylus provides a synthesized view of the stylesheet's input data; XSL templates can easily be created and managed through this interface, and are visually associated with the document's hierarchy. (3) Stylesheet Backmapping: Stylesheet backmapping visually associates XSL templates with their output; when a user clicks on text in the stylesheet output, Stylus automatically displays the template that created it. (4) XSL-Aware Editor: Sense:X technology provides customizable context-sensitive help and syntax highlighting. (5) Internet Explorer Preview: If Internet Explorer 4.0 or above is installed, Stylus can preview the result of a stylesheet in an integrated Internet Explorer browser; stylesheet preview in an external browser is also possible regardless of browser version. With Stylus, developers can finally leverage the full potential of XML and XSL through an easy-to-use yet powerful interface. Stylus streamlines the creation of dynamic web sites by providing a graphical environment for the entire development process. From XML data to final result, Stylus keeps developers in control. Stylus is now available for preview through Transformis' Alpha Program. Approved participants will have access to all pre-release versions of Stylus. A public Beta Program will make Stylus available to a wider audience in the future." For related editing software, see "XSL Software Support."

  • [June 22, 1999]   FOP 0.7.0 Release With Source Code.    James Tauber has announced the release of FOP Version 0.7.0 with source code. FOP: An XSL Formatter is a Java-based formatter driven by XSL formatting objects. "FOP is a Java 1.1 application that reads a formatting object tree and then turns it into a PDF document. The formatting object tree, can be in the form of an XML document (output by an XSLT engine like XT) or can be passed in memory as a DOM Document." Changes in FOP version 0.7.0: (1) a new mainline class XTCommandLine that enables straight XML+XSL to PDF (using XT which must be downloaded separately) without having to run an XSLT engine and save the formatting object tree as a separate step. (2) FOP now handles multiple page sequences. (3) separation of the PDF-specific code that was within the area/space classes. This makes FOP more modular and will enable alternative output formats in the future." For related software, see "XSL Software Support."

  • [June 21, 1999]   FirstSTEP EXML and Product Data Markup Language (PDML).    A communiqué from William C. Burkett (Product Data Integration Technologies, Inc., P.D.I.T.) reports on the development of a small XML tool called 'FirstSTEP EXML' that is being made available to the product data exchange/XML community. FirstSTEP EXML is a software tool which may be used to to convert an EXPRESS schema into an equivalent XML DTD. The conversion algorithm is faithful to the semantics and structure of the EXPRESS language and, as a result, is very literal in the way that the EXPRESS entity declarations map to the DTD element declarations. P.D.I.T. is providing this tool free-of-charge to anyone interested in experimenting with EXPRESS schemas and XML DTDs. Bill Burkett writes: "As a data encoding language, XML is a very flexible and 'Internet-friendly', but it lacks many of the semantic features that data management professionals expect and applications require to ensure data semantics and integrity. Therefore, the PDI project adopted EXPRESS (ISO 10303-11) as the data specification language that governs the semantics of data exchanged with an XML encoding; see or This necessitated a mapping from EXPRESS to XML DTD." The background to this work: "P.D.I.T. is the principle contractor for a program called Product Data Interoperability (PDI), an initiative sponsored by JECPO (Joint Electronic Commerce Program Office), and supported by USAF (U.S. Air Force), and DLA (Defense Logistics Agency). The objective of PDI is to demonstrate a prototype XML-based data exchange between different commercial Product Data Management (PDM) systems. This data exchange will effected with an XML vocabulary known as Product Data Markup Language (PDML). PDML is based on a international product data exchange standard known as STEP (STandard for the Exchange of Product model data - ISO 10303), on which, see or" Comments, questions, and feedback on FirstSTEP EXML may be sent to For additional information, see "Product Data Markup Language (PDML)" and "SGML/XML and STEP."

  • [June 21, 1999]   SML (smartX Markup Language).    A recent announcement from Gemplus presents smartX - an 'XML-Based Framework Which Brings Smart Card-Based Applications to the Mainstream' "The goal of SML (smartX Markup Language) is to enable automation of all interactions with XML documents providing general methods to represent a set of smart device functions. XML supports the creation of marker content that preserves data structure and promises web documents to be 'machine-readable'. The SML is an implementation of XML for the smart card industry. SML also brings to the smart device applications many IDL features that have been implemented in distributed computed and transaction processings. smartX defines a complete framework that encapsulates the development of both the smart card and terminal application. By separating the application process from the application protocol that is card-specific, smartX makes possible to port quickly an application to a new smart card. The innovation of smartX technology relies on a strong description of the smart device data and attached processes. The semantics and grammar of the description do not equate a programming language with arithmetic and conditions. On the contrary, the data and protocol description is built upon the familiar foundations of the smart card industry, which simplifies programming for the developer. smartX introduces a new description language to describe the application protocol: SML (Smart Markup Language) that implements the Extensible Markup Language (XML) for the smart card industry." For other references, see "smartX ['SmartCard'] Markup Language (SML)."

  • [June 21, 1999]   XML-Based Clinical Trial Data Model.    A recent announcement describes a Clinical Trial Data Model which is being submitted to the W3C in order to "accelerate Clinical Trial Data Exchange Standards." Phase Forward Incorporated has announced that it will be submitting its "established eXtensible Markup Language (XML)-based data model of their InForm Web-based clinical trial data collection and management software to key industry standards organizations to jumpstart the development of a data interchange model. The Phase Forward Document Type Definition (DTD) data model written in XML will be presented to the Clinical Data Interchange Standards Committee (CDISC), a special interest group of the Drug Information Association (DIA), at its meeting on June 28, 1999. Additionally, Phase Forward also has plans to submit its DTD to the Health Level 7 (HL7) organization and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). CDISC, HL7, and the W3C are the primary standards organizations focused on establishing a data model and XML-based Document Type Definition (DTD) for the healthcare informatics industries."

  • [June 21, 1999]   MATE - Multilevel Annotation, Tools Engineering.    A communiqué from Andreas Mengel (Institut für maschinelle Sprachverarbeitung, Universitaet Stuttgart) reports on a European project MATE which is "producing XML encoding guidelines for the markup of speech data. Similar to TEI who did this for text data, MATE develops standards for the annotation of dialogue data integrating different levels of description (speech sounds, words, sentences, dialogues and the like)." The MATE Project (Multilevel Annotation, Tools Engineering; European CommissionTelematics Project LE4-8370) "aims to facilitate re-use of language resources by addressing the problems of creating, acquiring, and maintaining language corpora. The problems are addressed along two lines: (1) through the development of a standard for annotating resources; (2) through the provision of tools which will make the processes of knowledge acquisition and extraction more efficient. Specifically, MATE will treat spoken dialogue corpora at multiple levels, focusing on prosody, (morpho-) syntax, co-reference, dialogue acts, and communicative difficulties, as well as inter-level interaction. The results of the project will be of particular benefit to developers of spoken language dialogue systems but will also be directly useful for other applications of language engineering. The first step of the MATE project is to define an overall mark-up formalism which is based on the TEI/CES standards."

  • [June 18, 1999]   Human Resource Management Markup Language (HRMML).    Structured Methods has developed Human Resource Management Markup Language (HRMML), an XML-based markup language for job postings, job descriptions, and resumes. A new draft of the HRMML specification is now available for download. HRMML "currently is described in two draft Document Type Definitions (DTDs), one for resumes and one for job postings. The two DTDs have many common elements, which are contained in shared modules. HRMML was developed to be broadly applicable to the needs of employers, recruiters, recruiting data aggregators, and Internet job sites. Whether and how specific elements are used will depend on the requirements of the particular implementation. Many organizations will be able to implement a selective profile from the broader DTD and still be able to exchange a core set of data with organizations using a different profile." According to a recent announcement from Chuck Allen, the new release of HRMML "includes more than 300 pages of documentation, which is included in the HRMML distribution file. You are free to use, modify, or redistribute the DTD and documentation." See further references in "Human Resource Management Markup Language (HRMML)."

  • [June 16, 1999]   ACORD - XML for the Insurance Industry.    The Web site of ACORD (Agency Company Organization for Research and Development) describes a joint initiative in which XML-based vocabularies for the insurance industry are now being developed in a fast-track effort. "ACORD and the Independent Insurance Agents of America's Agents Council for Technology (ACT) have entered into a joint initiative to deliver to the industry within 120 days, a standardized vocabulary for XML, based on the ACORD ObjX and AL3 standards, announced Gregory A. Maciag, president and CEO, ACORD. This joint initiative will help prevent the potential growth of non-standard DTDs (Document Type Definitions) which would lead to multiple, uncoordinated, and more costly efforts to standardize XML transactions for the industry, said Maciag. "The 'fast track' approach reemphasizes to the industry ACORD's permanent commitment to lead the way in standardizing the exchange of insurance-related data by leveraging our ObjX development. . . [in order to develop a widely accepted standard, the parties] 'are all committed to working together to produce the minimum specifications required to facilitate initial deployment of XML-based insurance applications in a consistent, standardized fashion. . . developing these XML definitions is "a step toward full ObjX implementations and is part of ACORD's mission to build bridges between AL3 and ObjX'." ACORD currently has defined an XML Based render form Transaction; it has "a standard object model" which will be given to member companies and "is now in the process of working on other transactions including request quote, and establish account. These transactions are based on our UML model, and a standard DTD which we are defining with the help of its members." For other references, see the document "ACORD - XML for the Insurance Industry."

  • [June 16, 1999]   XML Forms Architecture: XFA-Template and XFA-FormCalc.    The W3C has acknowledged receipt of a two-part submission from JetForm Corporation on the topic of XML Forms Architecture. Both documents are edited by Gavin McKenzie. XML Forms Architecture (XFA) "provides for the specific requirements of electronic forms and the applications that use them. XFA addresses the needs of organizations to securely capture, present, move, process, output and print information associated with electronic forms." The submission "describes an XML tagset for electronic forms with support for graphics, templates, calculations, validation, scripting, picture clauses, sequencing, and digital signatures. Some aspects of the submission duplicate existing work by W3C: the box model (W3C's style sheet activity), graphics (W3C's work on scalable vector graphics), linking (W3C's work on XML Linking). The details for signed forms relate to new work at W3C on signed XML. Work on data types for XML Schemas may be relevant to the canonical representation of form values such as dates." XFA "clearly distinguishes between the two stages via the following terminology, as detailed in [the submissions]: (1) Form -- what the form consumer works with (2) Template -- what the form designer creates." The document "XFA-Template" [XFA-Template Version 1.0] describes the open and extensible modeling of secure forms with high fidelity composition, automated calculation and validation, pluggable user-interface components, and flexible data handling. The second document "XFA-FormCalc" [XFA-FormCalc Version 1.0] describes a simple scripting language optimized for creating electronic-form centric logic and calculations. See further information in the W3C Team Comment on the submission (by Dave Raggett), and in the document: "XML Forms Architecture (XFA)."

  • [June 16, 1999]   New XML Technologies from IBM.    IBM recently made available additional XML technologies in the tools "DDbe" and "Xplorer." Data Descriptors by Example (DDbE) "accepts well formed XML documents as input and constructs an XML DTD. [It] is a Java component library for inferring a DTD or Schema from a set of XML instances. People can easily learn how to author well formed XML, however, the learning curve really increases when XML developers have to write a DTD. For the beginner, DDbE automatically produces a DTD from a set of well formed XML documents. Advanced users can take advantage of several parameters that will allow the customisation of content models and attribute specifications. Indeed, DDbE gives a good start at creating DTDs for any user. DDbE is not only for developers! DDbE can be used in Business to Business applications that need to automatically generate DTDs for XML message validation." [Note that Michael Kay's SAXON DTDGenerator supports similar DTD generation, as does OCLC's Fred - The SGML DTD/Grammar Builder.] IBM's Xplorer "is a Java application that can be used to search XML files, validate XML files and view the valid XML files in XML viewer. Xplorer allows the user to do the following things: (1) Search for XML files based on the XML file name, Document type and some advanced search options like element name and value, attribute name and value, PI, etc. (2) Check the validity of XML files. (3) View a valid XML file in the XML viewer. Only valid files can be viewed in the XML viewer. If you try to view an invalid XML file, an error dialog appears and errors are logged in the Log Window. The XML Viewer which is shipped along with the Xplorer provides the following features: (1) XML Tree View of the opened XML file. (2) XML Source view of the opened XML file. (3) DTD Source view of the opened XML file. (4) Attribute View of the selected node. (5) Selective display of XML elements, attributes, PI, Text and white space characters in the Tree view."

  • [June 15, 1999]   XFA - Free XML Scripting Tools.    A communiqué from John R. Nestor announces the release of the XFA Scripting System supporting rapid development of XML applications. The Microsoft Windows and Linux versions of this product are free. "XFA (XML For All) is a set of XML tags that specify executable actions. Other approaches to processing XML require the use of another language such as Java, Perl, or Visual Basic. With XFA, all you need is XML. XFA was designed from the start around XML and uses XML pervasively. XFA is ideal for developing advanced web sites. An XFA script contains a mix of XFA, XML, and HTML tagged elements allowing web page designers and programmers to share a common language. Its easy to add new executable tags to XFA or to create a custom interpreter for a new XML tag set. The XFA Scripting System includes an XFA interpreter, comprehensive documentation, and a collection of examples, libraries, and tools. The XFA interpreter can be run either under a web server or stand alone. The XFA library system can be used to factor large applications and to organize collections of reusable components." See also the associated press release, "XML For All Announces Free XML Scripting Tools."

  • [June 15, 1999]   Xml2Beans - Converting XML DTDs into Java Beans.    A communiqué from Robbie Schaefer reports on the availability of Xml2Beans, now in its first public release (Version 1.0 beta). Xml2Beans is a tool that "converts XML DTDs into Java-Beans: it processes a given XML-DTD and generates JavaBeans according to the DTD-structure. These beans have special properties and methods which enables them to be read and processed with specialized bean editors. Thus an editor for any desired DTD can be created. Once inside the editor, the XML-beans can produce XML files which are valid for the DTD the beans where made with. We are currently working on such an editor, but it is not to be released for some time. . . To parse the XML-files we use the Ælfred-parser which is event driven and produces minimal overhead. For each <!ELEMENT...>-event a new XML-bean is generated and the sub elements and attributes are mapped to the bean's properties. Thus the XML-tree-structure is stored imlicit within the beans."

  • [June 15, 1999]   SAXON Version 4.3 - XSL Interpreter and Compiler.    Michael H. Kay has announced the availability of SAXON Version 4.3. The SAXON package is a "collection of tools for processing XML documents. The main components are: (1) An XSL processor, which supports the W3C 21-April-1999 XSLT specification from the World Wide Web Consortium, found at [with a few minor restrictions and a number of powerful extensions], and (2) A Java library, which supports a similar processing model to XSL, but allows full programming capability, which you need if you want to perform complex processing of the data or to access external services such as a relational database. So you can use SAXON by writing XSL stylesheets, by writing Java applications, or by 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 4.3: "The new version has been upgraded so both the XSL interpreter and compiler now conform (very nearly) to the April 21 W3C XSLT specification. I tried this time to concentrate on conforming to the spec and avoiding the temptation to innovate, but in the end I couldn't resist adding an assignment statement for variables and a while loop. To the functional programming enthusiasts, I apologise (you don't have to use them); to everyone else, I hope it will make your life a little easier."

  • [June 14, 1999]   iXSLT - An XSLT Processor.    Pina Hirano of Infoteria Inc. announced the public availability of iXSLT (iXSLT 1.0 Beta Evaluation edition for Windows 95/98/NT). iXSLT is an XSLT processor compatible with the latest W3C public working draft of XSL Transformations (XSLT) (1999-04-21). iXSLT is a command-line executable, and the download file includes simple samples. For related tools, see "XSL Software Support."

  • [June 11, 1999]   eConcert -- The Implementation Phase of RosettaNet.    When RosettaNet inaugurated the latest phase of its program to 'align the supply chain' through the standardization of business processes, it was a major media event. The press event backgrounder for RosettaNet's eConcert included references to over twenty-five company announcements and press releases. "There was no shortage of volunteers when the call went out for participants in eConcert -- the implementation phase of RosettaNet, the most advanced partner-to-partner e-business initiative ever undertaken. In an initiative that will define supply chain transactions using between 75 and 100 standard XML-based partner interface processes (PIPs), or computer-to-computer dialogs, fifteen (15) companies have committed resources to four-to-six-month pilot programs that will test processes for updating catalogs and purchasing products. The announcement Thursday by RosettaNet -- the IT industry consortium comprised of manufacturers, software publishers, distributors, resellers, integrators and end users -- involves implementation of nine PIPs that will eventually comprise e-business production systems. [A RosettaNet PIP is an XML specification designed to align a specific business process between supply chain partners. RosettaNet PIPs create new areas of alignment within the overall IT supply-chain eBusiness processes, allowing IT supply-chain partners to scale eBusiness, and to fully leverage Ecom applications and the Internet as a business-to-business commerce tool.] The selected implementers have formed partnerships of two to six companies to begin pilot implementations. These early adopters recognize the value that RosettaNet's standards bring for themselves, RosettaNet members and every other company in the IT supply chain. Eventually, the entire industry will have the opportunity to take advantage of RosettaNet PIPs, each company in its own timeframe, according to Fadi Chehade, RosettaNet president and CEO. In addition to implementing PIPs to align their business processes, each of the eConcert participants have committed to encourage and assist all of their other key supply chain partners to get ready for the production system rollout in February of next year. eConcert will come to fruition on Feb. 2, 2000, when all the eConcert member companies will use PIPs in their everyday production routines. The RosettaNet Managing Board now consists of 34 CEOs, CIOs and executives representing global members of the IT supply chain." For additional information, see "RosettaNet."

  • [June 11, 1999]   Web Techniques Special Issue: "XML & Java: An Obvious Match."    The June 1999 issue of Web Techniques Magazine is a special issue with the title "XML & Java: An Obvious Match." The articles are publicly available online. The articles most relevant to XML, each catalogued with an extended abstract, include: (1) "XML Development in Java. It's All in the Beans" [Maneesh Sahu]; (2) "Why XML is Meant for Java. Exploring the XML/Java Connection" [Matthew Fuchs]; (3) "XML Integration Platforms. Anatomy of an XML Server" [Bob Bickel]; (4) "SQL-Based XML Structured Data Access" [Michael M. David]; (5) "Database Developer: Modeling, Metadata, and XML" [Ken North]; (6) "Patterns in XSL" [Michael Floyd]; (7) "XML's Achilles Heel" [Dale Dougherty]. Web Techniques magazine provides "critical Internet technical solutions increasingly in demand throughout the enterprise. Each issue is packed with how-to information that illuminates every aspect of Web development, design and management, including coverage of Java, scripting languages, XML, design, security, database integration, electronic commerce, searching/indexing, site management, new product coverage, and more." The source code used by the authors of Web Techniques (program code, text markup) is provided online each month. Web Techniques also offers limited free subscriptions to Internet Professionals [U.S. residents only]. Direction for the publication is provided by Editor-in-Chief Bob Kaehms and by Editorial Director Dale Dougherty. Dougherty is also the president and CEO of Songline Studios, Inc.; he was co-founder of O'Reilly & Associates, head of O'Reilly's Digital Media Group, and publisher of Global Network Navigator (GNN).

  • [June 11, 1999]   Introduction to XSLT (XSL Transformations).    A recent communiqué from G. Ken Holman (Crane Softwrights Ltd.) announces the availability of a third edition publication of the work Introduction to XSLT (XSL Transformations) (1999-06-08; 205 pages; ISBN: 1-894049-00-4). The tutorial Introduction to XSLT (XSL Transformations) is a detailed overview of the Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations, used as the support material for instructor-led lectures and hands-on courses and future Computer Based Training offerings by Crane Softwrights Ltd. The Third Edition covers the entire 1999-04-21 W3C Working Draft of XSLT with references to James Clark's XT (19990514) and Microsoft's IE5 (5.00.2014.0216). A preview excerpt of the complete text of the first three modules, plus overviews of the other seven modules, is available for free download from Crane's web site in the Commercial Training Materials section. The purchase price ($40.00 US) includes free access to all future editions of the same title, thus ensuring currency with W3C revisions to working drafts and the proposed and final recommendations. New editions are also available periodically based on customer and student feedback." For related resources, see "XSL Articles, Papers, Tutorials" and a recent posting from Mike Brown.

  • [June 11, 1999]   eXtensible Server Pages (XSP).    Stefano Mazzocchi is author of a draft document "eXtensible Server Pages (XSP) Layer 1" describing design work that is part of tbe Java Apache Cocoon project. The document "specifies an XML namespace that addresses a complete region of web publishing, that of logic-based, dynamic content generation. This language is introduced to fill an existing gap between the W3C specifications and working draft and the increasing demand for a flexible server side approach based on the new XML paradigm. [The draft thus] specifies both an XML document type defintion and a development methodology to generate dynamic XML by server side processing of client's requests. Such a specification is useful to define an open and standard way to develop and maintain dynamic XML server pages. The technology described in this document was designed to complete the XML-based publishing framework defined by the Cocoon Project and it's mainly targetted on this project, even if the final goal of this effort is to submit a request to a standard body (such as W3C) for final recomandation." Cocoon is "a 100% pure Java publishing framework servlet that relies on new W3C technologies (such as DOM, XML, and XSL) to provide web content." Ricardo Rocha has also contributed to the authoring of the XSP draft document.

  • [June 10, 1999]   Music Markup Language (MML).    A communiqué from Jacques Steyn (Associate Professor, Multimedia, Department of Information Science, University of Pretoria) reports on the development of a new XML-based notation for music: MML: Music Markup Language. Professor Steyn writes: "MML (Music Markup Language) focuses on the structure of music and music related processes with the aim to write the specifications of a markup language. This language should be human readable along the lines of HTML and XML that are used for Web-based documents. For more information, see" From the Web site's MML 'Scope' Document: "This language should be human readable along the lines of HTML and XML that are used for Web-based documents. This language is an SGML (Standard General Markup Language; ISO 8879) subset, following the approach to SGML by XML (eXtensible Markup Language). MML describes the structure of various aspects of music production, such as: (1) Music performance; (2) Music representation (e.g., notation systems); (3) Music instruments; (4) Music manipulation (e.g., effect units)." Markup examples of MML are provided for Chorale: Johann Sebastian Bach and for other pieces (Musorgsky's Boris Godunov, Chopin's Trois Nocturne, Antonio Vivaldi's Sonata in Sol minore). For related initiatives aimed at creating standardized markup-based notations for music, see "XML and Music."

  • [June 10, 1999]   Markup Languages for Legal Document Management.    A communiqué from Cecilia Magnusson Sjöberg announces the availability of a major publication on legal document management. The book is: Critical Factors in Legal Document Management: A Study of Standardised Markup Languages, by Cecilia Magnusson Sjöberg. Stockholm: Jure AB, 1998. ISBN: 91-7223-045-2. Extent: 458 pages. "This book is meant as a guide to modern handling of legal information with the aid of standardized markup languages, in response to the well-known need for sharpened tools for managing the rapidly growing amount of legal information in combination with transborder data flows, especially on the Internet. The SGML and XML international standards for document description are becoming increasingly important for the legal domain in these respects. The content is based on empirical results reached in the Corpus Legis Project. This interdisciplinary research programme began in 1994 at the Faculty of Law, Stockholm University and it has led to three different IT-applications, which may be categorised according to the following profiles: (1) hypertext based systems, (2) advanced information retrieval systems, and (3) general electronic document and management systems. Experiences from this practical work are described in the book. Major activities associated with the development of an SGML system, e.g. document analysis, DTD-design (Document Type Definition), and markup, are described from a legal point of view. The study comprises document types originating from different national legal systems, written in various languages, and covering a broad time perspective. The book can thus be seen as a checklist of critical factors in legal document management." Magnusson Sjöberg's volume forms part of the official project documentation for the Corpus Legis Project. Corpus Legis is a computerized text corpus for legal-linguistic studies developed in co-operation with the Swedish Law & Informatics Research Institute and the Department of Computational Linguistics at the University of Stockholm. In this project, "Questions of legal document management have been investigated in this project by means of the international document representation standard SGML - Standard Generalized Markup Language. The main part of the analysed text corpus focuses on documents reflecting the system for lawmaking, e.g., government bills and laws." For additional information, see "The Corpus Legis Project" and the main bibliography entry for the volume.

  • [June 10, 1999]   Emile 1.0 - XML Editor for Macintosh.    A communication from Terje Norderhaug announces the availability of Emilé 1.0, "the first XML editor for Macintosh. Emilé is the commercial edition of the free Emilé Lite XML editor that was released in April, 1999. Emilé is a highly customizable XML editor that supports productive markup with XML, liberating the author from detailed knowledge of the XML specification by providing context-sensitive dialogs and menus listing allowed tags and common markup constructs. The editor automatically adapts the user interface to the current document type (DTD), and comes with a validator to ensure correct markup. Emilé has an introductory price of $79. A demo copy of the editor can be downloaded from the company's website [Media Design in*Progress] at" For related tools, see "XML Document Editing, DTD Editing, Stylesheet Editing, Formatting, Browsing, and Delivery Tools."

  • [June 09, 1999]   Financial Products Markup Language (FpML).    From a recent company announcement entitled "Introducing FpML: A New Standard for E-commerce": "J.P. Morgan & Co. Incorporated and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP announced the release of FpML (Financial Products Markup Language), a new protocol for Internet-based electronic dealing and information sharing of financial derivatives, initially handling interest rate and foreign exchange products. The specification, which will be freely licensed, is expected to set the standard within these industries for the rapidly growing field of business-to-business electronic commerce. Based on XML, the emerging Internet standard for data-sharing between applications, FpML enables Internet-based integration of a range of services, from electronic trading and confirmations to portfolio specification for risk analysis." [So,] 'How does this standard relate to others' like FIX/FIXML, OFX, etc.? "While XML is a standard, only the syntax has been standardized. To be useful, each industry is required to define a common set of industry-specific definitions. Several organizations have been working to define these market-segment-specific definitions. Examples of languages in progress include FIX, for the equities market, and OFX, for consumer financial activities. However, there has not yet been an effort to standardize product and trade information for foreign exchange and fixed income derivatives. There are many standards related to financial data processing for retail and commercial banking. Some of these standards and governing bodies, such as SWIFT and FIX, have an established history of successfully standardizing certain classes of financial transactions. Other standards, such as OFX, have recently been introduced, and are still evolving. All of these protocols have enabled market participants to lower transaction costs and reduce the operational risks associated with transaction initiation, confirmation, and settlement. There are currently no standards in active use to address the financial derivative markets, such as FX options and interest-rate derivatives (e.g., swaps). A standard for financial derivatives (e.g., interest-rate products) has not evolved for a variety of reasons, some of them technical and some of them related to the proprietary nature of capital markets banking." The associated Web site describes a new FpML Discussion Group - "a message board that provides a mechanism for the exchange of ideas relating to the FpML standard." For additional information, see the FAQ document and the press release: "J.P. Morgan, PricewaterhouseCoopers Propose FpML, a New E-commerce Standard - Financial Products Markup Language Handles FX and Fixed Income Derivatives." For references to related standards, see "Financial Products Markup Language (FpML)."

  • [June 09, 1999]   New DSSSL Web Site and OpenJade.    Didier PH Martin has posted an announcement concerning a new collection of Web pages for the DSSSL language. "You'll find useful references, articles, news and software all about DSSSL. This is the site in construction for the DSSSL user group. Avi Kivity already organized the source code on a CVS server. Ralph Ferris is busy working on the next Hybrick browser plug-in. I am busy working on the SGML/XML kit version 2 that will also include the Omnimark language in addition to OpenJade. Hopefully, if Keith work is enough advanced, the kit will offer an alternative to Microsoft's XSL engine. I am also slowly but surely documenting the OpenJade code (a long and hard job). I think that we'll soon be ready to integrate the OpenJade code developed by some of you for the next OpenJade release." The OpenJade source code, now maintained by the user group members, is available in a CVS repository. Note that the new DSSSL Web site and the 'OpenJade' effort have emerged in the context of a wider conversation about Jade/DSSSL held on the (Mulberry Technologies) DSSSList forum; see the May/June 1999 threads with subjects "Jade Maintenance," "Jade/DSSSL future," and "More on the Future of DSSSL." From one of the key postings by James Clark, maintainer of Jade - an implementation of the DSSSL style language: "My general feeling is that just as the future is XML not SGML, so the future is also XSL not DSSSL. When XSLT and XSL are done, there will (I hope) be nothing you can do in DSSSL that you can't do with XSL(T). DSSSL has not achieved widespread acceptance, and of course that's disappointing to all of us involved in DSSSL. But I think we have to face up to the fact that the main reason it has failed to achieve acceptance is not because of lack of promotion or explanation or marketing (although that has probably been a factor), but because of real useability problems in the language itself. XSL started off as a collaboration between DSSSLers and Microsoft to create a new syntax for the DSSSL style language that would be easier to use and could achieve wide acceptance. It hasn't quite turned out like that. On the XSL flow objects side, politics and market realities have necessitated building DSSSL functionality on top of CSS formatting objects/properties rather than starting with the DSSSL flow objects. On the XSLT side, as we've continued to work on the language we've found many ways to improve it, and the language has evolved substantially from DSSSL; however it's still very much the same approach to transformation as jade -t sgml. There are big advantages to being in the mainstream, and XSLT looks set to become a mainstream technology. It's attracted the support of some of the biggest players out there -- Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Sun, Lotus, Adobe . . ." See also the OpenJade announcement posted by Didier PH Martin to Usenet CTS/CTX. For DSSSL information, see DSSSL - Document Style Semantics and Specification Language. ISO/IEC 10179:1996."

  • [June 09, 1999]   Common Markup for Web Micropayment Systems.    The W3C Micropayment Markup Working Group has published a working draft document on micropayments, and invites public comment on the specification. The document is: Common Markup for Web Micropayment Systems. W3C Working Draft 9-June-1999. Editor: Thierry Michel (W3C); other contributors: Amir Herzberg, Chair (IBM); Anat Sarig, (IBM); Mark Manase, Co-Chair (Compaq); Jean Claudes Pailles (France Telecom); Phillipe Michon (France Telecom). The Micropayment Markup Working Group is part of the Micropayment task within the W3C ECommerce Activity. The WD 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." Appendix 2 of the WD provides guidelines for 'Embedding micropayment information using RDF encoding'. . . "This embedding using the Resource Description Framework is another example of implementation allowing different micropayment electronic wallets to coexist in a interoperable manner. The specification of RDF uses the Extensible Markup Language encoding as its interchange syntax. RDF also requires the XML namespaces facility to precisely associate each property with the schema that defines the property. . ."

  • [June 09, 1999]   Xport 2.0 - XSL Engine from T.I.M.E LUX.    A communiqué from Roger Schütz of TIMELUX announces the release of new software products in the area of processing XML/SGML data. Xport 2.0 is a stand-alone XSL engine, available free of charge as a COM object. This is an XSL transformation engine that provides flow objects and data transformation for in-line display, HTML-conversion, and any other output format you may use. Furthermore, its powerful API can be addressed by most popular standard languages like C++, Visual Basic, VB- and J-script." For related XSL tools, see "XSL Software Support."

  • [June 09, 1999]   Braifo - A Braille Formatter.    Peter Nilsson has posted an announcement to the DSSSList for the availablity of 'Braifo - A Braille Formatter'. "Braifo is a braille formatter that will generate braille out of an SGML/XML document. Currently it supports DSSSL using (OPEN)Jade. I am planning to also support XSL in the future, when the XSL spec gets more ready. Braifo will convert documents written in SGML into braille as specified in a style sheet. Braifo will support some, but not all of the featueres that are optional in the style language. It will also not support some required features of DSSSL, such as font characteristics, the external-graphic flow object class, etc. The page feature of DSSSL will be supported. This allows for generated headers and page footnotes. Neither of the multi-column, nor nested-column-set features will be supported. The bidi and vertical features also won't be available. The style sheet language is DSSSL, with some modifications to support braille. The development platform for Braifo is Debian GNU/Linux, but it is planned to run on as many platforms as possible (including Unix variants, DOS and Windows)." For other DSSSL information, see DSSSL - Document Style Semantics and Specification Language."

  • [June 08, 1999]   Sun Solaris Supports WBEM Standards.    A recent press release from Sun Microsystems outlines the new Solaris Operating Environment support for DMTF's WBEM/CIM standards: "Sun to Implement Web-Based Enterprise Management Standards in Solaris Operating Environment. Industry Leaders Applaud Sun's Embrace of Emerging WBEM Standards." Salient points from the announcement: "Solaris WBEM Services software enables IT managers to create and modify system information stored in a standard format, the Common Information Model (CIM). This software eases the administration of the Solaris Operating Environment and provides for management software interoperability. WBEM is a DMTF (Distributed Management Task Force) initiative based on a set of management and Internet standard technologies developed to unify the management of enterprise computing environments. WBEM provides the ability for the industry to deliver a well-integrated set of standardized management tools leveraging the emerging technologies such as CIM and XML. Sun continues to be an active board member of the DMTF and participates in several working groups. As part of the DMTF's Technical Development Committee and its sub-committees, Sun has made significant contributions to such standards and specifications as Desktop Management Interface, CIM and the XML Encoding Specification for CIM." For further information, see: "DMTF Common Information Model (CIM)." See also "Sun Adopts WBEM, and Provides the Active Ingredient with Java Technology."

  • [June 08, 1999]   Web Architecture: Describing and Exchanging Data.    The W3C has released a programmatic essay as a NOTE under the title Web Architecture: Describing and Exchanging Data, authored by Tim Berners-Lee (Director of the W3C), Dan Connolly (Leader of Architecture Domain), and Ralph R. Swick (W3C Metadata Activity Leader). In the abstract, the authors draw a deep breath that should prepare readers for the scope of the discussion: "The World Wide Web is a universal information space. As a medium for human exchange, it is becoming mature, but we are just beginning to build a space where automated agents can contribute -- just beginning to build the Semantic Web. . ." The document "explores a common model" whereby Schema design [RDFSchema] and XML Schema design [XMLSchema], which began as independent design efforts, may "fit together as interlocking pieces of the semantic web technology." The authors "review some of the requirements for the Semantic Web. Secondly, they review the data models of many systems whose data is under strong pressure to be accessible directly in semantic form. For each, they try to delineate the mapping where it is evident, but outline the areas where specification work is required." The essay seeks to demonstrate "the importance of a common architecture for tree-structured documents and directed labeled graphs, [and to] shed new light on some of the design decisions in the XML syntax used by RDF; it discusses the way contemporary data models (relational, object, knowledge representation) relate to a unified Semantic Web Architecture."

  • [June 08, 1999]   efirst XML for E-journals.    A posting from Eric Hellman to XML-L reports on the availability of a set of tools for publishing electronic journals: "efirst XML." David Ephron and Miles Poindexter (Openly Informatics) have developed a collection of "XML and SGML DTDs, EDDs and templates for use with Framemaker+SGML, XSL and CSS Stylesheets, and configuration files for Chris Hector's RTF2HTML. efirst XML is an application of the World-Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) eXtensible Markup Language (XML) for scholarly and scientific journal articles. The authors have used efirst XML in producing the two most recent volumes of the MRS Internet Journal of Nitride Semiconductor Research. efirst XML is specifically designed to allow journal articles to be optimized for presentation both on the Web and in print using a single storage format by supporting references to multiple graphic and multimedia files. It allows a journal to be built from databases by supporting multiple keys in elements such as <author>. It allows easy compatibility with HTML presentation formats through the use of HTML-style tables. Most importantly, efirst XML is designed from the ground up for XML -- it's not just a port of an SGML application. The efirst XML document type definition, or DTD, provides a level of validation that has previously required the complexity of SGML. The result is an archival-quality format compatible with inexpensive XML tools."

  • [June 08, 1999]   Expatpp c++ - Wrapper for Expat.    Andy Dent (A.D. Software, Perth, Western Australia) has announced the availability of a new version of expatpp. Expatpp is an Original Work which works with James Clark's Expat -- XML Parser Toolkit, a library for XML parsing in C. "The big feature of this update of Expatpp is it makes it trivially easy to create nested parsers which is something used heavily in parsing our report-writer output. The nesting approach was used in our OOFILE report-writer which saves report layout and data out to XML files and allows them to be read back into our preview window. We just released an OOFILE update which saves and restores entire report layouts and data (using expatpp for reading). We've included relevant report-writer code as an example in the expatpp release." Expatpp is released by AD Software under the Mozilla Public License Version 1.0.

  • [June 08, 1999]   XML Spy 2.5 with DTD-Validation and Three-View Architecture.    Alexander Falk recently announced the release of the XML editor software XML Spy Version 2.5. Version 2.5 of the editor "introduces complete DTD-Validation support and the new three-view architecture: (1) The Enhanced Grid View is what already made XML Spy so popular with our existing customers. It shows the entire structure of an XML document in a hierarchical presentation that allows in-place editing of all elements. (2) The new Source View gives you the option to view the XML document in source form with customizable syntax-coloring and allows you to directly edit the source for low-level tasks. (3) The integrated Browser View uses Internet Explorer 5 to render your XML document inside XML Spy. This view fully supports CSS and XSL and can be displayed in a separate window so that you can keep one of the above editing views and the browser view side-by-side for maximum editing comfort." See the company Web site for further details; for related tools, see "XML Document Editing, DTD Editing, Stylesheet Editing, Formatting, Browsing, and Delivery Tools."

  • [June 08, 1999]   IBM's easyXML Bean Suite.    An IBM alphaWorks 'News story' describes how you can "Add XML Functionality to Your Java Applications With easyXML." The easyXML Bean Suite "provides the functionality to develop Java applications for processing XML (eXtensible Markup Language) documents. It can also be used for adding XML support to existing applications. Beans in the suite include XMLHolder, XMLElement, XMLAttribute, and XMLFileGenerator. The easyXML Bean Suite has been written in 100% Pure Java, and runs on any platform that supports JDK 1.1.

  • [June 07, 1999]   Release of fxp Version 1.2 - A Validating XML Parser.    Andreas Neumann has announced the release of version 1.2 of fxp, "a validating XML parser written the functional programming language SML (Standard ML). fxp has been developed at the Computer Science Department, University of Trier, using Standard ML of New Jersey. The parser toolkit comes with five sample applications: (1) fxp, the pure parser - it parses a document and finds well-formedness errors, validity errors and other problems; (2) fxcanon, which produces an equivalent canonical XML document; (3) fxcopy, which 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) fxesis, which adds a backend to fxp, producing an output similar to NSGMLS's ESIS (Element Structure Information Set) output; (5) fxviz is an XML tree visualizer which produces a graph description suitable as input to Georg Sander's vcg." New features in fxp version 1.2: "(1) full support for XML syntax of XML Catalog; (2) support for retrieval of non-local URIs; (3) new sample application fxviz, a document tree visualizer." The documentation and sources for fxp are available at For related XML tools, see "XML Parsers and Parsing Toolkits."

  • [June 07, 1999]   The Universal Plug and Play Forum.    The The Universal Plug and Play Forum "is an industry group of companies promoting Universal Plug and Play networking protocols and device interoperability standards. Universal Plug and Play members will work with Microsoft to enable device-to-device interoperability by promoting Universal Plug and Play protocols and cooperatively developing and contributing XML schemas for device description, naming and HTML-based control. UPnP.ORG, the Forum's web site, will be a central repository for schema which have been developed by the Forum, the Universal Plug and Play specifications, source code, and implementers guides. UPnP.ORG will also distribute information about the Forum's activities and progress." UPnP Schemas: "The discovery process returns only the basic information needed to connect to a device. Once a service has discovered its peers, the service often needs to find out more information in order to work best with them. The description process returns a schema providing descriptive data about the service. A schema is a structured data definition that defines a set of structured values that provide descriptive information about a service. Universal Plug and Play will use Extensible Markup Language (XML) for schema, because XML's self-describing structured data format provides the level of expressiveness and extensibility needed by a universal schema and data format." Preliminary examples of UPnP device description are available online.

  • [June 03, 1999]   Sun's JavaServer Pages (JSP) Technology.    A recent white paper from Sun Microsystems provides an overview of the JSP specification, [which] "is the result of extensive industry cooperation between vendors of web servers, application servers, transactional systems, and development tools. The JavaServer Pages (JSP) technology provides a simplified, fast way to create web pages that display dynamically-generated content. Sun Microsystems developed the specification to integrate with and leverage existing expertise and tools support for the Java programming environment, such as Java Servlets and JavaBeans. The result is a new approach to developing web-based applications that extends powerful capabilities to page designers using component-based application logic. . . A JSP page is executed by a JSP engine, which is installed in a web server or a JSP-enabled application server. The JSP engine receives requests from a client to a JSP page, and generates responses from the JSP page to the client. A JSP page looks like a standard HTML or XML page, with additional elements that the JSP engine processes and strips out. Typically, the JSP elements create text that is inserted into the results page. Any tags that the JSP engine does not recognize it passes on with the results page. Typically, these will be HTML or XML tags. Most JSP processing will be implemented through JSP-specific XML-based tags. JSP 1.0 includes a number of standard tags, referred to as the core tags. JSP pages can be used to generate both XML and HTML pages. For simple XML generation, developers can include XML tags and static template portions of the JSP page. For dynamic XML generation, use server-based Beans and customized tags that generate XML output. . ." Version 1.0 of the JSP Specification is now available or download. See also the JSP Web site and the press release: "Sun Unveils JavaServer Pages Technology. JavaServer Pages Technology Allows Developers to Build Dynamic, Cross-Platform Web-Based Applications."

  • [June 03, 1999]   DocZilla Alpha 2 for WinNT/95/98 and Linux.    A communiqué from Mirja Hukari announces the availability of the DocZilla SGML/XML browser for WinNT/95/98 and Linux. "CiTEC is proud to announce the first XML and SGML browser on Linux, DocZilla. DocZilla Alpha 2 runs on WinNT/95/98 and Linux. The Linux DocZilla Alpha comes with the Linux HOWTO's (technical documentation created using the LinuxDoc DTD) rendered directly from the original SGML format. The DocZilla XML/SGML Module Alpha 2 extends Mozilla Web technology with enhanced XML support, SGML, HyTime links, CGM graphics, CALS tables, and additional features from CSS2. The DocZilla XML/SGML Module will be a dynamically registered add-on component to the Netscape Gecko browser when it is released. The XML/SGML Module Alpha 2 is now available as a standalone application built with the Mozilla source code with the full web browser capabilities. The XML/SGML Module is the first offering from CiTEC of components for advanced Web publishing. Our next components will include: XML search, publishing tools, and document fragment delivery. The XML/SGML Module Alpha 2 comes with a Demo Kit with many excellent demonstrations of the use of SGML, XML, CSS, DOM, JavaScript, CGM and more with DocZilla. These demos are set up to be viewed with point-and-click simplicity."

  • [June 03, 1999]   New Book on XML Applications.    Simon St. Laurent posted an announcement to the XML-DEV list concerning the publication of Building XML Applications. Authored by Ethan Cerami and Simon St. Laurent, the book "focuses on Java XML parsers, including Ælfred, SAX (Simple API for XML), and Microsoft MS-XML. Other topics include XML/database integration and dynamically generated XML via Java Servlets." Published by McGraw-Hill (May 1999, ISBN: 0-07-134116-1). For additional information, see the volume description with Table of Contents, or the main bibliographic entry.

  • [June 01, 1999]   Sun Microsystem's Java Project X - Technology Release 2.    Advancing its Java and XML development, Sun Microsystems recently provided public information on the Java Project X Technology Release 2. JavaTM Project X Technology Release 2 "is a maintenance release that offers full conformance to the XML 1.0 specification and SAX 1.0 APIs, and continues to lead the industry with substantial improvements in performance. JavaTM Project X is the code name for XML technology services written completely in the Java language. Java Project X is experimental technology that provides developers with 'round trip' XML processing capabilities for developing robust, flexible XML-oriented applications and network services. The Technology Release 2 package provides core XML capabilities including a fast XML parser with optional validation and an in-memory object model tree that supports the W3C DOM Level 1 recommendation. With Java Project X, developers can build robust, flexible XML-oriented applications and network services. The release is addressed to Java developers who want access to Sun's fast and fully conformant core XML software for their development. The library supports fast parsing of XML documents, including optional validation, and supports an optional in-memory object model tree for manipulating and writing XML structured data. The library is 'core' in the sense that significant XML based applications can be written using only this functionality, and that it is intended that other XML software be layered on top of it. That is, it is a building block for developers. Technology Release 2 contains both binary and source. All classes are written exclusively in the Java language, and accordingly may be used with any JDK 1.1 conformant system, including the Java 2 SDK. Developers can redistribute the binary software in commercial products. See further information in the README document, in the Java Project X FAQ document, and in the installation instructions.

  • [June 01, 1999]   SAX2 Alpha Release for Java.    David Megginson has announced that an alpha version of SAX2 for Java is now available for download. SAX2 is "an update to the widely-implemented SAX 1.0 interface for XML parsers. SAX2 consists of two parts: (1) a new, extensible mechanism for querying and setting features and properties in SAX parsers in a standard way; and (2) a set of recommended core feature and property names. David says: "Be warned that this is very early, and that everything is subject to change. . . You also need the SAX 1.0 distribution to use SAX2. SAX2 does not replace SAX 1.0, but it does augment it by adding additional functionality for those who want it; for now, the feature/property setting and discovery is being handled through a separate interface. People are encouraged to start supporting SAX2, but SAX 1.0 implementations will not become obsolete. I've also hacked together a simple SAX2 wrapper for Microstar's AElfred SAX 1.0 driver, which more-or-less correctly reports what features are available (such as external entity expansion) and unavailable (such as validation). It is available through a separate download. Note that even SAX2 parsers are free not to implement any or all of the core features and properties."

  • [June 01, 1999]   GUI Interface for James Clark's XT.    Steve Ball (Zveno Pty Ltd.) announced the availability of TclXT.tcl on the XSL-List. "To make life a bit easier when processing XML documents using XT, I've written a small Tcl/Tk script that slaps a Tk GUI interface onto the Java processor. The interface is very rudimentary at the moment, but I'll be improving it over time. Apart from the software needed to run XT, this also requires Tcl/Tk 8.0.5 and Tcl Blend 1.1, both available from the Scriptics site, Installation and configuration instructions are in the script. They will be expanded here at a later stage." Clark's XT is a Java implementation of XSL Transformations, compatible with the W3C's April-21 working draft (WD-xslt-19990421).

  • [May 31, 1999]   Stephen Deach on XSL.    Stephen Deach (Adobe Systems Inc.) has posted a response to the article "XSL Considered Harmful," by Michael Leventhal. Stephen Deach is Editor of the W3C Working Draft Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) Specification ('formatting' portion of the specification, 21-April-1999). From the author's 'Conclusion': "If XSL provides a better mechanism to support online presentation, it is clearly in the web community's interest. If it provides a better solution to print it is clearly in the web community's interest. If it provides a common mechanism to support print and online presentation it is clearly in the web community's interest. If it does all of these, even better. From preliminary indications, XSL seems implementable and useful, thus Mr. Leventhal's request to stop work on XSL (at least until CSS-2 is fully implemented on every platform) is not only unrealistic, but is detrimental to the web, since it would delay widespread support for XSL." For references to other articles on XSL, see "Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL)."

  • [May 31, 1999]   Release of Expat Version 1.1.    James Clark has announced the release of Expat Version 1.1, which may be used under either the Mozilla Public License Version 1.1 or the GNU General Public License. "Expat (XML Parser Toolkit) is an XML 1.0 parser written in C. It aims to be fully conforming [but] is currently not a validating XML processor. New features of expat version 1.1 relative to 1.0 include: (1) Support for XML namespaces, (2) Ability to report comments, (3) Ability to report CDATA section boundaries, (4) Ability to report which attributes are defaulted, (5) Compile option to reduce object-code size at the expense of speed. Expat has built in support for the following encodings: utf-8, utf-16, iso-8859-1, and us-ascii. Additional encodings can be supported by using XML_SetUnknownEncodingHandler." For other information, see the the primary expat documentation page and the document "Frequently Asked Questions about Expat." For references to other XML parsers, see "XML Parsers and Parsing Toolkits."

  • [May 28, 1999]   Markup Languages: Theory and Practice - New Issue Published.    The second issue of Markup Languages: Theory and Practice has now been published, and contains several excellent articles on SGML/XML markup technologies. I have prepared a document with an annotated Table of Contents for Markup Languages: Theory and Practice, Volume 1, Number 2 (Spring 1999). Markup Languages: Theory and Practice (ISSN: 1099-6622) is published by MIT Press Journals. Editors in Chief for MLTP are B. Tommie Usdin (Mulberry Technologies, Inc.) and C. M. Sperberg-McQueen (University of Illinois/Chicago). MLTP is a "quarterly, peer-reviewed technical journal [and] the first journal devoted to research, development, and practical applications of text markup for computer processing, management, manipulation, and display. Specific areas of interest include new syntaxes for generic markup languages; refinements to existing markup languages; theory of formal languages as applied to document markup; systems for mark-up; uses of markup for printing, hypertext, electronic display, content analysis, information reuse and repurposing, search and retrieval, and interchange; shared applications of markup languages; and techniques and methodologies for developing markup languages and applications of markup languages." A full journal description with an overview of the Editorial Structure is provided in a separate document. See also the detailed annotated Table of Contents for MLTP Volume 1, Number 1 (Winter 1999).

  • [May 28, 1999]   HaXml.    Malcolm Wallace and Colin Runciman (University of York) are working on HaXml - "incorporating XmlLib, Haskell2Xml, and Xml2Haskell. HaXml is a collection of utilities for using Haskell and XML together. XmlLib is a combinator library for generic XML document processing, including transformation, editing, and generation. Haskell2Xml is a replacement class for Haskell's Show/Read classes: it allows you to read and write ordinary Haskell data as XML documents. We include a version of DrIFT which automatically derives this class for you. Xml2Haskell is a framework for translating any valid XML DTD into equivalent Haskell types. This allows you to generate, edit, and transform documents as normal typed values in programs, and to read and write them as human-readable XML documents. Development of these XML libraries was funded by Canon Research Europe Ltd.. The library is Open Source, i.e., the bits we wrote are copyright to us, but freely licensed for your use, modification, and re-distribution, provided you don't restrict anyone else's use of it. We are interested in hearing your feedback on these XML facilities - suggestions for improvements, comments, criticisms."

  • [May 28, 1999]   Tony - a XML Parser and Pretty Printer.    Christian Lindig (Software Technology Group, Technical University of Braunschweig) is at work on Tony - a XML Parser and Pretty Printer. "Tony is a lightweight XML parser and pretty printer written in Objective Caml. It has started as an experimental spare time project and has some limitation with respect to the XML definition [. . .] it's a magnitude smaller than most XML parsers and it offers pretty printing of the result. The current distribution contains a single application tony which reads a XML source and pretty prints it. It serves as a test case for the parser. The pretty printer is modeled after the pretty printing algebra suggested by Philip Wadler in his paper A Prettier Printer. Since the original pretty printer implementation relies heavily on lazy evaluation it was adopted for the strict evaluation of OCaml. It is provided in a library which is part of the distribution and may be interesting in its own right. There is a separate page that shows the pretty printing capablities of Tony. The distribution comes as a self contained tar-archive including makefiles and other build support. Although the source should compile on Windows, NT, and MacOS as well there is no support for building it on these platforms. Building Tony requires OCaml 2.0 or above since the lexer uses the new let feature introduced in OCaml 2.0. My devlopment platforms are Linux/Redhat 5.0/LinuxPPC and Linux/Debian 1.3/x86. There is currently no user documentation since this software is intended for developers. I would be glad to receive feedback and contributions to turn Tony into a useful XML parser and application. This has not been tested extensively -- so expect problems. You should have the XML defintion at hand in order to understand the problems you will encounter."

  • [May 28, 1999]   New Release of RXP Parser.    Richard Tobin has announced the availability of a new release of the RXP XML parser. RXP is "a validating XML parser written in C. It is used by the LT XML toolkit (University of Edinburgh, Language Technology Group) and in the Festival speech synthesis system." RXP is licensed under the GNU Public Licence. New features of RXP version 1.0.7 include: "(1) support for XML namespaces, and (2) an attempt at thread safety. 'XML namespaces don't mesh well with DTD-based validity, so you quite likely won't want to select both validation and namespace processing.' The thread-related changes (mostly getting rid of static variables) are completely untested, and I would particularly appreciate feedback from anyone who uses RXP in a multi-threaded envirnment. " Also in 1.0.7: "new improved bugs." For references to related tools, see "XML Parsers and Parsing Toolkits." Richard's RXP is available for online XML validation, and is listed with several other online validators.

  • [May 27, 1999]   Open eBook Authoring Group Releases Draft Specification.    The Open eBook Initiative's Authoring Group recently released a draft version [0.9b, May 24, 1999] of the Open eBook Specification. "The purpose of the Open E-Book 1.0 Publication Structure Specification is to provide a base specification for representing the content of electronic books. The specification is intended to give content providers (e.g., publishers, and others who have content to be displayed) and tool providers minimal and common guidelines which ensure seamless fidelity, accuracy, accessibility, and presentation of electronic content over various electronic book platforms. The OEB 1.0 specification combines subsets and applications of existing standards. Together, these facilitate the construction, organization, presentation, and unambiguous interchange of electronic documents (XML, XML Namespaces, HTML 4.0, [XHTML pending] CSS1, the Dublin Core metadata language, the USMARC relator code list, the Unicode character set, and XML DTDs for the subset of HTML supported). OEB is based on XML because of its generality and simplicity, and because it increases the likelihood that documents will survive longer. XML also provides tighter rules for the syntax of documents, which decreases the cost to implementers and reduces incompatibility across systems. Further, XML enables extensibility because it is not tied to any particular set of element types, it supports internationalization, and it encourages document markup that can represent document's internal parts more directly, making them amenable not only to formatting, but to many types of computer processing." In this specification, an 'OEB Package' is "an XML file that is valid according to a DTD defined in this specification. This file must be included in every OEB Publication to identify all other files or content portions, and to provide descriptive and access information about them." For other references, see "Open eBook Initiative." See also the press releases from the eBook Initiative and from Microsoft.

  • [May 27, 1999]   User Interface Markup Language (UIML).    The XML User Interface Markup Language (UIML) "is used for defining the actual interface elements. This means the buttons, menus, lists and other controls that allow a program to function in a graphical interface like Windows or Motif. UIML is used to define the location, and design of controls. It also defines actions to take when certain events take place." UIML thus "allows designers to describe the user interface in generic terms, and then use a style description to map the interface to various operating systems (OSs) and appliances. Thus, the universality of UIML makes it possible to describe a rich set of interfaces and reduces the work in porting the user interface to another platform (e.g., from a graphical windowing system to a hand-held appliance) to changing the style description." [Problem:] There has been an explosion of ways to create user interfaces (UIs) for Web and network applications. Fueling this trend is an explosion in the variety of appliances that could be used for Internet access. At least five Internet appliance categories are popular today. This has created a Tower of Babel for user interface designers and software developers. . . A solution is to build interfaces with a single, universal language free of assumptions about appliances and interface technology. [A Harmonia technical paper] introduces such a language, the User Interface Markup Language (UIML), an XML-compliant language. UIML insulates the interface designer from the peculiarities of different appliances through style sheets. A measure of the power of UIML is that it can replace hand-coding of Java AWT or Swing user interfaces."

  • [May 27, 1999]   Updated Version of 'The XML FAQ'.    Peter Flynn (University College Cork) has posted an updated edition of Frequently Asked Questions about the Extensible Markup Language: The XML FAQ. Version 1.5 (1 June 1999). This FAQ document "contains the most frequently-asked questions (with answers) about XML, the Extensible Markup Language. It is intended as a first resource for users, developers, and the interested reader, and should not be regarded as a part of the XML Specification. [It is] maintained on behalf of the World Wide Web Consortium's XML Special Interest Group by Peter Flynn, (University College Cork), with the collaboration of (. . . numerous people)." The document is available in several formats (e.g., SGML, HTML, Postscript, ASCII, print). It has been translated into Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Spanish; Czech and Greek translations are also in preparation. Additions to the FAQ include (Q/As like): "A.6 What is the difference between SGML/XML and C or C++?" and "D.3 Which should I use in my DTD, attributes or elements?" See a list of related documents in "XML FAQ Documents: Answers to "Frequently-Asked-Questions".

  • [May 26, 1999]   Landmark Publication Event: SoftQuad's XMetaL Ships.    An announcement from SoftQuad Software Inc. describes the much-anticipated release of XMetaL Version 1.0 - "a full-featured, easy-to-use XML authoring tool." According to the announcement, "XMetaL is an advanced, simple to deploy XML authoring tool that delivers unprecedented ease of use to customers working with XML and SGML. Modeled on common word processing applications, it offers a familiar, easy-to-use, authoring environment that virtually eliminates unnecessary learning curves and training costs. By easily creating XML content, XMetaL eliminates the need to convert documents authored in traditional word processors, streamlines the publishing process and substantially reduces conversion expenses. XMetaL's extensive customization features enable the authoring environment to be optimized for any DTD, in many instances without programming. Its COM-based architecture and support for any Windows scripting language ensure that XMetaL can be extended and integrated into any existing publishing infrastructure. Its comprehensive support of SGML and web technologies makes XMetaL the ideal tool for any hybrid SGML/XML environment. Content creators will benefit from XMetaL's ease of use and IT professionals will appreciate its simple deployment capabilities. XMetaL is ideal for creating content for technical publications, knowledge management, on-line publishing or any other application that benefits from XML." See the "XMetaL Features" document for further description. For a list of similar tools, see "XML Document Editing, DTD Editing, Stylesheet Editing, Formatting, Browsing, and Delivery Tools."

  • [May 25, 1999]   OASIS Launches XML.ORG Industry Registry/Repository to Enable XML for E-Business.    OASIS has announced "the creation of XML.ORG, the first global XML industry portal to be operated by a non-profit corporation devoted to open information exchange. Over 23 industry-leading corporations, organizations and individual experts have rallied to voice their support for the formation of XML.ORG. Central to XML.ORG will be an open industry XML registry and repository offering automated public access to XML schemas. The registry/repository will play a critical enabling role in the use of industry-defined XML applications for electronic commerce, business-to-business transactions, and tools and application interoperability. The debut of XML.ORG signifies a major step in OASIS' ongoing registry and repository efforts, work that has been in progress for the last the 12 months. In keeping with its consensus-focused mission, OASIS will strive to ensure interoperability with existing and emerging XML initiatives, and will continue to actively solicit participation by any similar efforts." For other referrences, see the main database entry. See also the XML.ORG FAQ document and the "Invitation to Participate." For related initiatives and reference documents, see "XML Registry and Repository."

  • [May 25, 1999]   Website Updates for 'Chinese XML Now!'    Rick Jelliffe has announced a significant update to the Website 'Chinese XML Now!' Four FAQ documents have been updated, including the QAML FAQ (The Question and Answer Markup Language, for FAQs); there is a Chinese version of Dave Raggett's "tidy" conversion utility; the RDF DTD has been updated; the site is now using well-formed XHTML.

  • [May 24, 1999]   XML Translator Generator (XTransGen).    Rakesh Mohan posted an announcement to the XSL mailing list concerning the release of IBM's XML Translator Generator (XTransGen) tool. "XTransGen enables you to convert XML documents and data based on one DTD to another without writing XSL scripts or any program code. XTransGen is [thus] similar to XSL in that it allows translation of XML documents form one DTD to another. However, unlike XSL, no scripts or programs need to be written. XSL allows more types of translations than XTransGen. In future releases, XTransGen will add the capability of generating appropriate XSL scripts for the translation. XTransGen can also be used to filter data from HTML documents into XML documents. This process works in two phases: (1) Setup: first a common example in the two DTDs is used to generate a translator once. (2) Use: this translator is then used to translate XML documents. So [For generating a translator]: To translate documents from one DTD to another, first the same example data needs to be represented in both the DTDs. A simple way to do this is to take an example XML document using one set of tags and manually edit to generate an XML document using another set of tags. Next, the mapping facility in XTransGen is to generate a translator. This translator generation needs to be done only once for a given pair of DTDs. For translation: Each time one has a new XML document based on the first DTD, the translator generated in the previous step is used to translate it to an XML document based on the second DTD." XTransGen runs on Java 1.1 and Java 2, but not Java 1.0. It currently uses IBM's XML for Java parser version 1.1.16 available form alphaWorks and included in the distribution. XTransGen is now available for download from IBM alphaWorks.

  • [May 24, 1999]   Microsoft Announces First Draft BizTalk Framework Specifications and Launches BizTalk.Org.    From a recent announcement: Microsoft has announced "the availability of the first draft specifications of the BizTalk Framework, a new BizTalk.Org Web site, and charter members of the BizTalk steering committee. These BizTalk Framework initiatives aim to accelerate the widespread adoption of Extensible Markup Language (XML) for electronic commerce and application integration. Draft specifications for BizTalk Framework Tags and BizTalk Framework Documents have been published on the BizTalk.Org Web site at The draft BizTalk Framework specifications outline XML design guidelines for developing and implementing BizTalk Framework schemas and provide organizations with an initial blueprint for building BizTalk-enabled software. Introduced in March, the BizTalk Framework makes it easy for businesses to exchange information between software applications and conduct business over the Internet with trading partners and customers. The BizTalk Framework includes a design framework for implementing an XML schema and a set of XML tags used in messages sent between applications. Microsoft, other software companies and industry standards bodies will use the BizTalk Framework to produce XML schemas in a consistent manner to enable integration across industries and between business systems, regardless of platform, operating system or underlying technology." See the full text of the press release, "Microsoft Announces First Draft BizTalk Framework Specifications, Launches BizTalk.Org. Microsoft, Industry Partners and Customers Form Steering Committee To Oversee Development and Submission of XML-Based BizTalk Schemas." Also: the Microsoft - Commerce One announcement. For other information and references, see "BizTalk Framework."

  • [May 24, 1999]   Real Estate Transaction Standard.    As highlighted in a recent press release and in Web site documentation, the "Real Estate Transaction Standard (RETS) is the new open standard for exchanging real estate transaction information. Consisting of a transaction specification and a standard Extensible Markup Language (XML) Document Type Definition (DTD), RETS is being implemented by many real estate industry leaders in their next generation of real estate information systems." Version 1.0 of a DTD (Real Estate Transaction Specification [RETS] DTD) is available. The Web site at RETS-WG.ORG "is the central repository for information about the Real Estate Transaction Standard, or RETS. The web site is maintained by the RETS Working Group, which is the organization responsible for publishing, maintaining and enhancing the standard. The RETS Working Group maintains three mailing lists to which interested developers and users can subscribe for information and discussion about RETS." For additional details and references, see "Real Estate Transaction Markup Language (RETML)."

  • [May 24, 1999]   New Version of FOP.    James Tauber recently announced the availablity of a new version of FOP: A Formatting Object to PDF Translator. FOP is a "formatter driven by XSL formatting objects. It is a Java application that reads an XML document representing formatting objects (e.g., the output of XT) and then turns it into a PDF document. FOP version 0.6.1 is a complete re-write in light of the most recent XSL working draft. It only implements a fraction of the formatting objects and properties but the overall framework is now there and it should be relatively easy to add more support (assuming the XSL working draft doesn't change too radically). FOP should still be considered alpha. There is no functional difference from 0.6.1 as far as the XSL side of things goes. Rather, the way FOP is invoked has changed. It is now possible to: (1) pass FOP a DOM Document rather than a filename. This makes it possible to embed FOP in other applications (such as XSLT engines and web servers), and (2) use any SAX parser, not just XP as before. I'm really keen to find out if people are able to get FOP working with a DOM Document . . ." For related tools, see "XSL Software Support."

  • [May 24, 1999]   Release of 'Internationalized' TclXML Version 1.2.    Steve Ball (Zveno Pty. Ltd.) has announced that TclXML version 1.2 -- the All-Tcl XML parser -- is now available for download. "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 only works with Tcl 8.1 or later. Since it is pure Tcl, no compilation or extensions are required. TclXML will run on any platform where Tcl runs: Unix, Windows and Macintosh. . . Version 1.2 includes support for Unicode documents, using the new facilities of Tcl 8.1. There are no API-level changes." Note that Steve Ball "is 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 [W3C] DOM is called TclDOM." For a listing of other XML parsers, see "XML Parsers and Parsing Toolkits."

  • [May 21, 1999]   XSL Stylesheets for DocBook.    Norman Walsh announced on the Davenport/DocBook mailing list that a provisional draft of XSL Stylesheets for DocBook is now available. "For the adventurous of heart, I've put a first cut at XSL stylesheets for DocBook up at I've tested them in XT, but nothing else. This draft release of the stylesheets (version 0.01) from 21-May-1999 "is still experimental, but most of the elements in DocBook are handled in one way or another. The notable exceptions being bibliographies, glossaries, and indexes. They won't work in IE5. I will probably publish an IE5 stylesheet for the 'Simplified' DocBook DTD . . ." DocBook "is an SGML DTD maintained by the DocBook Technical Committee of OASIS [that is] particularly well suited to books and papers about computer hardware and software." 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." DocBk XML contains an XMLified version of the CALS table fragment and an XMLified version of the OASIS Exchange Table model. The version-specific formal public identifier is "-//Norman Walsh//DTD DocBk XML V3.1.3//EN". The most significant change in version 3.1.3 is that the DTD is compatible with the XML parser in Microsoft Internet Explorer 5. Additional details on this release are found in the README file. Note that Norman Walsh also recently announced a pre-release/draft version of a "Simple" DocBook Subset. Nik Clayton announced that the FreeBSD Handbook has now been completely converted from LinuxDoc to DocBook. For more information about OASIS and the DocBook DTD, see the DocBook Web site.

  • [May 21, 1999]   XSLT Tutorial Material Update.    Ken Holman recently announced an update of his online XSLT Tutorial Material. Produced by Ken as part of the Crane Softwrights Ltd. "Training Programmes and Training Materials," the "Introduction to XSL Transformations" is structured as a collection of tutorial references with detailed examples and quick references to use as supplemental material to published standards and recommendations. The entire set is sold commercially, but the first three tutorial lessons are free. The materials "have been revised to reflect all the constructs of the 19990421 XSLT Working Draft. The material includes the original information on IE5 and its relationship to the 19991216 Working Draft, though the focus of the tutorial is the W3C 19990421 XSLT Working Draft. Working code fragments are included. The free download of the overview pages and the on-line purchase of the commercial materials are available through the link on our website home page. Due to a frequent request of visitors considering purchase, the complete text of the first three modules is now also available to be downloaded for free. The quick index module (Module 2) is quite lengthy as it includes alphabetical listings of the XSLT vocabulary and functions, and a cross-referenced summary of productions. The third module gives an example of the writing style of the remainder of the modules." See also the "testimonial" from Mike Brown regarding four online reference resources for learning about XSLT.

  • [May 21, 1999]   Questioning XSL.    A forum for an "XSL debate" was announced by, featuring especially a controversial paper by Michael Leventhal entitled "XSL Considered Harmful." The stage has been set for this soul searching in the release of a paper by Håkon Wium Lie (Opera Software, Norway), "Formatting Objects Considered Harmful"; it was announced on April 16, 1999, and generated a thread with scores of responses on the XSL Mailing List. The proposed 'debate' is framed provocatively using rhetoric of this sort: "How necessary is XSL? Is it just too complicated? Is it really an improvement over what we have today? Might XSL even be considered harmful to the Web? is presenting Michael Leventhal's controversial view that XSL is, indeed, dangerous. Whether any of us agree or disagree with him, his questions deserve some consideration and we suspect that they are likely to provoke some debate. . ." Tim Bray has written an Editor's Note which explains why felt it had "a clear responsibility to follow up on this set of issues and see if we can shake loose some answers to Michael Leventhal's good questions." This form of doubt about XSL, unless interest in the topic has already worn thin on various news groups, is guaranteed to erupt periodically on various mailing lists for weeks and months to come. For example, a posting as of this morning, by Paul Prescod: "I think that it is worth noting that most of the people who are in the [putative] 'XSL camp' are people are thoroughly familiar with scripting languages. The reverse is not true. We have tried both and found the XSL way to be more convenient. There is no programming language that quite captures XSL's optimized mix of 'polymorphic dispatch', pattern matching and convenient template description." [XML Developers' List]. Or: "I find many of Michael Leventhal's arguments of the form: 'You don't need XSL since you can do it with DOM' to be analogous to saying 'You don't need SQL since you can get the data out by using assembly language to iterate the bytes on the disk blocks to retrieve what you need!'" [Steve Muench, XML-DEV]. And another: "I got tired out with the last debate on this issue that took place here; some people find langauge wars fun, [but] I personally find them devisive, and prone to entrench people deeper into 'camps'. . ." [Guy Murphy, XSL-List]. And so on.

  • [May 20, 1999]   Updated XML Technologies from IBM alphaWorks.    The IBM alphaWorks XML development team has announced an update of several XML tools. The new release of LotusXSL version 0.17.0 now "supports the April 24 W3C XSLT Working Draft. New features of the Draft and of LotusXSL include a standard extension mechanism for JavaScript and Java, variables and template parameters, math expressions, access to system properties, standardized multiple document input, addressability of nodes by index, XPointer-like axes addressing, string functions, and generalized, all-around more powerful expressions. LotusXSL features include better trace facilities, the ability to control formatter from the command line, and the ability to pass stylesheet parameters from the command line." The IBM Xeena editor "is now JDK 1.2 compatible; new important features enable validating elements and changing encoding of documents. This XML editor takes as input a given 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 visual paradigm requires a minimum learning curve as only valid constructs/elements are presented to the user in a context-sensitive palette." The IBM XML Parser for Java "has lots of new updates: (1) DOM Implementation classes are no longer final, (2) The license is modified (no termination clause), (3) Multiple parser objects can be active at once, (4) bug fixes."

  • [May 20, 1999]   New OpenMath Project XSL Examples.    David Carlisle has announced the availability of a revised set of XML/XSLT/HTML files from the OpenMath Project. The documents will be interest to anyone tracking the 'semantic markup of mathematics' but they are more broadly relevant as examples of XSLT. The new materials include XML source files, XSLT transformations to an alternative XML formats, and XSLT transformations to HTML. Carlisle says: "As the input files, the XSLT, and the output are all available it might prove useful as some working examples using the current draft of XSL. James Clark's XT implementation was used, but the stylesheets should run with any conforming XSL system as no extensions have been used." The OpenMath Project "is a three-year project funded by the European Commission under the Esprit Multimedia Standards Initiative (project No. 24.969), commencing September 1997. It is part of a wider community which has been working in this area since 1993." With activities coordinated by the OpenMath Society, "OpenMath is an emerging standard for communicating semantically-rich representations of mathematical objects between all kinds of computer programs. The communication can take place between software packages and on the WorldWide Web. The associated tools, which will be developed as part of the project, will permit the display, manipulation and access of mathematical information stored electronically. OpenMath is highly relevant for heavy industry, working with large engineering type databases (e.g., aerospace, car manufacturing) as well as technical and mathematical publishing. OpenMath intends to provide standards for mechanisms which permit the interactive manipulation of mathematical objects inside a web browser. Envisaged results of the OpenMath activities are: (1) The OpenMath Standard: a mechanism for representing mathematical objects and describing their semantic content; (2) a mechanism for introducing new content and user-extension of the standard; (2) A range of Content Dictionaries: accepted collections of definitions of mathematical concepts; (4) Tools for manipulating OpenMath objects and Content Dictionaries; (5) A range of applications and plug-ins which use OpenMath in several areas." Note that the OpenMath Standard has a specification for XML encoding as well as for binary encoding. For additional references, see "OpenMath Standard."

  • [May 20, 1999]   C++DOM -- An Implementation of the DOM Core.    A communiqué from Dashamir Hoxha reports on "C++DOM" - An Implementation of DOM Core in C++, available under the terms of GNU General Public License. This C++DOM implementation was completed as part of a graduation project by Dashamir Hoxha and Aurel Cami. They say: "We needed a DOM implementation in C++ and in UNIX (and in public domain), but we couldn't find such a software, so we decided to implement it ourselves. We have built it on top of expat (XML parser in C, by James Clark). We have tried to remain as faithful as possible to the DOM specification and to the 'Java Language Binding' of DOM, however some things are not implemented yet (see the README document ). We have also made an attemp at validation, we have extended DOM with objects that are needed to represent a DTD, we have written a parser with 'lex' and 'yacc' that parses a DTD file and builds a structure under DocumentType, however the parser is not yet validating."

  • [May 20, 1999]   BioDOM 'xml-mol' Mailing List for Biological Markup Languages.    Adam Moore (Virtual School of Molecular Sciences) has announced a new mailing list for "the discussion of issues concerning the implementation of XML-based biological and chemical applications and data with particular reference to sequences and structure." Some specific fields of interest central to the new 'xml-mol' BioDOM mailing list include: "(1) Parsing legacy data into XML, (2) Document Object Model (DOM) handling of bioData, and (3) Developing open frameworks for XML-aware bio applications [e.g., BioDOM products/services]." An archive of email postings to the list is available online.

  • [May 18, 1999]   SAX2 Alpha Documentation.    David Megginson has announced an early ("alpha") draft of documentation for SAX Version 2 (SAX2). SAX ('The Simple API for XML') version 1.0 is a "standard interface for event-based XML parsing, developed collaboratively by the members of the XML-DEV mailing list [under the leadership of David Megginson]. SAX 1.0 was released on Monday 11-May-1998, and is free for both commercial and non-commercial use. SAX2 is an update to the widely-implemented SAX 1.0 interface for XML parsers. SAX2 consists of two parts: (1) a new, extensible mechanism for querying and setting features and properties in SAX parsers in a standard way; and (2) a set of recommended core feature and property names. In this draft version, SAX2 parsers "are not required to support the SAX2: Core Features. They are provided only as a common starting point, and this list may grow in the future. For the sake of interoperability, however, it is recommended that all SAX2 Parsers at least recognize these features and return useful information about what they do support." Proposed SAX2: Core Properties are also sketched in the documentation; in SAX2, applications can explicitly query a parser to find out what properties are known and can attempt to set or get values for known properties. The methods for setting and getting properties are in the Parser2 interface. The heart of SAX2 is the use of URIs as unique identifiers for features and properties: as with XML Namespaces, the use of URIs allows people to define feature and property names in separate packages (or, namespaces) to avoid collision and to make the names globally recognizable. Furthermore, adding new functionality to SAX will not require changes to the interfaces or code, and existing SAX implementations will continue to work." Note: As of 18-May-1999, this documentation "is an early draft, and is subject to change."

  • [May 18, 1999]   XFA - XML Forms Architecture.    A new XML Forms Architecture (XFA) is presented by JetForm as "the Internet's first open standards-based forms architecture that embraces all aspects of process automation - the capture, presentation, movement, processing and output of information. XFA extends the value of XML by providing specific functionality for form users and the applications that use and produce electronic forms. JetForm's XFA specification provides a standard and common communication method for many different applications, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. JetForm's XML Forms Architecture (XFA) is an application of XML for electronic forms that describes: (1) Multiple views of the document and the data [on-screen, print, Web, publish, etc.] (2) Support for both merging of form and data, and separation of form and data. (3) Absolute and relative positioning of form objects and data. (4) Support for multiple scripting and calculation engines. (5) Support for digital signatures, regardless of how form and data are used. (6) The use of XML data definitions for interoperability." An XFA Technical Summary white paper provides a in-depth look at this new forms architecture. A specification entitled "XFA-FormCalc" describes "a simple scripting language optimized for creating e-form centric logic and calculations . . . as part of a family of specifications referred to as the XML Forms Architecture, [it] describes an XML based language, XFA-Template, for modelling electronic form templates. XFA provides for the specific needs of electronic forms and the applications that use them. A separate specification "XFA-Template" describes the open and extensible construction of secure forms with high fidelity composition, automated calculation and validation, pluggable user-interface components, and flexible data handling." For other references, see "XML Forms Architecture (XFA)." Note: the acronym 'XFA' is used in connection with XML also for 'XML for All', a web scripting language with strong XML capabilities and database access functionality. See also on XML forms: (1) Extensible Forms Description Language (XFDL), and (2) "Perl Module CGI::XMLForm for XML Forms."

  • [May 18, 1999]   OmniMark 5 is Free.    John R. McFadden, President of OmniMark Technologies Corporation, announced at a recent OMUG Developers Conference that "OmniMark 5 is free." OmniMark has extensive native support for XML/SGML, making it a programming/scripting language of choice for many developers. Details of the new arrangement are provided in a press release, "OmniMark Technologies Corporation Challenges Perl. Company Announces OmniMark 5 Programming Language is Free." OmniMark's 'Key Features and Benefits' are described as follows: "OmniMark is English-like [natural-language syntax], and is task-specific. Rich, expressive pattern-matching makes OmniMark more readable and more powerful than Perl. [Its] common programming language constructs including conditional statements, loops, variables, functions, macros, and arrays - including associative arrays. Developer libraries for database and network connectivity, and external functions to call modules written in C, C++, Java, or other languages. Web relays (ISAPI, NSAPI, Apache, Generic CGI). [It has a ] straightforward I/O model for powerful streaming support. Referents enable sophisticated data resequencing without the need for complex algorithms. [It supports] advanced link management technology that lets programmers automate hypertext link generation easily and accurately." Particulars from the announcement: "The OmniMark programming language has developed a strong following since it was first introduced 10 years ago. A high level language, OmniMark is a clear alternative to Perl for developing server-based web or network applications and CGI scripts without having to make the leap to Java. 'OmniMark programs are easier to write, read, and maintain,' said John McFadden. 'OmniMark 5 combines a server safe network programming model with an unmatched text processing language. Throw in its intuitive, integrated approach to XML and you have a compelling combination.' To make programming in OmniMark even easier, McFadden also announced the release of the OmniMark Integrated Development Environment (IDE). This powerful Windows-based environment includes an OmniMark-smart editor and interactive debugger which lets developers write, analyze, and perfect applications quickly and cost effectively. For example, the IDE can be used to quickly develop and test CGI scripts interactively without invoking a web server. OmniMark IDE can be purchased over the web for $995." See also: "OmniMark Home and School IDE. Free for use at home or at school!" and "OmniMark - The Network Programming Language."

  • [May 17, 1999]   XML Information Set Working Draft Published.    The W3C XML Information Set Working Group, under the chairmanship of David Megginson, has published a working draft of the XML Information Set. The document is edited by John Cowan and David Megginson. This working draft specification "describes an abstract data set containing the information available from an XML document. [It] specifies an abstract data set called the XML information set (Infoset), a description of the information available in a well-formed XML document. An XML document's information set consists of two or more information items (the information set for any well-formed XML document will contain at least the document information item and one element information item). An information item is an abstract representation of some component of an XML document: each information item has a set of associated properties, some of which are required to be available through the information set, and some of which are optionally available. The XML information set does not require or favor a specific interface or class of interfaces. This specification presents the information set as a tree for the sake of clarity and simplicity, but there is no requirement that the XML information set be made available through a tree structure; other types of interfaces, including (but not limited to) event-based and query-based interfaces are also capable of providing information conforming to the information set. As long as the information in the information set is made available to XML applications in one way or another, the requirements of this document are satisfied. The XML information set can contain eleven different types of information items. . ." Comments on this XML Information Set working draft should be sent to the editors at; comments received on this channel will be publicly archived.

  • [May 17, 1999]   New Release of Clark's XT.    James Clark recently announced the release of XT Version 19990514. XT is a Java implementation of XSL Transformations (viz.,W3C XSL Transformations [XSLT] Specification). The current version of XT implements the 'WD-xslt-19990421' working draft version of XSLT. The new release of XT incorporates "relatively few changes. . . a couple of bugs have been fixed, and the performance of the / and // operators has been optimized." See "XML Parsers and Parsing Toolkits" for a complete listing of XML parsers.

  • [May 17, 1999]   Perl Module CGI::XMLForm for XML Forms.    Matthew Sergeant has prepared an online sample application that uses his Perl CGI::XMLForm module. CGI::XMLForm is an extension of which reads/generates formated XML. It stores the form element names as XSL/XQL-like queries, and creates XML based on the form. The module can either create form field values from XML based on XQL style queries (full XQL is notsupported - this module is designed for speed), or it can create XML from form values. The online example is a "resume/CV editor"; see the demo at and view the underlying HTML source to see what's going on. See also on XML forms: (1) Extensible Forms Description Language (XFDL), and (2) "XML Forms Architecture (XFA)."

  • [May 17, 1999]   Maintenance Release of the Oracle XML Parser for Java.    Mark Scardina announced a third maintenance release of the Oracle XML Parser for Java. This 'bug-fix release' is available for download. Oracle's XML Parser for Java: (1) supports validation and non-validation modes; (2) has built-in Error Recovery until fatal error; (3) supports DTD caching for improved performance; (4) supports W3C XML 1.0 Recommendation; (5) provides an Intergrated Document Object Model (DOM) Level 1.0 API; (6) provides an Integrated SAX 1.0 API; (7) supports the W3C Proposed Recomendation for XML Namespaces; (8) upports documents in the following encodings: UTF-8, UTF-16, ISO-10646-UCS-2, ISO-10646-UCS-4, US-ASCII, EBCDIC-CP-*, ISO-8859-1to -9, Shift_JIS, BIG 5, GB2312, EUC-JP, EUC-KR, KOI8-R, ISO-2022-JP, and ISO-2022-KR." See "XML Parsers and Parsing Toolkits" for a complete listing of XML parsers.

  • [May 17, 1999]   Alpha Version of 'Some2XML' Converter.    Paul Tchistopolksii announced the availability of a perl script (alpha version) 'Some2XML' which can be used 'to produce a well-formed XML documents from text files that already have some structure, even their original structure is not too much XML-alike'. See the author's Web site and the URL for download.

  • [May 14, 1999]   Architag Real-Time XML Editor.    Architag International has created an online XML editor called the "Architag Real-Time XML Editor." The editor provides visual ("real-time") feedback about document well-formedness and validity. Based upon XML parsing facilities in MSIE 5.0, the editor has distinct pedagogical value. The "key to the functionality of the editor," Brian Travis says, "lies in its use of the XML DOM object." Description: "The best way to learn about XML is to start creating documents. There is nothing better than real-time feedback that alerts you as soon as you enter something wrong. This demonstration gives you a way to start learning about XML by making mistakes and getting instant feedback to improve your knowledge. XML's simplicity makes it possible to write parsers in a very small space. An XML parser can fit nicely as a COM object called from a Web page. The Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 has XML parsing capabilities built in via its implementation of the W3C Document Object Model (DOM). The DOM makes interaction with the structure of an XML document easy to do. Using only a few lines of browser-based scripting code, the page demonstrated here provides the ability to write XML documents and get instant feedback as to the state of the validity or well-formedness of what you write. This demonstration shows the versatility of XML. The editor will check the well-formedness of an XML document just as easily as it checks your document against a document type definition or other schema definition. You will need to get a copy of Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 to run this demo." The editing tool may be downloaded for local (offline) editing, or may be used online. Other online XML validation tools are referenced in the document "Check or Validate XML." Note that the Architag editor was featured in the most recent issue of <TAG>: "Real-time XML Editor: A Technology Preview," <TAG> Volume 13, Number 4 (April 1999), pages 1-4.

  • [May 13, 1999]   Open Travel Alliance to Build XML-Based Thesaurus.    A recent announcement issued by the Air Transport Association (ATA) describes the formation of an Open Travel Alliance initiative which will use an XML-based 'thesaurus' to facilitate business communications. "Key travel suppliers from the air, car and hotel industries with the support of the Air Transport Association (ATA) and The Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association (HEDNA), announce the formation of the Open Travel Alliance (the Alliance). The Alliance is a travel industry group, assembled to create and promote new electronic commerce standards that improve the way information is exchanged between suppliers, distributors and consumers. This new initiative, led by air, car and hotel suppliers, has set as its initial goal the delivery of a directory of common industry data labels to be exchanged among the travel supplier, distributor, and customer reservations computer systems. . . One of the Alliance's first steps in moving toward this goal is the creation of an 'open' set of standard XML definitions to facilitate communication between users. This 'thesaurus' of terms will allow users to choose how they communicate between systems. . . Each sector of the industry is well established in its own industry accepted terminology. For example, a 'passenger' to an airline, may equal a 'guest' to an hotelier, a 'customer' to a car rental company, or a 'client' to a travel agency or online service provider. Each industry can define its own host terms, having the XML dictionary interpret and mesh the data into a common language for communication and use. By working in cross industry sectors, each sector can identify their particular industry terms. The final product of the alliance is a dictionary of common usage terms used through out the industry. This dictionary of terms will then be compiled and put into XML standards. . . Xou Technologies, an Atlanta, GA based software company, which has been pioneering the application of XML to travel, first gathered members of the air, car and hotel industries to better understand the issues and to see if there was an interest in working together."

  • [May 13, 1999]   New and Updated XML Tools from IBM.    Several new or updated XML tools have been released recently by IBM's XML development team, and are available through the XML Developers Zone. Among these tools is xCentral, announced at the GCA's XML Europe '99 Conference in Granada, Spain. xCentral is "the Internet's first search engine designed to look exclusively for Extensible Markup Language (XML) information on the Web, such as XML documents, document type declarations (DTDs), style-sheets, press releases, tutorials, Web pages and bulletin board postings. XML enables programmers and customers faster product development cycles, improves time to market, and expands networking and marketplace opportunities by leveraging existing resources of the online XML community. xCentral is a new feature available today on IBM's XML Web site." See the xCentral press release for other details.

  • [May 13, 1999]   New SP 1.3 Binaries for Linux.    Peter Flynn recently announced the availability of a new set of SP binaries for Linux. SP is James Clark's 'SGML System Conforming to International Standard ISO 8879 -- Standard Generalized Markup Language'. Modulo certain limitations, SP supports the parsing of XML as well as SGML. The new binaries for Linux "were built from the SP 1.3 source from using g++ (gcc version egcs-2.90.29 980515 (egcs-1.0.3 release)) under RedHat 5.2 and avoid the problems associated with the earlier binaries which require the old a.out libraries (which are no longer the default installation for RH 5.2)."

  • [May 11, 1999]   Topic Map Sample from the GCA XML Europe '99 Conference.    Michel Biezunski has prepared a sample Topic Map application from an extract of the CDROM which contains the GCA XML Europe '99 Conference proceedings. The Topic Navigation Map standard (ISO/IEC 13250) was one of the "hot topics" at the recent XML Europe '99 Conference. Topic Maps standardize "a notation for interchangeably representing information about the structure of information resources used to define topics, and the relationships between topics. A topic consists of locations where information relevant to a particular concept can be found. A set of one or more interrelated documents that employs the notation defined by this Standard is called a Topic Navigation Map (TNM). In general, the structural information conveyed by TNMs includes: (1) groupings of addressable information objects. Objects so grouped are said to form a topic (or, are said to share the semantics of the topic). (2) relationships between topics (associations)." The extract/sample prepared by Biezunski contains five articles related to topic maps and groves. This topic map application has been published using Topic Map Loom, also used to deliver the conference proceedings on CDROM (along with an Inso DynaText format). Two of the presentations in the sample introduce the new topic map standard, and provide excellent tutorials: "Euler, Topic Maps, and Revolution" (by Steve Pepper) and "Topic Maps at a Glance" (by Michel Biezunski). Note that the revised text of the Topic Navigation Map standard has been approved by SC34/WG3. Steve Pepper, (Convenor, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34/WG 3) recently indicated that "the standard will be sent out for its final two month ballot very shortly; if all goes well the standard will be official some time in July [1999]." The ISO/IEC 13250 editors are Michel Biezunski, Martin Bryan, and Steven R. Newcomb. For related information on TNMs, see "Topic Navigation Maps."

  • [May 11, 1999]   Silfide XML Parser Version 0.85 Released.    Patrice Bonhomme recently announced a new release of the Silfide XML Parser - SXP. SXP is part of a larger environment. "XSilfide is a client/server based environment for distributing language ressources. The whole eXtended Silfide architecture is based on (1) the XML recommandation for encoding textual ressources and transient messages (server/server, client/server) and (2) the Java language for the implementation of both the server side tools and the client workspace. The composition of XSilfide: (1) Silfide XML Parser (SXP), a parser and a complete XML API in Java; (2) Network Management Unit (NMU), allowing the management of the Silfide network; (3) Silfide Query Language (XQL), a generalized query language based on the XPointer recommendation and integrated in a schema 'ala' SQL ; (4) Silfide DataBase (SilDB), for the storage of XML ressources (currently in specification); 5) Silfide Interfaces Language (SIL), an XML application ( (DTD) for encoding data and transient messages within the Silfide network. (6) Silver, a 100% Java Web server."

  • [May 11, 1999]   GMD-IPSI XQL Engine Updated.    Gerald Huck recently announced the availability of the first non-beta version (1.0.0) of the GMD-IPSI XQL engine. The GMD-IPSI XQL engine is "a Java based storage and query application for large XML documents. The functionality may be accessed via command line invocation or the Java API. The engine consists of two main parts: (1) A persistent implementation of W3C-DOM Document objects; (2) A full implementation of the XQL language." Note that the XQL Engine is one of several XML projects under development at GMD/IPSI (German National Research Center for Information Technology / Integrated Publication and Information Systems Institute). See also on XML query, generally: "XML and Query Languages."

  • [May 10, 1999]   Release of XML Perl Library libxml 0.01beta.    Ken MacLeod recently announced on the Perl-XML Mailing List that the Perl 'libxml 0.01beta' has been released. This 'libxml' library is a collection of Perl modules for working with XML. POD style documentation is included in all non-alpha modules and scripts. The Perl libxml currently contains the following modules: (1) XML::Parser::PerlSAX is a Perl SAX parser using XML::Parser -- which uses James Clark's Expat XML Parser. (2) XML::ESISParser is a validating Perl SAX parser using James Clark's `nsgmls' SGML/XML Parser. ESISParser supports both XML and SGML document instances. Unless you need validation, you should probably be using XML::Parser::PerlSAX or XML::Parser. (3) Data::Grove and it's helpers [Data::Grove::Tied, Data::Grove::Visitor] provide a base class for deeply nested or directed graph structures. Used by XML::Grove (and others soon). (4) SAX2Perl and Perl2SAX are SAX Parser <-> DocumentHandler filters. These modules translate parse events between the Java/CORBA style SAX methods and Perl style SAX methods. XML::SAX2Perl specifies the Perl style SAX methods." Ken MacLeod has also provided a list of Perl XML modules by category. For related information, see the new libxml README document and references in "XML and Perl."

  • [May 07, 1999]   W3C Releases Amaya 2.0 with XHTML Support.    The W3C has issued a public release of the Amaya browser/editor version 2.0a (binaries and source code), including support for XHTML. The command SaveAs "allows you to save a document in XHTML, following the specifications and guidelines of the latest XHTML draft (The Extensible HyperText Markup Language). This Amaya release includes a lot of new features like a multi-level, multi-document undo/redo mechanism, a secure authentication protocol, and configuration menus. With this Amaya release, one can download, edit and publish CSS style sheets as well as HTML pages. Amaya also demonstrates an implementation of MathML which allows users to browse and edit web pages containing mathematical expressions. Amaya is W3C's own test-bed browser/editor. With the extremely fast moving nature of Web technology, Amaya has a counterpart called Jigsaw which plays a similar role on the server side. Amaya is a complete web browsing and authoring environment and comes equipped with a WYSIWYG style of interface, similar to that of the most popular commercial browsers. With such an interface, users do not need to know the HTML or CSS languages. Amaya is intended to be a comprehensive client environment for testing and evaluating new proposals for Web standards and formats. A large part of the intended features of Amaya are implemented in this release, but some of them are not complete yet. The Amaya binary distribution is available for PC Linux, Sparc /Solaris, AIX, OSF/1, Windows (NT and 95). Users having other architectures are expected to compile the Amaya source code."

  • [May 07, 1999]   Microsoft Releases Redistributable 'Microsoft XML Parser'.    In a recent press release, Microsoft Corporation "announced the release of the Microsoft XML Parser for incorporation by third-party developers into their applications. The Microsoft XML Parser, which is freely redistributable and compliant with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Extensible Markup Language (XML) 1.0 specification, allows developers to easily support XML in any or all of the presentation, business logic or storage elements of an application. Leading independent software vendors (ISVs), including Allaire Corp., Novell Inc. and Object Design Inc., today announced their intent to use the Microsoft XML Parser to build XML support into next-generation products. The parser is available for download. The Microsoft XML Parser is a high-performance, validating parser fully compliant with the W3C XML 1.0 standard. By virtue of its componentized design, it is easily integrated with any Windows operating system-based application and programmed using any programming or scripting language such as ECMAScript, Java, Perl, Python, SQL, the Visual Basic development system, the Visual C++ development system or Visual Basic Scripting Edition (VBScript). Further, it supports the W3C XML Document Object Model (DOM), the XML Stylesheet Language (XSL) W3C working draft and the XML 1.0 Namespaces Recommendation. It provides support for DTDs and validation. The Microsoft XML Parser has a high performance, multi-threaded architecture that makes it ideally suited for both client and server-side XML and XSL processing. In addition to enabling ISVs to incorporate the Microsoft XML Parser into any part of their applications, Microsoft is also working to integrate the parser directly into all of its products used for building Windows Distributed interNet Applications (Windows DNA). XML support and integration is available today in the following Microsoft software: (1) Microsoft Internet Explorer 5, the industry's first XML-compliant browser software, allows users to view XML directly. (2) Internet Information Services (IIS) 4.0 technology permits Web sites to publish and receive XML data. (3) Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS) technology provides transactions support for robust, high-performance XML data operations. (4) Microsoft Message Queue Server (MSMQ) technology ensures reliable, asynchronous delivery of XML documents. (5) Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 stores and retrieves data contained in XML documents and complete XML documents. (6) Microsoft Repository 2.0 uses XML for data warehousing metadata import and export."

  • [May 07, 1999]   New Test Release of Clark's expat Available.    James Clark recently announced the availability of a new test release of his expat tool. Expat (XML Parser Toolkit) is "a library for XML parsing in C. This is the parser being used to add XML support to Netscape 5 and Perl." The new test release fixes a few bugs and adds a couple of small features, including functions which (1) allow you to determine whether attributes were specified or defaulted, (2) allow you to control what to do with documents that have a DTD and standalone="no", (3) give you the number of bytes in the current event. Clark plans for this test release to be the last before the release of version 1.1. For references to other XML parsers, see: "XML Parsers and Parsing Toolkits."

  • [May 07, 1999]   XML Finland '99.    A communiqué from Oskari Heinonen (University of Helsinki, Department of Computer Science) includes a 'Call for Papers, Proposals and Exhibits' for the XML Finland '99 Conference. The conference will be held September 23 - 24, 1999 at the Helsinki Fair Centre, Helsinki, Finland. "The SGML Users Group Finland invites users and developers of XML/SGML and XML/SGML-related systems to give a presentation at its fourth annual seminar, XML Finland '99, renamed to reflect the growing interest in XML. Vendors and developers are also invited to present their tools and application demos in the exhibition area. XML Finland '99 serves as a meeting point for all interested people from experienced professionals to new users of XML or SGML. Presentations may focus on new media, structured document management, electronic publishing, World Wide Web applications, electronic commerce, industrial applications, business issues, or advanced or introductory XML/SGML/HTML/WWW issues. Last year's seminar in Jyväskylä gathered a crowd of 200 attendees making the event a very successful one, thus continuing the tradition set by earlier seminars in Espoo and Vaasa. Ten leading Finnish and international companies took part in the exhibition. We anticipate that the popularity of the event will keep on growing." See the full text of the Call for Papers for deadlines and other details.

  • [May 06, 1999]   W3C XML Schema Working Drafts Published.    The W3C XML Schema Working Group, under the direction of co-chairs Dave Hollander and C. M. Sperberg-McQueen, has published working drafts for XML Schema in two parts: XML Schema Part 1: Structures, and XML Schema Part 2: Datatypes. The editors for Part 1 include David Beech (Oracle), Scott Lawrence (Agranat Systems), Murray Maloney (Commerce One), Noah Mendelsohn (Lotus), and Henry S. Thompson (University of Edinburgh). Editors for Part 2 are Paul V. Biron (Kaiser Permanente, for Health Level Seven) and Ashok Malhotra (IBM). "XML Schema: Structures is Part one of a two part draft of the specification for the XML Schema definition language. This document proposes facilities for describing the structure and constraining the contents of XML 1.0 documents. The schema language, which is itself represented in XML 1.0, provides a superset of the capabilities found in XML 1.0 document type definitions (DTDs.) The purpose of XML Schema: Structures is to provide an inventory of XML markup constructs with which to write schemas." From section 1.2: "The purpose of an XML Schema: Structures schema is to define and describe a class of XML documents by using these constructs to constrain and document the meaning, usage and relationships of their constituent parts: datatypes, elements and their content, attributes and their values, entities and their contents and notations. Schema constructs may also provide for the specification of implicit information such as default values. Schemas are intended to document their own meaning, usage, and function through a common documentation vocabulary. Thus, XML Schema: Structures can be used to define, describe and catalogue XML vocabularies for classes of XML documents. Any application that consumes well-formed XML can use the XML Schema: Structures formalism to express syntactic, structural and value constraints applicable to its document instances. The XML Schema: Structures formalism will allow a useful level of constraint checking to be described and validated for a wide spectrum of XML applications. The language defined by this specification does not attempt to provide all the facilities that might be needed by any application. Some applications may require constraint capabilities not expressible in this language, and so may need to perform their own additional validations." See the accompanying schema and the DTD. Part two on Datatypes "discusses datatypes that can be used in a XML Schema. These datatypes can be specified for element content that would be specified as #PCDATA and attribute values of various types in a DTD. It is the intension of this specification that it be usable outside of the context of XML Schemas for a wide range of other XML-related activities such as XSL and RDF Schema. For the most part, this specification discusses what are sometimes referred to as scalar datatypes in that they constrain the lexical representation of a single literal. In some cases, as for example in IDREFS, ENTITIES and NMTOKENS, the value may consist of a list or set of literals separated by spaces. This is an example of what is called an aggregate datatype. Future versions of this specification will contain a more general mechanism for defining and using aggregate (collection) datatypes such as sets, bags and records." See the accompanying schema and DTD. See also the W3C press release and a listing of the XML Schema Working Group requirements, published deliverables, and related documents.

  • [May 06, 1999]   XML/SGML Asia Pacific '99.    Marcus Carr has issued a Call for Papers for the XML/SGML Asia Pacific '99 Conference. XML/SGML Asia Pacific '99 will be held on October 18 - 21, 1999 at the Hotel Mercure, Broadway, Sydney, Australia. "The Graphic Communications Association, in conjunction with Allette Systems, is pleased to announce XML/SGML Asia Pacific '99 - the region's 6th annual conference for the applications, trends and technologies that support the Extensible Markup Language (XML) and the Standard Generalised Markup Language (SGML). As usual, the conference will include sessions for managers and users alike but this year we've added an extra stream to specifically address the interests of software developers - a change made in direct response to feedback from last year. We will also be holding informal presentation sessions for individuals and corporate developers to showcase their implementations. Interested parties are invited to submit proposals for presentation at the conference. Of interest are papers discussing any XML, SGML or related technology issues at the managerial, user or technical expert level."

  • [May 06, 1999]   Universal Repository Architectures.    A feature article in the May 1999 issue of the SIGS' Component Strategies magazine comprehensively surveys interoperability issues in connection with universal repositories: "A Universal Repository Architecture Using UML and MOF. Spanning Platforms by Addressing Semantic and Object Interoperabilities." The article is written by Sridhar Iyengar. Iyengar, a Unisys Fellow, is 'the architect of the Unisys Universal Repository, the OMG XML Metadata Interchange, and the Metaobject Facility specifications. "Universal repositories unify three technologies: object modeling, distributed objects, and metadata repositories. Modeling and repository technologies (UML and MOF) address semantic interoperability, while distributed object technologies (COM and CORBA) address object interoperability. This article highlights some of the key trends affecting the complexity of development and runtime environments, and then describes the general need for and use of universal repositories for the integration of tools and applications in a distributed development environment. . ." See bibliographic details and a more complete abstract in the main article reference. For additional information on XMI (and MOF), see "XML Metadata Interchange (XMI)."

  • [May 06, 1999]   XML::Writer Version 0.2 Gets Namespace Support.    David Megginson recently announced the availability of an updated '0.2' version of XML::Writer which supports namespaces and provides some basic methods for querying the current element context. "XML::Writer is a simple Perl module for writing XML documents: it takes care of constructing markup and escaping data correctly, and by default, it also performs a significant amount of well-formedness checking on the output, to make certain (for example) that start and end tags match, that there is exactly one document element, and that there are not duplicate attribute names. This [validation] behaviour can be extremely useful during development and debugging, but it can be turned off for production-grade code. The module can operate either in regular mode in or Namespace processing mode. In Namespace mode, the module will generate Namespace Declarations itself, and will perform additional checks on the output." Further description of XML::Writer is provided in the embedded POD documentation. The perl module may be downloaded from a link on Megginson's software page, or from CPAN [XML-Writer-].

  • [May 06, 1999]   New W3C XHTML Working Draft.    The W3C HTML Working Group has released a revised version of XHTML 1.0: The Extensible HyperText Markup Language. A Reformulation of HTML 4.0 in XML 1.0 (W3C Working Draft 5th May 1999). This WD specification is 'a revision of the working draft dated 4th March 1999 incorporating suggestions received during review, comments and further deliberations of the W3C HTML Working Group.' Abstract: "This specification defines XHTML 1.0, a reformulation of HTML 4.0 as an XML 1.0 application, and three DTDs 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. . . XHTML 1.0 specifies three DTDs corresponding to the HTML 4.0 DTDs, and an XML namespace identified by a unique URI. XHTML 1.0 is the basis for a family of future document types that extend and subset HTML. This idea is discussed in more detail in the document section on Future Directions." In particular, the "process of modularization breaks XHTML up into a series of smaller element sets. These elements can then be recombined to meet the needs of different communities. Modularization brings with it several advantages: (1) a formal mechanism for subsetting XHTML, (2) a formal mechanism for extending XHTML, (3) it simplifies the transformation between document types, and (4) it promotes the reuse of modules in new document types."

  • [May 06, 1999]   Perl Module XML::Parser Version 2.23 Released.    Clark Cooper (Logic Technologies,Inc.) recently announced the release of version 2.23 of XML::Parser to CPAN. "XML::Parser is a non-validating XML parser based on James Clark's expat library. Each call to one of the parsing methods creates a new instance of XML::Parser::Expat which is then used to parse the document. Expat options may be provided when the XML::Parser object is created. These options are then passed on to the Expat object on each parse call. They can also be given as extra arguments to the parse methods, in which case they override options given at XML::Parser creation time. XML::Parser has been modified from the original XML::Parser created by Larry Wall. It requires at least version 5.004 of perl. The distribution contains some sample utilities in the samples directory along with an XML form of the XML specification to test them on. This [2.23] version of XML::Parser provides some bug fixes, performance enhancements, a new version of expat, and a new Expat method."

  • [May 06, 1999]   SAXON Version 4.2.    Michael Kay recently announced the availability of SAXON Version 4.2. "The SAXON package is a collection of tools for processing XML documents. The main components are: (1) An XSL processor, which supports the W3C XSL transformation language (WD-xsl-19981216) with a few minor restrictions and a number of powerful extensions; (2) A Java library, which supports a similar processing model to XSL, but allows full programming capability, which you need if you want to perform complex processing of the data or to access external services such as a relational database. The most significant new feature in version 4.2 is an XSL compiler. This takes an XSL stylesheet as input and generates a Java application as output. The Java application (with the help of the SAXON run-time library) performs the actual processing of source XML documents without further reference to the original style sheet. The compiled stylesheet can be invoked from the command line, from a client application via an API, or can be installed as a servlet and invoked directly from the browser. A compiled stylesheet runs 2-3 times faster than the interpreter, with a bigger potential saving in servlet mode because it avoids the need to reinitialise for each document served. The compiler is written in XSL, generates Java, and has been used to compile itself. SAXON's XSL, while lacking some of the features in the standard, has a number of extensions designed to widen the range of applicability. These include (1) multiple output files, (2) generate any text output file (not just XML or HTML); (3) close integration of Java and XSL code, and (4) extensibility (e.g., to access SQL databases). A new feature which responds to a request many XSL users have made is a "group-by" operator which allows extra levels to be added to the document structure, e.g., for subheadings."

  • [May 05, 1999]   MartSoft Implements Open Catalog Protocol (OCP).    Open Catalog Protocol (OCP), created by MartSoft, is "an XML-based software protocol that enables the exchange of complex data between product catalogs. OCP consists of a language-independent representation of catalog data based on XML 1.0, and a set of protocol opcodes for specifying a wide variety of operations on a catalog. OCP can be used with any other Internet protocols that support transferring textual data. OCP is the protocol that specifies how two processes could interoperate. While the format of the catalog data being exchanged is OCF (Open Catalog Format). OCP is not yet a formal standard, but MartSoft is working on submitting to the W3C and other standards body. However, OCP is freely available for use and redistribution, and is based on open, standards-based technologies such as XML 1.0." The Open Catalog Protocol is implemented in MartSoft's IntuiCat. IntuiCat is "an Internet ready solution for E-Commerce, including the powerful IntuiCat catalog engine, a XML-capable database, and a Web server. This is a plug-in and play, out-of-box solution, on most popular platforms. Features include: (1) XML-based hierarchical catalog with attributes inheritance; (2) Parametric and full text search; (3) Local and remote catalog interoperability, based on Open Catalog Protocol; (4) Multiple catalog hosting; (5) Multi-dimensional views; (6) Associative linking." MartSoft has developed a Universal Product Yellow Pages (UPYP) online store featuring precise moderated business classified ads; built upon the IntuiCat technology, UPYP matches buyers and sellers automatically." For other details and examples, see references in "Open Catalog Protocol (OCP)."

  • [May 05, 1999]   W3C Proposed Recommendation for Associating Stylesheets with XML Documents.    The W3C has issued the document Associating Stylesheets with XML Documents as a W3C Proposed Recommendation . References: W3C Proposed Recommendation 28-April-1999, edited by James Clark. The review period for the PR ends on May 26, 1999. The specification "allows a stylesheet to be associated with an XML document by including one or more processing instructions with a target of xml-stylesheet in the document's prolog. The technology explained in this Proposed Recommendation is not the only one for its task. There are others available or under development that allow the link to be outside the XML document (the HTTP Link header, explained in the specification below), that are extensible (based on XML namespaces), self-documenting (like RDF), that can be validated (because they use only attributes and elements), and that allow the style rules to be embedded directly in the document (like HTML's style element and attribute). However, while development of powerful and general metadata technology continues, the current specification is simple and opportune, and has been proven to work." The use of the XML PI mechanism "should not be taken as a precedent, as XML Processing Instructions are unlikely to be used in any future W3C Recommendations." 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"?>. "The xml-stylesheet processing instruction is parsed in the same way as a start-tag, with the exception that entities other than predefined entities must not be referenced."

  • [May 05, 1999]   Perl-XML FAQ Version 1.1 Available.    Jonathan Eisenzopf posted an announcement to the Perl-XML Mailing List concerning the release of the Perl XML FAQ Version 1.1. "The FAQ document contains information related to using and manipulating XML with Perl. It can be found on the Web at Information in this FAQ is based on discussions and information transmitted to the Perl XML email list. Asakura Hiroshi has created a Japanese translation of this FAQ document." Credits are given Clark Cooper, Matthew Sergeant, Enno Derksen, Ken MacLeod, Rob Cameron, and Asakura Hiroshi for their contributions to the FAQ document. Note that Jonathan Eisenzopf also maintains a Perl-XML Module List - 'compiled to inform Perl users what modules are currently available for manipulating XML. It's also for module authors who would like to contribute, but don't know what's already available and don't want to duplicate effort.' For related information, see "XML and Perl."

  • [May 05, 1999]   XML Encoding Detector in C.    John Cowan has announced the availability of an XML encoding detector function written in C. "It would be easy to translate it to Java, but I thought that C would be the most useful in different contexts. It uses only Standard C facilities. There is a subroutine called 'xmlenc' which accepts a FILE* argument and returns a (static) string representing the encoding. I believe it handles all the cases in Appendix F correctly, including the EBCDIC one. There is also a test-harness main program that can generate some sample files in EBCDIC and 16-bit Unicode (8-bit ASCII-compatible files are easy to find). This part can be stripped out, as indicated by the comments, in order to use the routine in some server program."

  • [May 05, 1999]   Apache::MimeXML Mime Type Sniffer.    A communiqué from Matt Sergeant reports the availability of a mod_perl module for Apache which "sniffs out the correct charset="" attribute for the mime type. "I've written a mod_perl module to sniff the mime type for XML files. It outputs the appropriate Content-Type header for XML files, including the charset as found in the encoding part of the XML declaration. It returns application/xml by default, but optionally you can set that to whatever you want. . . the module reads the encoding attribute in the xml declaration and returns an appropriate content-type heading. If no encoding declaration is found it returns utf-8 or utf-16 depending on the specific encoding. [Simply add] PerlTypeHandler Apache::MimeXML to srm.conf or httpd.conf; alternatively add it only for certain files or directories using the standard Apache methods. There is about a 30% slowdown for files using this module, so you probably want to restrict it to certain XML locations only." See the documentation for other details. Download the module from the author's Web site or from the CPAN archive [Apache-MimeXML-].

  • [May 05, 1999]   XML Authority Schema Development Tool.    A posting to CTX announces that a beta version of XML Authority from Extensibility is now available for FREE download at XML Authority is a schema development tool. It provides users with an intuitive graphical interface to create, convert and manage schema for XML. Currently supported import and conversion environments include: (1) for documents: DTD, Internal subsets, XML documents, Tab and CSV files; (2) for data structures: Java classes, ODBC, COM. XML Authority outputs schema source information for the current and proposed XML Standards. It outputs DCDs, DTDs and XML Schema. Output includes support for DTD, DCD, XML-Data (IE5 Compliant), DDML, SOX, Example XML document, and Reports." Note that the current beta version is for Windows only and will expire on June 2, 1999. Further description of the tool is provided on the Extensibility Web site. Extensibility, a member of W3C, "specializes in providing cutting edge XML schema development, conversion and management solutions. [Its] tools facilitate the transition of traditional applications to the new order of Internet information systems. As a member of the W3C, [it is] committed to providing XML schema tools which comprehensively support and advance the worldwide standards of the Internet."

  • [May 05, 1999]   XML::DT for XML Down Translation.    José Carlos Ramalho announced the public availability of XML::DT - a package for down translation of XML to strings. XML::DT is described as a very simple tool implemented as a perl module, designed to transform XML documents. XML::DT 'tries to put omnimark concepts with perl syntax and power.' The down translation function dt receives a filename and a set of functions defining how to process and associates values to each element, and returns the processed file. dtstring is similar but takes input from a string instead of a file. Further description is provided in the XML::DT documentation, which has been generated by pod2html.

  • [May 05, 1999]   4XSL Alpha-2 Released.    On April 22, 1999, Uche Ogbuji (FourThought LLC) announced on the Mulberry XSL Mailing List that a second public Alpha version of 4XSL has been released. "It fixes many embarrassing level problems with 4XSL 0.6.0, and now supports all XSL templates except for counters. Of course, now that W3C has removed counters, it's moot, and boy do we have a lot of work to do to match this week's latest draft. . . We've only tested it under Solaris and Linux, though." 4XSL is described as "a powerful XSL processor based on the [latest draft of the] W3C's XSL specification. One of its many uses is to render XML documents as customized and stylized HTML for browsing. 4XSL also provides a powerful programming API for applications to use for low-level, customized transformations of XML documents. The 4XSL 0.6.0 package is available for download. For other software, see "XSL Software Support."

  • [May 04, 1999]   W3C Publishes XSL Transformations (XSLT) Specification Version 1.0.    The W3C XSL Working Group has published a working draft version of the XSL Transformations (XSLT) Specification. (W3C Working Draft 21-April-1999). Edited by James Clark as part of the W3C Style activity, this XSLT specification represents material previously incorporated as part of the XSL Working Draft. "XSLT is a language for transforming XML documents into other XML documents. XSLT is designed for use as part of XSL, which is a stylesheet language for XML. In addition to XSLT, XSL includes an XML vocabulary for specifying formatting. XSL specifies the styling of an XML document by using XSLT to describe how the document is transformed into another XML document that uses the formatting vocabulary. XSLT is also designed to be used independently of XSL. However, XSLT is not intended as a completely general-purpose XML transformation language. Rather it is designed primarily for the kinds of transformation that are needed when XSLT is used as part of XSL. . . A transformation expressed in XSLT describes rules for transforming a source tree into a result tree. The transformation is achieved by associating patterns with templates. A pattern is matched against elements in the source tree. A template is instantiated to create part of the result tree. The result tree is separate from the source tree. The structure of the result tree can be completely different from the structure of the source tree. In constructing the result tree, elements from the source tree can be filtered and reordered, and arbitrary structure can be added. A transformation expressed in XSLT is called a stylesheet. This is because, in the case when XSLT is transforming into the XSL formatting vocabulary, the transformation functions as a stylesheet." This draft XSLT is intended to be 'feature complete': The XSL Working Group plans to use future drafts to stabilize the current functionality but does not intend to add any new functionality in version 1.0. In this connection, it is also formally announced that the W3C XSL WG and the XML Linking WG have agreed to unify XSLT expressions and XPointers. A common core semantic model for querying has been agreed upon, and this draft follows this model (see 6.1 Location Paths). However, further changes particularily in the syntax will probably be necessary. . ." For related references and earlier drafts, see "XSL Specifications."

  • [May 04, 1999]   New Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) Specification Working Draft.    A new working draft of the Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) Specification has been issued by the W3C in conjunction with the release of the new XSL Transformations (XSLT) Specification. Edited by Stephen Deach (Adobe Systems Inc.), this latest XSL WD (W3C Working Draft 21-April-1999) adds additional functionality to what was described in the previous draft of the XSL specification. The 'XSL' specification abstract now reads: "XSL is a language for expressing stylesheets. It consists of two parts: (1) a language for transforming XML documents, and (2) an XML vocabulary for specifying formatting semantics. An XSL stylesheet specifies the presentation of a class of XML documents by describing how an instance of the class is transformed into an XML document that uses the formatting vocabulary. . . Given a class of structured documents or data files in XML, designers use an XSL stylesheet to express their intentions about how that structured content should be presented; that is, how the source content should be styled, laid out and paginated onto some presentation medium such as a window in a Web browser or a set of physical pages in a book, report, pamphlet, or memo." With this draft, the two XSL sub-processes (tree transformation, formatting) are explicitly split out, as described in the introduction: "An XSL stylesheet processor accepts a document or data in XML and an XSL stylesheet and produces the presentation of that XML source content as intended by the stylesheet. There are two sub-processes to this presentation process: first, constructing a result tree from the XML source tree and second, interpreting the result tree to produce a formatted presentation on a display, on paper, in speech or onto other media. The first (sub-)process is called tree transformation and the second (sub-)process is called formatting. The process of formatting is performed by the formatter. Splitting the processing of a stylesheet into two sub-processes allows greater flexibility in constructing the presentation of the source content. With tree transformation, the structure of the result tree can be totally different from the structure of the source tree. In constructing the result tree, the source tree can be filtered and reordered, and arbitrary structure and generated content can be added. For example, one could add a table-of-contents a filtered selection of an original source document or one could map the result of a database query (expressed in XML) into a sorted tabular presentation of the relevant portion of the query result. In constructing the result tree, the tree transformation process also adds the information necessary to format that result tree. The second process, formatting, is enabled by making the result tree have formatting semantics. In this recommendation, formatting semantics are expressed in terms of a catalog of formatting objects. The nodes of the result tree are instances of formatting objects. The formatting objects denote typographic abstractions such as page, paragraph, rule, and so forth. Finer control over the presentation of these abstractions is provided by a set of formatting properties, such as indents; word- and letter-spacing; and widow, orphan, and hyphenation control. The formatting objects and formatting properties provide the vocabulary for expressing presentation intent." Comments on the new working draft may be sent to the editors at; public discussion of XSL takes place on the Mulberry XSL-List mailing list. For other information, see "Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL)."

  • [May 04, 1999]   James Clark's XT Now Supports XSLT.    James Clark recently announced the availability of a new release of his XT software. XT is a Java implementation of XSL Transformations. The new '19990422' version of XT implements the WD-xslt-19990421 version of the W3C's XSLT - 'XSL Transformations (XSLT) Specification'. "Stylesheets written for earlier versions of the XSL WD must be converted before they can be used with this version of XT."

  • [May 04, 1999]   IBM Announces the Industry's First XML Parser for the C++ Language.    The IBM alphaWorks group has announced the availability of an XML Parser for the C++ Language (XML4C). XML4C, now available for AIX and Windows NT, is "a validating XML parser written in a portable subset of C++. XML4C makes it easy to give an application the ability to read and write XML data. A single shared library provides classes for parsing, generating, manipulating, and validating XML documents. XML4C is faithful to the XML 1.0 Recommendation and associated standards (DOM 1.0, SAX 1.0). Source code, samples and API documentation are provided with the parser. Applications of the XML4C Parser: The rich generating and validating capabilities allow the XML4C Parser to be used for (1) Building XML-savvy Web servers, (2) The next generation of vertical applications which will use XML as their data format, (3) Ensuring the integrity of e-business data expressed in XML, and (4) Building truly internationalized XML applications. The tool is a high-performance XML parser written in a portable subset of C++ and is designed to help developers parse, process and create XML documents in C++. Responding to developers' requests, IBM has released its XML4C Parser under a modification of its source code license agreement that alters the termination clause. IBM is also re-releasing XML4J, XPK4J, and LotusXSL under a new modified license agreement. IBM took into consideration the needs and concerns of developers who want to utilize source code in their own products and derivative works." Note: Dean Roddey posted some comments on the new IBM XML parser, 'Announcing IBM XML4C2'. Other XML parsers are referenced in "XML Parsers and Parsing Toolkits."

  • [May 04, 1999]   Updated Documentation for the IPTC/NAA News Industry Text Format (NITF).     Documentation is now available for the latest XML version of the News Industry Text Format (NITF), under development by the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) and the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) Wire Service Committee. The 204-page PDF document "describes a device-independent format for textual and tabular information within the global news industry. The goal is to mark up text once for a variety of uses, including traditional print publications, broadcast news, and electronic services such as Web sites and archival databases. The markup provides both structural and content information about the text. The design includes reference capability to related external material such as photographs, charts, audio, and video clips, as well as related text files. This format is called the News Industry Text Format, or NITF. It is presented in the form of a Document Type Definition (or DTD) a formal application of Standard Generalized Markup Language, or SGML (ISO 8879). The current DTD is XML, extensible markup language, compliant. The NITF DTD is the result of several years of development effort by two leading standards organizations: the Newspaper Association of America, based in Vienna, Virginia, and the International Press Telecommunications Council, based in Windsor, England. Work sessions on the project over the years have included no fewer than 30 major news services, newspapers, and news-related organizations in North America, Europe, and Asia, as well as a number of technology firms serving the news industry. The U.S.-based Radio-Television News Directors Association also has participated." In this connection, note that the user requirements for the News Markup Language (NML) have been incorporated into the NITF design and development work. See the associated press release, "News Industry Organizations Unite Behind a Single Standard Markup Language." For other information, see "News Industry Text Format (NITF)."

  • [May 04, 1999]   XSL Formatter 'FOP' Rewritten.    James Tauber has announced the availability of a new release of 'FOP - a formatter driven by XSL formatting objects." FOP (A Formatting Object to PDF Translator) "is a Java application that reads an XML document representing formatting objects (e.g., the output of XT) and then turns it into a PDF document. This version is a complete re-write in light of the most recent XSL working draft. It only implements a fraction of the formatting objects and properties but the overall framework is now there and it should be relatively easy to add more support (assuming the XSL working draft doesn't change too radically). FOP should still be considered alpha." For references to other XSL software, see "XSL Software Support."

  • [April 20, 1999]   Markup Technologies '99 Conference.    B. Tommie Usdin (Mulberry Technologies, Inc.) has issued a Call for Participation for the Markup Technologies '99 Conference. The conference theme is There is Nothing as Practical as a Good Theory. Or, SGML, XML, and Beyond: Real Data, Real Problems, Real Solutions. "Markup Technologies will be a 3-day technical conference concentrating on the design, development, and deployment of markup and markup-related applications. Subject matter will include the theoretical and the practical; talks will assume an audience well grounded in the basics of markup and familiar with SGML, XML, TeX, or some other formal markup language." Sponsored by the Graphic Communications Association (GCA) and Co-sponsored by The MIT Press, Markup Technologies '99 will be held December 7-9, 1999 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Tutorials will coincide with XML '99. "The conference provides a three-day forum for technical (sometimes highly technical) presentations, question and answer sessions, and informal discussions of markup, data-bases, query languages, schema issues, stylesheet languages and perhaps behavior sheets, and more. Papers at Markup Technologies must address some aspect of markup from a theoretical or practical standpoint, consist of all new material, and be detailed and rigorous. All papers will be peer reviewed to ensure high quality and technical merit. Papers must be submitted in SGML or valid XML according to the Markup Technologies Paper DTD which is available in both SGML and XML forms: SGML:, XML:" For other information, see For other SGML/XML conferences, see the main listing.

  • [April 20, 1999]   XML::Writer - Perl Module for XML Well-Formedness Checking.    David Megginson (Megginson Technologies) has announced the availability of a Perl module XML::Writer, version 0.1. "By default, the module does a fair bit of well-formedness checking to help you catch bugs in your Perl programs -- you can turn the checking off for production use if you like to live on the wild side. Full POD documentation and a lot of test cases in are included."

  • [April 20, 1999]   Scoobs.    SCOOBS is an academic research project at the School of Computer Scienece and Software Engineering at Monash University, Australia. SCOOBS, a 'Context Based Search Engine', "is a search engine, not unlike Altavista or Excite, but instead of indexing Hyper-Text Markup Language (HTML), it indexes Extensible Markup Language (XML). It allows you to search XML, Document Type Definition (DTD) and eXtensible Style Language (XSL) files resources quickly and accurately. More importantly, it also allows you to specify a context for the search terms you wish to find. So, what is the 'context' that you can specify? The context can be anything. Let's say for example you want to find a recipe for 'fruit cake'. In a conventional search engine, you you specify 'fruit cake recipe' inside the query field, but with SCOOBS you specify your search as a component of 'context' and 'terms'. The context for the example above is 'recipe', where the search terms are 'fruit cake'. The result from this search is smaller than most search engine, yet the accuracy is near 97%**, closer than the 47%** accuracy of most other search engines which search HTML documents. Context is returned within the results to indicate the topic areas the document deals with. Context is read left to right with the arrow () indicating an is-a, is-a-part-of, or has-a relationship (eg: orange fruit ... is read as orange is a fruit). The search engine was originally written by Troy D. Milner as an Honours Project at the School of Computer Scienece and Software Engineering, Monash University in 1998, but has since been re-written by Troy D. Milner and Jason Lowder, and will be worked on as a PhD project over 1999 - 2002 by Troy D. Milner. Expect vast changes over the next three years, and expect the index to grow. Remember though, the index is small, but will be most benificial if the pages submitted are correctly written in XML, DTD, XSL or HTML."

  • [April 20, 1999]   New Book on XML.    Simon North (Synopsys) announced on CTX that Macmillan (Sams.Net) started shipping a new book on XML: Teach Yourself XML in 21 Days. The authors are Simon North and Paul Hermans. ISBN 1-57521-396-6. The book "is meant to be an entry-level book accessible to readers who are vaguely familiar with HTML. The book contains lots of practical examples of how to use the available tools and technologies (Omnimark, SAX, DOM, MSDSO, DSSSL/jade, CSS and XSL) to display XML in Internet Explorer 5, Netscape (Mozilla, Gecko, NLG) and even MS-Word."

  • [April 19, 1999]   XML Used in CIMI's Dublin Core Metadata Test Bed.    The CIMI (Consortium for the Computer Interchange of Museum Information) Dublin Core Metadata Testbed Working Group has recently issued a Guide to Best Practice: Dublin Core, and the document is now available for peer review. A basic XML syntax was defined during the CIMI test bed as the easiest means for transferring data between project partners. The definition of this XML syntax may be seen in Appendix E, and examples of its use are available in the other appendices. This guidelines document, "one of several important outcomes of CIMI's on-going Dublin Core Metadata Testbed, focuses on the useability, simplicity, and technical feasibility of Dublin Core within the cultural heritage community. CIMI is a group of institutions and organizations that encourages an open standards-based approach to the management and delivery of digital museum information. [It is] committed to bringing museum information to the largest possible audience. Since forming in 1990, CIMI has made substantial progress in researching, for the museum community, standards for structuring its data and for enabling widespread search and retrieval capabilities. CIMI's work is largely carried out through collaborative demonstration projects that help us to learn how information can be standardized and therefore made accessible electronically." The current version of The Guide to Best Practice "addresses Dublin Core 1.0 as documented in RFC 2413. The recommendations expressed in the Guide are based on the experiences of the Testbed participants and are designed to provide direction on representing cultural heritage resources as currently captured and described in typical museum collections information management systems. The model for the XML encoding is provided as Appendix E: XML DTD Used in CIMI DC Testbed. The document is also available in PDF or Word98 format. [archive copy]

  • [April 19, 1999]   Pre-release of the IBM XML Security Suite.    Kent Tamura has announced the availability of IBM's XML Security Suite. The package contains: (1) Reference implementations of DOMHash, both for 100%-pure-DOM API and SAX API, and some utility classes for DOM. (2) Sample digital signature implementation based on Richard Brown's Internet Draft. (3) Parser Test Tool for testing your DOM or SAX implementation." For related materials, see the collection of Position Papers from XML-DSig '99, and "Signed XML (W3C)."

  • [April 16, 1999]   New Release of DataChannel's XJParser.    A recent communiqué from DataChannel announced the availability of a new release of the XJParser, now a 'cornerstone of DataChannel's XML Toolkit for XMLFramework and the XML Developers Program, xDev.' XJParser may be downloaded from the company Web site. "Formerly referred to as the DataChannel XJ2 Parser, and co-developed with Microsoft, the new release adds substantial functionality with significant improvements in performance. DataChannel's XML Developers Program, xDev is designed to showcase developers work and real-world implementations and provide the XML tools and technology needed to realize the true power of XML. XJParser becomes the industry's most complete, reliable, and innovative XML parser for delivering powerful, server-based enterprise applications utilizing open web-standards." The XJParser feature set includes: "(1) XML 1.0 Standards Compliance with a complete set of W3C interfaces to ensure interoperability with applications and web-based technologies. (2) Simple API for XML (SAX) 1.0 to optimize performance parsing large documents utilizing an event-based API. Additional support for third-party SAX drivers is also included. (3) Integrated eXtensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) processor providing seamless, integrated XML parsing and transformation in one package. (4) Supports and extends full XML functionality in Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0. (5) Validating support for DTDs and XML schema to verify true and error-free XML data. (6) Exception and Error Handling to handle Java exceptions as well as trapping errors for developer productivity. (7) Advanced query language support through emerging W3C standards support like data typing, XSL pattern matching, and node transformation." See the full text of the announcement for details. Other XML parsers are listed in "XML Parsers and Parsing Toolkits."

  • [April 16, 1999]   Python/XML Release 0.5.1 Available.    Andrew M. Kuchling has announced the availability of the Python/XML distribution release 0.5.1. "The Python/XML distribution contains the basic tools required for processing XML data using the Python programming language, assembled into one easy-to-install package. The distribution includes parsers and standard interfaces such as SAX and DOM, along with various other useful modules. The code is being developed bazaar-style by contributors from the Python XML Special Interest Group. The Python/XML package currently contains: [1] XML parsers: Pyexpat (Jack Jansen), xmlproc (Lars Marius Garshol), (Sjoerd Mullender) using the sgmlop.c accelerator module (Fredrik Lundh); ]2] A SAX interface (Lars Marius Garshol); [3] DOM interface (Stefane Fermigier, A.M. Kuchling); [4], for architectural forms processing (Geir Ove Grønmo); [5] Unicode wide-string module (Martin von Löwis); [6] Various utility modules and functions; [7] Documentation and example programs." Additions in this version include a sizable DOM test suite, updates to various subpackages, added marshalling into various XML-based formats: a generic one for Python objects, WDDX, and XML-RPC. See also the project's Python/XML Documentation. For other information on XML/Python, see "XML and Python."

  • [April 16, 1999]   XML Study Notes Available.    A communiqué from Ann M. Wrightson (Senior Lecturer in Information Systems, University of Huddersfield) describes a Web site with some detailed notes on XML Metadata Interchange (XMI), the recent Object Management Group XML-based data interchange specification, and a review of current approaches to link SGML/XML and STEP (product data) information. These materials are part of a collection of 'XML study notes' prepared for postgraduate students to support class-based and independent study at the School of Computing and Mathematics at the University of Huddersfield. On these topics, see also "XML Metadata Interchange (XMI)" and "SGML/XML and STEP."

  • [April 15, 1999]   MIX: Mediation of Information Using XML.    Under the project leaders Chaitanya Baru and Yannis Papakonstantinou, a research team studying 'wrapper-mediator' systems is developing MIX: Mediation of Information Using XML. The MIX Project "is a collaboration between the Data-intensive Computing Environments (DICE) group at SDSC and the UCSD Database Laboratory (UCSD-DB) at CSE/UCSD. The goal of this project is to develop tools and techniques for XML-based information mediation." In the project description: "XML indicates a move towards viewing the Web as a large, semistructured database, consisting of many autonomous sites that will be modeled around XML and related standards for structure and ontology definitions (XML-Data, RDF, DCD, namespaces), APIs, source query capability specifications, and other standards that may describe the transactional abilities of the sites. The team focuses on wrapper-mediator systems which employ XML as a means for information modeling, as well as interchange, across heterogeneous information sources. The wrapper associated with each source exports an XML view of the information at that source. The mediator is responsible for selecting, restructuring, and merging information from autonomous sources and for providing an integrated XML view of the information. The developers are developing wrappers for a variety of information sources including, relational databases, GIS systems, and Web sites with HTML pages. Mediation is based on the MIXm mediator--and the associated XMAS query language--being developed by the UCSD Database Lab component of MIX project. The Database Lab is also developing the BBQ (Blended Browsing and Querying User Interface) interface. MIX is supported by the NPACI XML Interest Group (XIG). See also "MIX: System & Tools" and "XMAS (XML Matching And Structuring Language)."

  • [April 14, 1999]   Consortium Formed for the Maintenance of the Text Encoding Initiative.    A communiqué from John Unsworth (University of Virginia) describes an extremely important milestone in the progress of the Text Encoding Initiative. The TEI Guidelines for the Encoding and Interchange of Machine-Readable Texts, published in 1994, set out SGML encoding conventions "for describing the physical and logical structure of a large range of text types and features relevant for research in language technology, the humanities, and computational linguistics. These include character sets, language corpora, general linguistics, dictionaries, terminological data, spoken texts, hypermedia, literary prose, verse, drama, historical source materials, and text critical apparatus. The Guidelines treat common text encoding problems, including intra- and inter-textual cross reference, demarcation of arbitrary text segments, alignment of parallel elements, overlapping hierarchies, etc. In addition, they provide conventions for linking texts to acoustic and visual data." These Guidelines, providing modularized DTD declaration sets applicable to different domains, have been adopted (and adapted) widely throughout the academic and digital library communities; more than sixty-five (65) projects using the Guidelines have been catalogued. Now, "a new consortium has been formed for the maintenance and continuing work of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI). The TEI is an international project to develop guidelines for the encoding of textual material in electronic form for research purposes; until now, it had been organized as a simple cooperative effort of the three sponsors, and funded solely by grant funds. Now four universities have agreed to serve as hosts for the new consortium, and the three organizations which founded the TEI and have governed it until now have agreed to transfer the responsibility for maintaining and revising the TEI Guidelines to the new consortium. In the first five-year period of the consortium (2000-2005), the four hosts will be the University of Bergen (Humanities Information Technologies Research Programme), the University of Virginia (Electronic Text Center and Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities), Oxford University (Computing Services), and Brown University (Scholarly Technology Group). The three original sponsoring organizations (the Association for Computers and the Humanities, the Association for Computational Linguistics, and the Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing) will maintain close contact with the consortium in order to ensure a smooth transition to the new governance structure." Further information concerning the 'Agreement to Establish a Consortium for the Maintenance of the Text Encoding Initiative' is available on the new consortium Web site. See also the full text of the announcement for details.

  • [April 14, 1999]   XML Belief Network File Format for Bayesian Networks.    Evolving from within a standardization effort 'to define an interchangable text file format for belief networks and influence diagrams' (Bayesian Network Interchange Format - BNIF), the XBN (XML Belief Network) File Format is an XML file format being used by Microsoft's Decision Theory & Adaptive Systems Group (DTAS). XBN (also glossed as "Bayesian network in XML") is now replacing a previous DSC format. The group has designed an XML DTD XBN.DTD as a 'document description for XBN files'. Previously, "the proposed BNIF had stimulated discussion and a set of related offshoots on shared representations of Bayesian networks. Various participants, including the Decision Theory & Adaptive Systems Group at Microsoft Research, [have now] agreed to post first drafts of XML formats for belief networks on their web sites, along with the necessary samples and documentation. At this stage, the XML-BNIF effort is not directed towards producing an interchange format. Instead, the goal is to allow direct participants and others to compare and contrast format proposals. In addition, the ease of parsing and porting XML allows the creation of simple converters (written in Perl or Java) for migration between alternate XML-based formats. Although reading XML directly may not be as simple as reading the older BNIF format, the advantage of being able to use generic XML viewers on these proposed formats should be apparent. [Microsoft's'] development efforts have been facilitated by the extensive XML support in Microsoft's Internet Explorer version 5.0 Beta 2 software; the team is using the MSXML.DLL component to parse XBN files [against the XBN.DTD document description]. Unfortunately, using DTDs with XML engenders some limitations which may ulitimately relegate DTDs to documentary status." For other references and examples, see also "XML Belief Network File Format."

  • [April 14, 1999]   Predictive Model Markup Language (PMML).    The Predictive Model Markup Language (PMML) is an XML language designed around the goal of "giving data mining and modeling community a common method for describing models." The PMML Consortium Committee currently has three institutional members: Magnify, Inc. & Magnify Research, the National Center for Data Mining, and Imperial College, London. A version 0.9 'Predictive Model Markup Language - Document Type Definition' (by Philip L. Hallstrom) is available for review. Details on the specification are provided in a PMML paper presented at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) '99 conference: "The Management and Mining of Multiple Predictive Models Using the Predictive Modeling Markup Language (PMML)," by Robert Grossman, Stuart Bailey, Ashok Ramu, Balinder Malhi, Michael Cornelison, Philip Hallstrom, and Xiao Qin. The authors "introduce a markup language based upon XML for working with the predictive models produced by data mining systems. The language is called the Predictive Model Markup Language (PMML) and can be used to define predictive models and ensembles of predictive models. It provides a flexible mechanism for defining schema for predictive models and supports model selection and model averaging involving multiple predictive models. It has proved useful for applications requiring ensemble learning, partitioned learning, and distributed learning. In addition, it facilitates moving predictive models across applications and systems. . . In particular, we feel that PMML is well suited for partition learning, meta-learning, distributed learning, and related areas. Models described using PMML consist of several parts: 1) a header, 2) a data schema, 3) a data mining schema, 4) a predictive model schema, 5) definitions for predictive models, 6) definitions for ensembles of models, 7) rules for selecting and combining models and ensembles of models, 8) rules for exception handling. Component 5) is required. In addition a schema for the predictive model must be defined. This can be done using one or more of the schemas - components 3, 4, and 5. The other components are optional." Magnify is providing an open source architecture for the PMML. The PMML development team may be contacted at For aditional literature references, see "Predictive Model Markup Language (PMML)."

  • [April 14, 1999]   OASIS, ISO and W3C to Present Standards Update at XML Europe '99.    "Three major information standards organizations, OASIS (the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards), ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) and W3C (the World Wide Web Consortium), will join forces to present the XML Europe Standards Update. Addressing industry representatives from around the world, the XML Standards Update will be held in Granada, Spain, April 27, 1999. 'XML Europe is providing a great opportunity for communication amongst the information standards groups,' commented Norbert Mikula (DataChannel), Chief Technical Officer of OASIS. 'The technical work of OASIS plays an important role in the XML world of standards and interoperability, and we look forward to updating participants on our progress.' At the XML Europe Standards Update, Mikula will focus on the latest achievements and work-in-progress of OASIS technical committees and affiliates including XML Conformance, XML Tables model, XML Registry and Repository, Docbook and CGM. Mikula will be joined in the Standards Update by ISO representative, Dr. Charles F. Goldfarb and by W3C representatives, Dan Connolly, Jon Bosak (Sun Microsystems) and Tim Bray. 'W3C, OASIS, and ISO are emerging as a three-part solution for the development of timely yet reliable XML standards,' said Jon Bosak, who serves as W3C's liaison to ISO/IEC SC34. 'W3C is organized for the rapid definition of core technologies like XML itself, while OASIS offers the best arena for standardizing XML implementations and fostering interoperability. ISO can complete this picture by conferring final standardization on technologies when market acceptance shows them to be stable'." See the announcement for other details. In this connection, note the special OASIS Seminar on XML, April 25, 1999: "Putting Your Finger on the Pulse of XML: Updates from Industry Experts."

  • [April 13, 1999]   Last Call W3C Working Draft on XML Fragment Interchange.    The W3C XML Fragment Working Group has released a new Working Draft version of the specification for XML Fragment Interchange, and invites public comment on this draft specification. The document has been edited by Paul Grosso (Arbortext, and XML Fragment WG Chair) and by Daniel Veillard (W3C). 'Comments received by 1999 April 23 will be considered for the Proposed Recommendation version that will follow very soon after.' The new WD is introduced by Paul Grosso in an announcement. 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 WD specification thus defines: (1) exact constraints on what portions of an XML document may constitute fragments to be supported by this Recommendation; (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; and (4) some mechanisms for associating this information with a fragment." References to related deliverables from the XML Fragment Working Group are provided in the overview, "XML Fragment Working Group."

  • [April 13, 1999]   W3C Publishes New Working Draft for Scalable Vector Graphics.    Following a period of extensive work on SVG Requirements, the W3C SVG Working Group has now released a new Working Draft for the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) Specification (WD-SVG-19990412, W3C Working Draft 12-April-1999). Edited by Jon Ferraiolo (Adobe). The SVG Specification "defines the features and syntax for Scalable Vector Graphics. 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. The MIME type for SVG will be 'image/svg'. SVG supports two intended uses: (1) Stand-alone SVG files which represent complete drawings. These stand-alone SVG files might have been created by a graphics authoring program. If destined to be part of a Web page, these files might be included/referenced using XPointer by a parent document such as an XML Web page. (2) VG "fragments" which represent snippets of graphics which are interspersed (often inline) among the content of a parent document such as an XML Web page. SVG leverages and integrates with other W3C specifications and standards efforts: (1) VG is an application of the XML 1.0 Recommendation; (2) SVG conforms to the XML Namespace Recommendation; (3) SVG is tracking and will conform with XLink and XPointer once these specifications become Recommendations; (4) SVG conforms to the Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) level 2 Recommendation; (5) SVG conforms to the Document Object Model (DOM) level 1 Recommendation and is tracking the DOM level 2; (6) SVG utilises the switch and test concepts from the SMIL 1.0 Recommendation. (7) SVG attempts to fit in with the HTML version 4 Recommendation, and is meant to work as a component grammar with future versions of HTML which are expressed in XML as a set of component XML grammars."

  • [April 12, 1999]   Mailing List for MIME Types and XML.    Murata Makoto (Fuji Xerox Information Systems) announced a new 'ietf-xml-mime' mailing list for discussing MIME types for XML. The principal reference document for the discussion group is XML Media Types (IETF Network Working Group RFC 2376), authored by E. James Whitehead and Murata Makoto. To subscribe to the mailing list, send the message 'subscribe' in the body of an email message to Messages posted to the forum are archived. Other subscription information is available via the Internet Mail Consortium Web server. See related information and references in "XML Media/MIME Types." For other XML mailing lists, see "SGML/XML Discussion Groups and Mailing Lists."

  • [April 09, 1999]   University of Illinois Uses SGML/XML in Federated Repositories for Scientific Document Collections.    The feature article in the February issue of IEEE Computer was "Federated Search of Scientific Literature," written by Bruce Schatz, William Mischo, Timothy Cole, Ann Bishop, Susan Harum, Eric Johnson, Laura Neumann, Hsinchun Chen, and Dorbin Ng. The article describes research by the Digital Libraries Initiative (DLI) Project at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) involving a strategy "to develop widely usable Web technology to effectively search technical documents on the Internet." The work involved "building an experimental Testbed with tens of thousands of full-text journal articles from physics, engineering, and computer science, and making these articles available in production over the Internet before they were available in print. The Testbed used document structure to provide federated search across publisher collections, by merging diverse tags from multiple publishers into a single uniform collection. The Illinois DLI Testbed supports full text in SGML format, associated article metadata, and bit-mapped figure images for scientific journal articles. At present (February 1999), the collection includes 63 journals containing 66,000 articles from 5 engineering professional societies. The Testbed team developed a Web-based retrieval system, which supports federated search across this collection, called DeLIver (DEsktop LInk to Virtual Engineering Resources) . . . A critical element of the Testbed was the effective use of SGML to reveal document structure and produce associated article-level metadata, which homogenizes heterogeneous SGML and allows short-entry display. We take the SGML directly from the publishers' collections, converting it to a canonical format for federated searching and transforming tags into a standard set. The metadata also contains links to internal and external data, such as other Testbed articles and bibliographic abstract databases. The metadata and index files, which contain pointers to the full-text data, are stored independently and separately from the full-text. With SGML, documents can be treated as objects, allowing viewing, manipulation, and output. For retrieval purposes, SGML's major strength is its ability to reveal a document's component structure. While SGML is becoming ubiquitous in publishing, it is largely generated by publishers as a production by-product. The coming widespread availability of rich markup formats, such as XML (eXtensible Markup Language), a nearly complete instance of SGML, will likely make them the standard for open document systems. Future versions of our Testbed are planning to use XML to represent structure." A fuller article summary is provided in the XML articles collection. See also The Illinois Digital Library Project and The CANIS Laboratory, University of Illinois.

  • [April 09, 1999]    Language Technology Group RXP Parser Adds XML Namespace Support.    Richard Tobin announced on XML-DEV that he has "added namespace support to RXP, and has added an option to his XML-checker page to include namespace processing. This causes the constraints listed in the namespaces recommendation to be checked. Please try it out and let [him] know of any problems." [However, he admits] 'XML namespaces don't mesh well with DTD-based validity, so you quite likely won't want to select both validation and namespace processing.' Note that the STG XML Validation Form developed by Richard Goerwitz works similarly: normally, elements and attributes in namespaces must be declared, but if the 'relax namespace checks' box is checked, strict validation for undeclared elements and attributes in namespaces is turned off. See "Check or Validate XML!" for references to other online XML well-formedness checking and validiation tools.

  • [April 09, 1999]   XML Convert Version 1.0.    Robert C. Lyons (Unidex Inc.) announced the availability of XML Convert version 1.0. XML Convert is "a Java application that uses XFlat schemas to convert flat files into XML. XFlat is an XML language for defining flat file schemas. XML Convert uses an XFlat schema to parse and validate the flat file, and to produce the XML output. When converting a flat file to an XML document, XML Convert uses an XFlat schema to parse the flat file and produce the corresponding XML document. The corresponding XML document is an XFlat instance, whose structure is the same as the structure of the flat file, and whose data is the same as the data in the flat file. In other words, an XFlat instance is an XML document that conforms to an XFlat schema. Thus, an XFlat schema describes the structure of a non-XML flat file and the corresponding XFlat instance. XML Convert supports a wide variety of flat file formats, including CSV, fixed length records and fields, multiple record types, groups of records, nested groups, etc."

  • [April 09, 1999]   eXML - XML Parser for Eiffel.    Andreas Leitner has announced the availablity of eXML, an XML Parser for Eiffel. eXML is "an XML parser for Eiffel based on James Clark's expat. It compiles and runs on ISE Eiffel and SmallEiffel on Windows and Linux. eXML is freely distributable and modifiable under the Eiffel Forum Freeware License. In version 0.1.5, a basic tree based parser has been implemented. eXML [thus now] provides two different type of parsers: an event based parser and a tree based parser." For a list of XML parser software, see "XML Parsers and Parsing Toolkits."

  • [April 09, 1999]   IBM's XML Tutorials for Programmers.    "IBM's XML Technology Group is pleased to offer two free on-line tutorials for programmers, web authors, and/or technical managers who would like to improve their understanding of the XML standard and develop applications that process XML documents. Course contents include a general overview of XML highlighting its benefits from a business and programming perspective, and a detailed description on how to write XML documents. Coming soon is IBM's on-line tutorial for parsing XML using Java." For other XML tutorials, see "Introducing the Extensible Markup Language (XML)."

  • [April 09, 1999]   XML Parser for Java and LotusXSL Update.    The IBM XML Parser for Java has been released as version 2.0.6. The new release features: (1) improved documentation and sample code, (2) namespace support for DOMHash, (3) validation on the native DOM, and (4) numerous bug fixes. LotusXSL has also been updated. LotusXSL is an 'experimental implementation of the Construction Rules section of the XSL World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Working Draft. LotusXSL implements an XSL processor in Java, and can interface to APIs that conform to the October 1 Document Object Model (DOM) Level 1 Specification. The processor can be used from the command line or from an wrapper applet, or it can be used as a submodule of other programs, and accessed via the API. LotusXSL now supports: (1) streaming SAX output, (2) DOM tree output, and (3) a smaller and improved JavaScript engine. IBM's XML Enabler is a Java Servlet that works with LotusXSL, converting XML-tagged data into HTML using different stylesheets for different browsers. For other XSL software, see "XSL Software Support."

  • [April 08, 1999]   Universal Plug and Play to Use XML Schemas.    A series of announcements made from the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference and Exhibition (WinHEC) describe industry support for the Universal Plug and Play 'device interoperability standard' and for the new supporting Universal Plug and Play Forum. According to these announcements, the Universal Plug and Play Forum members will initially "work with Microsoft to enable device-to-device interoperability by promoting Universal Plug and Play protocols and cooperatively developing and contributing XML schemas for device description, naming and HTML-based control. Universal Plug and Play will use Extensible Markup Language (XML) for schema, because XML's self-describing structured data format provides the level of expressiveness and extensibility needed by a universal schema and data format. To support the Universal Plug and Play Forum design process, Microsoft will create and maintain a Web site ( that will include background information on Universal Plug and Play, the Universal Plug and Play Forum and its activities, Universal Plug and Play source code, white papers, XML dialect, developer kits and membership information." See, for example, "Microsoft and Key Universal Plug and Play Supporters Announce Forum To Advance Universal Plug and Play. Preliminary Universal Plug and Play Specifications and Source Code Available Through Forum Web Site."

  • [April 08, 1999]   Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P) Working Draft Specification.    The W3C has issued a fourth working draft of the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P) Specification as a part of the W3C P3P Activity. The WD, edited by Massimo Marchiori and Joseph Reagle, is expected to be advanced toward W3C Recommendation status. The Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P) specification enables Web sites to express their privacy practices and enables users to exercise preferences over those practices. P3P compliant products will allow users to be informed of site practices (in both machine and human readable formats), to delegate decisions to their computer when appropriate, and to tailor their relationship to specific sites. Site practices that are compatible with a user's preferences can, at the user's option, be accessed "seamlessly". Otherwise users will be notified of a site's practices and have the opportunity to agree to those terms or other terms and continue browsing if they wish. [As explained in "4.1.2 XML/RDF encoding of proposal"] P3P uses XML (using the RDF data model) for the exchange of structured data and assertions. P3P will support future digital certificate and digital signature capabilities. P3P can be incorporated into browsers, browser plug-ins, servers, or proxy servers that sit between a client and server." The P3P 1.0 specification consists of three documents, and P3P1.0 compliant implementations must abide by the conformance requirements of each: (1) Syntax Specification, (2) Harmonized Vocabulary Specification, (3) Base Data Set Specification.

  • [April 08, 1999]   Associating Stylesheets Working Draft Published for Further Review.    The W3C Working Draft Associating Stylesheets With XML Documents (W3C Working Draft 7 April 1999) has been re-issued for further review. Edited by James Clark, the specification "allows a stylesheet to be associated with an XML document by including one or more processing instructions with a target of xml-stylesheet in the 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"?>. "The xml-stylesheet processing instruction is parsed in the same way as a start-tag, with the exception that entities other than predefined entities must not be referenced."

  • [April 07, 1999]   Modularization of XHTML.    The W3C HTML Working Group has published a Working Draft document entitled Modularization of XHTML (W3C Working Draft 06-April-1999). It has been edited by Murray Altheim (Sun Microsystems), Daniel Austin (CNET: The Computer Network), Frank Boumphrey (HTML Writers Guild), Sam Dooley (IBM), Shane McCarron (The Open Group), and Ted Wugofski (Gateway). The Working Draft "specifies a modularization of XHTML 1.0. There are two aspects to the proposed modularization: modularization into semantic modules, and implementation of these semantic modules through a document type definition (DTD). Semantic modules provide a means for subsetting and extending XHTML, a feature desired for extending XHTML's reach onto emerging platforms. Modularization at the DTD level improves the ability to create new complete DTDs from XHTML and other DTD modules. . . The primary purpose of defining XHTML modules and a general modularization methodology is to ease the development of DTDs that are based upon XHTML. These DTDs may extend XHTML by integrating additional capabilities (e.g., SMIL or MathML), or they may define a subset of XHTML for use in a specialized device. Regardless of the application, XHTML modules are up to the task. This section [6. Developing DTDs with defined and extended modules] describes the techniques that DTD designers must use in order to take advantage of this modularization architecture. It does this by applying the techniques defined in the previous sections in progressively more complex ways, culminating in the creation of a complete DTD from disparate modules." DTDs and SGML Open Catalog entries for HTML are provided in the section XHTML Document Type Definitions. Earlier work by the W3C committee has been published as XHTML 1.0: The Extensible HyperText Markup Language Reformulation of HTML 4.0 in XML 1.0.

  • [April 07, 1999]   Metastructures 1999 Call for Proposals.    Steven R. Newcomb posted a call for participation in the Metastructures 1999 Conference. Metastructures 1999 is co-chaired by Carla Corkern (ISOGEN International Corp) and Steve Newcomb (TechnoTeacher, Inc.). This Sixth Annual Metastructures Conference (formerly: 'International HyTime Conference') will be held August 17 - 18, 1999 at Le Centre Sheraton, Montréal, Québec, Canada. "The Graphic Communications Association (GCA) invites you to participate in the sixth annual Metastructures conference, which is one event in a set that inclues the perennial XML Developers' Conference and various OASIS functions. It's our community's relaxed, summertime opportunity to get away and talk plainly about things that really matter to information owners and users, and their advisers and system integrators. . . Metastructures 1999 is about the evolving abstractions that underlie modern information management solutions, how they enhance human productivity, and how they are being applied by expert information managers. Metastructures are syntactic/semantic constructs found in many kinds of information. Examples include hyperlinks, information component addresses, metadata for workflow, security, commerce, etc., constructs for scheduling and resource allocation, information architectures, architectural forms, namespaces, topic maps, schemata and schematic formalisms. The old distinctions between databases and documents are vanishing, and metastructures are becoming the primary underpinnings of information processing." Proposals for papers and tutorials should be sent via email or before Friday, May 21, 1999. See also the main conference entry

  • [April 06, 1999]   ACH-ALLC 1999 Conference Program Available.    A provisional program and schedule is now available for the ACH-ALLC '99 Conference. The ACH-ALLC '99 "International Humanities Computing Conference" will be held June 9 - 13, 1999, at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. This joint annual conference of the Association for Computers and the Humanities and the Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing will be hosted by the UVA Electronic Text Center, the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, and the The Instructional Technology Group of ITC (Information Technology and Communication). The 1999 venue is of particular interest, given that UVA's Electronic Text Center "combines an on-line archive of thousands of SGML-encoded electronic texts and images with a library service that offers hardware and software suitable for the creation and analysis of text" and that its Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities has been a model showcase of SGML/XML applications in humanities areas. Numerous panel presentations, papers, and software demonstrations at ACH-ALLC '99 will focus upon the role of SGML/XML markup in humanities applications, featuring especially the encoding of literary and linguistic properties of "text" according to the Text Encoding Initiative Guidelines. Some examples: (1) Gary F. Simons, C. Michael Sperberg-McQueen, and David G. Durand: "PANEL: Rethinking TEI markup in the light of SGML architectures"; (2) Elizabeth Solopova: "Encoding a Transcript of the Beowulf Manuscript in SGML"; (3) Julia Flanders and Paul Caton: "Encoding Renditional Information in Primary Source Texts, Using SGML"; (4) C. M. Sperberg-McQueen and Claus Huitfeldt: "GODDAG: A Data Structure for Overlapping Hierarchies"; (5) Terry Butler, Greg Coulombe, Sue Fisher, and Susan Hockey: "Can a Team Tag Consistently? Experiences on the Orlando Project"; (6) Jerome P. McDonough: " The Making of America II: A Standardized Architecture for the Digitization of Primary Sources"; (7) Steven J. DeRose and C.M. Sperberg-McQueen: "A broadcast architecture for distributed text tools"; (8) Perry Roland: "The 'Preposterous Muddle' Revisited: An XML Thematic Catalog DTD. See also the main conference entry.

  • [April 06, 1999]   FreeBSD Handbook in DocBook SGML.    Nik Clayton announced that the FreeBSD Handbook has now been completely converted from LinuxDoc to DocBook. The FreeBSD Handbook, distributed through the FreeBSD Documentation Project, "is the main on-line user guide for FreeBSD. FreeBSD is "an advanced BSD UNIX operating system for 'PC-compatible' computers, developed and maintained by a large team of individuals [which] offers advanced networking, performance, security and compatibility features today which are still missing in other operating systems, even some of the best commercial ones." The FreeBSD Handbook represents a volunteer effort: it comprises roughly 580 A4 pages of information, or 1.3MB of SGML source. The conversion to DocBook SGML has enabled automatic conversion to a number of formats, chief among them being HTML, RTF, PS, and PDF. The HTML version of the Handbook can be seen at: Other formats for the manual can be downloaded from" The author gives special credit to the developers of several free tools, which enabled the conversion: "James Clark for Jade, Sebastian Rahtz for the JadeTeX macros, [and] Norm Walsh for the stylesheets." For more on the DocBook DTD, see DocBook Web site.

  • [April 06, 1999]   Journée sur XML. GUT '99, Lyon, France.    Mathieu Mangeot posted an announcement for an XML day, to be included in GUT '99, organized by GUTenberg (groupe francophone des utilisateurs de TeX): "Balisage et hypertexte, l'avenir du document électronique." The GUT '99 conference will be on May 18 - 20, 1999, held at the Institut de physique nucléaire de Lyon, Lyon, France. The program will include a 4-hour tutorial on XML, offered by M. Goossens (CERN) and related sessions on MathML, comparison of SGML/XML, DOM, etc. See also the main conference entry.

  • [April 06, 1999]   VBXML Mailing List.    Mark Wilson posted an announcement to CTX for a new VBXML mailing list. VBXML is "an email discussion group for Visual Basic and Visual Interdev developers who want to learn more about XML, XSL, DOM and related topics. Eventually we will set up our own website and create shareware programs and components for the industry. To subscribe, send a blank email message to You will then receive a welcome email, and FAQ and a starter zip [file] with some XML examples." Send email messages to The VBXML list is linked from a home page. For other XML discussion groups, see "SGML/XML Discussion Groups and Mailing Lists.'

  • [April 06, 1999]   DocBook Lite Pre-Release: A "Simple" DocBook Subset.    Norman Walsh has announced a pre-release/draft version of a "Simple" DocBook Subset. Some new users of the DocBook SGML/XML DTD 'have observed that the number of elements in DocBook can be a little overwhelming', which in part motivates the notion of a "simple" DocBook subset. Another goal would be "to produce a DTD that is small enough to download with IE5 in a fairly painless fashion." The proposed requirements: (1) documents written in the subset must be 100% legal DocBook; (2) just 'articles'; (3) very minimal subset; (4) the XML DTD should work in IE5; (5) there should be a CSS and XSL stylesheets." Those interested should look at the 'Simplified DocBook' proposal (e.g., via the DTDParse documentation online) and provide feedback to Norm Walsh. See also DocBook Web site.

  • [April 06, 1999]   XP - Extensible Protocol Implementation in Java.    A communiqué from Tom Harding announces the availability of 'An Extensible Protocol Implementation in Java'. "I have released a free Java implementation of Extensible Protocol, a 100% XML protocol for sending and receiving XML documents on a persistent connection. This implementation uses stream sockets and the IBM xml4j parser to implement XP. It presents an event-listener interface using the Document Object Model." The XP (com.thinlink.xp package implements the XP draft 00 (IETF), and is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License. "XP will work best for applications that use relatively long-lasting, contextual conversations. XP is extremely simple and lets you build outward from the wire, rather than inward from a complex software interface. It provides only a transport for moving documents from one end to the other, and the response tagging necessary to allow interleaved responses and multiple responses to a single request." See: "Extensible Protocol." And compare: AXTP: Application eXtensible Transactional Protocol which 'uses XML for its wire protocol'.

  • [April 05, 1999]   XMLNews.    The Web site XMLNews outlines a proposed "suite of specifications for exchanging news and information using open Web standards." According to documentation in the 'XMLNews Technical Overview', the XMLNews specifications lets news providers "target more customers and add value to news and information before it goes out the door. . . If you are a news distributor, either in the new Web media or in the traditional print and broadcast media, the XMLNews specifications can make it easier for you to get the news from the wire to your customers." Currently, XMLNews consists of two parts: (1) XMLNews-Story defines the content of textual news stories; and (2) XMLNews-Meta defines a set of metadata information about news objects. You can use XMLNews-Meta to transmit metadata about any kind of news object, whether textual (such as an XMLNews-Story document) or non-textual (such as an image or audio clip) in the same, standard format." XMLNews-Story is said to be "fully-compatible subset of the 21-September-1998 XML version of the News Industry Text Format (NITF) developed by the International Press Telecommunications Council and the Newspaper Association of America as the new standard for exchanging news stories (replacing the old ANPA 1312 wire format)." Both specifications use XML. Draft DTDs for XMLNews are provided on the Web site, along with a basic XML tutorial. See now [1999-04-07] also the press release: "XMLNews Initiative Announced. Corel and WavePhore Support XMLNews in New Products." For other references, see the Web site or "XMLNews."

  • [April 02, 1999]   ATLA's Center for Electronic Texts in Religion to Use XML in Serials Publication.    The ATLAS Project, being undertaken by the American Theological Library Association's Center for Electronic Texts in Religion (CETR) is being designed to use XML in the encoding and publication of religion journals. As described in a recent OFFLINE article "Online Print Journal Collections and the Academic Study of Religion," the journals will be digitized in two formats: image and XML. "ATLAS is designed to take 50 religion journals and 50 years' worth of volumes of each, for those that go back that far, digitize them, and make them accessible from the Web. In some cases, where a journal has been in existence for more than 50 years, ATLAS may include the entire run of the journal. Page images with XML envelopes (using Ebind, as with BA) will be made available first, since preparation time is so short -- relatively speaking -- for this format. High resolution versions of the images will also be archived for preservation purposes. As soon as the page images are ready, the journals will be encoded in XML, probably in a DTD related to the SGML TEI DTD, though the specific DTD has yet to be determined. We expect that XML browsers will be available for scholars to use as early as 1999, but it is possible that on the fly translation from XML to HTML may be necessary as a short-term solution for scholars whose Web browsers will not read XML." The ATLAS project is to be directed by James R. Adair, who served as a principal in the successful SELA Journals Project (Scholars Press-Emory Library Linked Academy). The SELA project, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, uses SGML, HTML, and GIF images in the encoding and delivery of selected journals published by Scholars Press. Users view those volumes digitized as SGML (Journal of the American Academy of Religion - JAAR, most Semeia, CRBR, Biblical Archaeologist) with regular Web browsers, thanks to a program called DynaWeb [from Inso Corporation] that translates SGML to HTML on the fly. DynaWeb also has a sophisticated search engine built in, allowing scholars to do both simple and complex searches of the full text of individual articles, particular issues, and even the entire document collection."

  • [April 02, 1999]   XML Court Interface (XCI) Uses XML-Encoded Messages.    XCI ('Extensible Markup Language Court Interface' or 'XML Court Interface') is a new initiative which "will allow attorney software provided by vendors or law offices to 'plug in' to a court's electronic filing system." This initiative has been developed through The U. S. District Court, District of New Mexico, with support from The U. S. Bankruptcy Court in New Mexico and New Mexico State Courts. Broadly speaking, it is a technical initiative "designed to facilitate court, law office, attorney, and vendor participation and to substantially increase the volume of electronic filings." In this design, "Messages to and from the court will be in XML (Extensible Markup Language) format. Messages going to the court will be called 'request' messages and messages from the court will be called 'response' messages. These messages will be wrapped in an 'envelope' for delivery, also in XML format. The envelope contains the message which specifies either a request or a response. The envelope is used to authenticate that the message is from a filing attorney (or other submitting authority) that is recognized by the court and doesn't become a permanent part of a filing. The response will also be enclosed in an envelope signed by the court." See the documentation and a press release. Further information is referenced in "XML Court Interface (XCI)." Note also in this connection a new announcment from iLumin Corporation: "Utah's Third District Court Now Accepting Electronic Criminal Filings with Help from Technology Developed by iLumin Corporation. Utah Court's Project is First in the Country to Implement Electronic Filing Solution Using XML and Digital Signatures."

  • [April 02, 1999]   Legal XML Email Lists.    The LegalXML 'Where Law Meets XML' Web site, presented by FindLaw, supplies a collection of references to XML adoption within the legal community. LegalXML was set up in 1998 by the Utah Electronic Law Project and by GSU Law, which hosts the Georgia State University Electronic Court Filing Project. The Web site developers also actively promote XML: "Most electronic document formats in wide use today allow only for the storage of presentation information along with text. XML allows for the storage of contextual information, opening a whole new world of applications to process, search, and act upon documents without human intervention." The associated XML discussion list at Legalminds ( "is run by Gabe Wachob ( of Findlaw. This list is intended for discussing the political and practical issues in getting the legal community and industry to adopt XML-based open and non-proprietary standards. Alternatively, if you are interested in technical development, please contact Todd Vincent ( about becoming a member of the leg-xml-l development list. The list has open subscription and is unmoderated at the current time [1999-04]. An archive of the list is at" For other XML mailing lists, see "SGML/XML Discussion Groups and Mailing Lists."

  • [April 02, 1999]   Online Microsoft XML Well-Formedness Checking and Validation Tool.    Microsoft has provided a URL for an online XML Well-Formedness Checking and Validation Tool. The web page allows you to enter in the URL of an XML document and both parse and validate that document; the demo utilizes the new validation support (XML schemas, validateOnParse property, etc.), viz., the validator can be used with both XML schemas and DTDs. It requires Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 or greater on Win32 or Unix platforms. With this "XML Validator" one may nominate an XML document by a URL or supply paste-in text; then "check the 'Validation' box if you want to validate your document." The color-coded validation report is interactive (via a hierarchical ESIS-like 'click-through / walk-down'); comments and PIs are also displayed in this output. Microsoft's Jonathan Marsh referenced this URL in the context of a (long) discussion on the XSL-List about (and criticizing) MSIE 5.0's validation of incoming XML. Apropos of which James Clark finally wrote: "I know Microsoft-bashing is good, clean fun, but actually they've done the right thing here." The URL for the online Microsoft XML Validator has been included with the list of other online XML checking/validation tools in the document "Check or Validate XML."

  • [April 02, 1999]   Release of OpenXML Parser Version 1.0.5.    An announcement was posted to CTX for the release of OpenXML version 1.0.5, which introduces the X3P Publisher API, provides support for XHTML 1.0, and offers and major performance improvements. OpenXML is "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 a member of the ExoLab open source development center, an initiative to foster collaboration between software developers and consulting companies." The major features of OpenXML 1.0.5: (1) Substantial improvements in parser performance. The parser has been tested to work twice as fast and memory consumption has dropped to a quarter, owing much to improved string handling. (2) New X3P Publisher API provides uniform model for publishing and storing documents to a variety of output targets. Supports output streams and files, XML, HTML and XHTML formats, pretty printing and DTD control. (3) XHTML 1.0 (HTML in XML) is now supported as an output format and as the DTD set for HTML documents. (4) Several important fixes to all reported parsing and printing bugs." It is expected that the upcoming release 1.0.6 will 'improve document parsing, provide additional validation support, consistent whitespace handling, document mapping, and better integration with the XSL:P processor.' XSL:P 1.0 Alpha, also developed within ExoLab, is a "free, open-source XSL processor written in Java. Currently this processor implements the tree construction of the XSL WD 1.0 19981216 specification." For other XML parsers, see "XML Parsers and Parsing Toolkits."

  • [April 01, 1999]   XML/DOM Track at WWW8 DevDay.    Jon Bosak (Sun Microsystems, and Chair of the W3C XML Coordination Group) issued a call for participation in the XML Developers' Day at the Eighth International World Wide Web Conference (WWW8). The Dev Day will take place in Toronto, Ontario, May 14, 1999. Submissions with proposals should be sent to the two co-chairs of the XML/DOM track (Lauren Wood, Jon Bosak) "no later than close of business Friday, April 9, 1999." From the call: "XML and related standards constitute the future syntactic infrastructure of the Web. The XML/DOM track will present up-to-the-minute developments in Web-related technologies based on XML, XML Schemas, XLink/XPointer, XSL, and the DOM. Proposals featuring running code that has not previously been shown are of special interest and will be given priority in selecting the presentations." Note that full-day tutorials will be offered (May 11, 1999) on XML (James Tauber) and XSL (Ken Holman). Sean McGrath is teaching a tutorial on "XML Scripting with Python". See also the WWW8 Conference Web site.

  • [April 01, 1999]   DocBk XML Version 3.1.3 Released.    Norman Walsh posted an announcement to CTX for the release of DocBk XML Version 3.1.3. DocBk XML is an XML version of the DocBook DTD; it is based on the DocBook V3.1 DTD from OASIS. DocBook "is an SGML DTD maintained by the DocBook Technical Committee of OASIS [that is] particularly well suited to books and papers about computer hardware and software." DocBk XML contains an XMLified version of the CALS table fragment and an XMLified version of the OASIS Exchange Table model. The version-specific formal public identifier is "-//Norman Walsh//DTD DocBk XML V3.1.3//EN". The most significant change in version 3.1.3 is that the DTD is compatible with the XML parser in Microsoft Internet Explorer 5. Additional details on this release are found in the README file. DocBook: "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." For more information about OASIS and the DocBook DTD, see the Web site. In this connection, note that the minutes of the DocBook meeting at XTech'99 in San Jose are available online; they are linked from the DocBook DocBook Technical Committee Meetings document. The next DocBook meeting will be held in Granada at XML Europe '99. "By special arrangement with OASIS, meetings of the DocBook Technical Committee are open to anyone who wishes to attend, not just members of OASIS; non-OASIS prospective attendees should contact the DocBook TC chair at least two weeks before the meeting."

  • [April 01, 1999]   SGML for TEX: 'Active TEX and the DOT Input Syntax'    Among the several presentations, panel sessions, and workshops on 'TeX/XML/MathML' scheduled for the TUG '99 Conference, the paper by Jonathan Fine on Active TEX and the DOT Input Syntax is of special interest. This is a preliminary version of the full paper to be presented to the 20th Annual Meeting of the TEX Users Group (Vancouver, Canada, 15-19 August 1999) Several proposals have been made over the past 15 years for an SGML syntax for (La)TeX. The 'DOT Input Syntax' is interesting: it uses DOT-name for GI, DOT-DOT-name for attribute, and DOT-SLASH-name for end tag. The provisional abstract: "The usual category codes give TEX its familiar backslash and braces input syntax. With Active TEX, all characters are active. This gives the macro programmer complete freedom in defining the input syntax. It also provides a powerful programming environment. The dot input syntax, like TROFF, uses a period at the start of the line as an escape character. However, its underlying element, attribute and content structure is based on SGML. It is both easy to use and easy to program for. Conversion to other formats, such as SGML, HTML and XML, or to proprietary formats such as Word and RTF, will be straightforward. This is because the DOT syntax is rigorous. This new syntax will be described and demonstrated. All manner of problems connected with TEX disappear when Active TEX packages are used. For example, all input errors can be detected and corrected before they cause a TEX error message. This will make TEX accessible to many more users." Jonathan wrote similarly on CTX (1999-04-01): "Active TeX. I've written a TeX macro package that makes all characters active. With Active TeX, every character is a macro! Believe it or not, many problems with TeX can as a result be solved. For more information visit" For a collection of references on the use of (La)TeX in connection with publishing SGML/XML, see "SGML/XML and (La)TeX."

  • [April 01, 1999]   Zveno Swish XML Editor Version 1.0 Beta 1 Released    Steve Ball of Zveno Pty Ltd. posted an announcement for a new release of the Swish XML editor. "Swish is a non-validating XML document editor. It allows the user to view and edit an XML document in both a tree-mode and a document-mode simultaneously. Major new features for this release are availability on the Macintosh and a plugin facility which allows extension and customisability by third-parties. Swish uses Tcl/Tk, an easy-to-use scripting language which users or third-parties can use to add specific features to Swish. As part of our Open Source effort, Zveno also makes available components of Swish for free, TclXML and TclDOM." Evaluation versions of the Zveno Swish Version 1.0 Release Beta 1 are now available for download for Microsoft Windows 95/98/NT, Linux RedHat 5.2, and Macintosh PowerMac. For the final production release of Swish in May 1999, Zveno plans to provide "support for more XML document features, such as entity references, comments, CDATA sections and processing instructions. More support for plugins and a better definition of the Plugin API is also underway." Zveno's Version 2.0 development plans for Swish include validation (ability to validate XML documents against a DTD), structured editing (constraining the user to only create elements in a document that the DTD permits), and error recovery that will 'catch errors in documents, of both the well-formed and validity types, and aid the user in repairing the damage.' For a list of other XML editing tools, see "XML Document/DTD Editing."

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