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Last modified: February 24, 2000
SGML and XML News - 1999 Q4

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  • [December 21, 1999]   W3C Working Draft for XHTML Basic.    As part of the W3C HTML Activity, the W3C has released a first public working draft specification for XHTML Basic. Reference: W3C Working Draft 20-December-1999, edited by Masayasu Ishikawa (W3C), Shinichi Matsui (Panasonic), Peter Stark (, and Toshihiko Yamakami (Access Co., Ltd.). This review draft "has been prepared by the Mobile Subgroup of the W3C HTML Working Group based on input from the WAP Forum Application's group and members of the W3C Mobile Access Interest Group. The document represents "work in progress... [it] will be used by the Mobile Subgroup of the W3C HTML Working Group and the W3C Mobile Access Interest Group to find a common ground for future markup languages aimed at content for small information appliances." Document abstract: "The XHTML Basic document type is a subset of XHTML 1.1. It contains the basic XHTML features inlcluding text structure, images, basic forms, and basic tables. It is designed for Web clients that do not support the full set of XHTML features; for example, Web clients such as mobile phones, PDAs, pagers, and settop boxes. The document type definition is implemented using XHTML modules as defined in 'Modularization of XHTML'." Comments on the draft are solicited, and may be sent via email to the editors and public discussion list. Background and rationale for this work: "Information appliances are targeted for particular uses. They support the features they need for the functions they are designed to fulfill. The following are examples of different information appliances: Mobile phones, Televisions, PDAs, Vending machines, Pagers, Car navigation systems, Mobile game machines, Digital book readers, Smart watches. Existing subsets and variants of HTML for these clients include 'Compact HTML,' the Wireless Markup Language (WAP), and the 'HTML 4.0 Guidelines for Mobile Access'. The common features found in these document types include: Basic text (including headings, paragraphs, and lists), Hyperlinks and links to related documents, Basic forms, Basic tables, Images, Meta information. This set of HTML features has been the starting point for the design of XHTML Basic."

  • [December 20, 1999]   New W3C Working Draft Specification for the XML Linking Language (XLink).    As part of the W3C XML Activity, the XML Linking Working Group has published a new Working Draft specification for theXML Linking Language (XLink). Reference: W3C Working Draft 20-December-1999, edited by Steve DeRose (Brown University), Eve Maler (Sun Microsystems), David Orchard (IBM Corp.), and Ben Trafford (Invited Expert). This release of the specification contains a number of graphical models which visually portray important aspects of the XLink linking semantics. The working draft specification "defines the XML Linking Language (XLink), which allows elements to be inserted into XML documents in order to create and describe links between resources. It uses XML syntax to create structures that can describe the simple unidirectional hyperlinks of today's HTML as well as more sophisticated links." This WD version, which updates the July 1999 version, is believed by the working group "to be near completion; however, a few issues remain on which the Working Group seeks public feedback." Comments on the working draft may be sent via email to the editors; such comments will be publicly archived. "For XLink purposes, a link is an explicit relationship between two or more resources or portions of resources. XLink provides a framework for creating both basic unidirectional links and more complex linking structures. It allows XML documents to: (1) Assert linking relationships among more than two resources; (2) Associate metadata with a link; (3) Create link databases that reside in a location separate from the linked resources. An important application of XLink is in hypertext systems. Hyperlinks are links that are meaningful to end users, often being presented to them directly for use and activation. This specification defines hypertext-specific metadata that can be associated with a link. XLink is also applicable to links that are entirely machine-processed..." For background and references, see "XML Linking Languages (XPath, XPointer, XLink)."

  • [December 20, 1999]   New W3C Working Draft for XML Base (XBase).    The W3C XML Linking Working Group has released an initial public Working Draft specification for XBase, and invites comment on this draft specification. The WG's purpose in publishing this draft is to solicit feedback from the community both on the need for such a facility and the suitability of the mechanism. XML Base (XBase) (W3C Working Draft 20-December-1999) is edited by Jonathan Marsh (Microsoft). The specification "proposes syntax for providing the equivalent of HTML BASE functionality generically in XML documents by defining an XML attribute named xml:base." Rationale and description: "The XML Linking Language defines XML constructs to describe links between resources. One of the stated requirements on XLink is to support HTML 4.0 linking constructs in a generic way. The HTML BASE element is one such construct which the XLink Working Group has considered. BASE allows authors to explicitly specify a document's base URI for the purpose of resolving relative URIs in links to external images, applets, form-processing programs, style sheets, and so on. This document proposes that the functionality of BASE be provided to generic XML applications. Furthermore, it proposes that the resolution of relative URIs is not limited to the domain of XLink but is applicable to any XML application that makes use of relative URIs. In other words, this problem should be solved at the addressing (URI) level and not at the higher level of linking (XLink). This document introduces a syntax for a generic BASE functionality in XML documents by defining an xml:base attribute. The attribute xml:base may be inserted in XML documents to specify a base URI other than the base URI of the document or external entity, which is normally used to resolve relative URIs. The value of this attribute is interpreted as a URI as defined in RFC 2396. The base URI specified by xml:base sets the base URI information set property of the element on which this attribute occurs, and to its descendants except where further xml:base attributes are applied. The value of the xml:base attribute may itself be a relative URI, in which case it must itself be resolved against the base URI of the element it appears on. This base URI may have been obtained from an xml:base attribute on an ancestor element. This enables scoping behavior consistent with the xml:lang and xml:space attributes."

  • [December 20, 1999]   Tutorial Materials for XML Schema Definition Language Available.    Henry S. Thompson (HCRC Language Technology Group, University of Edinburgh), Principal Editor of the W3C XML Schema: Structures Working Draft specification has made available the presentation slides and some additional XSDL documentation from his intensive (full-day) XML Schema tutorial session at XML '99 in Philadelphia. The tutorial materials have been updated to match the 1999-12-17 versions of the XML Schema specification (XML Schema Structures and XML Schema Datatypes). The sixty-six (66) tutorial presentation slides are available in Powerpoint and in HTML format. The "Additional Materials" document, provided as a supplement to the presentation slides, is available in '.doc' and in HTML format. For background and additional references, see "XML Schemas."

  • [December 17, 1999]   New W3C Working Drafts for XML Schema.    Under the leadership of WG Chairs Michael Sperberg-McQueen and Dave Hollander, the W3C XML Schema Working Group has released a revised 2-part working draft specification for the XML Schema Definition Language. The Schema Working Group believes this working draft specification "to be 'feature-complete': the functionality included here is substantially complete and is expected to be stable. We do not expect to add major new functionality, or to make major changes to the functionality described in this draft. Some sections of the draft (in particular those on conformance), and some aspects of the design (in particular details of the transfer syntax for schemas), on the other hand, are still rough and are expected to be revised. The WG expects to spend January, 2000, working out details, clarifying points of uncertainty that arise in the review of this draft, cleaning up inconsistencies, reviewing the design of the concrete transfer syntax, and making editorial improvements. Following that period of review and polishing, it is the WG's intent to issue a Last Call for Review by other W3C working groups sometime during February, 2000, and to submit this specification in March, 2000, for publication as a Candidate Recommendation." The framework for the XML Schema Definition Language is presented in XML Schema Part 1: Structures (W3C Working Draft 17-December-1999), edited by Henry S. Thompson (University of Edinburgh), David Beech (Oracle Corp.), Murray Maloney (Commerce One), and Noah Mendelsohn (Lotus Development Corporation). XML Schema: Structures represents "part 1 of a two-part draft of the specification for the XML Schema definition language. This document proposes facilities for describing the structure and constraining the contents of XML 1.0 documents. The schema language, which is itself represented in XML 1.0, provides a superset of the capabilities found in XML 1.0 document type definitions (DTDs)." The purpose of a Structures schema document is to "define and describe a class of XML documents by using these constructs to constrain and document the meaning, usage and relationships of their constituent parts: datatypes, elements and their content, attributes and their values. 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, XML Schema: Structures can be used to define, describe and catalogue XML vocabularies for classes of XML documents." The structures specification is expressed normatively in concrete syntaxes expressed by an XML schema ['Schema for Schemas'] and an XML DTD ['DTD for Schemas']. The specification is also available in XML format. XML Schema Part 2: Datatypes (W3C Working Draft 17-December-1999) has been edited by Paul V. Biron (Kaiser Permanente, for Health Level Seven) and Ashok Malhotra (IBM). XML Schema: Datatypes presents part 2 of a two-part draft of the specification for the XML Schema definition language. This document proposes facilities for defining datatypes to be used in XML Schemas and other XML specifications. The datatype language, which is itself represented in XML 1.0, provides a superset of the capabilities found in XML 1.0 document type definitions (DTDs) for specifying datatypes on elements and attributes." It is well known that "validity constraints exist on the content of [XML document] 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." At the moment, these datatypes can be specified only "for element content that would be specified as #PCDATA and attribute values of various types in a DTD." The datatypes specification is presented in concrete syntaxes via an XML schema and an XML DTD. For references to earlier and related work, see "XML Schemas." See also the dtddiff of 1999-12-17 schema proposal vis-à-vis 1999-11 WD, provided by Bob DuCharme.

  • [December 17, 1999]   Experimental DTDs from Reuters.    In connection with the NewsML and IPTC2000 mailing list, Nic Fulton (Leader of XML Architecture and Design, Reuters Ltd) posted a message about the availability of 'Experimental DTDs from Reuters.' Fulton writes: "... I have uploaded some experimental DTDs from Reuters. These were written by Jo Rabin and were submitted to the IPTC as a seed for some of the NewsML work. They can be found in the vault area on the eGroups web site at: I hope this acts as a seed for further discussion, although please be aware that these are for 'information only'... Please note that these are NOT the current IPTC NewsML DTDs and [...] there is no certainty that the final NewsML DTD/DTDs will reflect some or any of the constructs within." A document accompanying the experimental DTDs "NewsML Elements and Attributes" 'outlines descriptions of the elements, attributes and reasoning.' In a recent announcement ("Reuters to Use XML for News"), Reuters said that it would "introduce NewsML to present its news services. NewsML is an open standards-based format for the creation, transfer and delivery of news. It is based on the Extensible Markup Language (XML), the emerging Internet standard for data sharing between applications developed by the World Wide Web Consortium, the co-ordinating body for Internet developments. Reuters has taken the initiative in the creation and adoption of NewsML through the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC). The IPTC recently established a programme, IPTC 2000, which will deliver a single XML-based format for managing news production. An increasing number of Reuters subscribers are establishing themselves on the Internet and requesting delivery in XML." For background and further references, see "NewsML."

  • [December 17, 1999]   XML Version of the MONDIAL Database.    A posting from Wolfgang May (Institut für Informatik, Universität Freiburg) reports on the use of an XML version of the MONDIAL database. The MONDIAL database "has been compiled from geographical Web data sources listed below using the F-Logic system FLORID. It contains: (1) the CIA World Factbook, (2) A set of Global Statistics which has been collected by Johan van der Heijden, (3) additional textual sources for coordinates, (4) the International Atlas by Kümmerly & Frey, Rand McNally, and Westermann, (5) some geographical data of the Karlsruhe TERRA database. In all, the database contains information about 250 countries, 1400 provinces, 3000 cities, 170 political organizations with 7700 memberships and some geographical data. The 'Seminar Information Processing on the Web' at the IIF uses the XML version of the MONDIAL database, compiled as a case study for information integration from (Non-XML) Web sources using the Florid system. It is used at the Institute for Computer Science at Freiburg University for teaching XML-related topic to students. Perl scripts are used to map data from Florid Frame Format into XML and to producing a LaTeX documentation from XML/XSL files. XML DTDs and XSLT transformation scripts are provided for use in the 'flat model' and in the hierarchical XML model. MONDIAL and the IIF Oracle training are " freely available for research and educational purposes under the condition that the origin of MONDIAL is mentioned in all publications and documentation."

  • [December 15, 1999]   OASIS Publishes Draft Specification for Registry and Repository.    Through the authorship and editorial supervision of Terry Allen (Commerce One, Chair of the OASIS Registry & Repository Technical Committee), a draft specification for the Registry and Repository has been prepared for publication. The document OASIS Registry Technical Specification [17-November-1999] is referenced from the public information page of the OASIS Registry and Repository Technical Committee. The new OASIS Specification will be used in building the Registry & Repository and will contribute to the infrastructure needed for deploying interoperable XML repositories across the Web. The document abstract: "The OASIS Registry and Repository Technical Committee of OASIS, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (formerly SGML Open), seeks to specify operation of a registry for some set of or XML-related entities, including but not limited to DTDs and schemas, with appropriate interfaces, that enable searching on the contents of a repository of those entities. The registry and repository shall interoperate and cooperate with other registries and repositories compliant with this specification and respond to requests for entities by their identifiers. This document deals primarily with the registry; while scenarios and requirements for the repository are included, the repository design is detailed in a separate document." In a recent announcement, Allen clarifies that the goal of this endeavor "is not only to specify an open format for our own vendor-neutral clearinghouse for XML and SGML DTDs and schemas. We want to establish the groundwork for a distributed, global web of XML repositories... OASIS [has to date] put a great deal of time and energy into developing this Specification." For references to related work, see "XML Registry and Repository."

  • [December 15, 1999]   Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2 Specification Published as W3C Candidate Recommendation.    As part of the W3C DOM Activity, the Document Object Model Working Group has published a new Candidate Recommendation for DOM Level 2: Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2 Specification, Version 1.0. Reference: W3C Candidate Recommendation 10-December-1999. A W3C 'Candidate Recommendation' is a new category in the W3C specification track; a CR represents a "work that has received significant review from its immediate technical community. It is an explicit call to those outside of the related Working Groups or the W3C itself for implementation and technical feedback." After this CR phase ends (January 19, 2000), "the specification will move into the Proposed Recommendation phase and it will be sent to the W3C membership for review." 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. 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." [Introduction:] The Document Object Model (DOM) is an application programming interface (API) for HTML and XML documents. It defines the logical structure of documents and the way a document is accessed and manipulated. In the DOM specification, the term 'document' is used in the broad sense - increasingly, XML is being used as a way of representing many different kinds of information that may be stored in diverse systems, and much of this would traditionally be seen as data rather than as documents. Nevertheless, XML presents this data as documents, and the DOM may be used to manage this data. 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. As a W3C specification, one important objective for the Document Object Model is to provide a standard programming interface that can be used in a wide variety of environments and applications. The DOM is designed to be used with any programming language. In order to provide a precise, language-independent specification of the DOM interfaces, we have chosen to define the specifications in OMG IDL, as defined in the CORBA 2.2 specification. In addition to the OMG IDL specification, we provide language bindings for Java and ECMAScript (an industry-standard scripting language based on JavaScript and JScript)." The new CR is available in Postscript, PDF, plain text, and ZIP archive formats. Lauren Wood (DOM WG Chair) wrote in a note to XML-DEV: "The only changes that will be made [to the specification] from now on are if something is seriously broken and it's very difficult or impossible to implement. (Apart from clarifications, of course!). So if the specification isn't clear enough to implement from, or implementations are nearly impossible, please send email. Also, if you do implement some part of Level 2, I'd like to hear about it, so we can be sure that the spec has been implemented often enough that we probably have the bugs out of it. If you want your email to be confidential, just send it to me (, marking it as confidential, otherwise please send email to the public DOM mailing list." See "W3C Document Object Model (DOM)."

  • [December 15, 1999]   XPath Interface for XT Version 0.90.    Takuki Kamiya (Fujitsu Limited) recently announced the release of an updated version of 'XPath Interface for XT' (Version 0.90). The 0.90 version of XPath Interface is now available for download. The XPath interface for XT "provides DOM query API facilities on top of XT. It is implemented in Java language and complies with W3C's XPath Proposed Recommendation as is currently [1999-12-15] implemented in [James Clark's] XT. Variable support in XPath is added in this release. Use the class VariableMgr to make your queries aware of variables." To use XPath interface for XT Version 0.90, one would: "(1) Build a DOM Tree (i.e., org.w3c.dom.Document) by using a XML Parser; (2) Construct a DomQueryManager object with the DOM created in step 1; (3) Register variables if necessary; (4) Invoke DomQueryManager's getNodesByXPath method by supplying a DOM Node and XPath selector string as arguments." Version 0.90 also currently assumes that you are using Sun's Project X TR-2 XML parser. You should be able to add support for other XML parser easily by subclassing XMLProcessorImpl abstract class. XML Parser is not included in the distribution. James Tauber noted: "This is cool. Exactly what I wanted way back when I was musing about a 'shell' that enabled you to navigate a DOM the same way you'd navigate a file system in a command-line interface."

  • [December 15, 1999]   A Visualization Tool for XPath.    A recent posting from Khun Yee Fung announces the availability of a visualization tool for XPath. Khun Yee Fung writes: "I have written an XPath visualization tool. The tool allows you to choose an XML file as the initial XML document. The XML document is then shown as a tree (JTree in Swing). After that, you can specify XPath expressions and step through the execution of the expressions. The nodes selected in each step (can be a big step, a small step, or a baby step, or no stepping at all) are highlighted on the tree. A context tree is also presented so that the context of an XPath expression (like the context of a location path inside a predicate of another location path) can be shown. The execution stack of the context is also displayed when a context is chosen. The user can also select a node of the JTree as the initial context node of an XPath expression. This is how relative location paths are handled. The tool is meant as a learning tool for XPath. It implements nearly all the features of XPath, including the additional functions in XSLT. I am adding the additional functions from XPointer very soon. The only missing feature right now is the key() function. The document() function has been implemented and all documents included by the function are shown as JTrees as well... The tool uses the SAX and SAX2 interfaces from Xerces-1.0." The tool is available for download. For related tools, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support."

  • [December 15, 1999]   Pre-release Version of OpenSP-1.4 Available.    Matthias Clasen (Mathematisches Institut, Albert-Ludwigs-Universitaet Freiburg) recently announced the pre-release version of OpenSP-1.4 from the OpenJade development team. OpenSP is a variant of James Clark's SP SGML parser, maintained by the OpenJade team. Feedback on the OpenSP-1.4-pre1 release (builds and usage on a Unix or Win32 platform) should be sent to the maintainers. The announcement contains a list of changes in OpenSP version 1.4 vis-à-vis SP-1.3.4.

  • [December 15, 1999]   OASIS to Host XML-DEV Mailing List.    An announcement from Peter Murray-Rust, delivered at the XML '99 Conference, reports on a recent decision to move the XML-DEV Mailing List to the portal. From the announcement: "OASIS, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, unveiled plans to host the XML-DEV mail list through its industry portal, Since 1997, XML-DEV has served as an open, unmoderated list supporting XML implementation and development. In the closing plenary of the XML 99 conference today, Prof. Peter Murray-Rust of the University of Nottingham (UK) announced that XML-DEV, presently hosted by Imperial College (UK), will soon become an OASIS resource. 'We are very excited that XML-DEV has found a permanent home at OASIS,' said Murray-Rust, who created XML-DEV with Dr. Henry Rzepa of Imperial College (UK). 'We strongly support the role OASIS plays in the industry as a neutral, trusted organization and are confident that XML-DEV will be a natural fit with We also wish to express our gratitude to Imperial College for hosting the list for three years.' XML-DEV, which has global membership of approximately 1500, averages more than 1200 postings a month from XML developers around the world. It emphasizes active participation through code development, creation of protocols and specifications, and other material contributions such as reference resources." According to a communiqué from list maintainer Henry Rzepa: "During the last three years, this list has had a home at Imperial College, and more than 18,000 postings have been made, the cumulative effect of which we feel has made a major impact on the development of the Internet and of Open Standards."

  • [December 14, 1999]   Pyxie - An Open Source XML Processing Library for Python.    Sean McGrath recently announced the release of 'Pyxie - An Open Source XML Processing Library for Python.' Sean says: "I hope some of you find it useful and help me to develop it further - either by submitting problem reports or contributing to the development effort." Description: "Pyxie is designed to provide a powerful XML processing library wrapped up in a Python friendly API. The entire Pyxie library revolves around a very simple, line-oriented notation for the information emitted by an XML parser. This notation is known as PYX. The Pyxie project includes two command line utilities [source and binaries] for generating PYX notation: xmln - A stand-alone PYX generating utility built on top of James Clark's non-validating XML parser, expat; xmlv - A stand-alone PYX generating utility built on top of Richard Tobin's validating XML parser, rxp. PYX Generators: The xmln and xmlv utilities can usefully be thought of as PYX generators that happen to eat XML. Numerous other PYX generators can be envisioned working with structured and semi-structured data sources. You can layer this stuff until your head hurts. In XML processing with Python for example, I develop a SAX driver that turns any MySQL database into a source of PYX. Tree driven XML Processing: Pyxie is most at home when processing trees. Trees can be created from XML files or from strings. Once a tree is created you can navigate it at will using the Up, Down, Left and Right methods. Cut and Paste methods are provided along with a bunch of methods for creating and manipulating lists of nodes. Hybrid event/tree driven XML processing: Pyxie has a hybrid event/tree processing mode that provides (most) of the programming features of tree processing with (most) of the resource efficiency of event processing. Pyxie in pipeline architectures: The line oriented nature of PYX makes it suitable for use in Unix style pipelines. This has the major advantage that the PYX notation does not need to ever exist on disk. To use Pyxie you need two things: a) A Python distribution and b) The XML package for Python created by the Python communities XML Special Interest Group. 'C3' is an XML editor/viewer developed using Pyxie and the wxPython GUI toolkit. You will need the wxPython package installed to run C3. Some things still needed: a) PYX generators for ODBC, RTF, Latex, CGM etc. b) Addition of XML styling in C3 using CSS and/or XSL. wxPython now has an HTML widget that could be used for this. c) An XPath implementation for addressing in Pyxie trees..."

  • [December 14, 1999]   XHTML 1.0 Published as a Revised Proposed Recommendation.    The W3C HTML Working Group has released a new 'Proposed Recommendation' specification for XHTML 1.0: The Extensible HyperText Markup Language. A Reformulation of HTML 4.0 in XML 1.0. Reference: W3C Proposed Recommendation 10-December-1999. The Proposed Recommendation review period extends until 8-January-2000. This version of the specification constitutes a "revision of the Proposed Recommendation dated 24-August-1999 incorporating changes as a result of comments from the Proposed Recommendation review, and comments and further deliberations of the W3C HTML Working Group. A diff-marked version from the previous proposed recommendation is available for comparison purposes. Summary from David Megginson on XML-DEV: "(1) A single XHTML Namespace,; (2) Examples of using elements from other Namespaces inside an XHTML document, and of using the XHTML Namespace inside other document types -- though there are no strict conformance criteria defined for either yet. (3) All element and attribute names in lower case. (4) The DOCTYPE declaration is still required for strict XHTML conformance (annoying, but I can live with that), and there are still three different DTDs..." The spec is also available in Postscript, PDF, and ZIP archive formats. The PR 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." The PR's normative 'Appendix A.' includes three XHTML DTDs and entity sets, which "approximate the HTML 4.0 DTDs. It is likely that when the DTDs are modularized, a method of DTD construction will be employed that corresponds more closely to HTML 4.0." (1) XHTML-1.0-Strict; (2) XHTML-1.0-Transitional; (3) XHTML-1.0-Frameset.

  • [December 14, 1999]   Industry Leaders Endorse the HR-XML Consortium's XML Framework .    The HR-XML Consortium recently announced that "more than twenty-five (25) organizations have endorsed an XML framework designed to enable a new generation of web-based workforce management and recruiting services. The HR-XML Consortium is a newly formed non-profit group dedicated to the development and promotion of standardized human-resources-related XML vocabularies for enabling business-to-business e-commerce and the automation of inter-company exchanges of human resources data." The HR-XML Consortium has already developed three provisional schemas. The schemas (for JobPosting, CandidateProfile, Resume) "are very preliminary and are intended to generate discussion." The distribution files contain Document Type Definitions (DTDs) as well as Microsoft BizTalk-compatible schemas." The HR-XML consortium is open to all interested parties, but membership is targeted toward: (1) Software Vendors. For example, vendors providing HRIS, staffing and recruiting, or workforce planning software solutions. (2) Employers. Particularly large, multinational employers seeking to rationalize workforce management processes. (3) HR Service Suppliers. For example, providers of recruiting, payroll, benefits consulting, and temporary staffing services. (4) XML Tool Vendors/Technology Companies. Vendors of XML editors, servers, and data management tools. (5) Non-Profit HR-Related Associations. SHRM, IHRIM, EMA, and other HR-industry groups. (6) Human resource professionals. Human resources and recruiting and staffing professionals, compensation and benefits administrators, and HRIS administrators." For other/related references, see "HR-XML Consortium."

  • [December 07, 1999]   Directory Services Markup Language (DSML) Submitted to Industry Standards Bodies.    Bowstreet, a "leader in mass customization of business-to-business e-commerce, today delivered a universal directory service language for the Internet to three key Internet standards bodies. This language, called Directory Services Markup Language (DSML), represents an e-commerce milestone and is supported by the collective efforts of IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, and the Sun-Netscape Alliance. By helping establish directories as the infrastructure for e-commerce applications, DSML enables easy sharing of valuable business data and processes within and across company boundaries. DSML will also accelerate the industry shift toward business-to-business applications built on Web services, modular units of software functionality located anywhere on the Internet. DSML and Web services will enable companies to develop dynamic e-commerce Web sites that can uniquely meet the needs of a company's customers and business partners. The DSML 1.0 specification submission enables different vendors' directory services to work together more easily by describing their contents - including data about people and computing resources - in the Internet's lingua franca for commerce, XML. Particularly convenient for e-commerce applications, XML is the emerging standard for business-to-business data interchange. Today's announcement keeps the working group's July 12 promise to reach consensus on a draft standard this year. End users will also benefit from DSML as Web-based applications discover and act upon directory-resident data related to users' roles, preferences, affiliations and available computing resources. The six companies today turned over the DSML 1.0 specification draft to OASIS, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, a nonprofit, international consortium considered the world's leading independent organization for the standardization of XML applications in e-commerce. In an effort to gain rapid and widespread acceptance, DSML 1.0 information is also being provided to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and BizTalk. The W3C is an international industry consortium developing protocols that promote the Web's evolution and ensuring its interoperability. W3C is jointly run by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (MIT LCS) in the USA, the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) in France and Keio University in Japan. BizTalk is driving the rapid, consistent adoption of XML for e-commerce and application integration. The DSML 1.0 schema in XDR format will be made available to the BizTalk framework." For details, see the text of the announcement: "Industry Leaders Publish Ground-breaking XML Standard for E-commerce and Directories. Bowstreet, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle and Sun-Netscape submit Directory Services Markup Language (DSML) 1.0 to industry standards bodies." See also "Twenty Companies Sign On To Support XML-based Directory Standard For e-Commerce." For related references, see the DSML Web site and "Directory Services Markup Language (DSML)."

  • [December 07, 1999]   Sun Microsystems Leads Industry Effort to Simplify XML.    According to a recent announcement: - Sun Microsystems, Inc. today made two announcements that underscore its support for the eXtensible Markup Language (XML) with the Java 2 platform: the availability of the Java Application Programming Interface (API) for XML Parsing Optional Package ("JAXP"), and the formation of an expert group for the XML Data Binding project. The expert group for this project, which is going through the Java Community Process, consists of Allaire, Ariba, BEA/Web Logic, Bluestone Software, AOL/Netscape, Extensibility, Fujitsu, IBM, Object Design, Oracle, webMethods and Sun Microsystems. With these announcements, Sun is leading the effort to deliver XML technologies for the Java 2 platform that will ease the creation and maintenance of Java technology-based applications enabled by XML and improve portability of data exchange between disparate business systems. In 1996, Sun spearheaded an initiative through the W3C to develop the eXtensible Markup Language (XML), a standards-based universal syntax for describing and structuring data in a way that is independent from the application logic. Sun's announcement of the Java technologies for XML provides universal application logic that complements XML. The Java 2 platform and XML are complementary technologies that each have common features critical for industrial-strength Web-based applications, including platform-independence, industry standards, extensible, reusable, and global language support. Together, the Java 2 platform and XML will allow enterprises to simplify and lower the cost of information sharing and exchange in Web applications. The JAXP optional package provides basic functionality for reading, manipulating, and generating XML documents through pure Java APIs. Seamlessly integrated with the Java 2 platform, JAXP provides a standard way for a Java platform-based application to plug in any XML-conformant parser. While the reference implementation uses Sun's experimental high performing Java Project X as its default XML parser, the software's pluggable architecture allows any XML- conformant parser to be used, such as the XML parser, code named Xerces. As part of Sun's ongoing commitment to industry developed standards, JAXP is fully conformant to XML standards from the W3C and the XML community. JAXP is being developed through the Java Community Process ("JCP"), which is the formalization of the open process that Sun has been using since 1995 to develop and revise Java technology specifications in cooperation with the international community of developers using Java technologies. Sun also announced the expert group of industry leaders within the JCP that is working to create XML Data Binding software for the Java 2 platform. This project, code-named Project Adelard, will enable developers to deliver and maintain high-performance XML-enabled applications with a minimum of development effort. Project Adelard provides a two-way mapping between XML documents and Java technology-based objects along with a schema compiler tool. The compiler will automatically generate Java classes from XML schemas without requiring developers to write any complex parsing code. In addition, the compiler will contain automatic error and validity of checking of XML messages, helping to ensure that only valid, error-free messages are accepted and processed by a system. Thus, not only will developers be able to more easily develop and process Java technology-based applications that leverage XML, but enterprises will also lower costs through more productive development."

  • [December 07, 1999]   Lexica Releases iLingo XML Schemas For Review.    "Lexica has announced the release of a new set of XML schemas, collectively called iLingo, [which] provides the essential structural framework for deploying portable, robust transactional applications that enable business-to-business and business-to-consumer e-commerce. Paving the way for insurance carriers and distributors to more easily meet the exploding consumer demand for online services, Lexica LLC, a leading developer of end-to-end e-business supply chain management software for the insurance industry, today announced that it has published a preview set of Extensible Markup Language (XML) schemas on Microsoft's and Lexica's Web sites. This is the industry's first comprehensive set of XML schemas posted to that is specifically designed to empower the supply chain participants in the end-to-end automation of insurance selling and transaction processing. Once Version 1.0 is released in early 2000, iLingo will be freely available to any insurance or related financial services provider. Updates will be posted at, and to 'Lexica is offering iLingo to the industry as critical `head-start' technology, and we're leveraging it in our own product, Lexica Online,' said Peter Henry, Lexica's president and chief technology officer. 'We want it to be the preferred basis of insurance e-business transaction systems. Users will get several immediate benefits by using iLingo XML schemas, including the ability to easily exchange data with vendors, customers and other e-commerce partners; the ability to introduce new products online faster; and the ability to reduce their overall systems maintenance costs.' Lexica Online is an integrated, XML-based platform that enables companies to operate and participate in an efficient electronic marketplace with other trading partners as part of an automated supply chain. By using iLingo in its own software, Lexica will take the lead in building real-world solutions that break the logjam of inefficient inter-company transactions that has hampered insurance industry business processes and escalated costs. The company will also incorporate iLingo into its consumer Internet insurance site Developing an XML schema set targeted to the insurance industry is particularly significant due to the enormous potential for online insurance and the equally enormous technological challenges faced by this market segment when trying to establish an online presence. The industry's nearly $800 billion a year in premiums dwarfs other emerging e-commerce industries such as travel, book sales, music and video combined. Still the industry has long struggled to seamlessly and effortlessly automate the information exchange and workflow that occurs within its supply chain. The complexity of business processes, and the need to gather and generate data from many sources have served as near impenetrable barriers. [Lexica] will continue to refine the iLingo XML schemas in the coming months, with actual real-world examples from and the Lexica Online software platform. Lexica will also continue to work closely with the appropriate standards bodies to further define its XML schema set. Lexica is a participating member of several technology initiatives and standards bodies including the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), ACORD and the Worldwide Web Consortium (WC3). Lexica will work with ACORD, which has the support and participation of more than 1,000 insurance carries and groups, 25,000 agencies, the major providers of software and services to the industry, and nonprofit associations including agency system user groups, nation producer associations, and the CPCU society. ACORD initially developed standard ACORD forms to enable information sharing in the industry, and has added data integration to its package of services." The iLingo FAQ document provides other information on the XML schema set. See also the full text of the announcement: "Lexica Releases iLingo XML Schemas for Industry Review, Posts It to Microsoft's Web site. XML Schema Set Designed To Revolutionize Insurance Industry e-business." On ACORD, see the ACORD Web site and "ACORD - XML for the Insurance Industry."

  • [December 07, 1999]   Architag Announces 'Schema Validating' XML Editor.    An announcement from Architag International Corporation describes the alpha release of 'xRay, a New XML Editor'. The description, in part: "Architag International Corporation today announced the alpha release of their first software product, xRay, for Microsoft Windows operating systems. The product is a real-time, validating XML editor designed to provide fast creating, viewing and editing of XML documents. 'We are proud to offer this tool as a contribution to the XML community,' said Brian Travis, President and CEO of Architag. 'While there are several editing tools available for the XML implementer, we felt the need for a diagnostic tool that allows users and developers to look inside their XML documents the way the XML parser does.' The product's speed means that it can also be used by professional keyboarders producing XML documents in a production environment. xRay is a real-time editor. On every keystroke, the editor validates the XML document and displays errors in a window on the screen. Multiple windows can be displayed, each containing its own XML document. xRay works with well-formed XML documents, but also validates according to different types of schemas. 'One of the breakthroughs in xRay is the ability to create and modify a document type definition (DTD) schema, but also create and validate against XML Data, a schema submission to the W3C,' said Travis. 'xRay is also the first XML editor that verifies rich datatypes, like numbers and dates, against the XML Data schema.' The xRay XML Editor is currently in a limited alpha testing release. Developers who are interested in participating in the test can contact Architag at"

  • [December 06, 1999]   W3C Last Call Working Draft for the XML Pointer Language (XPointer).    The W3C XML Linking Working Group has published a 'Last call' working draft specification for XML Pointer Language (XPointer). References: W3C Last Call Working Draft 6-December-1999, edited by Steve DeRose (Brown University Scholarly Technology Group), Ron Daniel Jr. (DATAFUSION, Inc.), and Eve Maler (Sun Microsystems). The Last Call period begins 6-December-1999 and ends 27-December-1999; the editorial team invites comment on the specification. Abstract: "This specification defines the XML Pointer Language (XPointer), the language to be used as a fragment identifier for any URI-reference that locates a resource of Internet media type text/xml or application/xml. XPointer, which is based on the XML Path Language (XPath), supports addressing into the internal structures of XML documents. It allows for traversals of a document tree and choice of its internal parts based on various properties, such as element types, attribute values, character content, and relative position." [Introduction:] "The XPointer specification "does not constrain the syntax or semantics of URI-references to resources of other media types. XPointer supports addressing into the internal structures of XML documents. It allows for traversals of a document tree and choice of its internal parts based on various properties, such as element types, attribute values, character content, and relative position. In particular, it provides for specific reference to elements, character strings, and other parts of XML documents, whether or not they bear an explicit ID attribute. The structures located with XPointer can be used as link targets or for any other application-specific purpose. This specification does not constrain what uses an application may make of locations identified by XPointers. In particular, implementation of traversal to a resource is not constrained by this specification, and whether user traversal is the purpose of an XPointer at all is application-dependent. A formatted-text browser traversal might scroll to and highlight the designated location; a structure-oriented graphical tree viewer or a document-relationship display might do traversal in quite a different way; and a search application, parser, archival system, or expert agent might use XPointers for other purposes entirely. The construction of linking elements in XML documents that associate arbitrary resources (including XML documents and portions thereof) is defined in a related specification (XLink). XPointer is built on top of the XML Path Language, which is an expression language used in the XSL Transformations (XSLT) language. XPointer's extensions to XPath allow it to: (1) Address points and ranges as well as nodes, (2) Locate information by string matching, and (3) Use addressing expressions in URI-references as fragment identifiers... XPointers, like XPath expressions, operate on the XML Information Set, a tree derived from the elements and other markup constructs of an XML document. Both XPointers and XPath expressions operate by selecting particular parts of such trees, often by their structural relationship to other parts (for example, the parent of a node with a certain ID value). XPointers can express multiple such selections, each operating on what is found by the prior one. Selection of tree portions is done through axes, predicates, and functions. An axis defines a sequence of candidates that might be located; predicates then test information in the tree relative to such portions; and functions generate new candidates or perform various other tasks. For example, one may select certain elements from among the siblings of some previously located element, based on whether those sibling elements have an attribute with a certain value, or are of a certain type such as FOOTNOTE, or select the point location immediately preceding a certain P... [While] XPointer is the fragment identifier language for the text/xml and application/xml media types, it is expected that many applications of XML will define their own media types in order to indicate the particular usage of XML they define. A recent Internet Draft ["Internet Draft: XML Media Types"] suggests the use of a naming convention, */*-xml, for specialized media types based on XML). XPointer is expected to be useful as a fragment identifier language for the generic XML aspects of those media types." For background and references, see the XPointer requirements document and "XML Linking Language."

  • [December 06, 1999]   XFA Edit - An Advanced XML Editor.    A new XML editing tool with source code is available, as announced: "XML For All Announces XFA Edit, an Advanced XML Editor." - "XML For All, Inc. today announced the release of XFA Edit, an advanced text editor for XML and HTML documents that runs under Microsoft Windows operating systems. XML, the eXtensible Markup Language, is a W3C standard with broad industry support that is quickly becoming the notation of choice for structured information exchange. XFA Edit is implemented as an intelligent XML editing mode that runs on top of Lugaru's Epsilon, an EMACS-like editor. A single package that contains both Lugaru Epsilon and XFA Edit can be ordered from the XML For All Web site at Epsilon supports full screen editing with an EMACS-style command set, non-intrusive mouse support, the ability to simultaneously edit an unlimited number of files, an extensive help system and on-line documentation, advanced search and search and replace commands, multilevel undo and redo, and advanced customization via the Epsilon EEL scripting language. XFA Edit adds color highlighting for XML tags, strings, attributes, and comments; checking for matching tags, quotes, and parenthesis; automatic indentation of nested XML elements; fast XML element navigation; and automatic insertion of XML end tags. All features can be individually customized via an extensive set of options. Support is provided for editing HTML, XML, and XML For All's XFA scripts. Complete EEL source code for XML Edit is included..." Compare "XML Editing Mode in PSGML" and (for other editors) "XML Document Editing, DTD Editing, Stylesheet Editing, Formatting, Browsing, and Delivery Tools."

  • [December 04, 1999]   New and Updated XML Tools from IBM alphaWorks.    IBM alphaWorks labs has released several new and updated XML development tools: (1) ActiveNotebook: "ActiveNotebook is a tool for capturing, organizing, viewing and publishing snippets of information that you or someone else grabs out of a browser. It provides users with a way to organize, view, create and publish information snippets that are between bookmarks and web pages in size. ActiveNotebook is written in HTML and Javascript, with data storage in XML format. Once you've got the right set of notebooks loaded, you can sort your entries by title, date, source notebook, URL, hierarchical category. Each entry is stored in a notebook which is represented as an XML file. You can load multiple notebooks into the ActiveNotebook viewer and search over the entire set of entries that they store. These notebook files can be on your local disk, or at a URL anywhere on the Web." (2) DatabaseDom: "DatabaseDom is a technology allows mapping a database table into an XML document and back again, providing a great deal of flexibility in the XML structure generated. DatabaseDom is a combination of Java JDBC, IBM Data Access Bean and DOM programming. An XML template file defines the database and XML structure. A JavaBean reads this, and creates XML from the results of a database query, and also updates the database based on a new or modified XML structure." (3) Visual DTD: "Visual DTD is a visual tool for creating, viewing, and editing existing DTDs. The new update generates Java Classes for creating XML instances of an XML schema and sample XML document from a DTD. Also contains a new graphical view, error reporting and bug fixes. Using Visual DTD, you can: a) Create DTD elements, attributes, entities, and notations; b) Import existing DTDs into Visual DTD; c) Create DTD from existing XML documents; d) Generate DTDs; e) Generate XML Schemas. 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: tree view, design view, and source view." (4) Visual XML: "Visual XML is a transformation tool that can help you compose new XML document from existing XML documents. With the new version, you can now save your session information, and resume from your previous session. Visual XML Transformation Tool will take 1 and n number of DTDs describing the source XML documents as input. The user visually construct the structure of the new XML document. It will generate an XSL script for transforming the source documents to the target document and also the DTD for the target document. Optionally you can also unit test the XSL script from within the tool." (5) Xplorer: "Xplorer is a Java application that can be used to search XML files, validate XML files and view the valid XML files in XML viewer. Xplorer has been updated to use IBM Install Toolkit for Java 1.60. With Xplorer, one may search for XML files based on the XML file name, Document type and some advanced search options like element name and value, attribute name and value, PI, etc." (6) XML Viewer: "The XML Viewer addresses the need for viewing XML data from various perspectives such as the source of the XML, the DTD for the XML, the hierarchical structure of the XML data. It has been updated to use IBM Install Toolkit for Java 1.60. XML Viewer for Java is a Java application that displays any well-formed XML document. You can traverse the document's hierarchy using the tree views, find out the attributes of a particular node in the hierarchy and view the source of the XML and associated DTD files. You can also view the source of a selected node in the XML source view and the definition of the node in the DTD source view." (7) DocFile: "DocFile is Java package for accessing DocFile type files. DocFile is a Java package that allows read access to the OLE 2.0 DocFile file type. This is a proprietary archive file format that is used in the Windows family operating systems. The interface to this file type is through, which closely mimics the class and through, which closely mimics, with the exception of file writes. DocFile is written in pure Java and does not require any of the Windows DLLs for accessing the DocFiles."

  • [December 03, 1999]   SAXON Version 5.0 Released.    A posting from Michael Kay to the XSL-List announces the release of SAXON version 5.0, which supports the W3C XSLT and XPath Recommendations published on November 16, 1999. Kay says that the SAXON 5.0 package is now "a complete implementation of XSLT 1.0 and XPath 1.0 - If there are any parts of the spec it doesn't implement, then that's an oversight and will be treated as a bug. Apart from full conformance, the new things in this release include: (1) a number of new extension functions [intersection(), difference() and has-same-nodes() to compare node-sets; line-number() and system-id() of the current node in the source document; if(condition, then, else)]; (2) stylesheet chaining: [specify <saxon:output next-in-chain="phase2.xsl"> to send the output of this stylesheet to be the input to another stylesheet]; (3) user-definable numbering and collating sequences; (4) internal improvements to node-set handling and sorting, which should result in better performance when handling large node-sets, and should certainly reduce the load on the garbage collector." The SAXON package is "a collection of tools for processing XML documents. The main components are: (1) An XSL processor, which implements the Version 1.0 XSLT and XPath Recommendations from the World Wide Web Consortium [...] with 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. At 241 Kb, this is a much smaller download; it excludes source code and API documentation. 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 the XSLT recommendation, including XPath, it its entirety. SAXON also does things that are beyond the scope of the XSL standard: for example: (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) It allows multi-pass processing, by means of an extension function that converts a result tree fragment to a nodeset, or by chaining stylesheets together; (4) It allows variables to be updated." For related software, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support."

  • [December 03, 1999]   Rocket: A Framework for Creating XML-Based Web Sites.    Ken North posted an announcement to XML-DEV concerning Michael Floyd's recent release of 'Rocket: A Framework for Creating XML-Based Web Sites.' The online description reads: "Rocket is a framework I created for generating your own XML-based Web sites. Rocket's name is a play on XML's 'skyrocketing' success in virtually every phase of computing. In a nutshell, Rocket is a collection of skeleton XML documents, XSL style sheets, and DTD's that you can use as a basis for creating your own XML-based Web site. Using Rocket, you can transform XML documents and serve them to any browser, regardless of its capabilities. Rocket also allows you exchange XML streams between XML-capable browsers and HTTP servers. Currently, Rocket is set up to operate with Active Server Pages (ASPs). However, there's nothing to prevent you from dropping the framework into a servlet environment, or running it in conjunction with Perl's xml::parser module. The one caveat is that some style sheets may have to be tweaked to work with newer style-sheet processors... Before installing the framework, you first need to ensure that your server has everything Rocket needs. Specifically, Rocket needs an HTTP connection, ASP support, and XML capabilities. The other piece of the equation is XML support. You can use any XML processor you wish. However, the easiest way to add XML support to your server is to install Internet Explorer 5. Installing IE 5 automatically installs the XML and XSL processors, registers the "text/xml" MIME type and creates associations for the .xml and .xsl file types. Since Rocket is designed to work with the MSXML processor, this is the recommended approach. . ." See the installation instructions and download form for other details.

  • [December 03, 1999]   New Working Draft for the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.0 Specification.    The W3C has released a revised public review draft version of the SVG specification: Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.0 Specification. References: W3C Working Draft 03-December-1999, edited by Jon Ferraiolo. The document has been produced by the SVG working group as part of the W3C graphics activity. The SVG specification "defines the features and syntax for Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), a language for describing two-dimensional vector and mixed vector/raster graphics in XML. One area of current activity where some changes are expected is the detailed definition of some of SVG's DOM interfaces. An aaccumulative list of changes to the specification since the first public working draft of SVG (05 February 1999) is supplied in Appendix I: Change History [Changes with the 03-December-1999 SVG Draft Specification]. This working draft attempts to address 'Last Call' review comments from the previous public working draft (the "Last Call" draft of 12 August 1999) plus modifications resulting from continuing collaboration with other working groups and continuing work within the SVG working group." Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) "is a language for describing two-dimensional graphics in XML. SVG allows for three types of graphic objects: vector graphic shapes (e.g., paths consisting of straight lines and curves), images and text. Graphical objects can be grouped, styled, transformed and composited into previously rendered objects. The feature set includes nested transformations, clipping paths, alpha masks, filter effects 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 SVG content) 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. SVG is a language for rich graphical content. For accessibility reasons, if there is an original source document containing higher-level structure and semantics, it is recommended that that higher-level information be made available somehow, either by making the original source document available, or making an alternative version available in an alternative format which conveys the higher-level information, or by using SVG's facilities to include the higher-level information within the SVG content." The new WD specification is available in HTML 4.0, ZIP archive, and PDF file formats.

  • [December 03, 1999]   DOM ECMAScript Test Suite.    Mary Brady (NIST, Conformance Testing) posted an announcement regarding the update of the NIST DOM ECMAScript test suite, accessible via "Click on DOM Test Suite. This suite includes approximately 900 ECMAScript tests that exercise the DOM Level 1 Fundamental, Extended, and HTML interfaces. You can view the results using IE5 by clicking on first the category, and then the particular interface. Options are available for displaying the source code, semantic requirements (which are simply axioms we glean from the spec to organize our thoughts), and the actual specification. Please let me know if you find this useful. We are in the process of generating equivalent functionality for the java binding. We are just about finished with the fundamental interfaces, and expect to have a first set, including fundamental and extended available in early January." For related XML/DOM conformance test resources, see "XML Conformance."

  • [December 03, 1999]   XML Query Engine - A JavaBean Component.    Howard Katz recently announced the release of XML Query Engine, implemented as a JavaBean component. "I'm pleased to announce XML Query Engine, a JavaBean component that can index single or multiple well-formed XML documents using any SAX-based parser. Users can pose full-text queries against the resulting index using XQL. Index speed is quite reasonable for small- to medium-size repositories, in the neighborhood of 45 to 50,000 words per second on a 466 Windows machine. (That drops to about 20,000 words per second on my 166 laptop.) I've added several minor extensions to XQL to allow for full-text query capability. Details on XQL Query Engine and how to obtain it are available on my website at The software is in alpha and will be available once I've returned the week after next from XML' 99 in Philadelphia. I'll be demoing in the "New Technology Nursery" area on the exhibit floor..." For related XML query tools, see "XML and Query Languages - Software."

  • [December 02, 1999]   X2X - XML XLink Engine from STEP UK.    A posting from Jason Markos describes the release of 'X2X - An XML XLink Engine' by STEP UK. "STEP UK Ltd. announces the beta programme of X2X the XML XLink engine. X2X allows for the creation, management and manipulation of links. X2X allows linking between documents and information resources without needing to change either of the source or target documents that are being linked. X2X removes the requirement to insert link information inside document content. The Links are NOT in the document. X2X has an extensible architecture to allow resources to reside in any data repository. X2X stores links independently of any documents and provides facilities to dynamically insert external link structures into documents on-demand. X2X stores all the link information within a ODBC/JDBC enabled database, e.g., Oracle or SQL Server. X2X is initially developed in Java for cross platform operation. X2X is implemented using fundamental linking concepts and understands links defined using the latest draft of the W3C XLink proposal. This scalable technology delivers the ability to associate different data resources regardless of their location. X2X allows for the retrieval of resources and can dynamically add the external link information without altering the original document/ information. The power of linking has been harnessed to allow structured information objects such as XML to be associated with information lacking structure. The architecture enables organizations to store data in the repository of their choice; while XLink adherence means that link information can be authored using a variety of applications. X2X works independently of the storage, authoring and delivery applications. X2X exposes its powerful functionality allowing it to be integrated into any static or dynamic application or service. With X2X it is possible to deliver richer information streams to users with little or no impact on existing data management procedures. The X2X technology preview is available for download at" See the Overview, the Technical Overview, API Notes, Usage Case #1, Usage Case #2, and the API Guidance - X2X Developer Guide. For related XLink references, see "XML Linking."

  • [December 02, 1999]   DSSSLprint Version 1.0 Available for Review.    Fumihito Matsumoto (Next Solution) recently announced the beta/demo release of DSSSLprint Version 1.0, which supports PDF/Postscript printing of XML documents. "DSSSLprint 1.0 is an SGML/XML formatter, and its output formats are PostScript and PDF. The utility converts an SGML/XML document into PostScript or PDF by following the layout, style and pagination descriptions in a DSSSL (Document Style Semantics and Specification Language) script conforming to the International Standard (ISO/IEC 10179:1996). The demo/evaluation version of DSSSLprint1.0 is available for Sun Solaris 2.4 or above. A layout sample created by DSSSLprint1.0 is on Next Solution's web site. DSSSLprint implements the DSSSL formatting language. By writing a style script that specifies how to format the structures found in an SGML document, you can format and print out on any PostScript Level II printer any document that conforms to the expected hierarchy. Furthermore, by creating other scripts, you can create other presentation styles for the same set of documents. The documents themselves are not altered in any way and once the script is created, the formatting process is automatic and independent of the content of any single document instance. DSSSLprint transforms the document straight into PostScript or PDF code, so there are no problems with intermediate files or programs like TeX or LaTeX. Features: (1) Layout results can be previewed on the display before printing on film or paper; (2) All PostScript Level II printers supported; (3) Supports TIFF, EPSF, JPEG and CGM graphic images referenced in the SGML/XML file; (4) DSSSLprint can be easily invoked from a GUI."

  • [December 02, 1999]   Wattle Software Announces Release of XMLwriter 1.0.    Wattle Software recently announced the release of XMLwriter 1.0 for Windows 95/98/2000 and Windows NT4. From the announcement: "Wattle Software today announced the release of XMLwriter 1.0, a new release of its XML and XSL editor for the Windows platform. XMLwriter 1.0 builds on the success of the Beta version released earlier this year, and remains competitively priced. A free, fully-functional evaluation version of XMLwriter 1.0 is available from . Volume licensing terms are available on request to XMLwriter is written entirely in C++, which makes it more integrated with the Windows environment and faster than existing Java-based XML editors. XMLwriter has been designed to meet the Windows user interface guidelines, so users can expect a familiar look and feel. This release of XMLwriter leverages the wide range of vendor support for XML by providing users with the flexibility to incorporate other XML tools into the XMLwriter Integrated Development Environment (IDE). Users can select third-party XML parsers, XSL engines, and other tools to process XML documents without leaving XMLwriter. In response to user feedback, the new version includes improvements to usability, extended multilingual support, and features to help new XML users. Major features of XMLwriter include: (1) Validation of XML documents against a DTD or XML Schema; (2) Conversion of XML documents into other file formats using XSL/T; (3) Visual structural representation of XML Schemas, enabling mouse-driven editing; (4) Useful project management features in the Integrated Development Environment; (5) Advanced editing features such as: real-time colour syntax highlighting of tags and keywords, extensive drag and drop support, unlimited undo/redo, find and replace, auto-indent; (6) Fully customizable menus, toolbars, and workspace environment; (7) Extensive online help and an XML specification guide."

  • [December 02, 1999]   EZ/X - XML/XSL Processor Preview Available.    A posting from Rick Ross announces the recent release of 'EZ/X - a suite of core XML/XSL Processor tools for Java', available for download as a preview. From the announcement: "Activated Intelligence ( invites you to preview our EZ/X suite of core XML tools for Java. EZ/X combines world-class XML parsing and XSL processing in a compact, pure Java package. We're seeking a major industry partner who can leverage EZ/X as part of its XML leadership strategy... EZ/X has been in production use for over a year at the JavaLobby ( - which was probably the world's first 100% dynamically generated XML/XSL site. EZ/X has delivered consistently there under grueling circumstances and extreme heavy loads. We've worked hard to make EZ/X fast, reliable, and conformant to prevailing standards. Preliminary testing by Activated and third-parties suggests that EZ/X should give a great performance boost to your mission-critical XML projects. XSL processing with EZ/X [arguably] is usually 2-3 times faster than Lotus/IBM/Apache or Oracle, and even faster than that when dealing with complex XML/XSL..." For related software, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support."

  • [December 01, 1999]   Datatypes for DTDs.    A draft specification residing on the Extensibility Web site (and looking suspiciously like a W3C 'NOTE') proposes a mechanism that allows the declaration of datatypes for XML content (PCDATA) and attributes. To wit: Datatypes for DTDs (DT4DTD) Version 1.0 (November 1999) is a 'Public Specification' edited by Lee Buck (Extensibility), Charles F. Goldfarb, and Paul Prescod (ISOGEN International). Initially posted as a public document: '10/31/99'. "Abstract: The presented specification allows legacy systems that may presently be unable to convert their DTD markup declarations to XML Schema, to utilize XML Schema conformant datatypes. With it, DTD creators can specify datatypes for attribute values and data content, thereby providing the foundation for a smoother future transition path... Free open-source code that supports this specification for both SAX and DOM is available at" According to one of the authors, the specification represents just "a little convention for getting around the limitations of notations as applied to attributes and contents for datatyping." The markup facility uses NOTATIONs, and relies upon two 'fixed' attributes, e-dtype and a-dtype. Declaring a datatype for an element is permitted only if associated element type's content allows data but no sub-elements. The background: "XML 1.0, using DTDs, provides a strong foundation for validating the syntax of a document and ensuring that all the necessary pieces of information are present (i.e., necessary elements are included, inappropriate ones are not, attributes are supplied when required, etc.). DTDs do not, however, offer much help in constraining the value of a particular attribute or element: a.k.a. datatypes to those with programming backgrounds. DT4DTD brings this important capability to XML. Specifically it: (1) Provides compatibility with XML Schema data types; (2) Provides compatibility with XML-Data data types; (3) Provides programmatic extensions for DOM and SAX; (4) Provides an extensible architecture for custom datatypes; (5) Provides runtime support for data typed schemas created in XML Authority. The DT4DTD [package] consists of a two major parts: a) The draft specification, and b) The SDK [in Java]." Note:(?) similar datatype declaration mechanisms (appropriate for 'architecture-engine' and 'notation-engine' processing aka 'handwaving') are available in SGML, and particularly in Web SGML, where the added 'data specification declared value' allows arguments to be passed to notation processors. For related work, see the references in XML Schemas."

  • [December 01, 1999]   Signiform Introduces XML NewsForms and NewsExtract.    A communiqué from Erik T. Mueller (founder and CEO of Signiform) reports on the introduction of XML NewsForms/NewsExtract by Signiform. "NewsForms are XML documents that represent seventeen (17) types of news events: competitions, deals, earnings reports, economic releases, Fed watching, IPOs, injuries and fatalities, joint ventures, legal events, medical findings, negotiations, new products, management successions, trips and visits, votes, war, and weather reports. NewsExtract is Signiform's information extraction technology for assisting with conversion of text news stories into NewsForms. Instead of simply classifying a story according to topic or company, NewsExtract pulls the essential information out of a story. For example, instead of classifying a story as a deal involving Xedia Corp, NewsExtract tells you specifically that Xedia is the target of the deal." Justification and elaboration for XML NewsForms and NewsExtract are provided in several documents available from the Signiform Web site: (1) "Making news understandable to computers"; (2) "Signiform information extraction technology"; (3) "NewsForms - XML-based forms for representing the content of news events." Additionally, Padoof is a NewsForm/NewsExtract-powered search engine. The NewsForm document type definition is also available online. For related work on XML and news delivery, see (for example) "News Industry Text Format (NITF)," "XMLNews: XMLNews-Story and XMLNews-Meta," and "NewsML and IPTC2000."

  • [December 01, 1999]   Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) Version 2.0.    The W3C Math Working Group has published a revised Working Draft document for the Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) Version 2.0. References: W3C Working Draft 01-December-1999, edited by Nico Poppelier (Salience), Robert Miner (Geometry Technologies, Inc.), and Patrick Ion (Mathematical Reviews, American Mathematical Society). The document is also available as a ZIP archive. MathML "is cast as an application of XML. As such, with adequate style sheet support, it will ultimately be possible for browsers to natively render mathematical expressions. For the immediate future, several vendors offer applets and plug-ins which can render MathML in place in a browser. Translators and equation editors which can generate HTML pages where the math expressions are represented directly in MathML will be available soon." The W3C Amaya editor provides support for MathML editing. The present draft "is a revision of the earlier corrected W3C Recommendation MathML 1.01. It differs from it in that several chapters have been modified and one added. The introductory Chapters 1 and Chapter 2 are almost unchanged in this draft. They remain essentially correct, but will later be revised to reflect the changes in the rest of the document when these have settled down. It is expected that there will be at least two more Working Drafts, appearing at roughly one month intervals, before finalization of the Working Group's proposed specification MathML 2.0. The W3C Math working group will continue to work with the working groups for the Document Object Model (DOM) and the Extensible Style Language (XSL) to ensure that the needs of the scientific community will be met in the future." The document abstract: "This 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 World Wide Web, just as HTML has enabled this functionality for text. This specification of the markup language MathML is intended primarily for a readership consisting of those who will be developing or implementing renderers or editors using it, or software that will communicate using MathML as a protocol for input or output. It is not a User's Guide but rather a reference document. This document 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. About thirty of the MathML tags describe abstract notational structures, while another one hundred 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. While MathML is human-readable it is anticipated that, in all but the simplest cases, authors will use equation editors, conversion programs, and other specialized software tools to generate MathML. Several early versions of such MathML tools already exist, and a number of others, both freely available software and commercial products, are under development."

  • [December 01, 1999]   Using P3P for E-Commerce.    The W3C has acknowledged a submission from Microsoft and Citibank, N.A on Using P3P for E-Commerce. Reference: W3C Note, 29-November-1999, edited by Joe Coco, Saul Klein, Dan Schutzer, San-Yuan Yen, and Alan Slater. "P3P [Platform for Privacy Preferences] does not currently have a data schema that allows merchants to express privacy practices or present to users P3P proposals for data required as part of an electronic commerce transaction. Given that online shopping is one of the most popular uses of the Internet, it is important for P3P to address ecommerce. The proposal being submitted herein provides an ECML compliant ecommerce schema and some simple privacy and security guidelines businesses can follow when using P3P to express ecommerce privacy practices and proposals. This document describes how P3P can be extended to support e-commerce. Specifically, we: (1) Define how the Ecommerce Modeling Language (ECML) can be used within P3P; (2) Define schema for additional elements that are not part of ECML 1.0; (3) identify privacy and security guidelines that merchants and technology companies can optionally employ to make e-commerce safer for both consumers and merchants. The document does not define schema or address privacy/security issues associated with other sensitive data (e.g., medical information, social security number, etc). In addition, this document does not define ECML -- ECML was developed separately by the members of the ECML consortium." Coded examples in XML instance syntax are provided in the document section 'Expressing ECML using the P3P XML Schema Notation' and in a formal P3P XML schema definition for a sample extended schema. Note that the 'last call' W3C Working Draft (The Platform for Privacy Preferences 1.0 (P3P1.0) Specification) was published on November 02, 1999. "P3P policies use an XML encoding of the P3P vocabulary to identify the legal entity making the representation of privacy practices in a policy, enumerate the types of data or data elements collected, and explain how the data will be used. In addition, policies identify the data recipients, indicate whether or not the data will be used in an identifiable way, and make a variety of other disclosures including whether or not a site has a data retention policy, information about assuring parties, and the address of a site's human-readable privacy policy."

  • [November 30, 1999]   SML-DEV Mailing List Announced.    A posting from Don Park announces a new mailing list 'SML-DEV' as "a place for those interested in SML to continue work on SML ['Simplified Markup Language']. "The mailing list is hosted by You can join by sending a message to The SML-DEV archive, calendar, chat, poll, and other goodies can be found at SML-DEV is described as "the primary mailing list for SML developers. Discussion on this mailing list should be contained to SML in general and to SML/XML compatibility issues. General XML discussions should be brought up in the XML-DEV mailing list... The administrator of this mailing list is Don Park, the rascal who proposed SML in XML-DEV." For related lists, see "SGML/XML Discussion Groups and Mailing Lists."

  • [November 30, 1999]   NewsML Mailing List Announced.    A recent posting from Jo Rabin (VP of Development Reuters, and Chair of the IPTC News Structure and Management Working Group) announced a new 'NewsML' email forum. In support of the IPTC's NewsML standard and IPTC2000 initiative, there is a public discussion forum for NewsML, and [for] representation of news in XML. This list is open both to IPTC members and non-members. To join it, send mail to You can post messages to its members via e-mail at The list archive (at is open to the public. Those who have joined the list may contribute and can view list membership. For other references, see "NewsML and IPTC2000."

  • [November 30, 1999]   New Working Draft: Character Model for the World Wide Web.    A new W3C Working Draft document has been published describing a proposed Character Model for the World Wide Web. References: World Wide Web Consortium Working Draft 29-November-1999, edited by Martin J. Dürst (W3C) and François Yergeau (Alis Technologies, Inc.). The WD has been published as part of the W3C Internationalization Activity by the Internationalization Working Group (I18N WG), with the help of the Internationalization Interest Group (I18N IG). The character model "provides authors of specifications, software developers, and content developers a common reference for interoperable text manipulations on the World Wide Web. Topics addressed include encoding identification, early uniform normalization, string identity matching, string indexing, and URI conventions, building on the Universal Character Set (UCS); see ISO10646 and Unicode. Some introductory material on characters and character encodings is also provided." The document is also available in a ZIP archive. The rationale for the specification: "Starting with RFC 2070, the Web community has recognized the need for a character model for the World Wide Web. W3C's first step towards building this model was the adoption of the UCS (Universal Character Set) as the document character set for HTML 4.0. This choice was motivated by the fact that the UCS: (1) is the only universal character repertoire available, (2) covers the widest possible range, (3) provides a way of referencing characters independent of the encoding of a resource, (4) is being updated/completed carefully, (5) is widely accepted and implemented by industry. The UCS meant that HTML documents were not limited to containing ASCII characters. After HTML 4.0, W3C adopted the UCS for other specifications such as XML and CSS 2. UCS now serves as a common reference for W3C's specifications and applications. Where data transfer on the Web remained unidirectional (from server to browser) , and where the main purpose was to render documents, the use of the UCS without specifying additional details sufficed. However, the Web has grown: (1) Data transfers among servers, proxies, and clients, in all directions, have increased, (2) Non-ASCII characters are being used in more and more places, (3) Data transfers between different protocol/format elements (such as element/attribute names, URI components, and textual content) have increased, (4) People are defining more and more APIs, and not just protocols and formats. In short, the Web may be seen as a single, very large application, rather than as a collection of independent small applications. While these developments strengthen the requirement that UCS be the basis of a character model for the Web, they also create the need for additional specifications on the application of UCS to the Web. Some properties of the UCS that require additional specification for the Web include: (1) Choices of binary encoding forms (UTF-8, UTF-16, UCS-4); (2) Variable length encodings (e.g., due to the use of combining characters, surrogates, etc.); (3) Duplicate encodings (e.g., precomposed vs. decomposed); (4) Control codes for various purposes (e.g., bidirectionality control, symmetric swapping, etc.). It should be noted that such properties also exist in legacy encodings, and in many cases have been inherited by the UCS in one way or another from such legacy encodings. [This] document presents the additional specifications and requirements to ensure an interoperable character model for the Web."

  • [November 30, 1999]   Revised W3C Working Draft - XHTML 1.0: The Extensible HyperText Markup Language.    The W3C HTML Working Group has released a revised working draft specification for XHTML; it is "a revision of the Proposed Recommendation dated 24-August-1999 incorporating changes as a result of comments from the Proposed Recommendation review, and comments and further deliberations of the W3C HTML Working Group." References: XHTML 1.0: The Extensible HyperText Markup Language. A Reformulation of HTML 4.0 in XML 1.0, W3C Working Draft 24-November-1999. The draft document is also available in Postscript, PDF, ZIP archive formats. The Working Draft 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." The W3C WG has reversed itself on one contentious point found in the preceding version of XHTML ('W3C Proposed Recommendation 24-August-1999'): in the PR, three separate namespaces for XHTML 1.0 (viz., a document rooted at <html>) were defined: (1) xmlns="" for the XHTML 1.0 Strict document type, (2) xmlns="" for the XHTML 1.0 Transitional document type, and (3) xmlns="" for the XHTML 1.0 Frameset document type. In the current WD, the (single) namespace for XHTML is defined to be

  • [November 24, 1999]   XTech 2000: Call for Papers and Tutorials.    David Megginson has posted an announcement and call for papers in connection with the XTech 2000 conference. "Together with my co-chairs, Jon Bosak and Tim Bray, I would like to invite the members of XML-DEV to submit proposals for papers and tutorials at the XTech 2000 conference, which will be held from February 27 to 2 March 2000 in San Jose, CA. XTech is sponsored by the GCA and is the major west-coast XML conference: it has a technical (rather than marketing) focus, and it is an excellent place for introducing or debating new ideas and technologies. For more information about the conference, please see Presentations at XTech 2000 will be 30-45 minutes in length or featured in panel discussion format. Suitable topic areas may include, but are not limited to the following: Open Source XML, XML inside the firewall, XML and Non-Roman character sets, XML and portable devices (palmtops, cell phones, embedded systems), XML and Java, XML and Python, XML and publishing, XML/EDI XML and e-business, XML and Perl, Vocabularies, Query languages, Information Content and Exchange (ICE), Stylesheets, rendering and printing XML and co-existence Web graphics, Linking Core technology developments, Multipart document packaging, Schemas XML and ActiveX Authoring, XML and Unicode, Repositories XML for the individual user, Browsers Developer tools Application requirements, Transition considerations, and more." For other references, see the main conference entry.

  • [November 24, 1999]   RDF::Graph V1.00b Perl Module.    Janne Saarela recently posted an announcement for the release of an RDF::Graph V1.00b Perl Module. "Pro Solutions Ltd. is pleased to announce a Resource Description Framework (RDF) Model & Syntax Specification (22-Feb-99) API in Perl. Please note that this is a beta release. The API is implemented as a Perl module that works on top of the RDF::Parser module. Both modules are available for download at the Pro Solutions Warehouse. RDF::Graph enables an application to browse a spanned RDF graph. While browsing, the application can add and remove nodes or arcs. The nodes in the graph correspond with URI addressable resources or literal nodes (strings or well-formed xml markup). The arcs correspond with predicates defined by RDF schemas. Finally, the application can at any time export the graph into an RDF/XML encoded document. RDF::Graph also allows simple queries on the graph. For example, one can query for all properties of a given resource or values of a given property of a given resource. This querying satisfies also the closure requirement for a query language, i.e., running the query on one graph will result in another graph." Unrelated RDF news: (1) David Megginson posted a set of three examples of RDF (varying degrees of minimization/normalization); (2) Tim Berners-Lee has sketched a draft for a "Simpler Syntax for RDF" ['A strawman Unstriped syntax for RDF in XML'] - "The Cambridge [communique] meeting had a consensus that a simpler syntax for RDF. At the time I mentioned that I had done some thinking about it. The basic idea is that XML elements represent RDF properties: there is no 'striping' as in the standard RDF syntax, in which alternate layers in the nesting represent node types and arc types. In the 'unstriped' syntax, node types (if used) can be made explicit by an arc, or can be deduced from the domain and range of properties."

  • [November 24, 1999]   Stylesheets for the XML and XSL Recommendations and Working Drafts.    [Q] Stefano Mazzocchi asked on the XSL-List "Is there a public W3C Specification XSLT?" - I would like to play around with a W3C Specification DTD' -> 'XSL Formatting Objects DTD' stylesheet that allows me to create PDFs of W3C specifications and create a solid example to be included in Apache FOP which could be useful even for W3C people (I presume). Is there general interest for such thing? Is there a public 'W3C Specification DTD' -> 'HTML 4.0 Strict DTD'? [A] James Clark answered: "The ones used for the XSLT and XPath Recs are at [FTP locations named as follows]. xmlspec.xsl [Style Sheet for the XML and XSL Recommendations and Working Drafts] handles the standard W3C DTD. xpath.xsl imports xmlspec.xsl and adds rules to deal with the customizations used by the XPath specification; xslt.xsl imports xpath.xsl and adds rules to deal with the customizations used by the XSLT specification."

  • [November 23, 1999]   W3C XML Linking Working Group Publishes XInclude.    A posting from Daniel Veillard to XML-DEV announces the publication of a W3C 'NOTE' from the XML Linking Working Group: XML Inclusion Proposal (XInclude). References: W3C Note 23-November-1999, edited by Jonathan Marsh (Microsoft) and David Orchard (IBM). The note is from the XML Linking Working Group as part of the W3C XML Activity. "The purpose of this document is to set forth a minimal set of requirements and introduce a processing model and syntax for a general purpose inclusion facility. Inclusion is accomplished by merging a number of XML Infosets into a single composite Infoset. Specification of the XML documents (infosets) to be merged and control over the merging process uses an XML-friendly syntax (elements, attributes, URI-References). The general purpose inclusion mechanism is usable in well-formed but not necessarily valid XML documents. The XML Linking Working Group has decided to publish the XInclude proposal as a W3C Note from the XML Linking Working Group. This is the result of the evolution of the show="parsed" behaviour found in early XLink Working Drafts. It was decided that this functionality would be better handled in the core XML specification. Hence, at this time, this document is for discussion purposes only." Comments should be sent to For related specifications from the XML Linking Working Group, see "XML Linking Language."

  • [November 23, 1999]   New W3C/IETF Working Draft for XML-Signature Core Syntax and Processing.    A revised working draft document XML-Signature Core Syntax and Processing has been published simultaneously as a W3C Working Draft and an IETF Internet Draft ('draft-ietf-xmldsig-core-02.txt'). References: W3C Working Draft 19-November-1999, edited by Donald Eastlake, Joseph Reagle, and David Solo. The WD constitutes an editorial revision of the W3C Working Draft 20-October-1999 under the same title. This working draft document "specifies the syntax and processing rules for the encoding of digital signatures using XML. Such signatures can provide integrity, message authentication, and/or signer authentication services for data of any type, whether located within the XML that includes the signature or locatable elsewhere." [...] This document describes the proposed syntax and processing rules for the XML Digital Signature specification. This specification provides a mechanism for applying digital signatures to XML documents and other Internet resources and encoding those signatures as XML. The structure allows for both embedded and detached signatures. An embedded signature can include the signature within the signed object or embed the signed object within the signature. A detached signature allows the signature to be independent of the object. The processing structure allows for switching between embedded and detached signatures without necessarily invalidating the signature. This document also defines other useful types including methods of referencing collections of resources, and key management and algorithm definitions. XML digital signatures are very flexible and may be used to apply signatures to any type of resource. The resource(s) being signed may be included within the signature, outside the signature in the same document, or completely outside of the document. XML digital signatures are represented by the Signature element which has the following structure: <Signature>(SignedInfo) (SignatureValue) (KeyInfo)? (Object)* </Signature>. This is a public WG Draft that follows the November IETF meeting. Consequently it includes a editoral changes and recrafting though no major design changes. This version includes the experimental use of XML Schema and XML entity references. The XML schema declarations within the specification may contain errors, though the complete WG schema definition does validate to the Schema DTD. We expect the final draft will include a DTD and schema. Please send comments to the editors and cc: the list Other relevant documents are referenced from the W3C's main XML Signature Web page, including the recently-published requirements specification. See also "XML Digital Signature."

  • [November 23, 1999]   JAXP Specification v1.0 Public Draft 1.    James Duncan Davidson (Sun Microsystems, Inc.) has posted an announcement concerning the release of the Java API for XML Parsing Specification v1.0 as 'Public Draft 1'. "The Java API for XML Parsing (JAXP) Optional Package provides basic functionality for reading, manipulating, and generating XML documents through pure Java APIs. This API optional package provides a standard way for any XML-conformant parser to be accessed by an application. The reference implementation uses the high performance Java Project X as its default XML parser. However, the software's pluggable architecture allows any XML conformant parser to be used. Using this software, application and tools developers can build fully-functional XML-enabled Java applications for e-commerce, application integration, and web publishing. This release offers 100% conformance to the XML 1.0 Specification, SAX 1.0, DOM Level 1 Core and XML namespaces." The document is intended for "Application Developers wishing to develop portable Java Language applications that use XML APIs and for Java Platform Developers wishing to implement this version of the Standard Extension. [...] Although both SAX and DOM provide broad functionality, they are not complete. This is a significant issue, affecting the ability to author a truly portable application using only these APIs. Also, it is desirable to allow the underlying implementation of the parser mechanism to be pluggable. This [Java API for XML Parsing] specification [therefore] extends the SAX and DOM APIs to provide a completely portable functional API. [...] Public Review is a critical part of the development process. It's your chance to review the specification and comment directly to the expert group that created it. To download the specification and for more information, see To read more about the Java Community Process and what it means for a specification to be in "Public Draft", see Please send all comments about this specification to" See from August 1999: "XML Data Binding for the Java Platform."

  • [November 22, 1999]   IBM's Updated XMI Toolkit.    The most recent release of IBM's 'XMI Toolkit' now supports conversions between Java, Rational Rose, and UML models; it also includes an API to read and write XMI 1.0 files. One may use the XMI Toolkit to share Java objects using XML, to generate DTDs, and to convert designs and code between Java, UML, and Rational Rose. XMI (XML Metadata Interchange Format), from the Object Management Group (OMG) "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. XMI defines two sets of generation rules for creating XML documents and XML DTDs. XML document generation specifies how to serialize objects into an XML stream. XML DTD generation specifies how to create a DTD that matches your objects from their class definitions. XMI is also used for interchanging design information and schemas. Standard XMI DTDs have been created for UML, MOF, CORBA (CCM), and are being standardized for Databases (CWM), Java, and Enterprise Java Beans (EJBs). XMI has been endorsed by over 30 companies, and is available both in products by multiple companies as well as in freeware on the web. The [IBM] XMI Toolkit 1.05 is a refresh of the XMI 1.0 technology. A Reference Implementation of XMI, with source code, is included. For more information on XMI, please see"

  • [November 19, 1999]   O'Reilly Publishes DocBook: The Definitive Guide. The Official Documentation for DocBook.    A major publication event is represented by the appearance of DocBook: The Definitive Guide. The Official Documentation for DocBook, by Norman Walsh and Leonard Muellner. The release of the book was announced on November 09, 1999, but the volume has long been awaited as a model textbook for a major industry application of SGML/XML. The DocBook DTDs have been refined through ten years of work and industry experience, involving scores of people. The significance of the volume is related to the importance of the DocDook standard itself, and to its careful authorship by the principal author, Norm Walsh. "DocBook is an SGML/XML DTD maintained by the DocBook Technical Committee of OASIS. It is particularly well suited to books and papers about computer hardware and software. Because it is a large and robust DTD, and because its main structures correspond to the general notion of what constitutes a 'book,' DocBook has been adopted by a large and growing community of authors writing books of all kinds. DocBook is supported 'out of the box' by a number of commercial tools, and there is rapidly expanding support for it in a number of free software environments. These features have combined to make DocBook a generally easy to understand, widely useful, and very popular DTD. Dozens of organizations are using DocBook for millions of pages of documentation, in various print and online formats, worldwide." From the book's announcement: "The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), the organization responsible for the continued maintenance of the DocBook DTD, has designated O'Reilly's latest release, DocBook: The Definitive Guide, as the official documentation of the DocBook DTD. DocBook: The Definitive Guide was written by Leonard Muellner and Norman Walsh, who is the creator of the DocBook XML implementation. This important new book is the complete and official documentation of the DocBook Document Type Definition (DTD) and many of its associated tools. DocBook is a system for writing structured documents using SGML and XML. DocBook, provides all the elements you'll need for technical documents of all kinds. A number of computer companies use DocBook for their documentation, as do several Open Source documentation groups, including the Linux Documentation Project (LDP). With the consistent use of DocBook, these groups can readily share and exchange information. With an XML-enabled browser, DocBook documents are as accessible on the Web as in print... In this book, you'll find: (1) A brief introduction to SGML and XML; (2) A guide to creating documents with the DocBook DTD and associated stylesheets; (3) Information about using SGML and XML tools like Jade and DSSSL; (4) A guide to customizing DocBook; (5) A complete SGML and XML reference, including examples, for every DocBook element. In addition, the accompanying CD-ROM contains: the complete source text of this book, in both SGML and HTML; all the examples from the book; DSSSL Stylesheets that let you convert DocBook documents to RTF, LaTeX, or HTML; the DocBook DTD for SGML, version 3.1; and the DocBk DTD for XML, version 3.1.5." A three-part excerpt from this new book is presented in an article by Norm Walsh, "Customizing the DocBook DTD. An Excerpt from DocBook: The Definitive Guide; some historical background on DocBook is provided by Dale Dougherty in "The Making of the DocBook DTD." The book's official Web site contains volume updates and the raw sources for the text. For other references on DocBook, see "DocBook XML DTD."

  • [November 19, 1999]   Document Structure Description (DSD): An XML Schema Language.    A communiqué from Nils Klarlund forwards an announcement for Document Structure Description (DSD) as "a new and very effective way of describing XML documents." According to the text of the announcement, "This new DSD schema language is result of a research collaboration between AT&T Labs, NJ and BRICS at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. The DSD 1.0 language has been designed by Nils Klarlund, Anders Møller, and Michael I. Schwartzbach. A prototype DSD processor has been implemented. It is freely available for experimentation and further development. The DSD language has arisen out of a need to describe XML documents to Web programmers with an elementary background in computer science. DSDs have also been expressively designed to further W3C sponsored XML technologies such as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and XSL Transformations (XSLT). CSS is an essential part of modern HTML, but has so far not been formulated as a general style sheet mechanism for XML that works with any semantic domain. DSDs provide both a generalized semantics for a CSS-like style sheet mechanism and document processing instructions that provide the abstraction benefits of CSS in any XML document. XSLT 1.0 is a programming notation that allows transformations of classes of XML documents into semantic domains like HTML. XSLT programs are easy to write, especially if assumptions can be made about the input documents. The expressive power of DSDs allow declarative and readable specifications of XML documents that are to be subjected to XSLT processing. DSDs require no specialized XML/SGML insights. The technology is based on general and familiar concepts that allow much stronger document descriptions than possible with DTDs or the current XML Schema proposal." The Web site references the DSD 1.0 specification, an overview article, and a DSD description of DSDs. For related materials, see "XML Schemas."

  • [November 19, 1999]   XMLNews-L Mailing List Launched.    A communiqué from David Megginson reports on the recent launch of the XMLNews-L mailing list. XMLNews-L is a moderated list that's open to people who are involved in some way with news and information exchange. "The xmlnews-l mailing list is devoted to discussing the exchange of news and information using open standards such as XML, RDF, and NITF, with a focus on practical implementation. Membership is free and is open to all parties actively involved with any type of online news and information exchange including (but not limited to) information providers and distributors, software developers and vendors, researchers, and print or electronic publishers. To help prevent spam, all subscription requests must be approved by the list moderator. For more information on XMLNews, please visit our Web site at The address for subscribing or unsubscribing is" XMLNews is "a suite of specifications for exchanging news and information using open Web standards [which makes it] easier to produce, receive, and archive any kind of information across different hardware, software and programming languages... XMLNews has several advantages for news producers and news consumers alike. With a single standard format for all news feeds, XMLNews makes it easier to share news all along the distribution chain, from reporters in the field and international press agencies to end-users such as news portals and corporate intranets." See "XMLNews" and the Web site for other description and references. For other lists, see "SGML/XML Discussion Groups and Mailing Lists."

  • [November 19, 1999]   Interati Releases 'debit' XML Editor Toolkit.    Dan Bennett (of Interati) recently posted an announcement on CTX for the release of 'debit' - an open source XML editor toolkit. Debit is both a fully functioning XML editor built around the Microsoft XML Parser and a tool kit - allowing third parties to customise and extend the product for their particular needs. Debit is currently 'free' (released under the Gnu General Public Licence or GPL) and supports the following features: (1) editing of arbitrary XML documents to arbitrary DTDs - DTD-less editing is not currently supported; (2) strong validation - unlike some other editors, Debit won't let you enter tags or attributes that aren't allowed within the DTD; (3) document preview - using XSL style sheets to transform the document to HTML for preview; (4) element reordering - where the DTD permits, Debit will allow you to re-order elements; (5) limited cut & paste - cut & paste of elements it not currently supported; (6) small footprint, low memory and processor requirements." See the architecture description, user guide, and download page.

  • [November 18, 1999]   HTML Working Group Roadmap.    As part of the W3C HTML Activity, the HTML Working Group has produced a document HTML Working Group Roadmap. Reference: W3C Note 18-November-1999, edited by Shane McCarron and Dave Raggett. The document "describes the plans of the working group for each of its deliverables. While those plans may change, they represent the group's best guess as of the date on this document." The primary goals under the current activity include: (1) Editorial revisions and bug fixes to HTML 4; (2) Reformulation of HTML in XML; (3) Modularization of XHTML; (4) Support for DOM level 2 Events; (5) Document Profiles and Interoperability Guarantees; (6) Next Generation Forms." The deliverables include documents on XHTML Profiles and the Investigation of XHTML Modules as XML Schemas.

  • [November 17, 1999]   Introduction to the Encoded Archival Description (EAD).    The November issue of D-Lib Magazine, produced by The Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), features an introduction and overview of the Encoded Archival Description (EAD) standard. EAD is a major SGML/XML application currently implemented by over 38 institutions (research libraries, archive centers, museums, digital library consortia). Document reference: "Encoded Archival Description: An Introduction and Overview." By Daniel V. Pitti (Project Director, Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, University of Virginia). In D-Lib Magazine [ISSN: 1082-9873] Volume 5, Number 11 (November 1999). "Encoded Archival Description (EAD) is an emerging standard used internationally in an increasing number of archives and manuscripts libraries to encode data describing corporate records and personal papers. The individual descriptions are variously called finding aids, guides, handlists, or catalogs. While archival description shares many objectives with bibliographic description, it differs from it in several essential ways. From its inception, EAD was based on SGML, and, with the release of EAD version 1.0 in 1998, it is also compliant with XML. EAD was, and continues to be, developed by the archival community. While development was initiated in the United States, international interest and contribution are increasing. EAD is currently administered and maintained jointly by the Society of American Archivists and the United States Library of Congress. Developers are currently exploring ways to internationalize the administration and maintenance of EAD to reflect and represent the expanding base of users." In this connection, please note that the complete (and exemplary!) documentation for the EAD DTD (SGML/XML), published by the Society of American Archivists and the Library of Congress, is now available online at the Library of Congress Web site: EAD Tag Library for Version 1.0. Encoded Archival Description (EAD) Document Type Definition (DTD), Version 1.0. Technical Document No. 2. Earlier in the Fall of 1999, the EAD Application Guidelines were published by the Society of American Archivists. Reference: Encoded Archival Description Application Guidelines Version 1.0, prepared by the Encoded Archival Description Working Group of Society of American Archivists (SAA, 1999, 330 pages). This Application Guidelines volume "introduces Encoded Archival Description (EAD) from administrative, archival, and technical perspectives. It constitutes the 'final' piece of documentation for EAD Version 1.0; other volumes include the EAD Document Type Definition and Encoded Archival Description Tag Library. The volume also contains several helpful appendices, such as a list of recommended (and required) elements, crosswalks to ISAD(G) and MARC, and fully-encoded finding aid examples from repositories in the US and the UK. For background and references on this initiative, see "Encoded Archival Description (EAD)."

  • [November 17, 1999]   IBM alphaWorks Releases XSL Editor.    Joe Kesselman has posted an announcement for the release of an 'IBM XSL Editor' from alphaWorks. The IBM XSL Editor application "allows a user to import, create, and save Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) style sheets and Extensible Markup Language (XML) source documents. This XSL stylesheet editor incorporates trace function and provides assistance with writing select and match expressions. It integrates XSL Trace with the Visual Transform tool, both available on alphaWorks. IBM's XSL Editor allows users to set and remove 'break points' on the style sheet and source document. The XSL Editor user interface features an XML 'source based' collapsible 'tree view' with dynamic font resizing for 'Zooming' in/out to handle small/large documents. Dynamic 'edit pads' provide a vehicle for style sheet and source document editing that are automatically kept in synch with their corresponding tree views. Style sheet authoring is made convenient by the ability to automatically generate XPath syntax from sample source documents. The tool requires a Java runtime environment and the Swing 1.0.3 component class library. The development team has not yet implemented several XSL transformation constructs. In particular: <xsl:import>, <xsl:include>, extension mechanisms, and the document() function. The IBM XSL Editor distribution includes both the IBM XML Parser (version 2.0.14) and LotusXSL engines as well as other support libraries. Also, note that Java 2 SDK does not include the swing 1.0.3 component libraries." For related tools, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support."

  • [November 17, 1999]   Revised IETF Internet Draft for "XML Media Types".    A posting from MURATA Makoto (Fuji Xerox Information Systems) announces the availability of a revised IETF Internet Draft on "XML Media Types." Reference: draft-murata-xml-01.txt. IETF [Network Working Group] Internet-Draft, November 8, 1999. By MURATA Makoto and Simon St.Laurent. Makoto writes: "On the basis of [mailing list discussions] this version ['draft-murata-01' (November 8, 1999)] clarifies when text/xml is more appropriate than application/xml and vice versa. Non-XPointer fragment identifiers for XML vocabularies like SVG and SMIL requires further discussion." 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 MIME 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." For background and related references on the proposed use of media types/subtypes in connection with XML documents, see "XML Media/MIME Types."

  • [November 16, 1999]   Customer Profile Exchange (CPEX) Working Group Formed.    An initial group of (twenty-five-some) vendors have formed a working group aimed at creating a 'unified view' of business relationships and global privacy safeguards. According to one announcement, the initiative involves an 'XML-based standard incorporates online and offline data to enable singular, simultaneous customer view within multiple enterprise applications.' "Addressing the need for e-businesses to maintain a singular, holistic view of their customers, leading vendors in the e-business and e-customer applications market today announced the Customer Profile EXchange (CPEX) working group. CPEX offers a vendor-neutral, open standard for facilitating the privacy-enabled interchange of customer information across disparate enterprise applications and systems. Charter working group members currently include [numerous] industry leaders... The CPEX standard integrates online and offline customer data in an XML-based data model for use within various enterprise applications both on and off the Web. The result is a networked, customer-focused environment that allows e-businesses to leverage a unified view of their customers into more compelling e-relationships. More than simply a DTD or XML tag set, CPEX will include a data model, transport and query definitions, and a framework for enabling privacy safeguards. Businesses will be able to apply CPEX across a disparate range of back-office applications, front-office applications and Web customer automation applications. While the benefits of a singular customer view are growing increasingly apparent within an enterprise, CPEX solutions will prove vital in tomorrow's world of connected enterprises. The CPEX working group intends to develop an open-source reference implementation and developer guidelines to speed adoption of CPEX among vendors. CPEX will enable enterprises to implement the privacy safeguards their customers and governments require in a unified approach, rather than piecemeal in each application. The transitive CPEX model of secure customer objects will enable more widespread use of these privacy safeguards independent of the privacy standards that may be developed and instituted. Open to any vendor that wishes to contribute to the standard, the CPEX working group is chaired by Siebel Systems, the Marketing Committee is co-chaired by net.Genesis and Vignette Corporation, and Andromedia/Macromedia chairs the Technical Committee. The CPEX working group is hosted by, a neutral, non-profit organization that also hosts ICE, PRISM and several other XML working groups." See the press release on the Web site: "Leading E-Customer Solution Vendors Form Customer Profile Exchange 'CPEX' Working Group. Open, XML-based standard incorporates online and offline data to enable singular, simultaneous customer view within multiple enterprise applications." For other references, see "Customer Profile Exchange (CPEX) Working Group."

  • [November 16, 1999]   World Wide Web Consortium Issues XSL Transformations (XSLT) and XML Path Language (XPath) as W3C Recommendations.    The W3C has announced the publication of XSLT and XPath as W3C Recommendations - 'Two specifications [which] work to transform XML documents and data, supporting presentation flexibility and device independence.' From the press release: "These new specifications represent cross-industry and expert community agreement on technologies that will enable the transformation and styled presentation of XML documents. A W3C Recommendation indicates that a specification is stable, contributes to Web interoperability, and has been reviewed by the W3C membership, who favor its adoption by the industry. 'Anyone using XML can now take advantage of XSLT, a powerful new tool for manipulating, converting or styling documents,' declared Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director. 'XPath [edited by James Clark and Steve DeRose] adds a simple way of referring to parts of an XML document. Together, they strike a fine balance between simplicity of use and underlying power.' As more content publishers and commercial interests deliver rich data in XML, the need for presentation technology increases in both scale and functionality. XSL meets the more complex, structural formatting demands that XML document authors have. XSLT [edited by James Clark] makes it possible for one XML document to be transformed into another according to an XSL Style sheet. As part of the document transformation, XSLT uses XPath to address parts of an XML document that an author wishes to transform. XPath is also used by another XML technology, XPointer, to specify locations in an XML document...Together, XSLT and XPath make it possible for XML documents to be reformatted according to the parameters of XSL style sheets and increase presentation flexibility into the XML architecture...The creators of XML documents now have a variety of open source and commercial tools which support XSLT and XPath. In addition, many W3C members who reviewed the specifications have committed to implementations in upcoming products, indicated in the wide range of testimonials." For background and references, see "Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL)" and "XML Linking Language."

  • [November 16, 1999]   XML Scandinavia 2000.    The SGML/XML Users Groups of Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden are jointly sponsoring an XML/SGML conference "XML Scandinavia 2000" on May 2 - 4, 2000, to be held at the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre, Gothenburg, Sweden. The sponsors have issued a call for papers inviting users, developers and vendors of XML/SGML and related systems to participate in this first joint Scandinavian conference. "We hereby invite submission of papers and also invite exhibitors to take advantage of this event to present tools and applications within this fast-growing area of technology. We welcome presentations focusing on new media, structured document management, electronic publishing, World Wide Web applications, electronic commerce, industrial applications, business issues, or advanced or introductory XML/SGML/HTML/WWW issues. The national conferences held in Finland, Norway, and Sweden have been successful events of growing popularity, drawing in excess of 200 attendees each during the conferences last year. Numerous exhibitors of leading Scandinavian and international companies have participated. The national conferences have functioned as a meeting point over the years for professionals in the manufacturing and publishing industries. They have dealt with areas such as electronic commerce, WWW publishing, and in particular, XML-related technology. We have now felt that the time has come for focusing the interest to the Scandinavian region, and incidentally saluting the start of the new millennium with a new event which focuses on technology for the future. The language of choice at the conference is English, although papers in Danish, Finnish, Norwegian or Swedish may be accepted depending on the subject matter and the final program." Proposals for papers and tutorials should be sent to the conference organizers by November 26, 1999. See the conference Web site for additional information.

  • [November 16, 1999]   XPath Interface for XT Version 0.85.    A posting from Takuki Kamiya (Fujitsu Ltd.) announces the availability of an XPath interface for XT Version 0.85'. The author says: "I have written an DOM query utility in Java on top of XT. It is implemented in Java language and complies with W3C's XPath Proposed Recommendation as it is currently implemented in XT. You can use it to retrieve DOM Nodes that matches to a given XPath selector. To use XPath interface for XT Version 0.85, [one would]: (1) Build a DOM Tree (i.e., org.w3c.dom.Document) by using a XML Parser; (2) Construct a DomQueryManager object with the DOM created in step '1'. (3) Invoke DomQueryManager's getNodesByXPath method by supplying a DOM Node and XPath selector string as arguments. I share the code with the community for free to see if anyone finds it useful... Free with no warranty. Comments are welcome. Any feedback is invited." For related tools, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support."

  • [November 15, 1999]   Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL) Boston Specification - New Working Draft.    The W3C SYMM Working Group, as part of the W3C Synchronized Multimedia Activity, has produced a second working draft of Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL) Boston Specification. References: W3C Working Draft 15-November-1999; edited by Jeff Ayars (RealNetworks), Aaron Cohen (Intel), Ken Day (Macromedia), Erik Hodge (RealNetworks), Philipp Hoschka (W3C), Rob Lanphier (RealNetworks), Nabil Layaïda (INRIA), Jacco van Ossenbruggen (CWI), Lloyd Rutledge (CWI), Bridie Saccocio (RealNetworks), Patrick Schmitz (Microsoft), Warner ten Kate (Philips), Ted Wugofski (Gateway), Jin Yu (Compaq), Thierry Michel (W3C). The working draft 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. SMIL Boston is defined as a set of markup modules, which define the semantics and an XML syntax for certain areas of SMIL functionality. All modules have an associated Document Object Model (DOM)." Section 11 of the working draft ("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." The WD document is available in Postscript and PDF formats as well as in HTML.

  • [November 15, 1999]   Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language Document Object Model.    As part of the W3C Synchronized Multimedia Activity, the W3C has released a working draft document Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language Document Object Model. References: W3C Working Draft 15-November-1999, edited by Philippe Le Hégaret (W3C) and Patrick Schmitz (Microsoft). This working draft specification "defines the Document Object Model (DOM) specification for synchronized multimedia functionality. It is part of work in the Synchronized Multimedia Working Group (SYMM) towards a next version of the SMIL language and SMIL modules. Related documents describe the specific application of this SMIL DOM for SMIL documents and for HTML and XML documents that integrate SMIL functionality. The SMIL DOM builds upon the DOM Core functionality, adding support for timing and synchronization, media integration and other extensions to support synchronized multimedia documents." Background: "SMIL 1.0 did not define a Document Object Model. Because SMIL is XML based, the basic functionality defined by the Core DOM is available. However, just as HTML and CSS have defined DOM interfaces to make it easier to manipulate these document types, there is a need to define a specific DOM interface for SMIL functionality. The current SYMM charter includes a deliverable for a SMIL-specific DOM to address this need, and this document specifies the SMIL DOM interfaces. Broadly defined, the SMIL DOM is an Application Programming Interface (API) for SMIL documents and XML/HTML documents that integrate SMIL functionality. It defines the logical structure of documents and the way a document is accessed and manipulated. This is described more completely in "What is the Document Object Model". The SMIL DOM will be based upon the DOM Core functionality. This describes a set of objects and interfaces for accessing and manipulating document objects. The SMIL DOM will also require the additional event interfaces described in the DOM Level 2 Events module. The SMIL DOM extends these interfaces to describe elements, attributes, methods and events specific to SMIL functionality. Note that the SMIL DOM does not require support for DOM Level 2 Views, Stylesheets, CSS, Traversal, and Model Range modules."

  • [November 15, 1999]   W3C Working Draft for SMIL Animation.    As part of the W3C Synchronized Multimedia Activity, the SYMM Working Group has published a Working Draft for SMIL Animation. References: W3C Working Draft 29-October-1999, edited by Patrick Schmitz and Aaron Cohen. This document presents "a working draft of a specification of animation functionality for XML documents. It describes an animation framework as well as a set of base XML animation elements suitable for integration with XML documents. It is based upon the SMIL 1.0 timing model, with some extensions." In detail: "[the WD] describes a framework for incorporating animation onto a time line and a mechanism for composing the effects of multiple animations. A set of basic animation elements are also described that can be applied to any XML-based language. A language with which this module is integrated is referred to as a host language. A document containing animation elements is referred to as a host document. Animation is inherently time-based. SMIL Animation is defined in terms of the SMIL timing model. The animation capabilities are described by new elements with associated attributes and semantics, as well as the SMIL timing attributes. Animation is modeled as a function that changes the presented value of a specific attribute over time. The timing model is based upon SMIL 1.0, with some changes and extensions to support interactive (event-based) timing. SMIL Animation uses a simplified 'flat' timing model, with no time containers (like <par> or <seq>). This version of SMIL Animation may not be used with documents that otherwise contain timing... Animation is defined as a time-based manipulation of a target element (or more specifically of some attribute of the target element, the target attribute). The animation defines a mapping of time to values for the target attribute. This mapping accounts for all aspects of timing, as well as various specific controls on the animation. Animations specify a begin and simple duration which can be repeated. Each animation defines an animation function, that produces a value for the target attribute, for any time within the simple duration. The author can specify how long or how many times an animation should repeat - this defines the active duration. The target attribute is the name of a feature of a target element as defined in a host language document. This may be (e.g.) an XML attribute contained in the element or a CSS property that applies to the element. By default, the target element of an animation will be the parent of the animation element (an animation element is typically a child of the target element). However, the target may be any element in the document, identified by the associated element id or via an XLink reference..."

  • [November 15, 1999]   New XML Tools from IBM alphaWorks.    The IBM alphaWorks lab recently released a number of new and updated XML tools. These include: (1) X-IT: X-IT is "a batch processing application for XML files, which processes them in an interactive or in a non-interactive mode based on the specified operation (sorting, validating against a new DTD, deleting some nodes etc). X-It supports the following operations: (a) Adding a PI/Comment to the XML files; (b) Deleting specific nodes from XML file; (c) Finding a given text and replacing with a new value (d) Validating the XML file against the specified DTD; (e) Sorting the XML file X-It provides a wizard that will guide you through the processing of XML files. The processing can be done in an interactive mode (i.e., view the results and save) or in a non-interactive mode which automatically saves the successfully processed files." (2) TSpaces: TSpaces is "a set of network communication buffers, APIs, and classes that allow heterogeneous, Java-enabled devices to exchange data with little programming effort. Recently updated TSpaces v2.1.0 is now available for download. It adds XML support and a number of other enhancements. It also includes numerous bug fixes and performance improvements." (3) FoCuS: FoCus is "a tool that implements the functional coverage methodology. Focus improves testing by providing detailed coverage information on the areas in which testing is lacking. The model language is now XML in its newest release. In addition, there have been a number of major improvements to the GUI. FoCus is available for download on IBM's alphaWorks Web site."

  • [November 15, 1999]   New W3C Working Draft for Canonical XML Version 1.0.    The W3C Syntax Working Group has published a new working draft document for Canonical XML Version 1.0. References: W3C Working Draft 15-November-1999, edited by Tim Bray, James Clark, and James Tauber. The WD "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." Background: "The XML 1.0 Recommendation describes the syntax of a class of data objects called XML documents. 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. The syntax described in this specification is called Canonical XML. XML documents may be transformed into Canonical XML (with potentially some information loss) - the result of this transormation 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) Which information from an XML document is included in its canonical form (and which is not); (2) How information is expressed in Canonical XML." This particular draft "is the internal 19991003 Working Draft that had not yet been published. While the Syntax Working Group has expired and deliverables are being transferred to the charter of the forthcoming XML Core Working Group, this document did represent the consensus position of the W3C XML Syntax Working group, based on its own discussions and analysis of feedback on previous versions."

  • [November 15, 1999]   International Press Telecommunications Council Announces Work Programme for End-to-End XML News Interchange.    IPTC has recently issued an announcement that "major news industry organisations are pooling their resources under the auspices of the IPTC [International Press Telecommunications Council] to develop a single XML-based standard for all aspects of news creation, storage and delivery. At their recent meeting in Amsterdam, members of the IPTC agreed to revamp their operating structure and establish a new work programme, IPTC2000, which will deliver an XML-based standard to represent and manage news through its life-cycle, including production, interchange and consumer use. Entitled NewsML, it is intended that the new framework standard will build on the intellectual property invested in existing IPTC standards such as the Information Interchange Model (IIM), News Industry Text Format (NITF) and the IPTC's widely used Subject Classification Standard. Using Extensible Markup Language (XML), it is intended that NewsML will draw appropriately on existing and emerging W3C recommendations. Three working groups have been established to develop the key components of the programme. These are News Structure and Management, News Text and News Metadata. Earlier this year, the IPTC announced the publication of its first XML based standard, News Industry Text Format (NITF). This work, together with the Information Interchange Model (IIM), will form the basis of NewsML." NewsML is described as "an XML encoding for news which is intended to be used for the creation, transfer and delivery of news. NewsML is media independent, and allows equally for the representation of the evening TV news and a simple textual story. Specifically, NewsML provides the following features: (1) All formats and media types recognised equally; (2) Facilitates the development of news items; (3) Collections of news items; (4) Named relationships between newsitems; (5) Structure consisting of parts and named relationships between parts; (6) Alternative representations of the same part; (7) Explicit inclusion, inclusion by reference and exclusion of parts and alternatives; (8) Attachment of metadata from standard and non-standard schemes." For other references, see "NewsML and IPTC2000." In this connection, see "News Markup Language (NML)" and "News Industry Text Format (NITF)."

  • [November 13, 1999]   Sixth Annual Conference on the Practical Use of XML/SGML.    A communiqué from Paul Hermans (Pro Text) supplies detailed program and registration information for the upcoming 6th Annual Conference on the Practical Use of XML/SGML. The conference will be held on November 24, 1999, at the Polytechnical Faculty of Mons, Belgium. The event is organized for all levels of XML/SGML users under the theme "Make your case with XML/SGML." The Keynote Presentation will be given by Simon Nicholson, Chairman of OASIS: "Overview of new initiatives in the field of XML interoperability and standardization."

  • [November 12, 1999]   GPS - Groves and Property Sets Implementation for Python.    A posting from Geir Ove Grønmo to XML-DEV announces the availability of GPS. "GPS is an implementation of the groves and property set concepts defined in the HyTime and DSSSL standards. GPS is written in Python, and should work on any platform to which Python have been ported - including the Java Platform. There are two implementations in the current distribution, one in-memory implemention and one that supports ZODB - the Zope Object Database. Both groves, property sets and grove plans can be made persistent by the ZODB implementation. Property Sets define vocabularies used for representing groves containing grove nodes. Property Sets typically consists of modules, classes and properties. Grove nodes are instances of classes defined in a property set. They have properties and the values of those properties may point to other grove nodes. Grove nodes define a predictable data structure for data so that it can be addressed reliably given knowledge of the property set used to produce the grove. Each property set has a default grove plan containing all components that has been defined as being part of the default grove plan. Sets of property set components may be included or omitted from a grove plan. The effect of using a grove plan is to reveal or hide classes and properties that are applicable to a specfic process. They can also be thought of as a way of deciding which properties should be visible on grove nodes. The GPS tool supports: (1) Loading of property sets from documents conforming to the Property Set DTD, or any derived DTD [requires architectural processing]. (2) Grove plans. Default grove plans is automatically created by wrapping a GrovePlan object around a property set. Inclusion and omitting of modules, classes and properties are fully supported. (3) Two grove node implementations, both generic classes for representing grove nodes. (4) ZODB - Zope Object Database versions of all grove, property set and grove plan classes. (5) Module for building XML groves from SAX event streams. This module also contains a class for emitting SAX events by walking XML groves. (6) Sample Property Sets." For related information, see "Groves, Grove Plans, and Property Sets in SGML/DSSSL/HyTime."

  • [November 09, 1999]   New W3C Working Draft for XML Schema Part 1: Structures.    The W3C XML Schema Working Group has published a revised working draft document for XML Schema Part 1: Structures. References: W3C Working Draft 5-November-1999, edited by Henry S. Thompson (University of Edinburgh), David Beech (Oracle Corp.), Murray Maloney (Commerce One), and Noah Mendelsohn (Lotus Development Corporation). This document represents "part 1 of a two-part draft of the specification for the XML Schema definition language. This document proposes facilities for describing the structure and constraining the contents of XML 1.0 documents. The schema language, which is itself represented in XML 1.0, provides a superset of the capabilities found in XML 1.0 document type definitions (DTDs)." This version of the working draft "incorporates only minor changes from the previous version, mostly in the area of content model features: see Rich Content Models ('3.4.6), Mixed Content ('3.4.7) and Element Declaration ('3.4.9)." The Schema element declaration, which associates a name with a specification, (elementSpec), allows "not only for element declarations to associate a name with an archetypeSpec (by reference or inclusion), but also allows the reference or specification to be for a datatype, with the implication that no attributes are allowed in instances and the text-only content will be constrained appropriately." This working draft is available also in XML format, and is accompanied by formal specifications in XML schema and XML DTD format. Comments on the draft should be sent to, and will be posted in a mail archive. For revision summary, see 'dtddiff of XSDL November and September drafts', supplied by Bob DuCharme. See "XML Schemas" for background and additional references. In this connection, note also the new "Family Tree of Schema Languages for Markup Languages" referenced from Rick Jelliffe's Schemas & XML document.

  • [November 09, 1999]   New W3C Working Draft for XML Schema Part 2: Datatypes.    The W3C XML Schema Working Group has published a revised working draft document for XML Schema Part 2: Datatypes. References: W3C Working Draft 05-November-1999, edited by Paul V. Biron (Kaiser Permanente, for Health Level Seven) and Ashok Malhotra (IBM). Part 2 of XML Schema on Datatypes "specifies a language for defining datatypes to be used in XML Schemas and possibly elsewhere. [It] 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 Datatypes document supplies a design to meet certain goals articulated in the XML Schema Requirements, including 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; (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 working draft document is available in XML format as well as HTML. It is accompanied by formal specifications using XML Schema and XML DTD syntax. See "XML Schemas" for background and additional references.

  • [November 08, 1999]   Apache-XML Open Source Project.    A communiqué from Dirk-Willem van Gulik (WebWeaving, and 'ad interim chair for the Apache-XML project') announces that the Apache Software Foundation is launching a new effort focused on XML. Details on the initiative are presented in the announcement: "The Apache Software Foundation Launches Technology Project. Industry Leaders Donate Technology to Provide Open Source Tools for XML." Van Gulik writes: "For years now the Apache web server has been providing a solid Web technology foundation, but it offered little beyond this base protocol layer. As web sites have become more complex, interoperability at the content level has become more important to all of us. The Apache Software Foundation felt that a new set of basic, solid, standards-compliant building blocks were called for. Seeded by contributions from IBM, Sun, DataChannel, Bowstreet, Exoffice and individuals such as James Tauber and Stefano Mazzocchi we now have a solid line up of components ready to be hammered on: (1) Xerces - a fast, robust and compliant XML parser; (2) Xalan - an XSLT style sheet processor, based on the LotusXSL contribution; (3) FOP - James Tauber's implementation of the W3C XSL:FO (formatting object) specification in Java. These building blocks are not very web or server centric. There is a functional 'example' implementation that is a bit closer to home: (4) Cocoon - An XML web publishing framework, Cocoon is a powerful framework for XML web publishing which brings a whole new world of abstraction and ease to consolidated web site creation and management based on the XML paradigm and related technologies. Just like Apache, anyone is welcome to come along, work on this, add components, and patch in changes. Although the above line up is quite complete and functional, when you download the code you will find that there is significant overlap, and perhaps quite some re-architecting to do." The URL will be: See description and references in "Apache XML Project."

  • [November 08, 1999]   XHTML 1.0 Returned to the W3C HTML Working Group.    Tim Berners-Lee (Director of the W3C and a Principal Research Scientist at the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science) re-posted a communiqué to the XML-DEV list reflecting a decision to 'send back XHTML 1.0 to the HTML working group for further work.' The XHTML Proposed Recommendation 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." According to the Director, [there was with respect to the PR] "a significant lack of consensus around a number of points, based on the feedback received during the review. The HTML working group is being asked to address the issues raised and to present a revised specification for further member review as soon as possible. In summary, W3C Members wanted the HTML working group to revise the XHTML 1.0 specification to utilize a single namespace. There are a number of separate questions involved in this, such as whether a namespace identifier should be changed (a) between versions of the same specification and (b) between different strict, transitional and frameset document types of the original HTML 4 spec on which xHTML is based."

  • [November 08, 1999]   XRS: XML Retrieval Engine.    Dongwook Shin (Lister Hill Center, National Library of Medicine) recently announced the public availability of XRS: An XML Retrieval Engine. XRS is an XML search engine that is able to retrieve any elements a user wants very effectively. Unlike other XML search engines that get back whole XML documents to you, you can impose conditions on any elements with weights and get back relevant elements efficiently. XRS uses a couple of new techniques that have been recently developed. One of those is the BUS (Bottom Up Scheme) technique developed for indexing and retrieving structured documents efficiently (Shin 98). BUS indexes only at the leaf elements in a DTD structure, whereas the index information of the intermediate elements is computed at retrieval time with accumulating those of the leaf elements nested in the intermediate ones. By doing so, it allows a user to compose structural queries depending on the DTD structure in a more flexible way than other Web search engines do and get search results quickly. Secondly, XRS uses a Java component that renders the XML output into the HTML. It facilitates that a user without an XML enabled browser can view the search results retrieved back from the search engine. The rendering component is connected with Query Mediator servlet that resides in the server and mediates the user and the back-end search engine. If a search result is in XML, for instance an XML element itself, the Query Mediator servlet makes it pass through the rendering component. Otherwise it sends the result back directly to the GUI. The Query Mediator servlet calls the search engine made as the shared library with JNI interface... XRS allows the element search and retrieval at any level in the document structure; search conditions can be imposed on any elements; any related elements with the elements on which search conditions are imposed can also be retrieved." For related software, see the section "XML and Query Languages."

  • [November 08, 1999]   James Clark Announces New Release of XT.    James Clark recently announced the release of XT Version 19991105. XT is a Java implementation of XSL Transformations which [currently] supports the W3C's Proposed Recommendation (PR-xslt-19991008) version of XSLT. "This new release of XT adds support for the following: (1) an xt:node-set extension function that converts a result tree fragment to a node-set; (2) an xt:intersection extension function that returns the intersection of two node-sets; (3) an xt:difference extension function that returns the difference of two node-sets; (4) a simple, purely DOM API. The DOM support implements XT's object model on top of the DOM Level 1. The good news is that this does not build a separate tree (it creates temporary objects on the fly to give XT the view it expects of the XML document); the bad news is that it is sloooow. So you don't want to use this unless you already have a DOM tree in memory. This only provides support for using the DOM for the source tree. There is no support for using the DOM for the result tree. This would be relatively easy to do, but I don't know whether it's useful enough to be worthwhile. To use XT, you need the XT distribution and an XML parser in Java that supports SAX, such as XP; you should choose a SAX parser that provides Locator information, otherwise you won't get any line numbers in error messages." For related XSL/XSLT software, see the XSL/XSLT Software section.

  • [October 28, 1999]   First Working Draft of ISO/WD 10303-28: XML Representation of EXPRESS Driven Data.    A first working draft of ISO 10303-28 has been developed by Eurostep and Monsell EDM for BSI. This is: ISO/WD 10303-28:1999(E). Product data representation and exchange: Implementation methods: XML representation of EXPRESS-driven data. Reference: ISO TC184/SC4/WG10 N285 and ISO TC184/SC4/WG11 N090, Date: 1999-10-24, From: ISO Technical Committee 184: Industrial automation systems and integration, Subcommittee 4: Industrial data. This "first rough draft of part 28" specifies "the way in which XML can be used to encode both EXPRESS schemas and corresponding data." An accompanying document explaining the Use of Architectural Forms is also available: "Use of Architectural Forms for Early to Late Bound Mapping - WG11 N91." These two documents have been sent to SOLIS [STEP On-Line Infomation Service] as WG11/N90 and N91, and are intended to form the basis for discussion at an upcoming meeting in New Orleans. The goal of the project in this new work item is explained in the introduction to the proposed standard: "ISO 10303 is an International Standard for the computer-interpretable representation of product information and for the exchange of product data. The objective is to provide a neutral mechanism capable of describing products throughout their life cycle. This mechanism is suitable not only for neutral file exchange, but also as a basis for implementing and sharing product databases, and as a basis for archiving. This part of ISO 10303 specifies means by which data and schemas specified using the EXPRESS language (ISO 10303-11) can be encoded using XML. XML provides a basic syntax that can be used in many different ways to encode information. In this part of ISO 10303, the following uses of XML are specified: a) A late bound XML architectural Document Type Declaration (DTD) that enables any EXPRESS schema to be encoded; b) An extension to the late bound DTD to enable data corresponding to any EXPRESS schema to be encoded as XML; c) A canonical form for the late bound DTD that is derived from the architectural DTD; d) The use of SGML architectures to enable early binding XML forms to be defined that are compatible with the late binding. The use of architectures allows for different early bindings to be defined that are compatible with each other and can be processed using the architectural DTD." The Architectural Forms document (by Robin La Fontaine) "explains the basics of SGML Architectures as needed to represent the relationship between the early-bound and late-bound XML formats for Express-driven data... Given a document in XML which corresponds with a particular DTD, architectural forms provide a standard mechanism for viewing it as if it were consistent with another DTD (the meta-DTD or base architecture). This is being used within STEP to allow one or more early-bound data sets to be viewed as if they were defined in terms of the standard late-bound DTD. Thus software written against the late-bound DTD can, without modification, process data that complies with any compliant early-bound DTD. 'Compliant' here means that the early-bound DTD has the late-bound DTD as its base architecture. This gives some flexibility in defining early-bound DTDs which can be optimised for different purposes, e.g., for display, for data exchange, for compactness." Persons interested in the activity of this ISO group may contact the Nigel Shaw (Project Leader, Eurostep Limited) or Robin La Fontaine (Project Editor, Monsell EDM). For background on this proposed new work item, see "SGML/XML and STEP"; see also (tangentially) "Product Data Markup Language (PDML)."

  • [October 28, 1999]   Sun Microsystems Unveils Developers' Toolkit for IMS-Compatible XML Education Content and Applications.    A company announcement from Sun Microsystems describes the recent release of an educational developers' toolkit. "Sun today unveiled a developers' toolkit for the creation of XML documents that conforms to the IMS Meta-data Specification standard. Working with SRI International's Center for Technology in Learning, Sun created the toolkit using Java technology for distribution from the IMS website to IMS members and the educational community. IMS is a global coalition of more than 200 educational institutions, commercial organizations and government entities defining standards for distributed learning. Sun Microsystems is an investment member of IMS, whose main goal is to create standards for the interoperability of management tools, learning content and platforms for the education and training markets. According to Steve Griffin, IMS Technical Director, 'This toolkit and source code are an important contribution by Sun and SRI International to the community of educational and training content and technology providers who use Java technology in the creation of solutions for their markets. The toolkit will simplify and increase the speed at which developer can provide content that complies with the IMS Meta-data Specification'." IMS said it was "pleased to make available to the distributed learning community the Sun Microsystems' developers' toolkit for the creation of XML documents that conform to the IMS Meta-data Specification standard." For information about Sun in Education, one may visit For background and references on IMS, see "Educom Instructional Management Systems Project (IMS) Metadata Specification."

  • [October 27, 1999]   Growth of the Weeds in El Limon.    A communiqué from Paul A. Houle reports on a major update to the "Weeds of El Limon" XML application, now "WEEDS2." The associated web site was generated with the WEEDS2 software, based on Java Server Pages. Paul writes: "'Common Weeds of the Carribean' is an illustrated database of plants we observed in the village of El Limon in the Dominican Republic. Common Weeds is a sequel to Weeds of El Limon, which was was generated by a Java program that converted XML descriptions of weeds into static HTML pages. This earlier version of our database, including weeds that that could not be identified, is still available online. The software behind Common Weeds reads the XML weed descriptions and loads them into a MySQL database. It formats the descriptions with Java Server Pages (.jsp files) which access the database through Java Beans. I store fragments of free-formatted XML in TEXT columns in the database and Java servlets to retrieve images stored in BLOB columns. WEEDS 2, the software which generates Common Weeds, is a 4-tier application because four separate processes are involved in each request: the web browser, the Apache web server, the Java virtual machine, and the MySQL database. Parts of WEEDS 2 run on the web server (URL rewriting rules), parts in the Java virtual machine (JSP and supporting classes) and parts run in MySQL (database queries). WEEDS 2, in addition to web pages, contains images of the weeds. The images are stored in .gif format inside BLOB columns in the database, and are served by the ViewWeed servlet. I use a servlet here, because ViewWeed simply retrieves the image from the database and sends it over the network verbatim without filling in a template..." A new online 3-part technical article (excerpted from Professional Java Server Programming, Wrox Press) describes the WEEDS2 project. The source for WEEDS2 is available for download."

  • [October 27, 1999]   Amaya Version 2.2 - W3C's Editor/Browser.    The W3C has released version 2.2 of Amaya, an editor/browser with several innovative features, including support for editing of complex mathematical expressions within HTML pages through a WYSIWYG interface. The version 2.2 release "includes support for HTML 4.0 and XHTML and a lot of new features like the ability to print with style, and the possibility to work either on the HTML view or on the source view. The new release also improves the accessibilty of Amaya for people with disabilities, especially for people who prefer to use the keyboard. With Amaya, one can download, test, edit and publish CSS style sheets as well as HTML pages. Profiles allow you to customize the application according to your HTML expertise and a mechanism of templates can help users who frequently create the same kind of HTML pages. Amaya always represents the document internally in a structured way consistent with the Document Type Definition (DTD). Amaya demonstrates an implementation of MathML which allows users to browse and edit web pages containing mathematical expressions. Like the rest of the document, these expressions are manipulated through a WYSIWYG interface. Amaya uses namespaces to integrate MathML expressions within XHTML documents, i.e., HTML documents written in XML syntax. . . Amaya is the name of W3C's own browser/authoring tool and is used to demonstrate and test many of the new developments in Web protocols and data formats. Given the very fast moving nature of Web technology, Amaya has a central role to play. It is versatile and extensible - new features can be easily added - and is available on both Unix and Windows '95/NT platforms." As noted in the W3C activity statement, "Amaya has a counterpart called Jigsaw which plays a similar role on the server side. Amaya is a complete web browsing and authoring environment and comes equipped with a WYSIWYG style of interface, similar to that of the more popular commercial browsers." The Amaya binary distribution and source code are available for download.

  • [October 27, 1999]   IBM's Bean Scripting Framework (BSF) Available with Source.    Sanjiva Weerawarana from the IBM alphaWorks lab has announced the release of IBM's Bean Scripting Framework - a new architecture for incorporating scripting into Java applications and applets. "The Java world currently does not have a well-defined scripting architecture that allows Java applications to incorporate scripting easily - BSF is such an architecture. The BSF architecture allows an application to be scripted from any BSF supported language, without any scripting language dependencies. Bean Scripting Framework (BSF) has just been released with complete src and a royalty-free commercial license. LotusXSL uses BSF to implement its extension architecture. Using BSF allows LotusXSL to support extensions in any of the BSF supported languages - the current list is JavaScript, NetRexx, Jacl, JPython, and BML. Java extensions in LotusXSL are also done sorta thru BSF, but that's with a custom engine (see src for LotusXSL for details: More languages are currently being integrated to BSF: Perl as well as VBScript and JScript (and every other active scripting language) while on Win32 are due in fairly short order...the point of BSF [is] to be a single scripting architecture for the Java platform. BSF will soon be submitted as a JSR to Sun as well to use it as the basis of a platform standard for scripting and script integration."

  • [October 27, 1999]   CPAN Perl Module RDF::Parser V1.01 Released.    Janne Saarela recently announced the release of a Perl Module by Pro Solutions Ltd. The Perl Module RDF::Parser V1.01 is "a production quality Resource Description Framework (RDF) Model & Syntax Specification (22-Feb-99) parser. The parser is available for download from the Pro Solutions Warehouse. "The parser has a similar architecture to that of SiRPAC i.e., it first builds the parse tree and then starts the translation. Pro Solutions Ltd. is currently investigating the adaptation of a stream-based parsing approach. The implementation does not support the 'aboutEachPrefix' feature of RDF; otherwise the implementation is complete." See the W3C Resource Description Framework (RDF) Web site for description of the RDF (schema/syntax) research and development, including RDF-aware software (parsers, interpreters, editors).

  • [October 27, 1999]   Ninth International World Wide Web Conference (WWW9).    Jon Bosak (Sun Microsystems) has posted a note with updated information on the Ninth International World Wide Web Conference (WWW9). "The Web: The Next Generation." May 15 - 19, 2000. RAI International Exhibition & Congress Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. "Leaders from industry, academia, and government will present the latest developments in Web technology and discuss the issues and challenges facing the Web community as it moves into the 21st Century. For more information about this conference, please visit the WWW9 Web Site at To be included on the WWW9 Announcements mailing list, please send an e-mail message to or complete the form provided on the Web Site."

  • [October 27, 1999]   SAC: The Simple API for CSS.    As part of the W3C Style Activity, the W3C has released SAC: The Simple API for CSS. "SAC 1.0 is a standard interface for CSS parser and supposed to work with CSS1, CSS2, CSS3 (currently under development) and others CSS derived languages. It is a beta version which may be updated, replaced or obsoleted by other versions at anyt time." SAC 1.0 implementations in Java and C are available for download, together with SAC 1.0 Online javadoc documentation in connection with the former. For other references on CSS, see "W3C Cascading Style Sheets."

  • [October 27, 1999]   Percussion's XML/XSL Tools: XSpLit and Rhythmyx.    Vernon Imrich has posted an announcement to the XSL-List describing XSpLit and Rhythmyx tools. "Percussion Rhythmyx: a virtual XML data server, visual designer maps relational databases to XML, run-time engine serves data as either XML, HTML (via XSL), or binary content. Rhythmyx XSpLit - goes 'backwards' from HTML files to XSL and XML. You start with an HTML file containing both content and format, then add labels to define the content on the page (using straight text or the 'id' attribute of existing HTML tags). XSpLit parses the page, separating the content definition into an XML DTD and the formatting into an XSLT style sheet. The style sheet will thus produce an HTML page that looks like the original HTML but with any other XML content that conforms to the associated DTD. Supports repeated formatting for repeated XML fields, nested formatting, attributes, etc. XSpLit currently ships as part of Rhythmyx but can be run separately after the Rhythmyx installation." For related XSL/XSLT tools, see the XSL/XSLT Software section.

  • [October 27, 1999]   Open Source "XML Server" Project Announced.    Eric van der Vlist has posted an announcement to the XQL Mailing List describing a proposed "XML Server" project. He writes: "We've recently started a new project which goal is to to discuss the features of an ideal 'XML Server' and eventually to prepare its implementation as an Open Source project. By 'XML Server', we mean an architecture (not necessarily a physical server) allowing to manage (i.e., to query but also to update) XML and tabular data in a consistent fashion. We would like to open this discussion to anyone feeling interested by these topics without polluting existing lists and have created an eGroup to archive our discussion." See the text of the announcement for email addresses and other relevant URIs.

  • [October 26, 1999]   XOL: An XML-Based Ontology Exchange Language.    XOL is a language for ontology exchange being designed within the framework of a Molecular Biology Ontology Working Group. XOL is "designed to provide a format for exchanging ontology definitions among a set of interested parties. The ontology definitions that XOL is designed to encode include both schema information (meta-data), such as class definitions from object databases -- as well as non-schema information (ground facts) , such as object definitions from object databases. XOL is similar to other past ontology-exchange languages; its development was inspired by Ontolingua and OML. XOL differs from Ontolingua in having an XML-based syntax rather than a Lisp-based syntax; the semantics of OKBC-Lite are extremely similar to the semantics of Ontolingua. XOL differs from OML in that the semantics of OML are based on Conceptual Graphs, which have a number of differences from OKBC-Lite. The syntax of XOL is based on XML, which is a language for authoring documents for the WWW. XML syntax was chosen because it is reasonably simple to parse, its syntax is well defined, it is human readable, it appears that XML will be very widely used, and because it appears that many software tools for parsing and manipulating XML will soon be appearing. The semantics of XOL are based on OKBC-Lite, which is a simplified form of the knowledge model for the OKBC (Open Knowledge Base Connectivity.) OKBC is an API (application program interface) for accessing frame knowledge representation systems. Its knowledge model supports features most commonly found in knowledge representation systems, object databases, and relational databases. OKBC-Lite extracts most of the essential features of OKBC, while not including some of the more complex aspects of OKBC. XOL is a language for exchange of ontologies. By exchange language, we mean that XOL is intended to be used as an intermediate language for transferring ontologies among different database systems, ontology-development tools, or application programs. For example, a group developing a scientific database might use the Oracle DBMS to actually implement the DB. However, that group could translate the DBMS schema from SQL into XOL, and then publish the resulting file on the WWW for reference by users of the database, or by other groups who are developing similar databases. They might convert their schema into XOL using an existing SQL-to-XOL translator. Or, if that group used an object-level graphical tool to design their DBMS schema, such as a UML-based tool, they might employ a pre-existing UML-to-XOL translator to translate the schema into XOL." For other description and references, see "XOL - XML-Based Ontology Exchange Language."

  • [October 26, 1999]   GCA Prepares for XML '99 and Markup Technologies '99 Conferences.    An announcement from the Graphic Communications Association predicts that the XML '99 Conference will be "the Largest Exposition to Date Showcasing XML and Related Technologies." XML '99, to be held in conjunction with the Markup Technologies '99 Conference, "is the premier event on XML and related technologies [which] convenes in Philadelphia, December 5-9, 1999. Featuring over 200 speakers representing vertical industry users and technology developers, XML '99 is guaranteed to boggle the mind with the innovative applications and developments in the XML arena to date. Co-located with Markup Technologies '99, the theoretical conference for markup languages, XML '99 offers access to leading industry experts, educational tutorials, the XML bookstore, and numerous networking opportunities. Tracks include e-business, management, applications, technical, newcomer, web graphics, vocabularies, publishing, content/data management, and core standards. The XML exposition showcases the latest software and services in support of XML and related standards and technologies. Exhibitors to date include such companies as: Advent/LB, Arbortext, AND-USA, Auto-Graphics, Bluestone Software, Chrystral Software, CITEC Information, DataChannel, Data Conversion Laboratory,, eidon GmbH, Enigma, Excosoft, IBM Corporation, Inso, InterCAP Graphics, ITEDO Software, Ixiasoft, Killdara, Kinetic Technologies, LivePage Corporation, Miles 33, NextPage, Object Design, OmniMark Technologies, Poet Software, Progressive Information Technologies, Reed Technology, Sequoia Software, SGML Technologies Group, Softquad Software, SPX Valley Forge, Sun Microsystems, Texterity, the e-content company, Timelux sarl, Tweedle, Visus Technologies, VSI, webMethods, XML for All, XML Solutions, and Xyvision Enterprise Solutions and more. The XML Exposition, December 6-8, is the largest ever. A number of major vendors are slated to release new products in conjunction with the show." GCA, which produces this annual conference, "is the leading worldwide, technology management association that represents over 300 member companies involved in information interoperability and various forms of publishing and distribution."

  • [October 25, 1999]   ISO/IEC 15445:1999(E) Hypertext Markup Language (ISO-HTML) Available Online.    A communiqué from Russell Steven Shawn O'Connor notes that a revised 'First edition' of ISO/IEC 15445:1999(E) is now available online: Information technology -- Document description and processing languages -- HyperText Markup Language (HTML) ['First edition 1999-00-00, Copyright 1999 IETF, W3C (MIT, Inria, Keio), ISO/IEC'] "International Standard ISO/IEC 15445 was prepared by Joint Technical Committee ISO/IEC JTC 1, Information technology, Subcommittee SC34, Document description languages. JTC1/SC34 has worked on this project in close cooperation with the World Wide Web Consortium. This International Standard makes normative reference to the W3C Recommendation for HTML 4.0 amended by the HTML 4.0 Specification Errata. Annexes A ['SGML declaration'] and B ['Entities, element types and attributes'] form a normative part of this International Standard." The International ISO/IEC 15445 "is a refinement of the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C's) Recommendation for HTML 4.0; it provides further rules to condition and refine the use of the W3C Recommendation in a way which emphasizes the use of stable and mature features, and represents accepted SGML practice. Documents which conform to this International Standard also conform to the strict DTD provided by the W3C Recommendation for HTML 4.0. [...] The scope of this International Standard is a conforming application of ISO 8879, SGML. This International Standard describes the way in which the HTML language specified by the following clauses in the W3C Recommendation for HTML 4.0 shall be used, and does so by identifying all the differences between the HTML language specified by the W3C Recommendation for HTML 4.0 and the HTML language defined by this International Standard..." See also the "Users Guide to ISO/IEC 15445." For description and historical references, see "ISO/IEC 15445 HTML. (ISO-HTML, ISO Hypertext Markup Language)."

  • [October 25, 1999]   Schematron Report: Error Browser for Open Source Schematron.    Rick Jelliffe (Computing Centre, Academia Sinica) has posted an announcement for an implementation of 'Schematron'. David Carlisle has produced a Schematron Report implementation of Schematron with an error browser. "The Schematron is a Open Source tree-pattern language for representing schemas for XML documents. It is a radically different approach from grammar-based schemas. It is based on XPath, and can be trivially implemented over an XSL system. I think it has the potential to largely supercede grammar-based schema languages such as DTDs, etc. for XML validation." In the top frame of the tool "are displayed the error messages produced by the Schematron itself. Click on the error messages and source code in the lower frame goes to the apporpriate place in the source document. This example uses a partial schema for the WAI guidelines. You can see the schema at" See also the Schematron tutorial from Miloslav Nic [1999-10-27]. For related XSL/XSLT/XPath tools, see the XSL/XSLT Software section.

  • [October 25, 1999]   Automatic Graphical User Interface (AGUI) Using XML Schemas.    Roger L. Costello (MITRE Corp.) recently posted an announcement describing technology which would automatically generate GUIs from XML schemas and e-catalogues. The announcement for the Automatic Graphical User Interface (AGUI) concerns an "Open Source tool which automatically generates Web pages based upon an XML schema and conforming XML instance documents (e-catalogs): 'XML Schema + e-catalogs --> AGUI tool --> Web page'. The purpose of this tool is to provide automatic, continually up-to-date (self-maintaining), aggregate market awareness, across all domains. . . The user is first presented with a list of domains that are currently available. This is obtained by retrieving from an XML Schema registry a list of schemas (domains). The user then selects a domain. The AGUI (Automatic GUI) tool automatically generates a GUI as follows: the XML Schema for the selected domain is retrieved from the registry. The Schema will serve to define the general backbone structure of the GUI. However, by itself, that is insufficient. The backbone structure must to filled in with actual values. This is achieved by getting a list (from the Schema Registry) of Web sites whose e-catalogs conforms to the selected Schema. Those e-catalogs are then downloaded. The data from those Web site e-catalogs are used to fill in the backbone structure. For example, suppose that the domain is cellphones. The Schema will indicate that there is a model element, which has a name attribute (this represents the cellphone model, such as the NOKIA 918+ or the NEC DigitalTalk 2000, etc). We might have a GUI generation algorithm which simply maps attributes to HTML textboxes with the attribute name as a label. In our example this would result in creating a textbox labeled model name. However, such an unconstrained textbox would allow the user to type in any value into the textbox, including meaningless values. It would be much better if the GUI presented to the user a drop-down list of models that are currently available on the global marketplace. This is achieved by extracting the model name attribute values from each of the e-catalogs. The automatic GUI generation tool uses XSL to create the GUI. The GUI is generated by feeding into the stylesheet the domain Schema plus the e-catalogs for that domain..." See further description on the project Web site.

  • [October 22, 1999]   XSIL: Extensible Scientific Interchange Language.    Researchers at the LIGO Lab (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, have proposed an XML-based "XSIL: Extensible Scientific Interchange Language." As described in an abstract for a paper delivered at the 7th International Conference on High-Performance Computing and Networking: "We motivate and define the XSIL language as a flexible, hierarchical, extensible transport language for scientific data objects. The entire object may be represented in the file, or there may be meta data in the XSIL file, with a powerful, fault-tolerant linking mechanism to external data. The language is based on XML, and is designed not only for parsing and processing by machines, but also for presentation to humans through Web browsers and Web-database technology. There is a natural mapping between the elements of the XSIL language and the object model into which they are translated by the parser. As well as common objects (parameter, array, time, table), we have extended XSIL, to include the IGWDFrame, used by gravitational-wave observatories. . . The LIGO project 3 is a large, federally funded physics experiment that will produce several megabytes per second, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. This data will be processed, looking for matches with astrophysically significant events, for example coalescence of neutron stars and black holes. The data will also be processed and distributed in other ways, and will be supplemented by instrument status data, candidate events from the pattern matching, and other data. While a format has been fixed for the raw data, in collaboration with the French/Italian VIRGO observatory 4 , there is a need for a more flexible, more generic format for many of the other datasets, which motivated the design of XSIL." Members of the research team include Kent Blackburn, Albert Lazzarini, Tom Prince and Roy Williams. See a report based upon the presentation and published in the Proceedings of HPCN Europe '99 Conference (Amsterdam, April 1999), available in PDF and Postscript formats. See also the slides from a recent presentation. A provisional XML DTD was produced in the initial project proposal [NB. a different DTD is used in the report]. Contact: LIGO Data Group.

  • [October 21, 1999]   4XSLT Version 0.7.2 Released.    Uche Ogbuji has announced the release of 4XSLT version 0.7.2. 4XSLT is an XML transformation processor based on the W3C's specification for the XSLT transform language. Currently, 4XSLT supports a sub-set of the October 8, 1999 [Proposed Recommendation] draft of XSLT, as detailed in the announcement. "4XSLT produces its result tree by throwing events from the emerging SAX 2 standard to a handler, so it can be easily modified to supply results to any SAX 2 consumer. Changes in this version include (1) Implemented named templates; (2) Implemented the following instructions: comment, copy, call-template, param, with-param; (3) Packaging and implementation bug-fixes." 4XSLT may be downloaded from the FourThought LLC Web site. For related XSLT tools, see the XSL/XSLT Software section.

  • [October 21, 1999]   4XPath Version 0.7.2 Released.    Uche Ogbuji has announced the version 0.7.2 release of 4XPath, from FourThought. "4XPath is a python implementation of the W3C's XPath language for indicating and selecting XML document components. 4XPath implements the full 4XPath specification except for the lang core function. This version fixes several packaging and implementation bug-fixes. 4XPath is distributed under a license similar to that of Python."

  • [October 20, 1999]   W3C Working Draft on XML-Signature Core Syntax.    A new W3C working draft on the XML digital signatures has been published as XML-Signature Core Syntax, and released simultaneously as an IETF draft, 'draft-ietf-xmldsig-core-00.txt'. W3C reference: W3C Working Draft 20-October-1999, edited by Joseph Reagle and David Solo. The XML Signature Working Group is a joint Working Group of the IETF and W3C. The goal of this working group "is to develop an XML compliant syntax used for representing the signature of Web resources and portions of protocol messages (anything referencable by a URI) and procedures for computing and verifying such signatures." This WD document represents the first public draft of the core specification [for the XML Digital Signature] which provides "the core signature syntax and processing rules of a XML signature application. The WD specification "provides a mechanism for applying digital signatures to XML documents and other Internet resources. The structure allows for both embedded and detached signatures. An embedded signature can include the signature within the signed object or embed the signed object within the signature. A detached signature allows the signature to be independent of the object. The processing structure allows for switching between embedded and detached signatures without invalidating the signature. In addition to the basic signature document type, this document also defines other useful types including a methods of referencing multiple resources and key management and algorithm definitions. This draft covers most of the topics the final specification will cover; however parts of the text and syntax within this specification are subject to change (and may be incorrect or inconsistent.)" Other relevant documents are referenced from the W3C's main XML Signature Web page, including the recently-published requirements specification. See also "XML Digital Signature."

  • [October 20, 1999]   OpenJade Development Team Releases OpenJade Version 1.3.    On behalf of the OpenJade Development Team, Matthias Clasen has announced the Version 1.3 release of OpenJade. "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 1.3 is the second OpenJade release. You can download OpenJade from For more information, see the DSSSL/OpenJade home page at" Clasen also noted in connection with this 1.3 release: "you will notice that we don't provide a binary package for Win32. That is because we currently lack the necessary man-power/systems to do any testing/building on Win32 platforms. So if you are a Win32 jade/OpenJade user with access to MSVC and want to see OpenJade run well on Win32 in the future, please consider helping us by testing/building OpenJade-1.3 and/or the current CVS sources on Win32 platforms." Changes in version 1.3 compared to OpenJade 1.2.2 are listed in the announcement. Note in particular: "(1) The SGML backend will not emit linebreaks when used as -t sgml-raw; (2) Jade can bind variables to arbitrary values on the command line; (3) The prlabs1 module of the SGML property set is supported; (4) Style sheet extensions .dsl lists all known external procedures ready for easy inclusion as an external-specification..." See the main DSSSL reference page for other DSSSL information.

  • [October 20, 1999]   OMG Provides 'CORBA and XML' Resource Page.    The alignment between CORBA and XML has been featured in a number of recent articles. Reflecting this relationship, the Object Management Group (OMG) has created a document "CORBA & XML Resource Page" with links to OMG's XML activities and to articles on CORBA/XML. One of OMG's technology submissions is the Utility Data Access Facility Request for Proposal (August 2, 1999); this is a revised RFP which "defines a CORBA interface for querying data that is described in an XML schema language." A more recent initiative is reflected in the OMG XML/Value Request For Proposal (August 27, 1999), which "asks for a standard way to represent XML values (documents) using OMG IDL non-object (value) types." The new resource page also references survey articles, e.g., (1) "CORBA and XML: Conflict or Cooperation," by Andrew Watson and (2) "A Close Look at XML and CORBA Synergies,", by Mark Elenko and Mike Reinerstsen (reprinted from Application Development Trends). For other description and references to OMG's XML activity (XMI, MOF), see "XML Metadata Interchange Format (XMI) - Object Management Group (OMG)" and "OMG Common Warehouse Metadata Interchange (CWMI) Specification." For related references, see "XML and CORBA."

  • [October 20, 1999]   Fifth Edition of XSLT/XPath Tutorial Materials Released.    G. Ken Holman has announced the publication of the fifth edition of XSLT/XPath tutorial materials, Practical Transformation Using XSLT and XPath (XSL Transformations and the XML Path Language) [Fifth Edition, 1999-10-14. ISBN: 1-894049-02-0. 288 pages, subscription price includes free updates. Copyright (c) 1999 Crane Softwrights Ltd.] New in this fifth edition: "(1) All constructs of the W3C Proposed Recommendations for XSLT and XPath are documented; (2) New examples and illustrations have been added to old material as well as new; (3) The material is supplied in ten different renditions; (4) The reference annexes in the free preview excerpt download have been updated to the PR and to the latest version of XT. 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 material." In the absence of a bound/print reference work on XSL(T), this publication may now be the most complete resource available. For related XSL(T) resources, see the section "XSL(T) Articles, Papers, Tutorials" in the main 'Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL)' document, and the XST/XSLT Software section.

  • [October 19, 1999]   Schematron - XML Structure Validation Language using Patterns in Trees.    A communiqué from Rick Jelliffe of the Academia Sinica Computing Centre reports on the initial release of "The Schematron" application, an XML Structure Validation Language using Patterns in Trees. "The Schematron differs in basic concept from other schema languages in that it not based on grammars but on finding tree patterns in the parsed document. This approach allows many kinds of structures to be represented which are inconvenient and difficult in grammar-based schema languages. If you know XPath or the XSLT expression language, you can start to use 'The Schematron' immediately! The Schematron allows you to develop and mix two kinds of schemas: report schemas and assert schemas. It is implemented as a simple XSL script and works with the latest version of XT, and possibly other versions of XSL too. It complements content-model-based structural schema languages such as DTDs, DCD, XDR, SOX, and XML Schemas. The Schematron home page can be found at; the web site includes some of the rationale behind the approach." For related resources (including published deliverables from the W3C XML Schema Working Group), see the document "XML Schemas."

  • [October 19, 1999]   Norwegian SGML/XML Users' Group Annual Meeting.    A recent communiqué from Espen Berger reports on the upcoming annual conference of the Norwegian SGML/XML Users' Group (SGML/XML brukergruppen i Norge), to be held December 1-2, 1999, at Quality Hafjell Hotell, Norway. The keynote speaker is Peter Murray-Rust. Further information about the conference may be obtained from the conference web site, or directly from Espen Berger at A 'Call for Vendors' has also been posted. For other December 1999 SGML/XML conferences, see the events calendar.

  • [October 19, 1999]   New Release of Oracle XSQL Servlet.    Steve Muench posted an announcement for release 0.9.6 of the Oracle XSQL Page Processor, XSQL Servlet, and XSQL Command Line processor. "The XSQL Servlet makes it easy to serve database-driven XML information (optionally transformed by XSLT stylesheets) to requestors over the Web. With the servlet, one may produce dynamic XML documents based on one or more SQL queries, and optionally transform the resulting XML document in the server or client using XSLT. Some new features: (1) Uses the new Oracle XMLParser V2 that implements the XSLT Proposed Rec of 08-OCT-99; (2) Support for all popular Servlet Engines - JServ, JRun, ServletExec,...; (3) Support for any JDBC driver; (4) Support for Command-line processing of XSQL pages for use in scripts; (5) Comes with upgraded demos and samples, including a demo of an entire dynamic website built with a single .XSQL page and one XSLT stylesheet featuring stateless paging through database query results. If you include an <?xml-stylesheet?> processing instruction at the top of your .xsql file, it will be considered by the Oracle XSQL Page Processor for use in transforming the resulting dynamically-produced 'datapage' into either HTML or XML. Multiple <?xml-stylesheet?> processing instructions can be included at the top of the file and an optional media pseudo-attribute can be specified which will cause the Oracle XSQL Page Processor to try to select a stylesheet for transformation which is appropriate to the current requesting user agent." For details, see the Release Notes for Technology Preview (October 14, 1999). The software is available through the Oracle Technology Network (OTN). For other XML products by Oracle, see the parser/utilities listing. For related XSL/XSLT software, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support."

  • [October 19, 1999]   XML ServerWare Supports Server-side XML Generation and Translation.    A posting from K.Kawaguchi on XML-DEV announces 'New Server-Side Components for XML-based Solutions'. "Swift, Inc. is now shipping XML ServerWare - "a component pack that is very useful in XML-based solution development. It enables rapid and reliable development in low cost. XML ServerWare consists from two components: (1) HTML-X translates XML to another XML (possibly HTML) by applying XSL. This translation is done on the server when clients request data to the server. Thus, you can use XML contents while supporting non-XML-aware browsers, such as IE4,Netscape. (2) DB-X retrieves data from any RDBMS, transform it into a XML by XSL-like script, and send it back to the client. Thus retrieving data from the server can be done much easier." Further information is available on the company web site, including an example and download links. For related XSL/XSLT software, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support."

  • [October 19, 1999]   Conversion of 'GCIDE' 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary into XML Format.    Michael Dyck recently announced the availability of an XML version of GCIDE version 0.41. GCIDE is the GNU Project's publication of CIDE, the Collaborative International Dictionary of English. GCIDE is more particularly described in these terms: "This dictionary was derived from the Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary Version published 1913 by the C. & G. Merriam Co. Springfield, Mass., Under the direction of Noah Porter, D.D., LL.D., and from WordNet, a semantic network created by the Cognitive Science Department of Princeton University under the direction of Prof. George Miller, and is being updated and supplemented by an open coalition of volunteer collaborators from around the world." Michael Dyck writes on XML-DEV: "I'm pleased to announce that I have completed the conversion of the source files to XML, and the results are available at The XML files total about 52 megabytes, but you can download it as about 13 megabytes of zip files. Please let me know if anything doesn't work, or if I've left out something crucial..."

  • [October 18, 1999]   Richard Tobin Releases Win32/MSDOS Version of RXP XML Parser.    Richard Tobin has announced the availability of an MSDOS/Windows32 executable of the RXP parser, identical functionally to the UNIX version. RXP 1.0.7 is a validating namespace-aware XML parser in C; it was was written by Richard Tobin at the Language Technology Group, Human Communication Research Centre, University of Edinburgh, and is distributed with source and binaries under the GNU Public Licence. Command line options allow the user to: (1) insert declared default values for omitted attributes, (2) validate the document, (3) enable XML namespace support, (4) keep track of xml:space attributes, (5) expand entity references, (6) work silently, (7) print output as "bits", (8) treat the input as normalised SGML rather than XML, (9) merge PCData across entity references, (10) read in the input as a tree, rather than bits, (11) enable well-formedness checking mode [instead of validation mode], (12) specify an encoding (ISO-8859-1, UTF-8, ISO-10646-UCS and UTF-16), where 16-bit encoding names my be suffixed with -B or -L to specify big- or little-endian byte order. For related tools, see XML Parsers and Parsing Toolkits."

  • [October 16, 1999]   CommerceNet Announces eCo Interoperability Framework Specification.    CommerceNet recently announced the release of the eCo Interoperability Framework Specification, "which builds a bridge between disparate, proprietary electronic commerce solutions. The eCo Interoperability Specification has been produced as part of the CommerceNet eCo Framework Initiative. The eCo Interoperability Framework provides a single common protocol through which eCommerce systems can describe themselves, their services and their interoperability requirements. The eCo Framework Working Group, which developed the specification, includes key industry players such as 3Com, American Express, American Power Conversion, ASC/X12, Berkeley National Lab, Cisco Systems, Commerce One, Compaq, CSC, GEIS, Harbinger, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Intuit, ISO, Microsoft, Mondex International, NEC, Netscape, Novell, NTT, Royal Bank of Canada, Sun Microsystems and, as well as experts in XML, OBI, OFX, OTP, XML/EDI, RosettaNet and CBL. eCo is the result of intense collaboration by all parties involved in eCommerce, including leading banks, vendors, service providers and major end users. The eCo Interoperability Framework consists of two components: (1) The eCo Architecture defines the way businesses describe themselves and their commerce services, as well as the markets or trading communities to which they belong. The specification offers ascending levels of compliance, with an easily implementable first level that lets organizations achieve interoperability with other eCommerce systems in less than a hour. (2) The eCo Semantic Recommendations describe best practices for developing XML based e-commerce documents. The recommendations also define a set of XML building blocks and document definitions that will let future XML specifications to interoperate easily with existing ones. It includes a 'starter set' of example business documents, such as purchase orders and invoices. The library of building blocks includes XML encodings for ISO and related standards for currency, time/date, country codes, measurement, address and other reusable components." The purpose and scope of the eCo Specification are described in these terms: " architectural framework that enables businesses to discover each other on the World Wide Web and determine how they can do business. The eCo Specification was created as a response by industry and the United States government to the difficulties encountered when trying to 'handshake' the systems of one business with another due to the proliferation of e-commerce standards. The eCo Specification does not attempt to replace these standards. It provides a means for businesses to identify each other, discover each others' product and service offerings, and quickly access a description of the e-commerce standards and trading practices each potential partner has adopted. In this sense the eCo Specification can be considered a 'document services architecture.' CommerceNet is "the largest grouping of electronic commerce influencers in the world, working to make eCommerce easy, trusted and ubiquitous. Launched in April 1994 in Silicon Valley, its membership has grown to more than 500 eCommerce developers and end-users worldwide from hardware and software companies, financial institutions, telcos, government agencies, integrators, service providers, net market makers and others." A fact sheet and testimonials document were issued in connection with the CommerceNet announcement. For other references, see "eCo Interoperability Framework Specification."

  • [October 16, 1999]   ISIS XML/EDI Project Consortium Publishes Best Practices for Creating XML/EDI DTDs.    A communiqué from Man-Sze Li reports on the recent publication of a documentation set on Best Practices for Creating XML/EDI DTDs, from the ISIS XML/EDI Project Consortium. The documentation includes: (a) an Overview, (b) Mapping from UML Generalized Message Descriptions to XML DTDs, (c) Best practices for linking local applications to a communication standard, and (d) Rules for Mapping Existing EDIFACT MIGs to XML DTDs. This Best Practices documentation is currently a Draft for Public Comment, and will be revised in light of comments received. Comments are invited and should be sent via email to Martin Bryan, ISIS XML/EDI Project Technical Manager. The documentation will be presented to a number of standardization committees for review. The need for 'best practices' guidelines for developing and implementing XML/EDI is an item in the programme of "Advancing XML/EDI in Europe - a Dissemination Event" (01-December-1999, Brussels). 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."

  • [October 16, 1999]   Passive TeX Update from Sebastian Rahtz.    Sebastian Rahtz has announced a new release of his "Passive TeX' - Using TeX to format XSL Formatting Objects". Passive TeX as distributed includes "some files which 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. They rely heavily on earlier work by David Carlisle (his typehtml for typesetting HTML files), and on my JadeTeX for processing DSSSL via Jade." The "TEI and XSL" document links to some "XSL specifications and support files for working with TEI Lite XML documents" (available in a single .ZIP file), including: (1) simple XSL stylesheet for IE5, (2) simple XSL stylesheet producing HTML, (3) XSL stylesheet producing HTML slides from a TEI document, (4) XSL formatting objects stylesheet covering a lot of TEI Lite, (5) a TEI Lite 'torture' file, (6) the torture file formatted using PassiveTeX, and (7) the TEI XML DTD, in case you don't have it. In the update, Sebastian says: "In case anyone is tracking what I do with PassiveTeX, I have just updated and with up-to-date versions of my TEI XSL stylesheets, and my current PassiveTeX material. I have spent several days working on running heads, supporting James Tauber's proposed "master" attribute for <fo:static-content>, which makes me happy at least. Now I have cleared up running heads and another bug in lists, I should be able to proceed a little faster..." For related XSL/XSLT software, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support."

  • [October 15, 1999]   New W3C/IETF Working Draft on XML-Signature Requirements.    The W3C and IETF have released a revised working draft of an XML-Signature Requirements specification. Edited by Joseph Reagle Jr., this document is published simultaneously as a W3C WD (W3C Working Draft 14-October-1999) and as an IETF document (draft-ietf-xmldsig-requirements-02.txt). As per the charter, the goal of the working group responsible for the articulating the XML-Signature Requirements is "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." The working draft 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. This Working Draft of XML Signature Requirements is a very stable result of this Working Draft having been advanced through W3C Last Call. Relatively small changes have been made to clarify the stated requirements during that period. This document will now be advanced as an IETF Informational RFC." Note, in this connection, that "The U.S. House Judiciary Committee has approved a bill designed to encourage electronic commerce by recognizing digital signatures as having the same legally binding status as a handwritten signature." [InfoWorld news article]. For other references, see "XML Digital Signature (Signed XML - IETF/W3C)."

  • [October 14, 1999]   Publication of the Encoded Archival Description Application Guidelines.    A communiqué from Kris Kiesling (Chair of the SAA EAD Working Group and SAA Standards Committee) reports on the recent publication of the EAD Application Guidelines by the Society of American Archivists. Reference: Encoded Archival Description Application Guidelines Version 1.0, prepared by the Encoded Archival Description Working Group of Society of American Archivists (SAA, 1999, 330 pages). This Application Guidelines volume "introduces Encoded Archival Description (EAD) from administrative, archival, and technical perspectives. It constitutes the 'final' piece of documentation for EAD Version 1.0; other volumes include the EAD Document Type Definition and Encoded Archival Description Tag Library. The volume also contains several helpful appendices, such as a list of recommended (and required) elements, crosswalks to ISAD(G) and MARC, and fully-encoded finding aid examples from repositories in the US and the UK. The Council of SAA (the governing body of the EAD Working Group) voted on August 28, 1999 to endorse the Encoded Archival Description as an official SAA descriptive standard." The EAD Document Type Definition (DTD) is a standard for encoding archival finding aids using SGML and XML; the EAD standard is maintained in the Network Development and MARC Standards Office of the US Library of Congress (LC) in partnership with the Society of American Archivists. "By default, the EAD DTD and EADGRP DTD are configured to function as SGML DTDs. The EAD and EADGRP DTDs have also been validated using existing XML validating parsers. To be used as XML DTDs, both EAD and EADGRP have 'switches' for turning off features used only in SGML applications, and turning on features used in XML applications. Instructions for using these 'switches' are contained in the DTDs themselves." The EAD standard for SGML/XML encoding is now widely used on an international scale by university libraries and archive centers; the University of Virginia EAD help pages list more than forty (40) current EAD implementations. Most projects deliver to the Web (HTML) using standard SGML/XML/XSL/XSLT tools. For example: (1) the "Museums and the Online Archive of California" project. The new site allows visitors to conduct fielded searches of the MOAC collections (EAD encoded finding aids from museums) by keyword, creator, country/culture, object type, object title, object date, materials, or subject. You can also find technical specifications and other project documentation. (2) "The UK Public Record Office EAD Finding Aid Project" (The Core Executive, containing the selected policy records of 20th century British Government departments). SGML-encoded EAD data has been converted to XML using James Clark's tool, SX. (3) the "Cornell Institute for Digital Collections EAD/XML Finding Aids Project" "experiments with delivering archival finding aids encoded in EAD (Encoded Archival Description) directly in XML, making use of XSL, the XML styling language." For description and references, see "Encoded Archival Description (EAD)."

  • [October 14, 1999]   PSGML Version 1.2.0 Released with XML Support.    As noted publicly by David Megginson on XML-DEV, a new version of PSGML has been released by Lennart Staflin. Whereas the previous version (1998-06-03) had only "alpha" level support for XML editing, the new version 1.2.0 of PSGML comes with tested (beta) XML editing support. Staflin's PSGML is represented as "a major mode for editing SGML and XML documents. It works with GNU Emacs 19.34, 20.3 and later or with XEmacs 19.9 and later. PSGML contains a simple SGML parser and can work with any DTD. Functions provided includes menus and commands for inserting tags with only the contextually valid tags, identification of structural errors, editing of attribute values in a separate window with information about types and defaults, and structure based editing." David Megginson's personal testimonial: "XEmacs+PSGML is my editor of choice for all of my XML and SGML work. I've used it to create probably close to 10,000 printed pages of documentation over the last few years, and have used XEmacs's regular-expression facilities for adding complex markup to e-texts. It's probably not suitable for naive users (give 'em XMetaL or WordPerfect, or maybe XED), but for the tech-savvy, it's great." Note that Bob DuCharme's book SGML CD contains a chapter on "Editing SGML Documents with the Emacs Text Editor"; this chapter of the book is available online for free as an Acrobat PDF file. "It assumes no previous knowledge of Emacs, and everything in it applies to XML as well as SGML." For related XML editing tools, see "XML Document Editing, DTD Editing, Stylesheet Editing, Formatting, Browsing, and Delivery Tools" and a review article by Ari Davidow entitled "XML Editors: Allegations of Functionality in search of reality." Hints on "fontifying" (mapping font faces for colorizing)" etc. are provided in the section "PSGML, by Lennart Staflin." [Note: 1999-10-14] Kai Grossjohann described a problem with incompatible system identifiers when using psgml to edit XML documents; David Megginson supplied the lisp code for a provisional fix.

  • [October 14, 1999]   James Clark Releases New Version of SP.    James Clark recently released SP version 1.3.4. Clark's SP is "an SGML System Conforming to International Standard ISO 8879 -- Standard Generalized Markup Language" which offers "a free, object-oriented toolkit for SGML parsing and entity management." SP also provides some XML support. This 1.3.4 release represents the "1.3.3 version (as in Jade 1.2.1) with some additional bug fixes. In particular, it now compiles with the latest version of gcc (2.95.1)." The source code and Win32 binaries (Windows 95 and Windows NT - unpack the .ZIP with pkunzip -d or equivalent) are available. The distributions include documentation, and have support for Unicode. See also 'How to Get SP'. For other XML parsing tools, see "XML Parsers and Parsing Toolkits."

  • [October 14, 1999]   Release of SAXON Version 4.7.    Michael Kay recently announced the release of SAXON version 4.7. The SAXON package "is a collection of tools for processing XML documents. The main components are: (1) An XSL processor, which supports the W3C 8-October-1999 XSLT and XPath specifications from the World Wide Web Consortium, with very few 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." The new SAXON release implements the W3C's 8-October-1999 Proposed Recommendation specifications for XSLT and XPath. Kay says: "Full conformance details, and information about changes since the previous version, are available on the site. Highlights include: (1) XSL features implemented for the first time: namespaces, xsl:import, xsl:apply-imports, xsl:output, numeric sorting, element extensibility, xsl:fallback, literal result element as stylesheet, disable-output-escaping. (2) Other enhancements: control over output encoding, improved HTML generation, user-defined output handlers; improved diagnostics; new API for extension functions (modelled on the API in xt); a 'preview mode' for handling documents too large to fit in memory; 'SQL stylesheets' as an example of element extensibility (allowing data to be loaded into a relational database); a nodeset() function to convert a result tree fragment to a nodeset, making it available for further processing; integration with James Tauber's FOP processor." There is also a new mailing list for SAXON. For related XSL/XSLT software, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support."

  • [October 14, 1999]   FOP Version 0.11.0 Released.    James Tauber recently announced the release of FOP version 0.11.0. FOP (an An Open-Source XSL Formatter and 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." The major code changes in version 0.11.0: "The way in which the formatting object tree creates the area tree has radically changed to allow much easier support for keeps, etc in the future. Numerous bugs were introduced (hence the delay in release) but even more fixed. In particular, line breaks work within inline-sequences now. FOP now uses namespaces. The prefix 'fo' is no longer hard-coded. This version supports all of the Latin-1 characters now as well as some others available in PDF. Font metrics and character encoding mappings are specified in XML at compile time. Thanks to Fotis Jannidis for doing the conversion to XML for me. Basic display-graphic support is now in, but I consider it unusable at present." For related software, see "Passive TeX' - Using TeX to format XSL Formatting Objects" (Sebastian Rahtz) and listings in "XSL/XSLT Software Support." Note that Tauber has set up a mailing list for FOP development.

  • [October 11, 1999]   XML Exchange Table Model Document Type Definition Published.    OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) has announced the publication of the XML Exchange Table Model Document Type Definition, linked from the OASIS Technical Publications document. "This OASIS Technical Memorandum is an XML expression of the Exchange subset of the full CALS table model DTD described in OASIS Technical Memorandum 9502:1995, CALS Table Model Document Type Definition. It is an XML version of OASIS Technical Resolution 9503:1995, Exchange Table Model Document Type Definition. The Exchange subset has been chosen as being a useful subset of the complete CALS table model such that, if an application's tables are tagged according to this subset, there is a high probability that the table will be interoperable among the great majority of OASIS vendor products." [From the announcement:] "The benefit of the exchange subset is that, if an application's tables are tagged according to this subset, there is a high probability that the table will be interoperable among the great majority of OASIS vendor products,' explained Norman Walsh (Arbortext), chair of the OASIS XML Tables Technical Committee. 'This memorandum satisfies the growing desire among OASIS member companies to have an official XML version of the Exchange Table Model.' 'The XML Table Model is an important step forward,' said Norbert Mikula (DataChannel), chief technical officer of OASIS. 'For years, the SGML Table Model has been the heart of table interoperability. Now, the XML Table Model will provide the same utility for the XML world'."

  • [October 09, 1999]   James Clark Releases New Version of XT for XSLT/XPATH Proposed Recommendations.    James Clark has prepared a new release of his XT software to match the XSLT and XPath Proposed Recommendations, published by the W3C on October 08, 1999. XT "is a Java implementation of XSL Transformations (XSLT). This release of XT [Version 19991008] mostly updates existing functionality to match the XSLT Proposed Recommendation. For the resulting changes, consult the relevant appendices of the XSLT and XPath Proposed Recommendations. The only completely new functionality is the exclude-result-prefixes attribute on xsl:stylesheet. Note that you will have to update your stylesheets before you can use this release (in particular you have to update the namespace URI). To use XT, you need: (1) the XT distribution, (2) an XML parser in Java that supports SAX, such as XP; you should choose a SAX parser that provides Locator information, otherwise you won't get any line numbers in error messages..." For other XSL/XSLT software, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support."

  • [October 08, 1999]   XSL Transformations (XSLT) Version 1.0 Published as a W3C Proposed Recommendation.    The W3C XSL Transformations (XSLT) specification has now been released as a Proposed Recommendation: XSL Transformations (XSLT) Version 1.0. Reference: W3C Proposed Recommendation 8-October-1999, edited by James Clark. This PR is part of the W3C Style activity. The XSLT specification "defines the syntax and semantics of XSLT, which 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 transformations that are needed when XSLT is used as part of XSL. . . A transformation in the XSLT language is expressed as a well-formed XML document conforming to the Namespaces in XML Recommendation, which may include both elements that are defined by XSLT and elements that are not defined by XSLT. A transformation expressed in XSLT describes rules for transforming a source tree into a result tree. The transformation is achieved by associating patterns with templates. A pattern is matched against elements in the source tree. A template is instantiated to create part of the result tree. The result tree is separate from the source tree. The structure of the result tree can be completely different from the structure of the source tree. In constructing the result tree, elements from the source tree can be filtered and reordered, and arbitrary structure can be added. A transformation expressed in XSLT is called a stylesheet. This is because, in the case when XSLT is transforming into the XSL formatting vocabulary, the transformation functions as a stylesheet..." Comments on the PR draft may be sent to before 5-November-1999, though the working group does not anticipate "further substantial changes to this specification, and encourages active implementation to test this specification during the Proposed Recommendation review period." Public discussion of XSL, including XSL Transformations, is expected to take place on the XSL-List mailing list. The document is available in both XML and HTML formats.

  • [October 08, 1999]   XML Path Language (XPath) Version 1.0 Published as a W3C Proposed Recommendation.    As part of the W3C Style activity and W3C XML activity, the XML Linking Working Group and XSL Working Group have published the XPath specification as a PR: XML Path Language (XPath) Version 1.0. Reference: W3C Proposed Recommendation 8-October-1999, edited by James Clark and Steve DeRose. XPath specifies a language for addressing parts of an XML document, designed to be used by both XSLT and XPointer. "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. 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. XPath models an XML document as a tree of nodes. There are different types of nodes, including element nodes, attribute nodes and text nodes. XPath defines a way to compute a string-value for each type of node. Some types of nodes also have names. XPath fully supports XML Namespaces. Thus, the name of a node is modeled as a pair consisting of a local part and a possibly null namespace URI; this is called an expanded-name. The data model is described in detail in section 5, 'Data Model'." Available in both XML and HTML formats. Send comments to until November 05, 1999; such comments are publicly archived.

  • [October 08, 1999]   W3C Publishes The Cambridge Communiqué on Web Data Models.    The W3C has released a NOTE on Web data models under the title The Cambridge Communiqué. Reference: W3C NOTE 7-October-1999, edited by Ralph R. Swick and Henry S. Thompson. The note constitutes "a report of the results of a meeting of a group of W3C Members involved in XML and RDF to advance the general understanding of a unified approach to the expression of Web data models. This document is one response to the Web data architecture discussed in "Web Architecture: Describing and Exchanging Data". In detail: a group "consisting of W3C Member representatives and W3C staff involved in the XML and RDF activities met on August 26 and 27 [1999] to discuss the architectural relationship between the schema work being undertaken within these two activities. The goals of this meeting were to articulate a vision of this relationship for the Web community, to feed input into the XML Schema Working Group and other W3C activities in support of this vision, and to resolve issues raised in the Member review of the RDF Schema Proposed Recommendation concerning overlap with XML work." The document presents nine (provisional) 'Observations and Recommendations', the first of which states: "The XML data model is the XML Information Set being specified by the XML Information Set Working Group. Other data models exist, both generic and application-specific. RDF is an example of one such generic data model. The XML Schema and RDF Schema languages are separate languages based on different data models and do not need to be merged into a single comprehensive language..."

  • [October 08, 1999]   SYS-CON Publications to Publish XML-Journal.    From a recent announcement: "SYS-CON Publications, Publisher of Java Developer's Journal, Announces XML-Journal, a New Magazine That Focuses Exclusively on XML Technology. New SYS-CON Publication Gives XML and Web Application Developers Valuable News and Information on XML Industry Standards and Open, Cross-Platform Development with XML." - "SYS-CON Publications, Inc., today announced the debut of the the first print magazine devoted to XML technology. Published bimonthly by SYS-CON Publications, XML-Journal will provide detailed technical information and instructions from the leading names in XML-based application development. The journal will also feature interviews with industry leaders and experts in the XML, Web and e-commerce development communities, as well as reviews of software add-ons and plug-ins, companion tools, and analyses of successful deployments of XML-based applications. The premier issue of XML-Journal will be available on newsstands and mailed to subscribers in December. Subscribers to XML-Journal will immediately receive SYS-CON's 'Collector's Edition XML Focus Issue' free of charge as part of their subscription. XML-Journal is designed to provide XML developers and consultants with articles columns that bring special insight to building and deploying XML-driven Web applications. The publication also will offer the XML developer community a venue for contributing and sharing XML knowledge. Ultimately, the journal is intended to facilitate the growth of the XML developer community by providing a consistent source of the latest, cutting-edge technical information..."

  • [October 07, 1999]   ATLA Serials Project to Use XML in Digital Library.    ATLAS (American Theological Library Association Serials Project) is "an undertaking by the American Theological Library Association. Its purpose is to digitize 50 years' worth of 50 journals that deal with the academic study of religion and make them accessible from the Web. ATLAS builds upon experience gained in the Scholars Press SELA Journals Project. Approximately 50 of 600 journals indexed by ATLA have been selected in the following six areas: (1) Bible, Archaeology, and Antiquities; (2) Theology, Philosophy, and Ethics; (3) Religions and Religious Studies; (4) Pastoral Ministry; (5) History, Missions, and Ecumenism; and (6) Human Culture and Society. In some cases, where a journal as been in existence for more than 50 years, ATLAS may include the entire run of the journal. On May 20, 1999, ATLA announced that it had received a grant from the Lilly Foundation [ca. $3.9 million] to develop and sustain the ATLAS project for three years." The journals selected for the ATLAS project are to be "digitized into two formats: encapsulated images and fully encoded texts. In the first case, page images of each journal are wrapped in a metadata 'envelope' that allow users to search the collection for articles written by particular authors, that contain certain words in the title, that deal with specific topics, or that treat selected passages of various religious texts. Page images with XML envelopes (using Ebind) are available first, since preparation time is so short - relatively speaking - for this format. High resolution versions of the images are archived for preservation purposes. In the second case, the journals are encoded in XML, in a DTD related to the SGML, TEI DTD. The XML browsers that are being developed currently may be available to scholars shortly. But it is possible that on the fly translation from XML to HTML will be necessary as a short-term solution for scholars whose Web browsers will not read XML. The fully encoded texts allow users to search on all these fields and more! Furthermore, users are able to perform simple full text searches, Boolean searches (i.e., using AND, OR, and NOT), and proximity searches (i.e., 'Word A within 10 words of Word B'). The search engine itself is based on the ATLA Religion Database - the information found in Religion Index One - the most extensive and highly regarded index of religious periodical literature published. Selected electronic journals are included also in the ATLAS project." John Robert Gardner of the ATLAS project recently posted an announcement describing some details of the project scope, together with its current research questions. For other references, see "ATLA Serials Project (ATLAS)."

  • [October 07, 1999]   Revised QAML DTD and FAQ Document.    A recent communiqué from Rick Jelliffe reports on a new QAML DTD and FAQ. "QAML is an XML language for FAQ and QNA-structured material ('Question and Answer Markup Language'). The current DTD is based on the QAML 1.0 DTD, with minimal alterations for XML, I18N (internationalization), XLL hypertext linking, style, accessability and tracking. Multi-part answers are supported a little better. Corporate and 'look-and-feel' needs are supported better: rights, PICS, logos, advertising sections, corporate addresses. Version 2.4 of the QAML DTD (Question and Answer Markup Language) is now available with minor updates requested by users. A FAQ document on QAML has also been started. The QAML home site with examples and stylesheets is at QAML has been checked for internationalization and accessability." See also "QAML - The Q&A Markup Language."

  • [October 07, 1999]   XPentateuch: Using XML/XLL/XSL to Annotate the Pentateuch.    A communiqué from Patrick Durusau (Information Technology Services, Scholars Press) reports on the preparation of marked up texts that form part of the XPentateuch project. "I have prepared versions of the Pentateuch (KJV and Vulgate) with word level markup for public release. I am hopeful that people may find these texts helpful in experimenting with imposing concurrent markup or different hierarchies using XLinks or other techniques." A recent article "XPentateuch: Using XML/XLL/XSL to Annotate the Pentateuch" describes the project: "Using standard techniques and fully worked examples this article will detail how to annotate example texts drawn from the Pentateuch. Beginning with public domain texts, the reader is taken through all the steps to create a corpus level encoded XML text that is ready for annotation by standard XLL techniques. XSL is used to provide a display mechanism for the texts generated by the end of this article. All of the software required to follow these examples is available on the Web at no cost for non-commercial users." [From the "Webmaster's Corner" in the OFFLINE Column 66, Religious Studies News, (September 1999), edited by James R. Adair and Patrick Durusau.] This first release "contains the texts of the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) from both the King James Version (KJV) and the Vulgate. These texts have not been proofed for accuracy against any known reference copy of these texts. They are meant for experimental purposes only and should not be used or distributed as accurate copies of the original texts. Canonical versions of the texts would have a full TEI Header and reference the TEI DTD. The XPentateuch texts have been released to allow biblical scholars to gain experience in the use of XLink and other mechanisms for annotating and constructing texts from XML encoded texts. Each word bears a unique ID constructed as follows: (Version)-(Book-Name).(Chapter).(Verse).(Word in Verse). This will allow scholars to attach annotations to individual words, vary the incorporation of these texts into another at the word level, or impose such divisions or arrangements upon the text as they desire, without changing the original text. Future plans include a Hebrew text of the Pentateuch with markup at the grapheme level to allow for marking of variants or insertion of annotations at the lowest level of the visible text." An initial release of the encoded texts is available online; see the README file for other description.

  • [October 05, 1999]   Preliminary Program for Markup Technologies '99.    An 'Unofficial Advance Sneak-Preview' Preliminary Program listing for the Markup Technologies '99 Conference has been posted. Markup Technologies '99 ("SGML, XML, and Beyond: Real Data, Real Problems, Real Solutions") will be held December 7-9, 1999 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA, USA. The MT '99 Conference Chair is B. Tommie Usdin (Mulberry Technologies, Inc.); co-chairs include Deborah A. Lapeyre and C. Michael Sperberg-McQueen. Included among the Web site documents are abstracts describing each of the talks scheduled for the conference, and tutorial descriptions for the tutorials offered at the MT '99 and XML '99 conferences. See also the Markup Technologies '99 schedule "At a Glance" for Tuesday (December 7), Wednesday (December 8), and Thursday (December 9). For other conference information, see the GCA Web site and the main conference entry.

  • [October 05, 1999]   Research Paper on Hedge Regular Languages.    Murata Makoto (Fuji Xerox Information Systems) has published a preliminary version of a document on 'hedge regular languages' (aka 'forest-regular languages and tree-regular languages'): "Hedge Automata: A Formal Model for XML Schemata." The research note describes "preliminaries of the hedge automaton theory. In the XML community, this theory has been recently recognized as a simple but powerful model for XML schemata. In particular, the design of two schema languages for XML, namely RSL (Regular Schema Language) and DSD (Document Structure Description), is directly derived from this theory. First, we introduce hedges. Informally, a hedge is a sequence of trees. In the XML terminology, a hedge is a sequence of elements possibly intervened by character data (or types of character data). In particular, an XML document can be considered as a hedge. [Then] we introduce hedge regular grammars (RHGs). An RHG is a mechanism for generating hedges. In other words, an RHG describes a set of hedges. Since the primary role of an XML schema is to describe a set of valid documents, an RHG can be considered as a formal representation of a XML schema. [Then we introduce] deterministic hedge automata and non-deterministic hedge automata. . . The set of parse trees of an extended context-free grammar is said to be a local tree language. A lot is known about the relationships between local tree languages and regular hedge languagess. We mention two observations which are directly relevant to XML. (1) A local tree language is a regular hedge language (in other words, for any extenced context-free grammar, we can construct a DHA.), and (2) For any regular hedge language that contains trees only, there exists a unique minimal local set that includes the language. Observation '(1)' implies that HRGs are more powerful than DTDs, while '(2)' ensures that given any HRG, we can construct a reasonable DTD." For other references, see: "SGML/XML and Forest/Hedge Automata Theory."

  • [October 05, 1999]   IBM's Early-Access Implementation of VoiceXML.    IBM's alphaWorks labs has released an early-access implementation of VoiceXML, an emerging standard for building distributed Internet-based voice applications. "VoiceXML [formerly: 'VXML'] is an XML-based markup language for distributed voice applications, much as HTML is a language for distributed visual applications. VoiceXML is designed for creating audio dialogs that feature synthesized speech, digitized audio, recognition of spoken and DTMF key input, recording of spoken input, telephony, and mixed-initiative conversations. The goal is to provide voice access and interactive voice response (e.g., by telephone, PDA, or desktop) to web-based content and applications. VoiceXML is being defined by an industry forum, VoiceXML Forum founded by AT&T, IBM, Lucent and Motorola, established to promote the Voice eXtensible Markup Language (VoiceXML). VoiceXML brings the power of web development and content delivery to voice response applications, and frees the authors of such applications from low-level programming and resource management. It enables integration of voice services with data services using the familiar client-server paradigm, and it gives users the power to seamlessly transition between applications. The dialogs are provided by document servers, which may be external to the browser implementation platform." The IBM tool is available for Windows 95 and Windows 98 (with 32MB of memory) or Windows NT (with 48MB), and a full-duplex sound card. It also requires JDK/JRE 1.1.x or JDK/JRE 1.2.x. The package "contains an early-access implementation of a subset of the VoiceXML 0.9 language specification, together with some VoiceXML samples. We are providing this early-access partial implementation in order to facilitate feedback on the language specification. Users should be aware that the 0.9 specification is preliminary and that significant and incompatible changes may be made in the language." See also the VoiceXML Forum Web site.

  • [October 05, 1999]   Perl Module for Rich Site Summary (XML::RSS), Release 0.6.    A posting from Jonathan Eisenzopf announces a version 0.6 release of the Perl module for Rich Site Summary ('RSS'). The XML::RSS Perl module "provides a basic framework for creating and maintaining Rich Site Summary (RSS) files. RSS is primarily used for distributing news headlines, commonly called channels, and is used primarily on Netscape's Netcenter and by Userland Software. This release fixes a a number of bugs thanks mostly to Chris Nador's efforts; it is an alpha release because the API has not been finalized." A tutorial "RSS News Feeds with XML::RSS" explains "how to add free news headlines to your Web site from any site that supports Netscape's Rich Site Summary (RSS) format... make your site stickier than a roach motel. RSS is an Uber-cool XML format for exchanging meta-info for stuff like press releases, news...The Rich Site Summary (RSS) format, previously known as the RDF Site Summary, has quietly become the dominant format for distributing news headlines on the Web." For other description and references, see RDF Rich Site Summary (RSS) and "Open Content Syndication."

  • [October 04, 1999]   Meta Data Coalition (MDC) Publishes XML Specification and DTDs for the Open Information Model (OIM).    The Meta Data Coalition recently released an 'XML Encoding Specification' for the Open Information Model (OIM), accompanied by XML DTDs. "The Meta Data Coalition (MDC) Open Information Model (OIM) is a vendor-neutral and technology-independent specification of core metadata types found in operational, data warehousing, and knowledge management environments. OIM is described in UML (Unified Modeling Language) and is organized in easy-to-use and easy-to-extend subject areas. The Extensible Markup Language (XML) is the standard format for the interchange of metadata using the MDC OIM. XML at its core is a definition language that allows specifying how information may be represented by tagged structures that can be nested and attributed. XML, however, does not define how models such as the MDC OIM are mapped onto tags or structures, known as XML vocabulary. Multiple technology dependent and vendor-specific mapping technologies have appeared or have been proposed in the market, many are industry standards (BizTalk, EDI, STEP), related to component technologies (COM, CORBA, EJB), or are simply vendor dependent. The MDC will support multiple XML vocabularies for the OIM in order to make it easy for different vendors and end-user to integrate the standard into their environments. By standardizing on the MDC OIM as semantic model for a metadata interchange, it is straightforward to convert between different XML vocabularies using technologies like the W3C Extensible Style Sheet Language (XSL), a standard mapping technology. The MDC will use XSL to provide mappings between the alternative XML vocabularies for the MDC OIM." For other description and references, see "MDC Open Information Model (OIM)."

  • [October 04, 1999]   XRS: A New XML Search Engine.    Dongwook Shin (Visiting Scholar, Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, National Library of Medicine) posted an announcement for an XML indexing and retrieval engine named XRS. "XRS is the most recent result among those which I have been developing in SGML/XML framework for a couple of years. Highlights of XRS are: (1) A very flexible retrieval capability; (2) Efficient indexing and retrieval; (3) With a servlet and multi-thread safe native C library, the overhead in server side is reduced; (4) XML source is transformed to HTML and sent to your browser. . . XRS is an XML search engine that is able to retrieve any elements a user wants very effectively. Unlike other XML search engines that get back whole XML documents to you, you can impose conditions on any elements with weights and get back relevant elements efficiently. XRS uses a couple of new techniques that have been recently developed. One of those is the BUS (Bottom Up Scheme) technique developed for indexing and retrieving structured documents efficiently. BUS indexes only at the leaf elements in a DTD structure, whereas the index information of the intermediate elements is computed at retrieval time with accumulating those of the leaf elements nested in the intermediate ones. By doing so, it allows a user to compose structural queries depending on the DTD structure in a more flexible way than other Web search engines do and get search results quickly. Secondly, XRS uses a Java component that renders the XML output into the HTML. It facilitates that a user without an XML enabled browser can view the search results retrieved back from the search engine. The rendering component is connected with Query Mediator servlet that resides in the server and mediates the user and the back-end search engine. If a search result is in XML, for instance an XML element itself, the Query Mediator servlet makes it pass through the rendering component. Otherwise it sends the result back directly to the GUI. The Query Mediator servlet calls the search engine made as the shared library with JNI interface. In XRS, the GUI is programmed in Java applet, which communicates with the Query Mediator servlet on top of HTTP protocol." For complete description, see the Web site.

  • [October 04, 1999]   DOM Level 2 Implementation in Java.    David Brownell recently posted an announcement for an implementation of DOM Level 2 based upon the latest W3C working draft specification [September 23, 1999]. This DOM implementation includes "the updates to the core APIs, notably namespace support and some new factory methods hanging off the implementation class. Probably a lot more fun for developers will be the fact that it's got basic support for the 'Event' APIs. This includes having the DOM generate 'MutationEvent' messages that your listeners can work with, and a simple user event extension. On top of that, there's a new stateful iterator. And if you grab that whole package, you get (free) complete javadoc for all the W3C interfaces... also, simple examples. The example programs show how to use the DOM L2 events facility, as well as the iterator support. These depend on the utilities package. The DOM builders do not yet take advantage of the namespace support in the DOM, so you can't see that in action quite yet ... but the events stuff should be interesting, and you may like iterators (or not). See the Web site for licensing details and availability. For more on Document Object Model (DOM), see the W3C Web site or the DOM reference page, "W3C Document Object Model (DOM) Specification."

  • [October 02, 1999]   XML Featured in Markup Languages: Theory & Practice Volume 1, Number 3.    The most recent publication of Markup Languages: Theory & Practice (Volume 1, Number 3 - Summer 1999) features XML in several articles, project reports, squibs, and book reviews. An overview of this issue is provided in an annotated Table of Contents, which includes extended abstracts for the papers published in each department. For example: "XML Tools And Architecture for Named Entity Recognition" (Andrei Mikheev, Claire Grover, and Marc Moens - University of Edinburgh, HCRC Language Technology Group); "Structured Markup on the Web: A Tale of Two Sites" (Joshua Lubell, NIST); "IBM's TaskGuide: An XML-based System for Creating Wizard-Style Helps" (Doug Tidwell, IBM); "REX: XML Shallow Parsing with Regular Expressions" (Robert D. Cameron (Simon Fraser University); "Whither &#38;#38;?" (Tony Graham, Mulberry Technologies). Markup Languages: Theory and Practice (ISSN: 1099-6622) is published by MIT Press Journals. Editors in Chief for MLTP are B. Tommie Usdin (Mulberry Technologies, Inc.) and C. M. Sperberg-McQueen (University of Illinois/Chicago). A journal description with an overview of the Editorial Structure is provided in a separate document. See also the annotated Table of Contents for Volume 1, Number 1 (Winter 1999) and Volume 1, Number 2 (Spring 1999). [Ed. Note: Speaking as one who has subscribed to dozens of professional and technical journals over the past twenty years, it is my personal opinion that the MIT Press Markup Languages: Theory & Practice [ISSN 1099-6621] ranks at the very top in terms of high-quality information for the IT professional; at an annual subscription rate of $50.00 for individuals, ($145.00 for institutions), it must represent an exceptional value. - RCC]

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