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Last modified: April 30, 2000
SGML and XML News - 1999 Q3

Related News:   [Current SGML/XML News] -   [News 1999 April - June] -   [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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  • [September 30, 1999]   Updates on the aecXML Working Group Specification for Architecture, Engineering and Construction.    The aecXML Working Group for Architecture, Engineering and Construction has provided recent updates on the proposed XML specification and its implementation. "Today the aecXML Project represents a wide variety of software vendors, owner/operators, consulting and service organizations and building products manufacturers, organized into working groups on two continents to rapidly define and publish the aecXML schema." An aecXML Preliminary Specification Working Draft (Working draft 0.87. 13-September-1999) describes some of the project scope: "aecXML is an XML grammar to represent information in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry. This information may be resources such as projects, documents, materials, parts, organizations, professionals, or activities such as proposals, design, estimating, scheduling and construction. It is intended to be used as an XML namespace and to facilitate information exchange of AEC data on the Internet. The following types of AEC information are within the scope of aecXML. This is meant to be a representative rather than an exhaustive list: Documents (RFP, RFQ, RFI, drawings, specifications, ASI, addenda, bulletins, change orders, contracts, building codes, purchase orders); Building Components (Items from a catalog, custom manufactured items, assemblies, materials), Projects (Design, construction, decommissioning, operations & maintenance, facility management); Professional Services and Resources (Engineers, architects, contractors, suppliers, specialties); Organizations (Standards bodies, government agencies); Software (CAD, estimating, project management, scheduling, document management)." In a WG meeting of September 15, 1999, "Five committees were established to continue the work of creating aecXML: (1) Design/Estimating/Scheduling/Cost Management, (2) Product Catalogs, (3) Procurement, (4) Operations/Maintenance/Facility Management, and (5) Project/Construction Management. Leaders from every facet of the AEC industry gathered in Dallas and Reading, UK, on September 15 for the first meeting of the aecXML Working Group. More than half of the 60 participants- representing software vendors, owner/operators, consulting and service organizations and building products manufacturers-volunteered to participate in committees to continue the process of creating aecXML." A recent press release also from Bentley to the effect that it now supports aexXML in its ModelServer Integrator product (an information broker for engineering projects): "Bentley's ModelServer Integrator Supports XML and aecXML. Server-level Information Broker for Engineering Projects Gains New Power to Integrate Information from Diverse Sources." Updated information is provided in the announcement "aecXML Project Unites Broad Coalition. Committees on Two Continents Moving Forward at Rapid Pace, Continuing on the Work Initiated by Bentley. Microsoft Validates Importance of XML Schemas." See the working group's Web site or the main database entry for other details.

  • [September 30, 1999] Developer News from the XML Community.    Edd Dumbill has posted an announcement for the creation of '' to supply developer news from the XML community'. It is designed as a web site covering essential news, issues, opinions and programming advice from the XML developer community. was founded by Edd Dumbill, an XML developer and writer. It also has the following contributing editors: (1) Gabe Beged-Dov, and (2) Simon St.Laurent." The site owners recognize that "there are some excellent XML resources already on the web [... but that] there ought to be another [...] to provide additional accessibility, community, timeliness, and depth."

  • [September 30, 1999]   XML Packaging.    An entire constellation of issues orbits around the notion of "packaging" XML resources in the context of network-based delivery and discovery. Tim Bray posted an announcement to the XML-DEV list concerning the availability of a "motivating statement" prepared for an XML Plenary meeting. In "Related-Resource Discovery for XML", he frames the problem in this way: "Many applications of XML are designed to process XML resources in combination with other related or supporting resources. Such resources currently include DTDs, stylesheets, RDF metadata, human-readable documentation, and executable code; many other types of related resource are in active development. In general, there is no standardized interoperable way for an XML resource to include information to aid applications in retrieving such related resources. W3C recommendations currently provide syntax for XML documents to include pointers to DTDs and to stylesheets. These methods are ad-hoc, not compatible with each other, and represent nobody's idea of a general solution to the problem of retrieval of related resources." The problem is general, however: resources of all kinds are "related" to other resources, whether encoded in XML or not. Simon St.Laurent announced that "there's a new draft of XPDL up at for those interested in packaging XML. XPDL provides descriptions of document classes, identifying the resources they use and specifying how they should be processed. There's also a presentation I gave at XML Developer Days that describes what XPDL is supposed to fix and how it should work. Anyone interested in the 'packaging' XML discussion may find it worth reading - if not necessarily for my particular answers, then perhaps for the questions." [1999-09-29, XML-DEV]

  • [September 30, 1999]   Infoteria's XML Style Wizard 1.0.    From a recent company announcement: "Infoteria Launches XML Style Wizard 1.0 For Free Creating XSLT File For XML Data In Easy and Quick Way." - "Infoteria Inc. today announced the immediate release of its XML Style Wizard 1.0. This simple and clear XSLT file generator for XML is offered free of charge and is available for download from Infoteria's web site. Infoteria boasts that by answering only six simple questions, the XML Style Wizard can produce an XSLT file for XML. XML Style Wizard creates the XSLT file by analyzing existing XML data. It allows users to create a table from the XML data, or create a list table from multiple records of XML data. The XSLT file created by XML Style Wizard is used by XML browsers such as Internet Explorer 5.0 from Microsoft and for XSLT processors such as iXSLT from Infoteria. In addition, XML Style Wizard supports both W3Cs latest XSLT specification and the specification implemented in Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0." For related XSL/XSLT software, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support."

  • [September 30, 1999]   Stilo's Introductory Offer for Stilo WebWriter.    Stilo recently announced an introductory offer [reduced price, 'try and buy'] for its Stilo WebWriter, described as a "comprehensive editor for creating XML." Stilo, "a world class provider of XML and SGML software products and related consulting services, is pleased to announce the launch of Stilo Webwriter, at the XML One Europe exhibition in London on October 7-8th, 1999. Stilo WebWriter is an industrial strength XML editing tool, providing all of the functionality expected of leading XML editors, but made so simple to use that it is not necessary to have any prior knowledge of XML in order to be productive." For related software, see "XML Document Editing, DTD Editing, Stylesheet Editing, Formatting, Browsing, and Delivery Tools."

  • [September 30, 1999]   Paged Media Properties for CSS3.    A new W3C working draft on Paged Media Properties for CSS3 has been released by the W3C as part of the Style Activity. Reference: W3C Working Draft 28-September-1999, by Robert Stevahn. This working draft document represents one in a collection of W3C Working Drafts "which will, when complete, define the next level of CSS." Abstract: "This document proposes an extension to CSS to permit finer control over the paged presentation, both printed and online, of Web pages. Some of the features described are useful for other media as well. Included are properties for describing headers, footers, footnotes and endnotes. These features require other features described here, such as cross-references and page-based counters. In addition, page-dependent floating elements are described." For other references on CSS3 and CSS2, see "W3C Cascading Style Sheets."

  • [September 30, 1999]   IETF Internet Draft on XML Media Types.    An IETF Internet Draft from the Network Working Group was published recently on the topic of XML Media Types. References: Internet-Draft September 24, 1999, draft-murata-xml-00.txt, by MURATA Makoto and Simon St. Laurent. Abstract: "This document proposes three new media subtypes, text/xml, application/xml, and application/xml-dtd, for use in exchanging network entities which are conforming Extensible Markup Language (XML). This document also proposes a convention for naming media subtypes outside of these three subtypes when those subtypes represent XML entities. XML entities are currently exchanged via the HyperText Transfer Protocol on the World Wide Web, are an integral part of the WebDAV protocol for remote web authoring, and are expected to have utility in many domains." [And] "Since XML is an integral part of the WebDAV Distributed Authoring Protocol, and since World Wide Web Consortium Recommendations have conventionally been assigned IETF tree media types, and since similar media types (HTML, SGML) have been assigned IETF tree media types, the XML media types also belong in the IETF media types tree. Similarly, XML will be used as a foundation for other media types, including types in every branch of the IETF media types tree. To facilitate the processing of such types, media types based on XML, but which are not identified using text/xml or application/xml, should be named using a suffix of -xml. This will allow XML-based tools - browsers, editors, search engines, and other processors - to work with all XML-based media types." For background and references, see XML Media/MIME Types."

  • [September 28, 1999]   Unicode Technical Committee and W3C Publish Unicode in XML and other Markup Languages.    Unicode in XML and other Markup Languages is "a W3C Working Draft worked on jointly by the W3C Internationalization Working Group/Interest Group and the Unicode Technical Committee. References: Proposed DRAFT Unicode Technical Report #20, Revision 2 == W3C Working Draft 28-September-1999. Unicode URL: By Martin Dürst, Mark Davis, and Asmus Freytag. The working draft "contains guidelines on the use of the Unicode Standard in conjunction with markup languages such as XML. The material in this draft is still in a rather early stage. Currently the draft shows the approximate range of intended coverage (e.g., in terms of which kinds of characters will be addressed, and what kind of information that is intended to be provided for each kind), while large parts still need more work and discussion. It is not exactly clear yet what the exact proposal for each character may be, and how this document will be related to other W3C specifications." Background to the joint TR: "The Unicode Standard contains a large number of characters in order to cover the scripts of the world. It also contains characters for compatibility with older character encodings, and characters with control-like functions included for various reasons. It also provides specifications for use of these characters. For document and data interchange, the Internet and the World Wide Web are more and more making use of marked-up text. In many instances, markup provides the same, or essentially similar features to those provided by formatting characters in the Unicode Standard for use in plain text. While there may be valid reasons to support these characters and their specifications in plain text, their use in marked-up text can conflict with the rules of the markup language. . ." The document is to be understood within the framework of the standard other technical reports. See other references [provisionally] in "XML and Unicode."

  • [September 25, 1999]   New Working Drafts for the XML Schema Definition Language.    The W3C XML Schema Working Group has published a new two-part public working draft which specifies a proposed XML Schema Definition Language. The first WD is XML Schema Part 1: Structures. Reference: W3C Working Draft 24-September-1999, edited by Henry S. Thompson (University of Edinburgh), David Beech (Oracle), Murray Maloney (Commerce One), and Noah Mendelsohn (Lotus). Part 1 "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 the Structures specification is to provide an inventory of XML markup constructs with which to write schemas." Such a schema is used "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 additional information such as default values. Schemas are intended to document their own meaning, usage, and function through a common documentation vocabulary. Thus, the Structures specification 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 Structures formalism will allow a useful level of constraint checking to be described and validated for a wide spectrum of XML applications. However, 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." The Structures document is available in XML format as well as HTML. It is accompanied by a formal specification expressed as an XML schema and in an XML DTD. This second working draft of XML Schema Structures "incorporates a substantial change to the concrete syntax from the previous public working draft, intended to simplify it and make it easier to use"; see the full text of the proposal from the working group's task force, along with a cover note containing a discussion of alternatives considered and outstanding issues. Part 2 of the new WD bears the title XML Schema Part 2: Datatypes. Reference: W3C Working Draft 24-September-1999, edited by Paul V. Biron (Kaiser Permanente, for Health Level Seven) and Ashok Malhotra (IBM). The Datatypes document "specifies a language for defining datatypes to be used in XML Schemas and possibly elsewhere." As explained in the W3C's XML Schema Requirements document, the Datatypes design is motivated by the recognition that "document authors, including authors of traditional documents and those transporting data in XML, often require a high degree of type checking to ensure robustness in document understanding and data interchange." In many cases, "validity constraints exist on the content of the [XML] instances that are not expressible in XML DTDs. The limited datatyping facilities in XML have prevented validating XML processors from supplying the rigorous type checking required in these situations. The result has been that individual applications writers have had to implement type checking in an ad hoc manner. This [Datatypes] specification addresses the need of both document authors and applications writers for a robust, extensible datatype system for XML which could be incorporated into XML processors." The facilities in the Datatypes WD have been designed in light of the formal requirements, which stipulate that the XML Schema Language must: (1) provide for primitive data typing, including byte, date, integer, sequence, SQL & Java primitive data types, etc.; (2) define a type system that is adequate for import/export from database systems (e.g., relational, object, OLAP); (3) distinguish requirements relating to lexical data representation vs. those governing an underlying information set; and (4) allow creation of user-defined datatypes, such as datatypes that are derived from existing datatypes and which may constrain certain of its properties (e.g., range, precision, length, format)." The Datatypes document is available in XML format as well as HTML, and is released with an an accompanying XML schema and XML DTD. Comments based on review of the new WDs should be sent to; they will be placed in a public archive. Observe the Note on this second W3C WD, from Henry S. Thompson.

  • [September 25, 1999]   GNOME XML Library Supports Validation and XPath.    The release notes from recent versions of the GNOME XML Library [libxml, gnome-xml] indicate that the library provides significant enhancements, including validation. The gnome-xml library, or 'libxml,' according to the documentation provided by Daniel Veillard, is an XML library in "the Gnome framework. The internal document repesentation is as close as possible to the DOM interfaces. Libxml also has a SAX interface; James Henstridge made a nice documentation expaining how to use it. The interface is as compatible as possible with Expat one. This library is released both under the W3C Copyright and the GNU LGP. The current version is 'libxml-1.7.2'. According to the developer, libxml-1.7[+] represents a great "improvement over release 1.4, which was flawed in many respects"; some major updates include: (1) DTD validation, (2) support for the fetching of remote entities and DTDs ('minimalist HTTP front-end, focuses on size, streamability, reentrancy and portability') - if turned on, and (3) removal of memory leaks. The GNOME xml library [libxml, gnome-xml] is being developed within the framework of the GNOME (GNU Network Object Model Environment) project. GNOME, part of the GNU project, "is free software compliant with the OpenSource definition. The GNOME project intends to build a complete, easy-to-use desktop environment for the user, and a powerful application framework for the software developer. . . The GNOME Project's application development framework also includes a DOM-inspired document model, printing/font framework, XML library, file metadata (including MIME types), and extension language support." For other description and references, see "GNOME (GNU Network Object Model Environment) XML Library [libxml, gnome-xml]."

  • [September 24, 1999]   OMG Common Warehouse Metadata Interchange (CWMI) Specification.    On September 17, 1999, a joint submission in response to an OMG Common Warehouse Metadata Interchange (CWMI) RFP was received from Dimension EDI, Genesis Development Corporation, Hyperion Solutions, International Business Machines, NCR, Oracle, UBS AG, and Unisys [supported by Sun Microsystems and Deere & Company]. Within the submission are sample documents consisting of some thirty-two (32) IDL, XML DTD, and XML instance files. The principal document of interest from the XML perspective is volume 2 of the sumbission, Common Warehouse Metamodel (CWMI) Specification. Volume 2. XML, IDL and DTD. Proposal to the OMG ADTF RFP: Common Warehouse Metadata Interchange (CWMI). OMG Document ad/99-09-02, 761 pages. Chapter 1 (CWM Rendered in XML) "contains the definitive CWM metamodel expressed in XML using the MOF Model document type as defined in the MOF 1.3 Specification. This is the normative metamodel used to define interfaces and XML document types. Each outer package of CWM is defined in a separate XML document in its own section below. The first package called CWM combines all the other CWM packages to define a complete CWM metamodel. The other packages can also be used individually or in other combinations. The CWM model refers to and extends the UML 1.3 model. The UML 1.3 Specification does not include an XML rendition of the UML packages so the XML for UML is included at the end of this chapter so that links from the CWM XML can be interpreted. The UML packages are named Foundation Model_Management and Behavioral_Elements." Chapter 3 (CWM Document Type Definition) "contains an XML document type definition (DTD) for CWM metadata. The DTD is generated from the CWM packages in chapter 1 according to Rule Set 3 of the XMI 1.1 Specification. Rule Set 3 produces the smallest DTD of the XMI rule sets. However this DTD is large even with Rule Set 3 because it incorporates all of UML. When the XMI Specification is revised to support namespaces UML will be removed from the DTD and the DTD will be split apart so that each of CWM's outer packages has its own DTD. The CWM.dtd that follows requires complete metadata. Another DTD called CWMRelaxed.dtd permits incomplete metadata. Both DTDs are provided as separate files." An initial RFP (Request For Proposal) was issued by the OMG (Object Management Group) on September 18, 1998. The objectives were to "(1) Establish an industry standard specification for common warehouse metadata interchange; (2) Provide a generic mechanism that can be used to transfer a wide variety of warehouse metadata; (3) Leverage existing vendor-neutral interchange mechanisms as much as possible." For other description and references, see "OMG Common Warehouse Metadata Interchange (CWMI) Specification." See now [1999-09-27] the press release: "Oracle, Unisys, IBM, NCR and Hyperion Lead the Effort to Standardize Enterprise Information Sharing. Industry Leaders Propose Common Warehouse Metadata Interchange Standard and Advocate XML-based Common Data Format."

  • [September 24, 1999]   New Ruby Working Draft Published.    The W3C has released a new working draft specification for Ruby, W3C Working Draft 24-September-1999. The editors include Marcin Sawicki, Michel Suignard, Masayasu Ishikawa, and Martin Dürst. The working draft has been "published by the Internationalization Working Group. In a future version, this work is intended to be submitted to the HTML Working Group for inclusion as a module in the XHTML 1.1." The Ruby working draft "specification extends XHTML to support ruby text typically used in East Asian documents; some familiarity with HTML 4.0, XHTML 1.0 and the XHTML Modularization framework is assumed. XHTML 1.0 is a reformulation of HTML 4.0 as an XML 1.0 application, and the modularization of XHTML provides a means for subsetting and extending XHTML. 'Ruby' is the commonly used name for a run of text that appears in the immediate vicinity of another run of text, referred to as the 'base'. Ruby serve as a pronunciation guide or an annotation associated with the base text. Ruby are used frequently in Japan in most kinds of publications, such a books and magazines, but also in China, especially in schoolbooks. East Asian typography has developed various elements that do not appear in western typography. Most of these can be addressed appropriately with facilities in stylesheet languages such as CSS or XSL. Ruby, however, require markup in order to define the association between base text and ruby text. This document defines such markup, designed to be usable with HTML, in order to make ruby available on the Web without using special workarounds or graphics. Section 1.2 ('Ruby Markup') provides an overview of the markup for ruby defined in this document. A formal definition can be found in Section 2. The markup is in XML notation. Appendix A ('Ruby modules in XHTML') describes the Ruby DTD modules - a DTD driver and a catalog file that can be used with the XHTML 1.1 DTD modules. These modules are conforming to the Module Conformance requirements as defined in the Building XHTML Modules specification. These modules are expected to be included in the XHTML 1.1 and are not intended to define a new markup language as an XHTML-family document type, so names are temporary and slightly different from the Naming Rules in the XHTML Family Document Type Conformance. The WD's changes from previous public Working Draft are presented in a final Appendix.

  • [September 24, 1999]   New W3C Working Draft for CSS/XSL International Layout.    The W3C Internationalization Working Group has released a new working draft on International Layout as part of the Internationalization Activity and Style Activity. Reference: World Wide Web Consortium Working Draft 10-September-1999, edited by Marcin Sawicki. The WD specification "extends CSS to support East Asian and Bi-directional text formatting. International typography contains types of formatting that are not yet exposed in the existing web standards and thus impossible to achieve on the web without using special workarounds or graphics. The working draft document introduces a number of new CSS properties to represent such formatting. For example, the features this proposal covers include two of the most important features for East Asian typography: vertical text and layout grid. Since the proposal predates the efforts on the part of the XSL and CSS&FP groups to create a common formatting model, it focuses on CSS2 only. It is however the intention of all the groups involved for the model presented in this document and the model being developed by the XSL Working Group (members only) to converge. The end result of this convergence is expected to form part of the common formatting model which will be expressed in both the CSS and XSL syntaxes."

  • [September 24, 1999]   Last Call Review: Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2 Specification Version 1.0.    As part of the W3C DOM Activity, the DOM Working Group has published a 'last call' working draft of the Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2 Specification Version 1.0, W3C Working Draft 23-September-1999. The last call period will end on October 8, 1999. An introduction to the DOM may be found in the latest revision of "What is the Document Object Model? The draft specification "defines the Document Object Model Level 2, a platform- and language-neutral interface that allows programs and scripts to dynamically access and update the content, structure and style of documents. The Document Object Model Level 2 builds on the Document Object Model Level 1. The DOM Level 2 is made of a set of core interfaces to create and manipulate the structure and contents of a document and a set of optional modules. These modules contain specialized interfaces dedicated to XML, HTML, an abstract view, generic stylesheets, Cascading Style Sheets, Events, traversing the document structure, and a Range object. With the Document Object Model, programmers can build documents, navigate their structure, and add, modify, or delete elements and content. Anything found in an HTML or XML document can be accessed, changed, deleted, or added using the Document Object Model, with a few exceptions - in particular, the DOM interfaces for the XML internal and external subsets have not yet been specified." Appendixes include documentation for the "Changes between DOM Level 1 and DOM Level 2," IDL Definitions (CORBA 2.2 specification), Java Language Binding, and ECMA Script Language Binding. This WD is available in Postscript, PDF, and plain text formats.

  • [September 24, 1999]   W3C Working Draft on User Interface for CSS3.    The W3C has published a working draft document User Interface for CSS3, W3C Working Draft 16-September-1999, edited by Tantek Çelik. It is one of several draft proposals designed to be incorporated into CSS level 3. "This document is a working draft of the W3C CSS&FP working group which is part of the Style activity. It contains a proposal for features to be included in CSS level 3. The working draft proposal provides specification for: (1) Completion of the user interface features in CSS2. (2) CSS mechanisms to simulate the look and feel of various standard form elements in HTML4. (3) CSS mechanisms to augment or replace the remaining stylistic attributes in HTML4. (4) A mechanism for CSS to enable full-screen or kiosk mode." For other information on CSS, see "W3C Cascading Style Sheets."

  • [September 24, 1999]   FOP 0.10.0 Released.    A posting from James Tauber announced a new release of FOP (version 0.10.0). FOP ('A Formatting Object to PDF Formatter/Renderer') is a "print formatter driven by XSL formatting objects. It 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 or (in the case of XT) SAX events." As for the new release: "This version is much faster. A 100-page test document that used to take 50 seconds in 0.9.x now takes 15 seconds. Some important bugs have been fixed. This version is approaching actually being usable for real work. Very simple support for a tiny bit of SVG. break-before and break-after implemented. Justification bug fixed. text-indent implemented. font-weight as number implemented. line-height as number implemented. Java source for properties now generated from XML document via XSLT. Added support for emdash, copyright, non-breaking-space and section Detects inline-sequence directly under flow. Display rules can go in blocks. List item labels now obey start-indent. Page breaks mid-list now (appear to) work. Along with the release of FOP 0.10.0, I've released a preliminary version of an XSL stylesheet for XHTML. It only covers those things FOP supports, but it might be useful either as a sample XSL stylesheet (that uses the FO vocabulary) or for printing HTML documents. This latter use will be a lot more viable once I implement keeps and tables in FOP. One of the things that's new in FOP 0.10.0 is that the Java source code for the classes for each XSL property is generated by applying an XSLT transform to an XML representation of the properties. This XML representation of the properties is a bit like the datatype definitions being worked on in the XML Schema WG. This got be thinking about turning what I've done into a more general solution. . ." For related XSL/XSLT tools, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support."

  • [September 24, 1999]   Release of Schema Converters, Version 1.0.    Ronald Bourret recently posted an announcement for the version 1.0 release of 'Schema Converters', available for download. "The Schema Converters are a set of Java packages you can use to: a) model a DTD as Java objects, and b) convert to and from these objects from DTDs and XML schema languages. Thus, it is possible to build arbitrary converters between different schema languages, as well as to and from DTDs." In this initial release the software has some limitations; "only schema language currently supported is DDML, but the package includes the hardest converter -- from a DTD to the intermediate DTD objects -- which is most of an XML parser. The Schema Converter package is completely free for use in both commercial and non-commercial settings and comes with complete documentation and source code. The Schema Converters are a standard part of XML-DBMS, Java packages for transferring data between XML documents and relational databases."

  • [September 24, 1999]   Release of XML-DBMS Version 1.0.    Ronald Bourret has announced the release of XML-DBMS version 1.0. XML-DBMS is "a set of Java packages you can use to transfer data between XML documents and relational databases. It views the XML document as a tree of objects and then uses an object-relational mapping to transfer the data. Both the view of the XML document and the mapping are completely configureable through a simple, XML-based mapping language. XML-DBMS is both parser and database independent, as it is based on the DOM, SAX, and JDBC. It is currently being used or evaluated in a number of large European corporations and is, to my knowledge, the only XML data transfer middleware that is freely available, database-independent, and can transfer data both to and from any XML document. The software features: (1) The ability to generate a mapping from a DTD or DDML document; (2) User-controlled date/time/timestamp formats; (3) User-specified treatment of null data; (4) Caching/reuse of prepared statements for better speed; (5) Serialization of mappings from Map objects; (6) Additional user control over transactions. XML-DBMS mapping language, which is described in the mapping DTD, allows users to: (1) Declare how element types are to be viewed (as classes or properties), (2) Declare which subelements, attributes, and PCDATA are to be viewed as properties of a given element type-as-class (unmapped XML structures are ignored), and (3) State how to map the resulting classes and properties to the database. The resulting object-relational mapping maps classes to tables and properties to either columns in those tables or to subtables." For related tools, see "XML Application Environments, Development Toolkits, Conversion."

  • [September 22, 1999]   Open eBook Publication Structure 1.0, Final Version.    An announcement from the Open eBook Initiative describes the release of the final version of the OEB electronic book specification, Open eBook Publication Structure 1.0. The publication of this standard by the Open eBook (OEB) Authoring Group is "expected to accelerate the availability of reading material for electronic books and help ensure that consumers will have access to reading materials from different publishers in a single, universal format. Open eBook Publication Structure 1.0 defines the format that content takes when it is converted from print to electronic form. The Open eBook specification is based on HTML and XML, the same core languages that define the World Wide Web, and is designed to allow publishers and authors to deliver their material in a single format. The specification is expected to accelerate the availability of electronic reading material, because the single universal format will work on all reading systems that are compliant with the specification. As a result, publishers will be able to reach a wide audience without separately reformatting their titles for each reading system. The specification is also designed to allow existing eBook devices to accommodate it quickly." [...] "OEB is based on XML because of its generality and simplicity, and because this increases the likelihood that documents will survive longer. XML also provides well-defined 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 a document's internal parts more directly, making them amenable to formatting and other types of computer processing. OEB reading systems must be XML processors as defined in XML 1.0. All OEB documents must be well-formed XML documents, although they need not be valid XML documents. However, this specification ensures that for any basic OEB document, there is a syntax form that: (1) is a valid XML document, (2) conforms fully to the OEB document DTD, (3) is expected to conform to XHTML 1.0 when that specification is issued, and (4) is effectively previewable in typical version 4 HTML browsers." Two XML DTDs and an entity set provide the formal description for OEB documents and packages; these are available from the OEB Web site. See also: "Microsoft Applauds Success of Open eBook Members As Final Version of Specification Is Released. Microsoft Joins Wide Range of Organizations to Release Standard That Will Help Launch the eBook Industry." For other description and references, see "Open eBook Initiative."

  • [September 16, 1999]   EDGARspace Portal Uses XML.    In a previous generation, the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) EDGAR database used SGML to organize filing information; now an enhanced Web-based technology using XML is being deployed. Some details are provided in an announcement from Invisible Worlds on the EDGARspace Portal. The web site supplies a collection of DTDs which define the structure of data stored in the SpaceServer, as well as examples. The announcement from Invisible Worlds describes how "a San Francisco-based startup company headed by a team of Internet veterans responsible for many of the most significant innovations and standards behind the Internet, today unveiled the EDGARspace portal, a new Web service that delivers dramatically refined searches of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) EDGAR filings. 'The EDGARspace service is the first glimpse into the way XML-based Internet information systems will work in the future,' said Invisible Worlds' CEO and Chairman Carl Malamud, who first put EDGAR on the Internet five years ago. 'For the first time, you can reach inside EDGAR filings for gems of knowledge that were previously buried in text and also rise above the immense collection of documents to make sense of broad searches.' The EDGARspace portal, one of the largest XML-based (Extensible Markup Language) information systems ever developed, demonstrates the potential of this new Web standard by giving investment, financial and research professionals better ways to search for and find information that had been difficult to obtain. . . The SEC filings are enhanced using industry-standard XML to tag key information. For example, a search can target all insider-trading reports within an investor's portfolio, or look for Initial Public Offerings within a particular industry segment. EDGARspace organizes search results with XML 'meta-information,' making large result sets more manageable. Complex search results can be organized by any type of meta-information, such as filing type, document section, industry code, date or company name. . . We believe this architecture of Mixers, SpaceServer engines, and Builders is suited to a wide variety of applications on the Internet. But we'd rather show real results than just tell a good story. EDGAR is an ideal database in many respects. It is very big and increasing by some 30 gigabytes per year. We think our software screams, but there is no better proof than trying it out on several hundred gigabytes of data and thousands of users." For other description and references, see the main database entry, "EDGARspace Portal"; see also the press release, "Internet Pioneers Build a Better EDGAR Using XML. New Web Service Delivers Dramatically Improved Searches of SEC Filings With the First XML-based Financial Information System."

  • [September 15, 1999]   Open Forum on Metadata Registries.    A Call for Participation has been released in connection with the next Open Forum on Metadata Registries, to be held January 17-21, 2000, at La Fonda Hotel, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. The conference is sponsored by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) / International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), Joint Technical Committee 1, Subcommittee 32 (Data Management and Interchange), Working Group 2 (Metadata) and by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The complete program listing supplies abstracts for the sessions and individual presentations. "This is the fourth in a series of international conferences on this topic. Participants from private enterprise, government, academe and standards organizations will explore the capabilities, uses, content, development and operation of metadata registries, particularly those based on ISO/IEC 11179 [Specification and Standardization of Data Elements]. Emphasis is on managing the content (semantics) of data that is shared within and between organizations or disseminated via the World Wide Web. . . The Open Forum will focus on metadata registries that are based on the ISO/IEC 11179 family of standards. Metadata registries based on these standards may be World Wide Web (WWW) accessible -- using standards such as HTML, XML, XML-Schema, and XML-Query -- for both human and machine interfaces. Other related standards include IEEE P1489, Draft Standard for Data Dictionaries for Intelligent Transportation Systems, which is based upon the ISO/IEC 11179 standard and ISO/IEC Technical Report 15452, Information Technology - Specification of data value domains. Presentations will also cover terminology standards such as ISO 1087 and thesauri standards which are useful in extending the semantic management capabilities of metadata registries. A wide range of uses for metadata registries will be discussed, including standardizing data elements, documenting data for distribution/public access, data administration, supporting system development, recording arrangements between data trading partners, recording business rules for data standards, specifying "atomic" data elements to be used in standard business objects, and managing the underlying semantics -- concepts and terms structured as controlled word lists, keywords, glossaries, taxonomies, thesauri, and ontologies. Sessions will cover the use of metadata registries to record the results of interorganizational efforts to specify sharable data. Demonstrations will be made of registry capabilities and contents. A wide range of capabilities -- deployed and developmental -- will be demonstrated including web accessible registries; terminology management; capturing complex domains (such as mapping between systems of chemical names, formulas, and structures); use of registry content to map values during the integration of results produced by ontology-based, agent queries to widely dispersed information systems; and XML access to and transfer of metadata. The imminent release of freeware metadata registries will be announced and registry related commercial products will be described." [Another conference goal] "is to engage the standards and technology development communities to extend 11179 metadata registry capabilities. This includes tying data element metadata to terminology (taxononomies, thesauri, ontologies), case tool metadata (models), relational and object technologies, Extensible Markup Language constructs (XML-Schema, XML-Query), etc. This includes work being done by SC 32/WG 2 either internally or in collaboration with other standards organizations such as W3C, OMG, and other JTC 1 Subcommittees. The new work involves extending the capabilities of metadata registries and embedding metadata registries in other technologies, such as CASE tools, dictionaries/encyclopedias, object management systems, agent/mediator/broker information services." For other information, see the conference web site and the main conference entry.

  • [September 15, 1999]   Electronic Business XML Initiative.    A new "Electronic Business XML Initiative" was recently announced by OASIS and UN/CEFACT (United Nations Centre for the Facilitation of Procedures and Practices for Administration, Commerce and Transport). According to the announcement, "The United Nations body for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) and the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) have joined forces to initiate a worldwide project to standardize XML business specifications. UN/CEFACT and OASIS have established the Electronic Business XML Initiative to develop a technical framework that will enable XML to be utilized in a consistent manner for the exchange of all electronic business data. Industry groups currently working on XML specifications have been invited to participate in the 18-month project. The results of the Electronic Business XML Initiative will be placed in the public domain on" Rationale is provided by Bill Smith (Sun Microsystems, president of OASIS): "To be effective for global business, it is vital that XML specifications are based on a common framework. That framework does not exist today and, consequently, there are many -- often competing -- efforts underway worldwide. This new Electronic Business XML Initiative will end the confusion and duplication of effort that currently exists." The new Electronic Business XML Initiative "will be led by Klaus-Dieter Naujok of the Harbinger Corporation, a senior member of the UN/CEFACT Steering Committee, and Dr. Robert S. Sutor of IBM, the Chief Strategy Officer of OASIS." UN/CEFACT [United Nations Centre for the Facilitation of Procedures and Practices for Administration, Commerce and Transport] ( "is the United Nations body whose mandate covers worldwide policy and technical development in the area of trade facilitation and electronic business. Headquartered in Geneva, it has developed and promoted many tools for the facilitation of global business processes including UN/EDIFACT, the international EDI standard. Its current work programme includes such topics as SIMPL-edi and Object Oriented EDI [OO-edi] and it strongly supports the development and implementation of open interoperable, global standards and specifications for electronic business." Details are provided in the text of the announcement, "United Nations and OASIS Join Forces to Produce Global XML Framework."

  • [September 15, 1999]   W3C XML Phase III Activity Begins.    Jon Bosak (Sun Microsystems, XML Coordination Group Chair) recently posted an announcement from the W3C regarding the third phase of XML activity. "Phase III, which officially began 13-September-1999, continues the XML Linking and XML Schema Working Groups and creates an XML Core Working Group to continue the work of the former XML Infoset, Syntax, and Fragments WGs and provide a forum for further work on XML namespaces. It also adds an XML Query Working Group tasked with the development of an XML query language and provides for the creation of an XML Packaging WG when work on the other specifications reaches a point where resources can be devoted to it. As in Phase II, the XML Activity is managed by an XML Coordination Group, consisting of the chairs of the XML WGs, and an XML Plenary, which consists of the participants in the XML WGs and provides a forum for the discussion of requirements and architectural issues." Further details may be found in the official W3C XML Activity document; some additional and historical references are collected in "W3C XML Working Groups."

  • [September 15, 1999]   Program Available for XML/SGML Asia Pacific '99.    Marcus Carr (Allette Systems) posted an announcement to the effect that the XML/SGML Asia Pacific '99 Web site is now updated with the complete schedule and program for this year's conference. XML/SGML Asia Pacific '99 ("Standards for Document and Information Manaement") will be held October 18 - 21, 1999 at the Hotel Mercure, Broadway, Sydney, Australia. XML/SGML Asia Pacific '99 is "the region's annual conference on the applications, trends and technologies that support the eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and the Standard Generalised Markup Language (SGML), [sponsored by] The Graphic Communications Association (GCA), in conjunction with Allette Systems." Marcus writes: "With international representatives from Sun, Oracle, Microsoft and IBM complementing our regional and local speakers, this year's conference will unquestionably be the largest in the event's six year history. Despite our larger venue at the new Mercure Hotel, Sydney, Australia, space is strictly limited so register now to avoid disappointment." For other references, see the XML/SGML Asia Pacific '99 main conference entry.

  • [September 15, 1999]   Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) as an IETF Draft.    Microsoft and DavNet [UserLand] have submitted an informational draft Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) to the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force). Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) is described as "a way to create widely distributed, complex computing environments that run over the Internet using existing Internet infrastructure. SOAP is about applications communicating directly with each other over the Internet in a very rich way. . . SOAP defines an RPC mechanism using XML for client-server interaction across a network by using the following mechanisms: (1) HTTP as the base transport; (2) XML documents for encoding of invocation requests and responses. SOAP is both low-entry and high-function, capable of use for simple stateless remote procedure calls as well as rich object systems. SOAP works with today's deployed World Wide Web and provides extensibility mechanisms for future enhancements. For example, SOAP supports submitting invocations using both M-POST and POST."

  • [September 15, 1999]   XED XML Editor for FreeBSD, Linux, WIN32, and Solaris 2.5.    Henry S. Thompson (HCRC Language Technology Group, University of Edinburgh) recently posted an announcement to the XML-DEV mailing list regarding a new release of XED which includes builds for FreeBSD and Linux, as well as WIN32 and Solaris 2.5. XED ('An XML document instance editor') "is a text editor for XML document instances. It is designed to support hand-authoring of small-to-medium size XML documents, and is optimised for keyboard input. It works very hard to ensure that you cannot produce a non-well-formed document. Although it does not validate, it does read DTDs and keep track of your document structure, and provides context-based accelerators to make element and attribute entry fast and easy. XED is based on the LTG's LT XML toolkit, and uses Python and Tk to provide an efficient and portable user interface. A (non-exhaustive) inventory of features currently provided by XED: (1) Single-window WYSIWYG presentation; (2) Detailed error messages with line and character position information in case of well-formedness errors on input; (3) Add, remove and rename balanced start/end tag pairs and empty elements; (4) Add, remove and rename attribute name/value pairs; (5) Add or remove comments, CDATA sections and processing instructions; (6) Context-sensitive tag and attribute menus; (7) 'Smart' diagnosis of mixed versus element-only content; (8) Filling of text content, indenting of element-only content; (9) Structure-sensitive point-and-sweep selection paradigm; (10) Structure-preserving cut and paste; (11) Multiple undo; (12) Single-key movement into, out of and around elements; (13) Key bindings based on xxxPad under WIN32 - based on Emacs under Unix." The new release of XED also contains bug fixes. For related tools, see "XML Document Editing, DTD Editing, Stylesheet Editing, Formatting, Browsing, and Delivery Tools."

  • [September 15, 1999]   Oracle Announces Production Release of the Oracle XML Parser for Java v2.0.2.    Mark Scardina of (Server Technologies - Oracle Corporation) recently announced that "first production release of the Oracle XML Parser for Java v2 is available for download at The following are included features and specifications: (1) New high performance architecture including DTD cache; (2) Integrated support for W3C XSLT Working Draft (Aug99); (3) Supports validation and non-validation modes; (4) Built-in Error Recovery until fatal error; (5) Supports W3C XML 1.0 Recommendation; (6) Intergrated Document Object Model (DOM) Level 1.0 API; (7) Integrated SAX 1.0 API; (8) Supports W3C Proposed Recomendation for XML Namespaces; (9) Supports documents in the following encodings: UTF-8, UTF-16, ISO-10646-UCS-2, ISO-10646-UCS-4, US-ASCII, EBCDIC-CP-*, ISO-8859-1to ISO-8859-9, Shift_JIS, BIG 5, GB2312, EUC-JP, EUC-KR, KOI8-R, ISO-2022-JP, ISO-2022-KR. Support is available in the XML Forum on OTN to provide a collaborative area for bug reporting, technical support, and discussing other Oracle/XML issues. This forum will be used for external as well as internal beta testers." For other XML parsers, see "XML Parsers and Parsing Toolkits."

  • [September 15, 1999]   New XML Tools from IBM alphaWorks.    Several new and updated XML tools were announced recently by IBM alphaWorks labs. Visual DTD is "a visual tool for creating, viewing, and editing existing DTDs. It will generate DTDs, and W3C XML schemas as it evolves. Using Visual DTD, you can: (1) Create DTD elements, attributes, entities, and notations; (2) Import existing DTDs into Visual DTD; (3) Create a DTD from existing XML documents; (4) Generate a DTD; (5) Generate an XML Schema. Note this is only preliminary support for the W3C XML Schema Language. We intend to provide complete support in subsequent updates. Visual DTD has three views: (1) Tree View -- displays the content of the DTD in a tree structure. You can use the Tree View to add and remove elements, attributes, notations, and attributes. The Tree View has 3 root folders: Notations, Entities, and Elements. (2) Design View -- when an object is selected in the Tree View, the Design View will show the detail information for that selected object. You can use the Design View to edit the information of a particular item, such as an element. When you select one of the root folders, (i.e. Notations, Entities, or Elements), the Design View displays a table that lists all the corresponding objects. You can click on the 'Name' table heading column to sort the table content. You can also double click on a particular row to position to a particular item. (3) Source View -- At any time, you can switch to the Source View to review the result DTD. You cannot edit the source from this view. If you have generated the XML Schema, you can also review the generated XML Schema by switching to the Source View, and then choose the XML Schema file from the title drop-down." XML Transformation Tool "is a tool that can help you compose a new XML document from existing XML documents." XSL Trace "allows you to step through XSL scripts and shows you the transformation rules as they are created and the XML or HTML as it is generated. The IBM XSL Trace application reveals the mystery of XSL transforms! XSL Trace allows a user to visually 'step through' an XSL transformation script, highlighting the transformation rules as they are fired. Additionally, an XSL Trace user can view the XML source and the corresponding XML or HTML result in 'real time'. XSL Trace users can set and remove 'break points' on the style sheet and source document as well as highlight all source nodes processed by each style rule. The XSL Trace UI features an XML 'source based' collapsable 'tree view' with dynamic font resizing for 'Zooming' in/out to handle small/large documents. The XSL Trace application is for anyone who is developing XSL scripts for either the client or server and is a natural complement to LotusXSL. Indeed, XSL Trace is built on the new LotusXSL trace API jointly developed by the LotusXSL and Advanced Internet Publishing Teams. As a consequence, XSL Trace adheres to the latest draft of the W3C XSL specification." XML Generator "generates instances of valid XML from a DTD."

  • [September 14, 1999]   XML Semantics, Eskimo Snow, and Scottish Rain.    A W3C 'NOTE' has been published under the title Eskimo Snow and Scottish Rain: Legal Considerations of Schema Design. Reference: W3C Note 10-September-1999, by Joseph Reagle. The document abstract: "Eskimos have many words for snow; Scotts have numerous words related to rain. This concept has achieved near urban myth status--though it continues to be contentious amongst linguists. The idea is compelling because it speaks to our belief that the mechanism of speech itself is a reflection or our world and what we wish to say. Within this paper I examine the mechanisms by which our computer agents will express and understand what we wish to say in order to form online agreements. This paper is about semantics. Semantics is generally defined as the study of meaning. While the description seems vague, it is of immense importance to the practical field of computer protocol design. For a computer program to be useful, it needs to know what a token such as 'reset' means. The process of defining semantics within a specification (the document which details the structure and operation of some technical design) is critical to the operation of the protocol. How one defines -- or is permitted to define -- those semantics can have an effect on the social context and purposes the protocol serves. My purpose is to examine the relationship between protocol design, policy, and law in three parts. First, I focus on the definition of semantics within a protocol and two metadata technologies (XML and RDF). This technical introduction permits me to refer freely to the technical domain when I begin my policy and legal analysis. Second, I look at the processes by which metadata semantics are likely to be defined with respect to consensus, conflict, and clarity. Finally, I review contract law as related to 'the unruliness of words,' misunderstanding, and interpretation. Note, one might answer two questions when addressing the validity of computer mediated agreements: (1) computer agent competency and (2) the semantic clarity of the agreement. This paper addresses the issue of semantic clarity; agent competency and agency are addressed elsewhere."

  • [September 13, 1999]   OASIS Announces Expansion of as an XML Information Clearinghouse.    A press release from OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) announced "major enhancements to, the open, vendor-neutral industry portal for XML. New XML schemas from DataChannel and the HR-XML Consortium have been submitted to Other content upgrades include the addition of the Specifications Catalog, a comprehensive list of XML specifications currently under development including links for more information." This catalog is described as "the precursor to the fully functional Registry and Repository, coming in early 2000; this XML Catalog provides an overview of organizations producing XML specifications." The Web site now publicizes a document describing " Recommendations, Working Drafts, and Submissions; it provides detailed information on specifications submitted to An Recommendation is an XML specification that was developed for one or more industries in a vendor-neutral manner and has broad industry acceptance. An Recommendation is suitable for widespread use within the industry or industries for which it was designed and has been given the OASIS Board of Directors stamp of approval. An Working Draft represents a work-in-progress by an OASIS working group or an industry consortium. The ultimate goal of the group producing the Working Draft must be to seek Recommendation status. To be accepted as an Working Draft, the development organization must demonstrate that the specification was developed in a vendor-neutral manner. An Submission has been given to for consideration as an Recommendation, for input to an OASIS working group, or as an announcement of the availability of a specification for review or application. A Submission can only be forwarded to by the organization that developed the specification." The Web site also now incorporates the Specification Submission Form to encourage and enable organizations to share their XML specifications with the community at large. The form allows one to submit XML DTDs, XML schemas, XSL stylesheets, and descriptive web pages, together with keyword assignments from the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes and descriptions. "Data Channel's [recent] submission to is the Portal Markup Language (PML), which is designed to support inter-portal communication by providing an XML-based description of portal-related data and metadata. PML incorporates the basics of vocabularies such as Dublin Core, Directory Services Markup and WebDAV and will continue to closely track applicable standards of relevance to this arena."

  • [September 13, 1999]   XML Featured in Microsoft Announcements.    XML is highlighted in a series of recent announcements from Microsoft Corporation in connection with Windows DNA (Distributed interNet Architecture) 2000 and the BizTalk Framework. The company "announced the availability of a freely downloadable BizTalk JumpStart Kit to aid developers in the immediate creation of BizTalk-compatible software applications. The Microsoft BizTalk JumpStart Kit makes it easier for developers to use XML schemas and the BizTalk Framework in current development projects and existing applications and to realize the benefits of industry-standard eXtensible Markup Language (XML) for electronic-commerce and application integration within and across organizations. In addition, a library for BizTalk-compatible schemas is now live on the BizTalk.Org Web site, with more than 100 freely available schemas submitted by 30 organizations." See "Microsoft Releases BizTalk JumpStart Kit for Developers. BizTalk.Org Library Open for Business Today With More Than 100 Schemas JumpStart Kit, Schema Library Allow Developers to Quickly Create BizTalk-Compatible Solutions Today With XML Schema, Tools, Services and Sample Applications." Press releases from several other companies (Ariba, Bentley, Clarus, Concur Technologies, HR-XML Consortium, Intelisys, KeyFile, Litefoot, Motiva DesignGroup, NetFish, PMSC, Prophet 21) are referenced in the "XML Industry News" section. XML features strongly in a related Microsoft announcement, "Windows DNA 2000 Provides Pervasive XML Support For Next-Generation Web Development Microsoft Deepens Commitment to XML as Industry-Standard Integration Mechanism." - "Microsoft Corp. today expanded its industry-leading commitment to eXtensible Markup Language (XML) with a series of announcements for far-reaching XML support in Windows. Distributed interNet Architecture (Windows DNA) 2000, the next generation of the Microsoft. platform for building distributed Web applications. XML, an industry-standard technology developed by the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C), enables heterogeneous interoperability of data, components, business processes and applications over the Internet. The Microsoft Windows 2000 operating system, the cornerstone of Windows DNA 2000, is the first operating system with integrated, end-to-end XML support. Key products of the Windows DNA 2000 solution will offer new features and functionality based on XML, including Microsoft SQL Server, the 'Babylon' Integration Server, Microsoft Commerce Server and Microsoft BizTalk Server. The key enabler for Microsoft's vision of integrated, programmable Web services is XML. Through the exchange of XML messages, services can easily describe their capabilities and allow any other service, application or device on the Internet to easily invoke those capabilities. To help realize that vision, Microsoft today is submitting to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) an Internet draft specification for the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), an XML-based mechanism that bridges different object models over the Internet and provides an open mechanism for Web services to communicate with one another. Highlights: (1) SOAP provides an open, extensible way for applications to communicate using XML-based messages over the Web, regardless of what operating system, object model or language particular applications may use. SOAP facilitates universal communication by defining a simple, extensible message format in standard XML and thereby providing a way to send that XML message over HTTP. (2) Microsoft is tightly integrating XML into the SQL. The next version of SQL Server, code- code-named 'Shiloh,' will be fully XML-enabled and will include a superset of the features available in the technology preview for SQL Server 7.0. (3) Microsoft announces XML Transaction Integrator (XML-TI), a new feature of the forthcoming 'Babylon' integration server that enables customers to easily integrate and commerce-enable their existing enterprise applications via XML. XML-TI allows developers to easily invoke transactions on a host with XML without having to change any existing host code or write any new code. XML-TI consists of a runtime proxy and a component builder that generates an XML document interface for executing legacy CICS and IMS transactions." On SOAP, see "Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)."

  • [September 10, 1999]   Working Draft for XHTML 1.1 - Module-based XHTML.    As part of the W3C HTML Activity, the W3C HTML Working Group has released the working draft XHTML 1.1 - Module-based XHTML. Reference: W3C Working Draft 09 September 1999; edited by Murray Altheim and Shane McCarron. The document abstract: "This working draft defines a new XHTML document type that is based solely upon the module framework defined in Building XHTML Modules and the modules defined in Modularization of XHTML. The purpose of this document type is to serve as the basis for future extended XHTML family document types, and to provide a consistent, forward looking document type cleanly separated from the deprecated, legacy function of HTML 4.0 that was brought forward into XHTML 1.0 document types. Note that the materials in this document were formerly part of the Modularization of XHTML document, but have been separated out for editorial purposes." And from the introduction: "With the introduction of the XHTML family of modules and document types, the W3C has helped move the Internet content-development community from the days of malformed, non-standard markup into the well formed, valid world of XML. In XHTML 1.0, this move was moderated by a goal of providing for easy migration of existing, HTML 4.0 (or earlier) based content to XHTML and XML. With the advent of the XHTML modules defined in Modularization of XHTML, the W3C has removed support for deprecated elements and attributes from the XHTML family. These elements and attributes were largely presentation oriented functionality that is better handled via style-sheets or client-specific default behavior. Going forward, XHTML family document types will be based upon this new, more structural functional collection. In this specification, the W3C's HTML Working Group has defined an initial document type based upon solely upon XHTML modules. This document type is designed to be portable to a broad collection of potential client devices, and applicable to the majority of Internet content. Content developers who based their content upon the functionality expressed in this specification can be confident that it will be consistently portable across XHTML family conforming user agents."

  • [September 10, 1999]   W3C Working Draft: Building XHTML Modules.    The W3C HTML Working Group has published a working draft document Building XHTML Modules. Reference: W3C Working Draft 09-September-1999, edited by Murray Altheim and Shane McCarron. The working draft "defines the mechanism for defining markup language modules that are compatible with the modularization framework used by XHTML. This includes a definition of the way in which an abstract module is specified, the way in which this abstraction is mapped into an XML DTD, and the way in which the resulting DTD module can be combined with other XHTML DTD modules to create new markup languages. In the future, it is expected that instructions will also be provided for mapping the abstract specifications into an XML Schema. Note that the materials in this document were formerly part of the Modularization of XHTML document, but have been separated out for editorial purposes." [And:] "XHTML is more than just a recasting of HTML into XML. It is also an extensible architecture that permits the ready definition of new document types. The W3C envisions that client manufacturers, document authors, and content providers may all use this architecture to define document types that are specific to their needs. The XHTML Modularization specification defines a collection of modules and a framework that make the definition of these new document types relatively easy. That architecture by itself may not be sufficient for the needs of all document type creators. In particular, people who are defining new functionality or combining new functionality with existing elements need a way to define that functionality. The XHTML method for doing this is through the definition of an XHTML module."

  • [September 10, 1999]   W3C Working Draft: Modularization of XHTML.    As part of the W3C HTML Activity, the W3C HTML Working Group has released a new version of the working draft Modularization of XHTML. Reference: W3C Working Draft 09-September-1999, edited by Murray Altheim, Frank Boumphrey, Sam Dooley, Shane McCarron, and Ted Wugofski. The working draft "specifies an abstract modularization of XHTML 1.0. A companion document, Building XHTML Modules, implements this abstraction as a collection of component XML Document Type Definitions (DTDs). This modularization provide a means for subsetting and extending XHTML, a feature desired for extending XHTML's reach onto emerging platforms." [And:] "XHTML is the reformulation of HTML 4.0 as an application of XML. XHTML 1.0 specifies three XML document types that correspond to the three HTML 4.0 DTDs: Strict, Transitional, and Frameset. XHTML 1.0 is the basis for a family of document types that subset and extend HTML. XHTML Modularization is decomposition of XHTML 1.0, and by reference HTML 4.0, into a collection of abstract modules that provide specific types of functionality. These abstract modules are implemented in the XHTML 1.1 specification using the XML Document Type Definition language, but other implementations are possible and expected. The mechanism for defining the abstract modules defined in this document, and for implementing them using XML DTDs, is defined in the document "Building XHTML Modules." These modules may be combined with each other and with other modules to create XHTML subset and extension document types that qualify as members of the XHTML family of document types."

  • [September 09, 1999]   W3C Jigsaw Web Server Uses XML Serialization (JXML).    The W3C has recently released Jigsaw version 2.1.0, which uses XML serialization. New XML serialization scheme implemented in the current version of Jigsaw is documented as the JXML format. "Jigsaw is W3C's leading-edge Web server platform, providing a sample HTTP 1.1 implementation and a variety of other features on top of an advanced architecture implemented in Java. The W3C Jigsaw Activity statement explains the motivation and future plans in more detail. Jigsaw is an W3C Open Source Project, started May 1996; see the license for details." The Jigsaw XML format (JXML) is a "format used by Jigsaw to store the resources metadata. A JXML file describes a set of resources metadata, each container (e.g.: a directory) save its children's metadata in such a file (via the ResourceStoreManager). The Jigsaw XML DTD is supplied as part of the documentation. An XSL example is also provided: "an example of what can be done with JXML and XSL. . . in this example, the JXML file is transformed to an HTML file using the following XSL rules." In this version a new administration exchange format, also using JXML, allows one to create administration scripts; a new upgrader will automatically convert the old Jigsaw stores to the new format, and the old stores are kept in a backup directory, as explained in the Jigsaw Release Notes. The Java source and the documentation are available for download. For other references, see "Jigsaw XML Format (JXML)."

  • [September 09, 1999]   XHTML Document Profile Requirements.    As part of the W3C HTML Activity, the W3C has released a public working draft document XHTML Document Profile Requirements. Document profiles: a basis for interoperability guarantees. W3C Working Draft, 6-September-1999. The document editors include Dave Raggett, Peter Stark, and Ted Wugofski. The abstract: "The increasing disparities between the capabilities of different kinds of Web user agents present challenges to Web content developers wishing to reach a wide audience. A promising approach is to formally describe profiles for documents intended for broad groups of user agents, for instance, separate document profiles for user agents running on desktops, television, handhelds, cellphones and voice user agents. Document profiles provide a basis for interoperability guarantees. If an author develops content for a given profile and a user agent supports the profile then the author may be confident that the document will be rendered as expected. The requirements for document profiles are analyzed." The rationale: "The range of user agent platforms is rapidly expanding to include television sets, handheld organizers, cell phones, in-car systems and regular phones. Each of these platforms presents different capabilities. Viewing distances for television sets are much greater than for desktop or notebook computers, reducing the legibility of text. In addition saturated colors tend to bleed and need to be avoided. Handheld devices have reduced resolution and limited color capabilities. Cell phones are even more limited with display resolutions of as little as 4 lines of 12 characters. Voice user agents substitute speech recognition for keyboards, using synthetic or pre-recorded speech for output. Users are likely to expect to be able to access Web services from wherever they are and at any time - from home, on the move or in the office. . . Document profiles offer a means to characterize the features appropriate to given categories of user agents. For instance, one profile might include support for style sheets, vector graphics and scripting, while another might be restricted to the tags in HTML 3.2. Document profiles can be used by servers to select between document variants developed for different user agent categories. They can be used to determine what transformations to apply when such variants are not available. Content developers can use document profiles to ensure that their web sites will be rendered as intended."

  • [September 09, 1999]   IETF Internet Draft "Xdossier".    A posting from Manuel T. Carrasco Benitez (EMEA) recently announced the availability of an IETF Intenet Draft for "Xdossier". Reference: draft-carrasco-xdossier-00.txt, 1-September-1999. The document abstract: "This is an informational memo for Xdossier. An Xdossier is a data object designed for browsing with web browsers and mappable to XML. It is based on a directory structure containing files in several formats." The recommendation is fundamentally "about organising files: they are organised into a data object called Xdossier. Informally, a Xdossier is a directory structure with files in several formats created for web browsing; direct browsing ('file:') or served browsing ('http:'). . . A directory structure is a tree similar to an XML document . . . With a formal mapping to XML, the directory structure could be transformed into an XML document. A strategy could be to start with the (main) "tree" and to progress with the organisation towards the content of the individual files (the 'leaves'): a few files could be XML files, eventually the whole Xdossier should be transformable into a XML document. This approach is particularly useful to organise large amount of legacy data in several formats for which there is no clear formal definition. . ."

  • [September 08, 1999]   Product Definition Exchange.    The PDX (Product Definition Exchange) Standard Group "consists of leading corporations and standards organizations in electronics manufacturing. [E.g., NIST, Intel, Agile, Digital Marker, Marshall, IPC, PeopleSoft, Solectron, Unicam, etc.] It is a working group of the NEMI VFIIP (National Electronics Manufacturing Initiative, Virtual Factory Information Interchange Project). The PDX standardization effort is focused on the problem of communicating product content information between original equipment manufacturers (OEM), electronic manufacturing service (EMS) providers and component suppliers. The PDX standard is based on XML (Extensible Markup Language), which provides a simple yet powerful and flexible way to encode structured data into a format that is both human and machine-readable. The PDX standard provides a way to describe product content (BOMs, AMLs, Drawings, etc.), ECRs, ECOs, Deviations and RFQs in an XML format. This standard will enable dramatic efficiency improvements throughout the supply chain since partners will have a way to exchange product content and changes in a common language." For details, see "Product Definition Exchange (PDX)."

  • [September 03, 1999]   Standardization Effort for an OMG IDL Representation of XML Documents.    From a recent OMG announcement: "The Object Management Group recently concluded its Technical Meeting week in San Jose, CA, USA, sponsored by BEA Systems, Inc. Over 575 OMG members, Board of Directors representatives, and invited guests met to work on some 80 technologies in process. Finalization of a number of widely-anticipated new specifications - the CORBA Component Model, the Persistent State Service Specification, IDL mappings to the programming language LISP and the scripting languages Python and IDLscript, and the UML 1.3 revision - highlighted the meeting. In addition, the membership issued an RFP initiating a standardization effort for an OMG IDL representation of XML documents. . .The Platform Technology Committee (PTC), responsible for CORBA core and related specifications, issued two RFPs: one to standardize the representation of XML as OMG IDL values, and a second for enhancements to the current OMG Time Service." The OMG XML/Value Type RFP "asks for a standard way to represent XML values (documents) using OMG IDL non-object (value) types. This RFP solicits proposals for the following: A standard way to represent XML documents using OMG IDL data types -- primitive data types, constructed data types (structs, sequence, unions), and value types." LOI Deadline: November 15, 1999; Voting List Deadline: December 1, 1999; Initial Submission Deadline: December 19, 1999; Revised Submission Deadline: February 14, 2000. The XML/Value Type RFP [orbos/99-08-20] issued at the San Jose Meeting is available in PDF and Postscript formats. For an excerpt of the RFP description, see "Object Management Group XML/Value RFP." See also the text of the announcement as well as the note on the CORBA Component Model. OMG contact: Mr. Jeff Mischkinsky. For other information on OMG's XMI, see "Object Management Group (OMG)."

  • [September 03, 1999]   Conference: XML For Information Resource Managers.    A three day conference on "XML For Information Resource Managers" ('Unleashing the Power of your Data and Applications') is scheduled for October 27-29, 1999, Dallas, Texas. Conference sponsors to date include Unisys [The Unisys Universal Repository - UREP ], Sequoia Software Corporation, and WebMethods; additional sponsorships are available. The provisional program includes fourteen presentations by experts on (meta)data management from General Motors Corporation, Fidelity Systems, Hurwitz Group, Unisys, Arbortext, IBM Data Technology Institute, Microsoft, InfoWorld, American Management Systems, Virginia Commonwealth University, Object Design, WebMethods, etc. "At the conference you will hear from Ron Shelby, Chief Technology Officer of the world's largest corporation, explaining why he's such a proponent of XML, and how he's implementing it at General Motors. You'll also learn from Fidelity's VP of Development, Bill Emberton, on the impact of XML in the financial industry and share his lessons of experience as an early adopter of the technology. We have representatives of the Object Management Group and Meta Data Coalition working groups to help you cut through the acronyms and make sense of the various XML-based standards, like XML Metadata Interchange (XMI), Common Warehouse Metadata (CWM), and Open Information Model (OIM). You'll also hear a panel of major vendors explain how they are supporting XML in their products. Dana Gardner, editor at large of InfoWorld will moderate the panel, and will invite you to ask your questions as well.Additional topics include Enterprise Application Integration, Engineering Enterprise Portals, XML Query Language (XQL), how XML can be used to systems, and more." A full-day tutorial is offered by Clive Finkelstein ("acknowledged worldwide as the 'Father' of Information Engineering, [he] is Managing Director of Information Engineering Services Pty Ltd in Australia). His latest book, co-authored with Peter Aiken, is titled Building Corporate Portals with XML and is to be published by McGraw-Hill in September 1999." See the online paper (extracted from the book) "XML and Corporate Portals." For other references, see the main conference entry and the presentation abstracts in the conference brochure.

  • [September 03, 1999]   Especificación XML 1.0 (eXtensible Markup Language) en Castellano.    From a posting of Felipe Fernández (Epsilon Eridani): En esta página está la recomendación XML 1.0 en castellano, con algunos comentarios. .. [pero] no es un tutorial . . . es simplemente una traducción (más o menos libre) al castellano de la recomendación XML 1.0 (Feb. 1998) del WWC. Compare the earlier Spanish translation from the SGML-ESP List [archive copy, repaired] and the list of translations into other languages.

  • [September 02, 1999]   Web Site Update for The Model Editions Partnership.    The Model Editions Partnership ('Historical Editions in the Digital Age') was created "to explore ways of creating editions of historical documents which meet the standards scholars traditionally use in preparing printed editions. Equally important was the goal of making these materials more widely available via the Web. The Model Editions Partnership is a consortium of seven historical editions which joined forces with leaders of the Text Encoding Initiative and the Center for Electronic Text in the Humanities. The project is funded by a major grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and is supported by the University of South Carolina, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and University of Alberta." The project director is David R. Chesnutt (University of South Carolina), and the co-coordinators are Susan Hockey and C. M. Sperberg-McQueen, joined by a team of Steering Committee members and project staff. The documents have been prepared using SGML/XML markup. Of special note is the project documentation for markup used in the encoding of the Model Editions. The Markup Guidelines for Documentary Editions, by David R. Chesnutt, Susan M. Hockey, and C. M. Sperberg-McQueen, provides a superb general guide to the use of SGML/XML in the markup of historical documentary editions. The document "provides a reasonably non-technical introduction to the SGML-based markup scheme developed by the Model Editions Partnership (MEP) for the production of historical documentary editions in electronic form. The most important element types (or 'tags') in the MEP markup system are introduced with examples. See particularly in this guide Section 2.7 MEP and XML, which explains: "Some readers may be curious about the implications for electronic historical editions of the Extensible Markup Language (XML), a new formalism for markup which has (at the time this document is being prepared) recently been widely discussed in the trade press. For purposes of this document, SGML and XML are interchangeable: every valid XML document is at the same time a valid SGML document, and every SGML document constructed according to the rules described here can be processed by XML software. The differences between SGML and XML are thus not relevant to the creators of electronic documentary editions. All examples in this document are tagged in XML form. . ." For online navigation and searching: "the DynaText and Dynaweb software from Inso has been used to present the mini-editions; this software allows users to construct powerful searches or to use a series of built-in search forms. The mini-editions can be searched using the full range of standard search tools -- wildcards, proximity searching and Boolean searching." Dynatext also "has built-in support for search of tagged documents with hierarchical structures, such as HTML and XML. By permitting searches of words and phrases inside particular tags, as well as words in documents [and mixed text/structure queries], DynaText allows users to efficiently target their searches, resulting in more relevant, focused matches." As of September 1999, the MEP Web site hosted seven mini-editions. "Four of the experimental mini-editions are based on full-text searchable document transcriptions; two are based on document images; and one is based on both images and text." These include: (1) Documentary History of the First Federal Congress, (2) Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, (3) Papers of Henry Laurens, (4) Abraham Lincoln Legal Papers, (5) Papers of General Nathanael Greene, (6) Margaret Sanger Papers, (7) Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony." For complete references, see the MEP Web site and the local database entry.

  • [September 01, 1999]   Sun Microsystems Offers Free StarOffice Productivity Suite.    Sun Microsystems' acquisition of Star Division is described as part of an effort to "dot-com" office productivity software by making lightweight office applications and personalized data available on the Net. The catch-phrase in the recent announcement was "office applications for anyone, anywhere, anytime, any device." In a Webcast from New York, Sun's Scott McNealy characterized the announcement as "one small step for office software, one giant leap for the Web." Sun's newly-acquired StarOffice productivity suite includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation program, graphics tools, e-mail, calendar, database interface, news reader, equation editor, and other tools. The StarPortal initiative will support "portal computing" -- access to office software tools from any web browser and eventually from portable devices. "If you have used Microsoft Office in the past, you'll feel right at home. StarOffice runs on the Linux, Solaris Operating Environment, OS/2, and Windows platforms; and it can open (and save to) any of the common Microsoft Office file formats, such as Powerpoint, Excel, and Word." StarOffice is available for free download, and the source code will be made available under Sun's Community Source License. And the XML connection? It was referenced in an oblique Webcast statement by Star Division's Marco Boerries, to the effect that XML specifications created as part of the StarPortal initiative would be submitted to the W3C, and that the APIs would be submitted to ECMA. An article by Stephen Shankland in CNET offers the same hint from an interview with Marco Boerries: "In line with the plan to become more open, Star Office file formats eventually will become XML, and the standard for interacting with it will become published openly and contributed to the ECMA standardization group." For other details, see also the two press releases from Sun: (1) "Sun Microsystems, Inc. Takes Office Productivity to the Net. 'StarPortal' Initiative to Accelerate Transition to Service-Driven Network. Desktop Software Suite Available Now for Free." (2) "Sun Microsystems' 'StarPortal' Initiative Captures Broad Industry Support. 27 [26] Industry Leaders and Partners Join Initiative to Accelerate Transition to Service-Driven Network.

  • [September 01, 1999]   Enhanced XML Support in Ultraseek Server 3.1.    Walter Underwood posted an announcement for improved XML support in a release of the Ultraseek Server 3.1. The Ultraseek Server 3.1 "is an internet search engine based on Infoseek/ search, and designed for ease-of-admin, scalability, and relevant results. This is our third release with XML support. Ultraseek Server first supported indexing XML documents in version 2.1, way back in September 1998. The XML support is designed for providing search to users over sets of XML documents. It is not designed as a repository for authors, as a database-like search (SQL, XQL, etc.), nor for arbitrary searches depending on element context (XPath). It is designed for people to type in a word or a phrase and get the most relevant documents without having to learn a query language. The XML support in 3.1 allows admins to map text inside elements to search fields, and to have different mappings for different root element names (we can't rely on DTDs, since we only require well-formedness, not validity). If one document type uses <author>, another uses <docAuthor>, another uses <byline>, and yet another uses <creator>, all of those can be mapped to "author:name" searches. It ships with default mappings for TEI, DocBk XML V3.1.3, the Bosak religion collection, the Bosak Shakespear collection, FGDC Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata, XMLNews-Story -- and a fallback default mapping that covers some common conventions, like <title> or <TITLE> for the document title. Simple links in XLink format (that is, "href" attributes) will be followed by the spider. Elements qualified by namespaces can be mapped."

  • [September 01, 1999]   4DOM - Implementing the W3C Document Object Model in Python.    A posting from Uche Ogbuji recently announced the release of 4DOM 0.8.0 from FourThought LLC. 4DOM is "an implementation of the W3C's Document Object Model in Python. 4DOM is a close implementation of the DOM recommendation, including DOM Core level 1, DOM HTML level 1, Node Iterator and Node Filter from DOM Level 2, and a few utility and helper components. 4DOM can work in a CORBA enviroment, or in a purely local set-up. 4DOM is designed to allow developers rapidly design applications that read, write or manipulate HTML and XML. Recent changes include: Support for non-CORBA usage, Improved performance, DOM Level 2 NodeFilters and NodeIterators, Pythonic interface for NodeLists and NamedNodeMaps, XML Namespace support (proprietary until W3C decides chooses between the proposed Level 2 interfaces), Several interface changes in Ext, Re-organized module structure, Explicit garbage-collection method, Better-tested Fnorb and Ilu support, Many bug-fixes. 4DOM was developed and tested on Python 1.5.2; you will also need to install the Python XML package. If you want to use 4DOM with CORBA, you'll need Fnorb or ILU installed."

  • [September 01, 1999]   4XPath and 4XSLT: XPath and XSLT Processors Written in Python.    A recent posting from Uche Ogbuji of FourThought LLC announces the release of 4XPath: An XPath Processor Written in Python. 4XPath implements the W3C XPath language for indicating and selecting XML document components. 4XPath version 0.7.0 supports the full August 13th 1999 working draft of XPath. 4XPath is distributed under a license similar to that of Python. 4XPath was developed and tested on Python 1.5.2. You will also need to install the Python XML package and 4DOM. Also announced by FourThought: 4XSLT 0.7.0, a python implementation of the W3C's XSLT language. "4XSLT is an XML transformation processor based on the W3C's specification for the W3C XSLT transform language. Currently, 4XSLT supports a sub-set of the August 13th working draft of XSLT including the following: Full expression support and attribute-value template expansion, xsl:include, xsl:template, xsl:apply-templates, xsl:for-each, xsl:element, xsl:attribute, xsl:text, xsl:value-of, and literal elements and text. 4XSLT produces its result tree by throwing standard SAX events to a document handler, so it can be easily modified to supply results to any SAX consumer." For related tools, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support."

  • [September 01, 1999]   FO2PDF Engine from    Paul Tchistopolskii posted an announcement to the effect that has made Web site additions of files demonstrating the work of the FO2PDF engine. The goal of these demonstration is to show that it is already possible to use XSL and XSL FO standards in a production environment. The "Hammer Demo" has three steps: "(Step 1: xml + xsl = fo) - Taking the XML version of the hypotetical document hammer.xml, we apply an XSL stylesheet hammer.xsl, and run it through James Clarks' XT XSL processor. This creates the new XML file, the stream of XSL Formatting Objects. (Step 2: Optional Validation) - You may use XSL FO Validator online service running at to make sure that the stream of XSL FOs is consistent and reasonable. (Step 3: Rendering) - We now run FO2PDF rendering engine on this which creates the PDF file, hammer.pdf." See also among the demos the Formatting Object Parade: some formatting objects streams which produce the given PDF files running under the FO2PDF rendering engine. The validator has been updated, and consists of two steps: The first step is to invoke IBM XML4J validating parser with the special fo.dtd to be sure that FO stream has reasonable structure. The second step is to invoke the XML rendering engine in validate-only mode to perform some checks that could not be done with DTD." For related tools, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support."

  • [August 31, 1999]   W3C Working Draft on XHTML Extended Forms Requirements.    The W3C HTML Working Group [Forms Subgroup] has published a first public Working Draft on requirements for the next generation of web forms: XHTML Extended Forms Requirements, World Wide Web Consortium Working Draft, 30-August-1999. The draft has been edited by Sebastian Schnitzenbaumer, Malte Wedel, and Dave Raggett (W3C/HP - HTML Activity Lead). The document abstract: "Forms were introduced into HTML in 1993 and have proven to be a valuable part of many Web pages. The experience of the last few years has led to demands for improvements to HTML forms. XHTML Extended Forms is a major revision of HTML Forms. Key goals for the next generation of web forms include improved interoperability and accessibility, enhanced client/server interaction, advanced forms logic, support for internationalization and greater flexibility in presentation." The requirements specify "well-formed XML" as the target markup notation for forms: "This ensures that user agents can rely on standard parser technologies. The form semantics (fields and form logic) should be expressed directly in XML to avoid the need for user agents to support additional syntaxes, for instance full scripting languages, which may be impractical for devices with very limited resources." The HTML Working Group "has decided that the goals for the next generation of forms are incompatible with preserving backwards compatibility with browsers designed for earlier versions of HTML. It is our objective to provide a clean new forms model ('XHTML Extended Forms') based on a set of well-defined requirements. The requirements described in this document are based on experience with a very broad spectrum of form applications. Web forms are being used in various contexts as a standardized mechanism for bidirectional data exchange over the web. In many occasions, it is desirable to enable an open data dialog between the recipient of a hypertext document and the sender. Forms need to provide effective support for various kinds of data exchange. The design of XHTML Extended Forms focusses on the increasing demands for improved human-computer interaction as well as the interaction mechanisms between the browser (user agent) and the server. This document provides a comprehensive set of requirements for W3C's work on XHTML forms. We envisage this work being conducted in several steps, starting with the development of a core forms module, followed by work on additional modules for specific features. The Modularization of XHTML provides a mechanism for defining modules which can be recombined as appropriate to the capabilities of different platforms."

  • [August 30, 1999]   Extensible Financial Reporting Markup Language (XFRML).    A communiqué from Charles Hoffman reports on the public announcement of XFRML. XFRML is the code name for a new XML-based specification designed for use within the financial community. An overview of the specification is provided in the press release "AICPA, Information Technology Companies, and Five Largest Accounting and Professional Service Firms Join Forces in Developing XML-Based Financial Reporting Language." XFRML (XML-based Financial Reporting Markup Language) is designed to help solve two significant problems: "(1) efficient preparation of financial statements in many forms and (2) reliable extraction of specific detailed information from the different forms of financial statements. XFRML will be the digital language of business. XFRML is a framework that will allow the financial community (accountants, investors, bankers, industry analysts, regulators, and others in the financial reporting supply chain) a standards-based method to prepare, publish in a variety of formats, exchange and analyze financial reports and the information they contain. XFRML, which will be free licensed, will also permit the automatic exchange and reliable extraction of financial information among various software applications. The XFRML working group was begun by the AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants). The following organizations have already joined this important effort: Arthur Andersen LLP, Deloitte & Touche LLP, Ernst & Young LLP, KPMG LLP, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, FRx Software Corporation, Great Plains, e-content (a division of Interleaf, Inc.),, Inc., EDGAR Online, Inc., The Woodburn Group, and Microsoft Corporation." For other references, see provisionally the FAQ document and "XML and XFRML Executive Summary." Further description is found in the main entry, "Extensible Financial Reporting Markup Language (XFRML)."

  • [August 30, 1999]   Call Processing Language (CPL).    A communiqué from Jonathan Rosenberg (IETF IPTEL Working Group Chair) references design and development work in the IETF on an XML-based Call Processing Language (CPL), "which is scheduled to be complete by the end of the 1999." According to the description in an IETF draft document, "The Call Processing Language (CPL) is a language that can be used to describe and control Internet telephony services. It is not tied to any particular signalling architecture or protocol; it is anticipated that it will be used with both SIP [Session Initiation Protocol] and H.323 [ITU "Visual telephone systems and equipment for local area networks..."]. The CPL is powerful enough to describe a large number of services and features, but it is limited in power so that it can run safely in Internet telephony servers. The intention is to make it impossible for users to do anything more complex (and dangerous) than describing Internet telephony services. The language is not Turing-complete, and provides no way to write a loop or a function. The CPL is also designed to be easily created and edited by graphical tools. It is based on XML, so parsing it is easy and many parsers for it are publicly available. The structure of the language maps closely to its behavior, so an editor can understand any valid script, even ones written by hand. The language is also designed so that a server can easily confirm scripts' validity at the time they are delivered to it, rather that discovering them while a call is being processed. Implementations of the CPL are expected to take place both in Internet telephony servers and in advanced clients; both can usefully process and direct users' calls. In the former case, a mechanism will be needed to transport scripts between clients and servers; this document does not describe such a mechanism, but related documents will." For references, including the provisional CPL XML DTD, see "Call Processing Language (CPL)." Compare: "Call Policy Markup Language (CPML)."

  • [August 27, 1999]   InDelv XML/XSL Client Version 0.4.    A posting from Rob Brown reports on the public availability of the new InDelv XML Client version 0.4. This version represent an upgrade to InDelv's previously released XML Browser, but "it has been renamed as a 'Client' to reflect the fact that it now contains both an XML/XSL browser and an XML/XSL editor. The browser is available free for all uses. The editor comes packaged with the browser as a demo, which can later be upgraded to a full commercial version. This is a 100% Java application. The new version includes some major upgrades, including comprehensive support for XPath, XSLT and XPointer. Support for XSL formatting has been upgraded to the April 21 XSL draft." The developers believe that this is "the first 'native' XSL browser and/or editor -- meaning that no filtering is required to and from HTML. As a result, many of the features are essentially prototypes: it's hard to say a given feature should or should not behave a certain way, because there is little else to compare it to. XSL has provided options that simply were not available with previous style formats. Hopefully some of the subscribers to this list [XSL-List] will find the InDelv XML Client useful and will be willing to share their experience and ideas."

  • [August 27, 1999]   OpenJade Development Team Releases OpenJade 1.3pre1 (Beta).    A recent posting from Avi Kivity and the OpenJade Development Team announced the release of OpenJade 1.3pre1 (Beta). "OpenJade is the DSSSL user community's open source implementation of DSSSL, Document Style Semantics and Specification Language, an ISO standard for rendering SGML and XML documents. OpenJade is based on James Clark's widely used Jade. OpenJade 1.3pre1 is a more complete implementation of the DSSSL standard, and introduces many new features, including (1) Implementation of most standard procedures; (2) Support for char-repertoire and related declarations; (3) Language support (including language-dependent procedures); (4) Standard color spaces are supported; (5) Special-query-expressions are recognized; (5) force! for inherited characteristics; (6) Character properties; (7) SGML architecture support extension; (8) The prlgabs1 SGML property set module is supported; (9) Binding of values to variables on the command line. You can download OpenJade from See the file jadedoc/jade.htm, included with the distribution, for building and installation instructions. For more information, see the DSSSL/OpenJade Home Page. For other references on DSSSL, see "DSSSL - Document Style Semantics and Specification Language."

  • [August 27, 1999]   IBM XML Parser Update: XML4C2 Version 2.3.1 Released.    Dean Roddey posted an announcement for the update of XML4C. IBM's XML for C++ parser (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. Its two shared libraries provide 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. XML4C++ (Application Development, Intranet/Internet, C++, XML). Details on the XML4C version 2.3.1 update: (1) Sources and Binaries for: WinNT/98(Visual C++), AIX(xlC), Solaris(CC), Linux(gcc). (2) HP-UX 10.2 (aCC & CC), HP-UX 11 (aCC & CC). (3) Source code only (untested) for: OS/2, OS/390 Open Edition, NT using Visual Age compiler, Macintosh CodeWarrior, KAI compiler, and egcs compiler. (4) Support for more encodings using latest IBM's Classes for Unicode. (5) Better conformance to XML Spec(s). (6) Bug fixes." Roddy writes: "our focus [in this release] was primarily on getting onto some more platforms and doing reasonable fixes that were big bang for the buck without much danger of destabilization. So its not a massive change from 2.2.x, but it certainly is worth getting because of bug fixes and greater platform support. Now that this reference release is behind us, the next few subsequent versions will represent more forward looking and wide ranging changes and improvements, particularly in the areas of conformance and architectural flexibility." For related tools, see "XML Parsers and Parsing Toolkits."

  • [August 27, 1999]   Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P) Specification Working Draft.    As part of the W3C P3P Activity, a fifth public working draft of the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P) Specification has been published for review by W3C members. The working draft "describes the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P). P3P 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. P3P gives users the ability to make informed decisions regarding their Web experience and the ability to control the use of their information. Sites can use P3P to increase the level of confidence users place in their services, as well as improve the quality of the services offered, customize content, and simplify site access, offering facilities like auto fill-in of forms, customized profiles, automatic electronic commerce transactions. The P3P 1.0 specification consists of three documents. P3P1.0 compliant implementations must abide by the conformance requirements of each. (1) Syntax Specification - This is the core and lengthiest specification; it documents the requirements, assumptions, and specifies the P3P protocols, transport methods, and the data structures' syntax and encoding. The actual attribute values for privacy disclosures and data element (names of the information exchanged, like 'User.Name.') are specified in the following two documents. (2) Base Data Set Specification - This document specifies the names of base P3P data elements, sets, and their data types. (3) Harmonized Vocabulary Specification - This document specifies the English language semantics for privacy related disclosures such as categories, purpose, identifiable use, recipients, and access."

  • [August 27, 1999]   Extended XLink with XSLT.    Nikita Ogievetsky (President, Cogitech, Inc.) posted an announcement for the availability of slides from the Metastructures '99 presentation "HTML Form Templates with XML. All in One and One for All. XSLT template library for WEB applications." The paper describes building XSLT template library for web applications. The goal was to "demonstrate data processing on the web made easy with XSL transformations: Generate a data maintenance web with data-structure controlled by XML, screen designs and database API controlled by XSL. The principal XML document consists of: (1) XML description of an object, and (2) a sitemap implemented as extended XLink. The HTML and server side scripts are built dynamically by applying XSLT transformations to the XML document. This is successfully implemented in production. To the best of my knowledge it is the first live appearance of extended xlink (including arcs) implementing July 1999 working draft." See also the "Links to other sites serving server-site Scripts with XSLT." For more on XSL(T), see "XSL/XSLT Software Support" and "Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL)."

  • [August 27, 1999]   HyBrick Web Site Reopens.    A posting from Toshimitsu Suzuki (Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd.) to the XLXP-DEV mailing list recently announced the reopening of the HyBrick Web site. 'HyBrick' is "an advanced SGML/XML browser developed by Fujitsu Laboratories, the research arm of Fujitsu. HyBrick is based on an architecture that supports advanced linking and formatting capabilities. HyBrick includes a DSSSL renderer and XLink/XPointer engine running on top of James Clark's SP and Jade. HyBrick supports: (1) Both valid and well-formed XML documents. (2) XLink and XPointer: [a] XLink is implemented as a subset of the HyTime property set, while [b] Link traversal can use either 'New' or 'Replace' to display a new page. (3) SGML - ISO 8879. (4) DSSSL (ISO 10179) online specification. (5) Printing and print previewing based on DSSSL stylesheets." For references to other XLink/XPointer software, see "XML Linking Language."

  • [August 27, 1999]   Extended DocBook Synopses Version 1.0.    Norman Walsh has posted an announcement for a preliminary release of 'Extended DocBook Synopses'. Extended DocBook Synopses is a customization layer that extends DocBook, "adding a function synopsis element, ClassSynopsis for modern, mostly object-oriented, programming languages such as Java, C++, Perl, and IDL." DocBook is an SGML [and XML] DTD maintained by the DocBook Technical Committee of OASIS that particularly well suited to books and papers about computer hardware and software, but it is by no means limited to these applications. [Norm writes:] "Support for modern programming languages is a common request, and the proposal described here was posted to the list several months ago. There has been some, but not a lot, of discussion of the proposal on the list and the effort seems to have stalled. Anxious to spur further discussion and resolution of the issue, I decided that the best approach would be to add support for the proposal to my popular DSSSL stylesheets for DocBook. This way, users could both experiment with the markup and see (imperfect) formatted results. I hope that this will encourage more experimentation and discussion. If you try out the extension, please report your results. I am particularly interested in what programming language(s) you are interested in marking up and what you perceive as the shortcomings in the proposal. Bear in mind that DocBook is not a modeling DTD, it is a documentation DTD. The markup needs to be sufficient to produce well formatted examples in print and online; if it can also produce outputs that are useful for compilation or other machine processes, that's fine, but a request to add additional complexity to support such processes would need to be compelling." The Extended DocBook Synopses version 1.1 includes an XML version and an XML test instance. Note that Norm Walsh has authored DocBook: The Definitive Guide, to be published by O'Reilly & Associates later in the Fall (1999).

  • [August 27, 1999]   S-Link-S MetaData Editor for RDF (Alpha).    Eric Hellman posted an announcement for an alpha version of an 'S-Link-S MetaData Editor', from Openly Informatics. This is a tool "for creating and publishing RDF metadata using our S-Link-S RDF vocabulary for Journal Hyperlinking. We'd very much like to get feedback from the RDF community. The application is available for free download. Some features that may be of interest: We read comments, labels, and choices in directly from the RDF Schema file, and from a RDF configuation file. This is done with a SAX parser on XML4J. RDF is used as the output format. We built the application to shield our users from RDF as much as possible. A typical [desired] comment from potential users: 'We're wondering if we should use RDF for other applications; what is it really?'" For related resources, see "Resource Description Framework (RDF)."

  • [August 26, 1999]   Predictive Model Markup Language (PMML) Version 1.0 Released.    A communiqué from Michael Cornelison reports on the release of a new version of PMML. "Predictive Model Markup Language (PMML) is an XML-based language which provides a quick and easy way for companies to define predictive models and share models between compliant vendors' applications. PMML provides applications a vendor-independent method of defining models so that proprietary issues and incompatibilities are no longer a barrier to the exchange of models between applications. It allows users to develop models within one vendor's application, and use other vendors' applications to visualize, analyze, evaluate or otherwise use the models. A PMML document provides a non-procedural definition of fully trained or parameterized analytic models with sufficient information for an application to deploy them. By parsing the PMML using any standard XML parser the application can determine the types of data input to and output from the models, the detailed forms of the models, and how, in terms of standard data mining terminology, to interpret their results. Version 1.0 of the standard provides a small set of DTDs that specify the entities and attributes for documenting decision tree and multinomial logistic regression models. This is by no means a comprehensive set, and our expectation is that this standard will evolve very rapidly to cover a robust collection of model types. The purpose of publishing this limited set is to demonstrate the fundamentals of PMML with a realistic and useful 'initial value' of what will emerge as a comprehensive and rich collection of modeling capabilities. PMML Version 1.0 has been developed by a loose affiliation of Angoss, Magnify, NCR, SPSS, and The University of Illinois, Chicago. Our strategy is to turn this activity into a W3C working group and have PMML become a W3C recommendation. As part of W3C affiliation we expect to increase group membership to include other major players in the data mining tools and applications space." For other references, see "Predictive Model Markup Language (PMML)."

  • [August 26, 1999]   New Free XML Parser Implemented in Caml - 'Markup'.    A recent communiqué from Gerd Stolpmann (Darmstadt) reports on the public availability of a validating XML parser simply called "Markup". This Markup XML parser "has been implemented in Objective Caml which is a functional language of the ML family. Some aspects of the implementation are still experimental, but the parser is stable and useable, so I've recently released the first public version 0.1. The distribution contains two sample applications: (1) The 'readme' doctype for simple documents such as 'README' files with conversion to HTML and plain ascii. (2) A GUI that is configurable in XML which allows a user to enter simple strings. Once the document is parsed, it can be accessed using a class interface. This interface is still under development and subject to future changes. The interface allows arbitrary access including transformations. It has a so-called 'extension', i.e., every element of the document has a main object and the extension. Although there is a default, the extension is thought as the changeable part of the element class, i.e., you can provide your own extension and add further properties to the elements. Although I present the parser as private [personal effort], it has a commercial background as I'm going to use it in some projects. . ." Note: The parser presently can only handle ISO-8859-1 characters. In other respects, 'Markup' has been tested with lots of test documents, including all of James Clark's positive test records.

  • [August 25, 1999]   LiveBiz XML Framework Distributed in the Information and Content Exchange Toolkit for Java (JICE).    Zia Khan (LiveBiz, Xenosys Corporation) has posted an announcement for the immediate availability of the Information and Content Exchange (ICE) and XML frameworks. The ICE and XML Framework, now available for download, "implements the XML based industry standard ICE protocol as Enterprise Java Beans (EJBs) and Servlets. The ICE framework is built on top of a XML framework. The XML framework is a SAX based white-box framework for marshalling and unmarshalling of data structures. The frameworks emphasizes modular design, code reuse and efficient processing for server based systems." From the online document Introducing JICE: Components for Information and Content Exchange: The JICE components implement the XML based industry standard Information and Content Exchange (ICE) 1.0 specification. The components are useful in automating content exchange, both in traditional publishing contexts and in business-to-business relationships. JICE will make it easier for Web publishers to exchange content and for companies to distribute their online catalogs and other business information broadly. It is designed to establish and manage relationships between the syndicator or content distributor and subscribing companies, which may use the information directly or incorporate it into their Web offerings. JICE uses state of the art in Java distributed object technologies, such as Enterprise JavaBean (EJB) and Servlet component standards. These components will be used by the application developers to connect existing systems to the Web. JICE enables companies to easily construct syndicated publishing networks, Web superstores, and online reseller channels by establishing Web-site-to-Web-site information networks. For example, JICE could be used by a Web service that collected PC prices from multiple Internet storefronts, then published them on a single site. Using JICE, data on models and prices at hundreds of stores could be collected automatically, computer to computer. JICE provides a way to move data from a variety of industries -- Personal Computers, pharmaceuticals, or syndicated content. . . JICE is the Subscriber and Syndicator Client and Server Developer's toolkit for the electronic exchange of content between businesses via the Internet. It hides all the complexity of ICE protocol from the application developer, and provides a high level abstraction in the form of Java APIs, incorporating all the functionality encompassed by ICE. The ICE protocol is a request/reply protocol that allows for fully symmetric implementations, where both the Syndicator and Subscriber can initiate requests. Therefore, JICE provides client and server side components for both Subscribers and Syndicators. This allows JICE to support both push and pull data transfer models. However, the ICE protocol also allows for a Minimal Subscriber implementation where only the Subscriber can initiate requests (i.e., no server resides on the Subscriber machine). Minimal Subscribers are also supported by the JICE components."

  • [August 25, 1999]   Artificial Intelligence Markup Language (AIML).    A recent communiqué from Richard S. Wallace reports on a new XML-based markup language AIML (Artificial Intelligence Markup Language), which provides a specification for creating web chat robots like ALICE. The Artificial Intelligence Markup Language is "an XML specification for programming chat robots like ALICE using Program B. The emphasis in the language design is minimalism. The simplicity of AIML makes it easy for non-programmers, especially those who already know HTML, to get started writing chat robots. One ambitious goal for AIML is that, if a number of people create their own robots, each with a unique area of expertise, Program B can literally merge-sort them together into a Superbot, automatically omitting duplicate Categories. We offer the both the source code and the ALICE content, in order to encourage others [to release under] 'open source' their chat robots as well, so as to contribute to the Superbot. Compared with other chat robot languages, AIML is perhaps the simplest. The pattern matching language is very simple, for example permitting only one wild-card ('*') match character per pattern. AIML is an XML language, implying that it obeys certain grammatical meta-rules. . . . What is XML? David Bacon pronounces it 'Eggsmell'. AIML is an example of using the XML standard to define a specialized language for artificial intelligence. . . The choice of XML syntax permits integration with other tools such as XML editors. Another motivation for XML is its familiar look and feel, especially to people with HTML experience. An AIML chat robot begins and ends with the <alice> and </alice> tags respectively. Real XML fanatics know that because AIML is an XML language it must have something called a DTD ([alias] Document Template Descriptor). The DTD is a formal specification of the grammar for an XML language. Unless you are using special XML tools to work on your AIML or developing your own parser for AIML, you probably do not need to know much about the DTD. This DTD reflects the current content of the *.aiml files that Program B can actually parse. The DTD will become more general as the parser improves. Viz., <!DOCTYPE alice [ <!ELEMENT alice (category+)> <!ELEMENT category (pattern,that?,template)> <!ELEMENT pattern (#PCDATA|name)*> <!ELEMENT name EMPTY> <!ELEMENT that (#PCDATA)> <!ELEMENT template . . . [Appendix B. Note to Parents: The ALICE 'brain' does not contain any explicit or adult material. Experience has shown however, that clients (persons communicating with the chat robot over the Internet) will invariably try to engage the robot in adult conversations. The robot is programmed to try to avoid these topics."] See further description of AIML and the chat robot in the "Don't Read Me."

  • [August 25, 1999]   XHTML 1.0 Advances to a W3C Proposed Recommendation.    HTML strongly modularized and reformulated in XML syntax is described in the XHTML 1.0 specification, which has now become a W3C Proposed Recommendation. Reference: XHTML 1.0: The Extensible HyperText Markup Language. A Reformulation of HTML 4.0 in XML 1.0, W3C Proposed Recommendation 24-August-1999. This PR specification constitutes a "revision of the XHTML 1.0 Working Draft dated 5-May-1999, incorporating suggestions received during review, comments and further deliberations of the W3C HTML differences are available for reviewers to compare. On 24 August 1999 [and until 22-September-1999], this document enters a Proposed Recommendation review period. The document 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." From the introduction: "XHTML is a family of current and future document types and modules that reproduce, subset, and extend HTML 4.0 [HTML]. XHTML family document types are XML based, and ultimately are designed to work in conjunction with XML-based user agents. The details of this family and its evolution are discussed in more detail in the section on Future Directions. XHTML 1.0 is the first document type in the XHTML family. It is a reformulation of the three HTML 4.0 document types as applications of XML 1.0. It is intended to be used as a language for content that is both XML-conforming and, if some simple guidelines are followed, operates in HTML 4.0 conforming user agents. Developers who migrate their content to XHTML 1.0 will realize the following benefits: (1) XHTML documents are XML conforming. As such, they are readily viewed, edited, and validated with standard XML tools. (2) XHTML documents can be served as media type text/html and will continue to operate as well or better than it did before in existing HTML 4.0-conforming user agents as well as in new, XHTML 1.0 conforming user agents. (3) XHTML documents can also be served as media type text/xml or media type application/xml, with appropriate style sheet support, will operate just as well in (4) XML-based user agents as they do in HTML-based user agents. (5) XHTML documents can utilize applications (e.g., scripts and applets) that rely upon either the HTML Document Object Model or the XML Document Object Model. As the XHTML family evolves, documents conforming to XHTML 1.0 will be more likely to interoperate within and among various XHTML environments. The XHTML family is the next step in the evolution of the Internet. By migrating to XHTML today, content developers can enter the XML world with all of its attendant benefits, while still remaining confident in their content's backward and future compatibility."

  • [August 25, 1999]   W3C Publishes the HTML 4.01 Specification as a Proposed Recommendation.    As part of its HTML Activity, the W3C has released the HTML 4.01 Specification as a Proposed Recommendation. The new PR represents a "revised version of the 4.0 Recommendation first released on 18-December-1997 and then revised 24-April-1998. Changes since the April 24th version are not just editorial in nature: there have been some changes to the DTDs, for example. On 24 August 1999 [and until 22-September-1999], this document enters a Proposed Recommendation review period." The document abstract: "This specification defines the HyperText Markup Language (HTML), version 4.0 (subversion 4.01), the publishing language of the World Wide Web. In addition to the text, multimedia, and hyperlink features of the previous versions of HTML, HTML 4.01 supports more multimedia options, scripting languages, style sheets, better printing facilities, and documents that are more accessible to users with disabilities. HTML 4.01 also takes great strides towards the internationalization of documents, with the goal of making the Web truly World Wide. HTML 4.01 is an SGML application conforming to International Standard ISO 8879 -- Standard Generalized Markup Language (ISO 8879)."

  • [August 20, 1999]   Financial Product Markup Language (FpML) First Working Draft Published.    A recent communiqué from Keri Jackson and Waqar Ali (Co-chairs, FpML Standards Committee) announces the availability of the first working draft of the FpML standard on the Web site. In order to make it easier to download the specification, the editors have separated the initial FpML working draft document FpML 1.0b2 into three parts: (1) the Overview of FpML, (2) the Components and DTDs, and (3) the Sample FpML. The developers will be publicizing information about the organization and process of available shortly; this information will include the upcoming schedule of FpML seminars and the list of proposed working groups. The Financial Product Markup Language (FpML) "is a business information exchange standard for electronic dealing and processing of Financial Derivative instruments. FpML is based on the Extensible Markup Language (XML) and initially focuses on Interest Rate Derivatives, FX Spot and FX Derivative Products. Financial Product Markup Language is a new information exchange standard for Internet-based electronic dealing and processing of financial instruments, initially focusing on interest rate and foreign exchange derivative products. Based on XML (eXtensible Markup Language), the emerging Internet standard for data sharing between applications, FpML enables Internet-based integration of a range of services, from electronic trading and trade confirmations to risk and sensitivity analysis of trade portfolios. A key goal of the FpML architecture is to ensure that the standard is independent of any underlying transport, session or message protocol. Although FpML specifies the instrument, counterparty and trade XML components, it does not require a specific message transmission. FpML should be able to be integrated with other session level protocols (e.g., FIX) that may already have the necessary facilities for guaranteed and/or reliable financial message delivery. Another important goal of the architecture is that FpML be an extensible standard. It will allow the addition of new financial products over time as well as support additional business services such as those outlined in the previous section. FpML enables this extensibility via its use of building blocks of financial information, from which complex financial instruments can be constructed. FpML is positioned to take advantage of emerging advances in XML and avoid lock-in to the current state of the art. An example of this is the use of namespaces to support modularity and reuse. This will also facilitate the anticipated future move to schemas, which are expected to provide more capabilities than DTDs in terms of expressing complex structures and validation rules. Details of the FpML conventions, some of which were adopted to provide this flexibility, are given in an appendix. The overview document describes the business and architectural goals of FpML and sets a context for its use including the scope, high-level business scenarios and the future direction. It also presents the architecture of FpML. Financial Products Markup Language is subject to the Mozilla Public License Version 1.0. All documents are copyright J.P. Morgan & Co. Incorporated and PricewaterhouseCoopers." For other description and references, see "Financial Products Markup Language (FpML)."

  • [August 20, 1999]   Release of DATAX: Data Exchange in XML.    A recent communiqué from David Megginson (Megginson Technologies Ltd.) reports on the availability of a new library, DATAX. DATAX: Data Exchange in XML is "a new Java 1.2 based library which greatly simplifies exchanging structured data records using XML written in any RDF-compliant format. It requires no built-in knowledge of specific document types. The current version of DATAX is 1.0beta, and a stable 1.0 version is expected in Fall 1999. DATAX is based on the Java2 Collections package, so it will integrate easily with other Java components. The DATAX 1.0beta Java release is intended for evalution and testing purposes only. DATAX requires Java 1.2 or higher, the SAX 1.0 interface library (included in the distribution as sax.jar), and an XML parser with a SAX driver (Microstar's aelfred.jar is included in the DATAX distribution)." DAXAT provides support for much (but not all) of the W3C RDF-Syntax Recommendation, available from the World Wide Web Consortium Web site. "RDF (the Resource Description Framework) is a set of conventions for encoding information about entities and their attributes and relationships. RDF was originally designed to provide metadata for Web pages, but it is useful for serializing and exchanging information about objects of any type. The DATAX library is not designed as a general purpose RDF implementation: it is possible to export a DATAX entity set to RDF and then import it again without loss, but if you are planning to import RDF files from other sources, it is important to note that some of the more obscure RDF features are not currently supported by the com.muze.datax.rdf.RDFReader class. The development of DATAX has been funded by Muze, Inc., a "leading provider of database information for music, books, and video. It is Muze's intention to release DATAX as free, open-source software once the beta period is ended." For further description, see the DATAX Roadmap of Java classes, with links to JavaDoc documentation. See also David Megginson's presentation abstract from the Montréal XML Developers' Conference, "Struggling with RDF" and the [subsequent] announcement. Comments and questions may be directed to

  • [August 20, 1999]   Last Call Working Draft for XML-Signature Requirements.    The W3C has issued a last-call working draft document XML-Signature Requirements (W3C/IETF Working Draft 1999-August-20), available also from the IETF. The requirements 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 document has been created by the working group in an effort to "develop a XML syntax used for representing signatures on digital content and procedures for computing and verifying such signatures. Signatures will provide data integrity, authentication, and/or non-repudiatability. This last call XML Signature Requirements working draft is not expected to be advanced to Recommendation. Instead, this Last Call designation is: (1) a representation of WG consensus, (2) an invitation for comments that will affect the future course of the technical specification, and (3) an opportunity to identify and obtain commitments regarding WG dependencies." Comments on the draft may be sent to the editor, Joseph Reagle Jr.

  • [August 20, 1999]   Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL) Boston Specification.    A new working draft of the 'SMIL Boston Specification' has been published by the W3C. See Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL) Boston Specification, W3C Working Draft 20-August-1999. The working draft document document specifies the 'Boston' version of the Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL, pronounced 'smile'). SMIL Boston has the following two design goals: (1) Define a simple XML-based language that allows authors to write interactive multimedia presentations. Using SMIL Boston, an author can describe the temporal behavior of a multimedia presentation, associate hyperlinks with media objects and describe the layout of the presentation on a screen. (2) Allow reusing of SMIL syntax and semantics in other XML-based languages, in particular those who need to represent timing and synchronization. For example, SMIL Boston components should be used for integrating timing into XHTML." The principal difference between the new working draft and the working draft version of 03-August-1999 is that the new draft is also provided as a single HTML document.

  • [August 20, 1999]   New Book on XML - The XML Bible.    Elliotte Rusty Harold posted an announcement to the XML-L mailing list concerning the publication of his new book, The XML Bible. From IDG Books Worldwide, this volume (ISBN: 0-7645-3236-7) represents the second edition of Harold's XML: Extensible Markup Language, published earlier. From the author's description: "The XML Bible is a comprehensive introduction to using XML for Web page design. It shows you how to write XML documents, validate them with DTDs, design CSS and XSL style sheets for those documents, convert them to HTML, and publish them on Web servers for the world to read. You'll also learn how to use XML technologies like RDF, XLinks, XHTML, and namespaces to add structure and organization to your document collections. And finally, you'll learn about the many uses of XML beyond the Web site, including genealogy, subscription services, mathematics, vector graphics, and more. After reading this book I hope you'll agree with me that XML is the most exciting development on the Internet since Java, and that it makes Web site development easier, more productive, and more fun." Chapters 14, 16, and 17 of the book ("XSL Transformations, XLinks, XPointers") are available for reading online. For other description and Table of Contents, see the author's Web site for the book.

  • [August 18, 1999]   aecXML for Architecture, Engineering and Construction.    A new 'aecXML' working group has been formed to develop schemas for the exchange of AEC-specific business-to-business information. The aecXML schema work is being designed to assist software companies, construction firms, academic institutions, building product manufacturers, and information publishers. According to the announcement, "Bentley Systems, Incorporated has developed an initial specification for aecXML, a framework of XML-based schemas to facilitate communications related to designing, specifying, estimating, sourcing, installing and maintaining construction products and materials over the Internet. [The working group] is looking for interested parties to review and exchange ideas on the initial aecXML specification. . ." The press release ("Bentley Announces aecXML for Architecture, Engineering and Construction. Company Submits XML Schema for A/E/C Project Communication For Industry Review") describes aecXML as a "framework of XML-based schemas to facilitate communications between and among the various constituents involved in the A/E/C process, including: architects, engineers, contractors, owner/operators, estimators, consultants, materials suppliers, building product manufacturers, and others. aecXML uses the XML-standard revolution to remove the current barriers to exchanging A/E/C-specific information in electronic business-to-business conversations. The aecXML schema conforms to Microsoft's BizTalk Framework ( and is designed to incorporate and extend cXML, the Commerce XML standard developed by Ariba and others. aecXML adds to these e-commerce foundations the keywords and attributes necessary to describe the components and properties of the various aspects of a building's design, construction, and operation. For example, an aecXML formatted message could request a search for a particular type of sound-control insulation, and a different aecXML formatted message could be used to find a local contractor capable of installing it." For description and references, see "aecXML Working Group." See and [after August 20, 1999]

  • [August 18, 1999]   IBM Releases Wapsody for the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP).    IBM's alphaWorks lab recently announced 'Wapsody' as available for download. Wapsody is a set of Java classes that implement most layers of the 'Wireless Application Protocol' (WAP) specification. WAP is the 'World-Wide-Web for mobile phones' -- a browser-based system intended for use from mobile telephone handsets, PDAs, and other mobile computing devices. The WAP system defines a microbrowser that displays specially formatted content pages (in WML-format) that get transmitted to the mobile device using the WAP communications protocol over a broad range of mobile data channels. Wapsody simulates most aspects of WAP. Wapsody is designed to be used as a WAP application building environment. Unique to Wapsody is its ability to faithfully reproduce the behavior of the underlying network bearer service and the protocol layers that build on it -- this feature can be used to simulate the exact behavior of a WAP application both in terms of usability and communications efficiency. The Wapsody simulation environment can be executed stand-alone, or can execute demos that are being hosted on our WAP infrastructure at IBM's Zurich Research Laboratory. Wapsody has been tested on AIX, Windows 95 and Windows 98. It requires JDK 1.1.x with Swing 1.1, or JDK 1.2, and the JDSK 2.0." For information on WAP, see "WAP Wireless Markup Language Specification."

  • [August 18, 1999]   Last Call Working Drafts for XML Path Language (XPath) and XSL Transformations (XSLT).    The W3C has published 'last call' working draft documents ('last call for comments') for the XPath and XSLT specifications. The deadline for comment ends September 02, 1999. References: (1) XML Path Language (XPath) Version 1.0, W3C Working Draft 13-August-1999, edited by James Clark and Steve DeRose. (2) XSL Transformations (XSLT) Version 1.0, W3C Working Draft 13-August-1999, edited by James Clark. The XPath WD represents a joint work of the XSL Working Group and the XML Linking Working Group, and is thus part of the Style activity and of the XML activity. XPath is "a language for addressing parts of an XML document, designed to be used by both XSLT and XPointer. The primary purpose of XPath is to address parts of an XML document. In support of this primary purpose, it also provides basic facilities for manipulation of strings, numbers and booleans. XPath uses a compact, non-XML syntax to facilitate use of XPath within URIs and XML attribute values. XPath operates on the abstract, logical structure of an XML document, rather than its surface syntax. XPath gets its name from its use of a path notation as in URLs for navigating through the hierarchical structure of an XML document. In addition to its use for addressing, XPath is also designed so that it has a natural subset that can be used for matching (testing whether or not a node matches a pattern); this use of XPath is described in XSLT." XSLT, under development as part of the W3C Style activity, 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."

  • [August 18, 1999]   New Release of Clark's XT.    James Clark has announced the release of a new version of XT which implements the W3C 19990813 version of XSLT and XPath. XT is a Java implementation of W3C 'XSL Transformations' (XSLT). James says: "There is significant new functionality in this release: the substring and string-length functions are implemented; the document function, which allows multiple input documents, is implemented; the unparsed-entity-uri function, which supports input documents using unparsed (NDATA) entities, is implemented; the current function (similar to the context function in IE5) is implemented; attribute sets are implemented; the text output method, which allows non-XML output in a standard way, is implemented; defaulting of the output method is implemented; this uses the html output method automatically if the document element is html; the disable-output-escaping attribute, which allows the disabling of the automatic escaping of <>& characters on output, is implemented; the encoding attribute on xsl:output is implemented for the html and text output methods; a servlet wrapper is provided; the API allows stylesheets to be cached (the servlet wrapper exploits this); top-level parameters can be passed using the query string (when running as an HTTP servlet) or using the command-line; support for multiple output documents is provided by an extension element."

  • [August 18, 1999]   Release of libxml-perl Version 0.05.    Ken MacLeod has announced a new release of libxml-perl (libxml-perl-0.05), which is now "making its way to CPAN archive sites. libxml-perl is a collection of smaller Perl modules, scripts, and documents for working with XML. libxml-perl software works in combination with XML::Parser, PerlSAX, XML::DOM, XML::Grove, and others. [Documentation in the form of] HTML-rendered PODs can be found on the libxml-perl home page. Significant changes since libxml-perl-0.04 include (1) a major update to the PerlSAX specification. (2) XML::Handler::XMLWriter: a new PerlSAX handler for writing readable XML (in contrast to Canonical XML). Similar to XML::Parser's Stream style. (3) XML::Handler::Subs: a new PerlSAX handler base class for calling user-defined subs by element-name. Similar to XML::Parser's Subs style. (4) XML::PatAct::ToObjects: added a CopyAttributes option and a '-grove-contents' action." Note also that a major new part of the libxml-perl 0.04 release was "a design, documentation, and alpha implementations for modular pattern (query) and action processing. Briefly, patterns and actions are specified as pairs of pattern and action statements. The pattern format or language is defined by a pattern module and the action format or language is defined by an action module. An action module is a PerlSAX handler and it drives the processing by the two modules. Included are Using PatAct Modules and Creating PatAct Modules documents, a module for matching against simple element names, XML::PatAct::MatchName, a module for converting XML into Perl Objects, XML::PatAct::ToObjects, a module for simple before and after style text replacement inspired by the Amsterdam SGML Parser and Linuxdoc, XML::PatAct::Amsterdam, and template modules for creating new pattern or action modules."

  • [August 18, 1999]   BioDOM Project Releases ProtSuite for Linking into Biomolecular Databases.    Adam Moore (Virtual School of Molecular Sciences) recently announced a beta release of the BioDOM project's first major software release: ProtSuite. ProtSuite is a client-side customisable hypermedia system for linking into biomolecular databases. It is implemented as a collection of perl and perl/Tk scripts that use XML and DOM processing to convert text queries over biomolecular databases into a local XML repository of sequences and structures. This beta version is mainly a developers release" and is issued under the GPL/Artistic license for free. The download package includes all necessary associated perl modules and ancilliary programs; it is currently UNIX only and has so far only been tested under Linux (SuSE 6.1). Further description: ProtSuite is a set of XML based tools to search protein sequence/structure databases on the internet (currently SwissProt and PDB) and then retrieve the results of your searches to store in a local repository. This repository then becomes a source for information that can be viewed/transformed using XSL-based tools, or queried using XQL-based tools. For example, say you are interested in the proteins involved in wombat digestion. You can search SwissProt and PDB for 'wombat digestion'. Examining the log files you find some hits for 'wombat digestion by snakes', which you ignore. You then retrieve the rest of the hits into your local repository. Periodic searches using the same terms will keep your local repository up to date - you can always check the log file to see what terms you've used and when the last search was done. You can then examine the contents of this repository, for example by applying an XSL stylesheet which prints the Databank ID (e.g., 1WOM from PDB) and protein sequence for each file. Using XQL you can query the repository, for example, you can find all sequences which contain the amino acid sequence 'WIMDATDIG'. For those of you who know about such things, you can think of it as the protein sequence/structure program analogous to what endnote does for bibliographies. Currently the internet search and retrieval modules are available, with XSL/XQL-based tools to follow." For related work, see (1) Chemical Markup Language, (2) the Molecular Dynamics [Markup] Language (MoDL), (3) the Bioinformatic Sequence Markup Language (BSML), and (4) the BIOpolymer Markup Language (BIOML).

  • [August 18, 1999]   XML Data Binding for the Java Platform.    On behalf of the Sun Core Java Platform Group, Mark Reinhold has posted an announcement for a Sun Java Specification Request (JSR) on 'XML Data Binding' which has been submitted to the Java Community Process. The relevant document is "JSR-000031 XML Data Binding Specification", and exposition is found in "An XML Data-Binding Facility for the Java Platform." ..."A particularly promising approach along these lines involves compiling, or binding, an XML schema into one or more Java classes. These automatically-generated classes handle the translation between XML documents, which must follow the schema, and interrelated instances of the classes. They also ensure that the constraints expressed in the schema are maintained as instances of the classes are manipulated. This design note reviews the basic concepts of XML and schemas, motivates and defines XML-based data binding, presents an extended example, and then outlines the requirements of a data-binding facility for the Java Platform." And as reported: "The proposed specification will define an XML data-binding facility for the Java Platform. Such a facility compiles an XML schema into one or more Java classes. These automatically-generated classes handle the translation between XML documents that follow the schema and interrelated instances of the derived classes. They also ensure that the constraints expressed in the schema are maintained as instances of the classes are manipulated. The proposed specification will vastly simplify the creation and maintenance of XML-enabled Java programs. Data binding automatically maps the components of an XML document to in-memory objects that represent, in an obvious and useful way, the document's intended meaning according to its schema. This allows Java programs that manipulate XML content to be written at the same conceptual level as the content itself, rather than at the level of parser events or parse trees. The proposed specification will describe two components: A marshalling framework and a schema compiler. The marshalling framework will support the unmarshalling of XML documents into graphs of interrelated instances of both existing and schema-derived classes and the marshalling of such graphs back into XML documents. These processes are governed by per-class metadata that defines the translation between an external XML document and internal instances of the associated classes. Hence the proposed specification will extend the platform to establish conventions for annotating classes with the necessary metadata. It will also define APIs for the marshalling and unmarshalling operations as well as the necessary low-level support services. The marshalling framework should be designed so that it can be used for applications other than XML data binding. There is, for example, widespread interest in using XML as a format in which to archive graphs of arbitrary Java objects. An XML-based archiving facility should be able to use the same marshalling framework as the XML data-binding facility. (Note that the marshalling framework is not in any way intended to displace the object serialization mechanism that is already a central part of the Java platform.) Ideally the marshalling framework will not be specific to XML. It seems unwise to tie such a general framework to a specific data format, especially since we may want to support other formats in the future. This implies that the metadata conventions and interfaces must be carefully designed so as to be independent of XML. Because this goal may be very difficult to achieve, it is a desideratum rather than a hard requirement. The schema compiler will translate a schema into a set of derived classes with appropriate access and mutation (i.e., get and set) methods as well as the metadata required by the marshalling framework. The code generated by the compiler will check that incoming XML documents are valid with respect to the schema. The generated code will also enforce the constraints expressed in the schema, thereby ensuring that only valid documents are produced by the marshalling process. A variety of schema-translation strategies are possible. The simplest translation results in roughly one Java class for each nontrivial schema component. A more sophisticated translation might produce interfaces or abstract classes reflecting the structures and types expressed in schema together with related classes containing the metadata and constraint-checking code. Precisely which strategy or strategies should be used by the compiler is an open question. The schema compiler will be a command-line tool rather than an extension to the platform itself, though it may also be exposed in a public but non-platform API for direct use by development tools. As such, the most important part of the proposed specification with regard to the schema compiler will be the description of the mapping of XML schemas into Java classes." Comments to: the development team or to Mark Reinhold.

  • [August 17, 1999]   IBM's XML4J-EA Offers Preliminary Support for W3C XML Schema Language.    A recent announcement in IBM's XML Xtra Newsletter (Volume 1, Issue 5) reported on the availability of experimental support for the W3C XML Schema Definition Language. "The XML Parser for Java Early Access release (XML4J-EA) is now available on IBM alphaWorks. Preliminary support for W3C XML Schema Language and access to the DTD via the DOM. This release contains previews of experimental features that may become a part of XML Parser for Java. XML4J-EA is a binary only release and is covered by the standard alphaWorks 90 day license. The commercial distribution license does not apply to XML4J-EA. The regular XML Parser for Java is still available under the commercial distribution license. . . [IBM's] XML Parser for Java is a validating XML parser written in 100% pure Java. The package ( contains classes and methods for parsing, generating, manipulating, and validating XML documents. XML Parser for Java is believed to be the most robust XML processor currently available and conforms most closely to the XML 1.0 Recommendation. . ."

  • [August 09, 1999]   XML-Based Navigation Markup Language (NVML).    The W3C has acknowledged receipt of a submission from Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. on a proposed NaVigation Markup Language (NVML) (W3C NOTE 6-August-1999). The NaVigation Markup Language (NVML) is "a markup language for describing the navigation information for a variety of mobile information appliances, such as smart phones, PDAs equipped with GPS, and car navigation systems. It is written in XML, and has the capability to describe several types of navigation information such as a route from the current point to a destination point, a way to a shop from the nearest station, transportation courses, sightseeing courses, and tour schedules. This language is able to describe location informaton as latitude, longitude, address and various additional items. An inportant point of this language is the capablity to describe a route to the target location as a list of locations and additional explanations." The document abstract: "A variety of mobile information appliances are developed rapidly such as smart phones with capability of Internet access, PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) equipped with GPS (Global Positioning System), and car navigation systems. A navigation service is one of the indispensable services to these mobile information appliances, but currently it is only available with car navigation systems. In order to use the navigation service not only on cars but also on trains, on buses, and on foot with various mobile information appliances, a common data format for describing navigation information such as locations of points and route information is required. The 'NVML' (NaVigation Markup Language) is a markup language for describing the navigation information satisfying the above requirement. The NVML enables us to use a navigation service at any time and anywhere, and it will also be used in other services such as a guide service for sightseeing, a travel planning service, and a publishing service for tourists." The XML Document Type Definition (DTD) for the proposed NaVigation Markup Language is provided in section 5.1 of the NOTE. See also the submission request and the W3C Staff Comment from Tatuya Hagino (W3C lead for Mobile Access Activity). Questions and comments may be directed to: Minoru Sekiguchi.

  • [August 05, 1999]   CommonRules and Business Rules Markup Language (BRML).    BRML is an 'XML Rule Interlingua for Agent Communication, based on Courteous/Ordinary Logic Programs.' It is used in connection with 'CommonRules' from IBM, and was developed in connection with IBM's Business Rules for E-Commerce Project. A related proposal is given in the 'Agent Communication Markup Language. From IBM alphaWorks Labs, CommonRules is a set of "Web-based inter-operable e-business rules via common representation framework with conflict handling. CommonRules is a Java library that provides functionality for business rules, especially for their inter-operability. Its role is to complement and enhance the functionality of the various rule-based systems and programming mechanisms already available in the market. First, it provides a common 'interlingua' representation for rules, suitable to grow into an industry standard, for exchange of rules between heterogeneous rule representations employed in various rule-based applications. Import and export formats for rules may be XML, text, Java objects; the applications need not be in Java. Translation between the different rule representations, and thereby rule exchange between the applications, is accomplished by translating in and out of the interlingua. The tentative name for the interlingua is Business Rules Interchange Format (BRIF). The tentative name for the XML version of the interlingua is Business Rules Markup Language (BRML). Second, CommonRules includes features for prioritized conflict handling that make specification of rules be more natural and make updating/merging of rules be simpler and more modular. CommonRules includes innovative functionality for an XML interlingua (i.e., syntactic interchange format) for such translation, called Business Rules Markup Language (BRML). The current version of BRML expresses courteous logic programs, which overlaps with a broad subset of KIF. ['Courteous logic programs are thus a form of prioritized logic programs. More generally, courteous logic programs are a form of prioritized default reasoning. Unlike previous highly expressively powerful forms of prioritized defaults (e.g., Prioritized Circumscription or Prioritized Default Logic), courteous logic programs are computationally tractable under common expressive restrictions (e.g., no non-0-ary logical functions and a bounded number of logical variables per rule).'] BRML complements and extends ANSI-draft Knowledge Interchange Format (KIF), and provides the first XML encoding for KIF. In version 1.0, only a broad sub-case of KIF is represented: clauses. Future versions of BRML plan to represent more of KIF. BRML goes beyond KIF to support logical non-monotonicity, including the negation-as-failure, the most practically important form of negation, and prioritized conflict handling. CommonRules includes a sample translator to/from KIF's existing (non-XML) string format. The XML interlingua in particular is a common syntactic format. The courteous expressive extension provides some 'common-sense' reasoning capabilities, in the sense of knowledge representation theory and artificial intelligence, because the prioritized conflict handling enables rules to be specified in a more modular and natural style, closer to natural language and object-oriented subclassing/inheritance." Alpha-version XML DTDs are available for BRML and for the Agent Communication Markup Language, 'a new XML version of FIPA standards-draft Agent Communication Language.' See also the CommonRules/BRML announcement. For other references and description, see "Business Rules Markup Language (BRML)."

  • [August 05, 1999]   MIX - Mediation of Information Using XML.    "The MIX project (Mediation of Information using XML) is a collaboration between the UCSD Database Laboratory and the Data-Intensive Computing Environments (DICE) group at SDSC. The goal of the project is to study, develop, apply and evaluate systems for mediation across heterogeneous information sources. The goal of the MIX Project is to study, develop, apply and evaluate systems for mediation across heterogeneous information sources. We strongly believe that the Web emerges as a distributed database and XML (or some extension/modification of XML) will be the data model of this huge database. In particular, we envision that in the near future sources will be exporting an XML view of their data along with semantic descriptions of the content and descriptions of the interfaces (XML queries) that may be used for accessing the data. Users and applications will then be able to query these view documents using some XML query language. Along this direction we have developed the XMAS query language. [The MIX project] 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 roviding an integrated XML view of the information. We 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 interface. We are pursuing the application of such mediator systems for distributed digital libraries and virtual agencies." For additional description and references, see "MIX - Mediation of Information Using XML."

  • [August 05, 1999]   Behavioral Extensions to CSS - W3C Working Draft.    The W3C recently issued a new working draft for Behavioral Extensions to CSS (W3C Working Draft 04-August-1999). The document editors include Vidur Apparao (Netscape Communications Corp.), Daniel Glazman (Electricité de France), and Chris Wilson (Microsoft Corporation). This working draft document builds on discussions held in the W3C CSS+FP Working Group and [is] based on the submissions made to the W3C by Netscape Communications Corp. (Action Sheets) and Microsoft Corp. (HTML Components). "Behavioral Extensions provide ways for declaration of standalone behaviors that can be attached to any HTML or XML element, without modification of the DTD. Partly based on extensions to Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), these behaviors can be applied to multiple documents using the existing CSS linking mechanisms. The current document provides two complementary ways of building reusable behaviors. The first one attaches to elements event handlers that trigger the execution of a piece of script. The second one attaches an external component to an element using a single declaration. In both cases, the declarations are contained in CSS stylesheets and use the power of the CSS selection mechanism."

  • [August 05, 1999]   New Working Draft on 'W3C Selectors'.    A new working draft document on "selectors" has been published by the W3C as part of the W3C Style Activity. References: CSS3 Module: W3C Selectors (W3C Working Draft 3-August-1999). The document editor is Daniel Glazman (Electricité de France). This WD represents one of the 'modules' for the upcoming CSS3 specification. It not only describes the selectors that already exist in CSS1 and CSS2, but also proposes new selectors for CSS3 as well as for other languages that may need them." The document abstract: "CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is a language for describing the rendering of HTML and XML documents on screen, on paper, in speech, etc. To bind style properties to elements in the document, it uses selectors, which are patterns that match to elements. This draft describes the selectors that are proposed for CSS level 3. It includes and extends the selectors of CSS level 2." Description: "A W3C selector represents a structure. This structure can be understood for instance as a condition (e.g., in a CSS rule) that determines which elements in the document tree are matched by this selector, or as a flat description of the HTML or XML fragment corresponding to that structure. W3C selectors may range from simple element names to rich contextual representations. Selectors, as described in CSS 2, represent only conditions on a structure. [In this working draft] It is proposed to extract section 5 from CSS 2 specification and rewrite it so selectors can be a general description of a structure, implying a condition or not. It is also suggested to extend the CSS 2 set of selectors. CSS 2 selectors have been voluntarily restricted to conditions that do not block the progressive rendering in visual browsers. If this point of view can be easily understood for applications built over the Internet, it is much too restrictive for corporate complex applications built over an intranet or applications that do not need visual rendering. It is also coherent with the DOM and XSL to be able to select elements by more complex requests than those allowed by CSS 2. What cannot be done using CSS 2 selectors will be possible using DOM." For other references on CSS, see "W3C Cascading Style Sheets."

  • [August 05, 1999]   XML Document for the Zope Environment.    Amos Latteier (Digital Creations) recently announced the availability of the first alpha release of 'XML Document'. Zope is a "free, Open Source application server and portal toolkit used for building high-performance, dynamic web sites." XML Document "allows you to use xml objects in the Zope environment. You can create xml documents in Zope and leverage Zope to format, query, and manipulate XML. The current distribution, available for download, "requires Zope 2.0x and the pyexpat parser which will be distributed with Zope come Zope 2.0b1. Until the Zope beta release you can get pyexpat from the Python xml-sig's XML package. The first release is alpha quality. This means that it is not feature complete, nor is it bug free. I'd love feedback on the functionality and design of this product. The XML Document product parses XML into a Zopish DOM tree. The individual elements of the tree are true Zope object with id's, properties, acquistion support, persistence, etc. The document and individual sub-elements can be edited trough the management interface. By turning XML into Zope objects you can leverage all the Zopish things you know and love to XML. For example you can format XML with DTML Methods. You can use URL traversal to locate specific elements in the DOM. You can acquire methods and call them on specific elements. You can catalog XML elements. The DOM tree created by Zope aims to comply with the DOM level one standard. This allows you to access your xml in DTML or External Methods using a standard and powerful API. . . Thanks to Ken Manheimer you can now follow the bleeding edge Zope/XML developments. You can now check out the XML Document Product from the public CVS repository. Use the following command from within your Zope '/lib/python/Products' directory: cvs -z7 -d checkout -d XMLDocument Products/DC/XMLDocument ."

  • [August 04, 1999]   ISIS XML/EDI Project Draft DTDs Available.    A recent communiqué from Man-Sze Li, on behalf of the ISIS XML/EDI Project Consortium, reports that draft DTDs are available from the ISIS XML/EDI Project. For example, "XML Document Type Definitions project deliverables are available for Electronic Healthcare and Container Movement. The healthcare DTDs have been developed under the XMLEPR project, which is part of this project. The two sets of DTDs represent two different approaches from which to develop XML/EDI messages. The approach used for the healthcare messages was based on formal modelling techniques and automatic generation of DTDs from a UML model. The approach used for the transport messages was based on the conversion of an existing EDIFACT message to XML syntax. For the transport-related work two sub-approaches were adopted. For the container movement DTDs it was decided, after a series of trials, that one of the big advantages of adopting an XML-based approach was the ability to simplify the transmitted message by only transferring those parts of the required information which was not already known to the transaction partners. For the IFTMBF message that will follow these initial messages the XML DTD will represent a full MIG, that is used by the Finnish transport industry, which is closely related to a general-purpose Nordic MIG used for freight movements throughout Northern Europe. The Electronic Healthcare messages are derived from a formal data model developed by PT29 of the CEN TC251 Healthcare Informatics team. This model is designed to cope with a wide range of healthcare messages. . . There are two main classes of transport-related messages within the EDIFACT series. Messages related to the equipment used for container movements have names starting with the letters CO (e.g. COPARN and CODECO). Messages relating to consignments to particular containers have names starting with IF (e.g. IFMTBF). To ensure that both sets of messages are evaluated in an XML context sample messages from both sets have been converted to DTDs. The ISIS European XML/EDI Pilot Project "is co-financed by a number of private and public sector organisations in several European countries and the European Commission DG III - Industry under the ISIS Programme. The project started in January 1999 and will conclude in January 2000. The objective of the project is to promote the application of XML/EDI for electronic commerce in the business environment by: (1) Validating the use of W3C's Extensible Markup Language (XML) for the electronic interchange of business data in the statistics, transport and healthcare sectors (2) Demonstrating the applicability of the XML/EDI methodologies, tools and systems in user-driven pilot trials in the selected industry and public administration sectors (3) Investigating the overall requirements for XML/EDI tools from European users of EDI (4) Recommending best practices for mapping existing EDI applications to XML which can be used by other industrial sectors to facilitate the rapid deployment of XML/EDI."

  • [August 04, 1999]   XML and SAX Conformance Testing.    A posting from David Brownell "XML and SAX Conformance Testing" announces the availability of an alpha version of a test driver which can be used to perform XML conformance tests, using databases such as the OASIS/NIST XML Conformance Test Suite. [He says:] "It's in the interest of all developers that they use tools which conform to the relevant Internet standards, since otherwise islands of interoperability problems arise. In the case of XML, this must involve using processors which conform strictly to the XML specifications (without the proprietary extensions vendors have been known to use to lock-in customers), and also to use correct implementations of standard APIs such as SAX. This package is a driver for a set of XML and SAX conformance tests. The SAX API is used to access an XML processor (parser), and supports testing of every requirement in the XML 1.0 specification. A database of test cases is used to excercise those requirements. Try using this with any SAX processor (1.0 or 2.0 alpha), and see how conformant it is! (These use a slightly bugfixed version of the OASIS/NIST test suite. In that suite are almost 1100 tests.)" The add-on, available for download, "has an open source license so it can be used by anyone." For details on the XML Test Suite, see the earlier news entry, "XML Conformance Test Suite Available."

  • [August 04, 1999]   Revised XSLT/XPath Tutorial Materials.    G. Ken Holman (Crane Softwrights Ltd.) has posted an announcement for an update of tutorial materials under the title Practical Transformation Using XSLT and XPath (Fourth Edition, 1999-08-02. ISBN: 1-894049-01-2). In this edition, "all constructs of the W3C specifications [19990709] for XSLT and XPath are documented. Also, the free download preview has been enhanced with: a graphical depiction of axes, documentation for XT NXML (non-XML) semantics and syntax, and a proposed list of questions to ask vendors regarding XSLT product functions and features. Still included in the free download preview are (1) the full text of the first two and last two modules to give an overview of the writing style and access to the summary information for the drafts and some tools (XT and IE5), and (2) the lesson summary and overview pages for every other module. As with our other editions of this XSLT training material, the purchase of any edition of this publication entitles the customer to any future edition of the same title (or in this case when the same subject material gets a new name from the W3C, with the revised title)."

  • [August 04, 1999]   Fancy XML Tree Viewer.    A posting from Mike J. Brown announces a Fancy XML Tree Viewer tool. Fancy XML Tree Viewer uses CSS to show the node structure of an XML document in the form of colorful HTML tables and bulleted lists. The Fancy XML Tree Viewer is an XSL document that must be applied to a source tree with an XSLT processor. I have tested it with James Clark's XT (19990708 and 19990725 versions). The resulting HTML document can only be viewed on Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 or above. [Building this tool] was a learning exercise for me and will hopefully help others better understand node tree hierarchies. Note that both versions [3.0 and 3.1] are the same, but 3.0 is in the April 24 XSLT 1.0 Working Draft syntax, while 3.1 is in the July 9 syntax. Make sure you get the right one for whichever XSLT processor you are using. I will not be making any more updates to 3.0; from now on I'll only use the July 9 syntax. I welcome any feedback and constructive criticisms on how to make it look or work better." Some sample output is available in the distribution, now available for download. See also Ken Holman's SHOWTREE Diagnostic XSL Tree Display. For related tools, see "Sample XSL Stylesheets."

  • [August 03, 1999]   W3C Issues 'SMIL Boston' First Working Draft.    The World Wide Web Consortium has announced the first public working draft of SMIL Boston, the successor to W3C's XML-based synchronized multimedia language, SMIL 1.0. "With SMIL Boston, anyone can make multimedia for the Web. Using your own digital snapshots and audio commentary, SMIL, and a simple text editor, you can make multimedia presentations that can immediately go live," says Philipp Hoschka, Chair of W3C's Synchronized Multimedia (SYMM) Working Group. The Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL) Boston Specification (W3C Working Draft 3-August-1999) "specifies the 'Boston' version of the Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL, pronounced 'smile'). SMIL Boston has the following two design goals: (1) Define a simple XML-based language that allows authors to write interactive multimedia presentations. Using SMIL Boston, an author can describe the temporal behavior of a multimedia presentation, associate hyperlinks with media objects and describe the layout of the presentation on a screen. (2) Allow reusing of SMIL syntax and semantics in other XML-based languages, in particular those who need to represent timing and synchronization. For example, SMIL Boston components should be used for integrating timing into XHTML." The SMIL functionality "is partitioned into nine (9) modules: Animation Module, Content Control Module, Event Module, Layout Module, Linking Module, Media Object Module, Metainformation Module, Structure Module, and Timing and Synchronization Module." Section M (Integrating SMIL Timing into other XML-Based Languages) "specifies an architecture for applying timing information to XML documents. It specifies the syntax and semantics of the constructs that provide timing information. This approach builds on SMIL by preserving SMIL's timing model and maintaining the semantics of SMIL constructs." See also the testimonials from several industry groups.

  • [August 03, 1999]   Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.0 Specification.    The W3C SVG Working Group has released a new working draft for the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.0 Specification (W3C Working Draft 30-July-1999), representing an 'intermediate public review draft version of the SVG specification.' The W3C SVG Working Group, under Chris Lilley (Activity leader and chair), is part of the W3C Graphics Activity. The document editor is Jon Ferraiolo (Adobe). The changes in this fifth working draft are listed in Appendix K. The WD document "defines the features and syntax for Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), a language for describing two-dimensional vector and mixed vector/raster 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 and template objects. SVG drawings can be interactive and dynamic. Animations can be defined and triggered either declaratively (i.e., by embedding SVG animation elements in the SVG document) or via scripting. Sophisticated applications of SVG are possible by use of supplemental scripting language with access to SVG's Document Object Model (DOM), which provides complete access to all elements, attributes and properties. 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 XHTML and SVG elements simultaneously within the same Web page. Because SVG conforms to DOM, it will be scriptable just like HTML version 4 (sometimes called DHTML). This will allow a single scripting approach to be used simultaneously for both XML documents and SVG graphics. Thus, interactive and dynamic effects will be possible on multiple XML namespaces using the same set of scripts." The new WD is available in PDF format as well as HTML.

  • [August 03, 1999]   SVG Viewers From IBM and CSIRO Mathematical and Information Sciences (CMIS).    Viewers for W3C Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) images are now available from IBM and CSIRO. The IBM SVGView SVG viewer from IBM alphaWorks is described as a 'prototype Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) viewer' for viewing two-dimensional SVG graphics in XML. "SVGView is a Java program that uses Java 2D and the XML Parser for Java to parse, process, and display SVG files on any XML-enabled Web browser. The viewer enables Web professionals working with SVG files to preview their forms or images. SVGView uses Java 2D and XML Parser for Java to parse, process, and render SVG files locally or over the Internet. The viewer passes the document to the parser, which creates the data tree structure. The parser then traverses the tree in Java 2D, which calls the appropriate functions in the Java2 API. For example, if a square needs to be drawn, the relevant Java2D function draws the square at the appropriate location." The CSIRO SVG Viewer has been developed by Bella Robinson and Dean Jackson and "is available as Open Source software (based on the BSD license). The distribution includes a set of Java libraries to view SVG files; it uses JDK 1.2 (with Java2D) and Sun's Java Project X Core Library - Technology Release 2. This software development emerged from an interest is in the applicability of SVG to geospatial applications. The viewer is a conforming SVG Interpreter and a partially conforming SVG Viewer. The viewer will parse an SVG document and validate it against the 'svg-19990706.dtd' DTD. A subset of all the graphic elements, attributes and properties are supported and rendered. Those that are have not been implemented yet are simply ignored." Questions or comments may be directed to the SVG Development team. For other information on SVG, see the W3C Web site.

  • [August 03, 1999]   Annotation of Web Content for Transcoding.    International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) has presented a submission to the W3C on the topic of Annotation of Web Content for Transcoding (W3C Note 10-July-1999). The document authors include Masahiro Hori, Rakesh Mohan, Hiroshi Maruyama, and Sandeep Singhal. The document abstract: "Users will be accessing the Internet increasingly from information appliances such as PDAs, cell phones, and set-top boxes. These devices do not have the same rendering capabilities (display size, color depth, screen resolution, etc.) Or network connectivity as traditional desktop clients, and therefore, content must be modified, or transcoded, for proper display on those devices. This proposal presents annotations that can be attached to HTML/XML documents to guide their adaptation to the characteristics of diverse information appliances. It also provides a vocabulary for adaptation and syntax of the language for annotating Web content. Used in conjunction with device capability information, style sheets, and other mechanisms, these annotations enable a high quality user experience for users who are accessing Web content from information appliances. The proposed framework is broadly applicable to cases when content adaptation is desirable. It therefore enhances language translation, Web accessibility, and speech enablement efforts." The NOTE provides for a "framework of external annotation, which prescribes a representation scheme of annotation files, and a way of linking original documents with an external annotation file. The external annotation files contain hint information that is linked to elements in the original document. RDF is used as the syntax of external annotation files. In addition, XPointer is used for linking annotations with the annotated elements. An annotation file, which is an XML document, therefore contains a set of descriptions for annotating the subject HTML file. . . An annotation file refers to portions of a subject document. A reference may point to a single element (e.g., an IMG element), or a range of elements (e.g., an H2 element and the following paragraphs). XPointer allows for such addressing into the internal document structure. For example, root().child(3).child(7) points to the seventh child element of the third child element of the root element of the subject document. If a target element is entailed with an id attribute, the attribute can be used for direct addressing without the need for a long path expression. Furthermore, a range of elements can be pointed to by using a span keyword in XPointer."

  • [August 03, 1999]   RDF Schema Editor Available.    Jonas Liljegren posted an announcement for the availability of his RDF Schema editor, version 0.04: "an experimental prototype, written in perl, for viewing, editing and navigating in RDF data, based on RDF Schemas. The goal is to find out what functions and tools are needed for a project. The Schema editor is a program using a couple of general RDF modules. There are nine classes. Three layers and three classes per layer [. . .] The schema editor program is using the Schema::Model class. This class inherits from Simple::Model, and that class inherits from Source::x::Model, where 'x' is specified in the call to the Schema::Model constructor. The Model object will be used to construct Resource and Statement objects. The Schema layer contain all logic and functions specific to the RDF Schema Specification. To only get the functions for the RDF M&S Specification, you would use the constructor in the Simple::Model class. The Schema and Simple layers are programmed to not know anything about the storage of the RDF data. They use the methods in the Source layer, using the specified source class. I am only using the Source::DBI classes, that uses the perl DBI module to access a database." For other links, see the W3C RDF reference page and "Resource Description Framework (RDF)."

  • [August 03, 1999]   Schema for Object-Oriented XML Version 2.0.    The W3C has acknowledged receipt of a submission from Commerce One, Inc. for Schema for Object-Oriented XML 2.0 (W3C Note 30-July-1999). SOX 2.0 is now implemented in the Common Business Library (CBL) Version 2.0. This W3C NOTE updates and replaces the previous version of the SOX language specification (1998-09-30) and represents the current, implemented version of the SOX language. The document authors include Andrew Davidson, Matthew Fuchs, Mette Hedin, Mudita Jain, Jari Koistinen, Chris Lloyd, Murray Maloney, and Kelly Schwarzhof. The revised NOTE "describes SOX 2.0, the second version of the Schema for Object-Oriented XML. SOX is a schema language (or metagrammar) for defining the syntactic structure and partial semantics of XML document types. As such, SOX is an alternative to XML DTDs and can be used to define the same class of document types (with the exception of external parsed entities). However, SOX extends the language of DTDs by supporting: (1) An extensive (and extensible) set of datatypes, (2) Inheritance among element types, (3) Namespaces, (4) Polymorphic content, (5) Embedded documentation, and (6) Features to enable robust distributed schema management. All of these features are supported with strong type-checking and validation. A SOX schema is also a valid XML instance according to the SOX DTD, enabling the application of XML content management tools to schema management. The SOX proposal is informed by the XML 1.0 specification as well as the XML-Data submission and the Document Content Description submission. However many of SOX' requirements come from the distributed computing world and SOX features have been heavily influenced by the Java programming language. Although SOX 2.0 retains many of the features of SOX 1.0, it represents an additional year of actual implementation experience. SOX was initially developed to support the development of large-scale, distributed electronic commerce applications but is applicable across the whole range of applications of markup. As compared to XML DTDs, SOX dramatically decreases the complexity of supporting interoperation among heterogenous applications by facilitating software mapping of XML data structures, expressing domain abstractions and common relationships directly and explicitly, enabling reuse at the document design and the application programming levels, and supporting the generation of common application components." Comments on the note should be sent via email to For additional information, see "Schema for Object-oriented XML (SOX)" and "Common Business Library (CBL)."

  • [August 03, 1999]   Exeter XML Server Beta Release.    Jeffrey Ricker posted an announcement for the beta release of the XMLSolutions' Exeter XML Server (EXS). "Currently, Solaris 2.5.1 binary is available for evaluation, with Windows NT, Linux and AIX following soon. [Description:] Server-side style sheets. XMLSolutions' Exeter XML Server provides the industry standard hypertext transfer protocol daemon (HTTPD) enhanced to handle the special demands of XML and e-commerce. In particular, the Exeter XML Server can apply server-side style sheets to XML documents, allowing you to begin fielding XML applications today without worrying about the client capabilities. Participation in the Beta-1 evaluation is free. If you have any questions or feedback, please direct them to The Exeter family of products enable large companies to leverage their investment in electronic data interchange (EDI) commerce systems and extend their reach to small and midsize trading partners through XML."

  • [August 02, 1999]   TEI Recommendation for 'Best Encoding Practices'.    A posting from C. Perry Willett (Indiana University) announces the publication of a draft document on best encoding practices in library applications of the TEI Guidelines. The draft document is meant for projects using the TEILite DTD, now available for XML encoding as well as SGML. The document is: TEI Text Encoding in Libraries. Draft Guidelines for Best Encoding Practices. The guidelines provide for encoding at five levels, depending upon project scope and user requirements. "Encoding levels 1-4 require no expert knowledge of content. Level 5, in contrast, requires scholarly analysis. Levels 1-4 allow the conversion and encoding of texts to be performed without the assistance of content experts and can be enriched with more markup at any time. Recommendations for Levels 1-4 are intended for projects wishing to create encoded electronic text with structural markup, but minimal semantic or content markup. Also, the encoding levels are cumulative: encoding requirements at each level incorporate the requirements of lower levels. The recommendations are concerned with the text portion of a TEI-encoded document. The levels are: (1) Fully Automated Conversion and Encoding: create electronic text with the primary purpose of keyword searching and linking to page images. The primary advantage in using the TEILite DTD at this level is that a TEI Header is attached to the text file. (2) Minimal Encoding: create electronic text for keyword searching, linking to page images, and identifying simple structural hierarchy to improve navigation. (3) Simple Analysis: create text that can stand alone as electronic text and identifies hierarchy and typography without content analysis being of primary importance. (4) Basic Content Analysis: create text that can stand alone as electronic text, identifies hierarchy and typography, specifies function of textual and structural elements, and describes the nature of the content and not merely its appearance. This level is not meant to encode or identify all structural, semantic or bibliographic features of the text. (5) Scholarly Encoding Projects : Level 5 texts are those that require subject knowledge, and encode semantic, linguistic, prosodic or other elements beyond a basic structural level." This work emerged from a workshop on The TEI and XML in Digital Libraries held at the Library of Congress on June 30-July 1, 1998, where three working groups were formed. Group 2 was charged with developing a set of recommendations for libraries using the TEI Guidelines in electronic text encoding. Representatives from six libraries met at the Library of Congress on November 12-13, 1998. The Task Force met again at ALA mid-winter (January 1999) to incorporate comments and finalize the draft. The revised recommendations were circulated to the conference working group in May 1999 and presented at the joint annual meeting of the Association of Computers and the Humanities and Association of Literary and Linguistic Computing in June 1999." For other references, see "Text Encoding Initiative (TEI)."

  • [August 02, 1999]   PassiveTeX Update.    Sebastian Rahtz recently announced an update to his PassiveTeX software. 'PassiveTeX' is TeX package used to directly format XSL FO material. The files in the distribution "form a demonstration of LaTeX reading XSL Formatting Objects and processing them to produce nice pages. . . using the XML version of the TEI Lite guidelines, we apply the XSL stylesheet and run it through James Clark's XT XSL processor [producing the flow objects], then through 'pdftex' to produce the PDF file." Updates include (1) confirming that the package runs under Windows; (2) improvement of the TEI XSL style sheet for TEI Lite (now supporting the July 1999 specification XSL Transformations - XSLT); (3) correction of many small errors. Sebastian plans to demonstrate the 'PassiveTex' software at the XML Developers' Conference later this month in Montréal. Together with Michel Goossens, Sebastian will offer a presention there "XML, XSL, and TeX: Room for Cooperation." Note, in this connection, that James Tauber has been updating his FOP: A Formatting Object to PDF Translator; Tauber will present FOP in an update also an the XML Developers' Conference. For related tools, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support."

  • [July 30, 1999]   XML Conformance Test Suite Available.    An XML Conformance Test Suite is now available from the OASIS Web site, as summarized in a recent announcement. "The XML (Extensible Markup Language 1.0) Conformance Test Suite contains over 1000 test files and an associated test report. The test report contains background information on conformance testing for XML as well as test descriptions for each of the test files included in this release. This test suite provides an initial set of metrics for determining conformance to the W3C XML 1.0 Recommendation. It is anticipated that this test suite will grow over time, and will be expanded to include additional XML functionality as the set of XML recommendations evolve. The XML Conformance Test Suite is intended to complement the W3C XML 1.0 Recommendation. All interpretations of this Recommendation are subject to confirmation by the W3C XML Coordination Group. This test suite incorporates tests developed by the OASIS technical committee with those contributed by Sun Microsystems, Fuji Xerox Information Systems, and James Clark. The XML Conformance Subcommittee is co-chaired by Mary Brady of NIST and G. Ken Holman of Crane Softwrights Ltd. The technical lead on the project is Matt Timmermans of Microstar Software Ltd. and the character set specialist is Makoto Murata of FujiXerox. Initial efforts outlined an approach, defined by G. Ken Holman, Crane Softwrights Ltd. that used XML with a corresponding DTD to document the tests and DSSSL to generate the report. Building on this approach, Dave Brownell, SUN, provided a simplified DTD and associated XSL stylesheet for generating the report. Further modifications to the DTD and the XSL stylesheet were done by G. Ken Holman and Mary Brady, NIST. NIST applied this approach to developing the test suite as it currently exists. Building the test suite included working with individual contributors to ensure that company restrictions were met, designing and implementing a test suite architecture, validating all of the tests to be included, and ensuring that each test was well-grounded in the XML 1.0 Recommendation. Some of the information was provided by the test writers, some was automatically processed by Dave Brownell, SUN, and the large majority of information was supplied by NIST, who validated each of the tests by running them through a set of locally installed parsers, and provided documentation and specification references for many of the XML tests. This information was encapsulated in a XML test description file for each set of tests, and then generated into a report using the supplied XSL stylesheets." For other references on XML conformance issues, see "XML Conformance."

  • [July 30, 1999]   W3C XML Syntax Working Group Publishes Canonical XML.    A new working draft from the W3C XML Syntax Working Group is Canonical XML (W3C Working Draft 29-July-1999). The document editors are Tim Bray, James Clark, and James Tauber. This WD fulfills the objectives of the working group set out in XML Canonicalization Requirements (W3C Note 07-March-1999). The document abstract: "This document describes a subset of the information contained in an XML document and a syntax for expressing that subset. This syntax, called Canonical XML, is designed to encode the 'logical structure' of XML documents; two XML documents whose Canonical-XML form is identical will be considered equivalent for the purposes of many applications." The motivation for defining 'Canonical XML' is given as follows: "It is possible for XML documents which are equivalent for the purposes of many applications to differ in their physical representation. In particular, they may differ in their entity structure, attribute ordering, and character encoding. This means that much equivalence testing of XML documents cannot be done at the byte-comparison level. This Canonical XML specification aims to introduce a notion of equivalence between XML documents which can be tested at the syntactic level and, in particular, by byte-for-byte comparison. In the syntax it describes, 'logically equivalent' documents are byte-for-byte identical." All XML documents may thus "be transformed into Canonical XML (with potentially some information loss) [and] the result of this transformation is described as the canonical form of the original document. Canonical XML is XML - that is to say, the canonical form of any XML document is an XML document. There are two essential aspects to the specification of Canonical XML: (1) [specifying] which information from an XML document is included in its canonical form (and which is not); (2) [specifying] how information is expressed in Canonical XML." Comments on the working draft should be sent to the public mailing list, where they will be archived.

  • [July 30, 1999]   Release of SAXON Version 4.5.    A posting from Michael H. Kay recently announced the release of SAXON version 4.5. "As well as moving to the new syntax (July 1999 XSLT and XPath), this release plugs a few of the remaining gaps in SAXON's XSL coverage, for example it now supports xsl:include and the document() function." The SAXON package "is a collection of tools for processing XML documents. The main components are: (1) An XSL processor, which supports the W3C 9-July-1999 XSLT specification from the World Wide Web Consortium, found at (including the associated XPath syntax) 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. So you can use SAXON by writing XSL stylesheets, by writing Java applications, or by any combination of the two. If you are only interested in running the XSL interpreter, on a Windows platform, try Instant SAXON. Instant SAXON is a cut-down version of the full SAXON package. It provides an XSL interpreter that can be executed directly on Windows 95 or NT platforms. The syntax for stylesheets is exactly the same as for the full SAXON product. 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. SAXON implements nearly all of the draft XSL transformation language standard. However, SAXON was written explicitly to do things that are beyond the scope of the XSL standard. . . As a class library, SAXON gives you the ability to use the XSL rule-based approach to document processing, but with the flexibility of the full Java language. You can declare handler classes to match particular patterns in the document, and can process arbitrary sets of nodes selected using XSL expressions. This provides a high-level query capability which you can mix with purely navigational access." For related tools, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support."

  • [July 29, 1999]   Molecular Dynamics Language (MoDL).    A communiqué from B. Arun reports on the early results in the MoDL project. MoDL - Molecular Dynamics [Markup] Language (pronounced as 'model') is a "new XML application for simulation data from molecular dynamics. Chemical Simulations are an integral part of research in the field of Chemical Engineering/Sciences. The effort involved in making sense of the huge amounts of data that these simulations provide is enormous. We envisage that visualization of this simulation data will be of great assistance in the understanding of chemical systems and provide new insights as well. MoDL provides simple constructs like atom, bond, molecule and TRANSLATE that mark-up the simulation data. To rotate [a molecule] one has ROTATE. One can define atom and molecule types and then use them to build up a chemical compound. Plots can also be drawn in any position in the 3D scene using plot and curve. The MoDL file is converted to the VRML world using a program that uses the Perl XML::Parser module. The visualizations can then be viewed using a VRML plug-in inside a Web browser. More information and examples are provided on the project Web site." The authors have provided a MoDL tutorial and a MoDL XML DTD. Examples in VRML encoding are also supplied. A 'MoDL Authoring Tool' (under development) is available for download; XML::Parser and XML::DOM modules have to be installed for this to work. The project team (Dr. Swami Manohar, Prof. Vijay Chandru, B. Arun, Ashes Dhanna Ganguly) request comments on the application; they may be sent via email to [Note: if you'd like to (just possibly) be impressed and have not already surfed to the Web site: look first at the XML encoding for a molecule (e.g., 'Zeolite NaCaA Cage = Zeolite NaCaA with one CH4') and then look at the image on the main page.] For additional references, see "Molecular Dynamics [Markup] Language (MoDL)."

  • [July 29, 1999]   XML Takes to the Stars.    The 'JSky Catalog Representation in XML' endeavor represents one of the more recent applications of XML in the area of astronomical data description. A document written by Allan Brighton and Miguel Albrecht of the JSky project (Java Components for Astronomy) announces: "ESO and CDS are investigating the use of XML with JSky. While most of the focus has been on representing astronomical objects or tables in XML, the JSky document presents an example that describes the interface to a catalog server, describing the query parameters and URLs to use to access the server. The goal is to describe various astronomical resources, such as catalog servers, image servers, tables, web pages, databases, etc. in a common XML format that can be used to generate a user interface to browse the data." The document supplies an example XML description of the ESO Guide Star Catalog, complete with the XML DTD. See also the paper "Describing Astronomical Catalogues and Query Results with XML" and the reference collections in Astronomical Instrument Markup Language (AIML) and Astronomical Markup Language.

  • [July 29, 1999]   Schedule for XML Developers' Conference August 19-20, 1999.    Jon Bosak has posted an announcement for the publication of the schedule of presentations to be given at the third annual GCA XML Developers' Conference. The schedule provides for some seventeen presentations on XML by creative developers. The Fall '99 XML Developers' Conference follows immediately after the Metastructures 1999 Conference, as described in a previous announcement. Online registration for the conference is available. Jon writes: "As always, this intimate, one-track technical conference features the very best of current experience in XML and related technologies in a setting designed to facilitate communication between advanced workers in the field. As always, it's being held in one of the most enjoyable cities in North America -- cosmopolitan Montréal, Québec." For other upcoming events, see the calendar of SGML/XML conferences and workshops.

  • [July 29, 1999]   IBSI Final Report on 'E-commerce and Search Engines' Available.    Angelo Strano (InfoConsult, Europe) announced that the IBSI Final Report on XML-based Internet search engines and e-commerce is now available for download. See: "IBSI - Improving Business Search on Internet. A sub-project of the KITE Programme conducted by InfoConsult (Europe) and supported by the European Commission. Developing an XML-based search engine to improve business directories and e-commerce applications for European Small and Medium Enterprises. . . The IBSI (Improving Business Search on Internet) project assesses the feasibility of an XML-based search engine by examining both the technical and the economic implications. By classifying in a consistent way business information and by identifying it with XML tags it is possible to achieve better performances in web retrieval. For reference, see our demo [requires MS Internet Explorer version 5.x] search tool based on XML. This work has been carried out by ICE consultants Angelo Strano, Jean-Claude Delcroix, David Haynes and Catherine Leloup. The report itself: European Commission - DG III. Amendment to the Project Programme of KITE (EP27288). July 29, 1999. 50 pages. Annex I supplies 'XML TAGS SPECIFICATIONS'. This study proposes a viable solution to one of the major limitations in today's e-commerce developments: the quest for business information on the web. With XML, new human-centred tools and high-performance technologies will help European SMEs benefit from the globalised economy and the digital world. Standardisation is a strategic aspect of XML technology. European SMEs should adopt a common standard of business data representation models. European-wide bodies, particularly trade associations, could play a major role in this respect by raising awareness and gathering consensus among businesses. The main findings of the present study are: (1) XML represents a feasible solution when developing a search-engine capable of identifying precisely business and commercial information on the Internet; (2) XML adds valuable functionalities to usual web-based retrieval systems and directories: multi-language retrieval, easy update, portable and platform-independent data; (3) Future commercial exploitation and web implementation of an XML-based business directory very much depend on important technological (browser compatibility, tag standardisation, etc) and socio-economic (SMEs e-commerce awareness, Internet accesses growth, etc) issues."

  • [July 29, 1999]   Braille Formatter - Braifo Version 0.0.1.    Peter Nilsson has posted an announcement for the availability of Braifo version 0.0.1. Documents describing Braifo, as well as the source code, are available from the author's web site. Braifo, the Braille Formatter, "is a braille formatter and translator implementing a subset of the flow object classes defined by the DSSSL style language. The formatter has basic support for the following DSSSL flow objects: [sequence, simple-page-sequence, paragraph, character]. 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 additional details, see the Braifo home page. For related resources, see "DSSSL - Document Style Semantics and Specification Language."

  • [July 29, 1999]   SHOWTREE Diagnostic XSL Tree Display Stylesheet Supports XSLT Working Draft 1999-07-09.    G. Ken Holman has posted an announcement for the update of the "SHOWTREE diagnostic stylesheet in the free Resource Library of the Crane Softwrights Web site. This SHOWTREE resource has been updated to support the the W3C XSLT Working Draft 19990709. "These stylesheets are useful for learning the node structure created by an XSL engine for a given instance. The stylesheet will report the node structure and content of an input document, noting the ordinal positions in the hierarchy of each component of the ancestry. The stylesheet exposes root, element, attribute, text, comment, and pi nodes. Stylesheets for various W3C Working Draft implementations and the Microsoft IE5 implementation are provided." For related tools, see the the main XSL page and the dedicated XSL/XSLT Software document.

  • [July 28, 1999]   Commerce One Releases the Common Business Library (CBL) Version 2.0. - A Comprehensive XML Document Library.    A recent announcement from Commerce One, Inc. publicized the release of CBL version 2.0, said to be "the first XML specification for electronic commerce designed to take advantage of the expressive power of XML schemas. As a demonstration of its commitment to interoperability, CBL is available in three different schema languages: Microsoft's XML Data Reduced (XDR), the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) XML Schema Definition Language (XSDL), and Commerce One's Schema for Object-oriented XML (SOX)." From the announcement: "In a move to accelerate adoption of business-to-business electronic commerce, Commerce One, Inc. today announced the Commerce One Common Business Library (CBL) 2.0, the first open XML specification for the cross-industry exchange of business documents such as purchase orders, invoices, product descriptions, and shipping schedules. Commerce One CBL 2.0 is a set of XML building blocks and a document framework that allows the creation of robust, reusable XML documents for electronic commerce. Using the CBL 2.0 document framework, businesses everywhere can conduct electronic commerce by seamlessly exchanging business documents of different types, resulting in frictionless commerce across multiple trading communities. To enable companies to preserve their investment in existing standards such as traditional Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), CBL 2.0 provides a transition path to XML-based commerce capability. Based on a broad range of Internet and commerce-related industry standards and specifications, CBL 2.0 is endorsed by industry leaders including Microsoft's BizTalk initiative, OASIS, the UN/CEFACT Techniques and Methodologies Working Group, and CommerceNet and its eCo Framework Project and Working Group. To encourage its industry-wide adoption and development, CBL 2.0 is free of charge and available immediately from e-commerce document repositories including,, CommerceNet and Commerce One" See the press release: "Commerce One Announces Common Business Library -- CBL 2.0. Industry's First Comprehensive XML Document Library. Standard XML Approach Endorsed by Microsoft, CommerceNet, UN/CEFACT and OASIS." See more on CBL from the CommerceOne Web site, and see references in "Common Business Library (CBL)."

  • [July 28, 1999]   New Working Draft on International Layout Published.    The W3C Internationalization Working Group has released a new working draft document on International Layout (World Wide Web Consortium Working Draft 26-July-1999). The document editor is Marcin Sawicki (Microsoft). The document is concerned chiefly with non-Roman script issues such as types of layout flow (horizontal, vertical, vertical-ideographic, horizontal-ideographic), bi-directional character content, document grids (for East Asian languages), line breaking in non-Latin scripts, justification behaviors, punctuation-wrap, etc. The WD also touches on 'Ruby', which is addressed more completely in a separate specification. The 'ruby' is the commonly used name for a run of text that appears in the immediate vicinity of another run of text, referred to as the 'base', and serves as an annotation or a pronunciation guide associated with that run of text. The draft document thus "introduces a number of new CSS properties to represent such [special] formatting. For example, the features the proposal covers include two of the most important features for East Asian typography: vertical layout flow and layout grid. The HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is a simple markup language used to create hypertext documents that are portable from one platform to another. HTML documents are SGML documents with generic semantics that are appropriate for representing information from a wide range of applications. CSS is a style sheets language that can be applied to HTML to control the style of a document: which fonts and colors to use, how much white space to insert, etc. The following specification extends CSS to support East Asian and Bi-directional text formatting. Familiarity with both CSS2 and HTML 4.0 is assumed." The new WD document "has been produced as part of the W3C Internationalization Activity and is related to the Style Activity. Since this proposal predates the efforts on the part of the XSL and CSS&FP groups to create a common formatting model, it focuses on CSS only. It is however the intention of all the groups involved for the model presented in this document and the model being developed by the XSL Working Group (members only) to converge. The end result of this convergence is expected to form part of the common formatting model which will be expressed in both the CSS and XSL syntaxes." Note that the contents of 'Appendix A: Vertical Layout Effect on CSS Properties' "are currently under discussion among the XSL, CSS&FP and I18N Working Groups."

  • [July 28, 1999]   DocBook XSL Stylesheets Version 0.08.    Norman Walsh posted an announcement for the version 0.08 release of the DocBook XSL Stylesheets. These 'XSL DocBook Stylesheets' are HTML and FO stylesheets, now written in terms of the W3C's July 1999 XSL working draft. These are XSL stylesheets for the DocBk XML (and "Simplified" DocBk XML) DTDs. The stylesheets "would also work for the DocBook DTD, modulo certain namecase problems and the fact that there aren't (yet) any XSL implementations that work with SGML source documents. As of version 0.01, most of the elements in DocBook are handled in some way or another, but there's still lots of work to be done." Further information is available at Norm's Web site: See also "Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL)."

  • [July 26, 1999]   XML Linking Language (XLink) Working Draft Published.    Daniel Veillard (W3C XML Linking WG staff contact) announced the public availability of a revised working draft of the W3C XLink specification: XML Linking Language (XLink). World Wide Web Consortium Working Draft 26-July-1999. This revision updates and obsoletes the previous WD published in March, 1998. Editors for this draft of XLink include Steve DeRose (Inso Corp. and Brown University), David Orchard (IBM Corp.), and Ben Trafford (Invited Expert). The XLink specification "defines constructs that may be inserted into XML DTDs and document instances to describe links between objects. It uses XML syntax to create structures that can describe the simple unidirectional hyperlinks of today's HTML as well as more sophisticated links. A link, as the term is used here, is an explicit relationship between two or more resources or portions of resources. This specification is concerned with the syntax used to assert link existence and describe link characteristics. XLink is a mechanism for asserting link relationships using elements contained in XML document instances. A simple case of establishing a link relationship within an XML document is the ID/IDREF mechanism. This mechanism is described in the XML 1.0 Recommendation, and is thus out of scope for XLink, but this specification provides a mechanism that extends this basic capability in a number of ways: (1) XLinks asserts relationships among multiple resources. (2) XLinks provide an explicit mechanism to associate meta-data with the link. (3) XLinks provide additional functionality, such as out-of-line links." This WD version of XLink is open for public review, and includes a number of 'open issues' "identified at various points within the document or in the General Link Issues Appendix; a complete list of links to them is collected in the Open Issues List Appendix. Comments on this document should be sent to the public mailing list, archived at" For other references on linking (Xlink, XPath, XPointer), see "XML Linking Language."

  • [July 26, 1999]   Call Policy Markup Language (CPML).    Call Policy Markup Language (CPML) is an XML-based language to be used in the context of the Extensible Service Policy Architecture (ESP), under development by Digital Telecommunications, Inc. "ESP provides the bridge between the IP-based information community and the SS7-based PSTN, thus opening the PSTN to a wealth of new services driven by IP. Indeed, by combining IP/web-based technology like CPML, LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol), web search engines, JAVA, CORBA with traditional telecommunications technology such as SS7 and TCAP, one achieves a service network whereby web-based applications and customers can reach the information resource and customers of the PSTN and visa versa. DTI's ESP architecture is set-apart by its reliance upon a combination of search engine technology and new tools (based on XML) for storing knowledge along with data to distribute call policy (applications) to web pages. It is an open architecture that relies on APIs to communicate with network elements such as switches and an open XML based language (Call Policy Markup Language) for service definition." CPML is "an open language used to simply describe call processing. CPML is an extension of XML (Extensible Markup Language) that is a standards based, meta-language from which other languages are derived. CPML was developed by DTI to migrate the operations of the telecommunications network, including its features, functions, and enhanced services, out of the world of proprietary operating systems, structured databases, and complex programs or APIs. CPML opens the telecommunications network to basic IP tools that brings order to its complexity and empowers carriers, and ultimately customers, to control, customize, and extend the functionality and usefulness of the telecommunications network. Like its cousin HTML, CPML is used to create web pages. However, unlike HTML pages that are used to present visual content, CPML pages are designed to be used by a network switching element to present the appropriate service logic (switch action) for a particular customer, or group of customers." See the announcement and the white paper. Compare: "Call Processing Language (CPL)."

  • [July 26, 1999]   The Ninth International World Wide Web Conference (WWW9).    A communiqué from Sean McGrath (Digitome) reports on the issue of a "Call for Participation" in connection with The Ninth International World Wide Web Conference. WWW9 is to be held on May 16-19, 2000, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The conference is being hosted by The Centre for Mathematics and Computer Science (CWI). Conference topics are expected to include E-Commerce, XML, Multimedia, Web Server Performance, Searching and Querying, Protocols, Web Document Management, Java, Web Site Design, Web Security, RDF, Database and Directory Services, Collaboration, Accessibility, Metadata, and New Languages. Together with Murray Maloney, Sean McGrath is co-chair for the WWW9 Developers Day. The 'Technical Streams' in this Developers Day include: 'The Semantic Web, XML and Related Technologies, Visual and Audio Media, Distributed Computing on the Web, Web Publishing Tools and Techniques, and The Mobile Web'. Tutorial proposals are also being sought on the subjects of XML, DOM, Multimedia, E-commerce, Java, Dynamic HTML, Security, Accessibility, Graphics and the Web, etc. For other XML-related conferences, see the calendar of SGML/XML events.

  • [July 26, 1999]   GLUE Transcoders Generated Using XSL Stylesheets.    Rick Jelliffe (Academia Sinica Computing Centre) has posted an announcement for the beta release of GLUE Transcoders. "GLUE is a library of data and utilities to simplify the task of creating transcoder software, and to allow the trial of new functionality for Chinese documents. Transcoding is specified using XML. C Transcoders are generated using XSL stylesheets. Using XML allows more than just mapping tables to be specified: multi-byte encoding algorithms may be specified, and variant character sets may be specified. The current library specifies 30 different characters sets: including Big5. (Transcoders for other fixed 8-bit encodings can be trivially generated from the tables at ISO2022 modal [escaped] encodings are not supported currently.) XSL stylesheets have been made to create transcoders to utf-8 for these character encodings. A stylesheet to create transcoders from UTF-8 is also in preparation. The transcoders are available individually, and in a version of iconv (a.k.a. tcs), implemented as a UNIX shell script. The transcoders will be enhanced soon to handle various kinds of numeric character reference delimiting and undelimiting. Jelliffe rationalizes the GLUE project ('There are many exellent transcoding systems available, so why do we need GLUE?' [A] Because all the current transcoders are optimised or targeted at particular uses or systems [see the document "Design considerations and background" for details]. . . The result is that the current generation of transcoders are not suitable for someone trying to add a modest level of transcoding in a platform-independent way. A sign of this difficulty is that transcoder support in specialist languages is almost non-existant. The GLUE approach is to put all information relating to an encoding into a single XML document: names, mapping tables, multi-byte encoding detection, range-checking, transformations, and anything else that is needed. These XML documents can then be transformed into many kinds of programs and utilities, using XSL, OmniMark, Perl, Python, Java, JavaScript, Common LISP, or any language in which DOM has been implemented. In a sense, GLUE represents a very convention separation of specification from implementation. The associated Specifications are in XML, using an online DTD. The GLUE material is Open Source. You may use GPL, GLPL, or MPL licenses."

  • [July 26, 1999]   Clark's XT Now Supports XSL Transformations (XSLT) 9-July-1999 Version.    James Clark posted an announcement for the availability of a new version of XT. XT is a Java implementation of XSL Transformations - the tree construction/transformation part of W3C's XSL (Extensible Stylesheet Language). XT Version 19990725 implements the WD-xslt-19990709 version of XSLT. Stylesheets written for earlier versions of the XSLT WD must be converted before they can be used with this 19990725 version of XT. For related tools, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support."

  • [July 26, 1999]   XML::XSLT 'Perl XSLT Parser'.    Geert P.H. Josten [and E. L. Willighagen] posted a note to XML-DEV on the availability of a 'Perl XSLT Parser'. Developed by Geert Josten, the first release of this XSLT S2 parser is written in Perl. It supports some basic xslt commands. XML::XSLT will convert the XML doc on basis of the template. 'It is written in Perl and works: however, at this moment it is not yet a module, but a script. Neither are all xsl command implemented. Nor is it fast [slow due to the XML::DOM trees]'. . ." Download version 0.1 [19990723] of the script here. It requires the modules XML::Parser and XML::DOM which can be obtained from CPAN. See also the XML::XSLT Home page.

  • [July 24, 1999]   Release of Resin 1.0 Beta.    A posting to the XSL-List from Scott Ferguson (Caucho Technology) reported on the beta release of Resin 1.0, now available for download and free for personal use. "Resin creates web applications with server-side JavaScript and Sun's JSP 1.0. Pages can use JavaScript or Java to power active content. Resin: (1) Includes XML DOM parser, XQL queries and, XSLT engine; (2) Supports JSP tag libraries with XSLT; (3) Supports JSP 1.0 for Java or JavaScript; (4) Has a fast JavaScript to Java byte compiler; (5) Includes a Java HTTP/1.1 web server and JSDK 2.1 servlet-engine; (6) Supports Unix and Windows web servers, including Apache and IIS. The XML library provided with Resin implements the W3C DOM level 1. Resin's XSL support follows the April 1999 W3C draft. The implementation supports the full draft, excluding 'id', 'doc', 'key', and the function extension. For those put off by XSL's verbosity, Resin offers XSLT-lite. XSLT-lite retains the full capabilities of XSLT. 'XSLT-lite' adds some syntactic sugar to XSLT to make stylesheets more readable. It lets authors cut down on XSL's verbosity, without losing any of the power. Stylesheets are also freed from the constraints of XML, like entity references ('&amp;'). . . Resin can use XQL, the XML Query Language, to select nodes from an XML tree. Scripts can select all 'table' children, or even all 'table' elements in an entire HTML file. The XQL language is exceptionally rich. It can describe an incredible number of node selections. . ." For related tools, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support."

  • [July 23, 1999]   XSet - Enabling XML Applications.    XSet (version 1.1.1), developed by Ben Yanbin Zhao at the University of California, Berkeley, is a "performance driven XML search engine in Java." XSet is "a performance oriented main memory XML database and query engine. XSet is meant to be a low level application component that enables applications to have high speed access to stored metadata in the form of XML documents. In order to achieve the highest possible performance, XSet gives up the traditional ACID semantics of normal database systems in favor of more relaxed data semantics. Compared to its industry and research counterparts, XSet is miniscule. It uses a simple subset query model which is surprisingly complete for its current set of target applications. In normal operation as a RMI service, the XSetService can be started in the background, and operations be executed via remote RMI calls from clients. Clients can add and delete documents to the dataset using several methods, query using several different methods, as well as finding properties of the current in-memory dataset. During the indexing of a new XML document, the document is parsed by an XML parser into a DOM tree. The DOM tree is then traversed, and references to the XML document are added to self-balancing trees (Treaps) that hang off an internal tag index tree. Queries are processed in much the same way. Queries are parsed as XML DOM trees, where the corresponding path of each query subpath is traversed down in the internal tag index to collect a document set. Each constraint in the query results in a set of XML documents, which are collected in a global join to form the desired result set. Examples of XSet applications include metadata file systems, searchable email clients, user preference registries, service discovery services, and online customized content portals. XSet is covered under a standard copyright from the University of California which allows free redistribution and derived work, as long as the copyright itself remains intact. See also the programmer's tutorial and the installation documentation. Two papers related to XSet include (1) "XSet: A High Performance XML Search Engine" and (2) "An Architecture for a Secure Service Discovery Service." For references to related work, see The Iceberg Project.

  • [July 23, 1999]   IBM's XMI Toolkit.    Earlier this month, the IBM alphaWorks XML application development team released an XMI Toolkit, allowing users to convert UML models into XML and DTDs. "The XMI Toolkit 1.0 is the first release of XMI technology. The Toolkit is a Java component that converts UML information between Rational Rose Models and XMI-standard XML files. XMI can also generate new DTDs directly from your models. A Reference Implementation of XMI, with source code, is included, and runs on all Java Platforms. . . XMI (XML Metadata Interchange) specifies an open information interchange model that gives developers working with object technology the ability to exchange models and data over the Internet in a standardized way, thus bringing consistency and compatibility to applications created in collaborative environments. By establishing an industry standard for storing and sharing object programming information, development teams using various tools from multiple vendors can collaborate on applications. The new XMI standard allows developers to leverage the web to exchange data among tools, applications, and repositories, to create secure, distributed applications built in a team development environment. . . Here's a common [usage] scenario. A business analyst makes a business model using an OOAD design tool using the UML (Unified Modeling Language) standard. The design is expressed in XMI and used by a software developer in his language IDE. Next, reports and documentation are published on the web, generated from the XMI. By accessing the design in XMI, database schemas and data warehouses may be created by database designers and business intelligence analysts. With XMI, users are able to focus directly on their roles, working as a team in an open, distributed environment. Users can employ the right products for each role and interchange their designs in XMI using the Internet. Using XMI opens up entirely new paths between tools, allowing customers to choose which tools work best in their distributed environment. A customer can choose modeling tools, IDEs, repositories, and databases based on each product's individual merits. Vendors and ISVs win because their best-of-breed solutions can work with the customer's extensive infrastructure." Steve Brodsky is IBM's representative and chairs the XMI RTF; Kevin Poole is the product manager for the XMI Toolkit. Users may participate in the XMI standard by joining the XMI Revision Task Force and subscribing to the XMI RTF mailing list For more information on XMI, see the IBM site or see references in "XML Metadata Interchange (XMI)."

  • [July 23, 1999]   The Koala Bean Markup Language (KBML).    From INRIA, the Koala KBML package "enables to serialize/deserialize JavaBeans to/from XML documents. KBML stands for Koala Bean Markup Language. KBML is 100% Java. KBML relies on a DOM light implementation over a SAX parser." KBML is under development by Philippe Kaplan and Thierry Kormann. Rationale: "The Koala Bean Markup Language (KBML) is a Java library that enables the serialization of JavaBeans in XML. The Koala project has already provided such a library (KOML) which relies on java serialization to generate the XML. However this low-level approach is too close to the java serialization, and inherits the same drawbacks. IBM's BML is great, but it can only generate beans. There is currently no way to save beans in BML, in the general case. With KBML, a bean is saved as a class name with its property values. At load time, a new instance of the bean is created, and the property values are set. The mechanism is very simple, and relies completely on the bean protocol to save and load XML." For other references, see "Koala Bean Markup Language (KBML)."

  • [July 22, 1999]   LT XML Version 1.1 Released with XML Validation Support.    Richard Tobin of the Universty of Edinburgh's HCRC Language Technology Group has posted an announcement for the release of LT XML version 1.1. "The HCRC Language Technology Group are pleased to announce the availability of version 1.1 of LT XML. LT XML is an integrated set of XML tools and a developers' tool-kit, including a C-based API. The release now available will run on UNIX and WIN32. As well as numerous bug fixes and improvements compared with version 1.0, this version 1.1 release includes optional validation of XML documents. Various changes have been mode for thread-safety but these are still untested. The functionality of the tools in this release includes: (1) Text extraction; (2) Powerful markup-aware 'grep' [search]; (3) Down-translation; (4) Tokenisation; (5) Sorting; (6) Transclusion using a subset of XML-link. LT XML provides two views of an XML file; one as a flat stream of markup elements and text; a second as a sequence of tree-structured XML elements. The two views can be mixed, allowing great flexibility in the manipulation of XML documents. It also includes a powerful, yet simple, querying language, which allows the user to quickly and easily select those parts of an XML document which are of interest. Also in the pipeline for public release is the next version of an interface to Python, allowing the quick development of graphical user interfaces using the LT XML API." See the online documentation for further information.

  • [July 22, 1999]   Program for the Metastructures 1999 Conference.    The complete Metastructures 1999 program listing is now available online. Sponsored by The Graphic Communications Association (GCA), the Metastructures 1999 Conference will be held August 16-18, 1999 at Le Centre Sheraton, Montréal, Québec. Metastructures 1999 precedes the XML Developers' Conference, to be held August 19-20, 1999. The Metastructures 1999 Conference co-chairs are Carla Corkern (ISOGEN International Corporation) and Steven R. Newcomb (TechnoTeacher, Inc.). Tutorials for Metastructures 1999 are offered on Monday, August 16th; they include Topic Maps, XSLT, XML and Healthcare, Forest Automata, Python and XML. The Metastructures 1999 Conference "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." Those interested in attending the Montréal conferences may use the GCA's online registration form.

  • [July 22, 1999]   OASIS Summer Workshop 1999.    The upcoming OASIS Summer Workshop will be held in conjunction with the Metastructures 1999 Conference and the Fall XML Developers' Conference in Montréal, Canada. From a recently-posted announcement: "Companies, individuals and industry associations involved in XML are invited to participate in the sixth annual OASIS Summer Workshop. This year, Workshop highlights will include sessions dedicated to the Consortium's Registry and Repository and XML Conformance Technical Committees. In addition to OASIS committee working sessions, the OASIS Board of Directors will conduct its quarterly meeting, interface with the Board of Directors of CGM Open, an OASIS affiliate organization, and meet with the Steering Committee. The recently formed Steering Committee, comprised of representatives from sponsoring organizations including Commerce One, DataChannel, Documentum, GCA, IBM, Oracle, SAP, SoftQuad and Sun Microsystems, will hold its second strategy meeting during which they will finalize policy regarding allowed schema languages for schema submissions for Registrations are now being accepted for the three-day meeting that will address future directions for the registry and repository capabilities of, the XML industry portal, and other OASIS technical projects. The members-only event, which will be held August 11-13, 1999 in Montréal, Canada, is expected to attract XML users and vendors from around the world." See the full text of the announcement for complete details.

  • [July 22, 1999]   '99 XML WWW Page Contest in Japan.    MURATA Makoto (Fuji Xerox Information Systems) has posted an announcement for a contest to create the best 'XML WWW page'. Submissions should be made by 1-October-1999, and the XML WWW page and its documentation must be written in Japanese. An award of 500,000 yen (ca. 4200 USD) will be given for the winning design. See the text of the announcement for other details.

  • [July 22, 1999]   XMLWriter and XMLNorm - Java Classes.    David Megginson posted an announcement to XML-DEV for the availability of two Java classes. [1] com.megginson.sax.XMLWriter, a class for writing XML documents, "contains a simple class, com.megginson.sax.XMLWriter, which writes an XML document based (mostly) on SAX events. The writer implements the SAX 1.0 DocumentHandler and DTDHandler interfaces, and is highly configurable; using flags, the application can specify any of several actions: (1) escape non-ASCII characters as character references; (2) add newlines in tags to improve readability; (3) include a simple DOCTYPE declaration, with any notation and unparsed entity declarations; (4) omit the XML declaration; (5) display attributes in random, unsorted order -- for efficiency; (6) attempt level-3 HTML browser compatibility, by killing the XML declaration, DOCTYPE declaration, and processing instructions, and adding a space before the closing delimiter of empty element tags." [2] The class com.megginson.sax.XMLNorm is "an application for normalizing XML documents. It produces a normalized version of an XML document, like James Clark's XMLTest class. . ." See the complete text of the announcement for details on the functionality.

  • [July 22, 1999]   The Plays of Shakespeare in XML.    Jon Bosak (Sun Microsystems) has announced the availability of version 2.0 for the set of plays of Shakespeare in XML format. "The Shakespeare set is the companion to a set of religious works marked up in XML that was updated almost a year ago with a revised DTD and a set of DSSSL stylesheets. [Jon says:] Both sets began as ASCII files in the public domain. I marked them up in 1992 as a beginner's exercise in SGML DTD and stylesheet design and released them in 1996 as the earliest examples of real documents in XML -- so early, in fact, that they were not completely compliant with the XML Recommendation as finally approved in February 1998. The Religion set achieved XML compliance with the release of version 2.00 in September of 1998, and now the Shakespeare set joins it in the same happy state. When taken with their corresponding DTD, the plays are both valid SGML (according to nsgmls) and valid XML (according to nsgmls, the Java Software Project X parser, and the validator developed by the Scholarly Technology Group at Brown University). I invite everyone to check these files with their own favorite parsers and let me know if anything is found amiss. . ."

  • [July 21, 1999]   Open Applications Group and Microsoft Announce First Pilot Project to Migrate Industry Standard to BizTalk Framework Specifications.    An announcement from Microsoft and the Open Applications Group describes an endeavor to migrate the Open Applications Group Integration Specification (OAGIS) XML Definitions to the BizTalk Framework specifications. "The XML working group within the OAGI, which includes Candle Corp., Compaq Computer Corp., HK Systems Inc., IBM Manufacturing Systems, Microsoft, NEC Corp., PeopleSoft Inc. and PricewaterhouseCoopers, plans to update the current OAGI XML documents, which were developed under the W3C XML 1.0 specification, by prototyping them under XML-schema and BizTalk Framework specifications. The goal is to produce a compatible set of XML-schema documents and publish them in the BizTalk.Org library. The OAGI, which has a track record of fast delivery, plans to be in a position to have the prototyping and architecture issues completed as soon as possible after the W3C finalizes the XML-schema recommendation currently in review before that group. Once the XML-schema specification, which the BizTalk Framework will support, is completed and formally recommended by the W3C, the OAGI plans to very quickly publish its work under the XML-schema format and, subsequently, the BizTalk Framework. . . By the fourth quarter of 1999, the OAGI working group plans to migrate its existing OAGIS XML Document Type Definitions (DTDs) to be compatible with XML-schema and the BizTalk Framework specifications recently published in draft form. The BizTalk Framework fits nicely with the current OAGI design guidelines for XML development. This effort seeks to ensure convergence and will accelerate the adoption of the OAGIS standard by providing easy integration with BizTalk Framework-compatible schemas across multiple industries. The OAGI plans to publish its BizTalk Framework-compatible schemas in the BizTalk.Org schema library so they can be downloaded and used by any individual or organization free of charge." See also the recent news "Open Applications Group Issues Revised XML DTDs and Forms Customer Interoperability Council." For additional references, see "Open Applications Group" and "BizTalk Framework."

  • [July 21, 1999]   GMD-IPSI's Infonyte XQL Engine.    A recent posting from Ingo Macherius describes the Infonyte XQL Engine. "An enhanced commercial version of the proven GMD-IPSI XQL engine technology is now available - the Infonyte XQL Suite. XQL is a query language that uses XML as a data model, syntactically very similar to XSL patterns. The Infonyte XQL Suite includes the complete functionality of the GMD-IPSI XQL Engine, plus bugfixes and speedups. Exciting new features have been added, e.g., multidocument queries, database joins, and navigation to documents via HTTP. These unique features make the Infonyte XQL Suite a powerful and robust framework for XML based information brokering. The Infonyte XQL Suite is distributed by GMD-IPSI's spin-off company GLOBIT - Global Information Technolgies GmbH. Along with the commercial distribution of the Infonyte XQL Suite, GLOBIT offers professional support, continuous maintainance, updates, training, and consulting." GMD-IPSI's research protoype continues to be available for non-commercial use and evaluation at

  • [July 21, 1999]   GOXML.COM - XML Only Search Engine.    A posting from Duane Nickull reports on a new Web site for indexing/searching XML content. "We just finished an exhausting eight months of conceptualizing, designing and building what we believe is the world's first truly context-based XML/XSL search engine for the Internet. The Goxml Project was launched to create a new breed of Search Vehicle which can index, store and allow accurate searching of XML data. The primary focus is to allow XML developers a tool to locate XML documents on the internet. The Web site is now live but "we need XML data for our index. If you have been writing XML for the web, please add your pages to our index. It can be done via the ADD URL page. We currently support most popular XML formats including the XML DOM and HTML pages using Data Source Binding (DSO). Certain Server Side Includes such as XML Global's eXtensible Object Server Pages (*.XOSP), which allow users to 'pull' XML data from the web, parse it and 'place' it on their web page as HTML will be supported soon." See also the online documentation, which answers questions about 'Tag Proximity, Case Sensitivity, XML Content, XML Attributes , XML Namespaces, XML - META TAGS, Robots Exclusion Standard, XML - DOM, How to chose a category, SSI's using XML'.

  • [July 20, 1999]   XED Version 0.5 Released.    Henry S. Thompson (HCRC Language Technology Group, University of Edinburgh) has announced the release of XED Version 0.5. XED is an 'XML document instance editor.' "The major changes since the last release are DTD processing for seeding the element and attribute menus and a reasonable set of help files." Summary of XED's features: (1) XED tries to install XED as editor for XML and XSL files; (2) XED will read DTDs, can specify DTD for DOCTYPE of New documents, uses DTD to initialise element and attribute menus; (3) the user can save preferences, including font-size and Run command - see Options/Preferences; (4) supports large deletions, and undoing thereof, much improved; (5) supports fast recovery from replacing large files; (6) has reasonable start on HELP files (WIN32: .HLP; UN*X: .html)." Overview: "XED is a text editor for XML document instances. It is designed to support hand-authoring of small-to-medium size XML documents, and is optimised for keyboard input. It works very hard to ensure that you cannot produce a non-well-formed document. Although it neither parses DTDs in detail nor validates, it does keep track of your document structure, and provides context-based accelerators to make element and attribute entry fast and easy. XED keeps track of all the changes you make in your document, so that you can undo changes, as many as you need to, if you make a mistake. This makes it easy to learn: if you're not sure whether a particular command will do what you want, just try it!" XED 0.5 is available for Windows 95/NT and Solaris 2.5; a Macintosh version 'may be available in the medium term.' For related tools, see: "XML Document Editing, DTD Editing, Stylesheet Editing, Formatting, Browsing, and Delivery Tools."

  • [July 20, 1999]   IBM's 'DOMit' XML Validation Servlet.    DOMit is available from IBM's XML developerWorks site. "DOMit, a Java servlet, lets you quickly validate and view the structure of your XML documents. The best part is you do it all from the comfort of your very own browser -- without downloading the kitchen sink. One of the more tedious tasks in working with XML documents is making sure the source is valid. XML isn't very forgiving, unlike the fast and loose world of HTML. Valid documents must conform precisely to the document type definition (DTD), and when they don't, it can be hard to figure out why. The sometimes esoteric element requirements and the dense coding can make documents difficult to review and analyze. XML parsers for validity checking are available, but most require an application development environment such as the Java Development Kit (JDK). developerWorks offers DOMit, a tool for quickly determining the validity of a document and then displaying its structure. DOMit runs as a Java servlet on developerWorks, which means you merely paste in your XML document and submit it to the server. DOMit executes a parser (specifically, the IBM XML Parser for Java) to assess the validity. On your end, there's just a browser. There's no application to install, no Java development environment to deal with. If the document passes the parser test, DOMit displays the XML document in your browser window. It creates an HTML tree view of the Document Object Model (DOM). From here, you can navigate the XML document's pieces and parts. If the document fails the parser check, DOMit tells you what's missing, and you can edit and resubmit it for validation -- right from the browser window." For other online XML validation tools, see "Check XML!"

  • [July 20, 1999]   DSC Version 2.0 Released with DSSSL Transformation Language.    In response to popular demand, Henry S. Thompson (Centre for Cognitive Science, University of Edinburgh) has announced the "long-delayed release of dsc-2.0, with support for the DSSSL transformation language in addition to dsc's DSSSL checking and debugging features." This 2.0 release had been "languishing in a not-quite-well-packaged state for over a year. . ." On DSC: "This tool, which embeds a full R4RS Scheme interpreter in James Clark's SP parser, is designed both to provide an online syntax checker for all DSSSL expression, style and transformation language programs, and to serve as a preprocessor for any Scheme-embedded DSSSL implementation. Virtually the entire language as specified in chapters 8 through 12 of the standard is checked for syntactic correctness, and a virtually complete implementation of the core expression language is included, as is the first-ever (as far as I know) implementation of the DSSSL transformation language. . . DSC implements the full semantics of the DSSSL standard regarding specification files, composing a specification body from one or more files conforming to the DSSSL architectural form, then mapping from the specification body (i.e., sequences of expression language forms) to a reordered normalised form thereof and loading the result into a Scheme interpreter with access to a document source grove. Comprehensive and detailed error messages, based on a large database of information about the calling sequences for all specification language functions and forms are logged to stderr, together with (optionally) information about feature usage. The semantics of the style language is not implemented, but the query and transformation languages are implemented, as is the core expression language, together with a number of optional compenents, with two exceptions: only 8-bit characters with single-character names are supported, and the functions `time' and `time->string' are not implemented." For related tools, see "DSSSL Software Tools and Applications."

  • [July 20, 1999]   OpenJade Version 1.2.2 Released.    Avi Kivity posted an announcement to the Mulberry DSSSList concerning the release of OpenJade version 1.2.2 by the OpenJade Development Team. The package is now available for download (*ix, source; win32 source and binary). Some new features: "(1) The TeX backend has support for PDF bookmarks. This is supported by the new version of jadetex which is included. (2) Predefined character names line-feed and carriage-return for the character numbers 10 and 13. (3) standard-chars and map-sdata-entity declaration element type forms are supported. (4) Style language additions: map-constructor. (5) + and - return a length-spec if any of there arguments is a length-spec. (6) Most of the non-core expression language . . ."

  • [July 20, 1999]   W3C Releases Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2 Specification.    As part of the W3C DOM Activity, a new DOM Level 2 working draft has been published by the DOM Working Group: Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2 Specification Version 1.0. References: W3C Working Draft 19-July-1999, WD-DOM-Level-2-19990719. The specification as a whole is edited by Lauren Wood (Softquad Software Inc.); different modules of the Document Object Model specification have different editors. The document is available in HTML, PostScript, PDF, and plain text formats. Abstract: "This specification defines the Document Object Model Level 2, a platform- and language-neutral interface that allows programs and scripts to dynamically access and update the content, structure and style of documents. The Document Object Model Level 2 builds on the Document Object Model Level 1. This release of the Document Object Model Level 2 has all of the interfaces that the final version is expected to have. It contains interfaces for creating a document, importing a node from one document to another, supporting XML namespaces, associating stylesheets with a document, the Cascading Style Sheets object model, the Range object model, filters and iterators, and the Events object model. The DOM WG wants to get feedback on these, and especially on the two options presented for XML namespaces, so that final decisions can be made for the DOM Level 2 specification." Public comments on the new WD specification may be sent to the editors via the public mailing list at For other references, see the W3C web site or "W3C Document Object Model (DOM)."

  • [July 19, 1999]   Meta Data Coalition Accepts the Open Information Model as a Standard.    A recent announcement from The Meta Data Coalition (MDC) reports on the acceptance of the MDC Open Information Model (OIM) as a standard. The MDC OIM is a technology-independent and vendor-neutral metadata standard that is based on technology developed by Microsoft Corp. together with over 20 leading industry partners. The Open Information Model (OIM) is a set of meta data specifications to facilitate sharing and reuse in the application development and data warehousing domains. OIM is described in UML (Unified Modeling Language) and is organized in easy-to-use and easy-to-extend subject areas. Microsoft transferred the right to maintain and evolve the OIM, a product that ships in SQL Server 7.0 and Visual Studio 6.0, to the MDC at the end of 1998. The technical work by the MDC has concluded with a vote by the membership on July 15th to adopt this as a standard. 'The Meta Data Coalition's goal is to evolve standards for metadata exchange quickly,' stated Dr. Katherine Hammer, co-chair of the MDC and president and CEO of ETI. 'Because of the investment made by the MDC's technical subcommittee in defining the two previous versions of the Meta Data Interchange Specification, the MDC was able to use Microsoft's OIM to create a robust standard very quickly. This would not have been possible starting from scratch and would have less value to vendors and end users.' Already, four repository companies can provide implementations for the MDC OIM: CA/Platinum, Microsoft, Softlab, and Viasoft. The Extensible Markup Language (XML) is the standard format for the interchange of metadata in the MDC OIM . . . Meta data is moved through the XML format between local tools' storages or repositories. The source and destination of the interchange as well as the transfer format all use the same specification of metadata elements. No semantic conversion between different metadata models is necessary." Review drafts for the OIM Business Engineering Model, Business Rule Model, and Knowledge Description Model have now been issued. See the text of the announcement and "XML as an Underlying Standard of the OIM."

  • [July 19, 1999]   PECEL - An XML Data Entry Tool.    Makio Katsuyama (ATL Systems) recently posted an announcement for the beta release of PECEL, an XML Data Entry tool. "PECEL is XML data entry tool for enterprise application. It allows you to navigate an XML tree structure generated from given DTD and set values on each node. In the real enterprise application, most of the overhead is how to easily enter a number of business data with a specific format such as employee profile, sales data, business document. PECEL focuses on this crucial part of real enterprise system and designed to help you process the XML data entry effectively. PECEL also supports large size XML [files] to deal with enterprise document management system. PECEL's features include allowing the user to: (1) navigate through document tree nodes quickly, (2) edit large document smoothly, and (3) point and click to effect tree node validation. The software is available for download from the company Web site.

  • [July 19, 1999]   Open Applications Group Issues Revised XML DTDs and Forms Customer Interoperability Council.    A communiqué from Chris Kurt of the Open Applications Group reports on the availability of a new release of the OAG XML DTDs and sample distribution files. The Open Applications Group, Inc. (OAGI) is "a non-profit industry consortium comprised of many prominent stakeholders in the business software component interoperability arena. The Open Applications Group, Inc. members have built a common model for business software application component interoperability over the last three years. The model is described in their Open Applications Group Integration Specification (OAGIS). OAGIS describes the major components, their integration dialogs, and the content of those dialogs for many key enterprise business applications, including financials, manufacturing, human resources, supply chain, and logistics. The content of the OAGIS specification has been expressed in a machine readable format in the form of XML Document Type Definitions (DTDs) for all of the currently defined Open Applications Group Business Object Documents. The machine-readable Document Type Definitions (DTDs) necessary to define this integration content in XML have been published on the OAGI website and are available for public access. The DTDs define interoperability APIs for Financials, Human Resources, Manufacturing, Logistics, and Supply Chain components." The DTD updates include: (1) new or expanded content domains [including: Routing, Production Order, Engineering Change, (2) Cascading resource DTDs [v. 6.2 preview], and (3) Miscellaneous bug fixes. The revised DTD documents may be downloaded from the OAG Web site. There is also a summary spreadsheet (revisions.xls) containing the currect revision of each of the XML DTDs and sample files. Comments, questions, bug reports, or requests for additional information may be directed to the Open Applications Group XML Team." The formation of a new council was described in a separate announcement: "The Open Applications Group Forms Customer Interoperability Council to Foster Adoption of XML Based Application Integration Technology." - 'OAGI announced the formation of a Customer Interoperability Council, made up of leading end users, that will work with the OAGI's existing software vendor membership to promote adoption of standards based application integration technology. The OAGI Interoperability Council will focus on development of industry specific Business Object Documents that define inter-application message formats and the deployment of enterprise integration frameworks based on the Open Applications Group Integration Specification (OAGIS), the Extensible Markup Language (XML) and transactions sent over middleware conforming to the newly released Open Applications Middleware API Specification (OAMAS). The content of the OAGIS specification has been made machine readable in the form of Extensible Markup Language (XML) Document Type Definitions (DTDs) for all currently defined Open Applications Group Business Object Documents'." For additional references, see "Open Applications Group."

  • [July 19, 1999]   Release of FOP Version 0.8.1.    James Tauber recently announced a new release of FOP: A Formatting Object to PDF Translator. FOP is a "print formatter driven by XSL formatting objects. It 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. Note that FOP is still alpha. It is slow, buggy and doesn't support much of the XSL spec. It's getting there, though... Changes in this version are mostly bug fixes relating to lists: "If unknown metric for a particular character, assumes width of 'N'. Page breaks between blocks within blocks produce the right number of block areas on the new page. PDF more heavily commented for testing purposes. Version class implemented for consistency within Cocoon. Null display spaces not represented in PDF. Made XML output of areas/spaces pretty-printed. Removed some old XML output code that wasn't used. Fixed bug where half-leading display spaces were put in for block areas with no lines. Fixed bug that labels take up block-progression space in addition to body. If first word in line won't fit, it now overruns rather than goes into infinite loop (code for truncation in there too, but currently commented out). provisional-distance-between-starts and provisional-label-separation are now actually used for lists. For related tools, see Sebastian Rahtz's Passive TeX and for related tools, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support."

  • [July 16, 1999]   FinXML 1.0 Available for Download.    A recent communiqué from the FinXML Support Team announced that "FinXML version 1.0 is now freely available for download from the Consortium website. The 15(+) 'Version 1.0' DTDs provide a modular set of vocabularies/schemas for many aspects of financial transaction (financial product transactions, specification of date generation parameters, instrument definitions, specification of a settlement chain, interest rates used in transactions, business day definitions, definition of contries and languages for confirmations, cash flows and other types of financial events, etc.); see the individual DTDs for details. To access the distribution, please register at the website and obtain your userid and password. Registration is available from FinXML was announced earlier as an initiative developing a 'Digital Language for Capital Markets'. FinXML is an XML (eXtensible Markup Language) based framework developed to support a single universal standard for data interchange within the Capital Markets. FinXML acts as a common standard for cross application information exchange, allowing a financial institution or other organization to communicate the details of highly structured financial transactions in electronic form. As such, FinXML can be used as the basis for straight through processing (STP) and risk management within a financial institution as well as conducting e-commerce over the Internet. The availability of FinXML opens up a range of possibilities for the Capital Markets. For an overview, see "FinXML - Digital Language for Capital Markets."

  • [July 16, 1999]   tmproc Version 0.20: a Topic Maps Implementation.    Geir O. Grønmo of of STEP Infotek as has posted an announcement for the release of tmproc version 0.20. tmproc is an implementation of the new international standard ISO/IEC 13250 Topic Maps. tmproc is written in Python, and should work on any platform to which Python have been ported - including the Java Platform. The tmproc application features (1) Import, export, query and manipulation of Topic Maps; (2) a full set of extensible topic map classes with clearly defined interfaces; (3) optional architectural processing; (4) introduction and reference documentation; (5) statistical and information printing classes; (6) a command line utility for interactive exploration. 'Topic Maps' is a new international standard (ISO/IEC 13250) for layering multidimensional topic spaces on top of information assets. The Topic Map standard covers concepts like topics, associations, occurrences and facets/metadata. Topic Maps are expected to have a major impact on future information systems. New features in tmproc version 0.20 include: (1) support for the final release of the Topic Maps standard; (2) minor bugfixes, and (3) the application works with the Java Platform (JPython). The tool requires Python 1.5.1 or newer, an SGML/XML parser with a SAX driver, SAX for Python, and xmlarch 0.25 [optional unless architectural processing is needed]." Also available: an introduction to Topic Maps processing with tmproc, and the reference documentation for the Python classes. Suggestions and bug reports should be sent to: For more on TNMs, see: "Topic Navigation Maps."

  • [July 15, 1999]   Alpha Version of XML-DBMS.    Ronald Bourret (Technical University of Darmstadt) has posted an announcement for the release of an alpha version of XML-DBMS, "which is a set of Java packages for transferring data between XML documents and relational databases. Programmers use these packages to build systems that transfer data; a sample application can be run from the command line to transfer data between a database and an XML file. XML-DBMS views the XML document as a tree of objects in which element types are generally classes and attributes and PCDATA properties of those classes. It then uses an object-relational mapping to map these objects to the database. An XML-based mapping language is used to define the view and map it to the database." The associated XML-DBMS mapping language, which is described in the XML-DBMS DTD, "allows users to: (1) Declare how element types are to be viewed (as classes or properties); (2) Declare which subelements, attributes, and PCDATA are to be viewed as properties of a given element type-as-class (unmapped XML structures are ignored), and (3) State how to map the resulting classes and properties to the database." For additional details, see the README document or download the package. XML-DBMS is issued as "Open Source and uses the Cowan variation of the Megginson license [viz.], XML-DBMS, along with its source code, is freely available for use in both commercial and non-commercial settings."

  • [July 15, 1999]   XML Adopted as a Syntax for X3D.    A recent communiqué from Len Bullard (Intergraph Public Safety) announces the availability of an X3D FAQ document from the X3D Task Group: Extensible 3D (X3D) - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Excerpts illustrating the relevance of X3D to XML: "X3D stands for Extensible 3D. It is a next-generation, extensible, 3D graphics specification that extends the capabilities of VRML97. (VRML-NG, for Next Generation, was an early name for what is now X3D.) X3D is being developed by the X3D Task Group, an official task group of the Web3D Consortium. Participation in this group is open. X3D will be fully backward compatible with VRML97. This will be achieved by having a VRML97 extension that sits on Core X3D and provides all of the functionality of a standard VRML97 browser. VRML97 is an ISO standard. XML was adopted as a syntax for X3D in order to solve a number of real problems: (1) Rehostability - VRML97 syntax is foreign to all but the VRML community. It is similar to the SGI systems on which it is based, and to some object notations. But the dominant syntax in use world wide, is SGML. Markup has proved to be the best solution to the long life cycle problems of data archival and rehosting. (2) Page integration - XML page based integration goes directly to the problems of keeping the system simpler so more people can develop for it, in both content and implementation. (3) Integration with the next generation web - The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) are putting a lot of effort into the development of XML. XML support is expected in the next generation of web browsers. It looks like XML is going to be here for a while and so we need to get on board this boat to enable tighter integration with next generation web technologies. The X3D Task Group is looking at various other W3C standards that relate to XML. Technologies that are of particular interest to the X3D include: SMIL (Synchronized Multimedia), SVG (Scalar Vector Graphics), XHTML (the W3C's XML-ization of HTML), and DOM (Document Object Model). The Web3D Consortium is a member of the W3C and by this virtue the X3D Task Group is able to closely monitor the progress in each of these areas and assess the best way to proceed in each case. . ." See also (provisionally) "XML and VRML" and the earlier announcement: "Web3D Consortium Launches X3D Standardization Initiative for Web & Broadcast 3D Graphics. X3D Standard to Define Interoperable, Lightweight Components for 3D Web And Broadcast Applications. Combines Lightweight Runtime Delivery Engine, 3D File Format and XML Integration. Strong Industry Support for Proven Standardization Process."

  • [July 14, 1999]   Release of SAXON Version 4.4.    Michael Kay (ICL) has announced a new release of the SAXON XSL interpreter and compiler, together with a new URL: 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. (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. SAXON implements nearly all of the draft XSL transformation language standard. However, SAXON was written explicitly to do things that are beyond the scope of the XSL standard: in particular: (1) It allows XSL processing and Java processing to be freely mixed, so you can always escape into procedural code to do something non-standard -- such as accessing a database; (2) It allows multiple output files. SAXON is particularly useful for splitting a large document into page-sized chunks. You can do this without writing any Java code; (3) SAXON provides an XSL compiler. If you frequently use the same stylesheet to render different documents, you can compile the stylesheet into a Java application to improve performance. The resulting application can be installed directly as a servlet on your web server." The version 4.4 release "has very few new features but greatly improved performance. It still implements the April 21 specification. As an example of the performance boost, Oren Ben-Kiki's 8-queens stylesheet previously took 75 seconds when interpreted and 21 seconds when compiled. It now takes 12 seconds interpreted and 8.5 seconds compiled." For related tools, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support." [PS: there's now a packaged version of the SAXON 4.4 XSL interpreter on the web site at under the name "Instant SAXON". Designed for ease of installation and execution, it packages up the interpreter, complete with an XML parser (Ælfred) as a Windows executable. Thanks to James Clark for giving me the idea! [note from 1999-07-15]

  • [July 12, 1999]   Swedish Translation of the XML Specification.    A communiqué from Gustaf Liljegren (Webmaster, XML Sweden) reports on the availability of a Swedish translation of the XML specification, which may be found at Credits for the work are given to Erik Mjöberg, Gustaf Liljegren, and Jan Östberg. The XML 1.0 Specification is also available in English, French, German, Italian, Romanian, and Spanish. See "Reference Documents" in the main XML section.

  • [July 12, 1999]   Bowstreet Leads the Directory Services Markup Language (DSML) Initiative.    Bowstreet has announced Directory Services Markup Language (DSML) as "the XML Standard for Directories that Enables Friction-free eCommerce. DSML is a markup language for representing directory services in XML. The intention of the working group is to establish it as an open standard, so that developers and vendors will be able to adopt it into their systems. DSML helps XML-based applications make better use of directories. With a recognized standard, applications can be written to make use of DSML and capture the scalability, replication, security and management strengths of directory services. With a DSML standard, any XML-based application will be able to leverage directory information expressed as XML. [From the FAQ:] 'DSML is an XML-Schema for representing Directory Services content and structure. An XML-Schema is a format for specifying rules covering the structure and content of XML documents. DSML will be defined using a Document Content Description (DCD).' Specifically, DSML will allow these applications to utilize profile and resource information from directories in their native environment, by providing the standard schema for representing this meta-data in XML documents. Such documents can then be used by applications or transmitted via the Internet to other DSML-enabled applications. This effectively extends LDAP across firewalls and to any Internet transport protocol -- a major benefit to all inter-company efforts. DSML Working Group: Bowstreet has created the initial draft of the DSML specification. The effort is supported by IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, and the Sun-Netscape Alliance. The participants have committed to working with standards bodies, such as XML.ORG or W3C, to develop a standard schema for describing directory services in XML. Other developers and vendors are invited to participate." See further information via (1) the DSML Web site; (2) FAQ document; (3) DSML fact sheet; (4) the press release: "DSML Launch Press Release: IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, and Sun-Netscape Alliance Support Effort to Develop Directory Services Markup Language (DSML)"; (5) the recorded conference; (6) Slides from the press conference.

  • [July 12, 1999]   Novell Announces DirXML.    From a recent company announcement: "This week at the Catalyst Conference, Novell demonstrated, for the first time, a new software solution called DirXML that extends the capabilities of Novell Directory Services (NDS) 8. This new solution seamlessly links and manages all the places where business and network information is stored, including software applications, network operating systems, databases, and network devices. DirXML is a solution that allows you to create an application view of the information in the directory and then replicate that information via XML and an XSL processor. The solution preserves the authority of the data sources and is based completely on business policies for authority, mapping of information and replication. With DirXML you can access information from any disparate system without modifying the application, you can then connect the information via an XML connector to the directory. Once in the directory you can then create a new type of cross-functional e-business application that can access a cross section of the rich data set. A beta testing version of DirXML will be available for customers to evaluate in the fourth calendar quarter of 1999. The final product is expected to ship in 2000 and pricing will be announced at that time. The first version of DirXML will support Novell's NetWare 5 and Microsoft NT operating system environments, with support for Sun Solaris and Linux platforms to follow soon after the initial release." For details, see the press release and the document "DirXML Frequently Asked Questions." See also the announcement "Novell Provides First Directory Solution for Linking Business Data To Electronic Business Applications. Novell Solution Brings All Data Together. Allows Rightful Owners to Control Information Using Industry Standard XML." Compare: 'Directory Services Markup Language (DSML), announced by Bowstreet.

  • [July 12, 1999]   XML-Based Process Management Standard: Wf-XML.    A communiqué from Carol Prior announces an initiative of the Workflow Management Coalition to provide XML-based workflow standards. "Work has been underway since early 1999 and a draft specification is now available for industry comment. The specification builds on the foundation of WfMC's earlier work, providing an evolution of the existing workflow standards into XML-based exchanges between workflow systems. The WfMC initiative has brought together the work originated in the OMG jointFlow submission and the initial proposals from the IETF sponsored SWAP (Simple Workflow Access Protocol) group. Wf-XML is an XML-based variant of the WfMC Interoperability Interface which can work with HTTP or a number of other transport mechanisms, including email and direct TCP/IP connection, or MOM (Message Oriented Middleware). The specification - currently at alpha level - includes a definition of the basic DTDs defining the XML encoding of workflow messages to support interoperability. This will be extended to include workflow operations from the other WfMC interfaces, to form a complete XML-based specification for all workflow functions. Wf-XML complements work being done by other XML groups (e.g., XML/EDI) in defining their own industry data definitions in XML format. These XML data definitions focus on how the business data is structured. For example, how to describe an automobile: the make; model; trim; mileage. Wf-XML provides the process flow instructions, in XML format. Business data associated with an inter-organisational process would be passed as attachments in XML form. Wf-XML will provide organisations with an easy-to-implement way of automating business processes. The Wf-XML specification will be made available to interested parties for comment." See the WfMC Web site and the full announcement for further details. For other references, including the provisional Wf-XML DTD, see "XML-Based Process Management Standard: Wf-XML."

  • [July 12, 1999]   LitML: A Liturgical Markup Language.    A communiqué from Simon Kershaw (Cambridge, England) announces preliminary work on "LitML: A Liturgical Markup Language." LitML "is intended as a markup language for liturgical texts, and will be defined using XML. It is intended that LitML might be used to markup new liturgical texts of existing denominations, and also to mark up historic texts. In conjunction with other markup schemes it might also be used to for commentaries, and for scholarly and popular works. I envisage that this will be a multi-denominational, multi-national project. Obviously it might also be multi-lingual, though I imagine that the markup and the work of any group will largely be in English." If you would like more information or would like to be involved in the process of defining LitML, please contact Simon Kershaw via email.

  • [July 12, 1999]   Passive TeX.    Sebastian Rahtz posted an announcement for provisional work on 'Passive TeX' - Using TeX to format XSL Formatting Objects. "The system works in two stages: (1) apply an XSL stylesheet to the XML document and generate a new XML file containing XSL <fo:... markup, (2) process that file with a special TeX (pdfTeX) format to generate a formatted PDF file. On the Passive TeX Web site are some files which form a demonstration of LaTeX reading XSL Formatting Objects and processing them to produce nice pages. They rely heavily on earlier work by David Carlisle (his typehtml for typesetting HTML files), and on my JadeTeX for processing DSSSL via Jade. David has also contributed a place-holder package for dealing with UTF-8 encoding. It is expected that all the components will be replaced in the near future. How does it work? Taking the XML version of the TEI Lite guidelines (teiu5.xml, with DTD teixlite.dtd), we apply the XSL stylesheet tei.xsl [XSL FO stylesheet to format TEI Lite XML documents] and run it through James Clarks' XT XSL processor. . ."

  • [July 12, 1999]   New Release of Clark's XT.    James Clark recently announced a new release of XT (Version 19990708) which contains bug fixes. XT is a Java implementation of XSL Transformations (viz., W3C XSL Transformations [XSLT] Specification - W3C Working Draft 21-April-1999, WD-xslt-19990421).

  • [July 12, 1999]   XSL Working Group Solicits Comments on Flow Object Draft.    Stephen Deach, editor of the W3C's XSL [formatting] specification, posted a notice requesting user input to the XSL draft. "The W3C XSL Working Group is soliciting comments from the xsl-list to improve the readability and understandability of formatting object and property descriptions in the April draft [Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) Specification]. We are seeking comments on the wording and organization of the document, locations where a diagram or example is necessary or would be extremely helpful, and any missing or incomplete descriptions, ambiguities, vagueness, apparent contradictions, and any other concrete issues. The XSL-WG will be holding meetings shortly to resolve open issues with the draft. Your comments would be most helpful." For background, see "Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL)."

  • [July 12, 1999]   Program for the Fifteenth International Unicode Conference.    The complete program has now been published for the Fifteenth International Unicode Conference, "Unicode and the Web: the Global Connection." This conference will be held August 30 - September 2, 1999 in San Jose, California. Note in this connection a proposed draft technical report on "The Use of Unicode with Markup Languages."

  • [July 12, 1999]   Cascading Style Sheets, Level 3.    The W3C has published a series of working draft documents forming a modular set of Working Drafts which will, when complete, define the next level of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). (1) Paged Media Properties for CSS3 (W3C Working Draft 22-June-1999) "proposes an extension to CSS to permit finer control over the paged presentation, both printed and online, of Web pages. Some of the features described are useful for other media as well. Included are properties for describing headers, footers, footnotes and endnotes. These features require other features described here, such as cross-references and page-based counters. In addition, page-dependent floating elements are described." (2) Multi-column layout in CSS (W3C Working Draft 22-June-1999) "is a proposal for multi-column layout in CSS. It is based on several older proposals and comments on older proposals. The document describes one main proposal, and two variations of the proposal. . . [it] defines a set of of CSS properties that address the following requirements: (1) the style sheet specifies the number of columns and lets the UA choose the dimensions (2) the style sheet specifies a column width and lets the UA determine how many columns there is room for. (3) the style sheet specifies both the number of columns and their widths." (3) Color Profiles for CSS3 (W3C Working Draft 22-June-1999) "proposes an extension to CSS to permit finer control over the reproducibility and accuracy of colors used in a Web page." (4) See also CSS Namespace Enhancements - Proposal (W3C Working Draft 25-June-1999). This is a proposal "for making CSS namespace-aware; such that styles can be applied to XML documents which use multiple namespaces, correctly selecting by the namespace used, regardless of the namespace prefix which happens to be used." Comments on these working drafts may be sent to the public mailing list at; postings to this list are archived.

  • [July 12, 1999]   Revised W3C Recommendation for the Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) 1.01 Specification.    The W3C has released a revision of the 'REC-MathML-19980407' specification as Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) 1.01 Specification, REC-MathML-19990707. While these changes from the original version are "only editorial in nature," the present W3C Math Working Group is working on further improvements of MathML. In Appendix A, a "parseable, online version of the MathML DTD has been added in addition to the preformatted HTML version. In addition, complete entity declarations have been added." The Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) 1.01 Specification "defines the Mathematical Markup Language, or MathML. MathML is an XML application for describing mathematical notation and capturing both its structure and content. The goal of MathML is to enable mathematics to be served, received, and processed on the Web, just as HTML has enabled this functionality for text. [The specification] begins with background information on mathematical notation, the problems it poses, and the philosophy underlying the solutions MathML proposes. MathML can be used to encode both mathematical notation and mathematical content. Twenty-eight of the MathML tags describe abstract notational structures, while another seventy-five provide a way of unambiguously specifying the intended meaning of an expression. Additional chapters discuss how the MathML content and presentation elements interact, and how MathML renderers might be implemented and should interact with browsers. Finally, this document addresses the issue of MathML entities (extended characters) and their relation to fonts."

  • [July 09, 1999]   XML Path Language (XPath) Version 1.0.    The W3C has published a first working draft of XPath: XML Path Language (XPath) Version 1.0. Reference: W3C Working Draft 9-July-1999. The document editors are James Clark and Steve DeRose (Inso Corp. and Brown University). "XPath is a language for addressing parts of an XML document, designed to be used by both XSLT and XPointer. This is the first working draft of XPath. Most of the material in this draft was previously part of the XSLT Working Draft. This draft is joint work of the XSL Working Group and the XML Linking Working Group. XPath is the result of an effort to provide a common syntax and semantics for functionality shared between XSL Transformations and XPointer. The primary purpose of XPath is to address parts of an XML document. In support of this primary purpose, it also provides basic facilities for manipulation of strings, numbers and booleans. XPath uses a compact, non-XML syntax to facilitate use of XPath within URIs and XML attribute values. XPath operates on the abstract, logical structure of an XML document, rather than its surface syntax; it models an XML document as a tree of nodes as described in 'Data Model'. XPath gets its name from its use of a path notation as in URLs for navigating through the hierarchical structure of an XML document. The primary syntactic construct in XPath is the expression. An expression is evaluated to yield an object, which has one of the following four basic types: [1] node-set (an unordered collection of nodes without duplicates); [2] boolean (true or false); [3] number (a floating-point number); [4] string (a sequence of UCS characters) . . ." For overview of the XML link specifications, see "XML Linking and Addressing: XPath, XPointer, XLink."

  • [July 09, 1999]   New XML Pointer Language (XPointer) Working Draft.    The W3C XML Linking Working Group has published a new Working Draft for the XML XPointer Language, and invites comment on the specification. The document is XML Pointer Language (XPointer), W3C Working Draft 9-July-1999. An earlier draft of the XPointer specification was released in March 1998 as The document editors are Steve DeRose (Inso Corp. and Brown University) and Ron Daniel Jr. (DATAFUSION, Inc.) [with credits to Tim Bray of Textuality and Eve Maler of ArborText]. The new XPointer working draft "specifies a language that builds upon the XML Path Language (XPath), to support addressing into the internal structures of XML documents. In particular, it provides for specific reference to elements, character strings, selections, and other parts of XML documents, whether or not they bear an explicit ID attribute, using traversals of a document's structure and choice of parts based on their properties such as element types, attribute values, character content, and relative position, containment, and order. XPointer defines the meaning of the 'selector' or 'fragment identifier' portion of URIs that locate resources of MIME media types 'text/xml' and 'application/xml'." For overview of the XML link specifications, see "XML Linking and Addressing: XPath, XPointer, XLink."

  • [July 09, 1999]   New Working Draft of XSL Transformations (XSLT) Version 1.0.    A revised working draft of XSLT has been released by the W3C. The document is XSL Transformations (XSLT) Version 1.0, W3C Working Draft 9-July-1999, edited by James Clark. "Some material that was previously part of this draft has been separated out into XPath; the XPath draft describes the status of everything that is part of XPath." This version of the WD is said to be "nearly stable. The XSL Working Group does not anticipate making technical changes except as necessary to resolve the issues explicitly mentioned in this document." Abstract: "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." For other background and references, see "Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL)."

  • [July 09, 1999]   Procedural Markup Language (PML).    Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, Georgia) recently published a paper in IEEE Multimedia under the title "PML: Adding Flexibility to Multimedia Presentations." The authors write: "In multimedia systems, designers typically link content and presentation. A new markup language, Procedural Markup Language (PML), decouples content and presentation. It lets users specify the knowledge structures, underlying physical media, and relationships between them using cognitive media roles. This approach fosters modular system design and dynamic multimedia systems that can determine appropriate presentations for a given situation by allowing knowledge specification to be done separately from knowledge presentation. . . PML is a markup language written in XML that allows the content designer to encode domain knowledge in an intuitive and flexible manner by specifying the knowledge structures, the underlying physical media, and the relationship between them using cognitive media roles. [In this paper] we focus specifically on procedural task domains, in which the primary type of knowledge to be represented concerns the performance of procedures." See "Procedural Markup Language (PML)."

  • [July 09, 1999]   Growing Commitments to Interoperability: New OASIS Members and Membership Opportunities.    Several dozen XML application initiatives within vertical industries testify to the interest in open standards and software interoperability. Further evidence of public concern for interoperable network-based computing solutions may be found in the growing support for OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards). OASIS is a nonprofit, international consortium dedicated to accelerating the adoption of product-independent formats based on public standards (e.g., SGML, XML, HTML, CGM, DSSSL, CSS); members of OASIS are providers, users and specialists of the technologies that make these standards work in practice. Three recent announcements from the OASIS Executive Director, Laura Walker, summarize the growing interest in XML-based standards work facilitated by the consortium. One communiqué, "XML Support Builds as Industry Leaders Rally Around OASIS," reports that "record numbers of XML users and vendors have joined OASIS. In this, its sixth year since being founded as SGML Open, OASIS has seen membership increase 300 percent. New OASIS Sponsor members include DOCUMENTUM, Interwoven, Microsoft, Object Design, Reuters, and Wavo. Additionally, IBM, NIST and Synthbank have upgraded their previous membership to Sponsor-level status. Also joining OASIS as Contributor members are Bluestone Software, CourseNet Systems, Extensibility, GE Information Services, Hynet, iMediation, Novell, ProcureNet and Sequoia Software. . ." In response to requests from the XML user community, new OASIS membership opportunities have been created, as explained in the announcement "OASIS Opens Membership to Individuals and XML Industry Groups. International XML Consortium Restructures Membership to Expand Access to XML Technical Work." In summary: "OASIS announced the restructuring of its membership requirements, widely expanding access to its XML interoperability technical work. The non-profit consortium, which was previously open only to companies who use or provide products or services based on structured information standards such as XML, SGML and CGM, added new membership categories for individuals and associate XML industry groups. . . OASIS membership levels now include Sponsors, Contributors, Individuals and Associates. Organizations participate in OASIS as either Sponsors or Contributors, based on the level of benefits they wish to receive. Sponsors, who take advantage of comprehensive technical and marketing benefits, support the consortium for 9500 USD annually. Contributors, who also benefit from OASIS marketing and technical work, pay 5000 USD (companies with ten or more employees) or 2500 USD (companies with fewer than ten employees). The new Individual Membership, at 250 USD per year, is offered to those who wish to participate in OASIS technical activities." The "Registry and Repository" initiative proposed by OASIS has also been successfully launched, as reported in " Moves Forward with Commitment from Leading XML Companies. Commerce One, DataChannel, Documentum, GCA, IBM, Oracle, SAP, SoftQuad and Sun Microsystems Commit as Founders." As initial evidence of concern for the role of registries in the XML/SGML arena, OASIS "announced it has received financial commitment from industry leaders for, the global XML industry portal. IBM, Oracle, SAP and Sun Microsystems have all agreed to support as Founding Partners, and Commerce One, DataChannel, Documentum, the Graphic Communications Association (GCA) and SoftQuad have demonstrated their support as Founding Affiliates. 'One of the first actions of the Steering Committee will be to establish a public architecture for an XML registry and repository that offers access to XML schemas and resources for electronic commerce and business-to-business transactions, while fostering tool and application interoperability,' explained Bob Sutor, chief strategy officer for OASIS."

  • [July 07, 1999]   FinXML - XML for Capital Markets.    A recent press release from Integral Corporation announced the release of the "First Capital Markets XML to Unify Industry Efforts." The announcement reports on the general availability of FinXML 1.0, a 'standard data interchange language for capital markets.' "Leveraging the success of its in-house working group, Integral is initiating an industry-wide FinXML consortium. As a major step towards this goal, the working group has openly released the FinXML data table definitions (DTDs) to the public. They can be downloaded for free from the Web site As a next step, FinXML DTDs will be mapped to other XML approaches in the financial industry unifying industry efforts. The FinXML consortium will provide a safe and open choice that supports emerging XML standards -- to foster and accelerate adoption of XML in the financial industry. . . The FinXML Consortium will be responsible for the definition and dissemination of the FinXML specification and related vocabularies. In addition, it will host the web-based interoperability repositories amongst the various capital markets XML standards. The consortium will be made up of financial institutions, technology vendors, systems integrators and others involved in capital markets. Information about FinXML and related subjects such as news and events, solutions, and developer resources can be found at Consortium members have early access to new FinXML vocabularies, reference implementations and detailed examples. Integral Corporation initiated the consortium effort in May 1999." For further description and references, see "FinXML - 'The Digital Language for Capital Markets'."

  • [July 07, 1999]   New Book - Inside XML DTDs: Scientific and Technical.    Simon St.Laurent posted an announcement concerning the recent publication of Inside XML DTDs: Scientific and Technical. St.Laurent's book Inside XML DTDs: Scientific and Technical "provides a guide to XML with a sharp focus on scientific and technical applications of this new technology. In addition to XML itself, MathML, a core W3C standard that can be used in many fields, receives extended coverage. The second half of Inside XML DTDs: Scientific and Technical explores emerging XML standards and tools in a number of fields, including biology, chemistry, astronomy, library science, and meteorology. The conclusion explains what developers will need to do in order to create their own applications of XML, and provides a guide to integrating XML with current information architectures and practices." For other principal publications on SGML/XML, see "Essential and Popular Titles: Books on SGML/XML and Related Standards."

  • [July 07, 1999]   New Release of IBM's LotusXSL.    On July 06, 1999, the IBM alphaWorks Labs released version 0.17.3 of LotusXSL. LotusXSL is an "experimental implementation of the XSLT specification from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C Working Draft). XSL provides a mechanism for formatting and transforming XML, either at the browser or on the server. It allows the developer to take the abstract data semantics of an XML instance and transform it into a presentation language such as HTML. 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 v0.17.3 now supports the April 21, 1999 W3C XSLT Working Draft. This release of LotusXSL provides an XSLT servlet, and includes many bug fixes." For related tools, see "XSL Software Support."

  • [July 05, 1999]   XML Developers' Conference: Call for Presentations.    Jon Bosak has posted a call for presentations in connection with the upcoming Montréal XML Developers' Conference, August 19-20. "The XML Developers' Conference is the fourth in a series of small but very successful informal technical gatherings that began with one-day events in Montréal (August 1997) and Seattle (March 1998) and were extended to the present two-day format in Montréal last summer (August 1998). As usual, the XML Developers' Conference will be preceded by the two-day GCA Metastructures conference (formerly the GCA HyTime conference). The Metastructures conference is designed for experts in hypertext linking and related technologies (topic maps, knowledge management, etc.) and concentrates on HyTime and the XLink/XPointer side of the XML family. The four days of combined conferences are preceded by a day of GCA tutorials. If you are engaged in the development of any software that works with XML or with XML-related standards, in particular XSL, XLink, XPointer, DOM, RDF, SAX, CSS, or DSSSL, the XML Developers' Conference is your chance to share your work with an audience that can understand and appreciate it. Presenters get in free. Vendors of commercial tools can participate, but the presentations must be confined to the technical aspects of products currently in development. Table space will be made available for the distribution of product announcements and commercial literature. . ."

  • [July 01, 1999]   A Major Milestone for TEI: The XML Version.    The Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) enters a significant new phase with the official publication of the XML DTD for TEI Lite, now available with supporting resources on the TEI Web site. Since 1987, the international Text Encoding Initiative has sponsored a major effort to "develop guidelines for the preparation and interchange of electronic texts for scholarly research, and to satisfy a broad range of uses by the language industries more generally." The published TEI Guidelines have gone through three major editions under the editorship of C. Michael Sperberg-McQueen and Lou Burnard, and the current TEI-P3 print volumes TEI Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange are also publicly available in SGML format. The TEI Guidelines have been used for SGML encoding in some sixty-nine (69) significant projects worldwide. A unique tool known as 'The Pizza Chef: a TEI Tag Set Selector' supports the creation of user-defined DTD subsets via an HTML form interface. "The Pizza Chef now has a set of buttons allowing you to specify that you want your one-file DTD to be in XML. If you also specify a pair of extensions files, it appends the teixml extension files to the ones you provide, so your declarations will normally take precedence. The revised Pizza Chef with its new Web interface (a) makes it easier to understand how to choose TEI base and additional tag sets to define a view of the TEI DTD, and (b) can generate a single-file version of the view you specify. If you give the URLs of your extensions files, it can fetch them and incorporate them into the resulting DTD." Also released in connection with the TEI XML DTD is a document "Construction of an XML Version of the TEI DTD." This paper, while potentially difficult for a casual reader to understand, discusses ("sometimes in tedious detail"), what choices the TEI editors have made in creating an XML version of the TEI DTD -- e.g., "drop exclusions, propagate inclusions downward into the content model of every possible descendant, and redefine the attributes as NMTOKEN(S). It combines both a reasonably easy top-level introduction to what has to happen when an SGML DTD is rewritten for XML and a long, 'expose-every-detail' discussion of every single content model in the TEI DTD that needs changing." The XML DTD's public identifier is "-//TEI//DTD TEI Lite XML ver. 1.0//EN" (or: "-//TEI//DTD TEI Lite XML ver. 1//EN"). The principal resources supporting this XML release of the TEI DTD are described in a recent announcement from C. M. Sperberg-McQueen (North American TEI Editor) and are referenced in the TEI document 'TEI, SGML and XML Resources.' For additional information and links, see "Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) - XML for TEI Lite."

  • [July 01, 1999]   Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) Specification Working Draft.    As part of the W3C Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) activity, the W3C has published the working draft Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) Specification (W3C Working Draft, 25-June-1999). Edited by Jon Ferraiolo (Adobe), this WD represents an intermediate public review draft version of the SVG specification, which "defines the features and syntax for Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), a language for describing two-dimensional vector and mixed vector/raster graphics in XML." 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. An SVG document is a Conforming SVG Document if it adheres to the specification described in the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) Specification and also: (1) is a well-formed XML document; (2) if all non-SVG namespace elements are removed from the given document, is a valid XML document; (3) conforms to the following W3C Recommendations: (a) the XML 1.0 specification (Extensible Markup Language (XML) 1.0) (b) (if any namespaces other than SVG are used in the document) Namespaces in XML (c) any use of CSS styles and properties needs to conform to Cascading Style Sheets, level 2 CSS2 Specification (d) any references to external style sheets should conform to Associating stylesheets with XML documents." Appendix C of the WD provides the SVG XML Document Type Definition. Appendix J, when written, will specify 'SVG Support for XML Fragments'.

  • [July 01, 1999]   XML Fragment Interchange.    The W3C's XML Fragment Working Group has published a new working draft of the document XML Fragment Interchange (W3C Working Draft 1999-June-30), edited by Paul Grosso (Arbortext) and Daniel Veillard (W3C). 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 working group "considers its charter discharged" with the publication of this new WD: "the draft is technically ready to go to Proposed Recommendation, but the WG decided to hold at this stage to await some implementation experience and to allow possibly related work in other WGs to progress further before submitting this draft for PR."

  • [July 01, 1999]   W3C Proposal for CSS Namespace Enhancements.    The W3C has published a working draft document on CSS Namespace Enhancements which constitutes one document in a modular set of Working Drafts which will define the next level of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Reference: W3C Working Draft 25-June-1999; the editor is Peter Linss of Netscape Communications. The WD offers a "proposal for making CSS namespace-aware, such that styles can be applied to XML documents which use multiple namespaces, correctly selecting by the namespace used, regardless of the namespace prefix which happens to be used. The goal is to provide the ability for CSS selectors to operate effectively against XML documents that make use of XML namespaces. This document defines a new at-rule, additional selector modifiers, and a modification to the attr() value for the 'content' property. The following user/author needs are addressed: (1) Ability to specify type selectors that apply to element types within a given namespace. (2) Ability to specify attribute selectors that apply to attributes within a given namespace. (3) Ability to address attributes within a given namespace with the attr() function." And the rationale: "In XML namespaces, a namespace is identified solely by a URI reference. A prefix mechanism is defined to bind namespace URIs to XML names forming qualified names. Since namespace prefixes are defined within the XML document, and furthermore only apply to a limited scope within the document, the prefixes are not suitable for use outside the XML markup. Since a style sheet author can not, in general, know a priori which prefixes an XML author will map to a particular namespace, or to which namespace a particular prefix is bound in any given context, the stylesheet author must have some mechanism to identify namespaces by their URI." For CSS references, see "W3C Cascading Style Sheets"; for namespaces, see "Namespaces in XML."

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