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Last modified: August 26, 2000
SGML and XML News. January - March, 2000

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  • [March 31, 2000]   Perl Module XML::Parser Version 2.28 Released.    Clark Cooper has announced the release of the XML::Parser version 2.28. "I've uploaded Version 2.28 of XML::Parser to CPAN. This is likely to be the last release of the 2.xx branch of XML::Parser. I'm planning major structural changes that will become version 3.x. I'll talk about these plans in a later message to the perl-xml mailing list. The big change for this release are extensive patches to expat to allow me to remove the buggy parsing of declarations from Expat.xs. A couple of feature changes resulted from this..." XML::Parser is a perl module for parsing XML documents. "It is built on top of XML::Parser::Expat, which is a lower level interface to James Clark's expat library. Each call to one of the parsing methods creates a new instance of XML::Parser::Expat which is then used to parse the document. Expat options may be provided when the XML::Parser object is created. These options are then passed on to the Expat object on each parse call. They can also be given as extra arguments to the parse methods, in which case they override options given at XML::Parser creation time. The behavior of the parser is controlled either by /Style and/or /Handlers options, or by /setHandlers method. These all provide mechanisms for XML::Parser to set the handlers needed by XML::Parser::Expat. If neither Style nor Handlers are specified, then parsing just checks the document for being well-formed..." For related resources, see references in "XML and Perl."

  • [March 29, 2000]   Text Analysis Tools for XML Documents.    Alexander Nakhimovsky (Computer Science Department, Colgate University) has posted an announcement for the availability of an online set of text-analysis tools based upon the W3C XSL and XPath Recommendations. "Since January, a project at Colgate University in the US has been developing a set of tools with the following design goals: (1) the tools are available over the network as a Web application; (2) the tools are DTD independent: the user interface is constructed automatically on the basis of the document's DTD; (3) the queries that the tools can process use XPath to express structural query conditions and Regular Expressions to describe the text patterns of the query; (4) the tools are extensible: if XSLT cannot do a query, it can be relegated to an extension function written in a general-purpose programming language (Java most easily); (5) secondary documents, such as concordances, frequency counts, inverted indices and so on, are kept as XML documents, optimized for query processing but also available for printing and display. We now have an early version of the tools and a tutorial on how to use them, both to be found at Our main purpose in posting this announcement is to get feedback: what other functionality is needed? The tutorial uses a very simple DTD (Jon Bosak's play.dtd), and a single text, The Merchant of Venice. However, the program is DTD-independent. The next version of the tutorial will use TEI Light and provide instructions on how to use the program with a DTD of your own... We will be giving a paper on our work at XML-Europe in Paris in June. A poster and a software demo will be presented at the ALLC/ACH meeting in Glasgow." For related research and development, see "XML and Query Languages."

  • [March 29, 2000]   Materials Property Data Markup Language (MatML).    A communiqué from Ed Begley (National Institute of Standards and Technology) and Dr. Peter Murray-Rust describes an XML-based 'Materials Property Data Markup Language'. "Much of science and technology owe their progress to the careful collection, logging and interpretation of data. And as information technology becomes more efficient, so do the methods scientists use for sorting and accessing data. Now hoping to improve the utility of electronic materials property data, NIST scientists have embarked on a project to standardize the way materials property data is posted on the World Wide Web. This international project coordinated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the United States Department of Commerce, is inviting others in the materials property data community to join the effort called Materials Property Data Markup Language, or MatML. The goal of MatML is to create a standard markup language for web-based materials property data collections. While current hypertext markup language specifies elements of web page design, it contains no mechanism for tagging or specifying any of the hundreds of materials properties that materials scientists and engineers need to know. MatML will address interpretation and interoperability of materials property data. The goal is to develop a markup language that will describe the data source, the material and the material properties. Ultimately, this project could allow researchers to easily use electronic materials property data from multiple sources in models, simulations or distributed databases. The markup language will re-use DTDs and schemas from other domains, such as MathML and CML. Dr. Peter Murray-Rust is collaborating in ensuring that CML can interoperate to provide the chemical parts of MatML. The MatML Kernel is a working document that is being used to help frame the ongoing scope and specification discussions of the MatML Working Group. The kernel is written in English and delineates a hierarchy of data elements which may eventually lead to a formal DTD for MatML. The MatML kernel contains structures for transferring information concerning the data source, the material and its properties, terms which may help with the interpretation of the transferred data, and graphs." The effort is supported by a MatML Working Group, which represents "a cross section of the materials community composed of members from private industry, government laboratories, universities, standards organizations, and professional societies. The MatML effort is being coordinated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the United States Department of Commerce." For other references, see the text of the note and "Materials Property Data Markup Language (MatML)."

  • [March 29, 2000]   Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) Version 2.0.    The W3C Math Working Group has published a 'last call' Working Draft of the MathML 2.0 specification: Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) Version 2.0. Reference: W3C Working Draft 28-March-2000; edited by Nico Poppelier (Penta Scope), Robert Miner (Geometry Technologies, Inc.), Patrick Ion (Mathematical Reviews, American Mathematical Society), and David Carlisle (NAG). The last call review period ends 30-April-2000. The document has been produced as part of the activity of the W3C User Interface Domain. It is available also in these formats: HTML zip archive, XHTML zip archive, XML zip archive, PDF (screen), and PDF (paper). The working draft 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. [It] 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... 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 characters and their relation to fonts. While MathML is human-readable, it is anticipated that, in all but the simplest cases, that 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." Appendix A of the document supplies the main body of the XML DTD; the full DTD, as well as the XHTML-Math DTD, is available also as a separate file. See: "Mathematical Markup Language (MathML)."

  • [March 29, 2000]   XForms Requirements.    The W3C HTML Working Group has issued a working draft specification relevant to the next generation of web forms: XForms Requirements. Reference: World Wide Web Consortium Working Draft, 29-March-2000; edited by Micah Dubinko (Cardiff Software), Sebastian Schnitzenbaumer (Stack Overflow), Malte Wedel (Stack Overflow), and Dave Raggett (W3C/HP). The document "provides an overview of the requirements currently under discussion within the Forms Subgroup of the HTML Working Group. Forms were introduced into HTML in 1993 and have proven to be a valuable part of many Web pages. The experience of the last few years has led to demands for improvements to HTML forms. XForms are a major revision of HTML Forms. Key goals for the next generation of web forms include ease of migration, improved interoperability and accessibility, enhanced client/server interaction, advanced forms logic, support for internationalization and greater flexibility in presentation. [The working group] envisages this work being conducted in several steps, starting with the development of a core forms module, followed by work on additional modules for specific features. The Modularization of XHTML provides a mechanism for defining modules which can be recombined as appropriate to the capabilities of different platforms. [...] XForms should be an application of XML 1.0 plus Namespaces. It should be possible to define a rich form, including validations, dependencies, and basic calculations without the use of a scripting language. XForms should be usable in XHTML and other XML-based languages, such as SVG. XForms should be usable by clients without XHTML capabilities. To enable Web content developers to meet these challenges XForms will be designed to cleanly distinguish between form data, logic and presentation. The same form will be accessible as a sheet of paper or using a handheld computer resting on your palm. To meet the goals for richer presentation XForms will be designed for integration with other XML tag sets, such as XHTML itself, SVG for graphics and SMIL for multimedia forms. You will be able to use style sheet languages such as CSS and XSL to finely tune the presentation." For description and references, see: "XML and Forms."

  • [March 28, 2000]   Last Call Working Draft for the W3C Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) Version 1.0.    The W3C XSL Working Group has released a last call working draft specification for the Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) Version 1.0. Reference: W3C Working Draft 27-March-2000, by Sharon Adler (IBM), Anders Berglund (IBM), Jeff Caruso (Bitstream), Stephen Deach (Adobe), Paul Grosso (ArborText), Eduardo Gutentag (Sun), Alex Milowski (Lexica), Scott Parnell (Xerox), Jeremy Richman (Interleaf), and Steve Zilles (Adobe). The draft is available in XML, HTML source, and ZIP archive formats. "The XSL Working Group considers that this draft is stable and ready to move to Candidate Recommendation status, following the successful resolution of comments. This is therefore the last call for comments on this Working Draft. Please send detailed comments to before 30 April 2000; archives of the comments are available. More general public discussion of XSL takes place on the XSL-List mailing list." "Abstract: XSL is a language for expressing stylesheets. It consists of two parts: (1) a language for transforming XML documents, and (2) an XML vocabulary for specifying formatting semantics. An XSL stylesheet specifies the presentation of a class of XML documents by describing how an instance of the class is transformed into an XML document that uses the formatting vocabulary." Description: "This specification defines the Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL). XSL is a language for expressing stylesheets. Given a class of arbitrarily structured XML documents or data files, designers use an XSL stylesheet to express their intentions about how that structured content should be presented; that is, how the source content should be styled, laid out, and paginated onto some presentation medium, such as a window in a Web browser or a hand-held device, or a set of physical pages in a catalog, report, pamphlet, or book. An XSL stylesheet processor accepts a document or data in XML and an XSL stylesheet and produces the presentation of that XML source content that was intended by the designer of that stylesheet. There are two aspects of this presentation process: first, constructing a result tree from the XML source tree and second, interpreting the result tree to produce formatted results suitable for presentation on a display, on paper, in speech, or onto other media. The first aspect is called tree transformation and the second is called formatting. The process of formatting is performed by the formatter. This formatter may simply be a rendering engine inside a browser..." For background and references, see "Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL)."

  • [March 28, 2000]   W3C Candidate Recommendation: Resource Description Framework (RDF) Schema Specification 1.0.    The W3C Resource Description Framework (RDF) Schema Specification 1.0 has now been published as a Candidate Recommendation. Reference: W3C Candidate Recommendation 27-March-2000; edited by Dan Brickley (University of Bristol) and R. V. Guha (Epinions). The document abstract: "This specification describes how to use RDF to describe RDF vocabularies. The specification also defines a basic vocabulary for this purpose, as well as an extensibility mechanism to anticipate future additions to RDF." Description: "The Resource Description Framework (RDF) is a foundation for processing metadata; it provides interoperability between applications that exchange machine-understandable information on the Web. RDF uses XML to exchange descriptions of Web resources but the resources being described can be of any type, including XML and non-XML resources. RDF emphasizes facilities to enable automated processing of Web resources. RDF can be used in a variety of application areas, for example: in resource discovery to provide better search engine capabilities, in cataloging for describing the content and content relationships available at a particular Web site, page, or digital library, by intelligent software agents to facilitate knowledge sharing and exchange, in content rating, in describing collections of pages that represent a single logical "document", for describing intellectual property rights of Web pages, and for expressing the privacy preferences of a user as well as the privacy policies of a Web site. RDF with digital signatures will be key to building the 'Web of Trust' for electronic commerce, collaboration, and other applications... RDF Schemas might be contrasted with XML Document Type Definitions (DTDs) and XML Schemas. Unlike an XML DTD or Schema, which gives specific constraints on the structure of an XML document, an RDF Schema provides information about the interpretation of the statements given in an RDF data model. While an XML Schema can be used to validate the syntax of an RDF/XML expression, a syntactic schema alone is not sufficient for RDF purposes. RDF Schemas may also specify constraints that should be followed by these data models. Future work on RDF Schema and XML Schema might enable the simple combination of syntactic and semantic rules from both. This RDF Schema specification has intentionally left unspecified a set of primitive datatypes. As RDF uses XML for its interchange encoding, the work on data typing in XML itself should be the foundation for such a capability." Appendix A documents the XML Serialization: "An RDF specification of the core RDF Schema model is given here in RDF/XML serialization syntax. Please note that the namespace URI for the RDF Schema Specification will change in future versions of this specification if the schema changes. This RDF schema includes annotations describing RDF resources defined formally in the RDF Model and Syntax specification, as well as definitions for new resources belonging to the RDF Schema namespace. .." The Resource Description Framework is part of the W3C Metadata Activity. "The goal of this activity, and of RDF specifically, is to produce a language for the exchange of machine-understandable descriptions of resources on the Web. A separate specification describes the data model and syntax for the interchange of metadata using RDF."

  • [March 28, 2000]   PICS Rating Vocabularies in XML/RDF.    The W3C has published a NOTE on PICS Rating Vocabularies in XML/RDF. Reference: W3C NOTE 27-March-2000; edited by Dan Brickley and Ralph R. Swick. Abstract: "PICS, the Platform for Internet Content Selection is a system for associating metadata (PICS "labels") with Internet content. PICS provides a mechanism whereby independent groups can develop metadata vocabularies without naming conflict. The syntax of a PICS label is very compact and does not use any of the subsequent Web technology such as XML and XSL. RDF, the Resource Description Framework provides a model for representing metadata that is even more general than PICS, with more expressive power, and uses XML syntax. A goal of RDF was to permit the mechanical translation of PICS metadata into RDF form. This document represents one possible mapping of PICS into XML/RDF. The material in this document was first published as part of the RDF Schema specification, Proposed Recommendation of 1999-03-03. It has been published as an independent document to facilitate its evolution independently of the RDF Schema specification. At the time this document was created, no working group was chartered to advance the PICS RDF/XML mapping. Consequently this document in its current version has no formal standing in W3C process and is provided here for reference and discussion amongst PICS and RDF implementors." The NOTE represents a "work-in-progress illustrating how a PICS schema could be expressed using the RDF Schema language . This mapping should not be considered definitive; other representations are possible. The docuement is organized in three parts: Part 1 covers the vocabulary in the PICS-1.1 Label Specification; Part 2 covers the PICS-1.1 Rating Service Description vocabulary; Part 3 illustrates an example PICS rating system."

  • [March 25, 2000]   Simple Digital Library Interoperability Protocol (SDLIP).    The Simple Digital Library Interoperability Protocol (SDLIP) has been "developed jointly with the Universities of California at Berkeley and Santa Barbara, the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), and the California Digital Library (CDL). SDLIP is a new search middleware tool that is being adapted by several participants of the latest Digital Library Initiative (DLI2). The protocol allows for both stateful and stateless operation, supports multiple query languages, and defines a simple XML-based return format. A default query language that is included in SDLIP follows the evolving IETF DASL 'basicsearch'. This is an XML-encoded language reminiscent of SQL, but adjusted for use in full-text environments. SDLIP can be used with CORBA or HTTP. The design of SDLIP benefited greatly from input by a related emerging IETF standard on Distributed Authoring, Search, and Locating (DASL). SDLIP has the following goals: (1) Simplicity for both client and server side implementations; (2) Implementations possible via both distributed object technology, such as CORBA, and via HTTP; (3) Support for stateful and stateless operation at the server side; (4) Support for dynamic load balancing in server implementations; (5) Support for thin clients, such as handheld devices." SDLIP represents 'search middleware', identified by the researchers as "protocols and associated software packages that enable information application writers to access information sources easily. Search middleware is responsible for transporting queries and results, and for negotiating the parameters of search interactions... [the underlying problem is that] no generally agreed upon programmatic interface exists for accessing information sources. Rather than focusing on innovative user level facilities, programmers must expend effort on accommodating unnecessarily different information source access methods, or even resort to screen-scraping of Web pages in order to retrieve information." After completion of the SDLIP specification, UC Berkeley created SDLIP access to the Berkeley Environmental Digital Library document collection. Berkeley also created a gateway from SDLIP to Z39.50, enabling access to the University of California's MELVYL catalog which covers UC library holdings, and to many holdings of the California Digital Library's extensive collections of digital resources. These include electronic journals, databases, reference texts, and archival finding aids. This bridge between SDLIP and Z39.50 further expands the coverage to other Z39.50 compliant servers including, for example, the Library of Congress. SDSC is using SDLIP to provide search interfaces to the Metadata Catalog (MCAT) of their Storage Request Broker (SRB) and to the XML-based information mediator (MIX), thereby facilitating access to further sources including, for example, the AMICO image collection. Access to Web based resources includes a people finder and a film review site. We also implemented SDLIP access to the Dienst protocol, which enables searches over distributed technical reports (NCSTRL)." SDLIP accomplishes a degree of complexity control through the partitioning of operations into coherent interfaces [search interface, result access interface, source metadata interface]. Each interface contains at most four or five operations. Parameters and return values use XML syntax. [...] Query Language and Format Neutrality: A major design decision for search middleware is whether search requests should be required to use a particular query language, and which data format will be used for results...The easy way out is a compromise that many protocols, including SDLIP, have taken. One can define a simple search language that is guaranteed to be supported by all search services. However, rather than limiting clients and services to this language, the protocol can allow the use of other languages, as long as the search request includes information as to which language is being employed. Here is an example query expressed in SDLIP's standard, minimal language, called basicsearch, which is taken from the DASL internet draft. XML is used for encoding. SDLIP can transport other query languages just as well. The language used is specified in each search request. Thus, evolving query languages, like W3C-QL98 for querying XML, can be accommodated... XML Formats Used in SDLIP: in order to keep SDLIP's datatypes simple, parameters that contain multiple pieces of information are encoded as XML. [We use DTD-like syntax to describe the structures. Note, however, that we are taking some liberties in that we assume extensibility. It is expected that more entities might be added within SDLIP's XML structures over time, even though a strict adherence to the DTDs would not allow that.] XML DTDs are supplied for search results, subcollection specifications, source metadata, etc. In contrast to queries, the format for SDLIP search results is strictly prescribed..." Documentation for SDLIP is also available in: (1) "Search Middleware and the Simple Digital Library Interoperability Protocol [Long Version]" [PDF] and (2) "Search Middleware and the Simple Digital Library Interoperability Protocol," by Andreas Paepcke (Stanford University); Robert Brandriff (California Digital Library); Greg Janee (University of California at Santa Barbara); Ray Larson (University of California at Berkeley); Bertram Ludaescher (San Diego Supercomputer Center); Sergey Melnik and Sriram Raghavan (Stanford University). In D-Lib Magazine Volume 6 Number 3 (March 2000) [ISSN 1082-9873].

  • [March 24, 2000]   XML Document Navigation Language.    The W3C has acknowledged receipt of a submission from NEC Corporation for a proposed XML Document Navigation Language. Reference: W3C Note 23-March-2000, by Naoko Ito (NEC Corporation) and Kazuhisa Manabe (NEC Infomatec Systems Ltd.). In the submission, the authors request that the W3C consortium address the "identified open and future issues within existing working groups/interest groups in the User Interface Domain, especially the XSL working group, as well as the Mobile Access Interest Group." Document abstract: "With the diversity of accessing devices, WWW content needs to be designed for both PC and non-PC devices, so that it can be appropriately navigated and rendered by each type of devices. This note focuses on the navigation of content which helps the user to easily browse a huge document on relatively small devices. The general idea of navigation is explained, and a new language, the XML Document Navigation Language (XDNL) is proposed in this note." The XML DTD is provided in section 6. Rationale: "To offer WWW content to non-PC devices, some sites prepare multiple versions of WWW content, each of which is customized for a particular type of devices. Although it may offer the best version of content to each type of devices, it is a time-consuming task to create every new version of content for every new type of devices. To reduce this cost, it is practical to divide the content into the data and its presentation, and apply the appropriate presentation to the data according to each type of devices. Presentation has two aspects: One is by what size and in which order portions of information are shown. The other is in what form each portion of information is displayed. The latter presentation is called as Style and is well discussed in the stylesheet activity. The former, newly introduced in this note, is called as Navigation. Navigation will allow the user to browse a huge document on small devices without problems... [so defined,] Navigation is a set of instructions to create an appropriate flow of a document for each type of devices. A navigation language which specifies this set of instructions should describe: (1) which portion of a document is shown at each time, as a leaf-document, (2) from/to which leaf-document a flow-link should traverse... An XDNL document is an XML document. It consists of multiple blocks, each of which is a set of instructions to create leaf-documents of a specific type. Each set of instructions may be applied to different portions of an original document tree, thus creating a series of leaf-documents of the same type... Instructions in each block should describe which portion of an original XML document will be copied in the result leaf-document, and from/to which elements links will be created in the result leaf-document." The W3C staff comment from Tatsuya Hagino (W3C lead for Mobile Access Activity) states in part: "XDNL has a lot of similarities with XSLT, and mostly uses the syntax of XSLT and XPath. There are three main features found in XDNL that are not available in XSLT: (1) To generate multiple output documents from a single input document (similar to an XSLT extension in XT). (2) To limit the size of each generated document by text size or by the number of elements copied. This is especially useful for creating documents for devices which have a small memory. (3) To easily create conditional links, e.g., to avoid creating a link to the 'previous' document in the first document of a sequence. The submitters note that document reorganization ('navigation') and styling should be separated, and that therefore a separate language for navigation should be developed. The similarities of XDNL and XSLT, and the frequent use of XSLT for transformations not related to styling, suggest that it may as well be possible to use one and the same language in a two-step process. For handling the diversity of various Web browsers, the HTML Working Group is currently developing a modularized version of XHTML (Modularized XHTML). Using document profiles and CC/PP device capability negotiation, the same document can be viewed from various devices including PCs, mobile phones, PDAs and TVs. In this respect, modularized XHTML and XDNL address different parts of the same problem. Modularized XHTML addresses the problem of HTML documents themselves which can be viewed by various devices, whereas XDNL addresses the problem of how to generate such documents. The XSL Working Group is invited to investigate whether and how the ideas presented in the XDNL submission can be integrated into a potential next version of XSLT or can be made available as extensions."

  • [March 24, 2000]   Vivid Creations Releases ActiveSAX 2.0.0 and ActiveDOM 2.0.0 COM Components.    Rich Anderson recently announced beta versions of ActiveSAX 2.0.0 / ActiveDOM 2.0.0, now available for download. "Vivid Creations are pleased to announce the initial beta release of their ActiveSAX 2.0.0 and ActiveDOM 2.0.0 COM components. ActiveDOM is "an Active-X control that enables XML and XHTML files to be loaded, created and manipulated from just about any product or programming language that supports Microsoft COM. This includes Visual Basic, Visual C++, VBA, WSH etc. The control implements the W3C DOM 1.0 Level 1 interfaces and is designed to be fully compatible with MSXML." ActiveSAX is an "Active-X control that enables XML files of any size to be parsed from just about any product or programming language that supports Microsoft COM. This includes Visual Basic, Visual C++, VBA, WSH etc. In the new beta release, "the SAX1 COM component has now been updated to support SAX2. Whilst all of the SAX2 interfaces are supported in the underlying C/C++ implementation, the COM implementation just implements the core set of SAX2 features that are typically required by an application, as per the SAX1 component. The DOM level 2 core interfaces have been implemented in the ActiveDOM component. We've also got a native C/C++ implementation of SAX2 and the DOM level 2 core interface. Email us directly if you are interested testing it."

  • [March 24, 2000]   IBM alphaWorks Releases LotusXSL 1.0.0.    The LotusXSL Team from IBM alphaWorks labs has released LotusXSL 1.0.0, "an XSL processor for transforming XML documents into HTML, text, or other XML document types." LotusXSL Version 1.0.0 "is a complete and a robust reference implementation of the W3C Recommendations for XSL Transformations (XSLT) and the XML Path Language (XPath) The LotusXSL processor is written in Java and enables you to convert an XML document tree into HTML or another XML document tree. LotusXSL is packaged as a JavaBean for use in client or server applications, as an applet for use in Java-enabled web browsers, and as a command-line Java program." Description: "XSL provides a mechanism for formatting and transforming XML, either at the browser or on the server. It allows the developer to take the abstract data semantics of an XML instance and transform it into a presentation language such as HTML or into another XML document type. LotusXSL implements an XSL processor in Java that can be used from the command line, in an applet or a servlet, or as a module in other program. By default, it uses the XML4J XML parser, but it can interface to any XML parser that conforms to the DOM level 2 or SAX level 1 specification." LotusXSL runs on any Java platform; it requires JDK or JRE 1.1.8 or 1.2.2, and xerces.jar (included with LotusXSL).

  • [March 23, 2000]   XML Inclusions (XInclude) - New Working Draft Specification.    The W3C XML Core Working Group has released a new working draft document XML Inclusions (XInclude), and invites comment on the specification. Reference: W3C Working Draft 22-March-2000, edited by Jonathan Marsh (Microsoft) and David Orchard (IBM). This revision updates the previous draft of November, 1999. The XInclude document "specifies a processing model and syntax for general purpose inclusion. 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." Background: "Many programming languages provide an inclusion mechanism to facilitate modularity. Markup languages also often have need of such a mechanism. This proposal introduces a generic mechanism for merging XML documents (as represented by their information sets)..." XInclude and XLink: "XInclude differs from the linking features described in the XML Linking Language, specifically links with the attribute value show="embed". Such links provide a media-type independent syntax for indicating that a resource is to be embedded graphically within the display of the document. XLink does not specify a specific processing model, but simply facilitates the detection of links and recognition of associated metadata by a higher level application. XInclude, on the other hand, specifies a media-type specific (XML into XML) transformation. It defines a specific processing model for merging information sets. XInclude processing occurs at a low level, often by a generic XInclude processor which makes the resulting information set available to higher level applications. Simple node inclusion as described in this specification differs from transclusion, which preserves contextual information such as style." XInclude and XML External Entities: There are a number of differences between XInclude and XML external entities which make them complimentary technologies. Processing of external entities (as with the rest of DTDs) occurs at parse time. XInclude operates on information sets and thus is orthogonal to parsing..." Comments on the working draft should be sent to the mailing list; such postings are publicly archived. Paul Grosso (ArborText, Co-Chair of the XML Core WG) says of the new working draft: "The XML Core WG plans to publish a Last Call Working Draft in the relatively near future, so comments about the current draft that wish to be considered for input to the Last Call draft should be submitted soon to the publicly archived comment mailing list." For related specifications, see "XML Linking Language."

  • [March 23, 2000]   EventDOM, alias EasySAX.    Work continues on a proposed 'unification API' EventDOM, presented initially under the name 'EasySAX' by Paul Prescod (ISOGEN/DataChannel) at the Spring XTech conference. "The package called EasySAX has been renamed EventDOM. It may be renamed again. I haven't put in time to think about names properly yet. The current status is that I've developed the idea and I have 90% of the code written. I will hopefully get a chance to finish the code in a few weeks but anyone who is brave and interested can ask me for it in the current state and try and make it work. There is a couple of days work there... the package isn't available yet but I have some slides on it that I gave at XTech 2000 when I was still calling it EasySAX: XML, PowerPoint, and PDF formats. Some discussion about the package has taken place on the Python XML-SIG mailing list." The abstract from Prescod's presentation at XTech 2000, 'SAX or Python EasySAX: SAX made Pythonic': "EasySAX is a high level SAX-based API for working with XML event streams in Python. Where SAX was specifically designed as a low-level API, EasySAX is designed first and foremost to be easy to use, convenient and flexible. EasySAX has dynamic event handler dispatch mechanisms that make XML processing convenient by building on Python's dynamism. Where SAX users typically dispatch events using switch statements or hand-coded dispatch table, EasySAX builds a dispatch table automatically based upon method names and metadata. EasySAX also combines some of the best features of tree-based and event-based interfaces by allowing trees to built 'on-demand' from portions of parse streams. This allows the performance degredation of tree building to be minimized. EasySAX is currently in testing and the final release is expected [later]..."

  • [March 23, 2000]   Utilities for Pyxie.    Sean McGrath recently announced the availability of 'PYX2XML' and 'HTML2PYX' utilities for use in conjunction with Pyxie. Pyxie is "an Open Source XML processing library and tool suite for Python designed to provide a powerful XML processing library wrapped up in a Python friendly API." PYX2XML is a utility program written in Python for creating XML from PYX: "A number of people have asked me for a utility to create XML out of PYX. I have put one up at" HTML2PYX is a utility program written in Python that generates PYX from HTML documents: "I have added a utility to Pyxie that generates PYX from HTML; see In the same way that xmln and xmlv facilitate a line-oriented view of XML, html2pyx allows html to be processed as a series of lines representing start-tags, end-tags etc." Other Pyxie news from the web site: (1) Dan Egnor has developed some XML/Unix Processing Tools that are philosophically similar to Pyxie; (2) Matt Sergeant has built a Perl module for generating PYX building on the Perl XML::Parser module; (3) Shawn Silverman has developed a SAX parser that reads PYX and also a PYX-generating SAX application [a DocumentHandler for a SAX parser that creates PYX output] in Java. For an overview and description, see "Pyxie: An Open Source XML Processing Library for Python."

  • [March 22, 2000]   Printing XML Documents: A New Version of passivetex.    Sebastian Rahtz (Oxford University Computing Services) has released a new version of his passivetex package for printing XML documents in PDF format. "I am proud to relaunch my TeX-based system for formatting XSL formatting objects. The actual capabilities of the package are not that much changed (and it isn't quite XSL-FO 2000 yet), but it has had many internal changes, and has seen more use (to format a whole book here, for instance). Most significantly, PassiveTeX has been rewritten to use David Carlisle's 'xmltex' XML parser written in TeX, an amazing piece of work I commend to everyone. My next stage of work is to revisit the RenderX test files, and see how much of their work I can replicate; Ditto FOP." PassiveTeX is "a library of TeX macros which can be used to process an XML document which results from an XSL transformation to formatting objects. It provides a rapid development environment for experimenting with XSL FO, using a reliable pre-existing formatter. Running PassiveTeX with the pdfTeX variant of TeX generates high-quality PDF files in a single operation. PassiveTeX [thus] shows how TeX can remain the formatter of choice for XML, while hiding the details of its operation from the user... PassiveTeX interprets MathML natively for elements that use the MathML namespace; it also supports a bookmark element in the fotex namespace, used to make PDF bookmarks." Sample files in the distribution include: "(1) A physics paper (latextei.xml) containing a fair amount of MathML markup, originally translated from LaTeX into XML. It is used extensively as an example in the LaTeX Web Companion. Here we see it converted to latextei.pdf using latextei.xsl. (2) James Tauber prepared a simple XSL spec (darkness.xsl) for Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, which I ran to PDF as darkness.pdf." For related tools, see "Software - Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL)."

  • [March 22, 2000]   Xalan-J 1.0.0 Gold Release.    A posting to the XSL-List from Robert Weir announces the release of Xalan-J 1.0.0. "...We have just posted the Xalan-J 1.0.0 distribution to Xalan-J 1.0.0 is a complete reference implementation of the W3C XSLT and XPath Recommendations, and our first production-level release. We have fixed all critical bugs found internally or reported to us by you from earlier releases, including the Xalan 0.20.0 gold candidate." To download Xalan-J 1.0.0, see: (1), and (2) "Xalan (named after a rare musical instrument) fully implements the W3C Recommendation 16 November 1999 XSL Transformations (XSLT) Version 1.0 and the XML Path Language (XPath) Version 1.0. XSLT is the first part of the XSL stylesheet language for XML. It includes the XSL Transformation vocabulary and XPath, a language for addressing parts of XML documents. You use the XSLT language to compose XSL stylesheets. An XSL stylesheet contains instructions for transforming XML documents from one document type into another document type (XML, HTML, or other). In structural terms, an XSL stylesheet specifies the transformation of one tree of nodes (the XML input) into another tree of nodes (the output or transformation result)." See the samples for further detail. "By default, Xalan uses a high-performance Document Table Model (DTM) to parse XML documents and XSL stylesheets. It can be set to use the Xerces-Java XML parser, and it can be adapted to work with other DOM-producing mechanisms and SAX document handlers. Xalan supports the Document Object Model (DOM) interface, but for large XML documents, this may involve considerable overhead, since Xalan must create one or more Java objects for each Node in the document DOM tree. For the majority of cases -- your input and output are URLs, files, or streams, and you use the default Liaison (DTMLiaison class) and XML parser, Xalan avoids this overhead by implementing the Document Table Model (DTM), a 'pseudo-DOM' that uses integer arrays in place of the DOM. For larger input and output trees, the performance improvements can be very significant. The input may appear in the form of a file, a character stream, a byte stream, a DOM, or a SAX input stream. Xalan performs the transformations specified in the XSL stylesheet and produces a document file, a character stream, a byte stream, a DOM, or a series of SAX events, as you specify when you set up the transformation. Summary of features in the 1.0.0 release: (1) Implements the W3C Recommendation 16 November 1999 XSL Transformations (XSLT) Version 1.0; (2) Incorporates the XML Path Language (XPath) Version 1.0; (3) Optionally uses the high-performance DTM (Document Table Model) to avoid the object overhead involved in the construction and manipulation of DOM trees; (4) Interfaces directly to the Xerces-Java XML parser; (5) Can interface to a SAX document handler or to any XML parser that produces Java DOM Trees; (6) Can output to SAX or DOM; (7) May be run from the command line; (8) Includes an applet wrapper; (9) May be used in a servlet to transform XML documents into HTML and serve the results to clients; (10) Supports Java and scripting language extensions; (11) Provides a redirect extension to support the production of multiple output documents in a single operation." For related tools, see "Software - Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL)."

  • [March 21, 2000]   Envera Project Launches 'e-Business For Business' .    Several company announcements appeared today describing the Envera project. "An international group of chemical and petroleum companies announced today agreement to pursue the creation of Envera, a global electronic-marketplace for B2B transactions and services. Envera will enable cross industry transactions and efficiencies over the Web. Envera calls its network of systems and services 'e-Business For Business' ('B4B'). The Envera project was founded in August of 1999 by Ethyl Corporation because of experience that the company had gained in working on their early B2B projects. These projects included an extranet for key customers followed by direct system to system integration. While developing these successful efforts, it became evident that the best way to extend system integration to a large number of partners was to build a network that provided a single point of contact for each member. The team discovered that a single point of contact network utilizing XML technology significantly improved the value and speed that business-to-business Internet services could provide. The Envera solution is based on XML standards which will enable participating companies to enjoy on-line efficiencies regardless of their IT sophistication. . . Capitalizing on latest Internet based technologies; Envera is exploring opportunities with several technology vendors to provide the clearinghouse functionality. We expect to incorporate the systems technologies already utilized and proven by companies like IBM, Oracle, XML Solutions, webMethods and others, along with service technologies offered by firms like SAP and PricewaterhouseCoopers -- as examples. Envera will capitalize on the latest technologies and be instrumental in developing and assessing leading edge capabilities. . . The Clearinghouse is the hub of the Envera Network. All transaction services are provided through the Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse is not a single product. It is a collection of services that work together to provide an extremely efficient means of conducting business transactions. The services include: Order processing, Supplier Managed Inventory (SMI) Services, Shipment Tracking, Banking/billing, Business Intelligence, Product Catalog, Logistics Procurement, Regulatory Reporting, and Technical Support. The Clearinghouse will use a single XML based document definition for each transaction type. Since each member's internal systems use different data definitions and terminology, there must be a way to translate the internal terminology to the terminology of the Clearinghouse. The Translation Server will serve this function. The Translation Server is a software product that will run on a variety of industry standard hardware platforms. The Translation Server will translate transactions from the members internal systems into the format required by the Clearinghouse. The XML translator will provide both translation and communication services for most mid sized and large members; it will translate documents from their ERP system into the Envera standard. It will then wrap the transaction in XML and send it to the Clearinghouse. It will also accept transactions from the Clearinghouse, strip off the XML, if required, and translate them back into the format required by the member's in-house systems. The Translation Server will ship with a large number of documents and system types predefined so that it can easily be incorporated into the member's site. For example, the definition for all relevant, pre-defined EDI transactions will be included. A member who currently uses EDI can point the EDI transactions at the Translation Server. The server will convert to XML format and send the transactions to the Clearinghouse. The specifications for the Clearinghouse will be published so anyone can build their own Translation Server, if desired. Envera will be a true business-for-business site, enabling a full range of business transactions between trading members (vendors, customers and suppliers in existing supply chains), and complimented by links to global financial institutions, shipping companies and other key service providers."

  • [March 20, 2000]   XDuce: A Typed XML Processing Language.    According to a communiqué from Arnaud Sahuguet, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Computer and Information Science (Haruo Hosoya, Jerome Vouillon, and Benjamin Pierce) are developing a prototype system supporting an 'XDuce' programming language. "XDuce ('transduce') is a typed programming language that is specifically designed for processing XML data. One can read an XML document as an XDuce value, extract information from it or convert it to another format, and write out the result value as an XML document. Since XDuce is statically typed, XDuce programs never crash at run time and the resulting XML documents always conform specified types. XDuce has several notable features. (1) XDuce features regular expression types, which are similar in spirit to Document Type Definitions (DTD). (2) XDuce provides a powerful notion of subtyping. (It allows any subtyping relation that you may expect from your intuition on inclusion relation of regular expressions.) It not only gives substantial flexibility in programming, but also is useful for schema evolution or integration. (3) XDuce supports regular expression pattern matching. In addition to ML-like patterns, we can match values against regular expression types." Description is provided in two technical papers, "XDuce: A Typed XML Processing Language" and "Regular Expression Types for XML." For additional information, see (1) the XDuce Examples and (2) XDuce web site.

  • [March 20, 2000]   Opera Software Releases New Browser - 4.0 Beta.    "Opera Software A/S is proud to announce the beta release of Opera 4.0. This new version boasts significant enhancements. A short list of Opera's features include: E-mail, fast rendering speed, small size, low resource requirements, plug-in support, standards compliance, 128 bit encryption, TLS, SSL 2 and 3, CSS1, CSS2, XML, HTML 4.0, HTTP 1.1, WML, ECMAScript and JavaScript 1.3. With the advent of 4.0 Opera is easily ported. The core technology in Opera is platform independent, enabling the browser to be more easily ported to any operating system. Opera's small size and extremely low resource requirements make it an obvious choice when integrating in environments where resource consumption and a small footprint are a must. Opera 4.0 is standards compliant. While implementing the latest technologies Opera has taken the care and forethought to integrate to web standards. Standards compliance means ease of use and allows developers to ensure their sites conform to the reference standard. Opera has strong compliance with the standards for the Web as laid out by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C, the governing standards authority for the Web). Opera Software is one of the contributing members to this Consortium through its technical director Hakon Wium Lie, an internationally respected and award winning technology architect. Opera merges standards compliance with sophisticated features and simple design while implementing the latest technologies in a very small package. Opera continues to ride the forefront of browser technology with its Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) implementation. Opera's recently top-rated CSS implementation has been expanded in Opera 4.0 to include CSS2. Opera 4.0 also includes XML, and WML plus expanded JavaScript and ECMAScript. The added support of XML and style sheets in Opera 4.0 means that the browser is now capable of tapping into the next generation of technologies that are being developed in the Web and intranet marketplace. Opera 4.0 is now faster. Opera's code is proprietary, and not based on other browser code. Opera programmers are constantly finding more effective means of presenting HTML to the user. Because of this, pages loaded in Opera are displayed faster. Opera 4.0 exhibits a significant increase in rendering speed giving viewers a more integrated experience. Opera Software continues to focus its efforts on efficient coding while providing full functionality."

  • [March 18, 2000]   XML-MP: The XML Mortgage Partners Framework.    XML Mortgage Partners is a collaborative industry effort designed to "provide a non-proprietary common business language for the mortgage industry. An industry-wide forum, XML Mortgage Partners (XML-MP) and the XML-MP steering group will provide the foundation that can be embraced by users of mortgage industry information including, lenders, vendors, et al. The XML-MP steering group will produce: (1) A thorough data model representing all aspects of the mortgage lending process; (2) A complete set of core and process-specific Document Type Definitions, (DTDs); (3) An industry standard data dictionary. In response to industry concerns, XML-MP was formed to define a vocabulary approach to improve the flows of information between applications and organizations without the need to select a common platform, object technology or define an enterprise information model. The work will be based on two guiding principles: to use standards wherever possible and to make the process open. The result of this work will be the XML-MP Framework - a mortgage industry vocabulary using standard Extensible Markup Language (XML). The XML-MP Framework is an Extensible Markup Language (XML) framework for application integration and electronic commerce. It includes a core mortgage industry Document Type Definition (DTD), along with specific industry process DTDs. All participants will use these DTDs as the basis for future development and integration efforts in creating institutional and vendor specific DTDs. This structure will allow organizations to share and transfer information in a consistent, expected manner. The XML-MP Framework itself is not a standard. XML is the standard. The goal of the framework is to accelerate the rapid adoption of XML within our industry. XML was selected as the appropriate standard because of the intense development efforts underway in the software and Internet industries. Within the next two years, there will be a multitude of low cost tools for XML manipulation, searching, storing and viewing. Many major software vendors have already embraced the XML standard including Microsoft, Oracle, IBM and Sun. XML-MP's DTDs will be registered and stored on the Web site. Any individual or organization will be able to download and use them in their own business endeavors. To do this, XML-MP is providing a discussion platform where interested parties can discuss and recommend changes to the DTDs. We will encourage individuals or organizations that use the XML DTDs within their applications, to post information about their company and application on the XML-MP Website. DTDs were selected because of their legacy of acceptance and use in the SGML field. As such, there are many individuals and corporations with years of experience in the development and use of DTDs, which enables a wider selection of software tools for our efforts. . . [Methodologies and logical model:] We have chosen to represent the complex object-relationship data of the specifications by utilizing the Unified Modeling Language (UML). UML allows you to represent object data as discrete blocks within a common diagram framework. UML is rapidly becoming the industry standard for data and process modeling, and lends itself very well to describing the underlying design decisions that drive the implementation of an XML specification. . . XML-MP was set up with a built-in guiding body called the Steering Group. The steering group is a comprised of interested participants in the mortgage industry including mortgage lenders, software developers and e-commerce businesses. The participants were chosen for their experience, insight, interest and commitment to the goals of XML-MP. Steering Group representatives review proposed changes to XML mortgage framework. This step assures that the changes planned make sense and don't violate the core principals of the initiative. The changes that are reviewed are based on feedback gathered at meetings, the Web site and via e-mail. The steering group will meet on an ongoing basis. A schedule will be provided through this Website. Charter members of the XML-MP steering group include the following organizations: Chase Home Finance, Countrywide Home Loans, Dynatek, Inc., Fiserv/Unifi,, Ultraprise Corporation, VMP/ELF Mortgage Forms, and Waterfield Mortgage." For references, see: "XML-MP: XML Mortgage Partners Framework."

  • [March 18, 2000]   Oracle XSQL Pages and the XSQL Servlet.    Steve Muench (Oracle 'Lead XML Evangelist and Consulting Product Manager') posted an announcement for a version technology preview release of Oracle XSQL Pages and the XSQL Servlet. This release features: "(1) new functionality and enhancements; (2) significant performance improvements; (3) new on-line help system; (4) more detailed install info for popular servlet engines. This version is expected to be the last technology preview release before production. Complete information on what's new is available on the Oracle web site. The Oracle XSQL Pages are "server-side XML templates that make it easy to exploit the powerful combination of SQL, XML and XSLT to prototype and deploy dynamic, data-powered sites and web services... The Oracle XSQL Pages templates allow anyone familiar with SQL to declaratively: (1) Assemble dynamic XML 'datapages' based on one or more parametrized SQL queries, and (2) Transform the 'datapage' to produce a final result in any desired XML, HTML, or Text-based format using an associated XSLT Transformation. The two key design goals of Oracle XSQL Pages are: (1) Make simple things very simple and hard things possible; (2) Keep the 'datapage' cleanly separate from the way that data will be rendered to the requester." Rationale for the Oracle XSQL Pages? "...application developers need to put their business data to work over the Web... developers require standards-based solutions to this problem and SQL, XML, and XSLT are the standards that can get the job done in practice. SQL is the standard you are already familiar with for accessing appropriate views of business information in your production systems. XML provides an industry-standard, platform-neutral format for representing the results of SQL queries as 'datagrams' for exchange, and XSLT defines the industry-standard way to transform XML 'datagrams' into target XML, HTML, or Text formats as needed. By combining the power of SQL, XML, and XSLT in the server with the ubiquitously available HTTP protocol for the transport mechanism you can: (1) Receive web-based information requests from any client device on the Web; (2) Query an appropriate logical 'view' of business data needed by the request; (3) Return the 'datagram' in XML over the web to the requester, or optionally (4) Transform the information flexibly into any XML, HTML, or text format they require. XSQL Pages are simple to build. Just use any text editor to create an XML file that includes <xsql:query> tags wherever you want to include XML-based SQL query results in the template. Associate an XSLT stylesheet to the page by including one extra line at the top of the file: an <?xml-stylesheet?> instruction. Save the file and request it through your browser to get immediate results. Since you can extend the set of actions that can be performed to assemble the 'datapage' using the <xsql:action> element, it's possible to cleverly extend the basic simple model to handle harder jobs. Oracle 8i, the Oracle XML Developer's Kit, and the XML SQL Utility for Java provide all of the core technology needed by developers to implement this solution. However it is Oracle XSQL Pages that bring this capability to the rest of us by automating the use of these underlying XML technology components to solve the most common cases without programming. [...] The XSQL Servlet demos, online help, release notes, and JavaDoc are running live on the web at"

  • [March 18, 2000]   First Release of Oracle's XML Schema Processor for Java.    Mark Scardina (Oracle 'Group Product Manager and XML Evangelist') recently announced the availability of Oracle's 'XML Schema Parser', which supports the use of simple and complex datatypes in XML. "Version of the XML Schema Processor for Java is now available on the Oracle Technology Network at This first release of the XML Schema Processor is a companion component to the XML Parser for Java that allows support to simple and complex datatypes into XML applications with Oracle8i. Since these components are implemented in Java, they can run 'out of the box' in the Oracle8i JServer Java VM or in any standalone Java 1.1 or greater VM. The tool supports XML documents in the following encodings: UTF-8, UTF-16, ISO-10646-UCS-2, ISO-10646-UCS-4, US-ASCII, EBCDIC-CP-*, ISO-8859-1to -9, Shift_JIS, BIG, GB2312, EUC-JP, EUC-KR, KOI8-R, ISO-2022-JP, and ISO-2022-KR. The tool incorporates new APIs in XMLParser to invoke XML Schema validation, and new APIs to build a XMLSchema object. The following features are not implemented in this release: (1) unique, key and keyref constrains, (2) derivation by restriction from complexType, (3) pattern facet in string, datetime datatypes, (4) builtin types derived from integer [unsigned] long, short, int, byte), (5) comparison of datetime datatypes. The distribution includes sample XML applications to show how to use the Oracle XML parser with the XMLSchema processor. The Schema Processor supports much of the [2000-02-25] XML Schema Working Draft, with the goal being that it be 100% fully conformant when XML Schema becomes a W3C Recommendation. The XML Schema Processor makes writing custom applications that process XML documents straightforward in the Oracle8i environment, and means that a standards-compliant XML Schema Processor is part of the Oracle8i platform on every operating system where Oracle8i is ported." On XML Schema, see "XML Schema Definition Language - W3C XML Schema Working Group."

  • [March 17, 2000]   NewsML: New Versions of Requirements and Encoding Decisions Documents.    Jo Rabin (Reuters) has posted an announcement for the publication of updated NewsML specifications, following on an IPTC Standards Committee meeting in Washington, 2000-01-28. NewsML is being proposed as "a[n XML-based] media independent structural framework for representation 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: All formats and media types recognised equally; Facilitates the development of news items; Collections of news items; Named relationships between newsitems; Structure consisting of parts and named relationships between parts; Alternative representations of the same part; Explicit inclusion, inclusion by reference and exclusion of parts and alternatives; Attachment of metadata from standard and non-standard schemes." In the announcement, Jo Rabin writes: "Two updated documents are now available following discussion at the Washington NewsML meeting. A revised version of the NewsML Requirements document is available at There is also an RTF version of this document which contains change bars showing the difference from the previous version, and this can be found at A revised version of the NewsML Encoding Decsisions document is available at There is an RTF version of this document too, showing change bars, and this can be found at" According to the NewsML Requirements [NSM0002 (XN-2) - 5th IPTC Draft, 16-March-2000], NewsML will: (1) support the representation of electronic news entities i.e. news-items, parts of news-items, collections of news-items, relationships between news-items and metadata associated with news-items; (2) be usable throughout the news lifecycle; (3) allow news-items to consist of arbitrary mixtures of media types, languages and encodings; (4) be usable either as a replacement for or allow the transport of all existing news formats and encodings; (5) support a number of different constructions of the same data; (6) support the management and development of news-items over time; (7) be simply extensible and flexible; (8) allow for authentication and signature of metadata and news-item content; (9) not be unduly verbose; (10) use XML and other appropriate standards and recommendations; (11) provide a lightweight facility for the representation of text." These requirements are elaborated fully in the text of the NewsML Requirements document. Whereas the NewsML Requirements Specification describes what NewsML does, the NewsML Encoding Decisions document [NSM0003 - 3rd IPTC Draft, 16-March-2000] discusses some further requirements which "specify or place limitations on how NewsML is to do this. Specifically: (1) how XML is to be used to construct NewsML, (2) the factors that must be borne in mind when to adopt further XML related standards, (3) the means of formal definition of NewsML, and (4) which XML related standards could be used to support the initial draft of NewsML." A NewsML functional requirements specification NewsML Functions is also available online. For NewsML background and references, see "NewsML and IPTC2000."

  • [March 16, 2000]   Microsoft XML Parser Technology Preview.    David Turner (Microsoft 'XML Product Manager and Technical Evangelist') has posted an announcement for a new Microsoft XML Parser Technology Preview and XSLT add-on utilities. "An updated version of the Microsoft XML Parser Technology Preview was released today and can be downloaded from Highlights of this release include increased support for XSLT (support for named templates and HTML and Text Output Method), complete XPath support and bug fixes (see In addition, we've released two add-on utilities for Internet Explorer 5 that make it easier to validate documents in the browser and to view the output of an XSLT transform. You can download both utilities from". Details: "The March 2000 Microsoft XML Parser (MSXML) Technology Preview is an update to the January 2000 technology preview. This latest release of MSXML provides improved XSLT/XPath standard compliance and a number of bug fixes. For more detailed information on the new features, see 'What's New in the March Microsoft XML Parser Technology Preview Release', by Charlie Heinemann. Please note that this technology preview requires Internet Explorer 4.01 SP1 and later in order to be fully functional." Update features include: (1) XSLT/XPath Support: The XSLT/XPath implementation within the latest parser is greater than 90 percent compliant with the XSLT and XPath specifications. The following features have now been implemented: Named Templates; HTML, XML, and text output method support in XSLT; Complete XPath function support. (2) Named Templates: The MSXML Parser now supports the <xsl:call-template> element and the name attribute on the <xsl:template> element. Use these to call templates by name rather than through the <xsl:apply-templates> element. (3) HTML Output Method: This release of the MSXML Technology Preview Parser supports the HTML output method in XSLT." The distribution includes (1) the March 2000 MSXML Technology Preview Release and (2) the latest MSXML Technology Preview SDK. See also the "Internet Explorer Tools for Validating XML and Viewing XSLT Output." This 'Internet Explorer Tools for Validating XML and Viewing XSLT Output' enables a shell option when viewing XML files to see the processed XSL output. It also validates XML against an embedded schema when loading XML via the Internet Explorer MIME viewer. The Microsoft XSL ISAPI Extension 1.1 simplifies the task of performing server-side XSL transformations. It features automatic execution of XSL style sheets on the server, choosing alternate style sheets based on browser type, style-sheet caching for improved server performance, the capability to specify output encodings, and customizable error messages. The XSL Style Sheet for XML Schemas - The xdr-schema style sheet generates documentation for Microsoft Internet Explorer 5-compatible XML schemas. XSL to XSLT Converter 1.0 - The xsl-xslt-converter.xslt style sheet updates Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 XSL style sheets to XSLT-compliant style sheets."

  • [March 16, 2000]   Worldwide Botanical Knowledge Base.    The Worldwide Botanical Knowledge Base is an ambitious XML/RDF project designed to make available a formal description of the botanical species (including pictures) together with their geographical distribution. The project envisions the creation of a taxonomy and corresponding database featuring: "(1) exhaustivity in covering of species, (2) specimen identification -- including image recognition, (2) distributed database and semantic web techniques." The project scope is broad, envisioning the cataloging of information on "the identification of botanical samples, biogeography, chromosomal studies, consolidation and taxonomic confrontations of data machine translations, confrontations with nonbotanical data..." Who would use the database? "Botanists, particularly field botanists, and every layman who wants to identify a plant specimen and get acurate information about the species. [By popular demand, we will include mushrooms.]" A project rationale is published in Brave GNU World - Issue #13 "Jean-Marc Vanel sent the address to his homepage for a "Worldwide Botanical Database". Currently, knowledge about the flora of our planet is spread over a lot of libraries and herbaria which forces scientists to travel in order to get to the information. This often slows down the scientific progress or stops it altogether. In order to protect the different species on our planet effectively it is paramount to first understand them. So his goal is to create a botanical database that contains descriptions, pictures and geographical distributions for all plants on the planet. Unfortunately biologists usually lack the necessary background required to realize such a project whereas most computer scientists do not have the required biological background. This is why Jean-Marc Vanel asks all interested people from computer science and biology to get in contact with him so the project can be realized." As described in the project document "Abstract Data Model for Taxonomy" [J.M. Vanel], the goals in the data model design include: (1) a composite Design Pattern for Taxonomic classification (an 'is-a' hierarchy); (2) a composite Design Pattern for organs (a 'part-of' hierarchy); (3) an organ has a set of features, each of which associates a general property with a value; (4) provision for an extendible set of general properties (e.g., number, color, shape, texture, molecule, etc) (5) stay as close as possible to XML and related standards, and to generally admitted Knowledge Representation (KR) concepts. See (provisionally): botany.dtd (XML DTD), botany.xsd (XML Schema), botany.dcd, botany.xdr. A presentation describing the project will be given at WWW9 in Amsterdam.

  • [March 16, 2000]   Case Based Markup Language.    Researchers at Trinity College, Dublin have experimented with an XML-based 'Case Based Markup Language'. The abstract for a conference paper delivered at ICCBR-99: "Case based reasoning has found increasing application on the Internet as an assistant in Internet commerce stores and as a reasoning agent for online technical support. The strength of CBR in this area stems from its reuse of the knowledge base associated with a particular application, thus providing an ideal way to make personalised configuration or technical information available to the Internet user. Since case data may be one aspect of a company's entire corporate knowledge system, it is important to integrate case data easily within a company's IT infrastructure, using industry specific vocabulary. We suggest XML as the likely candidate to provide such integration. Some applications have already begun to use XML as a case representation language. We review these and present the idea of a standard case view in XML that can work with the vocabularies or namespaces being developed by specific industries. Earlier research has produced version 1.0 of a Case Based Markup Language which attempts to mark up cases in XML to enable distributed computing. The drawbacks of this implementation are outlined, as well as the developments in XML that allow us to produce an XML 'View' of a company's knowledge system. We detail the benefits of our system for industry in general in terms of extensibility, ease of reuse and interoperability." See [provisionally]: "Case Based Markup Language (CBML)."

  • [March 16, 2000]   Megginson Announces RDFFilter 1.0alpha.    David Megginson has announced the availability of an alpha version of 'RDFFilter'. "I'm happy to announce the first release of RDFFilter 1.0alpha, a Java- and SAX2(beta)-based package for processing RDF documents, together with a small bundled RDF test suite. Download information is available at RDFFilter uses a relatively simple callback-based interface, and unlike DATAX, it doesn't build any in-memory trees, so it's suitable for use with very large documents." ['The Java-based DATAX library greatly simplifies reading and writing XML documents for data exchange in any RDF-compliant XML document type. DATAX is currently in beta, and its creation was funded by Muze, Inc., the leading provider of databases for music, books, and video.']"

  • [March 16, 2000]   The dbXML Project.    According to the FAQ document on the dbXML Project Web site: "The dbXML core application is a data management system designed specifically for large collections of XML documents. dbXML also incorporates many spiffy features for seamless integration in today's web application environment, such as remote data access via ODBC/JDBC-like drivers, CORBA, and HTTP. dbXML will radically simplify the way next generation web applications are developed and deployed." Why dbXML? "XML documents are organized as tree structures; traditional databases organize data in a tabular, or grid-like fashion. Trying to make XML work with a traditional database is much like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. You can do it, but you need a big enough hammer, and it doesn't always look pretty. . . The truth of the matter is that the few XML-specific datastore products on the market today utilize very coarse and inefficient methods for XML data management. For example, the data store is often times plaintext XML documents stored as files within a standard filesystem. This has immediate scaling and performance issues. In addition, most query engines require entire XML documents be read into memory before results can be obtained. For small sample documents this works fine, but in the real world XML documents can be quite large. In addition, dbXML provides a complete set of data management functionality - document insertion, updates and deletions. Most XML data repositories will only support simple queries. The bottom line is that most of these products are quickly put together for the benefit of a marketing machine to ride the XML hype, not truly useful products for serious application developers. Any database can support XML - it's all just a matter of how much a pain/performance threshold you're willing to pay. Most database vendors are introducing mechanisms for decomposing XML documents into their standard data stores. The reality is that these mechanisms do nothing more than add another layer of complexity and overhead, and often times do not provide rich querying and data manipulation mechanisms specific to XML data. . ." Interested parties may contact the developers via email at

  • [March 16, 2000]   New Mailing List: Use of XSL in Servlet-Based WML Generation Pipeline.    Eduardo Pelegri-Llopart (Sun Microsystems) recently posted an announcement for the creation of an external Sun mailing list supporting the 'Use of XSL in Servlet-Based WML Generation Pipeline'. The focus of the mailing list is the generation of structured content (most concretely WML) in response to HTTP requests using the Servlet and JSP technologies. The relationship to XSL-LIST is that in many (most?) cases the generation pipeline involves an XSLT transformation step, often just before returning content to a WAP gateway. The generation pipeline is also applicable to other content but the list is initially targetted to WML/WAP." Those wishing to join the list should contact Danny Coward ('Servlet Specification & Web Java', Java Software Group, Sun Microsystems). For references on WML, see "WAP Wireless Markup Language Specification (WML)."

  • [March 16, 2000]   New Version of OpenSP from the OpenJade Team.    Matthias Clasen (Mathematisches Institut, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg) has announced the availability of a new version of OpenSP (OpenSP-1.5pre1). OpenSP is a variant of James Clark's SP SGML parser, maintained by the OpenJade team. "The OpenJade team has made a prerelease of OpenSP-1.5 available at Changes in version 1.5 include: (1) More of Annex K supported: Common data attributes can now be specified in external entity declarations. (2) The architecture engine supports #MAPTOKEN. (3) The multibyte version of OpenSP now uses 32bit chars and supports the full UTF-16 range 0x0000-0x10ffff." Bugs in the release should be sent to the development team at" OpenJade "is a project undertaken by the DSSSL community to maintain and extend Jade. OpenJade is distributed under the same license as Jade. Jade is James Clark's implementation of DSSSL -- Document Style Semantics and Specification Language -- an ISO standard for formatting SGML (and XML) documents."

  • [March 16, 2000]   XML Portal for French Readers.    Eric van der Vlist recently announced the launch of a "first XML portal for worldwide French readers." <XML>fr hosts XML-related content prepared by a team of XML expert volunteers. The content is "published under the Open Content License available for use by other sites and information channels while protecting the rights of its authors." The portal uses the Open Directory Project distribution channel.

  • [March 15, 2000]   ebXML Initiative Releases First Technical Specifications for Public Comment.    A recent announcement from the Electronic Business XML Initiative: "The first ebXML Initiative Technical Specification has been released for public comment. The ebXML Requirements Specification is available for download from the ebXML web site. This ebXML Requirements Specification represents the work of the ebXML Requirements Project Team. It defines ebXML and the ebXML effort, articulates overall business requirements for ebXML, and defines specific technical infrastructure requirements that will be addressed by the various ebXML Project Teams in preparing their deliverables. The document includes general guiding principles for the development of other ebXML Technical Specifications. Major requirements identified in the specification include: (1) general Business Requirements which relate to the need for a single consistent approach to use XML; (2) the need to support both vertical and horizontal solutions regardless of the user's level of sophistication; (3) the need to support a range of basic, low cost solutions for Small or Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as well as complex solutions appropriate to large enterprises; (4) a general specification for developing XML-based schematas; (5) the need for globalized solutions that will accommodate national and international process requirements; (6) completely open accessibility, enabled by a registry and repository; (7) the need for an architecture that will ensure and maximize interoperability by supporting common business process, common semantics, a common vocabulary and common character encoding; (8) consistent transport, routing and packaging methodologies to ensure secure sending and receiving of messages over the Internet; and (9) digital signature and other security related capabilities. The specification is available for the full ebXML Work Group and all interested parties in the general public. Comments should be emailed as plain text in the body of the mail message or as an attachment to Mike Rawlins, ebXML Requirements Project Team Leader at or Mark Crawford, ebXML Requirements Project Team Editor at The review period closes 27 March 2000. The specification will undergo a second cycle of revision and review prior to the expected final approval at the May ebXML meeting in Brussels. The ebXML vision is to create a single global XML framework solution. It is a joint effort of the United Nation/CEFACT organization and OASIS. Participants represent 14 countries, 83 companies, government agencies and several national and international standards organizations. More than 500 people around the world participate via Internet mailing lists. Following the public comment period, the final Requirements Specifications will be approved by the full ebXML Plenary during its meeting in Brussels 8-12 May 2000. Full details about the ebXML Initiative, its project teams and meetings is at Technical Specifications will be available for download from the ebXML web site as they are released." For other details, see (1) the reference page "Electronic Business XML Initiative (ebXML)", and (2) the full text of the announcement: "ebXML Initiative Releases First Technical Specifications for Public Comment."

  • [March 15, 2000]   W3C Note on Describing and Retrieving Photos Using RDF and HTTP.    A W3C NOTE on 'describing and retrieving photos' has been made available by the W3C for discussion: Describing and Retrieving Photos Using RDF and HTTP. Reference: W3C Note, 14-March-2000, by Yves Lafon and Bert Bos (W3C). The NOTE "describes a project for describing and retrieving (digitized) photos with (RDF) metadata. It describes the RDF schemas, a data-entry program for quickly entering metadata for large numbers of photos, a way to serve the photos and the metadata over HTTP, and some suggestions for search methods to retrieve photos based on their descriptions. The data-entry program has been implemented in Java, a specific Jigsaw frame has been done to retrieve the RDF from the image through HTTP. The RDF schema uses the Dublin Core schema as well as additional schemas for technical data. We already have a demo site, and, in a few weeks, we expect to have the source code available for download. The software is OpenSource. The system can be useful for collections of holiday snapshots as well as for more ambitious photo collections." The authors say that the goal of the endeavor "is to take the existing pieces of technology (RDF, HTTP and Jigsaw from W3C; JPEG, Java from elsewhere) and provide some glue between them to produce an interesting as well as useful application. We also think that a concrete example of an RDF schema and a working system around it can help explain the potential of metadata on the Web, especially since traditional, text-based search engines as they are used for HTML document will clearly not work for photos. Also, using metadata will automatically provide a non-visual description of the photos, hence contributing to accessibility. [...] The system comprises the following, largely independent, pieces: (1) Scanning the photos and storing them in JPEG format. We scan from negatives, for best quality, but any process that yields JPEG could be used, including digital cameras. We will not deal with this part below. (2) A data-entry program that allows easy entry/editing of the metadata for each photo and stores the data in RDF form inside the JPEG file. This program is described below. (3) A module for the Jigsaw server that can serve either the JPEG image data or the RDF description that is stored in it, using HTTP content negotiation to determine which of the two a client wants. Described below. Some digital cameras are already producing information about the picture, which may be read and reformatted in RDF by scripts. We will not deal with that in this version of the metadata editor. The RDF data is expressed in three separate schemas, one of which is the Dublin Core schema. The other two deal with technical data of the photo and with subject categories. The reason for using three schemas is solely to allow each of them to be used in other projects; to the users of the data-entry program the actual RDF is completely hidden." Appendix A of the NOTE supplies the RDF schemas. Related: note that "the proposed DIG2000 file format for the (also proposed) JPEG2000 image compression algorithm contains an XML-based metadata block with entries for people, places, events, GPS location, camera type, etc."

  • [March 10, 2000]   Project Management XML Schema.    The development effort lead by Pacific Edge Software Inc. toward the creation of a 'Project Management XML Schema' has now been joined by several other industry partners. In January, the initiative was launched with the development of an Extensible Markup Language (XML) schema for the project management industry. The schema was described as relevant to "software applications having a focus on the exchange of standard project management data such as cost, schedule and resource information...the published schema represents the complete set of project information most commonly used by project management applications and most critical to an accurate exchange of project status between two software systems." Pacific Edge has now announced that "industry leaders including, Great Plains, Onyx Software, PlanView, Primavera Systems, and Welcom have joined Pacific Edge Software to define the XML (Extensible Markup Language) schema for project management. The flexible, business-to-business schema will enable intelligent project data exchange between an organization's information systems. The coalition of collaboration technology, e-business solutions, customer relationship management (CRM), project management, workforce management and PKM companies will work together to forge an open industry standard by making modifications, extensions and enhancements to Pacific Edge Software's XML schema for project management., Great Plains, Onyx Software, PlanView, Primavera Systems and Welcom will work with Pacific Edge Software to update the Project Management XML schema on a regular basis. The schema and its source can be viewed at and [...] Pacific Edge Software Inc. is a leading provider of project knowledge management solutions for project-driven organizations. The company's Project Office suite is a collaborative approach to the collection and distribution of project knowledge that everyone in an organization will use every day." For other references, see (1) the full text of the announcement: "Industry Leaders Join Pacific Edge Software To Define the Project Management XML Schema. Flexible Business-to-Business Schema Enables Intelligent Project Data Exchange Between Information Systems", and (2) the reference document "Project Management XML Schema."

  • [March 09, 2000]   VoiceXML Forum Publishes 'Voice Extensible Markup Language' Specification Version 1.0 for Voice Internet Access.    A recent announcement from the VoiceXML Forum describes the version 1.0 release of the VoiceXML specification, designed for speech-based telephony applications. The specification itself "introduces VoiceXML, the Voice Extensible Markup Language. 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. Its major goal is to bring the advantages of web-based development and content delivery to interactive voice response applications. VoiceXML is a markup language that: (1) minimizes client/server interactions by specifying multiple interactions per document. (2) shields application authors from low-level, and platform-specific details. (3) separates user interaction code (in VoiceXML) from service logic (CGI scripts). (4) promotes service portability across implementation platforms -- VoiceXML is a common language for content providers, tool providers, and platform providers. (5) is easy to use for simple interactions, and yet provides language features to support complex dialogs." Excerpt: "The VoiceXML Forum today announced it has completed the VoiceXML 1.0 specification, which is expected to expand the reach of the Internet by providing voice access to content and services. The Forum membership, which now numbers 79 companies, is reviewing the specification before it is submitted to the appropriate body for formal standardization. Based on the World Wide Web Consortium's industry-standard eXtensible Markup Language (XML), Version 1.0 of the VoiceXML specification provides a high-level programming interface to speech and telephony resources for application developers, service providers and equipment manufacturers. Standardization of VoiceXML will: (1) simplify creation and delivery of Web-based, personalized interactive voice-response services; (2) enable phone and voice access to integrated call center databases, information and services on Web sites, and company intranets; and (3) help enable new voice-capable devices and appliances. On the basis of the 0.9 version of the specification released last year, many companies have already begun implementing VoiceXML in their products and services, and a market for third-party VoiceXML application development has begun to emerge. The 1.0 version of the specification, currently being reviewed by Forum members, is now available to the public on the Forum's Web site. The new VoiceXML 1.0 specification is based on years of research and development at AT&T, IBM, Lucent Technologies and Motorola, as well as comments from Forum members. Another eighteen (18) companies have joined the VoiceXML Forum as supporters since the 0.9 specification was issued, including Brooktrout Software; Cisco Systems; ConApps; Gold Systems, Inc.; Indicast Corporation; Intraco Systems; IP Unity; ITT Industries; Net Technologies, Inc.; Nokia Corporation; Oki Electric Company, Ltd.;; PipeBeach AB; S-Link Corporation; Spyglass, Inc.; SS8 Networks, Inc.; Vail Systems, Inc.; and Voyant Technologies, Inc. The objective of the VoiceXML Forum is to expand Internet access through telephones and other devices using both speech and ordinary touch-tone user interfaces." For other details, see (1) the full text of the announcement: "VoiceXML Forum Issues Version 1.0 of New Markup Language for Voice Internet Access. Number of Supporters Grows to 79" and (2) the reference collection "VoiceXML Forum."

  • [March 09, 2000]   Extensible InterOperable Protocol (XIOP).    Anders W. Tell (Financial Toolsmiths AB) recently posted an announcment for the development of XIOP, "which is XML-RPC using OMG Corba as a base." He has set up a Web site "open to discussions on XIOP, an open and freely available Corba GIOP compliant mapping using HTTP 1.1 as communication protocol and XML 1.0 as content carrier. . . Currently I'm in the middle of writing on an open source web site but it's not yet ready for prime time. The primary focus of the XIOP encoding is to match CDR encoding as specified by chapter 15 in 'The Common Object Request Broker: Architecture and Specification.' I've just put out a document describing a few points regarding XIOP with a diagram showing a number of XIOP uses cases: "A few thoughts on why XIOP is valid as XML-RPC." There is also an example file showing how messages may look, this before the specification have reached a stable state: The XIOP is indented to be an open source project so anyone is invited to participate. IMHO all object interactions should be first class considerations for any developer, i.e., failures in interactions (inprocess,inter-thread,inter-process,inter-machine) should be separated from other types of exceptions. In other words I don't want complete transparency..."

  • [March 09, 2000]   Last Call Working Draft for the W3C's Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.0 Specification.    As part of the W3C Graphics Activity, the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.0 Specification has been released as a 'second last call' working draft. Reference: W3C Working Draft 03-March-2000, edited by Jon Ferraiolo (Adobe). "The SVG specification is going through a second Last Call review process to provide the public and other working groups an opportunity to review the changes to the specification since the initial Last Call period." This second last call period ends 31-March-2000. The SVG working group has been using a staged approach. Initially, the working group developed a detailed set of SVG Requirements, which are listed in the SVG Requirements document. Document abstract: "This 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." The normative Appendix A of the specification contains relevant DTDs: "There are two Document Type Definitions (DTDs) for Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) corresponding, respectively, to Stylable SVG and Exchange SVG. Each of these DTDs is based on a shared DTD which defines the common elements, attributes and entities." Description: "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 WD document is also available as in PDF format and as a ZIP archive of the HTML. See references in "W3C Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)."

  • [March 08, 2000]   W3C Publishes Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2 Specification as Candidate Recommendation.    The Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2 Specification Version 1.0 has been released as a Candidate Recommendation, the review period for which ends on 20-March-2000. This specification is part of the W3C DOM Activity. Reference: W3C Candidate Recommendation 07-March-2000; edited by Lauren Wood, Arnaud Le Hors, Vidur Apparao, Laurence Cable, Mike Champion, Mark Davis, et al. The specification is also available as a PostScript file, a PDF file, as plain text, and in a ZIP archive file. The DOM Level 2 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." Description: "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 Object Management Group (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)." For background and references, see "W3C Document Object Model (DOM)."

  • [March 07, 2000]   IBM Updates XML for C++ Parser - Version 3.1.0.    IBM alphaWorks labs has announced a new release of the XML for C++ Parser. "IBM's XML for C++ parser (XML4C) is based on Apache's Xerces-C XML parser, which is a validating XML parser written in a portable subset of C++. XML4C integrates the Xerces-C parser with IBM's International Components for Unicoded (ICU) and extends the number of encodings supported to over 150. It consists of three shared libraries (2 code and 1 data) which provide classes for parsing, generating, manipulating, and validating XML documents. XML4C is faithful to the XML 1.0 Recommendation and associated standards (DOM 1.0, SAX 1.0, DOM 2.0 etc). Source code, samples and API documentation are provided with the parser." The parser is supported on AIX, Linux, Solaris, Windows NT, Windows 98, HP-UX 11, HP-UX 10.2. New features in this update: "(1) Simplified platform support -- removed need to support local standard output streams or to find the location of the parser DLL/SharedLib. (2) Added support for the NetAccessor plug in abstraction, which allows the parser to support HTTP/FTP based data sources. (3) Added EBCDIC-US and ISO-8859-1 as intrinsic encodings. (4) Added more DOM Level II features. (5) Support for ICU 1.4, which makes XML4C Unicode 3.0 compliant when using ICU. (6) New samples and tests -- DOM test, programmatic DOM sample, thread test. (7) Added support for multiply nested entities using relative paths or URLs. (8) Significant internal architecture improvements in the handling of encodings and transcoding services."

  • [March 06, 2000]   Scarab and other Lightweight Protocols.    Ken MacLeod announced a new Web site for lightweight protocols -- The site is "intended as a clearinghouse for information about distributed computing architectures that are more structured than telnet command protocols or CGIs but less complex or heavy than CORBA or DCOM. The term 'lightweight' in this context refers to both how easy it is for a user to begin using the architecture as well as how easy it is for implementors to get started in development and quickly produce working code. is currently maintained by hand but I hope to soon convert it to RDF format used by the Open Directory Project. I also want to create a form-entry so people can enter new links directly on the site. Bibliographies, reference-lists, and pointers to other directories are also welcome. Discussion about lightweight protocols can be directed to the xml-dist-app mailing list. To subscribe, send a message to with the subject subscribe. 'Telnet' and telnet-based protocols (HTTP, FTP, SMTP, NNTP, POP) are the original and most widely-deployed lightweight protocols. Generally, the protocols described on this site provide additional structure in the protocols that line-based telnet protocols never standardized." Note also in this connection Scarab, formerly the LDO Library. "LDO has been split into two seperate entities, Scarab, the library implementing the framework, and LDO, a set of reference protocols implementing RPCs and distributed objects. Scarab is an open source communcations library implementing protocols, formats, and interfaces for writing distributed applications, with an emphasis on low-end and lightweight implementations. Users can combine Scarab module implementations to build a messaging system to fit their needs, scaling from very simple messaging or data transfer all the way up to where CORBA can take over. Scarab implementations include support for such areas as distributed objects, remote procedure calls, XML messages, TCP transport, and HTTP transport. Future work includes: specifications for transporting arbitrary XML messages; specifications for using HTTP and other transports; compression, encryption, authentication, and transport negotiation to support them; support for similar protocols (SOAP, XML-RPC); support for interface definitions (IDL, WIDL, CDL); implementation guides; firewall proxy."

  • [March 03, 2000]   Extreme Markup Languages 2000: Call for Participation.    B. Tommie Usdin has posted a Call for Participation in connection with the conference Extreme Markup Languages 2000, to be held August 13-18, 2000 in Montréal, Canada. Extreme Markup is planned as a 3.5-day technical conference preceded by two days of tutorials. "Extreme Markup Languages is a new, highly technical conference concentrating on the evolving abstractions that underlie modern information management solutions, how those abstractions enhance human productivity, and how they are being applied. Abstract and concrete information models, systems built on them, software to exploit them, SGML, XML, XSL, XLink, schemas, topic maps, query languages, and other markup-related topics are in scope for this conference." Sponsored by the Graphic Communications Association (GCA), Extreme Markup Languages "is the successor conference to all of the following GCA conferences: Markup Technologies, Metastructures, HyTime, XML Developers Conference, International Markup, and SGML'XX. Principals of those conferences have now joined forces to offer a single unabashedly hard-core conference as a gathering place for the technically-oriented members of the information interchange community; a place for these people to meet and refresh each other with ideas advice, and camaraderie. The conference is agnostic with respect to commercial and political persuasion. It is passionate about providing a forum where technical ideas can be communicated and explained." Conference chairs include Steven R. Newcomb (TechnoTeacher, Inc.) and B. Tommie Usdin (Mulberry Technologies, Inc.). The deadline for paper submissions is April 19, 2000. The content must represent "all new material, [and] address some aspect of information management from a theoretical or practical standpoint; all papers will be peer reviewed to ensure high quality and technical merit." All papers must be prepared in SGML [DTD] or XML [DTD] using the GCA MetaMarkup DTD. For additional information, see the conference Web site or the main conference entry.

  • [March 03, 2000]   University of Wales Llwybr-Pathway Project.    Researchers in the Computer Science Department, University of Wales (Aberystwyth) are developing a multi-lingual XML-based information system to assist businesses and individuals in rural Wales. "The Llwybr Project aims to prepare the people and businesses of Wales to take advantage of the Information Society. It has identified the need for a number of web-based Regional Information Services. We have built a prototype distributed Regional A to Z system, with very loose coupling between storage of data and its presentation to users. XML is used to represent data as part of an internal client-server protocol. The motivation for this architecture arises from the following requirements: to allow complete freedom for information providers to define and manage their own data, to permit service providers to define the way in which information is presented, and to enable a collection of such services to be integrated into a consistent whole. The main objective of the Llwybr-Pathway project is to prepare the people and businesses of Rural Wales to take advantage of the Information Society. Six separate areas of work (strands) have been identified in achieving this objective, one of which is aimed at providing Information Services for the region. Flexibility is an important requirement because of the differing requirements that the partners have, and their existing investment in IT systems. The system must as platform independent as possible. Presentation of the data to the user must be controllable by each individual partner in order to conform to their bilingual policy (English and Welsh), and to promote their individual corporate identity. Some partners also use touch-screen kiosks which require a customised presentation of web pages. Most of the databases to be used with the A-Z system will be relatively small, (of the order of a few thousand records), but we wanted to show that our architecture could be used with a real database system. We also wanted to show that we could use free software, and produce free software too. These are the tools/packages we used: Java JDK (Sun Microsystems); Ælfred XML Parser (using SAX), MySQL, TWZ JDBC driver for MySQL, Apache Web Server. The technology used to create HTML from the XML documents returned from the Raw Data server is an implementation choice. All that is required beyond a run of the mill web server is some means of including active content. Possibilities include Active Server Pages from Microsoft, PHP (a free server side scripting language), SSI (server side includes) or CGI. Naturally, any Presentation server will have to include some kind of XML parser, and must be able to POST queries to raw data servers." See the project Web site (with prototype for English and Welsh), and a paper presented at the UK Academy for Information Services Conference 1999: "Use of XML in a Distributed Regional Information Service," by Robert J. Gautier and Tomos Llewelyn (Llwybr Technical Support Centre, University of Wales, Aberystwyth).

  • [March 03, 2000]   David Brownell's Updated SAX2 Utilities Package.    David Brownell recently announced the availability of an updated SAX2 utilities package: "I'm pleased to announce a new release of my SAX2 utilities. Follow the links to download or browse at The SAX2 XML Utilities package includes several SAX2beta2 parsers including a version of Ælfred enhanced for strong XML and SAX2 conformance, a validating version of that parser, and a DOM tree parser. Other programming tools include useful utilities to print XML or XHTML from a stream of SAX2 events, [and to] work with DOM L1 and L2 implementations. It also has adapters for HTML and XML parsers from Sun and Oracle. This software may be used from the command line, and a new example provides an out-of-the-box solution for XML/XHTML validation (in conjunction with current Java Servlet support). Note that most of this software requires JDK 1.1 (or later) to build and run, although some of the software runs with the GNU Compiler for Java (GCJ). New features in this release include: (1) Some non-javadoc documentation, with the docbook 3.1.7 XML source included. (XML, XSLT ... browse THAT ! ;-); (2) SAX2beta2 support ... check those handler IDs!; (3) A sample XML/XHTML validation/checker tool, which I've found useful for validating and link checking XML/XHTML web sites.; (4) Improved commandline support - now exit status reflects failure if you configured a validating parse and there were errors. The long-time features of this package include: Lots of SAX2beta2 parsers and wrappers, six in number; One of the parser/wrappers is a faster, more conformant Ælfred (+ validation); A pipeline framework for transformations via SAX2 events; Some pipeline stages including a validator, link grabber, message exchanger, namespace fixer, xml writer; Open Source..."

  • [March 03, 2000]   Xdossier - A Structured Directory with XML Mapping.    M. Thomas Carrasco Benitez recently posted an announcement for a new version of the informational 'Xdossier' Internet-Draft, and welcomes comments on the draft. Reference: IETF Internet-Draft 'draft-carrasco-xdossier.01.txt'; 28-February-2000, Expires 27-August-2000; by M.T. Carrasco Benitez (The European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products - EMEA). The proposal amounts to a recommendation for organizing files into a data object called Xdossier. 'Informally, a Xdossier is a directory structure with files in several formats created for web browsing; direct browsing ("file:") or served browsing ("http:")'... A Xdossier is a data object designed for browsing with web browsers and mappable to XML. It is based on a directory structure containing files in several formats. A directory structure is a tree similar to an XML document. With a formal mapping to XML, the directory structure could be transformed into an XML document. One could start with the main branches of the tree and progress with the structuring towards the content of the individual files (the 'leaves': a few files could be XML files, eventually the whole Xdossier should be transformable into a XML document. This approach is particularly useful to organise large amount of legacy data in several formats for which there is no clear formal definition." An example of Xdossier is provided for an Electronic Common Technical Document (eCTD). See also the XdossierWeb site.

  • [March 03, 2000]   Release of Saxon Version 5.2.    Michael Kay has announced the release of Saxon Version 5.2. 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." In addition to bug fixes, the new release features include: (1) support for <?xml-stylesheet?> processing instruction, and embedded stylesheets; (2) ability to take the stylesheet or source document from a DOM; (3) several interesting new extension functions: [distinct() returns nodes with unique string-values; evaluate() evaluates an XPath expression supplied as a string; range() returns a nodeset representing a range of numbers; tokenize() returns a nodeset representing the tokens in a supplied string]; (4) many detailed changes to output formatting, especially for HTML; (5) ability to select the parser from the command line. Also, the mechanism for calling extension functions has changed to improve compatibility with xt and Xalan." For related software, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support."

  • [March 02, 2000]   The Castor Project from    Castor, from, is described as "the shortest path between Java objects, XML documents, SQL tables and LDAP directories. It provides Java to XML binding, Java to SQL/LDAP persistence, and then some more. Features include: Castor XML: Java object to XML document; Castor JDO: Java object persistence on top of RDBMS; Castor DAX: Java object persistence on top of LDAP; Castor DSML: LDAP directory exchange through XML; XML-based mapping file specify the mapping between one model and another; Support for schema-less Java to XML binding; In memory caching and write-at-commit reduces JDBC operations; Two phase commit transactions, object rollback and deadlock detection; OQL query mapping to SQL queries; EJB container managed persistence provider for OpenEJB. Castor XML feature description: (1) Java to XML mapping automates transformation of Java objects from and into XML documents and provides Java object validation. (2) Java to XML mapping uses an XML document to specify the mapping textually (release 0.8), Bean-like descriptors to specify them programatically, and introspection to create default mappings. (3) Code generator can produce Java objects, validation and the proper mapping based on an XML schema. (4) Supports XML schema data types including integer, real (float/double), NMTOKEN, NCName, timeInstant, ID/IDREF, boolean and binary (base 64 encoded). (5) Supports arbitrary object marshalling when object type is known at run-time and XML schema is determined dynamically based on the object type. (6) Supports for creation of objects based on class name attribute. The Castor persistence engine is based on a layer architecture allowing different APIs to be plugged on top of the system, and different persistence engines to be combined in a single environment. The current version of Castor is bundled with an SQL 92 and LDAP persistence SPIs. Additional SPIs can be added, for example, alternative engines streamlined for Oracle, Sybase, DB2 and other databases. See: (e.g.,) Castor DTD and XML Schema, Castor Object Mapping DTD Version 1.0, and Castor Object Mapping Schema Version 1.0. "Most of the code released through the Castor Project has been developed by Keith Visco, Chief XML Architect, Exoffice Technologies, Inc. and Assaf Arkin, CTO. Contributors are welcome to join this project."

  • [March 01, 2000]   XML Events at WWW9 - The Ninth International World Wide Web Conference.    The May WWW9 Conference in Amsterdam will feature an XML Developers' Day and a one day Special XML Workshop. The WWW9 conference is in Amsterdam, May 15 - 19, 2000, at the RAI International Exhibition and Congress Centre. (1) Jon Bosak posted an announcement for the May 19th XML DevDay: "Since 1997, the XML track at WWW Dev Day has been a central event for developers of web-related XML software. If you have new web-related tools or especially interesting applications that use any of the XML family of core standards -- such as XLink, XPointer, XSL, XML Schemas, or the DOM -- here is your chance to share your latest accomplishments with other advanced workers. . . Developers' day will consist of six parallel streams (The Semantic Web, XML and Related Technologies, Visual and Audio Media, Distributed Computing on the Web, Web Publishing Tools and Technique, The Mobile Web). Presentations will discuss topics of specific interest to Web software developers, including new software, protocols, and hardware, and will be as timely as possible -- the content will represent the state of the art." Details are available on the conference Web site. (2) Adrian Rivers recently posted an announcement for a special workshop at WWW9: 'Making the Best Use of XML within the Enterprise'. RivCom, OASIS and the W3C UK Office have combined together to organise a one-day Workshop "Making the Best Use of XML within the Enterprise" on 15-May-2000, as part of the WWW9 Conference to be held in Amsterdam. We would like to invite applications for participation from people who have an interest in the strategic introduction of XML to user organisations, who would like to join XML leaders from Boeing, DataChannel, ebXML, Flash Creative Management, IBM, NATO, Sun Microsystems and others in a highly participative event. The thinking behind the Workshop is that, while XML is becoming established as a key enabler for Internet-based enterprise information exchange and distributed computing, many user organisations are finding it difficult to know how best to adopt this emerging technology that can play many roles across the whole enterprise. The goal of the day is to bring together leading figures from the XML world representing user organisations, software vendors, consultancies and standards bodies. This group will seek to identify the technical and cultural issues involved in introducing XML to the enterprise and the options that are open to organisations in addressing these issues. The proceedings of the day will be used as input towards the development of a set of materials which will aim to support organisations setting out to establish clear strategies for the adoption of XML. These materials will be made publicly available and presented for discussion at the XML Europe 2000 conference. Workshop Facilitators include Adrian Rivers and Lynn Labieniec (RivCom), Pamela Gennusa (OASIS), and Brian Matthews (W3C UK Office). For other information on WWW9, see the main conference entry.

  • [March 01, 2000]   W3C Releases New Working Draft for Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) Version 1.0.    As part of the W3C Style Activity, the W3C XSL Working Group has published an updated working draft specification for Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) Version 1.0. Reference: W3C Working Draft 01-March-2000, edited by Sharon Adler (IBM), Anders Berglund (IBM), Jeff Caruso (Bitstream), Stephen Deach (Adobe), Paul Grosso (ArborText), Eduardo Gutentag (Sun), Alex Milowski (Lexica), Scott Parnell (Xerox), Jeremy Richman (Interleaf), and Steve Zilles (Adobe). Abstract: "XSL is a language for expressing stylesheets. It consists of two parts: (1) a language for transforming XML documents, and (2) an XML vocabulary for specifying formatting semantics. An XSL stylesheet specifies the presentation of a class of XML documents by describing how an instance of the class is transformed into an XML document that uses the formatting vocabulary." Description: "This specification defines the Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL). XSL is a language for expressing stylesheets. Given a class of arbitrarily structured XML documents or data files, designers use an XSL stylesheet to express their intentions about how that structured content should be presented; that is, how the source content should be styled, laid out, and paginated onto some presentation medium, such as a window in a Web browser or a hand-held device, or a set of physical pages in a catalog, report, pamphlet, or book. An XSL stylesheet processor accepts a document or data in XML and an XSL stylesheet and produces the presentation of that XML source content that was intended by the designer of that stylesheet. There are two aspects of this presentation process: first, constructing a result tree from the XML source tree and second, interpreting the result tree to produce formatted results suitable for presentation on a display, on paper, in speech, or onto other media. The first aspect is called tree transformation and the second is called formatting. The process of formatting is performed by the formatter. This formatter may simply be a rendering engine inside a browser. Tree transformation allows the structure of the result tree to be significantly different from the structure of the source tree. For example, one could add a table-of-contents as a filtered selection of an original source document, or one could rearrange source data into a sorted tabular presentation. In constructing the result tree, the tree transformation process also adds the information necessary to format that result tree. Formatting is enabled by including formatting semantics in the result tree. Formatting semantics are expressed in terms of a catalog of classes of formatting objects. The nodes of the result tree are formatting objects. The classes of formatting objects denote typographic abstractions such as page, paragraph, table, and so forth. Finer control over the presentation of these abstractions is provided by a set of formatting properties, such as those controlling indents, word- and letter-spacing, and widow, orphan, and hyphenation control. In XSL, the classes of formatting objects and formatting properties provide the vocabulary for expressing presentation intent. The XSL processing model is intended to be conceptual only. An implementation is not mandated to provide these as separate processes. Furthermore, implementations are free to process the source document in any way that produces the same result as if it were processed using the conceptual XSL processing model." For background and references, see "Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL)."

  • [March 01, 2000]   Requirements and Architecture Working Draft for Composite Capabilities/Preference Profiles.    As part of the W3C Mobile Access activity, a new working draft on client devices' capabilities and preferences has been published: Composite Capabilities/Preference Profiles: Requirements and Architecture. References: W3C Working Draft 28-February-2000; edited by Mikael Nilsson (Ericsson), Johan Hjelm (W3C/Ericsson), and Hidetaka Ohto (W3C/Panasonic). The working draft document "outlines the requirements for a CC/PP framework, vocabulary, and trust model, and provides an overview of an architecture that satisfies these requirements. It represents the current consensus of the [W3C Composite Capabilities/Preference Profiles] working group." The document represents "a work in progress; future updates and changes are likely. It incorporates suggestions resulting from reviews and active participation by members of the IETF CONNEG working group and the WAP Forum UAprof drafting committee." Description: "The goal of the CC/PP framework is to specify how client devices express their capabilities and preferences (the user agent profile) to the server that originates content (the origin server). The origin server uses the 'user agent profile' to produce and deliver content appropriate to the client device. In addition to computer-based client devices, particular attention is being paid to other kinds of devices such as mobile phones. The basic problem that the CC/PP framework addresses is to create a structured and universal format for how a client device tells an origin server about its user agent profile. This work aims to present a container that can be used to convey the profile, and is independent on the protocols used to transport it. It does not present mechanisms or protocols to facilitate the transmission of the profile. The framework describes a standardized set of CC/PP attributes - a vocabulary - that can be used to express a user agent profile in terms of capabilities, and the users preferences for the use of these capabilities. This is implemented using the XML application RDF. This enables the framework to be flexible, extensible, and decentralized, thus fulfilling the requirements. RDF is used to express the client device's user agent profile. The client device may be a workstation, personal computer, mobile terminal, or set-top box. Fundamentally, the CC/PP framework starts with RDF and then overlays a CC/PP-defined set of semantics that describe profiles." Comments on the draft may be sent to

  • [March 01, 2000]   Last Call W3C Working Draft XML-Signature Syntax and Processing.    The IETF/W3C XML Signature Working Group has published a last call working draft for XML-Signature Syntax and Processing. Reference: W3C Working Draft 28-February-2000, edited by Donald Eastlake, Joseph Reagle, and David Solo. The document is published simultaneously as an IETF Internet Draft. "The W3C last call ends March 27, 2000; the IETF last call should substantially overlap but may not exactly coincide with this period. While the Working Group feels the design meets our requirements we especially welcome comments on the following topics: security concerns, URI/IDREF usage, XPath, DTD/schema specification, and implementation experience." Description: "This document specifies XML syntax and processing rules for creating and representing digital signatures. XML Signatures can be applied to any digital content (data object), including XML. An XML Signature may be applied to the content of one or more resources. Enveloped or enveloping signatures are over data within the same XML document as the signature; detached signatures are over data external to the signature document. This specification also defines other useful types including methods of referencing collections of resources, algorithms, and keying information and management. XML Signatures are be applied to arbitrary digital content (data objects) via an indirection. Data objects are digested, the resulting value is placed in an element (with other information) and that element is then digested and cryptographically signed. The specification uses both XML Schemas and DTDs." For other references, see "XML Digital Signature (IETF/W3C)."

  • [March 01, 2000]   OpenTravel Alliance (OTA) Releases XML Specification.    A recent announcement from the OpenTravel Alliance describes the first public release of an XML messaging specification and DTD, now available for comment. "Charged with crafting Internet specifications based on the Extensible Markup Language (XML), the OpenTravel Alliance (OTA) released today a draft of its first specification for public comment. OTA version 1 tackles the complex subject of customer profiles that cuts across travel industry sectors. This first specification demonstrates the ability of OTA's infrastructure and process to achieve this goal, and do it quickly. 'OTA's specification will enhance communication among all components of the travel industry businesses and travelers and help meet the expectations of customers in today's virtual marketplace,' said OTA Board Chairman Jim Young of Continental Airlines. 'As we extend the scope in version 2 and beyond, trading partners will be able to exchange more trip-centric information in ways that create new and better-tailored services for individual travelers.' OTA developed the specification with a key objective of letting customers enter their basic data and travel preferences just once, no matter how many travel suppliers and intermediaries are involved in a trip. Achieving this goal required OTA to create a common vocabulary for the travel industry, taking advantage of the extensible nature of XML that still allows for more growth later if needed. A live demonstration of OTA version 1 messages shows that travel companies can begin using the specification right away. The demonstration, accessible from the OTA web site,, lets visitors create, read, update and delete simple customer profiles with valid XML messages. McCord Travel and Airline Automation Inc. developed the demonstration on behalf of OTA. OTA, which only began in May 1999, now has over 100 members representing influential names in all sectors of the travel industry, including air, car rental, hotel, travel agencies, technology providers and related suppliers. The Alliance is comprised of five working groups air, car, hotel, leisure supplier, and non-supplier together, with an interoperability committee to coordinate their efforts. OTA defined its open messages with XML, the new high-powered language that makes it possible to exchange business data seamlessly among different systems, companies, and industries over the World Wide Web." For description and references, see the OTA Web site and "OpenTravel Alliance (OTA)."

  • [February 29, 2000]   JAXP: Sun Releases Java Application Programming Interface for eXtensible Markup Language (XML) Parsing Optional Package.    From an announcement made at the XTech 2000 Conference: "Sun Microsystems, Inc. today announced the immediate availability of the Java Application Programming Interface (API) for eXtensible Markup Language (XML) Parsing Optional Package (JAXP). JAXP is now available free-of-charge. The JAXP Optional Package provides core XML functionality for reading, manipulating, and generating XML documents through pure Java APIs. It provides a standard way to seamlessly integrate any XML-compliant parser with a Java technology-based application. Depending on the needs of the application, developers have the flexibility to swap between XML parsers -- such as high performance or memory conservative parsers -- without changing application code. Java Project X is used as the default XML parser in JAXP; however, the software's pluggable architecture allows any XML- conformant parser to be used, including the XML parser, code named Xerces or other XML-compliant parsers. With the delivery of JAXP, Sun has completed its initial steps to provide essential XML functionality to the Java 2 platform. JAXP's availability is the first phase of Sun's vision to make it easy for developers to build cross-platform business-to-business applications based on XML and Java technologies. Sun is driving broad XML integration throughout the Java 2 platform to support XML as the universal data format for business-to-business e-commerce applications. Through the JCP, JAXP is being considered for inclusion in the next releases of the Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) and Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition (J2SE). Also in development is Project Adelard, a facility for generating Java classes from XML DTDs. Other XML initiatives include improved XML support in JavaServer Pages technology using XSLT and extensive XML support in J2EE, such as XML data transcoding to multiple devices, XML data exchange framework and XML support in Enterprise JavaBeans components. . . [Sun supports] XML and the Java as synergistic technologies that serve as the foundation of dot-com computing. Java technology and XML share many features that are ideal for building Web-based enterprise applications, such as platform-independence, extensibility, reusability, global language (Unicode) support, and are both based on industry standards. Together, the Java 2 platform and XML will allow enterprises to simplify and lower the cost of information sharing and data exchange in business-to-business e-commerce." For details, see the full text of the announcement: "Sun Microsystems Announces Immediate Availability of the Java API for Extensible Markup Language (XML) Optional Package. First in a Series of XML Technology Deliveries for the Java 2 Platform."

  • [February 29, 2000]   Unicode Consortium Releases The Unicode Standard Version 3.0.    From a recent announcement by The Unicode Consortium: "The Unicode Consortium today announced the release of the Unicode Standard Version 3.0, the software specification that assures a single, universal way to represent text worldwide. Version 3.0 now supports 49,194 characters, including 31% more ideographs for Japanese, Chinese and Korean markets. Implementation support is greatly expanded, with double the character property data, and four times as many technical specifications for supporting implementations. The Unicode Standard is a major component in the globalization of e-business, as the marketplace continues to demand technologies that enhance seamless data interchange throughout companies' extended -- and often international -- network of suppliers, customers and partners. This new version reaffirms the broad, cross-industry commitment to the standard among leading IT vendors, enabling reliable transmission and storage of text data anywhere in the world. Unicode is the default text representation in XML, an important open standard being rapidly adopted throughout e-business technology. The Unicode Standard assigns every character a unique number, ensuring the same representation for text regardless of country, language, or operating system. As a result, computer programs written to its specifications can be used around the world without modification. Unicode-enabled programs -- client, server, operating system, or middleware -- can share textual data worldwide. Text can be transmitted freely, without suffering the data loss that occurs with older systems. Unicode is enabled in all modern Web browsers, almost all operating systems, and Internet standards such as HTML, Java, ECMAScript, XML, and LDAP. The Unicode Standard, published by Addison-Wesley Longman, is widely available in bookstores or may be obtained directly from the Unicode Consortium. The Unicode Standard has been adopted by such industry leaders as Apple, HP, IBM, JustSystem, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Sun, Sybase and many others. Unicode is required by modern standards such as XML, Java, ECMAScript (JavaScript), LDAP, CORBA 3.0, WML, etc., and is the official way to implement ISO/IEC 10646. It is supported in many operating systems, all modern browsers, and many other products." Information on the Unicode standard is available from the Consortium's Web site. For further details on the Version 3.0 release, see the text of the announcement: "Unicode Standard Extends to All World Languages. Seamless Data Interchange Across Borders Breaks e-Business Barriers."

  • [February 28, 2000]   Pyxie: An Open Source XML Processing Library for Python.    Pyxie is an Open Source XML processing library and tool suite for Python. [It is] designed to provide a powerful XML processing library wrapped up in a Python friendly API. To use Pyxie, you need a Python distribution and the XML package for Python created by the Python communities XML Special Interest Group. 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." Sean McGrath says: "The PYX notation is a form of ESIS (Element Structure Information Set) as defined in SGML (ISO 8879). In particular, PYX is a close cousin of the form of ESIS emitted by James Clark's nsgmls, SGML parsing application. In SGML terms, Pyxie facilitates the development of 'Structure Controlled Applications'. That is to say, it does not concern itself with markup issues such as entity sub structure, DTDs and so on. ['In a nutshell: SGML never made sense to me until I saw ESIS popping out of James Clark's sgmls parser. A lot of my SGML systems have been ESIS-based and I have been somewhat suprised at the lack of an ESIS-like approach to problem solving in the XML world. PYX is an attempt at introducing XML developers with no background in SGML to this sort of processing paradigm.' On ESIS, see: "ESIS: ISO 8879 Element Structure Information Set."] PYX notation is purposely very simple. I do not plan to add more and more 'events' to PYX over time. I firmly believe that all other forms of markup semantics - comments, entity substructure, namespaces etc. etc. can and should be layered on top of, rather than incorporated into, the base information markup layer. If you disagree with this, you are not alone. I have canned 5, 15 and 30 minute arguments in defense of my position which I deliver in the bar at XML conferences to anyone who will listen." The Pyxie project includes two command line utilities for generating PYX notation: (1) xmln: A stand-alone PYX generating utility built on top of James Clark's non-validating XML parser, expat. (2) xmlv: A stand-alone PYX generating utility built on top of Richard Tobin's validating XML parser, rxp. Note that you don't need Python to use these utilities. McGrath has also made available C3 - an XML editor/viewer developed using Pyxie and the wxPython GUI toolkit. Examples are provided on the Web site for event-driven XML processing and tree-driven 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... Pyxie also 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." Further documentation for Pyxie is found in the text of the book by Sean McGrath, XML processing with Python, to be published in February, 2000 by Prentice Hall. The author invites contributions to Pyxie: "Here are some things that I would like to see in Pyxie. I will try and find time to write them myself. Please feel free to write any of these and send me the details for inclusion in this page: (1) PYX generators for ODBC, RTF, Latex, CGM etc. (2) Addition of XML styling in C3 using CSS and/or XSL. wxPython now has an HTML widget that could be used for this. (3) An XPath implementation for addressing in Pyxie trees." A mailing list (also with archives) is available for Python developers interested in using, improving or debugging the Pyxie library.

  • [February 28, 2000]   IBM alphaWorks Updates XML for C++ Parser.    The IBM alphaWorks developers recently released an update for their XML for C++ Parser which fixes multi-threading bug for UNIX, a bug to enable proper user-exception handling, and transcoding problem for Japanese backslashes. "IBM's XML for C++ parser (XML4C) is a validating XML parser written in a portable subset of C++. XML4C makes it easy to give an application the ability to read and write XML data. Two shared libraries provide classes for parsing, generating, manipulating, and validating XML documents. XML4C is faithful to the XML 1.0 Recommendation and associated standards (DOM 1.0, SAX 1.0). Source code, samples and API documentation are provided with the parser. The parser runs on AIX, Linux, Solaris, Windows NT, Windows 98, HP-UX 11, and HP-UX 10.2. It has also been tested to work on OS/2, OS/390, and Visual Age for C++ on NT. Code changes are included to make it work on Macintosh CodeWarrior, KAI compiler and egcs compiler as well. The current XML4C2 distribution contains two shared libraries, the XML4C library called ixxml4c2_3.dll and the Unicode library called icuuc.dll. To distribute your application, you will need to distribute these two DLLs along with your own. The library names on the UNIX platforms are all different which are explained in more detail in the documentation bundled with the product. XML4C version 3.0.1 incorporates Xerces-C version 1.0.0 which is made available under the Apache License. XML4C version 3.0.1 also incorporates IBM Classes for Unicode (ICU) version 1.3.1, which is made available under the IBM Public License.

  • [February 26, 2000]   Sun Releases the Java API for XML Parsing Specification.    "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. This release is addressed to Java developers who want access to Sun's fast and fully-conformant XML software for development. The library includes fast XML parsers (both validating and non-validating) and supports an optional in-memory object model tree for manipulating and writing XML structured data. Developers should note that this API documentation uses the Java 2 SDK javadoc features, so that the summary pages (listing the packages and the contents of each package) are considerably more useful than in older versions. Each summary now has an explanation of its significant features and (as a rule) how to use the package. The distribution includes a number of examples showing XML and how it can be used: (1) Sample XML Files; (2) Simple File Parsing and Redisplay; (3) Building XML Documents with DOM; (4) Using SAX Directly; (5) XML Namespace Support; (6) XML Validation Service; (7) Swing JTree Display; (8) XML Messaging: HTTP(S) and POST; (9) Text Transcoding. 'Of course, this only scratches the surface of the kinds of things you can do with XML.' This 'Version 1.0 - Public Release' [February 25, 2000] "was created under the Java Community Process to provide full public participation in the definition and development." Conformance: (1) The parsers conform to the W3C's XML 1.0 recommendation. Sun has done extensive testing to ensure that they conform as closely as possible to this recommendation. (2) The parse tree supports the XML (core) part of W3C's DOM Level 1 recommendation. (3) In combination, the two also support the current W3C XML Namespaces recommendation. (4) The parser supports the SAX 1.0 API. Sun has done extensive testing to ensure that it conforms as closely as possible to this API. (5) The entity resolution used within the parser normally conforms to the IETF's RFC 2376 registration for XML-related MIME content types. This can be overridden as required. (See below; overriding may be necessary because many web servers do not conform to that specification, and report incorrect character set encoding information.) (6) This parser supports all of the character encodings supported by the Java platform with which it is used. See the package overview for the com.sun.xml.parser package for more detailed information, including names of specific encodings that are widely used. (7) When used in a supported configuration (JDK 1.1.8 and later), this software is Y2K compliant; it has no date related content. Object model: (1) Conforming to the XML specification, the parser reports all whitespace to the DOM even, if it's meaningless. Many applications do not want to see such whitespace. You can remove it by invoking the Element.normalize method, which merges adjacent text nodes and also canonicalizes adjacent whitespace into a single space (unless the xml:space="preserve" attribute prevents it). (2) Currently, attribute nodes may not have children. Access their values as strings instead of enumerating children. (3) Currently, when documents are cloned, the clone will not have a clone of the associated ElementFactory or DocumentType. (4) The in-memory representation of text nodes has not been tuned to be efficient with respect to space utilization." The specification is available for download. Please send feedback on this software to the development team. See also the abstract for the specification.

  • [February 26, 2000]   IMS Global Learning Consortium Releases Two XML-Based Specifications.    The Technical Board of the IMS Global Learning Consortium has "unanimously approved for release two new XML-based open standards for building online training and education applications. The specifications, the IMS Content Packaging Specification, and the IMS Question and Test Interoperability Specification enable 'advanced online training and education technologies, as well as learning system interoperability,' according to Ed Walker, CEO of the IMS Global Learning Consortium. IMS released the IMS Learning Resources Meta-data Specification and the IMS Enterprise Specification in 1999. IMS is a global coalition composed of over 250 technology vendors, developers, educational institutions, and government agencies. The IMS Global Learning Consortium develops open standards to support distributed learning. The IMS Specifications are XML-based, open standards that allow learning providers to re-use education and training resources among online learning systems from different vendors. Content reuse and a reliable means to exchange data between question and test systems are key components of any learning application, particularly those that are internet-based. [1] The IMS Content Packaging Information Model describes data structures that are used to provide interoperability of Internet based content with content creation tools, learning management software, and run time environments. The objective of the IMS Content Packaging Information Model is to define a standardized set of structures that can be used to exchange content. These structures provide the basis for standardized data bindings that allow software developers and implementers to create instructional materials that interoperate across authoring tools, learning management systems and run time environments that have been developed independently by various software developers. [2] The IMS Question and Test Interoperability Information Model describes the data structures that are used to provide interoperability between question and test systems, particularly those that are Internet-based. The principal aim of the specification is to allow users to import and export their question (termed Items and grouped in Sections) and test (termed Assessments and containing Sections) materials. This requires a clear, concise and unambiguous specification that caters for a wide range of types of questions and test. This specification is constructed such that it is capable of supporting both complex and simple question and test materials, and allow users to import and export their question (termed Items and grouped in Sections) and test (termed Assessments and containing Sections) materials. This requires a clear, concise and unambiguous specification that caters for a wide range of types of questions and test. This specification is constructed such that it is capable of supporting both complex and simple question and test materials, and allows for proprietary extensions that do not compromise the rest of the specification. The information model representation is based upon object oriented Unified Modelling Language (UML). In the XML binding specifications this UML representation will be mapped to an Extensible Markup Language (XML) implementation." For additional information, see (1) the full text of the announcment "IMS Releases Two Online Learning Standards. Industry and Educational Leaders Adopt IMS Specs" and (2) the IMS Project Web site. See also "Educom Instructional Management Systems Project (IMS) Metadata Specification."

  • [February 26, 2000]   Comparison of XML/SGML DTDs and the W3C XML Schema Specification.    Rick Jelliffe (Academia Sinica Computing Centre) announced the availability of a learning document which compares SGML/XML DTDs with the new W3C XML Schema specification. The document will be useful alongside the W3C's new XML Schema Part 0: Primer as an aid to understanding the specification. "This note gives simple comparisons between XML Schemas and the technologies that have influenced it. The XML Schema Specification in Context does not provide an exhaustive list of all XML Schemas features. [...] As an aid to the bewildered, I have started making a little note comparing XML Schemas from the new [2000-02-25 W3C] draft and: (1) XML DTD; (2) SGML DTD, and (3) SGML meta-DTD (architectures). A draft is at This draft is not suitable/stable/correct enough for linking or reference, but I hope some people may find it useful. Any improvements are welcome. Sections on Murata-san's RELAX or Nils' DSD or other schema languages would be nice too; I may put in something about Schematron too; I hope we can avoid juvenile acrimony and have friendly discussions on the features and niches that the various Schema languages will lend themselves to." Note, in this connection, a recent request from C. Michael Sperberg-McQueen and Dave Hollander (Co-chairs, W3C XML Schema Working Group) that the new three-part XML Schema specification be read in preparation for the upcoming XML Schema discussion at XTech 2000: "Those interested in XML Schema may want to take a look at the new draft before the town-meeting on XML Schema Tuesday night at XTech." The URLs are: (1) Primer, (2) Structures, and (3) Datatypes. For related schema research and development, see "XML Schemas."

  • [February 25, 2000]   W3C Publishes a Primer for XML Schema.    Contributing to the long and honorable tradition of exegetical commentary, the W3C has published a non-canonical [non-normative] work as a companion to the normative two-part XML Schema specification: XML Schema Part 0: Primer. Reference: W3C Working Draft, 25-February-2000, edited by David C. Fallside (IBM). The primer has been issued in conjunction with a new working draft [25 February 2000] of the normative tomes on XML Schema Structures and XML Schema Datatypes. Abstract: XML Schema Part 0: Primer is a non-normative document intended to provide an easily readable description of the XML Schema facilities and is oriented towards quickly understanding how to create schemas using the XML Schema language. XML Schema Part 1: Structures and XML Schema Part 2: Datatypes provide the complete normative description of the XML Schema definition language, and the primer describes the language features through numerous examples which are complemented by extensive references to the normative texts. This 'Second Torah' commentary is officially a part of the W3C XML Activity. Discrepancies between the sacred text and its commentary are noted in the Primer. Description: "This document, XML Schema Part 0: Primer, provides an easily approachable description of the XML Schema definition language, and should be used alongside the formal descriptions of the language contained in Parts 1 and 2 of the XML Schema specification. The intended audience of this document includes application developers whose programs read and write schema documents, and schema authors who need to know about the features of the language, especially features that provide functionality above and beyond what is provided by DTDs. The text assumes that you have a basic understanding of XML 1.0 and XML-Namespaces. Each major section of the primer introduces new features of the language, and describes the features in the context of concrete examples. Section 2 covers the basic mechanisms of XML Schema. It describes how to declare the elements and attributes that appear in XML documents, the distinctions between simple and complex types, defining complex types, the use of simple types for element and attribute values, schema annotation, a simple mechanism for re-using element and attribute definitions, and null values. Section 3 covers some of XML Schema's advanced features, and in particular, it describes mechanisms for deriving types from existing types, and for controlling these derivations. The section also describes mechanisms for merging together fragments of a schema from multiple sources, and for element substitution. Section 4 covers more advanced features, including a powerful mechanism for specifying uniqueness among attributes and elements, a mechanism for using types across namespaces, a mechanism for extending types based on namespaces, and a description of how documents are checked for conformance. In addition to the sections just described, the primer has a number of appendices that contain detailed reference information on simple types and an associated regular expression language. The primer is a non-normative document, which means that it does not provide a definitive (from the W3C's point of view) specification of the XML Schema language. The examples and other explanatory material in this document are provided to help you understand XML Schema, but they may not always provide definitive answers. In such cases, you will need to refer to the XML Schema specification, and to help you do this, we provide many links pointing to the relevant parts of the specification." See other references in "XML Schemas."

  • [February 25, 2000]   New Working Draft of W3C XML Schema Part 1: Structures.    The W3C XML Schema Working Group has published a new working draft version of XML Schema Part 1: Structures. Reference: W3C Working Draft 25-February-2000; edited by Henry S. Thompson (University of Edinburgh), David Beech (Oracle Corp.), Murray Maloney (Commerce One), and Noah Mendelsohn (Lotus Development Corporation). The specification itself is available in XML as well as HTML format. The release includes a formal description of schema 'structures' facilities in schema and in XML DTD notation. "Following a 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 March, 2000, and to submit this specification thereafter for publication as a Candidate Recommendation." Document abstract: "XML Schema: Structures specifies the XML Schema definition language, which offers 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 specification depends on XML Schema Part 2: Datatypes." Description: "The purpose of XML Schema: Structures is to define the nature of XML schemas and their component parts, provide an inventory of XML markup constructs with which to represent schemas, and define the application of schemas to XML documents. The purpose of an XML Schema: Structures schema is to define and describe a class of XML documents by using schema components to constrain and document the meaning, usage and relationships of their constituent parts: datatypes, elements and their content and attributes and their values. Schemas may also provide for the specification of additional document information, such as default values for attributes and elements. Schemas have facilities for self-documentation. Thus, XML Schema: Structures can be used to define, describe and catalogue XML vocabularies for classes of XML documents. Any application that consumes well-formed XML can use the XML Schema: Structures formalism to express syntactic, structural and value constraints applicable to its document instances. The XML Schema: Structures formalism allows a useful level of constraint checking to be described and validated for a wide spectrum of XML applications. However, the language defined by this specification does not attempt to provide all the facilities that might be needed by any application. Some applications may require constraint capabilities not expressible in this language, and so may need to perform their own additional validations." Comments on the working draft should be sent to the working group; they will be publicly archived. See also the new XML Schema Part 0: Primer. Other references are provided in "XML Schemas."

  • [February 25, 2000]   New Working Draft of W3C XML Schema Part 2: Datatypes.    The W3C XML Schema Working Group has published an updated working draft specification XML Schema Part 2: Datatypes. Reference: W3C Working Draft 25-February-2000; edited by Paul V. Biron (Kaiser Permanente, for Health Level Seven) and Ashok Malhotra (IBM). The release includes separate documents containing the corresponding formal schema notation, an XML DTD, and schema for built-in datatypes only; there is an XML version as well. XML Schema: Datatypes is 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. Rationale for Part 2: "... 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 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. As discussed below, these datatypes could be used in other XML-related standards as well." The concrete requirements to be fulfilled by this specification are articulated in the XML Schema Requirements document; it states 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). "Although the Working Group does not anticipate further substantial changes to the functionality described here, this is still a working draft, subject to change based on experience and on comment by the public and other W3C working groups. Following a 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 March, 2000, and to submit this specification thereafter for publication as a Candidate Recommendation." Comments on the draft should be sent to the working group; they will be publicly archived. See also the new companion XML Schema Part 0: Primer. Other references are provided in "XML Schemas."

  • [February 25, 2000]   New Working Draft for the Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL) Boston Specification.    The W3C has released a third Working Draft of the Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL) Boston Specification. References: W3C Working Draft 25-February-2000, edited by Jeff Ayars, Dick Bulterman, Aaron Cohen, Erik Hodge, Philipp Hoschka et al. In addition to HTML, the document is available as a single PostScript file, single PDF file, zip archive. The WD has been produced as part of the W3C Synchronized Multimedia Activity; it has been written by the SYMM Working Group. The 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)... SMIL functionality is partitioned into nine (9) modules: Animation Module; Content Control Module; Layout Module; Linking Module; Media Object Module; Metainformation Module; Structure Module; Timing and Synchronization Module; Transition Effects Module. Each of these modules introduces a set of semantically-related elements, properties, and attributes... SMIL Boston deprecates a small amount of SMIL 1.0 syntax in favor of more DOM friendly syntax. Most notable is the change from hyphenated attribute names to mixed case (camel case) attribute names, e.g., clipBegin is introduced in favor of clip-begin..."

  • [February 25, 2000]   New Working Draft Specification for The Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language Document Object Model.    As part of the W3C Multimedia Activity, members of the the W3C SYMM working group have released a new working draft document for the Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language Document Object Model. References: W3C Working Draft 25-February-2000, edited by Philippe Le Hégaret (W3C) and Patrick Schmitz (Microsoft). In addition to HTML, the draft is available as Plain text file, PDF file, PostScript file, ZIP archive; latest version. The 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: "The first W3C Working Group on Synchronized Multimedia (SYMM) developed SMIL - Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language. This XML-based language is used to express synchronization relationships among media elements. SMIL 1.0 documents describe multimedia presentations that can be played in SMIL-conformant viewers. 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. The SMIL DOM will be based upon the DOM Core functionality (see DOM Level 2 Core). 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. The SYMM Working Group is also working towards a modularization of SMIL functionality, to better support integration with HTML and XML applications. Accordingly, the SMIL DOM is defined in terms of the SMIL modules."

  • [February 25, 2000]   Successful First Beta Test of 'adXML' XML Schema.    An announcement from Mediaplex, Inc. recently reported on collaboration by "Industry Colleagues and Competitors on's First Beta Test of XML Schema for Automation of Advertising Data." According to the announcement: "The initial release was designed by Mediaplex and subsequently enhanced by's nine subcommittees, represented by 46 participating companies from a wide range of industry sectors. Established as a vendor-neutral global organization, the mission of is to define and advance a common XML-based vocabulary for automating the buy/sell transactions of the advertising industry. Subcommittees have been defined for both traditional and new media as well as digital asset management software. Subcommittees for traditional media include print, TV, radio and outdoor; subcommittees for new media include online, e-mail, set-top box/broadband and the virtually untapped wireless market. The self-describing adXML is a common language that describes data structures and types for cross-business communication and supply chain management among advertisers, agencies and publishers. The technology initiative offers significant time- and cost-efficiencies by enabling real-time automation of all advertising business transactions, including insertion and change orders, requests for proposals and bids, inventory and rate cards, and even creative content." "is an international, open standards organization, aiming to define an advertising XML schema for both on-line and off-line media. adXML is an XML specification of the type of nformation that is passed between a purchasing and selling agent of advertising inventory. adXML addresses both the worlds of online and off-line (e.g., print, magazines, TV) advertising. In the online world, an Internet publisher that has banner ad inventory to sell could receive an adXML document via E-mail, FTP, or HTTP rather than via FAX in various formats. The adXML document provides the publisher with all the information required to get the banner ad up and running. In fact, that publisher could use other Internet technology to completely automate the processing of adXML documents." See: " XML for Advertising."

  • [February 25, 2000]   TEI-Encoded Edition of Erdman's Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake.    Matt Kirschenbaum recently posted an announcement which reports on a significant milestone reached in the Blake Archive. "The editors of the William Blake Archive are very pleased to announce the publication of our searchable SGML-encoded electronic edition of David V. Erdman's Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake. The Blake Archive's electronic Erdman is tagged in SGML using the Text Encoding Initiative DTD and is presented online using Inso's DynaWeb software. But we should note that Erdman's edition is an extraordinarily rich and complex textual artifact in its own right, and encoding and rendering it has proven a substantial technical challenge. The addition of the electronic Erdman means that the site is now inclusive of an even greater range of Blake's work than the approximately 3000 digital images that will eventually form the structured core of the Archive proper. Based upon the text of the 1988 Newly Revised Doubleday Edition, the electronic Erdman represents almost 900 pages of printed material, comprising the complete writings of William Blake together with David V. Erdman's original textual notes... We will soon add two copies of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell to the Archive, at which point it will contain fully searchable and scalable electronic editions of 41 copies of 18 of Blake's 19 illuminated books in the context of full bibliographic information about each work, careful diplomatic transcriptions of all texts, detailed descriptions of all images, and extensive bibliographies. Soon after, we plan to publish collection lists for eight of the most significant collections of Blake's works. Fully encoded in SGML, these collection lists will be delivered online using Inso's DynaWeb software and will be fully searchable." Together with the UVA Electronic Text Center, IATH has pioneered the use of SGML/XML in academic applications: "From the earliest draft release of the Text Encoding Initiative guidelines (P1) in 1991 we have been creating full-text humanities SGML documents; for several years the TEI headers to our texts have been converted by a program into US-MARC records in order to ease their inclusion into the general library catalog." The electronic Blake Archive is one of several significant SGML/XML digital library projects IATH - Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, University of Virginia at Charlottesville. UVA's IATH is also Co-Host of the TEI Consortium.

  • [February 25, 2000]   New Working Draft on User Interface for CSS3.    A new W3C working draft document User Interface for CSS3 has been published by CSS & FP working group as part of the Style activity, and includes proposal for features to be included in CSS level 3. Reference: W3C Working Draft 16-Feb-2000, edited by Tantek Çelik (Microsoft Corporation). Co-authors include Peter Linss and Sho Kuwamoto. The new working draft supplies: (1) a completion of the user interface features in CSS2; (2) CSS mechanisms to simulate the look and feel of various standard form elements in HTML4; (3) CSS mechanisms to augment or replace the remaining stylistic attributes in HTML4; and (4) a mechanism for CSS to enable full-screen or kiosk mode. The proposal extends several user interface related pseudo-classes, properties and values [from CSS level 2] to provide the ability, through CSS, to style elements based upon their various user interface related states, and to make an arbitrary structural element take on the dynamic presentation, or system default look and feel, of various standard user interface widgets. The proposal can be briefly summed up by the following additions to CSS: (1) Four new pseudo-classes and two new pseudo-elements to represent the various states and relevant fragments of user interface elements. (2) Full-screen or kiosk mode - one new media type. (3) More system cursors, colors and fonts for multiple platforms. (4) Display:inline-block for BUTTON, TEXTAREA, and other elements. (5) Content and list-style-type additions for radio button, checkbox, and checked menu visuals. (6) Ten new properties consisting of the following: ability to interpret width and height as defining the border-box; resizing mechanism for elements (to complement the scrollbars from overflow); keyboard shortcuts, tabbing order, and focus selection control; making explicit which elements the user can interact with and modify." For other CSS level 3 proposals, see "Cascading Style Sheets, Level 3."

  • [February 24, 2000]   REgular LAnguage description for XML (RELAX).    A communiqué from Murata Makoto (XML SWG, Information Technology Research and Standardization Center) reports on the opening of the official site for RELAX at the URL RELAX (REgular LAnguage for XML) is "a language for representing regular sets of XML documents as grammars" and is related to the W3C XML Schema work: it uses the datatypes of XML Schema and "helps migration from XML DTDs to XML Schema." An overview is provided in a presentation abstract -- based on a formal presentation on RELAX to be given at the XTech Conference by MURATA Makoto, HIYAMA Masayuki, and KOSAKI Motohiro. The Web site also provides a RELAX tutorial, and a FAQ document, together with the relevant formal specifications and examples. RELAX is being standardized by INSTAC XML SWG of Japan; development plans call for the RELAX Core V1.0 to be published as JIS TR in March, 2000. RELAX is based on the hedge automaton theory. Description: "A RELAX grammar generates a set of XML documents. Conversely, XML documents can be validated against a RELAX grammar. RELAX consists of RELAX core and RELAX Namespace. RELAX core provides modules, which declare and constrain elements and attributes in a single namespace. The design of RELAX core (Version 1.0) has been completed, and this presentation is mainly concerned about RELAX core. RELAX Namespace provides mechanisms for attaching namespaces to modules and combining these modules to form a single grammar. A RELAX module consists of rules and patterns. Intuitively speaking, rules correspond to element type declarations and parameter entities used therein, and patterns correspond to attribute list declaraions and parameter entities used therein. As a special case, an RELAX grammar of a single namespace is a RELAX module. RELAX is based on the theory of tree (or hedge) automata. From a RELAX grammar, one can effectively construct a hedge automaton. By executing this hedge automaton, XML documents can be validated against the grammar. Operations on hedge automata can be applied to RELAX grammars so as to examine their properties. In particular, one can examine if one RELAX grammar is upper-compatible with another by computing the difference of two grammars. RELAX is more expressive than DTD in representing structural constraints on elements and attributes. RELAX, however, does not provide mechanisms for declaring entities, notations, and default values, which have been captured by DTDs. Rather, RELAX is intended to be used in conjunction with DTD; XML documents containing DTDs are first parsed by XML processors and then validated against RELAX grammars. A RELAX validator receives a RELAX grammar and an XML document. The validator first invokes some XML processor to parse the grammar and document, and then receives the result via some API. The current prototype uses DOM to access the RELAX grammar and the SAX-like API of XML4C to access the document. A RELAX validator has been developed in C++ and its source code is available under GPL. The construction of automata from content models is done by an automaton construction tool kit called Grail. A converter from DTDs to RELAX grammars has been developed in Java and is also freely available under GPL." For related schema research and development, see "XML Schemas." On hedge/forest theory, see: "SGML/XML and Forest/Hedge Automata Theory."

  • [February 24, 2000]   New Release of The Document Structure Description (DSD) Specification.    A recent communiqué from Anders Møller reports on a new release of the Document Structure Description (DSD) specification in which free source code and Win32 executables are available for download. The Document Structure Description (DSD) is an "XML schema language developed by AT&T Labs Research and BRICS, University of Aarhus. The DSD 1.0 language has been designed by Nils Klarlund, Anders Møller, and Michael I. Schwartzbach. DSDs require no specialized XML/SGML insights. The technology is based on simple, general, and familiar concepts that allow much stronger document descriptions than possible with DTDs or the current XML Schema proposal. DSD provides an alternative to XML DTDs and other XML schema languages. It adds expressive power, increases readability, and contains support for default attributes and contents. Furthermore, it guarantees linear time processing in the size of the application document. The relationship between DSDs and XML Schema is briefly described in a FAQ document." The specification represents one of several XML schema languages currently under development -- alongside the work of the W3C XML Schema Working Group's 'XML Schema Definition Language'; it may be of interest "if you think that XML Schema is too complex and does not fulfill your needs for an XML schema language." The Web site presents (1) the DSD 1.0 language specification and an overview article; (2) an Open Source implementation for UNIX (e.g. Linux) and now also for Windows, including Win32 executables; (3) a new comprehensive XML tutorial, including a section about DSD. For related schema research and development, see "XML Schemas."

  • [February 24, 2000]   Conference Program for Spring XTech 2000.    The upcoming Spring XTech 2000 Conference is now described in a complete published program, available from the conference Web site. XTech 2000 - The XML Developers Conference and Exposition. "Looking back, going forward." February 27 - March 2, 2000, San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, California. "Hosted by GCA, XTech 2000 brings together experts, developers and technical managers for an intense look at the current XML technology and applications of the standard. The conference will feature an exposition where developers and suppliers of XML technology will demonstrate the interoperability of their tools... Highlights of XTech include Town Hall meetings where representatives from the W3C's XML Schema and XML Query Working Groups will take the stage in two separate open-mike town-hall forums. XTech presentations will discuss the theory and the practical application of XML and its related standards, including XLink and XSL. Sessions cover the technical underpinnings of XML implementation and how XML works on different operating platforms and systems, including Linux and Java." Additional details may be found in several published communiqués: (1) XTech 2000 Update - from David Megginson, Program Co-Chair; (2) OASIS announcement: "OASIS Co-Sponsors XTech XML Developers Conference"; (3) GCA press release: "GCA Announces XTech 2000. San Jose to Host Premier XML Developers' Conference and Expo"; (4) conference announcement from Pete Janhunen (GCA, Vice President, Marketing and Communications); (5) "Putting XML to Work at XTech 2000" (Edd Dumbill).

  • [February 23, 2000]   SyncML Initiative Founded to Develop a Universal Standard for Data Synchronization.    According to a recent press release, IBM, Lotus, Motorola, Nokia, Palm, Inc., Psion and Starfish Software announced that "they have founded The SyncML Iniative. The SyncML Initiative develops and promotes an open industry specification for universal data synchronization of remote data and personal information across multiple networks, platforms and devices. SyncML is a XML-based data synchronization protocol designed to create the optimal mobile computing experience by supporting enhanced data synchronization, including e-mail, calendar, contact management information, enterprise data stored in databases, Web-based documents and new forms of content from systems available in the future. The SyncML Initiative is open for industry partners to join in developing the specification. The SyncML Initiative will leverage industry standards Extensible Markup Language (XML), MIME, the vCard and the iCalendar to represent Internet Data, email information, personal contact information and calendaring information. Extending beyond currently available data synchronization technologies, SyncML will enable seamless synchronization among wireless and wireline networked data, computers, laptops, handheld computers, PDAs, mobile handset and other mobile devices. . . The founding members of The SyncML Initiative have identified the following goals to achieve the successful development and adoption of an industry wide data synchronization standard: (1) Leverage existing open standards for structured data representation and industry object types [operate over wireless and wireline networks; support a variety of transport protocols; support arbitrary networked data; provide data access from a variety of applications; connect mobile devices regardless of platform or manufacturer; use existing Internet and Web standards and technologies] (2) Provide easily accessible code for enabling support for the specification. The SyncML Initiative is open for participation to a wide range of industries including device manufacturers, synchronization vendors, service providers and application developers. Companies interested in joining are encouraged to contact The SyncML Initiative today to become part of the team and deliver the SyncML specification available later this year." For further description and references, see "The SyncML Initiative." See also the complete text of the announcement: "The SyncML Initiative Founded to Develop The World's First True Universal Standard for Data Synchronization. Initiative Includes Industry Leaders IBM, Lotus, Motorola, Nokia, Palm, Inc., Psion and Starfish Software."

  • [February 23, 2000]   GNOME Office 'Dia' Drawing Program.    The Gnome Office drawing application 'Dia' is one of several office suite programs which uses XML as the native file format. "Dia is a drawing program, designed to be much like the commercial Windows program 'Visio'. It can be used to draw various different kinds of diagrams. In the first version there is support for UML static structure diagrams (class diagrams), databases, electric circuit objects, flowcharts, network diagrams, Sybase sheets, and more. Dia is easy to extend with new object collectionsm since the various objects are defined using an XML-based file format (example: horizontal Led). Dia can load and save diagrams to a custom XML format (G-zipped by default, to save space); it can export diagrams to EPS or SVG formats, and can print diagrams (including diagrams that span multiple pages). Dia has quickly become the tool of choice for GNOME developer to do diagrams with and communicating graphical information with other developers. The Dia team consists of seven programmers, it was originally written by Alexander Larsson and it is now being maintained by James Henstridge." GNOME Office is a "meta-project, with the mission to coordinate productivity applications for the GNOME Desktop. [The developers] intend to produce a productivity suite composed of entirely free software. Currently, the GNOME Office consists includes AbiWord, Gnumeric, GIMP, Dia, EOG, GNOME-PIM, and GNOME-DB. AbiWord is a word processor, Gnumeric is a spreadsheet application, the GIMP is an extremely powerful and versatile image editing program, Dia draws structured diagrams, Eye Of GNOME is an image viewer, GNOME-PIM is a personal information manager, and GNOME-DB provides database connectivity..." The GNOME Office suite uses a common set of core technologies, including XML: " XML is used throughout the system as the native file format. Use of XML technology provides a versatile and extensible format for the exchange of structured data both internally within the GNOME system and with other applications." As a gtk+ based diagram creation program released under the GPL license, Dia is freely available for download. See also "GNOME (GNU Network Object Model Environment) XML Library."

  • [February 21, 2000]   Last Call Working Draft for the XML Linking Language (XLink).    The W3C XML Linking Working Group has released a last call working draft document for the XML Linking Language (XLink). Reference: W3C Working Draft 21-February-2000, edited by Steve DeRose (Brown University), Eve Maler (Sun Microsystems), David Orchard (IBM Corp.), and Ben Trafford. The last call review period ends 20-March-2000. The 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." Specifically: the draft document "defines the XML Linking Language (XLink), which allows elements to be inserted into XML documents in order to create and describe links between resources. For the purposes of this specification, a link is a relationship between two or more resources or portions of resources, made explicit by an XLink linking element. Other kinds of links may exist and even be encoded in XML, but the term as used here refers only to an XLink link. 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; and (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 actuation. 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 Language."

  • [February 21, 2000]   Last Call Working Draft for XML Base (XBase).    A last call working draft has been published by the XML Linking Working Group for XML Base (XBase). Reference: W3C Working Draft 21-February-2000, edited by Jonathan Marsh (Microsoft). The last call review period ends 20-March-2000. The draft document "proposes syntax for providing the equivalent of HTML BASE functionality generically in XML documents by defining an XML attribute named xml:base. . . 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). 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." Comments may be sent to the XML Linking Working Group editors.

  • [February 15, 2000]   Stanford University Releases XMLMARC Software.    A communiqué from Dick Miller (Stanford University Medical Center) reports on the availability of XMLMARC 'MARC to XML' software developed as part of the Medlane Experiment for "restructuring serial, circulation, and traditional bibliographic data for deployment in changing digital environments." According to the announcement: "Lane Medical Library at Stanford University released XMLMARC software on December 29, 1999, for free, non-commercial use. This Java client/server program converts MARC to XML based on flexible maps and simplified, yet detailed DTDs for bibliographic and authorities formats. It resulted from the experimental Medlane Project, which is exploring alternative methods of utilizing cataloging information -- considered at risk due to its segregation from mainstream web resources. XMLMARC was designed to accommodate changes in MARC and mapping decisions without the need for reprogramming. Lane has used the program to convert over 250,000 MARC records to XML. Lane's experiment includes a distillation of much of Marc. As a feasibility demonstration, we have attempted to retain most Marc informational content, while reducing its complexity. Some such simplification of Marc is necessary if it is to survive in the Information Age. Our map is unidirectional, although a bidirectional map could be devised by inclusion of additional elements. For example, main entry is supported partially by "primary" personal names, corporate names, etc., which technically permits one of each type. Many expedient decisions would need to be revisited before a more stable version of the DTDs could be advanced. Details and downloading instructions are available at the Web site. This release concluded Phase I of the Project. We are now exploring access to our XML data via search engines/Oracle 8i, display using XSL style sheets, and interface development. We hope that the availability of XMLMARC will spark further exploration of the potential of using XML for a web-oriented version of MARC." Further documentation and project DTDs are provided in the document "DTDs and Maps for Bibliographic Works and Authorities." See also "MARC (MAchine Readable Cataloging) and SGML/XML" and "BiblioML - XML for UNIMARC Bibliographic Records." For other description and references, see "Medlane XMLMARC Experiment - MARC to XML."

  • [February 15, 2000]   Last Call W3C Working Draft for the P3P1.0 Specification (Platform for Privacy Preferences).    The W3C P3P Specification Working Group has published a 'last call' working draft for The Platform for Privacy Preferences 1.0 (P3P1.0) Specification. References: W3C Working Draft 11-February-2000, edited by Massimo Marchiori. Authors include: Lorrie Cranor (AT&T), Marc Langheinrich (ETH Zurich), Massimo Marchiori (W3C/MIT), Martin Presler-Marshall (IBM), and Joseph Reagle (W3C/MIT). The Last Call Ends 30-April-2000. This specification of the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P) "along with its normative references, includes all the specification necessary for the implementation of interoperable P3P applications. The Platform for Privacy Preferences Project (P3P) enables Web sites to express their privacy practices in a standard format that can be retrieved automatically and interpreted easily by user agents. P3P user agents will allow users to be informed of site practices (in both machine- and human-readable formats) and to automate decision-making based on these practices when appropriate. . . P3P version 1.0 is a protocol designed to inform Web users of the data-collection practices of Web sites. It provides a way for a Web site to encode its data-collection and data-use practices in a machine-readable XML format known as a P3P policy. The P3P specification defines: (1) A standard schema for data a Web site may wish to collect, known as the 'P3P base data schema'; (2) A standard set of uses, recipients, data categories, and other privacy disclosures; (3) An XML format for expressing a privacy policy; (4) A means of associating privacy policies with Web pages or sites; (5) A mechanism for transporting P3P policies over HTTP. The Working Draft includes an extension mechanism that can be used to extend the P3P vocabulary. The Working Group is particularly interested in feedback on how to improve this mechanism as well as examples of extensions that people would like to propose. These examples may be useful for improving the design of the extension mechanism. In addition, the Working Group may consider incorporating some of these ideas into the P3P vocabulary so that they need not be introduced later as extensions. The introduction to the provides additional information about the status of this working draft and future versions of P3P." The normative Appendix 3 of the WD specification ('XML Schema Definitions') "contains two XML Schemas, one for P3P policy documents, and one for P3P dataschema documents. An XML Schema may be used to validate the structure and datatype values used in an instance of the schema given as an XML document."

  • [February 12, 2000]   French Version of XML FAQ Document - 'La FAQ de Peter Flynn'.    A communiqué from Patrick Andries reports that "La FAQ de Peter Flynn a été traduite en français:" Questions fréquemment posées sur XML (Extensible Markup Language). "La traduction a été commanditée par l'Association GUTenberg au CFTTR (Centre de Formation de Traducteurs-Terminologues & Rédacteurs de l'Université de Haute Bretagne - Rennes 2). Elle a été traduite de l'anglais par Morgane Le Bihan qui s'est basée sur la terminologie utilisée pour la version française du langage XML. Elle a été révisée par Jacques André (Irisa/Inria-Rennes), Bernard Gaulle et Michel Goossens (CERN, Genève). Une version imprimée est parue dans le Cahiers GUTenberg, 33-34, spécial XML, novembre 1999, p. 281-311." See: Peter's Frequently Asked Questions about the Extensible Markup Language has also been translated into Japanese, Spanish, Korean, Czech [and Greek]. For references to other XML FAQ documents, see XML FAQ Documents: Answers to "Frequently-Asked-Questions."

  • [February 11, 2000]   XCES: Corpus Encoding Standard for XML.    A posting from Patrice Bonhomme (LORIA/CNRS) announces the Beta release of XCES, "which instantiates the Corpus Encoding Standard (CES) DTDs for linguistic corpora developed by the Expert Advisory Group for Language Engineering Standards (EAGLES). XCES was developed by the Department of Computer Science, Vassar College, and Equipe Langue et Dialogue, LORIA/CNRS." The Corpus Encoding Standard (CES) is "a part of the EAGLES Guidelines developed by the Expert Advisory Group on Language Engineering Standards (EAGLES). The CES is designed to be optimally suited for use in language engineering research and applications, in order to serve as a widely accepted set of encoding standards for corpus-based work in natural language processing applications. The CES is an application of SGML (ISO 8879:1986, Information Processing--Text and Office Systems--Standard Generalized Markup Language) compliant with the specifications of the TEI Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange of the Text Encoding Initiative. The CES specifies a minimal encoding level that corpora must achieve to be considered standardized in terms of descriptive representation (marking of structural and typographic information) as well as general architecture (so as to be maximally suited for use in a text database). It also provides encoding specifications for linguistic annotation, together with a data architecture for linguistic corpora." The XCES XML DTDs provide for: (1) language identification (an attribute xml:lang (CDATA) has been added to the CES global attributes); XLink (support for the XLink specification by including the sub-dtd xlink.ent -- for simple, extended, locators and arc elements -- is under development; (3) XPointer/Xpath (currently implementing the use of XPointers and XPaths for locator element types); (4) XSL Stylesheets. The XCES XML DTDs are available for download, as are the XSL stylesheets. The development team is in the process of developing stylesheets for cesAna [encoding conventions for annnotated data] and cesAlign [encoding conventions for aligned data] documents. "Note that XCES is under development and subject to change. We are currently developing documentation to support XCES. However, the existing CES documentation supporting general encoding practices for linguistic corpora and tag usage is largely relevant to the XCES instantiation, and should be consulted in the meantime." Questions and comments concerning the XML DTDs may be sent to Nancy Ide or Patrice Bonhomme.

  • [February 11, 2000]   Simple HTML Ontology Extensions (SHOE).    The SHOE project is under development in the Parallel Understanding Systems Group, Department of Computer Science, University of Maryland at College Park. SHOE is an SGML/XML 'HTML-based' knowledge representation language. The intent of the specification "is to make it possible for user-agents, robots, etc., to gather truly meaningful information about web pages and documents, enabling significantly better search mechanisms and knowledge-gathering. The general way one goes about this is as follows: (1) First, define an ontology describing valid classifications of web objects, and valid relationships between web objects and other web objects or data. This ontology may borrow from other ontologies. (2) Annotate HTML pages to describe themselves, other pages, or subsections of themselves, as having attributes as described in one or more ontologies. We're playing a bit fast-and-loose with the term ontology here. In this specification, 'ontology' simply means an ISA hierarchy of classes/categories, plus a set of atomic relations between these categories, and a set of inferential rules in the form of simplified horn clauses. Categories inherit relations defined for parent categories. User agents following this specification should be aware that assertions made by HTML pages are not facts, but claims..." SHOE is "a superset of HTML which adds the tags necessary to embed arbitrary semantic data into web pages. SHOE tags are divided into two categories. First, there are tags for constructing ontologies. SHOE ontologies are sets of rules which define what kinds of assertions SHOE documents can make and what these assertions mean. For example, a SHOE ontology might say that a SHOE document can declare that some data entity is a 'dog', and that if it does so, that this 'dog' is permitted to have a 'name'. Secondly, there are tags for annotating web documents to subscribe to one or more ontologies, declare data entities, and make assertions about those entities under the rules proscribed by the ontologies. For example, a SHOE document subscribing to the SHOE ontology above might then declare that it's all about a dog named 'Fido'..." The updated the SHOE Specification (February 03, 2000) 1.01, includes an appendix on using SHOE with XML. For references, see "Simple HTML Ontology Extensions (SHOE)."

  • [February 11, 2000]   DARPA Agent Mark-Up Language (DAML)    The 'DARPA Agent Mark-Up Language (DAML)' is being designed as an XML-based "semantic language that ties the information on a page to machine-readable semantics (ontology)." According to one report, DAML designer Jim Hendler "has begun working with Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web Consortium to make sure that DAML fits with the W3C's plans for a semantic Web, which would be based primarily on RDF (Resource Description Framework), the W3C's metadata technology for adding machine-readable data to the Web." The goal of the DAML program "is to develop a language aimed at representing semantic relations in machine readable ways compatible with current and future Internet technologies. Further, prototype tools will be developed to show the potential of such markups to provide revolutionary capabilities that will change the way humans interact with information. Deployment of such tools to military and intelligence users, and showing the incredible dual use potential of such a technology, caps off the programs goals. To realize this solution, Internet markup languages must move beyond the implicit semantic agreements inherent in XML and community-specific controlled languages, and move towards making semantic entities and markup a primary goal DARPA will lead the way with the development of DARPA Agent markup Language (DAML). DAML will be a semantic language that ties the information on a page to machine-readable semantics (ontology). The language must allow for communities to extend simple ontologies for their own use, allowing the bottom-up design of meaning while allowing sharing of higher level concepts. In addition, the language will provide mechanisms for the explicit representation of services, processes and business models, so as to allow non-explicit information (such as that encapsulated in programs or sensors) to be recognized. DAML will provide a number of advantages over current markup approaches. It will allow semantic interoperability at the level we currently have syntactic interoperability in XML. [...] The goal of the DAML program is to create technologies that will enable software agents to dynamically identify and understand information sources, and to provide interoperability between agents in a semantic manner. This goal will be pursued by a research plan that includes the following six tasks: (1) Create an Agent Mark-Up Language (DAML) built upon XML that allows users to provide machine-readable semantic annotations for specific communities of interest. (2) Create tools that embed DAML markup on to web pages and other information sources in a manner that is transparent and beneficial to the users. (3) Use these tools to build up, instantiate, operate, and test sets of agent-based programs that markup and use DAML. (4) Measure, via empirical experimentation, the productivity improvements provided by these tools. (5) Apply these tools to third party agent development, military-specific problems, and support for the intelligence community so as to evolve DAML technologies towards large-scale use. (6) Transition DAML to the commercial and military markets via partnerships with industrial and defense-related (C2 and intelligence) organizations." See "DARPA Agent Mark Up Language (DAML)."

  • [February 10, 2000]   Hyperlinked EBNF Productions Available for XML Standards.    A recent posting from Dan Vint reports on a new Web site which contains all the EBNF productions, validation and well-formedness constraints for the following specifications: XML, Namespaces, XPath, XSLT, XPointer, XML Stylesheet PI, and XML Fragments. "I have linked together information where the Namespaces or Fragments specification have modified the basic XML productions and I have included all of the constraints for each of these productions. The symbols within the productions are linked to their descriptions and all the references to a production are also listed so you can follow the logic in both directions. The menu on the left side needs a little time to build, but once available you can get to any production in alphabetical order by the specification. Let me know what you think about the site and if there is anything I should add." Note: some similar resources, including a searchable index of EBNF productions (Supplementary Resources and Tools), are available online in connection with Liam Quin's book The XML Specification Guide.

  • [February 09, 2000]   New Visa Global XML Invoice Specification    An announcement of February 09, 2000 reports that "Visa International has introduced a new specification that will dramatically increase a corporation's ability to automate business-to-business (B2B) purchasing functions and monitor travel and entertainment (T&E) expenses worldwide - both on the Internet and in the physical world. The new Visa Global Invoice Specification uses Extensible Markup Language (XML) to exchange invoice and payment data across industries and technical processing platforms. Implementation of the specification enables corporations to negotiate prices and control costs, as well as increase productivity by eliminating manual processes. It is being introduced to encourage its adoption as an open standard in the global commercial marketplace. The new Visa Global XML Invoice Specification was developed with Visa technology partners Commerce One, IBM, Sun Microsystems, Inc. and ValiCert, Inc. These partners provided Visa with an extensive review, validating Visa's efforts to use XML technology and supporting Visa's contribution to the buyer/supplier value chain of enhanced data. Visa is committed to promote the specification with software and system developers. With its use, corporate clients will have a standard way to process detailed information on procurement transactions, as well as T&E spending on airline travel, hotels and car rental. In the near future, Visa plans to expand the specification to support other merchant sectors including healthcare, maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) and fleet services. Visa International, with over 12 million Visa Purchasing, Visa Business and Visa Corporate cards in the global market, has seen 40% annual growth in the past three years and is the market leader within the procurement and purchasing card sector. The Visa Global XML Invoice Specification may be used by any system developer seeking a standard and interoperable definition for processing invoice data using XML. It provides a cross-industry, interoperable message format which enables processing of enhanced data across regions and industry sectors and, as clients identify new needs, it can easily be extended and adapted to support additional information needs. Visa has compiled a comprehensive list of data elements used in most invoices and has classified them into the following information areas: Buyer/Supplier, Shipping, Tax, Payment, Currency, Discount, and Line Item Detail. Visa can also deliver the XML invoice data across VisaNet, Visa's global network. As the growth of e-commerce has exploded, Visa is playing a leadership role in both the consumer and commercial B2B markets to establish common standards and platforms to promote the growth and ubiquity of powerful new payment channels. Examples of these efforts include: Open Platform; Common Electronic Purse Specification (CEPS); EMV (Europay, Mastercard, Visa) standard for chip, credit and debit cards; SET (Secure Electronic Transaction) and the new Visa Global Invoice Specification based on XML. The Visa Global XML Specification is available on the Visa web site. See the text of the company announcement, "Visa International Introduces New XML Specification to Meet Information Needs of the Global Commercial Card Market. New Visa Global XML Invoice Specification will provide valuable purchase information, enabling corporate users to lower costs and maximize operational efficiencies." For other description and references, see "VISA XML Invoice Specification."

  • [February 09, 2000]   Revised W3C/IETF Working Draft for XML-Signature Syntax and Processing.    The W3C and IETF have released a revised working draft for the jointly-authored document XML-Signature Syntax and Processing. References: W3C Working Draft 08-February-2000; IETF Internet Draft draft-ietf-xmldsig-core-05.txt; edited by Donald Eastlake, Joseph Reagle, and David Solo. Abstract: "This document specifies XML digital signature processing rules and syntax. XML Signatures provide integrity, message authentication, and/or signer authentication services for data of any type, whether located within the XML that includes the signature or elsewhere." It "specifies XML syntax and processing rules for creating and representing digital signatures. XML Signatures can be applied to any digital content (data object), including XML. An XML Signature may be applied to the content of one or more resources: enveloped or enveloping signatures are over data within the same XML document as the signature; detached signatures are over data external to the signature document. The specification also defines other useful types including methods of referencing collections of resources, and key management and algorithm definitions." The document represents "a public Working Draft of the IETF/W3C XML Signature Working Group. This version follows from the January face-to-face meeting. [The editors] hope to issue an institutional (IETF/W3C) Last Call within four weeks. This version includes and XML Schema definition and a DTD; both of which are fairly mature but may contain bugs. Please send comments to the editors and cc: the list. See "XML Digital Signature (IETF/W3C)."

  • [February 09, 2000]   New Document Object Model (DOM) Requirements Document.    As part of the W3C DOM Activity, the W3C DOM Working Group has released an updated working draft document for the Document Object Model (DOM) Requirements. References: W3C Working Draft 08-February-2000; edited by Jared Sorensen (Novell, Inc.), Lauren Wood (SoftQuad Software Inc.) [WG Chair], and Philippe Le Hégaret( W3C). DOM Level 1 Requirements and DOM Level 2 Requirements are included. Abstract: "This specification contains the requirements for the Document Object Model, 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 provides a standard set of objects for representing HTML and XML documents, a standard model of how these objects can be combined, and a standard interface for accessing and manipulating them. Vendors can support the DOM as an interface to their proprietary data structures and APIs, and content authors can write to the standard DOM interfaces rather than product-specific APIs, thus increasing interoperability on the Web." Comments on the new WD document are invited and should be sent to the W3C mailing list, where they will be publicly archived. See "W3C Document Object Model (DOM)."

  • [February 09, 2000]   Microsoft Releases XML-Based Learning Resource Interchange (LRN) Schema and Toolkit.    According to a recent news release, "Microsoft Corporation and leaders of the eLearning community today announced support for Learning Resource Interchange (LRN), the first commercial implementation of the Instructional Management Systems (IMS) Content and Management Systems Specification developed by the eLearning industry and the IMS Global Learning Consortium. LRN is an XML-based schema that defines course content, allowing organizations and eLearning providers to easily create and manage compatible online learning content. LRN helps customers maximize their investment in eLearning by enabling a wider range of interoperable content and applications than currently exists today. To provide content and technology partners with the information and tools required to create LRN-compatible products and content, Microsoft has released the LRN Toolkit 1.0. With it, organizations can easily create, edit and update content structure using any standard XML editor, including Microsoft Office. The toolkit is available now and includes the LRN Viewer, LRN Validator and LRN Samples, including two LRN-compatible eBooks from Microsoft Press and an MSDN developer course on Windows 2000." The Microsoft LRN Toolkit 1.0 is currently available for free download. For details, see the text of the announcement, "Microsoft Accelerates Online Learning With Support for eLearning Specification. Learning Resource Interchange Promotes XML-Based Content Creation And Ease of Customization to Offer Customers Greater Choice." See also "IMS Metadata Specification."

  • [February 09, 2000]   PetroXML Initiative.    A new PetroXML Initiative is designing an 'Internet Transaction Standard for the Petroleum Industry'. On February 02, 2000, the Denver-based electronic commerce company TransZap, Inc. at the NAPE 2000 conference, announced its "release of the PetroXML initiative. The company's products and services are accessible both at, and a new TransZap-sponsored website, The initial release of PetroXML provides a first-ever standardized eXtensible Markup Language (XML) tag set for vendor invoicing for oil and gas field operations. A development kit to integrate XML tagged transactions to users' accounting systems and databases will also be available. The revolutionary XML tag sets create standardized statements for Internet transactions that were previously unavailable from any vendor. Operating companies and vendors will be able to transport detailed invoicing between each other, despite having incompatible accounting systems... Moving toward universal adoption, Oildex will present tag sets to the industry standardization bodies, Petroleum Industry Data Exchange (PIDX) and XML standards bodies, including the Organization for the Advancement of Structured information Standards (OASIS). The accounting software vendors including Avatar, Applied Terravision (the Artesia System), E.B. Archibald & Associates (the SSI System) and G-Wiz (the DAVE System) have indicated support for the standardization of the XML tag sets., an online portal for the upstream oil and gas industry and an electronic hub for oil and gas property Acquisition and Divestiture (A&D), has also stated support for the PetroXML initiative. XML tag sets specific to the A&D business will be created by PetroleumPlace and reside on the website. In another initiative to catalyze Internet transactions, TransZap will release a development kit that allows companies to easily integrate PetroXML-tagged transactions with their internal systems. The development kit contains JAVA code and objects that will allow accounting software vendors, among others, to build their own interfaces, minimizing their need for XML programming expertise." See references in "PetroXML Initiative."

  • [February 04, 2000]   W3C Publishes XML Query Requirements Document.    A public working draft for XML Query Requirements has been published by the W3C XML Query Working Group as part of the W3C XML Activity. References: W3C Working Draft 31-January-2000, edited by Peter Fankhauser (GMD-IPSI), Massimo Marchiori (W3C and MIT), and Jonathan Robie (Software AG). The draft document "specifies goals, usage scenarios, and requirements for the W3C XML Query data model, algebra, and query language." The goal of the XML Query Working Group "is to produce a data model for XML documents, a set of query operators on that data model, and a query language based on these query operators. The data model will be based on the W3C XML Information Set, and will include support for Namespaces. Queries operate on single documents or fixed collections of documents. They can select whole documents or subtrees of documents that match conditions defined on document content and structure, and can construct new documents based on what is selected." Comments on the working draft are invited, and may be sent to the W3C mailing list, where they will be publicly archived. For background and references, see "XML and Query Languages."

  • [January 31, 2000]   New IBM Trading Partner Agreement Markup Language (tpaML) XML B2B Transaction Specification.    IBM has designed a Trading Partner Agreement Markup Language governing electronic contracts. According to the announcement, "OASIS, the vendor-neutral organization for XML interoperability, announced that IBM has submitted its Trading Partner Agreement Markup Language (tpaML) for standardization within the OASIS XML.ORG initiative. Developed by IBM, the tpaML specification uses XML to define and implement electronic contracts. The foundation of tpaML is the Trading Partner Agreement (TPA), which defines how trading partners will interact at the transport, document exchange and business protocol layers. A TPA contains the general contract terms and conditions, participant roles (buyers, sellers), communication and security protocols and business processes, (valid actions, sequencing rules, etc.). XML-based TPA documents capture the essential information upon which trading partners must agree in order for their applications and business processes to communicate. tpaML is a complementary technology to ebXML, the Electronic Business XML initiative, which is a joint effort of the United Nations/CEFACT and OASIS to establish a global framework for the exchange of electronic business data." For details, see the text of the announcement, "IBM Selects XML.ORG for Vendor-Neutral Standardization of tpaML XML B-2-B Transaction Specification. XML.ORG, Sponsored by OASIS, Facilitates New Standard for E-Contracts." See now: "Trading Partner Agreement Markup Language (tpaML)."

  • [January 28, 2000]   David Megginson Releases SAX Version 2 (Beta).    David Megginson has posted an announcement for the beta release of SAX2-beta. "SAX is the Simple API for XML, a very-widely implemented event-based interface for processing XML documents. The beta release of SAX2/Java is now available for download at Highlights of the release: (1) Namespace support; (2) Configurability and extensibility through features and properties; (3) A new interface and base class for SAX filters; (4) Adapters for using SAX1 parsers with SAX2 and vice-versa; (5) Way too much JavaDoc documentation; (6) Public domain (even less restrictive than Open Source)... SAX2 adds standard methods to query and set features and properties in an XMLReader. It is now possible to request an XML reader to validate (or not to validate) a document, or to internalize (or not to internalize) all names, using the getFeature, setFeature, getProperty, and setProperty methods. There is no fixed set of features or properties available for SAX2: implementors are free to define new features and properties as needed. All feature and property names are fully-qualified URIs (often URLs), such as ""; as with Namespace URIs, people should always define feature and property names based on URIs that they control. All XML readers are required to recognize the "" and the "" features (see below), and to support a true value for the namespaces property and a false value for the namespace-prefixes property: these requirements ensure that all SAX2 XML readers can provide the minimal required Namespace support for higher-level specs such as RDF, XSL, XML Schemas, and XLink. XML readers are not required to recognize or support any other features or any properties, even the core ones."

  • [January 28, 2000]   IETF Specification for XML Messaging.    A preliminary specification for XML Messaging has been published as an IETF Internet Draft in conjunction with the IETF TRADE Working Group and its Internet Open Trading Protocol. Requirements for XML Messaging Version 1.0 Release 00. [XMLMSG/1.0.] - IETF Internet Draft (draft-ietf-trade-xmlmsg-requirements-00.txt). January 2000. By David Burdett (Commerce One). 60 pages. Expires: July 2000. The specification articulates "requirements for a generic approach to the reliable, resilient, secure, tamper resistant, authenticated exchange of XML or other electronic documents over insecure transport mechanisms." "The specification provides the requirements and framework for a set of related specifications on XML Messaging covering: (1) Requirements for XML Messaging (this paper) (2) Common XML Message Elements; (3) Document Exchange and Transactions; (4) Reliable Messaging; (5) Secure Messaging; (6) Document Choreography Definitions; (7) Common Document Exchanges; (8) Transport Protocol Supplements. Although much work has been carried out on the other parts of the XML Messaging specification described above, they are still in development. The following principles and assumptions have been applied in developing this specification: (1) will be used to define any data required to support XML Messaging; (2) XML Messaging shall support the exchanging of documents in any digital format; (3) the data used by XML Messaging will be defined using: the W3C XML Schema language [XDSL], and an [XML] Document Type Definition (DTD); (4) Schema and DTD definitions will be placed in a repository such as those being developed by []." For other description and references, see "XML Messaging (IETF)."

  • [January 28, 2000]   XML Objects in the Proposed IETF 'Blocks' Architecture.    Two recent IETF Internet draft documents describe an extensible exchange protocol and architecture called 'Blocks'. "Blocks: Architectural Precepts." By Marshall T. Rose and Carl Malamud, of Invisible Worlds, Inc. IETF Network Working Group Internet-Draft (draft-mrose-blocks-architecture-00.txt). January 22, 2000, Expires: July 22, 2000. [Alternate URL: MappaMundi.] Summary: "Blocks is an architecture for managing metadata. The architecture supports two models: the Blocks exchange model organizes information into navigation spaces, whilst the Blocks convergence model allows for bulk synchronization and knowledge management. This document, at present, focuses on the first model. Objects are represented as XML documents, i.e., objects residing in an SEP datastore are well-formed XML documents. There are a small number of mandatory attributes for each object besides its name, e.g., the identity of the Blocks server that is responsible for managing the object along with a serial number generated by that Blocks server when the object was created, and so on. The properties that compose the content of the object are textual, and possibly structured. Objects are exchanged using an application protocol framework known as the Blocks eXtensible eXchange Protocol (BXXP). BXXP provides asynchronous request-response interactions over TCP. The goal for the Blocks exchange model is to provide an infrastructure that supports a variety of strategies for organizing information. On the assumption that delayed binding encourages reuse, the design supports a general approach that encompasses the skulk-transform-store and retrieve-evaluate-publish paradigms." Note also, from: CNet article by Paul Festa (January 26, 2000): "San Francisco start-up Invisible Worlds said it plans to appear before the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to propose standardization of its protocol for transporting XML data across the Web. Invisible Worlds' 'blocks' technology works for XML the way the Web's underlying HTTP (Hyptertext Transfer Protocol) works for HTML, said Carl Malamud, the company's chief executive. "What we've developed is a standard way of getting XML back and forth," Malamud said in an interview. Malamud conceded that XML can travel via HTTP, but he said there is no consensus on how to do that. Invisible Worlds will present its proposal at the task force's next three-times-yearly meeting, in March. News of its proposal was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. See also: The Blocks eXtensible eXchange Protocol."

  • [January 28, 2000]   Last Call W3C Working Draft for SMIL Animation.    A W3C last-call working draft for SMIL Animation has now been published. Reference: W3C Working Draft 28-January-2000, edited by Patrick Schmitz (Microsoft) and Aaron Cohen (Intel). Abstract: "This is 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." [It] 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 examples in this document that include syntax for a host language use SMIL, SVG, XHTML and CSS. These are provided as an indication of possible integrations with various host languages. This Working Draft has been produced as part of the W3C Synchronized Multimedia Activity; it has been written by the SYMM Working Group together with the SVG Working Group. Last Call review period ends on 27-February-2000; comments may be sent to the editorial team at

  • [January 28, 2000]   PXSLServlet Version 0.2 Released.    Paul Tchistopolskii posted an announcement for PXSLServlet version 0.2. It supports SQL 2 XML mapping. "Version 0.2 of PXSLServlet is available for download from Version 0.2 allows user to use the power of XSLT with data stored in any SQL database. When invoked in Simple mode, PXSLServlet renders specified XML file into HTML with specified XSLT stylesheet. In this mode PXSLServlet receives 2 parameters: (1) xml parameter points to the XML file; (2) xsl parameter points to the XSLT stylesheet. When invoked in Advanced mode, PXSLServlet turns the SQL data into XML on the fly. . . The next versions (under development) will contain even more sophisticated, convenient and efficient ways for mapping SQL into XML and back. . . PXSLServlet v 0.2 is thread-safe. With current Stylesheet caching, S2X caching, Connection-pooling and some other tricks it runs reasonably fast on a slow CPUs. It runs even on 486 with 32Mb. However, because everything could be improved, I'm now thinkg about some non-trivial smart optimizations, maybe with some SQL-server-specific twists. PXSLServlet v 0.2 should work with any JDBC database."

  • [January 28, 2000]   EcoKnowMICS ML.    EcoKnowMICS ML is an XML-based application being developed by EcoKnowMICS Corporation. EcoKnowMICS ML is an XML "application for describing, sharing, and presenting economic data on the Web using the standard XML format. Data from disparate sources are integrated and used to build a virtual economic domain on the Web." An EcoKnowMICS ML DTD (69 KB) is available on the Web site. It is still a work-in-progress. It describes the economic domain as specified in the United Nations System of National Accounts (SNA 1993). The EcoKnowMICS framework is presented in Gamboa, E. D. (1999) "Water Resource Management, A Case Study for EcoKnowMICS" in E. Kersten, Z. Mikolajuk, and A. Gar-On Yeh (eds.) Decision Support Systems for Sustainable Development: A Resource Book of Methods and Applications, Kluwer Academic Publishers. Economic Knowledge Management, Integration, and Communication System (EcoKnowMICS Corp.) provides the infrastructure for building and sharing a virtual economic domain on the Web." [The stated corporate mission is] "To be the leading developer of Extensible Markup Language (XML) applications and Java software components for codifying and embedding economic knowledge in a virtual economic domain to be used on the Web for collaborative simulation, analysis, and decision-making." For other description and references, see "EcoKnowMICS ML."

  • [January 28, 2000]   XMI 1.1 Moving Toward Adoption.    A recent communiqué from Sridhar Iyengar (Unisys) provides an overview of new functionality and features in XMI 1.1, now being balloted. The main purpose of XMI (XML Metadata Interchange) is "to enable easy interchange of metadata between modeling tools (based on the OMG UML) and metadata repositories (OMG MOF based) in distributed heterogeneous environments. XMI integrates three key industry standards: (1) XML - eXtensible Markup Language, a W3C standard; (2) UML - Unified Modeling Language, an OMG modeling standard; (3) MOF - Meta Object Facility, an OMG metamodeling and metadata repository standard. The integration of these three standards into XMI marries the best of OMG and W3C metadata and modeling technologies, allowing developers of distributed systems to share object models and other metadata over the Internet." According to the update: "The XMI 1.1 spec shows how XMI can be used for models as well as instances. The OMG is in final phase of adopting XMI 1.1 which makes XMI and the generated XML DTDs and Documents much more readable. XMI 1.1 also has support for XML Namespaces which were adopted after XMI became an OMG standard. Read the RTF final report for a quick summary of changes. The XMI Revision Task Force already has preliminary designs that leverage XML Schema. After W3C adoption, XMI will be formally enhanced to support Schemas (DTDs will still be supported). The other key development at OMG is the Common Warehouse Metamodel (CWM) specification initial submission which leverages XMI for the complex domain of data warehouse management. The CWM DTDs and related UML models can be found at The XMI 1.1 overview/presentation highlights a demonstration at the November 1999 OMG meeting that showed use of XMI in exchanging data warehouse metadata (relational and OLAP schemas, logical design models etc,). One of the summary slides at end shows adopted technologies (DTDs for MOF, UML, IDL, CORBA Components), DTDs in proposal stage : CWM (Data warehousing), Java, EJB and emerging work in Electronic Commerce, CORBAMed, Enterprise Application Integration." For references to the relevant documents, see "XML Metadata Interchange (XMI)."

  • [January 28, 2000]   The Physiome XML Markup Languages: FieldML, CellML, AnatML.    Warren Hedley (Department of Engineering Science, Auckland University, New Zealand) recently reported on the development of a 'FieldML' specification and related XML languages; they are being designed by researchers in the Bio-engineering Group in the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Auckland. "FieldML is an XML-based language for describing time-varying and spatially-varying fields. The language will eventually serve as a replacement for the .exelem and .exnode files used by CMISS, and is intended to be useful for other groups interested in the field description problem. The aims of the language design process are to keep the language concise, consistent, intuitive and flexible. Central to the structure of the MeshML part of FieldML are the concepts of the generalized finite element method, particularly those involving linear maps to transform element field parameters into global field parameters. The FieldML project is closely tied to the CellML project, which is also being coordinated by the Engineering Science Department at the University of Auckland. The CellML website contains many useful links to XML resources and also lists many of the people from various interest groups that are interested in that project. Many of those people are also following the development of FieldML. One of the aspects of the mathematical modelling of the heart that the CellML bio-engineering group focuses on is cellular modelling. Various models have been proposed for a number of distinct heart tissue types, based on a combination of electrical theory and experimental observations. The Department plans to use CellML as a language for distributing (via the web) a database containing descriptions of these models, the parameters that appear in them, and experiments (with results) for testing. The AnatML project will also make use of FieldML. AnatML is another XML-based language for describing the anatomy, and in particular, the musculoskeletal system of the human body. The Musculoskeletal Modelling Project is a part of the Physiome Project which seeks to apply mathematical modelling to physiology in order to assist in integrating whole organ function to its underlying biophysically detailed mechanisms. The scope of this project requires international and interdisciplinary cooperation."

  • [January 28, 2000]   Covad xLink API: XML-Based DSL Provisioning.    Developed by Covad Communications Company, "Covad xLink is an electronic interface which Covad partners can use to send common business requests such as service prequalification, order entry, and order status tracking. These functions will behave in a manner exactly the same as when the partner uses the Customer Care Center. The advantage of using the xLink API is that Covad's partners will be able to directly integrate their order management systems with Covad thereby resulting in considerable time and cost savings. The Covad xLink allows ISPs, resellers and Corporate customers to integrate their internal systems with the Covad's Ordering system. This allows for seamless flow through of orders and order status between the two, otherwise disjoint systems. As the number of Internet users grows, the need for a high volume ordering system becomes apparent. It is no longer practical to order large volumes of services through an interactive system. The Covad xLink provides a standard mechanism for Business-to-Business communication. Covad xLink allows Customers to seamlessly integrate their internal systems with those of Covad. This allows for integration of business processes, which results in greater effeciency in conducting business. The Customer can use the Interface to develop customized systems to accept orders from their clients and electronically interact with Covad's OSS to qualify, place and track those orders. Adherence to standards: The interface is based on W3C standard XML. It is fully compliant with the standard specification, enabling numerous off-the-shelf tools (most freely downloadable) to be used to build the interface system. Abhijit Ingle, senior product manager of OSS/broadband services at Covad Communications Co. said: 'You want to make DSL mind-numbingly simple to buy.' Covad's tack is to invest in an operations support system (OSS) that simplifies the provisioning of DSL circuits. Covad did this by developing what it calls the Covad xLink platform, which is an application programming interface (API) based on the Extensible Markup Language (XML). xLink essentially lets service providers that resell Covad's DSL service provision the service themselves. In turn, the providers can extend this capability to customers if they wish." The xLink API DTDs are available from the company's Web site. For other description and references, see "Covad xLink API (XML-Based DSL Provisioning)."

  • [January 28, 2000]   IBM alphaWorks Releases XML Master (XMas).    The IBM alphaWorks development team recently released 'XML Master' (XMas). XMas may be used to design and generate custom JavaBeans for working with a particular XML document. "XML Master (XMas) consists of two parts: (1) The XMas application is an editor for designing and generating custom Java beans to work with XML documents that conform to a certain DTD (Document Type Definition). (2) The XMas Bean Suite is a collection of Java beans that can be used for modeling XML structures and getting access to their parts via XML-oriented GUI components. The XMas application is used to design both visual and non-visual beans to work with a particular XML document (e.g., select the XML elements that your application needs to work with and use the tool to design the layout for an editor to work with those elements). When the design is complete, use the XMas application option to generate code. XMas creates the necessary Java code for the beans and places them in a jar file in the location specified. Then just import the jar file into an IDE (e.g., VisualAge for Java), where they can be wired into applications. When you use standard Swing components to edit an XML document, you need to assemble the structure of your XML document by connecting many XMLElement beans to each other. Using the visual XMas beans you do not have to worry about this. The beans allow you to specify the path (using the dataSource property) to the element (or attribute) that the component is intended to edit. This means that you do not need to model an XML structure to access elements deep in the element hierarchy. The functionality of some visual XMas components has been expanded. For example, the XList bean allows you to edit items directly in the list (in-line editing), which is not implemented in the original Swing JList. XMas is supported on AIX, Linux, Solaris, OS/2, Windows 95, Windows NT, Windows 98, and HP-UX. It requires JDK v1.1.6 and above; you need to install JFC 1.1 Swing 1.0 (package name*) on your machine."

  • [January 26, 2000]   XHTML Published as a W3C Recommendation.    The W3C HTML Working Group has released a new W3C Recommendation under the title XHTML 1.0: The Extensible HyperText Markup Language. A Reformulation of HTML 4 in XML 1.0. References: W3C Recommendation, 26-January-2000. The specification is available in Postscript, PDF, and ZIP archive formats as well as in HTML. The Recommendation "defines XHTML 1.0, a reformulation of HTML 4 as an XML 1.0 application, and three DTDs corresponding to the ones defined by HTML 4. The semantics of the elements and their attributes are defined in the W3C Recommendation for HTML 4. 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." Details: "XHTML is a family of current and future document types and modules that reproduce, subset, and extend HTML 4. XHTML family document types are XML based, and ultimately are designed to work in conjunction with XML-based user agents. The details of this family and its evolution are discussed in more detail in the section on Future Directions. XHTML 1.0 is the first document type in the XHTML family. It is a reformulation of the three HTML 4 document types as applications of XML 1.0. It is intended to be used as a language for content that is both XML-conforming and, if some simple guidelines are followed, operates in HTML 4 conforming user agents. Developers who migrate their content to XHTML 1.0 will realize the following benefits: (1) XHTML documents are XML conforming. As such, they are readily viewed, edited, and validated with standard XML tools. (2) XHTML documents can be written to to operate as well or better than they did before in existing HTML 4-conforming user agents as well as in new, XHTML 1.0 conforming user agents. (3) XHTML documents can utilize applications (e.g., scripts and applets) that rely upon either the HTML Document Object Model or the XML Document Object Model. (4) As the XHTML family evolves, documents conforming to XHTML 1.0 will be more likely to interoperate within and among various XHTML environments. The XHTML family is the next step in the evolution of the Internet. By migrating to XHTML today, content developers can enter the XML world with all of its attendant benefits, while still remaining confident in their content's backward and future compatibility." See also the W3C press release and the industry testimonials

  • [January 26, 2000]   Updated Microsoft XML Parser Provides Support for the W3C XPath and XSLT Recommendations.    The previously announced January 26th release of new XML technology support from Microsoft is now elaborated in the technology preview documentation. The software is also available for download. See Microsoft XML Parser Technology Preview Release from the Microsoft MSDN. "Highlights of this Release: The following is a short list of advances made by this release. For more detailed information see "What's New in the MSXML Parser Technology Preview Release." (1) Initial support for XSLT and XPath. This release is an update to our XSL implementation to support the W3C's recent XSLT and XPath recommendations. (2) Continued focus on server-side use of XML. Our continued focus on server-side optimization has led to performance gains of 200-300% in some common scenarios. (3) New features to optimize document throughput. In addition to increasing base performance, we have also introduced new interfaces that allow developers to optimize server-based use of XML. The following new features and interfaces have been built to make this possible: a) Caching stylesheets; b) Passing parameters to stylesheets; c) Passing objects to stylesheets; d) Setting the mode at run-time; e) XPath caching; f) Schema caching; g) Validation against in-memory schema. (4) Runs in parallel with existing systems. Developers will be able to install this preview release in parallel with their existing solutions and, because it runs side-by-side with the existing parser, their current applications continue to run as before. This allows them to build new applications that take advantage of the new XML services and features. (5) Tools: a) Microsoft XSL ISAPI Extension 1.1. The Microsoft XSL ISAPI Extension simplifies the task of performing server-side XSL transformations. It features automatic execution of XSL style sheets on the server, choosing alternate style sheets based on browser type, style-sheet caching for improved server performance, the capability to specify output encodings, and customizable error messages. b) XSL Style Sheet for XML Schemas. he xdr-schema style sheet generates documentation for Microsoft Internet Explorer 5-compatible XML schemas. c) XSL to XSLT Converter 1.0. The xsl-xslt-converter.xslt style sheet updates Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 XSL style sheets to XSLT-compliant style sheets." See also the company announcement.

  • [January 21, 2000]   Extensible Scientific Interchange Language (XSIL).    The XML-based Extensible Scientific Interchange Language is being developed within the framework of the Caltech Center for Advanced Computing Research, Projects and Collaborations (CACR). "The Extensible Scientific Interchange Language (XSIL) is a flexible, hierarchical, extensible, transport language for scientific data objects. The entire object may be represented in the file, or there may be metadata 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. [... an] XSIL file may point to large binary objects, to data dynamically created by a service, to tapes, or other storage media. The file may be browsed and edited with a graphical editor (currently under development), which may be extended with custom browsing components. The XSIL file may also be read by a machine that is driven by a scripting language, where the XML passes through a sequence of filters. The filters may act as input to a numerical application, that may in turn produce more XSIL files. XSIL is directed toward a number of projects, including LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory), the NPACI [National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure] Storage Resource Broker, and the Digital Puglia project. For references, see "Extensible Scientific Interchange Language (XSIL)."

  • [January 21, 2000]   Object Oriented Data Technology (OODT): XML for Planetary Data and Space Science Data Systems.    A recent annual report from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory describes the use of XML as part of the Object Oriented Data Technology. "Object Oriented Data Technology, or OODT, develops and promotes science data management and archiving systems that span scientific disciplines and enable interoperability among astrophysics, planetary, and space science data systems. Using OODT's framework of distributed objects and databases, the data collected by scientists and engineers in these disparate disciplines can be jointly searched, stored, retrieved, and analyzed, from anywhere in the world. Our goal is to pioneer this framework, architect it with continual input from the communities that will use it, and implement it efficiently. We have expanded our focus beyond interferometry, our initial risk-reduction effort, and plan on producing the next-generation archiving and analysis framework for use by JPL, NASA, and beyond. This framework allows common data management services to be instantiated and specialized for each data system implementation. In addition, science tools can access distributed data based on a standard generic interface. This improves the scientific results by allowing scientists to correlate data across multiple systems while reducing the overall implementation cost to scientific missions and projects by promoting software reuse through component design... Drawing on and expanding upon the prototype, we set out to create a next-generation, multidisciplanary framework for data management that includes a set of distributed services for archiving and analysis using the following technologies: (1) The Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) [...] (2) The Extensible Markup Language (XML). XML, a cutting-edge web technology, gives us a standard for searching for and retrieving data, and for describing data formats. Our profile service accepts sophisticated queries for science data, determines the correct databases to use, fetches the data, and assembles the result into self-documenting XML. The use of XML allows for data to be converted and represented from proprietary formats into a neutral format described by a set of generic XML definitions... OODT is using XML technology to manage metadata that describes data system contents in a repository that is called a profile. Profiles are made available over the Internet using CORBA technology to share the information. Tools can use APIs to submit parallel queries to distributed profiles. Profiles that can support the query will return results of data systems that contain the product, or in some cases it will return a direct hypertext link to the product itself. Products which are inside proprietary databases can be accessed through a capability that OODT is developing called a product server. Product servers wrap legacy data systems and provide a mapping from the OODT query system into the proprietary data system which may be a database, a flat file system, or some other data store. OODT queries can be made using an XML query definition and is supported by both profile and product servers. The Resource Location Service provides the integrated profile and product server environment that allows for queries and products to be searched and retrieved from a distributed data system environment. . . We are also building the resource location service that allows for the search and retrieval part of the framework. We have designed and built an XML profile database for the Planetary Data System (PDS) and the Palomar Testbed Interferometer Archive system. We have also developed the CORBA profile service and a generic XML DTD specification to support PDS, PTI and other future data systems. In addition, we have designed an XML database and deployed an initial profile server to support queries against data from PDS. Future plans include replacing the PDS Distributed Inventory System (DIS) with the profile service. We are currently working to create product servers to access information in proprietary databases for PTI (Palomar Testbed Interferometer) and PDS. As previously discussed these systems will convert data products from the internal data system representation to a neutral format described by XML. The product servers will be integrated with the profile servers to create the Resource Location Service. This service will be integrated with a web search interface that will allow scientists to locate and retrieve products from the systems." See "Object Oriented Data Technology (OODT) and XML."

  • [January 21, 2000]   Publication of the IFX 1.01 Specification.    A company announcement from Just in Time Solutions reports on the release of the DTD for the IFX version 1.01 specification. Just in Time announced "that it has delivered the document type definition (DTD) for the eXtensible markup language (XML) representation contained in the Interactive Financial Exchange (IFX) 1.01 specification. The IFX 1.01 specification, which was recently released by the IFX Forum for public comment, is an open standard that provides a framework for the exchange of financial data between financial institutions, service providers and customers. With input from other members of the IFX Forum's XML Working Group, Just in Time took the lead in creating the DTD for the XML representation contained in the IFX 1.01 specification. The incorporation of a DTD in IFX 1.01 enables financial institutions, service providers and technology vendors to begin developing applications using IFX. In addition, Just in Time helped establish the rules and guidelines for sending and receiving IFX messages in XML." The goal of the IFX ('Interactive Financial Exchange') Forum "is to efficiently and effectively facilitate the development of a global specification for an open and interoperable online financial services marketplace. The IFX Forum, a non-profit organization that is open for worldwide participation, was founded to provide a wide variety of benefits for financial services companies, service providers, information technology companies and the customers of each. The IFX Forum focuses on providing leadership, structure, and process for the development, promotion, use and adoption of the IFX Specification, which defines the business message format and transmission protocol for the electronic exchange of data. The IFX Specification is intended to drive and accelerate the widespread adoption of an online financial services standard, providing a foundation upon which the financial services industry can exploit electronic delivery channels to rapidly deliver value added applications and financial services products to consumers. IFX 1.0 was based on the 'InteroperaBILL' initiative. Financial institutions, technology providers and billers participated in the effort to develop business-level technical requirements to build an interoperable, online bill presentment and payment solution. As part of the 'InteroperaBILL' initiative, the National Automated Clearinghouse Association's Council on Electronic Billing and Payment, created and published business guidelines for the developing online bill presentment and payment market." See references in "Interactive Financial Exchange (IFX)."

  • [January 21, 2000]   Portable Site Information.    A posting from Lynn C. Rees reports on the design of an XML application for portable site information. "Portable Site Information is a language for creating websites that are portable between different web content platforms. Our intent is to not only transfer data and pages but the whole site. We originally created it for a web project we're involved in but we thought PSI might be useful outside our narrow scope. PSI is primarily indended to be a XML repository between NetObjects and Midgard but leave the site dependent on neither. We might make a PSI import and export filter later... [we] thought we'd toss it out into the world and see if the XML community thought it was any good for broader application. A PSI glossary is available at The PSI-lite DTD is available at"

  • [January 20, 2000]   New Working Draft for the XML Linking Language (XLink).    The W3C has released a new working draft specifiction for the XML Linking Language (XLink). Reference: W3C Working Draft 19-January-2000, edited by Steve DeRose (Brown University), Eve Maler (Sun Microsystems), David Orchard (IBM Corp.), and Ben Trafford (Invited Expert). Updates the previous version of 1999-12-20. The XML Linking Working group believes this draft "to be near completion," and invites public comment. The 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." For background and references, see "XML Linking Languages (XPath, XPointer, XLink)."

  • [January 20, 2000]   Last Call Working Draft for Canonical XML Version 1.0.    Paul Grosso (Arbortext, and XML Core WG Co-Chair) recently posted an announcement for a 'last call' specification for Canonical XML. The editors are Tim Bray, James Clark, James Tauber, and John Cowan. "The W3C XML Core Working Group would like to announce the publication of the Canonical XML Last Call Working Draft (dated 2000 January 19) at This document describes a subset of the information contained in an XML document and a syntax for expressing that subset. This syntax, called Canonical XML, is designed to encode the logical structure of XML documents; two XML documents whose Canonical-XML form is identical will be considered equivalent for the purposes of many applications. The W3C Membership and other interested parties are invited to review the specification, make comments, and report implementation experience. Please send comments to (which is publicly archived at The Last Call period ends the 22 February 2000. Note: The XML Core Working Group strongly solicits commentary, especially from early implementors of this Working Draft, on the appropriateness of the requirement that Canonical XML be in W3C normalized text form as well. The Working Group has published a minority report on this question at A rationale for the majority viewpoint embodied in this draft has been published at

  • [January 14, 2000]   New Land Development XML Application 'LandXML' Released by Autodesk.    A recent announcement from Autodesk describes a new "land development" industry initiative to establish and maintain a 'LandXML' schema. "The LandXML schema facilitates the exchange of data created during the Land Planning, Civil Engineering and Land Survey process." Autodesk, Inc., announced "that it has developed the initial specifications of LandXML, the extensible markup language (XML) for land development professionals, including surveyors, civil engineers and land developers. LandXML is a common, open data format, or schema, that describes industry-specific data such as points, parcels, and alignments. Land development professionals worldwide can use LandXML to make the data they create more readily accessible and available to anyone involved with a project. With LandXML, project data is independent of the authoring software, thus overcoming the interoperability problems that have plagued the land development industry. Not only does LandXML provide interoperability between different application software, but also between varying versions of software. As a result, data can be archived and accessed more readily on future projects. Additionally, other web-based tools can be used to view, edit, and report LandXML data. Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) style sheets can be easily created and applied to LandXML data and then run from a project web page. Examples include XSL style sheets that format raw point data into point tables, or format data to match an organization's internal standards, such as legal descriptions for parcel reports. Autodesk developed the initial specifications of LandXML in close collaboration with several key industry players, who will now serve as the basis for an advisory group to the company as it continues developing the specifications. This group includes Dave Weisberg, publisher and editor of A-E-C Automation Newsletter; software developers Intergraph Civil Engineering, Infrasoft, and Haestad Methods; Nebraska and Florida Departments of Transportation; and consulting organizations including Clough, Harbour & Associates LLP, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., and Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc." See the Web site and the text of the announcement, "Autodesk Advances XML for Land Development Industries."

  • [January 14, 2000]   Editorial Revision of W3C Character 'Collections' NOTE.    The W3C has published a revised version of the NOTE A Notation for Character Collections for the WWW. Reference: W3C Note 14-January-2000, edited by Martin J. Dürst (W3C). The abstract: "An XML syntax for describing collections of characters is proposed. This will allow to reference character collections with URIs and thus to reference them from other protocols and formats. The main usage areas for character collections are schemas, forms, and stylesheets. Several constructs, in particular kernels, hulls, and alternatives, are provided to allow incomplete specifications and to increase network efficiency." Background: "A precise and concise specification of operations on characters and strings is often desirable. Many of these operations depend on character types, character classes, or character properties. To simplify specifications and operations, a common notation helps. This NOTE is an attempt to develop such a notation, based on the concept of character collections. A character collection is a set of characters. Once a notation for character collections is defined and agreed upon, collections can be easily defined and referenced via web addresses (URIs) [URI], can be enumerated, and can be constructed from other collections using set operators. By making character collections available via an URI, they become first-class web objects. The URI of a collection serves both as an identifier (or name) of the collection as well as a way to obtain the description of the collection if necessary. There is no need to define names for collections separately from the URI." Appendix B supplies the DTD for the syntax defined in the NOTE. A list of changes identifies principal differences between this and the previous version of the document.

  • [January 13, 2000]   Datatypes for DTDs (DT4DTD) 1.0.    The W3C has acknowledged a submission request from Extensibility, Inc for publication of a NOTE: Datatypes for DTDs (DT4DTD) 1.0. Reference: W3C Note 13-January-2000, by Lee Buck (Extensibility), Charles F. Goldfarb (The XML Handbook), and Paul Prescod (ISOGEN International). The document 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. NOTE: Free open-source code that supports this specification for both SAX and DOM is available at" [And:] "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 techniques specified in DT4DTD are already in commercial use in several places, including the Financial Products Markup Language from JPMorgan and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and versions of the Common Business Library from Commerce One, among others. Design-time support for DT4DTD is also available in leading commercial schema design tools such as XML Authority, which is produced by this submitting member organization." See also the W3C staff comment from Dan Connolly, which reads (in part): "W3C is pleased to receive the DT4DTD submission from Extensibility. During this transitional period of the W3C XML Activity while the XML Schema Working Group develops and deploys their work, this submission provides a valuable mechanism for addressing the lack of data types such as integer, date, etc. in XML 1.0 DTD syntax in a way that is compatible with legacy systems. However, it relies on a global convention for the interpretation of the unqualified names e-dtype and a-dtype, while use of XML Namespaces would make this unnecessary..." See also the December 01, 1999 news entry. For background and references on schemas and DTDs: see "XML Schemas."

  • [January 12, 2000]   New W3C Working Draft for the Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) Version 1.0.    As part of the W3C Style Activity, the XSL Working Group has released a new working draft specification for the Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) Version 1.0. Reference: W3C Working Draft 12-January-2000, by Sharon Adler (IBM), Anders Berglund (IBM), Jeff Caruso (Bitstream), Stephen Deach (Adobe), Alex Milowski (Lexica), Scott Parnell (Xerox), Jeremy Richman (Interleaf), and Steve Zilles (Adobe). The revised specification "describes the XSL formatting model, the formatting objects and their properties." This WD updates the previous working draft of 1999-04-21 and provides "additional functionality." Abstract: "XSL is a language for expressing stylesheets. It consists of two parts: (1) a language for transforming XML documents, and (2) an XML vocabulary for specifying formatting semantics. An XSL stylesheet specifies the presentation of a class of XML documents by describing how an instance of the class is transformed into an XML document that uses the formatting vocabulary." The draft describes the general process of formatting, including the "area model and the formatting-object descriptions and properties and [...] the process of refinement. Formatting is the process of turning the result of an XSL transformation into a tangible form for the reader or listener. This process comprises several steps, some of which depend on others in a non-sequential way. Our model for formatting will be the construction of an area tree, which is an ordered tree containing geometric information for the placement of every glyph, shape, and image in the document, together with information embodying spacing constraints and other rendering information; this information is referred to under the rubric of traits, which are to areas what properties are to formatting objects and attributes are to XML nodes. . . Formatting objects are elements in the formatting-object tree, whose names are from the XSL namespace; a formatting object belongs to a class of formatting objects identified by its element name. The formatting behavior of each class of formatting objects is described in terms of what areas are created by a formatting object of that class, how the traits of the areas are established based, and how the areas are structured hierarchically with respect to areas created by other formatting objects. . . Central to this model of formatting is refinement. This is a computational process which finalizes the specification of properties based on the attribute values in the XML result tree. Though the XML result tree and the formatting-object tree have very similar structure, it is helpful to think of them as separate conceptual entities. Refinement involves (1) propagating the various inherited values of properties (both implicitly and those with an attribute value of 'inherit';), (2) evaluating expressions in property value specifications into actual values, which are then used to determine the value of the properties (3) converting relative numerics to absolute numerics, (4) constructing some composite properties from more than one attribute, (5) converting text nodes to sequences of fo:character formatting objects, (6) creating implied fo:bidi-override formatting objects to support mixed writing directions. Some of these operations (particularly evaluating expressions) depend on knowledge of the area tree. Thus refinement is not necessarily a straightforward, sequential procedure, but may involve look-ahead, back-tracking, or control-splicing with other processes in the formatter..." For related information, see "Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL)."

  • [January 12, 2000]   XSLT and XPath Quick Reference Available.    A posting from Tony Graham (Mulberry Technologies, Inc.) to the XSL-List announces the availability of a "PDF file for an XSLT and XPath Quick Reference" on Mulberry's Quick References Page. Tony writes: "The card was developed in support of our XSLT training course, but is now made freely available. The quick reference card is U.S. Legal (8.5" x 14") size. [Note that] we also have an XML syntax quick reference accessible from that page."

  • [January 06, 2000]   XML Schema Tutorial.    Roger L. Costello (Mitre) recently posted an announcement for a tutorial on the current W3C working draft specification for XML Schema. The document is presented as a set of 91 PowerPoint slides. Roger says: "With a lot of help from this [XML-DEV] list community and many hours studying the spec, I have created a tutorial on the latest draft (12-17-99) of the XML Schema specification. It is freely available at I personally learn best with examples, so the tutorial contains quite a few examples to demonstrate various features." The tutorial has been given a 'quick read-through' review by Henry S. Thompson, principal editor of the XML Schema: Structures working draft document. For additional references on the XML Schema Definition Language and related design, see "XML Schemas."

  • [January 06, 2000]   Artificial Intelligence Markup Language (AIML).    A communiqué from Richard Wallace reports on the recent release of the first Official ALICE Chat Robot CDROM disc. The CD includes all of the open source Java code needed to create chat robots like ALICE with the Artificial Intelligence Markup Language (AIML). AI and XML? The short version, according to Wallace: "Red Hat plus Ask Jeeves equals ALICE." AIML (Artificial Intelligence Markup Language) "is an XML specification for programming chat robots like ALICE using program B. The emphasis in the language design is minimalism. The simplicity of AIML makes it easy for non-programmers, especially those who already know HTML, to get started writing chat robots. One ambitious goal for AIML is that, if a number of people create their own robots, each with a unique area of expertise, program B can literally merge-sort them together into a Superbot, automatically omitting duplicate categories. We offer the both the source code and the ALICE content, in order to encourage others will 'open source' their chat robots as well, to contribute to the Superbot. Compared with other chat robot languages, AIML is perhaps the simplest. The pattern matching language is very simple, for example permitting only one wild-card ('*') match character per pattern. AIML is an XML language, implying that it obeys certain grammatical meta-rules. . . . What is XML? David Bacon pronounces it 'Eggsmell'. AIML is an example of using the XML standard to define a specialized language for artificial intelligence. . . The choice of XML syntax permits integration with other tools such as XML editors. Another motivation for XML is its familiar look and feel, especially to people with HTML experience. An AIML chat robot begins and ends with the <alice> and </alice> tags respectively. Real XML fanatics know that because AIML is an XML language it must have something called a DTD ([alias] Document Template Descriptor). The DTD is a formal specification of the grammar for an XML language. Unless you are using special XML tools to work on your AIML or developing your own parser for AIML, you probably do not need to know much about the DTD. This DTD reflects the current content of the *.aiml files that Program B can actually parse. The DTD will become more general as the parser improves. Viz., <!DOCTYPE alice [ <!ELEMENT alice (category+)> <!ELEMENT category (pattern,that?,template)> <!ELEMENT pattern (#PCDATA|name)*> <!ELEMENT name EMPTY> <!ELEMENT that (#PCDATA)> <!ELEMENT template . . . [Appendix B. Note to Parents: The ALICE 'brain' does not contain any explicit or adult material. Experience has shown however, that clients (persons communicating with the chat robot over the Internet) will invariably try to engage the robot in adult conversations. The robot is programmed to try to avoid these topics."] See further description of AIML and the chat robot in the "Don't Read Me." For other references, see "Artificial Intelligence Markup Language (AIML)."

  • [January 05, 2000]   XMLIO - A Nestable C++ XML Parser/Writer.    Paul Miller recently posted an announcement for a nestable C++ XML parser/writer. XMLIO version 0.3 is "a streaming, XML parser for C++ application data, layered over [James Clark's] expat. Version 0.3 also adds chained element handlers and support for parsing lists. I've decided to release this under the MIT(X11) license, which I feel is the least restrictive of the popular licenses... UNICODE isn't support yet, and I'm sure there are still bugs, but I've tried this on data-files with thousands of elements and it seems fairly quick. I still have some optimizations to do in the memory department, to avoid unnecessary allocation/deallocation overhead. An ANSI C++ compiler with namespaces, exceptions, and the standard library is required. A vanilla 'C' version of this API could be built, if there is desire. Please check the sample object implementation (sample.cpp and sample.h) in the distribution for an example of how this API should be used." Note: in version 0.5, the tool has been reimplemented in C with the C++ API layered over it. Description: "XMLIO is a package to help read and write application data stored in XML format from within C or C++ applications. There are two main components: (1) XML::Output - functions for writing nested elements and attributes; (2) XML::Input - nestable, streaming XML processor... I wrote this library because I wanted to store application data using a well-documented syntax (why invent my own when one already exists?), but I also wanted to make it trivial to generate and parse these files..."

  • [January 05, 2000]   BiblioML.    A communiqué from Martin Sévigny reports on the availability of a 'BiblioML' XML application. "The Ministère de la culture et de la communication (France), Board of Research and Technology (, is pleased to announce the first public release of "BiblioML", an XML application for the representation of bibliographic records. The BiblioML DTD is based on the international standard "Unimarc Bibliographic Format" (, which can handle the description of all types of documents. The current release of BiblioML handles monographs and serials. Also available from the project BiblioML, a Java/XSLT application to convert Unimarc records to BiblioML documents, with an example database of more than 6000 records. This application can be downloaded and used for free. The BiblioML application is still in active development. Future releases will bring complete Unimarc support, better conversion tools, support for the Unimarc Authorities, and also DTD profiles for the markup of simple bibliographic records within other XML documents." For references and further description, see the BiblioML Web site and the main entry, "BiblioML - XML for UNIMARC Bibliographic Records."

  • [January 05, 2000]   ICS-FORTH Validating RDF Parser (VRP).    A communiqué from Greg Karvounarakis reports on the release of VRP, an ICS-FORTH Validating RDF Parser. Developed by Karsten Tolle (University of Hannover, Germany), the VRP-parser is currently available for testing purposes in a alpha release. It has both a runtime and a source distribution. "I am glad to announce the public distribution of the ICS-FORTH Validating RDF Parser (VRP). VRP is the first RDF parser offering full-fledged validation of RDF statements against an RDF Schema. Furthemore, it supports validation of RDF Schemata themselves which can defined in several namespaces. Principal features include: (1) 100% Java 1.2 development; (2) Understands embedded RDF in HTML or XML; (3) Full Unicode support; (4) Semantic and syntax checking of both RDF Schemata and Metadata instances; (5) Statement validation across several RDF/XML namespaces; (6) Based on standard compiler generator tools for Java (CUP/JFlex); (7) Easy to use and integrate with other software." See also "Resource Description Framework (RDF)."

  • [January 04, 2000]   XML Schema Regular Expression Parser.    Daniel Potter (Mitre) has posted an announcement for a regular expression parser suitable for use in the W3C XML Schema specification. He writes: "A working model of a regular expression parser designed to parse and match strings based on the current XML Schema pattern definition is now available at This is a Java applet (Java 1.1) and will require a Java enabled browser. It is still currently a test, meaning that there are still bugs which have yet to be fixed or even found. Keep in mind the differences between regular expressions used in Perl and regular expressions used to specify patterns in the XML Schema spec! For example, the non-greedy operators aren't used (*?, +?); backreferencing (\1) is unavailable, and others. However, one known lacking feature is the \p{xx} forms. Although the parser will recognize \p (or \P) it will ignore it and move on, causing the {xx} after it to be parsed, interpretting it as an {m,n} form. This in most cases will cause an error..." See the section on "Regular Expressions" in the document XML Schema Part 2: Datatypes.

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