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Last modified: June 09, 2001
SGML and XML News. January - March 2001

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  • [March 31, 2001]   Revised Online Validator for XML Schema (XSV) and XML Schema Update Tool (XSU).    Henry S. Thompson (HCRC Language Technology Group, University of Edinburgh) has announced a revised 'beta test' release of his XSV 'Validator for XML Schema' service and corresponding XSU update tool for XML Schema CR -> PR. This version of XSV supports checking XML schema documents with the namespace URI, corresponding to the W3C Proposed Recommendation for XML Schema. XSV is an open source "GPLed work-in-progress attempt at a conformant schema-aware processor." The online XSV interface provides two forms for W3C XML schema checking: "(1) one for checking a schema which is accessible via the Web, and/or schema-validating an instance with a schema of your own; (2) another form for use if you are behind a firewall or have a schema to check which is not accessible via the Web." In addition to source code distributions (Python), the latest version of XSV is available in a self-installing package for Win32 platforms. The XSU transformation tool provides for automated update of XML Schema documents from the XML Schema 20000922 version to the Proposed Recommendation (20010316) version. It is a service in 'beta test' which "attempts to convert valid XML schema documents with the namespace URI to valid schema documents with the namespace URI" using a transform sheet. In this connection, the XSU developers request sample XML schemas to provide a testing pool: they ask that users grant permission to W3C to retain input of tested XML schemas (just tick the checkbox). [Full context]

  • [March 30, 2001]   Unicode Technical Committee Publishes Final Version of The Unicode Standard, Version 3.1.    Mark Davis, President of the Unicode Board of Directors, announced the 'final version' release of The Unicode Standard, Version 3.1. The primary feature of Unicode 3.1 is the addition of 44,946 new encoded characters. Together with the 49,194 already existing characters in Unicode 3.0, that comes to a grand total of 94,140 encoded characters in Unicode 3.1. The new characters cover several historic scripts, several sets of symbols, and a very large collection of additional CJK ideographs. Unicode 3.1 also features new character properties, and assignments of property values for the much expanded repertoire of characters. All errata and corrigenda to Unicode 3.0 and Unicode 3.0.1 are included in this specification, together with significant enhancements of the Unicode conformance clauses and additions to other sections of the standard. The base documentation for Unicode 3.1 can be found online at the Unicode web site." [Full context]

  • [March 30, 2001]   W3C Publishes XML Key Management Specification (XKMS).    The W3C has acknowledged receipt of a submission from VeriSign, Microsoft, webMethods, Baltimore Technologies, Citigroup, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, IONA Technologies, PureEdge, and Reuters Limited for the XML Key Management Specification (XKMS). The document "specifies protocols for distributing and registering public keys, suitable for use in conjunction with the proposed standard for XML Signature developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and an anticipated companion standard for XML encryption. The XML Key Management Specification (XKMS) comprises two parts -- the XML Key Information Service Specification (X-KISS) and the XML Key Registration Service Specification (X-KRSS). The X-KISS specification defines a protocol for a Trust service that resolves public key information contained in XML-SIG elements. The X-KISS protocol allows a client of such a service to delegate part or all of the tasks required to process <ds:KeyInfo> elements. A key objective of the protocol design is to minimize the complexity of application implementations by allowing them to become clients and thereby shielded from the complexity and syntax of the underlying PKI used to establish trust relationships. These may be based upon a different specification such as X.509/PKIX, SPKI or PGP. The X-KRSS specification defines a protocol for a web service that accepts registration of public key information. Once registered, the public key may be used in conjunction with other web services including X-KISS. Both protocols are defined in terms of structures expressed in the XML Schema Language, protocols employing the Simple Object Application Protocol (SOAP) v1.1 and relationships among messages defined by the Web services Definition Language v1.0 (WDSL)." [Full context]

  • [March 30, 2001]   RDF Bindings for IMS Metadata.    A posting from Mikael Nilsson and Dan Brickley reports on design activity now underway toward the creation of an IMS-RDF binding specification. Researchers at the Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm, Sweden) and Universität Hannover (Germany) have begun work on an RDF binding for IMS metadata, and early attempts at an RDF Schema for this are available online. The IMS Metadata Specification is part of a suite of open specifications for "facilitating online distributed learning activities such as locating and using educational content, tracking learner progress, reporting learner performance, and exchanging student records between administrative systems." The XML bindings with supporting XML DTDs have been available for some time, and have been implemented. Draft resources for the proposed RDF binding are available from the Swedish [KTH] Competence Centre for User-Oriented IT Design, including (1) Document on issues with the IMS 1.1 information model and XML binding. (2) Document on issues with the IMS 1.2 draft XML DTD and XML Schema definition. (3) A suggestion for an IMS metadata 1.2 RDF binding, with draft RDF schema (4) A Java interface for IMS metadata editing. The design team encourages participation from all interested parties. [Full context]

  • [March 29, 2001]   OASIS Technical Committee Formed for Election and Voter Services.    An announcement from OASIS describes the proposal for a new OASIS Technical Committee on Election and Voter Services. The TC has been proposed by Gregg McGilvray (, chair), Oliver Bell (Microsoft), and Ed McLaughlin (Accenture). The purpose of the committee is to "develop a standard for the structured interchange of data among hardware, software, and service providers who engage in any aspect of providing election or voter services to public or private organizations. The services performed for such elections include but are not limited to voter role/membership maintenance (new voter registration, membership and dues collection, change of address tracking, etc.), citizen/membership credentialing, redistricting, requests for absentee/expatriate ballots, election calendaring, logistics management (polling place management), election notification, ballot delivery and tabulation, election results reporting and demographics. The standard under development by, Inc. will be made available for review and revision and can be expanded upon as necessary." Election Services in this context is defined to mean "any components needed to conduct a private or public election. Private elections are conducted for publicly traded corporations, trade associations, labor unions, pension funds, credit unions, not-for-profit organizations, etc. Public elections are conducted domestically and internationally for municipalities, governments, jurisdictions, special districts and any other group wishing to solicit public opinion. The services performed for all such elections include but are not limited to voter role/membership maintenance (new voter registration, membership and dues collection, change of address tracking, etc.), citizen/membership credentialing, redistricting, requests for absentee/expatriate ballots, election calendaring, logistics management (polling place management), election notification, ballot delivery and tabulation, election results reporting and demographics." [Full context]

  • [March 28, 2001]   W3C and NIST Coordinate to Develop the DOM Conformance Test Suites.    A posting from Philippe Le Hégaret (W3C DOM Activity Lead) announces the intention of the W3C DOM Working Group and NIST to jointly develop the DOM Conformance Test Suites. He writes: "This development will be entirely public. It will produce a DOM Level 1 Test Suite (based on the NIST DOM Test Suite) and a DOM Level 2 Test Suite. The DOM Level 3 Test Suite will be addressed after the publication of the DOM Level 3 Candidate Recommendation. Dimitris Dimitriadis will be the contact for the W3C DOM Working Group, and Mary Brady will be the contact for NIST. Both will participate in the Workshop on Quality Assurance at W3C. We welcome the participation of interested parties in developing the DOM Conformance Test Suites." A public DOM TS mailing list for the development of the test suite was created on February 23, 2001, and is open for subscription; its archives are also public. Note that a document DOM Conformance Test Suites Process Document edited by Dimitris Dimitriadis is available from W3C. [Full context]

  • [March 28, 2001]   ebXML Specifications Completed and Submitted for Quality Review Process.    A recent announcement from UN/CEFACT and OASIS reports that "all ebXML specifications have been submitted to the ebXML initiative's quality review process. These specifications are the result of more than a year's work by organizations and standards bodies around the world, which have come together to advance a common framework for global electronic business. The complete body of ebXML specifications defining business process methodology, core components, messaging, registry/repository, security, technical architecture and trading partner agreements are expected to be ratified in plenary May 2001. The ebXML Messaging Services Specification integrating SOAP is among the new specifications submitted to the ebXML review process. The effort to integrate SOAP into ebXML was started just five weeks ago. The ebXML announcement followed a proof-of-concept ebXML demonstration provided by vendors at the XML One Conference in London last week. Twenty-some companies collaborated to simulate a global, electronic business trading network using publicly available ebXML specifications. Many of these companies also issued public statements regarding their intentions to implement ebXML-compliant products in the near future." Specifications recently posted for QR include: (1) ebXML Registry Information Model Version 0.60, (2) ebXML Registry Services Specification Version 0.88, (3) ebXML Collaboration Protocol Profile and Agreement Specification Version 0.93, and (4) ebXML Message Service Specification: Transport, Routing & Packaging Version 0.98b. [Full context]

  • [March 28, 2001]   Transentric Publishes XEDI/XML 'TranXML Principles'.    A communiqué from Fred Domke (Chief Technology Officer, Transentric) reports on the availablity of XML schemas for TranXML, now scheduled for a first public release in mid-April, 2001. TranXML was announced earlier this month as "a new Extensible Markup Language (XML) solution being proposed as the new industry standard for e-commerce related activities between shippers and carriers. TranXML was created specifically for the procurement and delivery of transportation and logistics services required for supply chain execution. The work to introduce TranXML to the market was accomplished by Transentric, based on the X.12 and XMLSolutions meta data repository. Corporations without EDI infrastructure will be able to form new trading partners communities using TranXML. Initial TranXML schemas will be available for motor and rail carrier bill of lading, as well as tracing and status event reporting. Subsequent releases of TranXML will include schemas to support an open standard for Internet-enabled applications including load tendering, delivery, freight billing, reconciliation, scheduling/forecasting and equipment ordering." Transentric has produced a background document on TranXML Principles which identifies major obstacles to data exchange as "the lack of common semantic structures and repositories supporting the flow of data to and from disparate applications (e.g. different roles an entity may play in a supply chain -- whether a 'Buyer' could be considered as a 'Consignee' and a 'Seller' could be considered as a 'Shipper', depending on whether the information is coming from a purchasing or logistics system). TranXML is an attempt to transform the foundation of knowledge contained in XEDI into a more approachable format. Toward that goal, TranXML applies business rules for the transformation of XEDI data into interoperable structures that can be used by many disparate applications. Transentric's experience in Logistics will be used as a basis for the creation of the transformation rules. The new structures will create a neutral, common XML data dictionary that can be used for both internal and external applications." The design document explains why XML Schemas are being used instead of XML DTDs, and how the TranXML data dictionary is being designed to support interoperable solutions. Transentric is drawing upon work of other standards bodies such as ChemXML, RosettaNet, and EbXML; it also follows the design of logistics messages developed through CIDX and Bolero. [Full context]

  • [March 28, 2001]   TIFF Helper Creates XML-enhanced TIFF Images.    Eric Lease Morgan has created a collection of XML-enhanced TIFF images based on his water collection, 'automagically' creating a set of browsable HTML files allowing you to view the images and their descriptions in your Web browser. He says: "XML data was extracted from the description tags of TIFF files and converted into HTML through XSLT, the TIFF files were converted into thumbnail images, and the whole thing was brought together by creating a simple browsable list. The process begins with TIFF Helper, a rudimentary web-based application allowing people to write XML data to the description tag of TIFF files. The primary goal of TIFF Helper is to provide a means for 'marrying' the description of an image file with the image itself and not having to rely on an second application (say a database) to save and manage this information. Embedding descriptive information about images in the image files themselves provides a means for image archiving and distribution that is standards-based as well as operating system- and application-independent. If TIFF files were enhanced with XML data, then the descriptions of those files could be directly associated with their images. demonstrates one way of extracting that XML data and making sets of TIFF images available on the Web." The production code and XSLT stylesheets are available for download. Emerging graphics standards do use XML in similar ways, of course (e.g., MPEG-7 XML-based Description Definition Language, SVG, DIG35). [Full context]

  • [March 28, 2001]   Updated DAML+OIL Language Specification Supports W3C XML Schema Data Types.    A posting from Mike Dean (Chair, Joint US/EU ad hoc Agent Markup Language Committee) announces the release of a new DAML+OIL 'semantic [ontology] markup language' specification which includes support for XML Schema Part 2: Datatypes and provides enhanced documentation. The DARPA Agent Markup Language (DAML) "is being developed as an extension to XML and the Resource Description Framework (RDF). The latest release of the language (DAML+OIL) provides a rich set of constructs with which to create ontologies and to mark up information so that it is machine readable and understandable." The reference description document characterizes DAML+OIL as "a semantic markup language for Web resources. It builds on earlier W3C standards such as RDF and RDF Schema, and extends these languages with richer modelling primitives. DAML+OIL provides modelling primitives commonly found in frame-based languages. The language has a clean and well defined semantics. A DAML+OIL knowledge base is a collection of RDF triples. DAML+OIL prescribes a specific meaning for triples that use the DAML+OIL vocabulary. The model-theoretic semantics specifies exactly which triples are assigned a specific meaning, and what this meaning is. DAML+OIL only provides a semantic interpretation for those parts of an RDF graph that instantiate the schema defined in daml+oil.daml. Any additional RDF statements, resulting in additional RDF triples are perfectly allowed, but DAML+OIL is silent on the semantic consequences (or lack thereof) of such additional triples." The new '(March 2001)' version of DAML+OIL support documents include the revised language specification, a revised example ontology, the W3C "XSD" datatype definitions set used in the above example, an annotated version of the example ontology, systematic reference description of all the language elements, an explanation of the changes from DAML+OIL (December 2000), revised Model-Theoretic Semantics, and a revised Axiomatic Semantics. [Full context]

  • [March 27, 2001]   Zope Parsed XML Project Releases ParsedXML Version 1.0.    Karl Anderson (Digital Creations) has announced the 'stable' version 1.0 release of 'Parsed XML' which "allows you to use XML objects in the Zope environment. You can create XML documents in Zope and leverage Zope to format, query, and manipulate XML. Parsed XML consists of a DOM storage, a builder that uses PyExpat to parse XML into the DOM, and a management proxy product that provides Zope management features for a DOM tree... The Parsed XML product parses XML into a Zopish DOM tree. The elements of this tree support persistence, acquisition, etc. The document and subnodes are editable and manageable through management proxy objects, and the underlying DOM tree can be directly manipulated via DTML, Python, etc. The DOM tree created by Zope aims to comply with the DOM level 2 standard. This allows you to access your XML in DTML or External Methods using a standard and powerful API. We are currently supporting the DOM level 2 Core and Traversal specifications..." Zope is an open source toolkit consisting of "a number components which work together to provide a complete yet flexible application server package. Zope includes an internet server, a transactional object database, a search engine, a web page templating system, a through the web development and management tool, and comprehensive extension support. Zope's open support for web standards such as XML-RPC, DOM, and WebDAV allows unparalleled flexibility and interoperability." [Full context]

  • [March 27, 2001]   Microsoft to '.Net' UK E-Government.    A Microsoft company announcement from a UK conference reports on "how the British government is using Microsoft's enterprise software to revolutionize the way its citizens and businesses experience and interact with government institutions via the Internet. Dubbed 'the Government Gateway,' the new Microsoft .NET Enterprise Server solution is an XML-based portal that acts as the centralized registration service for all e-government services in the United Kingdom. The government portal, part of Blair's new e-government initiative of having 100 percent of government transactions online by 2005, is designed to connect the 200 central and 482 local government institutions with the United Kingdom's 60 million citizens and 3 million businesses. This complex integration solution required an infrastructure that could utilize legacy IT investments and integrate and XML-enable a broad array of disparate applications and platforms while having the reliability and scalability to meet the growing demand of its users... The largest BizTalk Server solution to date, the Government Gateway project is a classic integration challenge, but on a massive scale. BizTalk Server 2000 acts as the primary integration hub for the legions of legacy back-end data and applications found within one of the world's largest government institutions. The flexible architecture provided by the BizTalk business process orchestration capabilities will allow government developers to quickly add or change applications, platforms or agencies as the system grows. The first phase of the Government Gateway project, which is live now, delivers three primary transactions: (1) End of year submissions for the Inland Revenue PAYE (Pay As You Earn). This system is similar to how the U.S. federal government withholds taxes from employee paychecks. (2) Customs and Excise VAT (Value Added Tax) return. This transaction is similar to how businesses submit their sales tax revenue in the United States. (3) Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, farmers' EU subsidy claims. This system enables U.K. farmers to submit claims for subsidy payments via the gateway. In the future, British citizens will experience government interactions much more seamlessly. For example, the purchase of an international plane ticket from a travel agency could automatically update an expired passport or submit an application for a travel visa in the destination country without the citizen ever having to explicitly interact with the government. Other examples of future online transactions include registering newborn children, applying for passports and visas, and registering automobiles." [Full context]

  • [March 27, 2001]   DISA Hosts ebXML-compliant Registry and Repository for E-Business Standards.    A recent announcment from the Data Interchange Standards Association (DISA) describes plans to create an ebXML-compliant Registry and Repository for e-business standards and related content. ebXML, as a joint initiative of the United Nations (UN/CEFACT) and OASIS, is now completing development of set of specifications that together enable a modular electronic business framework. The initial content for the DISA Registry and Repository "will include all ASC X12 EDI standards, the XML specifications being developed by DISA Affiliates, and related content. As the Secretariat to the American National Standards Institute Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12, DISA has provided a neutral forum for e-business standards development for almost 15 years, for a total of 15 annual releases and 30 subreleases. ASC X12 and the UN/EDIFACT Working Group (EWG) recently launched a joint initiative to enhance business-to-business communications by defining and validating a set of protocol-neutral e-business objects valid within ebXML specifications, UN/EDIFACT messages and X12 standards. This single set of business objects (core components) will serve as the foundation for future developments in Extensible Markup Language (XML) and any other incarnation of electronic data interchange (EDI) and XML. As part of its concurrent educational initiatives, which have long included seminars and training on EDI and XML, DISA is also launching a training program on UN/CEFACT Modeling Methodology and Unified Modeling Language (UML)." [Full context]

  • [March 27, 2001]   MISMO Releases Version 1.1 XML DTDs for Real Estate Finance Transactions.    The MISMO (Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization) coalition of mortgage industry groups led by the Mortgage Bankers Association of America has recently published version 1.1 of the MISMO XML Data Standards. The specifiations cover secondary pooling and delivery transactions and credit, underwriting, mortgage insurance application, and real estate service request processes. Specifications provided for the six process areas (Credit Reporting, MI LoanBoarding, MI Application, Secondary, Service Ordering, Underwriting) include in each case a supporting data dictionary and two versions of the XML DTD. The new standards "will allow real estate finance companies to more easily share data over the Internet. MISMO is continuing the process of collecting, normalizing, and defining all of the data elements necessary for effectively conducting business in the various real estate finance process areas, and will issue additional standards in the coming months. The data dictionaries and document-type definition files for several process areas, including servicing-servicing transfer, mortgage application, flood, title, and real estate appraisal, are now in draft status. MISMO was formed in January 2000 to address electronic commerce issues in the mortgage industry, and is comprised of MBA members, technology companies, and key industry players such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae." [Full context]

  • [March 27, 2001]   IBM Releases TSpaces Services Suite.    IBM alphaWorks has announced the release of the TSpaces Services Suite which offers a development toolkit "to assist the creation, discovery, and integration of Web services. TSpaces Services Suite is an architecture that enhances TSpaces programming capabilities towards the development of service-based applications and is based in standards for discovery (UDDI), description (WSDL), and invocation (SOAP) of Web services. Development tools provided in the first version of the package include: (1) UDDI broker: a tool for the registration and discovery of Web services based on the UDDI specification; (2) TSpaces service API: a tool for the creation of Web services -- it generates a WSDL description for all the described services, and allow the invocation of services through the TSpaces and SOAP communication mechanisms; (3) Universal printing solution: a sample printing service that enables printing from any computer to any printer, regardless of the host computers (workstations, PCs, handheld devices), operating systems, or file format. The TSpaces Service API (TSSAPI) is a framework that simplifies the creation, composition, deployment, discovery, and invocation of services based on TSpaces or one of the other emerging service infrastructures such as SOAP. Enterprise TSpaces, available from alphaworks in Fall 2001, is a further development of the stand-alone version of TSpaces that provides TSpaces with enterprise required facilities such as fault-tolerance and scalability." Note in this connection that IBM has developed a Web Services Theme Page with resources supporting the 'web services model' of creating dynamic distributed applications across the Web. [Full context]

  • [March 26, 2001]   COMTEX News Network Adopts NewsML Standard.    COMTEX News Network, Inc. recently announced support for the XML-based NewsML standard, which supports multimedia news creation, storage and delivery. "NewsML can be used by news providers to combine their pictures, video, text, graphics and audio files in news output for multiple display platforms or devices, including Web sites, mobile phones, high end desktops, and interactive television. The technology also enables news to be transmitted in several different languages. The common infrastructure allows news providers to combine their content from various sources with little effort, helping publishers create information packages targeted to specific audiences, improving delivery of personalized news to the end-user. Individual searches and filter systems will be able to process information from a wider range of sources, as information from multiple publishers will be in a single format. In addition to creating a single format, NewsML offers an accurate, objective set of descriptive tools that make searching more precise. COMTEX News Network, Inc. is a full service, business-to-business infomediary, aggregates and redistributes diverse, real-time global news and information to resellers in the Internet, Wall Street and corporate markets; COMTEX gathers nearly 20,000 stories a day from over 10,000 diverse, global sources." [Full context]

  • [March 26, 2001]   New Java Specification Requests for XML Digital Signature and XML Digital Encryption APIs.    Two new JSRs (Java Specification Requests) have been published relating to Java APIs for XML digital signature and encryption, proposed for work under the Java Community Process. The Specification Leads are Anthony Nadalin (IBM) and Sean Mullan (Sun). JSR-000105 for XML Digital Signature APIs will "define a standard set of APIs for XML digital signatures services. The XML Digital Signature specification is defined by the W3C; this proposal is to define and incorporate the high level implementation independent Java APIs." JSR-000106 for XML Digital Encryption APIs will "define a standard set of APIs for XML digital encryption services. XML Encryption can be used to perform fine-grained, element-based encryption of fragments within an XML Document as well as encrypt arbitrary binary data and include this within an XML document. Today there is no standard set of APIs for XML digital encryption services." [Full context]

  • [March 26, 2001] Announces Release of RIXML Specification for Public Comment.    An announcement from reports that version 1.0 of the RIXML specification is now available for public comment. is a "consortium of buy- and sell-side financial industry leaders who joined forces to develop an open, global standard for the tagging and delivery of investment research" and has created a schema for the Research Information Exchange Markup Language. The primary goal of the Version 1.0 release of the RIXML specification is to improve the process of categorizing, aggregating, comparing, sorting, and distributing global financial research; it will provide extensive capabilities to tag any piece of research content, in any form or media, with enough meta-data information for consumers to search, sort and filter through publisher research, and quickly provide highly relevant information to their decision makers. The W3C XML Schema for RIXML defines the relationships and components as defined by the object model; it is available online, together with a supporting User Guide. The RIXML User Guide describes the design approach taken in creating the RIXML standard, and explains some fundamental concepts such as XML, object modeling, schemas, etc. It includes diagrams of the RIXML object model which serve as definitions for the elements and attributes. The RIXML version 1.0 specification will be available for public comment over the next 30 days and feedback can be provided through the new website. [Full context]

  • [March 24, 2001]   Systems Biology Markup Language (SBML) Specification Level 1.    A communiqué from Michael Hucka of the Caltech ERATO team reports on the publication of the Final Level 1 specification for the Systems Biology Markup Language (SBML). The ERATO Systems Biology Workbench Development Team has developed an XML Schema for SBML, "a description language for simulations in systems biology. SBML is oriented towards representing biochemical networks common in research on a number of topics, including cell signaling pathways, metabolic pathways, biochemical reactions, gene regulation, and many others. The motivations for developing SBML stem from the current inability to exchange models between simulation/analysis tools. SBML Level 1 is meant to support non-spatial biochemical models and the kinds of operations that are possible in existing analysis/simulation tools. The primary specification document uses a simple UML-based notation to describe the data structures and presents a first-pass XML Schema; a secondary supporting document explains the 'SCHUCS' UML-based notation. SBML Level 1 is the result of merging modeling-language features from the following simulation systems: BioSpice, DBSolve, E-Cell, Gepasi, Jarnac, StochSim, and Virtual Cell. SBML was developed with the help of the authors of these packages; as a result of being based on actual working simulation software, it is a practical and functional description language. The team's goal in creating SBML has been to provide an open standard that will enable simulation software to exchange models." [Full context]

  • [March 24, 2001]   W3C Publishes Revised XML Protocol (XMLP) Requirements.    The W3C XML Protocol Working Group has released a revised working draft document for the XML Protocol (XMLP) Requirements. This WD updates the previous version of 2000-12-19, and "describes the W3C XML Protocol Working Group's requirements for the XML Protocol (XMLP) specification." XMLP "allows two or more peers to communicate in a distributed environment using XML as its encapsulation language. The XMLP framework can accommodate an open-ended set of XMLP modules defining a large variety of functions and services. Typical functions and services defined by XMLP modules can range from generic mechanisms for handling security, caching, routing, and eventing to specific functions like submitting a purchase order. While XMLP itself is intended to be as simple and lightweight as possible, XMLP modules can be designed and composed to perform arbitrarily complex operations allowing the core protocol to remain simple." The working draft articulates external requirements from XForms and P3P in addition to the general requirements and related requirements areas (simplicity and stability; data encapsulation and evolvability; intermediaries; data representation; protocol bindings; convention for RPC). A Glossary in the document overviews the general protocol concepts, data encapsulation concepts, message sender and receiver concepts, and data representation concepts. The draft also specifies usage scenarios, intended to provide representative examples of situations where XMLP might be applicable. [Full context]

  • [March 23, 2001]   ArchStudio Software Development Environment Uses xADL DTD for XML-based Integration Stategy.    The ArchStudio project under development in the Department of Information and Computer Science, University of California, Irvine has created xADL as for its "enabling architecture-centric tool integration with XML." ArchStudio 2.0 is "an extensible, integrated software architecture development environment that uses an XML-based representation for the underlying architecture. It brings together several UCI developed systems for architecture-based development, including Argo/C2, ArchShell, and DRADEL. The basis for integration in ArchStudio 2.0 is an XML-based abstract model of the system architecture (ArchADT). In the view of the design team, architectures are best represented as hypertext rather than as monolithic specification files. This requires decoupling the description of separable components across hypertext links; and integrating such information with existing hypermedia formats -- both facilities unique to XML. Software designers also benefit from the wide variety of existing tools for visualizing and manipulating XML models. The team has defined an XML DTD called xADL for representing architectural models that can support a wide range of architecture description languages (ADLs). A language, xC2, adds further tags, attributes, and semantics appropriate for representing C2-style architectures. This factoring holds promise for mapping other ADLs on to the basic xADL core." [Full context]

  • [March 23, 2001]   IBM's XSLerator Tool for XSLT Script Generation.    The Java Application Development at IBM alphaWorks laboratory has released an XSLerator (XSL accelerator) tool which "generates XSLT scripts from mappings defined using a visual interface. The tool supports mappings with extended conversion functions including iterations, conditions, joins, variables, and XPATH functions. Only minimal knowledge of XSLT is required. XSLerator can be used in e-business solutions development including B2B, B2C, and web services. For example, it can be used to integrate and correlate diverse data sources to one unified data, or it can be used to transform data from one business' format to another business' format. XSLerator can be also used by content providers to provide content in different formats for different modalities and users. Using the tool, you provide the sources and the targets which can be retrieved from XML files or from databases. Then, you define mappings; each mapping is a selection of a target field, a conversion function and sources fields. Mappings can be edited, deleted or persisted for later use. After defining the mappings, you generate the XSLT script and may test it to confirm it created the desired output. Once the XSLT script was generated, you may use it with an XSLT engine, such as Apache Xalan, to combine and transform any XML documents that conforms to the sources to an XML document that conforms to the target. XSLerator is provided with samples and a tutorial." [Full context]

  • [March 23, 2001]   X-Smiles: A Java-based Open Source XML Browser.    A communiqué from Mikko Honkala announces the version 0.31 'prototype ' release of X-Smiles, an Open Source Java-based XML Browser for exotic devices. X-Smiles has been produced as part of a non-profit project started by the Telecommunications Software and Multimedia Laboratory at Helsinki University of Technology. Mikko writes: "X-Smiles is a pure Java XML browser intended for both desktop use and embedded network devices and to support multimedia services. It is capable of displaying documents written in various XML languages. Currently supported languages include: (1) Extensible Markup Language - XML; (2) XSL Transformations - XSLT; (3) XSL Formatting Objects - XSL FO; (4) Synchronised Multimedia Integration Language 1.0 - SMIL; (5) XML Forms - XForms; (6) Scalable Vector Graphics - SVG. Some of these XML standards are supported by integrated free third party libraries while others are delivered in the X-Smiles project. Other supported features include ECMAScript, multimedia content in SMIL through Java Media Framework (JMF), and various GUIs. The main advantage of the X-Smiles browser is that it supports several XML related specifications and is still suitable for embedded devices supporting the Java environment. X-Smiles should be suitable for small embedded devices supporting Java; this goal includes porting X-Smiles to Kaffe VM. Currently Kaffe supports Java 1.1, while some X-Smiles features are based on Java 1.2." [Full context]

  • [March 22, 2001]   W3C Public Working Draft for Modularization of XHTML in XML Schema.    The W3C HTML Working Group has released a first public Working Draft for Modularization of XHTML in XML Schema. The draft document "provides a complete set of XML Schema modules for XHTML, and describes a methodology for the modularization of XHTML using XML Schema. Modularization of XHTML allows document authors to modify and extend XHTML in a conformant way." XHTML modularization works for XML Schema modules in a fashion similar to XML DTDs, but there are some significant differences; these are articulated in the chapter "Schema Modularization Framework." The design goals for the modularization framework for XHTML are: (1) to create coherent sets of semantically related modules within the XHTML namespace using XML Schema; (2) to support the creation of subsets and supersets of XHTML for specific purposes such as handheld devices and special-purpose appliances; (3) to facilitate future development by allowing modules to be upgraded or replaced independently of other modules; and (4) to encourage and facilitate the reuse of common modules by developers." [Full context]

  • [March 22, 2001]   jTME: A Java Topic Map Engine.    Jack Park announced the availability of binaries for his Java Topic Map engine, jTME. jTME is a "persistent XTM [XML Topic Maps] engine which is capable of importing XTM 1.0 files based upon the December 4, 2000 XTM 1.0 DTD. It allows also construction of new XTM documents. Installation and operation are documented in a preliminary jTME User's Guide. The implementation is persistent in a relational database; the GUI just gives us a nice playground to experiment with persistent XTM. PersistentXTM is being used in my implementation of (my version of) Douglas Engelbart's OHS, called jpOHS... jTME uses my Java package xtm, the classes of which behave in a manner similar to Enterprise Java Beans: each class, for example, XTMTopic, performs its own persistent operations. The project is to be discussed in a forthcoming book XML Topic Maps:Creating and Using Topic Maps for the Web, to be published by Addison Wesley later in 2001." [Full context]

  • [March 21, 2001]   W3C/IETF Canonical XML Specification Published as a W3C Recommendation.    W3C has announced the release of Canonical XML Version 1.0 as the first W3C Recommendation produced jointly by the W3C/IETF XML Signature Working Group. The Canonical XML specification "adds another critical piece to the Extensible Markup Language (XML) family of technologies under development at W3C, which began with the XML 1.0 Recommendation." The new specification "defines a method for serializing XML documents such that it eliminates incidental variances in their syntax as permitted by XML 1.0. This functionality is necessary to XML Signatures which requires documents to be consistently serialized for digital signature processing, so that these incidental variances do not invalidate the signature... Digital signatures provide integrity, signature assurance and non-repudiatability over Web data. Such features are especially important for documents that represent commitments such as contracts, price lists, and manifests. XML Signatures have the potential to provide reliable XML-based signature technology. However, various processors may introduce incidental changes into a document over the course of its processing. Canonical XML 1.0 provides a method of serializing an XML document into its canonical form. If two documents have the same canonical form, then the two documents are logically equivalent within the context of this specification. This relationship combined with XML Signature is critical for electronic commerce because it ensures the integrity of documents and protocol messages that travel between multiple XML processors." By publishing Canonical XML as a W3C Recommendation, the W3C consortium and its Director certify that the specification "is stable, contributes to Web interoperability, and has been reviewed by the W3C Membership, who are in favor of supporting its adoption by academic, industry, and research communities." [Full context]

  • [March 21, 2001]   Technical Submissions Facilitate Renewed Development of DSML Version 2.0.    James Tauber recently reported that the OASIS DSML Technical Committee had received two new technical submissions from participating companies that will "re-energize" committee work on DSML version 2.0. Directory Services Markup Language (DSML) is an XML markup lanuage which enables applications to "capture the scalability, replication, security and management strengths of directory services." Novell has decided to donate its DirXML work to the DSML TC, and the 'DirXML NDS DTD' is available for review. DirXML is based on NDS eDirectory, Novell's "secure directory service which can publish information to -- or accept information from -- any application or directory for which it has a specific driver. DirXML includes drivers for the Lotus Notes, Microsoft Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange, NDS, and Netscape LDAP." Access360 has also developed a "Directory Access Markup Language" XML DTD relevant to DSML. The iPlanet's XMLDAP Gateway tool which now supports DSML is available online, and Microsoft is expected to contribute a proposal for the design of DSML 2.0. [Full context]

  • [March 21, 2001]   W3C Publishes XML Schema Formalization.    A communiqué from Matthew Fuchs (Commerce One) highlights the technical significance of W3C's recent XML Schema formalization, published in a W3C Working Draft as XML Schema: Formal Description. The document supplies formal a description of XML types and validity as specified by the recently-issued Proposed Recommendation XML Schema Part 1: Structures. From the Introduction: "This formalization is a formal, declarative system for describing and naming XML Schema information, specifying XML instance type information, and validating instances against schemas. The goals of the formalization are to: (1) Provide a semantic framework for software systems that use the W3C XML Schema specification, such as the W3C XML Query Algebra; (2) Specify names for all components of an XML Schema, so that they can be uniquely identified by URIs. Such unique identifiers may be useful to XML Query, RDF, and topic maps, among others; (3) Formally define validation at a declarative level; (4) Define the mapping from the current XML Schema syntax onto the structures described here, as well as the mapping between the XML Schema component mode and our component model. Many potential applications of XML Schema may benefit from the definition of a formal model. We have focused on the material in Part I (Structures), as this is the most complex; a basic understanding of first-order predicate logic, which is part of most computer science curricula, is adequate to understand this document." [Full context]

  • [March 21, 2001] Informative Web Site.    Michel Biezunski (InfoLoom) has announced as a new 'informative Topic Maps web site' that he is now maintaining, together with Steve Newcomb (Coolheads Consulting). Biezunski says: "This web site is devoted to our work in progress on topic maps. We have published a draft of the processing model for topic maps which we are working on, now called the ' Processing Model'. This document will be updated and completed." The editors also intend to use this web site to publish information on the convergence between RDF and Topic Maps; they will publish links from the web site to any application, or development of interest in the area of Topic Maps processing models, RDF/Topic Maps convergence, etc. Interested parties are invited to supply the editors with URLs for relevant resources. [Full context]

  • [March 20, 2001]   IBM alphaWorks Laboratory Releases XMI Framework.    XML software developers at IBM alphaWorks Laboratory have released the XMI Framework, which is "a simple Java API for saving and loading XML Metadata Interchange (XMI) files and creating XMI DTDs. Its purpose is to help users learn XMI. XMI Framework supports XMI version 1.0 and version 1.1. You can use the framework object model to represent your data and models, or you can use your own classes. You can also generate Java code from framework models and UML XMI files. Any XML parser that supports the JAXP 1.0 interface may be used." The related IBM XMI Toolkit is a Java component "that converts UML information between Rational Rose Models and XMI-standard XML files. The Toolkit can also generate DTDs directly from UML models; a Reference Implementation of XMI, with source code is included. IBM alphaWorks provides early adopter developers direct access to IBM's emerging 'alpha-code' technologies. The software design teams endeavor to involve developers in the earliest stages, before integration of technologies into products." [Full context]

  • [March 20, 2001]   Microsoft Announces 'HailStorm' User-Centric XML Web Services.    On March 19, 2001 Microsoft Corporation announced "a set of new technologies designed to advance the Microsoft .NET strategy. The technology, code-named 'HailStorm,' is a set of user-centric XML Web services that enable developers to build solutions that work seamlessly with one another over the Internet to deliver a more personalized and consistent user experience. The HailStorm services are oriented around the individual and allow developers, with the user's consent, to access for example an individual's calendar, contact information or documents, from any application, device or service connected to the Internet. The HailStorm XML-based Web services platform comprises four major pillars: (1) the .NET Framework and the Visual Studio .NET suite of developer tools; (2) the .NET Enterprise Servers, which provide a robust infrastructure for Web services; (3) .NET devices and experiences; and (4) .NET services. The new HailStorm technology is a result of work being done in the .NET Services Group, which is responsible for building XML-based Web services for businesses and consumers and is led by Bob Muglia. HailStorm adheres to an open-access model in which all interactions are conducted via XML-based SOAP protocols. Use of the industry-standard XML and SOAP protocols means any application, device or service connected to the Internet can interact with HailStorm, regardless of the underlying operating system, programming language or online service. No Microsoft software is required on any client or server that accesses HailStorm. Microsoft demonstrated various platforms accessing HailStorm services, including Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh, Pocket PC, Palm and various flavors of UNIX." [Full context]

  • [March 20, 2001]   US Conference on Congressional Organizations' Application of XML.    A posting from Owen Ambur (Co-Chair, Federal CIO Council XML Working Group) announces a conference on the use of XML by the US Legislative Branch. This Conference on Congressional Organizations' Application of XML (COAX) is co-sponsored by the LegalXML consortium and the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on House Administration, and will be held on Tuesday April 24, 2001 at the Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC. "The purpose of the conference is to discuss the current use of XML by the legislative branch and the advantages of using of open and standard XML. Congressional organizations, federal agencies, private sector, and non-profit organizations will participate in the conference. The conference will have three panels. Panelists in the first session discussing current XML initiatives are to include representatives from the Library of Congress's Congressional Research Service and the Law Library (GLIN), the Clerk of the House, the Government Printing Office, Office of Legislative Counsel, the Senate, and the House Information Resources. A web site will highlight the activities of the COAX conference and the initiatives currently underway in each of the stakeholder organizations." [Full context]

  • [March 19, 2001]   STEPml's XML Specifications Promote STEP on the Web.    The STEPml "library of XML specifications" has been designed as a publication forum and education center for XML-based STEP product data schemas governing process integration, supply chain management, collaborative engineering, analysis, manufacturing, and customer support. STEPml is sponsored by PDES, Inc., an international industry/government consortium. The STEPml initiative is important because it exemplifies the growing interest in mapping STEP/EXPRESS to XML: STEP's EXPRESS schema language has rich facilities for specifying semantic constraints for data modeling purposes, whereas SGML/XML does not. In February 2001, STEPml published the first three in a series of planned resources which combine the "semantically rich, international standard data models from STEP (ISO 10303) with the widespread infrastructure of XML and the Web. STEP is an international standard for the representation of product data; STEP models are documented using EXPRESS, a formal object-flavored language that has a robust constraint definition capability. STEPml takes the data models from STEP and publishes them as XML specifications; the STEPml XML specifications are automatically generated from STEP schemas. Resources published to date include a STEPml XML DTD for the STEP PDM Schema, a STEPml Product Identification and Classification Specification, and a technical overview of the STEP Object Serialization Early Binding (OSEB). STEPml is one of several STEP-XML initiatives now gathering momentum. Several bindings have been designed for the mapping of semantically-rich EXPRESS data models to XML, and are documented in ISO's 306-page Proposed Draft Technical Specification Product Data Representation and Exchange. Implementation Methods: XML Representation of EXPRESS Schemas and Data [ISO TC184/SC4/WG11 N140. ISO/PDTS 10303-28:2000(E)]. The ISO/SC4 10303-25 project is also developing an EXPRESS to OMG XMI binding. [Full context]

  • [March 19, 2001]   Turing Machine Markup Language (TMML).    Robert C. Lyons of Unidex Inc. has created an XML-based Turing Machine Markup Language (TMML) for describing Turing machines. "Just for fun," he says in the XML-DEV announcement... "I created TMML and the Universal Turing Machine stylesheet to have some fun and to learn more about the XSLT language; I designed this site to share what I learned about Turing machines and XSLT. A language is Turing complete if it is powerful enough to implement any Turing machine. It is widely believed that Turing machines are powerful enough to perform any calculation that can be performed by a modern computer program." Lyons' TMML web site "provides sample TMML documents and an XSLT 1.0 stylesheet that interprets (i.e., executes) the Turing machine that is described in a TMML document. This XSLT stylesheet, which is a Universal Turning Machine, is an existence proof that XSLT 1.0 is Turing complete. The stylesheet, which is available in HTML format and as an XSLT document, has been run with SAXON and Xalan. It does not use any extension functions or proprietary features. The stylesheet does use the xsl:key instruction and the XPath key() function." [Full context]

  • [March 19, 2001]   PyTREX Version 0.6.0 Released.    James Tauber (Bowstreet) announced the release of PyTREX version 0.6.0, now available for download. This second release of PyTREX implements the majority of TREX. PyTREX is "an open source clean-room implementation of Tree Regular Expressions for XML (TREX) written in Python. The version 0.6.0 release implements the concepts introduced in sections 1 through 10 of the tutorial" written by James Clark. PyTREX development takes place on SourceForge. Principal discussion of the TREX 'language for validating XML documents' is hosted on the OASIS TREX Technical Committee mailing list. [Full context]

  • [March 16, 2001]   W3C Publishes XML Schema as a Proposed Recommendation.    The W3C XML Schema specification has advanced to the 'Proposed Recommendation' stage, indicating that "the specification is stable and that implementation experience has been gathered, showing that each feature of the specification can be implemented." The three-part document has been produced as part of the W3C XML Activity. This PR version replaces the Candidate Recommendation of October 24, 2000. The deadline for review of the PR specification is Monday April 16, 2001. Review comments may be sent to the publicly archived 'xmlschema-dev' mailing list at As with the Candidate Recommendation, "the XML Schema PR specification consists of three parts. One part defines a set of simple datatypes, which can be associated with XML element types and attributes; this allows XML software to do a better job of managing dates, numbers, and other special forms of information. The second part of the specification proposes methods for describing the structure and constraining the contents of XML documents, and defines the rules governing schema-validation of documents. The third part is a primer, which explains what schemas are, how they differ from DTDs, and how someone builds a schema." [Full context]

  • [March 16, 2001]   UPS OnLine Toolbox Supports XML for Tracking Shipments to Your Office.    United Parcel Service recently announced "significant enhancements" to the UPS OnLine Tools, which "offer advanced shipping and logistics applications that allow businesses to seamlessly link their intranets and Internet Web sites with UPS. The tools enable customers to calculate shipping costs, select and compare shipping services, and track packages from the point of order entry to delivery. UPS is adding two new tools, enhancing two others, making all six tools available in XML and providing customers with a list of approved service providers who can help with integration. In conjunction with the tool enhancements, UPS is offering an XML version of all UPS OnLine Tools. UPS was instrumental in the development of XML protocol standards for the transportation industry through its membership in Rosettanet, a consortium of major information technology, electronic components and semiconductor manufacturing companies working to create and implement industry-wide, open e-business process standards. Two new UPS OnLine Tools which support XML are 'UPS Tracking' (provides up-to-the-minute shipment status, from origin to delivery) and 'UPS Rates & Service Selection' (lets online shoppers compare, price and select shipping services that best fit their needs and budgets). The XML tools support structured, self-descriptive, and extensible formatting of the data. XML documents have tags naming each data element allowing optional elements to be omitted and unexpected or uninteresting elements to be ignored. More than 60,000 businesses have licensed UPS OnLine Tools since their introduction in April 1999." [Full context]

  • [March 16, 2001]   IBM's Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA).    IBM developerWorks has published an article by Don R. Day, Michael Priestley, and Dave A. Schell on IBM's XML-based 'DITA' architecture for authoring, producing, and delivering technical information. DITA DTDs, style sheets, and sample documents are available online. The article surveys the development of DITA by a cross-company workgroup representing user assistance teams from IBM, Lotus, and Tivoli, and explains the decision not to simply convert IBMIDDoc, or to use an existing XML DTD such as DocBook, or TEI, or XHTML; after all, 'IBM, with millions of pages of documentation for its products, has its own very complex SGML DTD, IBMIDDoc, which has supported this documentation since the early 1990s'. In DITA, the 'topic' is the basic architectural unit: "a topic is a unit of information that describes a single task or concept or reference item. The information's category (concept, task, reference) is its information type. Typed topics are easily managed within content management systems as reusable, stand-alone units of information. The XML-based Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) is an end-to-end architecture for creating and delivering modular technical information. The architecture consists of a set of design principles for creating information-typed topic modules, and for using that content in various ways, such as online help and product support portals on the Web. At the heart, the DITA is an XML document type definition (DTD) that expresses many of these design principles. The architecture, however, is the defining part of this proposal for technical information; the DTD, or any schema based on it, is just an instantiation of the design principles of the architecture. The IBM workgroup developed the architecture collaboratively during 2000 through postings to a database and weekly teleconferences; they are offering the architecture on IBM's developerWorks Web site as an alternative XML-based documentation system, designed to exploit XML as its encoding format." [Full context]

  • [March 15, 2001]   eBay Inc. and Microsoft Announce SOAP-based XML Web Services for Online E-Commerce.    eBay Inc. and Microsoft Corp. recently announced a strategic alliance which "calls for broad cooperation initially focusing on three key initiatives expected to roll out this year. First, eBay will support Microsoft .NET technologies, and will be one of the first Web sites worldwide to offer its community-based commerce engine to Web developers as an XML-based Web service. Second, Microsoft will integrate eBay's marketplace into a number of its Web properties, including select MSN Internet service sites worldwide, Carpoint, bCentral and WebTV. Finally, eBay will deploy Microsoft technology including Windows 2000 Server and Microsoft Passport." According to the joint announcement, a central feature "is the intersection of key new technology initiatives: eBay's API (application program interface) and Microsoft .NET. eBay's powerful commerce engine, which can be licensed by third-party Web sites through the API, will now be offered as a SOAP-based XML Web service. Microsoft will use eBay's programmable XML-based Web service to integrate the trading services of eBay's online marketplace into a number of its own Internet properties including the MSN network of Internet services, the Carpoint online automotive service and WebTV service. The integration of the services is currently planned to debut later this year and will be available in a number of the thirty-three (33) international markets in which MSN currently has a presence. To support the deployment and operation of its new XML-based Web service, eBay will deploy Windows 2000 Server across all of its front-end Web servers." [Full context]

  • [March 15, 2001]   W3C Publishes Web Services Description Language (WSDL) Version 1.1.    The W3C has acknowledged receipt of a submission for version 1.1 of Web Services Description Language (WSDL). The document is signed by more than a dozen companies, and represents a suggestion for describing services for the W3C XML Activity on XML Protocols. Abstract: "WSDL is an XML format for describing network services as a set of endpoints operating on messages containing either document-oriented or procedure-oriented information. The operations and messages are described abstractly, and then bound to a concrete network protocol and message format to define an endpoint. Related concrete endpoints are combined into abstract endpoints (services). WSDL is extensible to allow description of endpoints and their messages regardless of what message formats or network protocols are used to communicate, however, the only bindings described in this document describe how to use WSDL in conjunction with SOAP 1.1, HTTP GET/POST, and MIME." The W3C disposition: "To determine the next steps in the Web Services area, W3C will be holding a Workshop on Web Services. The submitters of WSDL are encouraged to submit a position paper to this Workshop. Moreover, the community is invited to provide feedback on this submission to". [Full context]

  • [March 15, 2001]   Infoteria Releases Enhanced iXSLT XML Transformation Tool.    Infoteria Corporation has announced a new release of its iXSLT processor with enhanced functionality for the transformation of XML data into HTML, WML, or other XML files using XSL (W3C Extensible Stylesheet Language). "New performance testing features have been added, so users can test the time it takes to perform a single XSLT transformation or multiple transformations, defined by a 'repeat number.' Additionally, iXSLT 2.0c can load external entities from both XML and XSLT documents. iXSLT adds new extension elements to make transforming data easier than ever before: (1) iXSLT 2.0c supports executing external programs and inserting the results of these programs as the values for an XML element; (2) iXSLT can now output to multiple files; (3) XPATH functionality has been extended, allowing the user to change the result tree fragment node sets and evaluate character strings as functions." [Full context]

  • [March 15, 2001]   W3C Releases Jigsaw 2.2.0 Web Server Platform with WebDAV Support.    Jigsaw is W3C's open source "leading-edge Web server platform which provides a sample HTTP 1.1 implementation and a variety of other features on top of an advanced architecture implemented in Java. The server uses an object-oriented approach when it comes to the storage of files and the processing of incoming requests, making it both more efficient and easily extensible." JigXML (the Jigsaw XML format) is used by Jigsaw to store the resources metadata. The version 2.2.0 release of Jigsaw includes enhanced support for WebDAV, and a parser for dates in ISO 8601 format. An updated online tutorial documents how to configure Jigsaw as a WebDAV server, and a package with a specific WebDAV configuration will follow shortly. WebDAV ('Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning') "is a set of extensions to the HTTP protocol which allows users to collaboratively edit and manage files on remote web servers." Other features in 2.2.0 are Servlet 2.2 implementation; new RFC 2616 compliant Cache; image metadata extraction using Content Negotiation; and Digest Authentication and ACL based authentication. [Full context]

  • [March 14, 2001]   Internet Protocol Detail Record Organization Demonstrates Implementation of NDM-U Specification.    An announcement from (the Internet Protocol Detail Record Organization) describes a live demonstration of systems interoperability using version 2.0 of the Network Data Management - Usage (NDM-U) Specification. The NDM-U standard defines technical information "that is sufficient for practical implementations of interchange of usage data among service elements participating in the delivery of IP-based services, either within a single enterprise or across multiple enterprises." The NDM-U specification language is given in W3C XML Schema notation; "the XML record structure and service definitions provide a means to begin representing service usage information in a consistent, self-describing, human readable format. These structures allow for the creation of documents by one system in a format that can be easily understood and used by another. The dynamic operation of IDPR document transport has been specified using Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). A group of three companies will show how the NDM-U specification can be used to deliver a robust Carrier Grade, Next-Gen BSS/OSS solution. The overall objective of the demonstration is to provide exciting demonstrations using next-generation data services that highlight the effectiveness of the standard. The interoperability demonstration will focus on the Video on Demand (VoD) service, and will show the download and playing of a VoD video displayed on an Internet terminal. From there, the customer will be able to follow the process through to the creation of the final invoice for the content data service." [Full context]

  • [March 14, 2001]   IBM Announces WebSphere Technology for Developers.    IBM has announced the availability of 'WebSphere Technology for Developers', described as infrastructure software middleware which "enables companies to develop, deploy and integrate next-generation e-business applications, such as those for business-to-business e-commerce. WebSphere supports business applications from simple Web publishing through enterprise-scale transaction processing. WebSphere Technology for Developers is available at no charge on a limited basis today from IBM sales representatives and business partners." The WebSphere Technology for Developers is presented as "the first software in the industry that supports the variety of open standards necessary to develop and securely deploy Web services, including: (1) Universal Description Discovery and Integration (UDDI), which enables businesses to describe themselves, publish technical specifications on how they want to conduct e-business with other companies and search for other businesses that provide goods and services they need all via online UDDI registries; (2) Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) -- IBM is the first to implement and integrate HTTPS, HTTP Authentication and SOAP security, including digital signatures, enabling end-to-end authentication, integrity and non-repudiation for SOAP messages. (3) Java2 Enterprise Edition J2EE; (4) Web Services Description Language (WSDL), which describes programs accessible via the Internet or other networks; (5) Enhanced integration of leading XML technologies." [Full context]

  • [March 13, 2001]   NISO Develops an OpenURL Standard for Bibliographic and Descriptive Metadata.    A recent announcement from NISO (US National Information Standards Organization) describes the formation a committee to develop the OpenURL Standard. The OpenURL is based on the notion that "links should lead a user to appropriate resources: an 'institutional service component' (ISC) describes the context of the user. The OpenURL is designed as a protocol for interoperability between an information resource and a service component that offers localized services in an open linking environment. It is in effect an actionable URL that transports metadata or keys to access metadata for the object for which the OpenURL is provided; the target of the OpenURL is the user's institutional service component (ISC). The remainder of the OpenURL transports the object's metadata. The OpenURL standard may impact the level of basic Internet infrastructure, where resolution of identifiers in a context-sensitive manner is required. A syntax specification of the OpenURL for bibliographic metadata provides examples: a 'LOCAL-IDENTIFIER-ZONE' might be: pid=<author>Smith, Paul ; Klein, Calvin</author>&<yr>98</yr>; the OpenURL encoded format used with HTTP GET would escape the markup as necessary in accordance with URI specifications. [Full context]

  • [March 13, 2001]   Adobe Systems Releases Adobe Acrobat 5.0 with Enhanced XML Features.    The new Adobe Acrobat 5.0 from Adobe Systems offers additional XML-based functionality supporting embedded metadata, collaborative authoring, and forms processing: "Acrobat 5.0 offers a number of key benefits that enable business, graphic arts and IT professionals to excel in this new Network Publishing environment where they must work efficiently at Web speed. Tight Web integration based on WebDistributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) and Open DataBase Connectivity (ODBC) allows teams to simultaneously share comments on Adobe PDF files from within a browser. Support for the Extensible Markup Language (XML) makes it simple for users to integrate data, such as metadata and forms data in Adobe PDF files, with back-end systems. And stronger integration with enterprise deployment tools enables IT professionals to auto-install and maintain Acrobat 5.0 over a network to thousands of multi-user or lockdown desktop systems." [Full context]

  • [March 12, 2001]   Tibco Releases Commercial Version of XML Canon/Developer.    An announcement from TIBCO Software Inc. describes the availability of XML Canon/Developer (XCD) which "enables organizations to build an XML infrastructure that accesses, stores, and integrates the vocabulary from schemas or DTDs in any XML-based application. XCD supports a 'logical schema analysis' approach for creating XML vocabularies and grammars which can then be re-purposed with new semantic meaning." XCD features include support for design-time repository for XML assets (document-level and component-level object control from a centralized repository) and distributed Web-based access to an organization's XML assets repository. The Web-based interface also leverages the Internet for collaboration with suppliers, customers, trading partners and industry groups. XCD "enables the analysis of schemas and DTDs at the component-level by creating a data dictionary or vocabulary of an Enterprise's XML assets; this Enterprise vocabulary can then be browsed, searched, and re-constructed to create an infinite set of new semantically different schemas." [Full context]

  • [March 10, 2001]   Amaio Technologies Releases 'Xeddy' Version 1.0 Java XML Editor.    A posting from Pavel Makovec of Amaio Technologies, Inc. announces the release of a pure Java XML editor Xeddy 1.0 with free download and evaluation. A standalone version 'Xeddy 1.0 Standa' and a JBuilder Plug-in version 'Xeddy 1.0 JB' are available. Xeddy is said to provide DTD support: "If an XML DTD is used, the system offers 'Add submenu' (of context menu) with a list of subnodes available to add; if special ordering of nodes is required, Xeddy will recognize this and add the new subnode in the correct position. Xeddy may be configured for use with any XML parser (i.e., any SAX/2 parser that supports the Location feature). For viewing, Xeddy offers a formatted tree structure as well as 'text'; the inspector allows filtering of displayed information: to subnodes only, attributes only or all. Sorting all information is also possible and is easily accessible from the inspector panel. The system supports 'Show in code' function, which selects part of the XML code related to the selected node. The system supports the creation of customized applications with 'business logic' for your XML documents." Not to be confused with Henry Thompson's 'XED: An XML document instance editor'. [Full context]

  • [March 09, 2001]   W3C Annotea Project Supports Collaboration on the Web.    W3C's Annotea Project, representing part of the W3C Semantic Web Activity, has been designed to "enhance the W3C collaboration environment with a system of shared annotations. 'Annotations' are external remarks attached to any Web document -- comments, notes, explanations, or other types of external remarks that can be attached to any Web document or a selected part of the document without actually needing to touch the document. When the user gets the document he can also load the annotations attached to it from a selected annotation server or several servers and see what his peer group thinks. The first client implementation of Annotea is W3C's Amaya browser and authoring tool. Annotea is 'open': it uses and helps to advance W3C standards when possible. For instance, the teams use an RDF based annotation schema for describing annotations as metadata and XPointer for locating the annotations in the annotated document." The public is invited to test the server/client tool; for testing purposes W3C offers a public annotation service. [Full context]

  • [March 09, 2001]   White Paper Demonstrates 'Modeling XHTML with UML' and XML Schema Generation.    A communiqué from Dave Carlson (Ontogenics Corp., Boulder, Colorado) reports on creation of an XML Schema that covers all of XHTML Basic (this may be the first complete XML Schema for XHTML Basic). Details are given in the white paper Modeling XHTML with UML. Carlson writes: "There are a 3-4 situations where it is a bit lenient in accepting markup that it shouldn't, but overall it seems to work quite well. This model makes very heavy use of inheritance to capture the XHTML concept of content groups, such as Flow, Block, Inline, etc. I have generated two different schemas: one uses extension of complexType definitions, the other employs a copy-down strategy to avoid extension. Both schemas work with the XSV validator... What's interesting about this is that the schema was automatically generated from a UML model. The white paper includes all the UML class diagrams for the XHTML Basic modules. I've written a schema generator that produces schemas from any UML tool that can export an XMI 1.0 document representing the model. This model of XHTML was created using Rational Rose... the generated schema also provides a good stress test case for validation tools." [Full context]

  • [March 09, 2001]   XSLT Processor 'jd.xslt' Supports XSLT 1.1 Features.    A posting from Johannes Döbler (Munich, Germany) announces the availability of an XSLT processor which implements the W3C XSLT 1.1 Working Draft of 12-December-2000 and the XPath 1.0 Recommendation. "The XSLT 1.1 features include multiple output documents via the xsl:document element, node-sets as value of variables, and support for the notorious xsl:script element. Supported script languages include Java (native), Javascript, JScript, VBscript, PerlScript, JPython, Jacl, NetReXX, BML (via IBM's Bean Scripting Framework). Performance measurements taken with XSLTMark indicate superior performance compared to other widely used XSLT implementations. The tool is written in Java (requires a JDK version 1.1 or higher) and is available under the Mozilla Public License 1.1." [Full context]

  • [March 08, 2001]   Bea Presents Proposed Business Transaction Protocol Version 1.0 to OASIS TC.    BEA Systems, Inc. has submitted a proposed Business Transaction Protocol (BTP) specification to the OASIS Business Transactions Technical Committee. Authored by Sanjay Dalal and Pal Takacsi-Nagy, the 'starting point' specification proposal outlines a protocol "which can be used to orchestrate long running, inter-enterprise business transactions. It addresses the unique requirements of business-to-business transactions. BTP is based on the multi-level transaction model that provides the necessary independence for the participating resource managers -- in this case the B2B servers of companies engaging in business transactions." Document abstract: "Long lasting business transactions spanning multiple enterprises pose a unique challenge to B2B systems. The interdependent workflows among multiple trading partners, which drive business transactions, need to be coordinated to ensure that the outcome of the transaction is reliable. In this document we propose a solution to this problem in the form of a Business Transaction Protocol (BTP). B2B servers participating in business transactions over the Internet are expected to implement BTP to orchestrate multi-enterprise transactions." [Full context]

  • [March 08, 2001] Releases Draft Specification for the Business Process Modeling Language (BPML).    The Business Process Management Initiative ( has announced the publication of a proposed draft specification for the Business Process Modeling Language (BPML). BPML is "a meta-language for the modeling of business processes,just as XML is a meta-language for the modeling of business data. BPML provides an abstracted execution model for collaborative and transactional business processes that span multiple applications and business partners,behind the firewall and over the Internet,across multiple verticals." Appendix A of the 155-page 'Version 0.4' specification supplies the XML schema for BPML; future working drafts of BPML are expected to track with the W3C XML Schema specification. The BPMI initiative is supported by some 84 members; its mission "is to promote and develop the use of Business Process Management (BPM) through the establishment of standards for process design, deployment, execution, maintenance, and optimization. develops open specifications, assists IT vendors for marketing their implementations, and supports businesses for using Business Process Management technologies." Coordinate with BPML, is developing a specification for The Business Process Query Language (BPQL). BPQL "is a management interface to a business process management infrastructure that includes a process execution facility (Process Server) and a process deployment facility (Process Repository). The BPQL interface to a Process Server enables business analysts to query the state and control the execution of process instances managed by the Process Server. This interface is based on the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)." [Full context]

  • [March 07, 2001]   DeltaXML Tools for XML File Comparison and Management.    A communiqué from Robin LaFontaine describes the release of Monsell's new 'Delta XML' standalone tools for comparing XML documents and comparing complex data in XML. The 'DeltaXML' range of products "help identify and monitor changes to XML documents and data files. The software compares XML documents and data files and generates a delta file in XML. The delta file can be displayed directly or using XSL style sheets (examples included in the download), or processed for other purposes using standard XML tools. For those using a specific XML format (DTD), DeltaXML DTD can provide an even more intelligent comparison, based on the actual allowed structure of the files. This will produce smaller and more accurate change files and enable handling of data that is not inherently ordered. Applications of DeltaXML include: (1) regression testing of XML software, (2) XML file updates, (3) displaying changes for review and authorization, (4) checking changes made by hand to XML documents and data." [Full context]

  • [March 07, 2001]   PRISM Working Group Publishes Last Call Draft for the PRISM Metadata/Syndication Specification.    A posting from Ron Daniel (Co-chair, PRISM Working Group) announces the public release of a 'last call' version of the PRISM metadata specification. The Publishing Requirements for Industry Standard Metadata (PRISM) specification "is a standard for content description, interchange, and reuse in both traditional and electronic publishing contexts. PRISM defines an extensible, RDF-compliant metadata framework, a rich set of descriptive elements, and vocabularies for the values of those elements. The specification is intended to meet the needs of publishers and other organizations who produce and/or disseminate information. The PRISM specification uses XML + namespaces, RDF, and the Dublin Core namespace. It now adds a new namespace containing more detailed elements than those from the Dublin Core, and also adds namespaces for simple representation of controlled vocabularies and for a simple rights & permissions language." The working group plans to deliver Version 1.0 of the PRISM specification on April 9, 2001 in conjunction with the Seybold conference. [Full context]

  • [March 07, 2001]   BASDA Leads Initiative to Develop eBuild-XML Standard for House Builders and Suppliers.    An announcement from Causeway Technologies Inc. describes a new effort by forty-some companies to design an XML-based B2B e-commerce system for builders and suppliers. eBuild-XML is "a joint initiative formed by [a core group of] sixteen of the largest UK house builders to aid the development of e-commerce in their sector, to reduce costs, and to improve efficiency. The eBuild-XML initiative is being led by BASDA (the Business Application Software Developers Association). It is helping the house builders and suppliers to develop a B2B e-commerce system that will initially enable them to exchange orders and invoices electronically between their different computer systems. Some forty companies, including most of the major house builders, are working together with suppliers to develop electronic orders and invoices based on BASDA's existing XML message standard. The concept of eBuild-XML is to be a low cost initiative that any supplier or house builder can join. Work has already begun to define message standards to handle the specialist information that is required in the housing industry and a series of pilot schemes to test the message will begin shortly." [Full context]

  • [March 07, 2001]   SmarTeam Inc. Announces iXF Format for Product And Plant Information Exchange.    An announcement from Smart Solutions and SmarTeam Inc. describes a new XML-based technology initiative for product and plant information exchange and enterprise application integration. iXF is an "XML-based industry standard for integrating and exchanging product, plant, or project information throughout Discrete and Process manufacturing enterprises and their supply chains. iXF is an open and extensible standard for transferring data, metadata and related files. The iXF format is designed to provide a simple way for OEMs, parts suppliers, and any participant in the product or plant development chain to exchange information electronically, accurately and securely. As the iXF format is based on XML, it is compatible with a wide array of business data exchange conventions, including Microsoft Corporation's BizTalk and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol). It enables the transfer of a self-describing collection of objects and associated files between two systems." iXF uses ZIP as a packaging format, W3C XML Schema language as a schema description format, and SOAP as the encoding format. In addition to objects and files, an iXF file can contain delta-based description of previous revisions of the objects, change tracking information, object hierarchies and relationships, and schemas for the contained objects. [Full context]

  • [March 06, 2001]   XML Database Discussion List.    A posting from Kimbro Staken (Chief Technology Officer, dbXML Group L.L.C.) announces the formation of a new mailing list for general discussions about XML database technologies. The mailing list is hosted by the XML:DB XML Database initiative. The list is designed as a "vendor neutral open forum and discussion of any topic related to XML database technology and standards is acceptable and encouraged." The forum is not intended for marketing, although announcements are acceptable if the list guidelines are followed. The new list had some 60 subscribers as of February 26, 2001, and is publicly archived. [Full context]

  • [March 06, 2001]   ebXML Core Component and Business Process Specifications Available for Review.    ebXML Chair Klaus-Dieter Naujok announced the availability of review specifications for ebXML Core Components and Business Process. The review materials include three Core Components reference documents and the draft Core Components specification in four parts. (1) ebXML Methodology for the Discovery and Analysis of Core Components; (2) ebXML Core Components Dictionary Entry Naming Conventions; (3) The Role of Context in The Re-Usability of Core Components and Business Processes (4) ebXML Specification for the Application of XML Based Assembly and Context Rules. Supporting documentation includes an ebXML White Paper for the eBusiness community, "Core Component and Business Process Document Overview v1.01." Comments may be sent to the CC project editor, James Whittle. The review period for the ebXML draft ends 18-March-2001. ebXML is "a joint initiative of the United Nations (UN/CEFACT) and OASIS, developed with global participation for global usage; its vision is to enable a global electronic marketplace where enterprises of any size and in any geographical location can meet and conduct business with each other through the exchange of XML based messages." [Full context]

  • [March 06, 2001]   Cycorp to Release OpenCyc Version of 'Common Sense Knowledge Base' in DAML Format.    A recent announcement from Douglas B. Lenat of Cycorp, Inc. outlines the planned release of an open access ("OpenCyc") format of the expanded version of Cycorp's "Cyc" Common Sense Knowledge Base. "The expanded Cyc ontology will be released in several formats in order to promote the widest adoption of this technology, and to facilitate the seamless integration of new and existing ontologies. One format will be Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Agent Markup Language (DAML), which adds semantic statements on top of XML, and is currently being considered as a standard for the W3C Semantic Web." The Cyc knowledge base is "built upon a core of over 1,000,000 hand-entered assertions (or 'rules') designed to capture a large portion of what we normally consider consensus knowledge about the world." The announcment was made by Lenat in his opening plenary keynote address at the GCA's Knowledge Technologies 2001 Conference. [Full context]

  • [March 05, 2001]   OASIS Releases Second Edition of the XML Conformance Test Suite.    A joint announcement from OASIS and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) describes the public availability of the OASIS XML Conformance Test Suite, second edition. The conformance test suite has been updated to be in synchronization with XML 1.0 Second Edition, Recommendation. The test suite has been produced by the OASIS XML Conformance Technical Committee in conjunction with the W3C XML Core Working Group, resulting in the development of "comprehensive testing scenarios which now integrate over 1000 new tests contributed by IBM and modification of the test suite to be consistent with changes to the XML recommendation." [Full context]

  • [March 03, 2001]   Reuters Research and Standards Group Releases 800,000 XML-encoded News Stories.    The Reuters Research and Standards Group (RSG) has announced that it will release a free archive of over 800,000 news stories in XML markup for use in research and development of natural-language-processing, information-retrieval or document-understanding systems. The Reuters Corpus "offers researchers a unique body of static information upon which to research, test and benchmark emerging technologies. These include research into language processing, speech synthesis, voice recognition, indexation, search and information retrieval. The archive includes all English language stories produced by Reuters globally between 20-August-1996 and 19-August-1997. The news data is available on two CD-ROMs and formatted in XML to make it easier to use as a research tool. All the news stories are fully referenced using a total of 775 different category codes for topic, geography and industry sector. As part of the research agreement covering use of the archive, researchers will supply Reuters with a copy of any material published using the data. Working with this feedback from research groups, Reuters hopes to bring out other Corpora including multi-lingual versions and volumes covering other date ranges." [Full context]

  • [March 03, 2001]   Music and Lyrics Markup Language (4ML).    A communiqué from Leo Montgomery describes current development of 4ML for music representation: "4ML is an XML-compliant Music and Lyrics Markup Language; development is supported on the SourceForge forum 'fourml', which provides a collection of example applications using the 4ML language." The design goal is to create "a single, flexible, platform-independant way to describe music and lyrics that can be used by musicians and programmers alike." 4ML is formally specified in an XML DTD. The developers envision a range of applications that might make use of music encoded in 4ML, for example: "(1) A song could be written on a standard musical staff; (2) The lyrics to a song, with accompanying simplified guitar chords, could be the output; (3) The song could be played over a speaker; (4) A MIDI file could be produced; (5) A song could be written as guitar tablature; (6) The lyrics could be shown on the screen, with a kareoke-syle bouncing ball." The developers welcome reviewer feedback on this XML application. [Full context]

  • [March 03, 2001]   Quotation Exchange Language (QEL).    A communiqué from A.M. Kuchling reports on the creation of an XML-based application for managing quotations. The Quotation Exchange Language (QEL) is an XML language for exchanging collections of quotations, and is supported by software tools consisting of Python scripts. Kuchling has prepared sample online quotation collections, including a primary collection with 'over 275K of quotations'. Other collections include quotations from Canadian author Robertson Davies; various quotations from comic books; quotations from director and writer Peter Greenaway; amusing quotes seen in comp.lang.python or about Python; quotations from Tom Baker's autobiography 'Who on Earth is Tom Baker?'; quotations about cryptography and Internet anonymity; and a growing collection of quotes from Doctor Who. These collections "are maintained in XML, and converted into HTML, Unix fortune(1) format, and plain text by, which provides an interesting small example of processing XML using the Python implementation of SAX (Simple API for XML). The author has prepared a Python 'quotation-tools package' for parsing and formatting QEL quotation collections, and tools for working with QEL files, such as qtgrep for searching them, and qtformat for converting QEL to various formats. [Full context]

  • [March 02, 2001]   W3C Publishes XML Binding Language (XBL) Specification.    The W3C has acknowledged receipt of a submission from America Online, Inc. (through for XBL: XML Binding Language. According to the W3C NOTE, XBL is an XML markup language "for describing bindings that can be attached to elements in other documents. Bindings can be attached to elements using either cascading stylesheets (CSS) or the document object model (DOM). The element that the binding is attached to, called the bound element, acquires the new behavior specified by the binding. Bindings can contain event handlers that are registered on the bound element, an implementation of new methods and properties that become accessible from the bound element, and anonymous content that is inserted underneath the bound element." The XBL submission represents "a further development of two earlier submissions; it combines an XML-based wrapper format with CSS, ECMAScript and the DOM, to define the look and behavior of elements in HTML or XML-based documents (especially form elements). Apart from the XML-based wrapper format, it proposes an extension to CSS and new functions for the DOM." [Full context]

  • [March 02, 2001]   AgXML Develops XML-based Business Process Standards for the Grain and Oilseed Industry.    A new web site was recently opened for AgXML, a group of companies committed to the creation of XML-based standards that will bring "the efficiencies of ecommerce to grain- and oilseed-related business processes." Some 34 companies or organizations are currently active in the AgXML work. The group has produced some draft XML schemas for contracts and high-level UML activity diagrams and use cases for contracts; work has begun converting the documentation to UML activity diagrams and use cases. Plans are being made for companies "to create at least two sample XML instance documents reflecting the content of typical and complex contracts, grain certifications, weight certifications, and bill of lading." [Full context]

  • [March 02, 2001]   iPlanet XMLDAP Gateway Supports DSML.    Christine Tomlinson (iPlanet Directory Engineering) announced the availability of the iPlanet XMLDAP Gateway Version 1.0 beta among the current Netscape Directory Tools: "our iPlanet XMLDAP Gateway provides some ideas that may well useful to DSML 2.0. We are currently working on a version that will supercede this one and expect to have a draft specification within the next three weeks." According to the published description, The XMLDAP Gateway is "a flexible, standards based solution that is targeted toward web developers that need to present LDAP Directory data in mulitple formats such as XML, HTML, WML, DSML, VXML etc. The XMLDAP Gateway enables developers to use the included XML Tag Library to retrieve data from the directory. Depending on the template, the format of the rendered data from the XSLT translation engine can take the form of HTML, WML, DSML, XML etc. The templates are presented to the application using JAVA." Java 1.1 or above is required. [Full context]

  • [March 01, 2001]   ATIS Develops the Telecommunications Markup Language (tML).    The ATIS Technical Subcommittee T1M1 (Internetwork Operations, Administration, Maintenance and Provisioning) is developing a Telecommunications Markup Language (tML) standard which would govern telecommunications network management. This ATIS [Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions] standards work was announced in May 2000, and a "tML Framework Document" released recently outlines a definition for the development of interoperable XML-based interfaces. "The goal for use of the Framework is to guide the development of tML schemas and vocabularies and to provide a common method for the definition of tML data to be exchanged and to provide a mapping to existing standards to promote re-use whenever possible. The scope of the tML Framework consists of: (1) a set of rules and objectives to be applied in developing standardized schemas based on existing models in standards; (2) specification of common tML tags, namespaces, and URIs; (3) transformation of existing definitions in external libraries for use with tML; and (4) requirements for repositories and registries." ATIS is a member company organization that defines standards and operating procedures for the telecommunications industry; its work is suported by some 2,500 experts from 500 telecommunications companies. [Full context]

  • [March 01, 2001]   W3C's Modularization of XHTML Specification Advances to Proposed Recommendation.    The W3C specification for the Modularization of XHTML has passed CR review and has been promoted to a W3C Proposed Recommendation. The Proposed Recommendation "specifies an abstract modularization of XHTML and an implementation of the abstraction using XML Document Type Definitions (DTDs). This modularization provides a means for subsetting and extending XHTML, a feature needed for extending XHTML's reach onto emerging platforms... XHTML is the reformulation of HTML 4 as an application of XML. XHTML 1.0 specifies three XML document types that correspond to the three HTML 4 DTDs: Strict, Transitional, and Frameset. XHTML 'Modularization' is a decomposition of XHTML 1.0, and by reference HTML 4, into a collection of abstract modules that provide specific types of functionality; these abstract modules are implemented in the specification using the XML Document Type Definition language, but an implementation using XML Schemas is expected." [Full context]

  • [February 28, 2001]   ASN.1 Markup Language (AML).    In the context of a discussion on XML compression, Olivier Dubuisson (France Telecom R&D) has described an XML-based "ASN.1 Markup Language" now under development. According to the documentation, this new form of ASN.1 value notation "was created in Geneva during the January joint meeting of the SG 7 and SC 6 groups, and the format of this value notation is based on XML. This work allows ASN.1 values to be transferred or displayed in a variety of textual of binary formats (PER BER HTML XML plain text, etc.); users can leverage browsers for XML display and still have efficient binary transfer in BER..." ASN.1 is "a formal notation used for describing data transmitted by telecommunications protocols, regardless of language implementation and physical representation of these data." Dubuisson reports that the the ASN.1 Project from ITU-T is actually working jointly with ISO on two initiatives: (1) An XML value notation for ASN.1 types (or 'ASN.1 Markup Language') that allow to write values by way of an XML markup whose tags are derivated from the ASN.1 type names. Such an XML value notation can appear in an ASN.1 module, and can be used to display ASN.1 values with an XML browser. When appended with an XML document header and footer, this value notation turns into what could be called 'XML Encoding Rules for ASN.1'. This will be a standard named 'ITU-T Recommendation X.693 - ISO/IEC 8825-4'. (2) An XML Schema to ASN.1 mapping that keeps all the information contained in an XML Schema and translates it into equivalent ASN.1 types and subtype constraints." [Full context]

  • [February 28, 2001]   Draft Version of The Upper Cyc Ontology in XML Topic Map Representation.    Murray Altheim (Sun Microsystems) announced the availability of a draft version of the Upper Cyc Ontology in XTM (XML Topic Map) format. Reference: Sun Microsystems Technical Report 27-February-2001. The Technical Report "documents research and development of an XML Topic Map (XTM) representation of the Upper Cyc Ontology, including a distribution of five XTM topic maps based on features of the ontology. The Technical Report plus any associated software and/or documentation may be submitted to TopicMaps.Org with the goal of promoting XML Topic Maps (XTM) as a suitable ontological framework, as well as a source of XTM Published Subject Indicators (PSIs)." The Upper Cyc Ontology knowledge base stores some 3,000 terms "capturing the most general concepts of human consensus reality; it also represents a vast structure of more specific concepts descending below this upper level: logical axioms (rules and other assertions) which specify constraints on the individual objects and classes found in the real world." [Full context]

  • [February 28, 2001]   Geography Markup Language (GML) Version 2.0 Based on W3C XML Schema.    The Open GIS Consortium, supporting Geospatial and Information Technolgy Industries with open standards specifications, has now released Geography Markup Language (GML) 2.0 with a complete W3C XML Schema notation. The Geography Markup Language (GML) "is an XML encoding for the transport and storage of geographic information, including both the spatial and non-spatial properties of geographic features." The 2.0 specification "defines the XML Schema syntax, mechanisms, and conventions that provide an open, vendor-neutral framework for the definition of geospatial application schemas and objects, allow profiles that support proper subsets of GML framework descriptive capabilities, etc. Sections 1 and 2 of the new specification present the background information and modeling concepts that are needed to understand GML. Section 3 presents the GML conceptual model which is independent of encoding. Section 4 presents material which discusses the encoding of the GML conceptual model using the XML Schema definition language (XSDL). This material is intended to demonstrate how to employ the normative GML geometry and feature schemas specified in Appendices A and B of this document. Section 5 of this document presents the rules for the development of conformant GML application schemas. Section 6 presents examples to illustrate techniques for constructing compliant GML application to model recurring geographic themes." [Full context]

  • [February 28, 2001]   Exploration and Mining Markup Language (XMML).    Simon Cox reports that the Exploration and Mining Markup Language (XMML) is under development as an XML specification governing online data transfer for the exploration and mining industry. XMML is being designed as an application of the Geography Markup Language (GML); GML is an XML format for geospatial data based on the ISO/TC 211 feature model, and provides components, such as geometry, for re-use in specific domains. Interoperability with GML will allow XMML "to leverage developments in GIS and will provide maximum compatibility with generic software (e.g., GIS, CAD, DBMS, spreadsheet, web-browser). Thus XMML will be compatible with emerging geospatial data standards. It will support the efficient transfer of data between current software packages, between users at different sites, and of extracts of data from servers to clients in a variety of other scenarios, which requires shared protocols. XMML will be capable of describing rich 3-D geology, including ore-bodies, boreholes, geophysics and samples." Development plans call for the completion of XML schemas and several stylesheets by the end of 2001. [Full context]

  • [February 28, 2001]   Human Markup Language Initiative (HumanML).    A communiqué from Ranjeeth Kumar Thunga invites all interested parties to "join in the discussion group for the Human Markup Language (HumanML). The initiative is an XML-based non-proprietary endeavor, open to the contributions of all parties interested in helping define human XML standards. These standards include various aspects of human communication process through markup, including 'gestures', 'thoughts', 'emotions', and 'attitudes'. The project has a goal of "enriching human communications and reducing human misunderstanding" through explicit mechanisms to represent paralinguistic features of human communication. The markup initiative would "provide a trusted means to markup the interpretive process. (1) Reduce miscommunication through a standard framework of referents to descriptions of emotional states (2) Enhance communication by enabling emotional states to be identified and used to query if requests and responses do not conform to predicted ranges for sequence and frequency within a genre. (3) Create communication through authoring tools that use genre-based schema to organize sequences and frequencies of emotional expressions." [Full context]

  • [February 27, 2001]   XLINKIT.COM Demonstrates a UML Checker Using XML and XLink.    A posting from Christian Nentwich references an updated online application of 'xlinkit' for software engineering called the 'xlinkit UML Checker': "you can submit your UML document to this service in XMI format; the document will be checked for inconsistencies according to the rules set out in the UML Standard, as defined by the OMG. The well-formedness rules are expressed in the 'xlinkit' rule language, which allows arbitrary first order logic expressions, restricted to equality as the only function and finite sets of DOM nodes as the only type of set allowed." The 'xlinkit' tool represents a "lightweight application service which provides rule-based link generation and checks the consistency of distributed documents and web content. The tool leverages standard Internet technologies, notably XML and XLink. [Full context]

  • [February 27, 2001]   MISMO's Real Estate Property Information Workgroup Unifies Standards for Real Property.    The Real Estate Property Information Workgroup of MISMO (Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization) recently announced that it is nearing completion of a Property Information Data Dictionary which will be released for public review. Real estate professionals representing assessors, county recorders, realtors, appraisers, and mortgage bankers met in January 2001 to review a draft version of the dictionary, which now includes real estate listing and public records data. "The draft dictionary represents core data elements from collateral valuation forms including appraisal and Employee Relocation Council forms, as well as input from county recorders and assessors. The working group is also coordinating with representatives from other professional organizations to review naming protocols and incorporate common elements." The resulting common data language should accommodate the requirements of a number of specifications, including Real Estate Transaction Specifications (RETS), Comprehensive Real Estate Transaction Markup Language (CRTML), Numerata's REPML, the Appraisal Institute Data Storage and Transmission Standard, and others. [Full context]

  • [February 27, 2001]   ASC X12 and UN/EDIFACT Working Group Define Business Objects to Unify EDI and XML.    A recent announcement from the two 'global e-business standards bodies' ASC X12 and EWG describes the initiation of work to create a single set of business objects ('core components') "that are valid within the UN/EDIFACT and ASC X12 business processes. This joint initiative of the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12 and the UN/EDIFACT Working Group (EWG) is focused on single set of business objects (core components) which would be the basis for future developments with new and emerging technologies such as Extensible Markup Language (XML). The XML standards proposed by X12 and EWG will be based on ebXML recommendations. To complement this effort, ASC X12's Process Integration Task Group (PITG) is coordinating demonstrations of modeling software tools while preparing 'How to' guides to illustrate modeling methodology concepts in an easy-to-understand manner. PITG's work will build on existing frameworks within ASC X12 and EWG and help to define the business processes and modeling." [Full context]

  • [February 27, 2001]   New FpML Working Group on FX Products.    The Board of Directors and Standards Committee has issued a call for participation in a new FpML FX Products Working Group. FpML recently formed an Equity Derivatives Products working group as well. is supported by a group of financial firms dedicated to the development and use of FpML (Financial Products Markup Language) as the communications standard for streamlining the processes supporting e-commerce activities in the financial derivatives domain. The new FX Products Working Group "will be responsible for extending the product definition of the current FpML standard to accommodate the use of FpML for FX products, whilst ensuring full utilization of the existing language. The WG will evaluate the Citigroup/UBSW FX FpML proposal and other proposals as they deem appropriate and will deliver an FpML specification for the following FX products: FX Spots; FX Forwards, including 'Non-Deliverable Forward' (NDF); FX Swaps; 'Simple' Options (e.g., excluding barriers and other exotics); and Option Strategies (multiple simple options)." [Full context]

  • [February 23, 2001]   International Accounting Standards Committee Releases 'Taxonomy of XBRL for Financial Statements'.    At the first global meeting of in London, the XBRL member organization International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC) announced a "draft taxonomy of XBRL for Financial Statements to members of for review. The IASC taxonomy is an XML-based specification for the 'Commercial and Industrial' sector that allows users and suppliers of financial information to exchange financial statements across all software and technologies, including the Internet." The draft/beta taxonomy is available as an XML schema and in Microsoft Access database format. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has also formed a broad-based steering group in London that is in the process of developing the UK taxonomy for financial statements. With over 85 member organizations, is now "expanding as industry sectors and foreign jurisdictions begin development of XBRL specifications for financial and other business reporting. Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) is an open specification which uses XML-based data tags to describe financial statements for both public and private companies. [Full context]

  • [February 23, 2001]   eXcelon Corporation Releases Stylus Studio 3.0 Integrated Development Environment.    Christopher Parkerson announced the release of eXcelon's Stylus Studio 3.0 as a new "integrated development environment for XML applications built around the Stylus Visual XSLT Editor. Stylus Studio includes components needed to develop XML-based solutions. Stylus Studio 3.0 supports project management, a scalable XML editor, a Schema editor, Visual XSLT editor, a Visual XML-to-XML mapper, a Java source editor, and an integrated Java and XSLT debugger. The XSLT debugger allows one to quickly debug through XSLT with support for variables, watches, and stack tracing. Studio is designed to be capable of handling XML source files tens of megabytes in size. Stylus Studio Beta is available now via the eXcelon Corporation website." [Full context]

  • [February 22, 2001]   XMLTrans Tool for XML-based Recursive Transductions.    Derek Walker of the ISSCO Research Centre (University of Geneva) has developed a free/GPL XML transducer 'XMLTrans'. The tool is "similar to IBM alphaWorks' PatML, but the syntax is meant to be less heavy. The pattern matching focuses on horizontal constraints (regular expressions over siblings); it is optimized for transducing lots of relatively small but complex chunks of the same type in a big file without putting the whole file in memory. XMLTrans provides rooted/recursive transductions, similar to transducers used for natural language translation. It is written in standard Java and is available to the general public. XMLTrans was developed as part of the DicoPro project, a project funded within the EU Multilingual Information Society programme (MLIS)." [Full context]

  • [February 22, 2001]   Intellidimension Announces RDF Gateway Technology Release.    Geoff Chappell announced a technology release of 'RDF Gateway' Version 0.1 by Intellidimension, Inc.. RDF Gateway is "an RDF-based semantic query service for distributed data. The query service uses RDFQL, a simple SQL-style language with inference extensions to perform complex deductive queries. Queries can be executed over a wide range of dynamic data by connecting to one or more Data Services. Data Services expose structured data as a collection of RDF statements. The release contains Data Services for File Systems, RDF Memory Repositories, RDF Database Repositories, OLEDB Providers and RDF Files. The query service is exposed to applications via an ADO/OLEDB interface. [Full context]

  • [February 22, 2001]   ebXML Integrates SOAP Into Messaging Services Specification.    An announcement from UN/CEFACT and OASIS describes efforts now underway to "integrate the SOAP 1.1 and SOAP with Attachments specifications into the ebXML Messaging Specification. SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is designed to provide the underpinnings for messaging requirements. This development by ebXML will result in an open, widely adopted global standard for reliably transporting electronic business messages over the Internet. The ebXML Messaging Specification encompasses a set of services and protocols that allow an electronic business client to request services from electronic business servers over any application-level transport protocol, including SMTP, HTTP and others. ebXML defines a general-purpose message, with a header that supports multiple payloads, while allowing digital signatures within and among related messages. Although the header is XML, the body of the message may be XML, MIME or virtually anything digital." [Full context]

  • [February 22, 2001]   Symposium on Electronic Markup and Publication of Ancient Near Eastern Texts.    A communiqué from Charles E. Jones and Patrick Durusau invites submissions for two panel sessions on "Electronic Markup and Publication of Ancient Near Eastern Texts," to be held at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Denver, CO, November 17-20, 2001. The NEML (Near Eastern Markup Language) symposium is jointly sponsored by the Oriental Institute (University of Chicago) and The Society of Biblical Literature. The symposium builds upon the work of a variety of individuals, groups, and organizations to articulate "technical standards for the interchange of Near Eastern data in digital form, seeking to develop stable platforms for the electronic publication of scholarly work in ancient Near Eastern studies utilizing preexisting markup languages and planning for the implementation of widely accepted standards." [Full context]

  • [February 21, 2001]   OASIS Technical Committee for Extensible Access Control Markup Language (XACML).    An OASIS technical committee has been proposed for the development of standards governing access control policies. The proposed scope of discussion "is Extensible Access Control Markup Language ('XACML', an intermin moniker), which addresses security related specifications orthogonal to the efforts of the existing Security Services OASIS TC. Whereas the Security Services TC exists to define an XML framework for exchanging authentication and authorization information, XACML is to be concerned with the representation of access control policies as XML and the application of these policies to XML documents." The current discussion leader is Ernesto Damiani. [Full context]

  • [February 21, 2001]   MathML Version 2.0 Published as a W3C Recommendation.    The W3C has released the Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) Version 2.0 specfication as a W3C Recommendation, together with an implementation and interoperability report, several testimonials from implementation teams, and a press release. "MathML 2.0 consists of a number of XML tags which can be used to mark up an equation in terms of its presentation and also its semantics. As a result, MathML 2.0 attempts to capture something of the meaning behind equations rather than concentrating entirely on how they are going to be formatted out on the screen. This is because mathematical equations are meaningful to many applications, independent of how they are rendered aurally or visually. MathML 2.0 is intended to facilitate the use and re-use of mathematical and scientific content on the Web, and for other applications such as computer algebra systems, print typesetting, and voice synthesizers. MathML can be used to encode both the presentation of mathematical notation for high-quality visual display, and mathematical content, for applications where the semantics plays more of a key role such as scientific software or voice synthesis." [Full context]

  • [February 21, 2001]   Microsoft Announces Smart Tag Software Development Kit with XML Support.    Microsoft has announced the availability of a 'Smart Tag Software Development Kit' For Office XP. Smart tags "enable real-time, dynamic recognition of content and offer relevant options to people as they work to allow them to quickly access and analyze information. For example, they support the ability to dynamically link user input (e.g., a supplier invoice number, with relevant user actions such as 'check invoice status' or 'visit supplier Web site') using the full power of COM and development tools like Visual C++ and Visual Basic. In addition to extensible smart tags, Office XP offers native support of XML as a file format in Excel and Access, which enables the integration of Office XP solutions with other XML-enabled enterprise applications and business processes. Documentation illustrates building smart tags without writing code by generating Microsoft Office Smart Tag List XML files and including smart tags directly into Web pages." [Full context]

  • [February 21, 2001]   CIDX Reports Completion of Chem eStandards Initiative Phase Two.    Chemical Industry Data Exchange (CIDX) recently announced the successful completion of phase two work in the Chem eStandards initiative. The Chem eStandards initiative is "a multicompany-funded undertaking dedicated to the development and promotion of nonproprietary, XML-based standards for conducting global e-business in the chemical industry. Participating and contributing to this initiative are leading chemical companies, chemical marketplaces and service providers." CIDX now assumes a larger role as the chemical industry standards body, committed to supporting and further developing the Chem eStandards. [Full context]

  • [February 21, 2001]   Updated XSLT-process Tool for Emacs.    Ovidiu Predescu announced the version 1.2 release of XSLT-process. XSLT-process is "a minor mode for (X)Emacs that allows you to invoke an XSLT processor of choice on a buffer, displaying the result in an additional buffer. Currently supported processors include Xalan 1.x, and Saxon 5.x and 6.x. Cocoon 1.8.x, an XML publishing framework, is also supported through its command line interface; support for other Java XSLT processors could be added easily." Changes include additional support for the TrAX interface, support for GNU Emacs on Windows NT/2000, modified keyboard bindings, and enhanced documentation. [Full context]

  • [February 20, 2001]   Conference Program Available for XML Europe 2001.    Marion L. Elledge (Senior VP/IT, Graphic Communications Association) has announced the publication of the full conference program for the XML Europe 2001 Conference, to be held May 21 - 25 in Berlin. XML Europe 2001 is a conference for users and developers which "focuses on how XML powers industry applications. XML Europe 2001 offers 31 tutorials, 4 special interest days, and a 3-day conference featuring 6 concurrent tracks." Pre-conference tutorials will be held on Monday-Tuesday (May 21-22). The Special Interest Day Program will also be on May 22, featuring sessions on Enterprise Content Management, XML and Healthcare, XML and Digital Printing, and the XML Executive Briefing. Attendees may participate in conference tracks addressing ebXML, Web Services, Knowledge Management, XSLT, Digital Assets, Schemas, e-business applications, vertical industry applications, graphics, tools, and more. [Full context]

  • [February 20, 2001]   iX Magazine Publishes Three-Part Online XSLT Tutorial.    Henning Behme recently announced that iX - Magazin für professionelle Informationstechnik has published an online three-part tutorial for XSL Transformations (XSLT) Version 1.0. The XSLT tutorial begins with the basics and finishes by trying out AxKit (v 1.2) for serving XML sources dynamically." The three-part tutorial series is also available in German. The iX/Raven web site provides a list of XSLT resources, and references for XML generally. [Full context]

  • [February 19, 2001]   W3C XForms Working Group Publishes Updated XForms Working Draft.    A revised version of XForms 1.0 incorporating new material on the XForms Processing Model has been released by the W3C XForms Working Group. The working draft document "presents a description of the architecture, concepts, processing model, and terminology underlying XForms, the next generation Web forms. 'XForms' is W3C's name for a specification of Web forms that can be used with a wide variety of platforms of varying capabilities, for instance, desktop computers, television sets, personal digital assistants, cell phones, computer peripherals and even paper. XForms are comprised of separate sections that describe what the form does, and how the form looks; this allows for flexible presentation options, including classic XHTML forms, to be attached to an XML form definition." [Full context]

  • [February 19, 2001]   IBM Web Services Toolkit Provides New Support for UDDI, SOAP, and WSDL.    The updated Version 2.2 IBM Web Services Toolkit from alphaWorks labs provides a client API to access a UDDI registry; the client API makes use of the UDDI4J API also available from IBM. The updated Web Services Browser which can browse a complete UDDI registry in a tree-view format; it may be used to browse through web services published with the Web Services Client API, publish and unpublish services, view and save services' descriptions. Also included in the 2.2 release are several SOAP-related technical previews: "(1) the COM pluggable provider is an Apache SOAP pluggable provider that takes incoming requests to the SOAP server and delegates them to a COM object; (2) the Web Services Management Technology Preview introduces a management interface which allows SOAP server resources to be managed; (3) SOAP Chaining Framework preview demonstrates how modules of code (or Handlers) can be chained before and/or after the actrual Web Service being invoked." Updated WSDL tools, documentation, and configuration setup utilities are also provided in WSTK Version 2.2. The IBM Web Services Toolkit is "a runtime environment as well as demo/examples to design and execute web-service applications to find one another and collaborate in business transactions without programming requirements or human intervention." [Full context]

  • [February 19, 2001]   Wireless Abstract XML (WAX) Used in Morphis Wireless Content Transcoder.    Kargo, Inc. recently announced Morphis as a GPL open-source wireless transcoding platform for application development supporting wireless devices, including mobile phones, handheld PCs and personal digital assistants. "Central to the Morphis solution is WAX (Wireless Abstract XML), a set of tools and an abstract markup language used to author content for wireless applications; it provides a general foundation for performing any type of content transformation (including binary, plain text and text markup) and is also able to perform multiple complex transformations, including industry standard XSLT-based transformations. Morphis provides an XML processing framework based on XML SAX event processing and XSLT. Documents may be processed through multiple filters, and multiple translations; custom SAX filters can perform logic based on XML SAX events, or complex logic can be written using XSLT extensions." [Full context]

  • [February 17, 2001]   Open Archives Initiative Publishes XML Schemas for the OAI Metadata Harvesting Protocol.    Version 1.0 of The Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting has been published with appendices documenting XML schemas for metadata representation (e.g., Dublin Core metadata format, RFC1807 metadata format, MARC21 records in an XML format). The Open Archives Initiative, with funding from the Digital Library Federation and the Coalition for Networked Information, "develops and promotes interoperability standards" for efficient dissemination of content on the Web. The published OAI protocol defines a mechanism for harvesting records containing metadata from repositories, where metadata records be structured as XML data. The OAI protocol and has been extensively tested by a variety of alpha testers before its public release and is now widely implemented. The OAI metadata harvesting protocol supports an "interoperability framework with two classes of participants: (1) Data Providers administer systems that support the OAI protocol as a means of exposing metadata about the content in their systems; (2) Service Providers issue OAI protocol requests to the systems of data providers and use the returned metadata (XML-encoded byte stream) as a basis for building value-added services." An online 'Open Archives Initiative Repository Explorer' supports interactive testing of archives for conformance with the OAI protocol. [Full context]

  • [February 17, 2001]   XML4Lib Electronic Discussion Forum on the Use of XML in Libraries.    Roy Tennant has announced the launch of the XML4Lib Electronic Discussion Forum for the discussion of the Extensible Markup Language (XML) and its use in libraries. The purpose of the XML4Lib electronic discussion is to assist library staff in learning about XML and how to apply it to library problems and opportunities. XML4Lib is hosted on the Berkeley Digital Library SunSITE, a digital library and a support service for digital library, museum and archive developers. [Full context]

  • [February 17, 2001]   Species Analyst Project Uses ANSI/NISO Z39.50 and XML for Federated Natural History Databases.    The Species Analyst based at the University of Kansas Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center "is a research project developing standards and software tools for access to the world's natural history collection and observation databases. The Species Analyst relies heavily upon the fusion of the ANSI/NISO Z39.50 standard for information retrieval (ISO 23950) and XML. All of the tools used by the Species Analyst transform Z39.50 result sets into an XML format that is convenient to process further, either for viewing or data extraction. This fusion of Z39.50 and XML brings standards based information retrieval to the desktop by extending the capabilities of existing tools that users are familiar with such as Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Excel and ESRI's ArcView." [Full context]

  • [February 17, 2001]   Implementation Guideline Markup Language (igML).    Several EDI software vendors, including Extol, FORESIGHT, Paperfree, Dynamic Web, RTCI, and Washington Publishing have formed a working group to develop a new XML based markup language for the rendition of EDI implementation guidelines and standards. Implementation Guideline Markup Language (igML) will serve many of the same purposes as SEF, and the IMPDEF and DIRDEF EDIFACT messages, with important extensions. igML is not 'another schema language', nor is it 'a solution for X12 to XML conversion'. The XML DTD specifies the use of XML markup "to encapsulate all the information contained in an EDI guideline, as an XML version of SEF or IMPDEF." A W3C XML schema will be used in place of the XML DTD when the Schema Recommendation is issued. [Full context]

  • [February 16, 2001]   OASIS Entity Resolution Technical Committee Releases Draft XML Catalogs Specification.    Norman Walsh (Technology Development Group, Sun Microsystems, Inc.) announced the publication of a new version of the XML Catalogs specification from the OASIS Entity Resolution Technical Committee. The document addresses problems stemming from the lack of entity management facilities in XML, which has "impeded" interoperability of XML documents. The specification "defines an entity catalog that handles the simple cases of mapping an external entity's public identifier and/or system identifier to an alternate URI. Though it does not handle all issues that a combination of a complete entity manager and storage manager addresses, it simplifies both the use of multiple products in a great majority of cases and the task of processing documents on different systems." [Full context]

  • [February 16, 2001]   New W3C Working Drafts for XPath and XSLT Requirements.    W3C has published new working draft specifications for XPath Requirements Version 2.0 and XSLT Requirements Version 2.0. XPath is a language for addressing parts of an XML document, designed to be used by both XSLT and XPointer. The new XPath requirements document has been written by members of the XSL Working Group and the XML Query Working Group. Building upon the XPath 1.0 W3C Recommendation, the goals of XPath version 2.0 are to "simplify manipulation of XML Schema-typed content, simplify manipulation of string content, support related XML standards, improve ease of use, improve interoperability, improve i18n support, maintain backward compatibility, and enable improved processor efficiency." The XSLT 2.0 requirements specification has been produced by the XSL Working Group as part of the W3C Style activity. XSLT is a language for transforming XML documents into other XML documents; it is designed for use as part of XSL, which is a stylesheet language for XML that also includes an XML vocabulary for specifying formatting. The XSLT version 2.0 goals are similar to those of XPath 2.0; it will build upon XSLT 1.0 W3C Recommendation and will support W3C XML Schema by "providing support for the common operations needed for matching and construction of transformed documents based on a source document containing these typed elements and attributes." XSLT 2.0 non-goals are: "simplifying the ability to parse unstructured information to produce structured results" and "turning XSLT into a general-purpose programming language." [Full context]

  • [February 16, 2001]   OASIS Announces Technical Committee for TREX.    An announcement from Kark Best and James Clark describes the formation of a new OASIS Technical Committee for TREX (Tree Regular Expressions for XML). The purpose of the TREX TC is "to create a specification for a schema language for XML based on the TREX proposal. The key features of TREX are that it: is simple, is easy to learn, uses XML syntax, does not change the information set of an XML document, supports XML namespaces, treats attributes uniformly with elements so far as possible, has unrestricted support for unordered content, has unrestricted support for mixed content, has a solid theoretical basis, and can partner with a separate datatyping language (such W3C XML Schema Datatypes). The projected date for the first OASIS Committee Specification is 1-July-2001. [Full context]

  • [February 16, 2001]   NISO Releases Draft Standard ANSI/NISO Z39.86-200x for Digital Talking Books.    NISO (US National Information Standards Organization) has released a draft version of File Specifications for the Digital Talking Book [Draft Standard ANSI/NISO Z39.86-200x, Version 3.8] for public review. The standard defines an XML 1.0 element set (DTBook3) for markup of the text files of books and other publications presented in digital talking book (DTB) format; XML DTDs are presented in eight appendices. The standard "presents the file specifications for digital talking books (DTBs) for blind, visually impaired, physically handicapped, or otherwise print-disabled readers... DTBs go far beyond the limits imposed on analog audio books because they can include not just the audio rendition of the work, but the full text file and images as well." [Full context]

  • [February 15, 2001]   W3C XML Query Working Group Releases XQuery Working Draft and Related Documents.    The W3C XML Query Working Group has published an initial public working draft specification for XQuery: A Query Language for XML. XQuery "is designed to be broadly applicable across all types of XML data sources. XQuery is a functional language in which a query is represented as an expression; it is derived from an XML query language called Quilt, which in turn borrowed features from several other languages." Supporting specifications also released include: (1) XML Query Data Model "which is the foundation of XML Query Algebra; together, these two documents will provide a precise semantics for the XML Query Language. (2) The XML Query Algebra defines a a formal algebraic model for an XML query language. (3) XML Query Use Cases "specifies usage scenarios for the W3C XML Query data model, algebra, and query language." XML Query Requirements articulates "goals, requirements, and usage scenarios for the W3C XML Query data model, algebra, and query language." [Full context]

  • [February 15, 2001]   IBSi Finalizes ITML Account Provisioning Specification for Internet Business.    On February 15, 2001, The Internet Business Services Initiative (IBSi), an industry association promoting the development and use of Web-native business solutions, announced that it has "launched a 'proof-of-concept' implementation of its first standard to streamline interoperability among Internet Business Services. The IBSi ITML Provisioning Specification defines XML-based secure interoperability standards for sharing user data among Web-based business-to-business services so that customers will not have to enter the same information every time they subscribe to a new service or change their user-permissions levels." The provisioning specification has been proposed by IBSi member Jamcracker, which also recently sent an ITML Message And Protocol Specification Working Draft and an ITML Distributed Session Management Specification Working Draft to the OASIS Security Technical Committee. [Full context]

  • [February 15, 2001]   XPath Based Query Language Evaluation and Retrieval Tool (XPERT) Supports SAX.    Dongwook Shin announced that XPERT (XPath based query language Evaluation and Retrieval Tool) Version 0.5 now supports SAX. "XPERT is now able to index with SAX parsers as well as DOM parsers. With this, you can virtually index any size of XML file no matter how large it is. And you can hook up any Java SAX parser to XPERT as long as it supports SAX version 2. One more advantage is that SAX version takes less memory and index more quickly than DOM version. This Java tool allows different types of XML documents to be indexed together and and to be retrieved in an efficient way using an XPath based query language." [Full context]

  • [February 15, 2001]   CIMI Project Launches XML Testbed for SPECTRUM DTD.    Alice Grant (CIMI Project Manager) recently announced a test bed program designed to test the consortium's XML DTD and to encourage its use in the museum community for a variety of purposes. CIMI, a consortium of cultural heritage institutions and organizations. is working with the Museum Documentation Association to develop a Document Type Description (DTD) for describing objects in SPECTRUM, a well-known standard widely used in the museum world. CIMI's testing project will explore the utility of the SPECTRUM XML-DTD, as well as its interoperability with other XML DTDs originating from related cultural and heritage domains. [Full context]

  • [February 14, 2001]   MSL: A Model for W3C XML Schema.    Conversations by Dan Connolly, Andrea Asperti, and Philip Wadler on the the public W3C '' mailing list [forum for discussion of W3C Spec Production Issues] have (incidentally) referenced MSL (Model Schema Language), which represents "an attempt to formalize some of the core idea in XML Schema." MSL, as with Hypertextual Electronic Library of Mathematics (HEML) and the online The COQ proof assistant, may be of special interest to XML developers having expertise in mathematics and formal logic. A presentation entitled "MSL: A model for W3C XML Schema" will be given in an XML Foundations session at the Tenth International World Wide Web Conference (WWW10). An online draft paper indicates that "MSL has already proved helpful in work on the design of XML Query; we expect that similar techniques can be used to extend MSL to include most or all of XML Schema." According to one online authority, MSL (Model Schema Language) is "an initiative by members of the W3C's XML Schema Working Group, to provide a formal model for the XML Schema language." [Full context]

  • [February 13, 2001]   W3C Specification for XML Fragment Interchange Issued as a Candidate Recommendation.    The document XML Fragment Interchange of 12-February-2001 has been published as a W3C Candidate Recommendation, replacing the previous working draft of 1999-06-30. The editors are Daniel Veillard and Paul Grosso. The problem addressed by this specification, according to the abstract: "The XML standard supports logical documents composed of possibly several entities. It may be desirable to view or edit one or more of the entities or parts of entities while having no interest, need, or ability to view or edit the entire document. The problem, then, is how to provide to a recipient of such a fragment the appropriate information about the context that fragment had in the larger document that is not available to the recipient. The XML Fragment WG is chartered with defining a way to send fragments of an XML document -- regardless of whether the fragments are predetermined entities or not -- without having to send all of the containing document up to the part in question." [Full context]

  • [February 13, 2001]   XKMS Mailing List and Interest Group Meeting.    Philip Hallam-Baker (VeriSign, Inc.) posted an announcement for a new mailing list to support the work of anyone interested in the development/interoperability/standardization of XKMS. The "XML Key Management Specification (XKMS)" defines protocols "for distributing and registering public keys, suitable for use in conjunction with the proposed standard for XML Signature developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and an anticipated companion standard for XML encryption." An XKMS interest group meeting will be held in Cambridge MA on March 01, 2001, coordinated with meetings of the W3C XML Encryption Working Group [the March 1st XML Encryption FTF] and the OASIS XML Security Services Technical Committee. [Full context]

  • [February 13, 2001]   TM4J - A Topic Map Engine For Java.    Kal Ahmed ( recently announced the availability of TM4J, an open source topic map engine for Java programmers. "TM4J is a small suite of Java packages which provide interfaces and default implementations for the import, manipulation and export of Topic Maps encoded to conform to the XTM (XML Topic Maps) DTD, viz., the XTM syntax defined and specified by Topicmaps.Org. The new download also includes several sample applications, including an experimental topic map navigation application." Binary and source distributions are available for download; terms are based on the Apache Software Foundation license. [Full context]

  • [February 13, 2001]   TREX Supports New XML Schema Datatyping Implementation.    James Clark announced an updated sample implementation of TREX in Java. This implementation "now supports datatyping using a 'real implementation' of W3C XML Schema Part 2; the datatyping implementation is independent of the rest of the sample implementation, so it might be useful for other applications of XML Schema Part 2. There's also a TREX task that allows the TREX sample implementation to be used conveniently from within Ant." TREX (Tree Regular Expressions for XML) is Clark's new language for validating XML documents. [Full context]

  • [February 12, 2001]   XML Markup Technologies Featured at Corpus Linguistics 2001.    The upcoming Corpus Linguistics 2001 Conference at Lancaster University will feature a special workshop on "XML Markup Technologies for Working with Linguistic Data," organized by Jean Carletta (University of Edinburgh) and Henry Thompson (University of Edinburgh and W3C). The workshop will highlight W3C XML-related standards relevant to corpus linguistics research as well as the "inventory of tools and technologies for the markup and analysis of language data expressed in XML developed by the Language Technology Group at the University of Edinburgh's Division of Informatics, with support from EPSRC, ESRC, and the EU." The CL2001 conference itself offers a special session on 'Markup And Tools', with papers on feature structures, text alignment (synchronization), and XML-based systems for corpora development. [Full context]

  • [February 12, 2001]   Schematron Version 1.5 Assertion Language Supports 'phrases' for Dynamic Validation.    A communiqué from Rick Jelliffe (Academia Sinica Computing Centre) reports on the version 1.5 release of Schematron, including references for the updated specification, implementation, conformance tests, mailing list, and schemas web site. Schematron is a "simple XML-based assertion language using patterns in trees. Its uses include validation, automated link generation, and triggering actions based on complex criteria. Version 1.5 adds support for 'phases', a way of grouping patterns together to allow dynamic validation where different rules and assertions will be tested according to the phase, 'diagnostics', for generating very specific diagnostic hints, 'abstract rules', which allow more convenient declarations and type extension, and various smaller changes to allow elements to be decorated with more kinds of information that metastylesheets or user interfaces need." [Full context]

  • [February 12, 2001]   AuthXML Working Group Submits AuthXML Web Security Specification to OASIS.    The AuthXML Working Group has announced the submission of its AuthXML specification to the OASIS XML Security Services Technical Committee. In January, Netegrity, Inc. and a small group of vendors also submitted its Security Services Markup Language draft specification to the OASIS TC. AuthXML is a vendor-neutral specification that enables the integration of proprietary Web security, network security, B2B infrastructures and applications with individual Internet-based user sessions and transactions; the AuthXML Working Group is comprised of over 45 active contributors. [Full context]

  • [February 12, 2001]   US Library of Congress Hosts Online EAD Application Guidelines.    Kris Kiesling (Chair, SAA EAD Working Group and SAA Standards Committee) reports that the Web/HTML edition of the Encoded Archival Description Application Guidelines for Version 1.0 of the EAD DTD is now online from the Library of Congress EAD web site. The EAD Document Type Definition (DTD) is a standard for encoding archival finding aids using SGML and XML (Extensible Markup Language). The Encoded Archival Description SGML/XML standard is now used by dozens of universities and consortial digital library projects. The EAD standard is maintained in the Network Development and MARC Standards Office of the Library of Congress (LC) in partnership with the Society of American Archivists. [Full context]

  • [February 12, 2001]   XML Topic Maps 1.0 Authoring Group Review Specification.    Steve Pepper (Ontopia) recently announced the public release of the TopicMaps.Org Authoring Group Review Specification for XML Topic Maps 1.0. The specification "describes version 1.0 of XML Topic Maps (XTM) 1.0, an abstract model and XML grammar for interchanging Web-based topic maps, written by the members of the TopicMaps.Org Authoring Group. TopicMaps.Org is an independent consortium of parties developing the applicability of the topic map paradigm [ISO13250] to the World Wide Web by leveraging the XML family of specifications." Specification adopted by vote 2001-02-20. [Full context]

  • [February 12, 2001]   XML Access Control Language (XACL).    The IBM Tokyo Research Laboratory has several development projects in the area of XML security, including SOAP Security Extensions, a Java-based XML Security Suite, and an XML Access Control Language. The XML Security Suite distributed through the alphaWorks lab "provides security features such as digital signature, element-wise encryption, and access control to Internet business-to-business transactions." The recent update of this suite [2001-01-29] offers an improved API document for XACL, along with better KeyInfo handling of XML-Signature and a programing how-to guide. The XML Access Control Language (XACL) under development "provides XML with a sophisticated access control mechanism that enables the initiator not only to securely browse XML documents but also to securely update each document element. Similar to existing policy languages, XACL is used to specify an object-subject-action-condition oriented policy in the context of a particular XML document. The notion of subject comprises identity, group, and role. The granularity of object is as fine as single elements within the document. Currently, there are four possible actions (read, write, create and delete), but the structure of the language is not limited to these. XACL is based on a provisional authorization model [see 3 references], where we can specify provisional actions associated with a primitive action (read, write, create, or delete). Almost all studies in access control and authorization systems have assumed the following model: 'a user makes an access request of a system in some context, and the system either authorizes the access request or denies it.' In the provisional authorization model, the answer from the system is not simply 'grant' or 'deny.' It tells the user that his request will be authorized provided he (and the system) takes certain actions or that his request is denied but the system must still take certain actions. Such actions are called provisional actions. Examples of provisional actions include auditing, digital signature verification, encryption, and XSL transformations in addition to write, create and delete actions. These provisional actions enable us to specify policies such as the following: (1) A user is authorized to access confidential information, but the access must be logged. (2) A user is authorized to read sensitive information, but must sign a terms and conditions statement first. (3) If unauthorized access is detected, a warning message must be sent to an administrator. In the existing access control mechanisms, these provisional actions are all hard coded within applications, but in the provisional authorization system, they can be processed by the policy enforcement module, but not by applications...XACL supports multiple policy semantics besides the 'closed policy' that is supported in popular commercial products. The primary advantage of using XACL is that it enables users to specify flexible access control policies... XACL generates tree-structured access decisions that start from the referred object (element) in the target XML document every time. If the referred object has any child objects, then decision_list.xml will contain multiple decisions. XACL also generates access decisions in response to access requests. It is hard to write a generic evaluation algorithm using XSLT. However, once the access decisions are generated, an XSLT processor can be incorporated in the 'Request Execution Module' of the provisional authorization architecture." Note in this connection that discussion has been held on the OASIS Security list about a possible technical committee "focused on security related specifications orthogonal to the efforts of the XML-Based Security Services TC. Whereas XML-Based Security Services exists to define an XML framework for exchanging authentication and authorization information, XACML [Extensible Access Control Markup Language] is concerned with the representation of access control policies as XML and the application of these policies to XML documents..." For references on XACL, see "XML Access Control Language (XACL)."

  • [February 10, 2001]   Manuscript Access through Standards for Electronic Records (MASTER).    An international consortium of research groups has developed a preliminary draft specification to support encoding and interchange of computer-based information about medieval manuscripts. MASTER ('Manuscript Access through Standards for Electronic Records') is a European Union project "which in consort with several other related initiatives is attempting to define and implement a general purpose XML-based standard for the description of manuscript materials. The MASTER project team has created software for making the XML-encoded manuscript records, and tested the standard and the software on descriptions of some 2000 manuscripts. Many of these records will be mounted in a single networked catalogue, available to everyone." Draft DTDs in XML and SGML format are available for download, along with the formal reference documentation. The entity file driver expoits a well-known trick for accommodating both SGML and XML handling: <!ENTITY % mm "- -">. The design teams developing the MASTER DTD have cooperated closely with a Text Encoding Initiative Workgroup on manuscript descriptions; more than sixty projects worldwide use the TEI Guidelines as a basis for SGML/XML encoding for literary and linguistic texts. "MASTER is funded under the Framework IV Telematics for Libraries call. Partners in the project are: The Centre for Technology and the Arts, De Montfort University (leader); the Royal Library, the Hague; the Arnamagnaean Institute, Copenhagen; L'Institut de recherche et d'histoire des textes, Paris; the National Library of the Czech Republic, Prague; the University of Oxford. The Bildarchiv Foto Marburg, Germany, and IBM UK are also partners in MASTER. In addition, several other major libraries are associated partners in the project: these include the British Library, the Vatican Library, the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, and the Bodleian Library, Oxford. The project also has strong links to several North American manuscript projects and to the international Text Encoding Initiative, through a TEI workgroup on manuscript descriptions. The project team has also developed software tools to make it easier to prepare manuscript descriptions conformant to the standard. You can prepare SGML records directly using a customized text-editor. You can then use an online SGML parser to validate the records against the MASTER DTD. The French partner IRHT has also prepared a Microsoft Access database from which can records can then be exported into the project's SGML/XML format." In this connection, note that the draft SGML/XML DTDs for MASTER were generated from an HTML-forms interface using the The Pizza Chef [Tag Set Selector] designed for TEI work. The Pizza Chef tool helps you design your own TEI-conformant document type definition (DTD) in either SGML or XML format -- by clicking: "The TEI Guidelines define several hundred SGML elements and associated attributes, which can be combined to make many different DTDs, suitable for many different purposes, either simple or complex. With the aid of the Pizza Chef, you can build a DTD that contains just the elements you want, suitable for use with any SGML or XML processing system." For additional description and references, see "Manuscript Access through Standards for Electronic Records (MASTER)."

  • [February 09, 2001]   Semantic Web Activity Launched by W3C.    The World Wide Web Consortium has formally inaugurated a Semantic Web Activity within the W3C Technology and Society Domain. The 'Semantic Web' is "a vision: the idea of data on the Web defined and linked in a way that it can be used by machines for automation, integration and reuse. The Web can reach its full potential only if it becomes a place where data can be shared and processed by automated tools as well as by people." Part of this vision is "developing an environment to permit each user to make the best use of the resources available on the Web." The Semantic Web Activity is being launched as a successor to the W3C Metadata Activity. Key participants in the new activity include, in addition to W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee, (1) Eric Miller (W3C, Activity lead), (2) Ralph Swick (W3C, Development Lead), (3) Dan Brickley (University of Bristol, RDF IG Chair and RDF Core WG co-chair) and (4) Brian McBride (HP, RDF Core WG co-chair). Planned activities of W3C toward development of the Semantic Web vision are described in the W3C Semantic Web Activity Statement. We read: "For the Web to scale, programs must be able to share and process data even when these programs have been designed totally independently. The Web can reach its full potential only if it becomes a place where data can be shared and processed by automated tools as well as by people. The Semantic Web Activity, to this end, has been established to serve a leadership role, in both the design of enabeling specifications and the open, collaborative development of technolgies that support the automation, integration and reuse of data across various applications. To faciliate this goal, the Semantic Web Activity builds upon the existing foundation work accomplished by W3C Metadata Activity with the following additional objectives: (1) Continue the work of the RDF Interest Group. The RDF Interest Group will coordinate implementation and deployment of RDF and will provide liaison with new work in the W3C and the wider community on matters relating to RDF. (2) Undertake revisions to the RDF Model and Syntax Recommendation. (3) Complete work on the RDF Schema specification. This Working Group group will incorporate the results of the on-going RDF implementation experience and consider directions established by the XML Schema Candidate Recommendation. (4) Coordinate with W3C initiatives focussed on defining semantics for supporting Web technologies. This includes P3P, CC/PP, XML Protocols, WAI, and other infrastructure for remote services. (5) Coordinate with selected non-W3C initiatives and individual activities working on Semantic Web technologies. This coordination includes, but is not limited to, DCMI, DAML, OIL, SHOE. The current international collaboration between DAML and OIL groups on a Web ontology layer is expected to become a part of this W3C activity. The goals of coordination are to ensure the generality of the solution, to provide solutions and experience, to prevent arbitrary divergence, and to ease adoption of the technology in related fields. (6) Perform advanced development to design and develop supporting XML and RDF technologies. The development project is intended to facilitate distributed collaboration with a specific intent to increase the level of automation of the W3C Web site and to develop open-source RDF infrastructure support modules." See also (1) "DARPA Agent Mark Up Language (DAML)"; (2) "Ontology Interchange Language (OIL)." Other references are cited in "XML and 'The Semantic Web'."

  • [February 09, 2001]   XML.GOV Portal Opened.    As previewed in a December 2000 announcement, the US Chief Information Officers (CIO) Council has opened a new XML.GOV portal to provide awareness of federal XML-related initiatives. The portal will serve as a clearinghouse for federal XML activities as well as provide a collaborative workspace. The stated purpose of the web site "is to facilitate the efficient and effective use of XML through cooperative efforts among government agencies, including partnerships with commercial and industrial organizations." In the UK, similar coordination of XML-related 'e-Government' activity is facilitated through the "e-Government Interoperability Framework (e-GIF)." The XML.GOV portal currently references a number of federal XML-related efforts and provides an events calendar. The Enterprise Interoperability and Emerging Information Technology Committee (EIEITC) recently issued a memorandum to the Chief Information Officers Council calling for government-wide participation in enhancing the portal: ""Following a period of prototyping, the site has now been activated at Please make your staff aware of the site and encourage them to become active participants in helping to develop and improve its design and content. The longer-term objective is not only to provide a comprehensive and authoritative reference for government-related XML activities but also a collaborative work space to support those activities... The XML Working Group will be issuing an RFP for the second generation, embracing the principles outlined in Raines' Rules. One of the features contemplated for future implementation is an ISO/IEC Standard 11179 compliant registry/repository of inherently governmental XML data elements, DTDs, and schemas. If such a repository is established, it may be used on a pilot basis to register the data elements (fields) represented on Standard and Optional Forms (SFs & OFs), with the longer-term objective of integrating the registry into the information burden reduction process mandated by the Paperwork Reduction Act..." The CIO Council's Enterprise Interoperability and Emerging Information Technology Committee (EIEITC) chartered the XML Working Group "in order to capitalize on the potential of XML more efficiently and effectively on a Government-wide basis. The purpose of the XMLWG is to accelerate, facilitate and catalyze the effective and appropriate implementation of XML technology in the information systems and planning of the Federal Government. Wherever possible, the Working Group will seek to achieve the highest impact from resources by building on initiatives and projects that are underway in the Federal Government, or elsewhere in the public or private sectors." For other descriptiion and references, see: "US Federal CIO Council XML Working Group."

  • [February 09, 2001]   IBM and Microsoft Submit Specification for SOAP Security Extensions.    The W3C has acknowledged submission of a note by International Business Machines Corporation and Microsoft Corporation for SOAP Security Extensions: Digital Signature. Reference: W3C NOTE 06-February-2001, by Allen Brown (Microsoft), Barbara Fox (Microsoft), Satoshi Hada (IBM), Brian LaMacchia (Microsoft), Hiroshi Maruyama (IBM). Submitted by David Fallside (IBM) and David Turner (Microsoft Corporation). Document abstract: "This document specifies the syntax and processing rules of a SOAP header entry to carry digital signature information within a SOAP 1.1 Envelope." Rationale: "The motivation for this Note is to propose a standard way to use the XML Digital Signature syntax to sign SOAP 1.1 messages. We define a SOAP header entry <SOAP-SEC:Signature> for this purpose. We also propose the definition of an extensible namespace for adding security features to the SOAP header. By extensible we mean that new elements can be added to the schema overtime but elements in the schema will not change. It is our intention that other security features, such as confidentiality of SOAP 1.1 messages, will be added within this namespace as appropriate standards, such as forthcoming XML Encryption, become available. What we specifically defer to another Note or working group is the definition of an authentication protocol for SOAP. By 'protocol', we mean any expectation of processing by the recipient of a signed/encrypted message." According to the text of the submission, "The co-submitters of this specification believe strongly in the need for standardized protocols to support interoperable interactions with remote Web-based services. Although there are a number of similar efforts underway, we feel the W3C is well suited to co-ordinate work in this area. We propose the formation of a new working group within the existing XML Protocol Activity or the inclusion of this activity in the XML Protocol Working Group to continue the evolution of this proposal. It is essential that security be part of the interoperability goals within XML messaging." Joseph Reagle (W3C Team Contact for the XML Signature Working Group) supplied this explanation and disposition in the W3C Staff comment: "The SOAP-SEC submission specifies how to use XML Signature with SOAP via envelop headers. First, it imports two optional envelop headers for use in SOAP-SEC: 'actor' can be used to indicate the recipient of a header element; 'mustUnderstand' indicates whether an application must attempt validation of the enclosed Signature. While the example provided is of a detached signature, (<Signature> is a sibling of the element signed), enveloping and enveloped signatures are permitted, where <Signature> is an ancestor or descendant respectively. XML Signature can work with arbitrary content, but its use with these SOAP headers might be of interest to the XML Protocol Working Group as a usage scenario for mandatory/optional signature validation over messages. Second, the submission defines a global attribute 'ID' in the SOAP-SEC namespace that is defined to always be of type ID. This can be used by applications as a referent of a Signature to unambiguously identify and reference elements. W3C Working Groups, especially XML Signature, might consider generalizing and standardizing this approach for use by all XML applications. This submission will be referred to the attention of the XML Protocol Working Group and the XML Signature Working Group email lists for the reasons stated above." See (1) "Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)" and (2) "XML Digital Signature (Signed XML - IETF/W3C)."

  • [February 09, 2001]   Quick Version 4.0 Combines Java Data Modeling with an XML Binding Schema.    Bill la Forge announced the release of Quick Version 4.0.0, with significant enhancements since version 3.3.1: "QJML now serves as both a Java Data Modeling language and as an XML binding schema. Full Java inheritance is supported in the XML schema. This release also introduces OCM, a component system for performing complex XML transformations. Like Quick, OCM is intended for a multi-threading environment." Quick, being developed as an open source project [LGPL] on SourceForge, "is a tool for generating and processing XML. Arbitrary object structures can be converted into trees of XML elements. Cross-linked XML documents can be converted into structures of objects. Quick is a data modeling system for Java. Quick fully supports Java inheritance, including abstract and interface elements. The developer is given fine-grained control over code generation, so the generated code can extend and interoperate with pre-existing classes. Quick works with Java Beans and Bean Property Editors. Developer-provided Bean Property Editors allow the use of custome data types (Java classes) when processing XML attributes and simple elements with text content. Quick provides a thread-safe framework (the ocm package) for simple and complex data transformations. QJML is an XML markup language for describing Java models. QJML elements are tied to various Java classes, interfaces, fields, and Bean Properties. QJML can be used to generate Java classes and can be created through Java reflection. QJML is also an XML binding schema. QJML describes both an XML markup language and how to convert that type of XML document into Java objects. Because QJML describes a Java data model, it can be used to extract data from an object graph. This data can then be used to create an XML document, or to create Java objects using a different set of classes (transcription). QDML is a simplified form of QJML, with all references to classes, interfaces, fields, and properties removed. QDML still defines an XML markup language, and also supports Java inheritance. QIML is the compiled form of QJML. The elements in a QIML document are used to configure the Quick Engine objects, which are used in turn to convert XML documents into Java objects and to generate XML documents from Java objects. The Open Conversion Model (OCM) is an element composition system for defining complex data transformations. OCM is build using Quick and, in turn, is being used to write various Quick utilities. OCM uses a model/controler approach to help keep maintenance at a manageable level, but applies this approach to tree processing. OCM, like the Quick Engine, uses a tree-factory design pattern. XML is used to configure a tree factory, which is then converted into a tree of factory objects. The tree factory is then used to create context trees for processing." The changes between versions 3.3.1 and 4.0.0: (1) The QJML binding schema and the QDML schema have been reworked to more closely model Java inheritance, to provide better control over generated code, and to provide for future support of arrays, maps, and indexed properties. The qjml4 utility has been included in this release to help convert old QJML files to the new format. (2) A component system, OCM, has been developed to support complex data transformations. (3) In an effort to reduce maintenance, the utilities are being rewritten using OCM. (4) There have been some bug fixes in the Quick Engine code dealing with multi-threading issues. (5) There has also been a bug fix dealing with default values. The source is available for download.

  • [February 09, 2001]   The XSLT C Library for Gnome (libxslt).    Daniel Veillard recently posted information about an XSLT C Library for Gnome (libxslt) now under development. The GNOME project was born "as an effort to create an entirely free desktop environment for free systems. From the start, the main objective of GNOME has been to provide a user friendly suite of applications and an easy-to-use desktop. As with most GNU programs, GNOME has been designed to run on all modern strains of Unix-like operating systems." The XSLT C Library for Gnome (libxslt) is being released as a "first beta" version. Key points: (1) Libxslt is a C implementation; (2) Libxslt is based on libxml for XML parsing, tree manipulation and XPath support [see "The XML C library for Gnome"]; (3) It is written in plain C, making as few assumptions as possible, and sticking closely to ANSI C/POSIX for easy embedding. Should works on Linux/Unix/Windows; (4) The library is released under the GNU LGPL. Both the C library and libxml-2.3.0 are available at Online resources for using libxml include the API documentation automatically extracted from code comments (using gtk doc) and the mailing-list archive. Veillard writes: "... adding one more unfinished XSLT processor to the list may sound like a bad idea. The point is that I will try to fix all reported bugs in a timely fashion. This is also very likely to be included in most Linux distributions within six months as part of the Gnome enviroment. It should also compile and work without troubles in most C enviroment, (with the notable exception of AS/400 where the compiler represent char/strings in EBCDIC and not ASCII)... As Libxslt-0.1.0 is the first beta release, it should cover most features from the XSLT-1.0 spec but it's clearly not complete yet; check the FEATURES file to get a precise idea... The embedded xmlproc test program allows one to run non-trivial transformations anyway. Usage is: xsltproc [-v] [--debug] file.xsl file.xml. The main parts missing are: Extensions support; Embedding Stylesheets; Some part of xsl:number; xsl:apply-imports; document() and key() are incomplete. A quick grep on FEATURES indicates 146 YES and 19 NO. Bjorn Reese provided numbers and formatting functions. We are getting closer from feature completion at a quick rate. Libxslt may work for most use right now, but it is clear that its not well tested and it's aboslutely certain that some obvious bugs will be found as there is more testing and real use." For related tools, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support."

  • [February 09, 2001]   Microsoft Releases XDR-XSD Converter.    An XDR-XSD Converter is available for download from Microsoft's [XML] MSDN Online Development Center. The transformation tool is made available in its current beta state for experimentation purposes only. "This XSLT stylesheet transforms XML Data Reduced (XDR) Schemas as supported in MSXML to XML Schemas -- conformant to the W3C XML Schema Candidate Recommendation of October 25, 2000. MSXML 3.0 itself does not support the W3C XML Schema format. Notes on XDR-XSD Converter: XDR schemas using open content models allow more attribute extensions than the XML Schema resulting from this style sheet. Specifically, under XDR, when model="open" attributes from the target namespace may be added to an element, as long as they conform to the validity constraints for that attribute. Attributes from other namespaces may be added to an element, whether or not there are validity constraints for those attributes. It is not possible in XSD to treat attribute validation differently for attributes from the target namespace (<xsd:anyAttribute namespace="##targetNamespace" processContents="lax"/>) than for attributes from other namespaces (<xsd:anyAttribute namespace="##other" processContents="strict"/>). This is represented in the XML Schema DTD as only allowing one <xsd:anyAttribute/> element. The transformed XSD schema will not allow attributes from the target namespace. You may want to adjust the resulting schema to accommodate for this, by either not requiring attributes from the target namespace to be validated, or by adding the allowed attributes explicitly to the content model." The developers welcome feedback on problems encountered or other suggestions that would help them improve the transformation tool. Note that Microsoft has also released a MSXML 3.0 .cab File Redistribution Package which allows one to distribute MSXML 3.0 through the Internet. For schema description and references, see "XML Schemas."

  • [February 09, 2001]   Apache XML Project Releases Apache SOAP Version 2.1.    A recent communiqué from James Snell announces the release of Apache SOAP Version 2.1. Apache SOAP ("Simple Object Access Protocol") is an implementation of the SOAP submission to W3C. It is based on, and supersedes, the IBM SOAP4J implementation. Apache SOAP v2.1 has been released and is available for download in a Zipfile. New features in version 2.1 include: (1) Added message handling support; (2) Added configurable error handling mechanism; (3) Added pluggable provider support; (4) Added client-side HTTPS support; (5) Added HTTP proxy support; (6) Added HTTP basic authentication support; (7) Added support for SOAP Messages with Attachments; (8) Introduced SOAPContext; (9) Added support for transport hooks; (10) Added SSL support; (11) Reduced dependency on xsi:type for deserialization; (12) Added soap configuration file; (13) Added pluggable configuration manager; (14) Added support for international character sets; (15) Added support for default serialization/deserialization of: Hashtable (as xmlsoap:Map), Date (as xsd:timeInstant) GregorianCalendar (as xsd:date). The Apache XML Project currently consists of seven sub- projects, each focused on a different aspect of XML: Xerces - XML parsers in Java, C++ (with Perl and COM bindings); Xalan - XSLT stylesheet processors, in Java and C++; Cocoon - XML-based web publishing, in Java; FOP - XSL formatting objects, in Java; Xang - Rapid development of dynamic server pages, in JavaScript; SOAP - Simple Object Access Protocol; Batik - A Java based toolkit for Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG); Crimson - A small-footprint Java XML parser. See "Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)."

  • [February 09, 2001]   RDF-Crawler Knowledge Base Tool.    Siegfried Handschuh (Institute AIFB, University of Karlsruhe, Germany) announced the availability of an RDF-Crawler. It is a java-based tool/API which downloads interconnected fragments of RDF from the Internet and builds a knowledge base from this data. The development team plans to make the crawler a windows application as well (using Java Swing). Implementation follows the design presened in the document "Specification of an RDF Crawler." In part: "Ontology servers and other tools dealing with meta information sometimes need to retrieve facts describing resources on the Web. The current standard of making statements about Web resources is RDF (Resource Description Framework), and there are a few more standards which build on top of the RDF, e.g., RDFS and OIL. Therefore we may need a utility to download RDF information from all over the Internet. This utility will be henceforth called RDF Crawler. It is a tool which downloads interconnected fragments of RDF from the Internet and builds a knowledge base from this data. At every phase of RDF crawling we maintain a list of URIs to be retrieved as well as URI filtering conditions (e.g., depth, URI syntax), which we observe as we iteratively download resources containing RDF. To enable embedding in other tools, RDF Crawler provides a high-level programmable interface (Java API). RDF Crawler utility is just a wrapper around this API - either a console application, or a windows application or a servlet. The tool is available for download, together with online API documentation. Note: "Currently the RDF Crawler is tested only on the Windows platform, using Java Version 1.3. You can get it from - either as JDK (Java Developer Kit) for development, or JRE (Java Runtime Environment) just for running this program. Linux/Unix platforms may cause problems in a few places where we use Windows-style filepaths, but they could be easy to correct." See (1) "Resource Description Framework (RDF)", and (2) "XML and 'The Semantic Web'."

  • [February 09, 2001]   Xalan-Java Version 2.0 Released.    David Marston recently announced the availability of Xalan-Java Version 2.0. Xalan is "an XSLT processor ['a stylesheet interpreter'] for transforming XML documents into HTML, text, or other XML document types. It implements the W3C Recommendations for XSL Transformations (XSLT) and the XML Path Language (XPath). It can be used from the command line, in an applet or a servlet, or as a module in other program." Marston writes: "The Xalan team of the Apache XML Project proudly announces the debut of Xalan-Java Version 2.0. This new edition of the highly reliable XSLT processor implements the transformation part of the Java API for XML Processing version 1.1 (final draft), enabling API-level users to code XML applications without reference to the internal details of a particular processor or XML parser. In addition, the API is more understandable, encouraging more participation in the open-source development of Xalan. The internals of Xalan have been redesigned for greater clarity, while the processor behavior has been brought into closer conformance with the XSLT and XPath Recommendations of the World Wide Web Consortium. The new design lends itself to the production of transformation output while the input is still being parsed. Xalan-Java 2.0 incorporates the SAX parsing event model in its support for incremental production of output. The new API, otherwise known as TrAX (Transformation API for XML), provides a stable framework for plugging transformers (Xalan-Java 2 and others) and XML Parsers into applications that manipulate XML. In November 2000, TrAX was incorporated into Java Specification Request 63, now in the public review stage. Xalan-Java 2 has been tested by beta users around the world, and has also passed thousands of abstract tests applied by IBM Research staffers who work full-time on evaluation and enhancement of XSLT processors. It is ready to replace Xalan-Java 1.2 in all applications. In addition to implementing the XSLT specification, Xalan-Java 2 includes extension functions for SQL access to databases via JDBC, redirection of output, conversion of result-tree fragments to node-sets, set operations on node-sets, tokenizing strings, and more. Xalan-Java 2 available now for free download from the Apache website: The download will include documentation, usage samples, and source code." For related resources, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support."

  • [February 08, 2001]   SoapRMI from 'Extreme! Computing'.    From the IU Extreme! Computing Group: "SOAP RMI is our implementation of RMI [Remote Method Invocatio] based on nanoSOAP; it's our implementation of a simple SOAPv1.0 serialization and deserialization mechanism. SOAP RMI uses an XML-Schema specification of the server interface to generate the associated stubs and skeletons. A remote object reference is an HTTP URL along with information that uniquely identifies the instance. The stubs and skeletons do not directly interact with the SOAP implementation, but instead use a communication object which is an abstraction that helps hide the underlying implementation of SOAP. This design is useful as it allows run-time insertion of different SOAP implementations. We have created a mailing list for the purpose of bug reporting and discussion about our SoapRMI. You can subscribe to it using Mailman interface or just browse list archives... SoapRMI-Events sketches how events can work with SoapRMI 1.1. A project research paper addresses the relevant questions; "Requirements for and Evaluation of RMI Protocols for Scientific Computing," by Madhusudhan Govindaraju, Aleksander Slominski, Venkatesh Choppella, Randall Bramley, and Dennis Gannon (Department of Computer Science,Indiana University, Bloomington, IN). This paper, accepted for SuperComputing 2000, asks: (1) What is the raw performance of SOAP when used as a foundation for a RMI system? (2) How does SOAP performance compare with that of Java RMI and Nexus? (3) Where are the bottlenecks in SOAP performance? Which are removable through better implementations, and which are inherent in the protocol itself? (4) Can a dynamic multi-protocol system be designed that achieves the benefits of several runtime systems? The paper addresses these questions and shows that SOAP can be used to build a reliable, multi-protocol RMI system that can access desktop component technology like Microsoft COM and other non-Java software components. However, when additional performance is needed a multi-protocol approach allows a faster, more specialized protocol to be dynamically inserted to move data. Several efforts have been started to extend SOAP to have security and higher performance. You may download beta version of XML Pull Parser. Pull Parser 1.1 was designed for and it should be optimal for applications that require very small size XML parser - the jar file with compiled classes is around 20KB. Its pull parsing model is especially well suited for unmarshalling complex data structures from XML. Before using pleease read API documentation and browse through source code. Full source code both for Java and C++ versions is available under open source license... Our first implementation of SOAPRMI is now available. It uses SOAP 1.0 serialization but is not fully SOAP 1.0 complaint. We are now finishing next verion of SOAPRMI that will be interoperable with Apache SOAP and is implemented both for Java and C++. It is available as ZIP or JAR file. SoapOpera: We are currently working on RMI based on SoapC++ that will interoperate with the RMI based on SoapJava. We will update this page as soon as we are done with our implementation..." See also: "Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)."

  • [February 08, 2001]   Interbind XML Messaging Server.    A communiqué from Geoffrey W. Smith of Interbind, Inc. reports on the public availabilty of newly-released XML Messaging Server, Version 0.8. "The Interbind XML Messaging Server is designed to facilitate communication with and among Web Services by transmitting XML-based messages to and from nodes offering Web Services in a peer-to-peer network. The messaging server and its source code can be downloaded for free. Documentation, tutorials and sample applications are also provided to help developers build new applications based on the messaging server. The developer site also has a support forum. Interbind is eager for feedback from the XML community . The primary features of the Interbind XML Messaging Server include: (1) Easy XML-based configuration; (2) Pre-built XML message envelopes that support a variety of message types; (3) Java-to-XML serialization/deserialization; (4) Support for secure peer-to-peer connections; (5) Lightweight memory and processor requirements. A more detailed technical description is presented in the API Reference Guide for the Interbind XML Messaging Server, available online and as part of the download package. Tutorials and sample applications are also available showing how to build applications that utilize the Interbind XML Messaging Server. Use of the Interbind XML Messaging server requires an XML parser that is either SAX2 or DOM compatible and Sun's Java Runtime Environment. Development using the message server requires JDK 1.2 or later."

  • [February 08, 2001]   World Wide Web Consortium Publishes W3C Weekly News.    The W3C announced that it has "launched a new public news service, W3C Weekly News, published on Mondays. This text-based email includes all home page news items for the previous week." The '' weekly news column is read only. The corresponding news archives are available online. To subscribe to the W3C Weekly News, send email to with the the word subscribe in the subject line. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) "is 500 Member organizations and 65 Team members leading the Web to its full potential. W3C is an international industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (MIT LCS) in the USA, the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) in France, and Keio University in Japan. The home page of the W3C Morocco Office (hosted by the École Mohammadia d'Ingénieurs [EMI], in Rabat, Morocco) is also now open to the public. The W3C Web site hosts specifications, guidelines, software and tools. Public participation is welcome. W3C supports universal access, the semantic Web, trust, interoperability, evolvability, decentralization, and cooler multimedia."

  • [February 07, 2001]   W3C Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) Test Suite.    On behalf of the W3C SVG Working Group, Chris Lilley (Working Group Chair) announced the completion of a second public release of the W3C Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) Test Suite. SVG "is a language for describing two-dimensional graphics in XML which 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." Details on the new test suite are provided in the Second BE Release Notes. The new release comprises 127 tests which have been updated to the latest SVG specification and extensively tested. "The latest release includes 'Basic Effectivity' tests - aiming for covering all of the spec, but not in fullest detail; further releases will add 'Drilldown Tests' which fully exercise all posibilities of particular features. Various test harnesses are available: (1) a frame-based harness, with the reference PNG and the test SVG presented side by side, together with instructions (for browser implementations and plug-ins) (2) an SVG-based harness which uses the SVG image element to include the actual test, and provides navigation links. To view the reference PNG and the instructions, you will need to also view (in an HTML browser) the reference PNG and instructions. (3) another SVG harness which displays the reference PNG and the SVG test image side by side, with navigation links. (4) a bare-bones harness with the reference PNG and instructions displayed in an HTML page; the SVG files are loaded one by one; suitable for standalone viewers or editors that do not implement the SVG image element fully. The accompanying SVG Conformance Suite Implementation Status document [Release 2.0 - 27 January 2001] "describes the results of particular SVG implementations tested against the SVG Conformance Test Suite." Implementation tested include Adobe, CSIRO SVG Toolkit, Batik, Ionic, Jackaroo, and JASC Web Draw. The goal in this test is to "demonstrate that every part of the SVG Candidate Recommendation specification can be implemented, as required by the SVG Candidate Recommendation exit criteria. For this, each BE test must be passed by at least one implementation. It is not an exhaustive test of all SVG implementations; the implementations listed here are the ones that were readily available at the time of conformance testing. This is also not a formal test, and thus does not rank the implementations. The purpose is purely to show that the SVG specification can be and has been implemented, and to demonstrate a good degree of interoperability between implementations. The package may be downloaded as a single zipfile for local/offline testing, along with the manual. See references in "W3C Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)."

  • [February 07, 2001]   W3C Workshop on Quality Assurance.    The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced a 'Workshop on Quality Assurance' at W3C. Registration is open through 28-March-2001 for this W3C Workshop on Quality Assurance, to be hosted by NIST in Washington, D.C. USA, on April 3-4, 2001. Participants can share their understanding of Web QA tools, conformance activities at W3C, and discuss a potential new W3C QA Activity. Position papers should be submitted to the Workshop Chairs by March 16, 2001. The main objective of the workshop, identified in the call for participation, "is to have W3C, its membership and the Web community involved in QA at large to share their understanding of the state of affairs for Web QA tools, technical and business practices and conformance activities at W3C or related to W3C specifications. Furthermore, as we're planning the start of a new W3C activity, one of our goals is to get feedback on the best course of action within W3C that would improve the quality of W3C specifications implementation in the field over time (i.e. what will be in the charter of this activity)." See the Quality Assurance (QA) Activity Proposal (draft). "Besides the shape to give this new potential W3C QA activity, there are several areas of interest related to Quality Assurance and Conformance of W3C technologies that we would like to hear about at the workshop: (1) experience in validation of Web content and documents - e.g., is this CSS page valid?; (2) online testing conformance of user agents - is this multimedia player correctly implementing SMIL1.0?; (3) quality of W3C specifications themselves - wrt conformance statement, tutorial, etc.; (4) conformance testing methodology - e.g., is this CSS page valid?; (2) online testing conformance of user agents - is this multimedia playe test design and components of a test suite; (5) certification/labeling of content, products or services; (6) common framework/harness for running test; (7) coordination with W3C Working Group developing specifications; (8) IPR and funding model." See also the Workshop Agenda, the Background Reference Material, and the W3C mailing list ''. On conformance in particular, see "XML Conformance." For other XML conferences/workshops, see the events calendar.

  • [February 07, 2001]   Sun Microsystems Proposes Java APIs for XML RPC.    Sun Microsystems recently published a Java Specification Request for design activity that would provide consistent Java APIs for using emerging XML RPC standards. Reference: JSR-000101, Java APIs for XML RPC. JSR Review Closes 2001.02.12. Endorsers and initial Expert Group Members include: Allaire, Apple, ATG, BEA, Bowstreet, Commerce One, HP/Bluestone, iPlanet, SilverStream, Sun Microsystems, webGain, webMethods. According to the text of the proposal, "There is considerable interest in using XML for 'Remote Procedure Calls', where a procedure call (or method call) on one computer is transmitted over a network as XML and is then delivered as procedure call (or method call) on another computer. In particular, there is now a W3C Protocol Working Group developing a standard XML protocol, 'XP', which supports XML RPC. The goal of this JSR is to develop APIs and conventions for supporting XML RPC protocols in the Java platform. There are three main needs to be addressed: (1) APIs for marshaling and unmarshaling arguments and for transmitting and receiving calls. These APIs should permit the development of portable 'stubs' and 'skeletons'. (A stub is a piece of code that runs on a client computer and maps a language level call into a network call. A skeleton is an analogous piece of code that runs on a server and maps an incoming network call to a language level call on the server.) (2) APIs and conventions for mapping XML RPC call definitions into Java interfaces, classes, and methods. The purpose of this 'forward mapping' is to allow XML RPC interfaces that have been defined in other languages to be mapped into Java. It is highly desirable to be able to map all XML RPC call definitions into Java. (3) APIs and conventions for mapping Java classes, interfaces, and methods into XML RPC call definitions. The purpose of this 'reverse mapping' is to allow programmers to define APIs in Java and then map them into XML RPC. There may be some constraints on which Java methods can be mapped into XML RPC. As part of mapping between XML RPC data types and Java types, this JSR will attempt to include support for existing Java language to XML mappings, such as those defined in JSR-031 'XML Data Binding' (and possibly also those defined in JSR-057 'JavaBeans Persistence'). The expert group will evaluate to what extent the XML RPC mappings and APIs should be aligned with the existing CORBA and RMI APIs and mappings. The JSR will make reasonable efforts to define APIs and conventions that are independent of specific protocols and data formats, and to define APIs that are 'pluggable' and can allow different protocols to be substituted. However, the initial primary focus will be on the emerging W3C XP standard. Where possible, the JSR will attempt to use or learn from existing work on Java XML RPC systems, especially work such as the Apache SOAP project. [Rationale:] There are already two major RPC systems in the Java platform, the OMG CORBA Object Request Broker, and the Java Remote Method Invocation (RMI) APIs. However, neither of these systems have been designed to work with XML RPC. Where practicable, this JSR should attempt to align with this existing RPC work. There are several existing JSRs that define XML APIs. These include JSR-031 'XML Data Binding', JSR-057 'JavaBeans Persistence', JSR-063 'Java APIs for XML Processing 1.1', JSR-067 'Java APIs for XML Messaging', and JSR-093 'Java APIs for XML Registries'. None of these APIs address XML RPC. However, the Java APIs for XML RPC should attempt to align with and exploit these existing APIs. In particular, it is expected there will be close liaison between this XML RPC JSR and the existing XML Messaging JSR, as it appears that it will be beneficial for these two JSRs to be closely aligned. Both styles of communication (asynchronous messaging and synchronous RPCs) are likely to be important, for different use cases." Please direct comments on the JSR to Contact: Graham Hamilton. See also (1) "XML-RPC", and (2) Dave Winer's comment on the Sun JSR-000101.

  • [February 05, 2001]   W3C Workshop on Web Services.    Hugo Haas (W3C/MIT) posted a 'Call for Participation' for a W3C Workshop on Web services. This workshop on Web services will be held in San Jose, CA on April 11-12, 2001. The deadline for W3C Member position papers for the workshop program is March 12, 2001. Workshop participation will be opened to the public on March 13, 2001. Information about registration and participation requirements and other meeting details is available on the W3C web site. Workshop description: "From its early days, Web technologies have been used to provide an interface to distributed services (e.g., HTML forms calling CGI scripts). The advent of XML has accelerated this development, and has sparked the emergence of numerous XML-based environments that enable Web services. These environments are starting to encompass the classical components of distributed application environments such as protocol conventions, security mechanisms, mechanisms to ensure reliable delivery and provide transaction functionality, interface description languages, and marshalling mechanisms, all of which are adapted to the special needs of the Web environment, and the requirements of XML. W3C has recently started to address some of these techniques in the XML Protocol Activity, and in the XML Protocol Working Group. Since the start of this work, Members have expressed interest in expanding the scope to also cover other aspects of an XML-based distributed application environment, such as Web service descriptions. The purpose of the Web services workshop is to gather the community interested in XML-based Web service solutions and standardization of components thereof, which includes both solution providers and users of this technology. The goal of the workshop is to advise the W3C about which further actions (Activity Proposals, Working Groups, etc.) should be taken with regard to Web services. Topics likely to be discussed at this workshop include, but are not limited to: (1) Reliable messaging, (2) Security, (3) Privacy of business data, (4) Transactions, (5) Interface definition languages, (6) Discovery of Web service applications, (6) Web service descriptions, (7) Message and protocol semantics, (8) Development environments for Web services, and (9) Other components of Web services not yet addressed by the XML Protocol Activity." For other XML conferences/workshops, see the events calendar.

  • [February 05, 2001]   Mailing List for Microsoft Reader and 'EBooks'.    Jon Noring announced the formation of a new unmoderated mailing list 'MS_Reader' for the discussion of all technical matters pertaining to the Microsoft Reader for ebooks. This list is independent: it is neither not affiliated with nor endorsed by the Microsoft Corporation. All posts to MS_Reader are publicly accessible and there are no membership restrictions. A partial list of allowable discussion topics include: (1) Technical publishing matters associated with the creation of works in LIT format. This includes, as a partial list, OEBPS, HTML, CSS, XML, conversion from other formats, compilers, etc. (2) End-user issues, such as the installation of Microsoft Reader (both Desktop and PocketPC versions), reading, and accessibility. (3) Software development using Microsoft's Reader Content SDK. This includes the development of new LIT compilers. (4) Security and server issues. To join the list, follow the instructions on the Yahoo Groups [formerly eGroups] forum. On EBooks, see "Open Ebook Initiative." For other lists, see "SGML/XML Discussion Groups and Mailing Lists."

  • [February 03, 2001]   XML Used in the European Visual Archive Project (EVA).    A research report from René van Horik (Researcher and Project Manager, Netherlands Institute for Scientific Information Services - NIWI) describes the use of XML in the European Visual Archive (EVA) The European Visual Archive is a searchable image resource containing thousands of historical photographs from the collections of the London Metropolitan Archives and the Stadsarchief Antwerpen. The EVA project partners are: Antwerp City Archives (Belgium), Telepolis (Belgium), London Metropolitan Archives (UK), Netherlands Institute for Scientific Information Services (the Netherlands), SailLabs GmbH (Germany) and the European Commission on Preservation and Access (the Netherlands). The development of the EVA-system is part of Workpackage 6 of the EVA (European Visual Archive) Project. EVA is a project for the Info2000 initiative launched by DG XIII of the European Commission, responsible for telecommunications and the information market. According to the report, The EVA Project project aims to investigate relevant issues to enhancing access to historical photographic collections. These issues include: copyright issues, selection procedures, user surveys, digitization techniques, description standards, pricing policy and digital information management systems. Based on the outcomes of this research a Web-based information system is being developed called the EVA system. This system contains descriptions and digital images that belong to the photographic holdings of two City archives: the London Metropolitan Archives and the City archives of Antwerp. The EVA project has two main audiences: Image producers and image consumers. Based on the outcomes of the project an archive will be able to digitize and document its photographs in a well thought-out way. The low threshold for collections to join the EVA system provides them with a tool to get in contact with a huge potential of image consumers... For the implementation of the data exchange between the local archive information systems and the central EVA system the project decided to use the XML standard. This is an application independent data structure. For each description of a photograph a separate XML file is created. An XML document contains special instructions called tags, which usually enclose identifiable parts of the document. The elements that are allowed are specified in a DTD (Document Type Definition). The DTD used by the EVA system is called EVOlite DTD [Appendix B]. In this way self-describing documentation units are created. The creation of the XML files in principle is the responsibility of the archives. Within the project software and procedures were developed to assist them in the creation of output in XML format. In the future probably more and more information systems will facilitate the creation of data in XML format and it will become easier to manage data consistency between a local archive management system and the Web-based access system. Just like with the images the XML files are sent via FTP to the server of the EVA system. The archives can independently add, change and delete descriptions. The EVA system aims at two types of usage: End-users interested in access to a catalogue of images and descriptions, and users interested in the results of the EVA project and the model of the EVA system. Based on the information on the Web site an archive employee should be able to evaluate the relevance of the project results for the conversion and dissemination of its own collection. The XML formatted descriptions are automatically converted to the database on which the EVA system is based. Periodically the database is refreshed with new information that is sent to the server by the archives with the help of the FTP protocol." Appendix D of the EVA design specification describes 'Multilingual Query Processing' features. In this connection, the interchange format used is OLIF (Open Lexicon Interchange Format); "OLIF is based on a XML/SGML type notation. Each OLIF exchange file has a XML/SGML header containing basically global definitions of features and values used in the OLIF document type definition and a body containing the entries." For further description and references, see "European Visual Archive Project (EVA)."

  • [February 02, 2001]   SOAP 1.1 Validator Web Application.    Dave Winer (UserLand Software Inc.) announced the availability of an online SOAP 1.1 Validator Web Application. "This server is running Frontier 6.2, with our SOAP 1.1 support. We used the validator approach with much success in shaking out incompatibilities in XML-RPC implementations. Now that SOAP is starting to be widely deployed it'll be interesting to know if we're all talking the same language, or how far apart we are... The application calls a suite of scripts running on your server, and tells you whether your server is working in accordance with the SOAP 1.1 specification. It's patterned after a similar validator we did for XML-RPC." See "Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)."

  • [February 02, 2001]   W3C Note Specifies a P3P Assurance Signature Profile.    W3C has released a note specifying A P3P Assurance Signature Profile. Reference: W3C Note 2-February-2001, edited by Joseph Reagle. The NOTE "specifies a P3P Assurance Signature Profile: the intended meaning (assures) of the key holder is bound to the signature via a SignatureProperty. Using the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P) as an example, the NOTE presents a possible use of the SignatureProperty element, as permitted by the XML-Signature Syntax and Processing specification, for exploration and discussion. The document has been made available for W3C-member review. It is not intended to be a normative specification. Instead, it captures the authors' thoughts on how applications might use the XML Signature specification to meet their requirements (defining signature semantics and algorithm profile)..."

  • [February 02, 2001]   Last Call Working Draft for the W3C XML Information Set Specification.    On behalf of the W3C XML Core Working Group, Paul Grosso posted an announcement for the 'last call' publication of the XML Information Set specification. Reference: W3C Working Draft 2-February-2001, edited by John Cowan and Richard Tobin. The specification "provides a set of definitions for use in other specifications that need to refer to the information in an XML document." Paul writes: "The Last Call review period ends 23 February 2001. Please send review comments before that date to Because there was an earlier Last Call, the XML Core WG would like to point out that there has been a change in design principle for the current specification. Please read the introduction carefully where, among other things, it states: [This specification's] purpose is to provide a consistent set of definitions for use in other specifications that need to refer to the information in a well-formed XML document. It does not attempt to be exhaustive; the primary criterion for inclusion of an information item or property has been that of expected usefulness in future specifications. In particular, that means that inclusion in the Infoset was driven more by the intersection of what other specifications needed, not the union, and omission of something from the Infoset does not mean that a particular specification (e.g., the DOM, XML Schema, XML Query) could not define new infoitems and require that processors conforming to their specification must support such infoitems. We viewed this version of the Infoset as a 'library of definitions to facilitate the writing of other specifications' rather than a definitive universe of all information in an XML document..."

  • [February 02, 2001]   XML and Distributed Applications Session at the PDPTA 2001 Conference.    Fabio Arciniegas A. posted an announcement for a session on "XML and Distributed Applications" at the 2001 International Conference on Parallel and Distributed Processing Techniques and Applications (PDPTA 2001). The conference will be held June 25 - 28, 2001 at the Monte Carlo Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. "The XML and Distributed Applications Session of PDPTA 2001 is a high-end opportunity for researchers and developers in the field to publish and discuss their work, as well as for the public to get aware of the latest advances in this exciting area. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) XML RPC/SOAP advances, (non-ordinary) applications, and alternative mechanisms; (2) RMI and XML; (3) CORBA and XML; (4) Object Marshalling with XML; (5) XML-oriented/powered DA Middleware; (6) Formal specification of DA with XML; (7) XML/DA Development Methodology; (8) Automated Testing on XML/DA. Draft papers of 5000 words may be submitted to the session chair by March 5, 2001 in Docbook XML or any other popular format; final papers must be formatted in Docbook XML..." See other XML conference/workshop listings in the events calendar. Note: Karl Best recently announced that "the ballot for the DocBook v4.1 Committee Specification has passed, and [thus] the submission is now an OASIS Specification."

  • [February 02, 2001]   Robotic Markup Language (RoboML).    Maxim Makatchev (Department of Manufacturing Engineering and Engineering Management, City University of Hong Kong) leads a development effort to create a 'Robotic Markup Language (RoboML)' for standardized representation of robotics-related data. The specification would (1) support communication language between human-robot interface agents, as well as between robot-hosted processes and between interface processes, and (2) provide a format for archived data used by human-robot interface agents." A paper presented in September 2000 describes the design of this agent-based human-robot interface designed for use via the Internet: "This paper is concerned with two issues of HRI [human-robot interface] via the Internet: an agent-based architecture and a common markup language for robot programming, agent communication and knowledge representation... In this paper we propose the architecture that includes user interface agents (IAs) and embedded agents (EAs) communicating over the Internet. The proxy agent, with functions close to those of communication facilitators, is utilized to reduce inter-agent communication load and computational resources taken by the EAs for interface-related tasks. The proxy agent dynamically creates and removes links to IAs and EAs, builds and supports representations of the domain ontologies related to the respective IAs and EAs by means of XML Schemas, performs translation of inter-agent communication, provides data journaling to facilitate asynchronous bidirectional communication between IAs and EAs... A user client and an embedded software are viewed as agents with limited computational and communication resources. To facilitate the communication between the real-time embedded agents and the user interface agents via the communication channel of uncertain quality the proxy agent is proposed as a mediator. The functions assigned to the proxy agent target reduction of inter-agent communication load and minimization of computational resources taken by the embedded agents and user interface agents for communication-related tasks. An XML-based language, RoboML, is designed to serve as a common language for robot programming, agent communication and knowledge representation. The human-robot interface software prototype is developed for an autonomous guided vehicle to evaluate the proposed techniques." See "Robotic Markup Language (RoboML)", and compare "DARPA Agent Mark Up Language (DAML)."

  • [January 31, 2001]   Reuters MarketsML Initiative.    A recently published Reuters briefing paper "XML - A new standard revolutionizing the financial markets" outlines an XML-based MarketsML Initiative being undertaken by Reuters. The Reuters MarketsML initiative "addresses how financial information content will be provided in XML formats. In effect, Reuters MarketsML will link all the different formats of financial information acting as the 'glue' that bonds all the ML variants together. MarketsML will provide an XML-based architectural framework which will address key requirements for any Reuters user; that of interoperability between external and internal Reuters XML standards and assets that will drive new product opportunities and offer an improved user experience. MarketsML will also enable smooth interoperability between the (expected) multiple ML standards (both internal and external) and add the essential 'view and do' integration from the end-user's perspective." In this connection, note that Reuters is a member of the FISD (Financial Services Information Division) XML Market Data Group, along with the Bank of New York, Bloomberg, Bridge, Dow Jones, Financial Times, Goldman Sachs, Lipper, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and Standard & Poor. FISD recently announced the "Market Data Markup Language (MDML)." For provisional references, see "MarketsML Initiative."

  • [January 31, 2001]   Protégé-2000 Version 1.5 Supports RDF and RDF Schema Editing.    Ray Fergerson and members of the Protégé Project at Stanford Medical Informatics (SMI) have announced the release of Protégé-2000 Version 1.5 which supports RDF and RDF Schema. "Protégé-2000 is open-source software and is written in Java. It provides an integrated knowledge-base editing environment and an extensible architecture for the creation of customized knowledge-based tools... The Protégé-2000 tool allows the user to construct a domain ontology, customize knowledge-acquisition forms, and enter domain knowledge; it provides a platform which can be extended with graphical widgets for tables, diagrams, animation components to access other knowledge-based systems embedded applications; it constitutes a library which other applications can use to access and display knowledge bases... Protégé-2000 is a knowledge-based systems development environment that can be used to edit RDF and RDF Schema (and other languages). We have enhanced our RDF support in this release in a number of ways. We have eliminated the need to use RDF specific metaclasses inside of Protégé and automatically convert Protégé concepts to the closest equivalent RDF concept. This gives a much more natural way of working with RDF in the Protégé environment. For those modeling elements in Protégé that do not have a corresponding RDF mapping (such as a restriction that a property be single-valued), we give users the option of either (1) discarding this information on save to produce very clean RDF, or (2) keeping the information as additional Protégé specific properties. We are also using Sergey's latest RDF API implementation which is quite a bit faster for large projects. A simple guide to how to work with RDF in Protégé-2000 is available from the 'RDF Support' link in our User's Guide, A more detailed look at RDF and Protégé-2000 is also available online. The new RDF backend has been designed specifically to be extensible for translation to other RDF based languages such as OIL and DAML. We are exploring the possibility of supporting these languages at a later date. If you would be particularly interested in such support, please send us a message to let us know." For related resources, see "Resource Description Framework (RDF)."

  • [January 31, 2001]   Information Technology Markup Language (ITML).    In connection with the OASIS technical committee on Security Services, Jamcracker Inc. presented draft documents for an Information Technology Markup Language (ITML). The two draft documents are said to "contain much of Jamcracker's collective thoughts on session management and assertions associated therewith..." The Information Technology Markup Language "is a set of specifications of protocols, message formats and best practices in the ASP and ASP aggregation market to provide seamless integration of partners and business processes. It is based on open standards, particularly XML and HTTP. It also uses emerging standards, particularly SOAP and XML Schema." The ITML Message And Protocol Specification Working Draft [11/22/00. Version: 0.8], as a technical specification intended for developers and architects, "provides a framework for specific interactions to occur between Jamcracker and an ASP. An example interaction is a User Provisioning request. Each set of interactions is known as an ITML Best Practice. This document is a companion document to each Best Practice specification. This specification describes the following key decisions: (1) XML Schema is the type specification language, (2) message format is SOAP, (3) a SOAP error structure, (4) a set of protocol errors, (5) encoding rules for graphs of data, (6) encoding rules for methods, (7) namespaces standards in messages, (8) multi-part message encoding, and (9) HTTP Binding including Authentication." The ITML Distributed Session Management Specification Working Draft [01/30/01. Version: 0.5] "provides a framework for specific interactions around session management to occur between Jamcracker and a partner. A typical use of this is for the synchronization of a single sign-on assertion. It addresses the needs of single sign-on, single sign-off, single time-out, and single maintain session. This specification describes the following key decisions: (1) ITML Message and Protocol is the transmission format, (2) Jamcracker pulls state changes from ASPs, (3) Jamcracker can pull from many, (4) Times of actions on state changes are deltas from last pull, not absolute, and (5) The entire session for a given user is sent for each request." On these draft documents, see the URLs with notes/caveats in "Jamcracker submits ITML Session Management for review by OASIS Security Services TC" (David Orchard, 2001-01-31). For other references, see "Information Technology Markup Language (ITML)."

  • [January 26, 2001]   SWIFT Industry Cooperative Uses swiftML for Business Messages.    SWIFT is "an industry owned cooperative which provide messaging services to banks, broker-dealers and investment managers, as well as to market infrastructures in payments, treasury, securities and trade. These services help our customers reduce costs, improve automation and manage risk. It supplies secure messaging services and interface software to over 7,000 financial institutions in 192 countries; the average daily value of payment messages on SWIFT is estimated to be above USD 5 trillion. SWIFT has re-engineered the way it develops standards in order to take full advantage of state-of-the-art technology. This has led to the definition of a new standards development methodology, based on the use of modelling techniques. The methodology is called SWIFTStandards Modelling and comprises three layers: (1) The Business layer focuses on understanding the business, independently of the solution used to meet its requirements. (2) The Logical layer based on these models specifies how the business data can be exchanged in a structured way, following a number of rules. (2) The Physical layer delivers the messages and rules in the appropriate syntax; e.g., SWIFT MTs, ISO 15022 or XML..." The SWIFT company web site provides an overview of the main characteristics of SWIFT's adoption of XML in an application called swiftML. "swiftML is not 'just another XML implementation for the financial industry'. The design of swiftML bears in mind the interoperability issue of different financial XML implementations through the use of SWIFTStandards Modelling. This new standardisation approach allows to the separation of the business standard from its physical representation in a specific syntax (in this case XML). All this information is stored in the SWIFTStandards Repository. This allows different syntaxes (even non-XML syntaxes) to interoperate through the use of the common business model. swiftML is in line with major XML standardisation initiatives (e.g., ebXML, a global initiative to achieve a common and predicatable usage of XML cross-industry). swiftML adoption follows a very structured approach. For example, business information is always expressed as XML elements/values; metadata information is expressed as XML attributes. This results in consistent and uniform swiftML messages. swiftML messages are currently described using traditional XML DTDs; swiftML schema rules will be published as soon as W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) adopts XML schema and there is a real business need. swiftML is designed in such a way that the adoption of XML schema will not impact the messages currently described using traditional DTDs. The swiftML XML DTDs are primarily used to provide a link to the SWIFTStandards Repository which contains the complete business standard. swiftML element names are human readable. The XML DTDs can be used to validate messages (though these validation capabilities of DTD are limited). These DTDs are not used to document the message, and swiftML DTDs do not replace the UML business model. swiftML has been designed bearing in mind that it must never constrain the development of the business standard. swiftML will have its first implementations in GSTPA, in interactive messaging for the 'Inquiry Link', and in e-trust." The swiftML design rules Technical Specification documents the set of XML design rules, called swiftML, which define in a very detailed and strict way how the physical XML representation is derived from the business message in the UML class diagram." Related standards work: (1) Financial Products Markup Language (FpML); (2) Market Data Markup Language (MDML); (3) Research Information Exchange Markup Language (RIXML); (4) Data Link for Intermediaries Markup Language (daliML); (5) FAML DTD for Financial Research Documents; (6) Electronic Business XML Initiative (ebXML). Note: 'swiftML' was brought to attention by Jean-Luc Renouprez on an XML-DEV discussion concerning "Conceptual Modeling and Markup Languages." For other description and references, see "swiftML for Business Messages."

  • [January 26, 2001]   The Xyleme Project: A Dynamic Data Warehouse for the XML Data of the Web.    The Xyleme Project "is functioning as an open, loosely coupled network of researchers. The Verso Group at INRIA was at the origin of the project together with F. Bancilhon, formerly CEO of O2 Technology. The database groups from Mannheim U. and the CNAM-Paris as well as the IASI Team of University of Paris-Orsay, rapidly joined as well as a number of individual researchers from a number of places. The goal is to design and prototype a data warehouse able to exploit all XML data that can be found on the Web. The emphasis is on high level services that difficult or impossible to support with the current Web technologies. In particular, we consider more complex query processing that the simple keyword search of actual search engines, semantic data integration and sophisticate monitoring of changes. Xyleme will warehouse all the XML data of the Web, host application data (e.g., answers to queries) and, in a second stage, will host the application themselves. The project research directions are as follows: (1) storage: we need to efficiently store and retrieve huge quantities of XML data (hundreds of millions of pages) with a granularity that goes beyond the document. For this, we use the Natix store that is being developed at U. of Mannheim and is tailored to manage tree data. (2) query processing: we plan to use the official query language for XML when available. A lot of our effort with respect to query processing is in developing the appropriate indexing mechanism. A major issue is the size of indexes. (3) data acquisition: data will typically be obtained by pull (e.g., discovered by crawling the Web) and push (e.g., publication by Web servers). We are working on techniques to get the Xyleme repository as best as possible up-to-date with the Web. For that, the strategy to refresh pages is essential. (4) change control: data on the Web is rapidly changing and users are often interested in such changes. We are working on services such as change monitoring and query subscription. (5) semantic data integration: we want to free users from having to deal with specific DTDs when expressing queries, when typically there will be many DTDs available for the specific domain of interest. In particular, we are investigating automatic data integration based on thesauri of terms and clustering techniques of DTDs. (6) architecture: Only parallelism can handle such a volume of data (terabytes) and workload. We are distributing the data on a local network of Linux PCs which raises a number of system issues. (7) data cleaning and duplicate elimination are important issues that we do not address for the moment." Project rationale: "XML is a standard to exchange structured data over the Web. It is being widely adopted. It is believed that progressively more and more Web data will be in XML form and that DTDs will be available to describe it (Biztalk, OASIS). Communities (scientific, business, others) will define their own DTD to provide for a uniform representation of data in specific areas. Many already did in as diverse areas as real estate or chemistry. Although a large portion of the Web will remain unstructured or hidden behind interactive graphics and forms, a very large and content-wise essential portion of the Web will soon be open and available in XML. Given this, we propose to study and build a dynamic World Wide XML warehouse. Indeed, we plan to design a data warehouse capable of storing all the XML data available on the planet. XML is still in infancy, so this is not a very big challenge yet1 but we believe that it will soon become. So, a major issue is scalability. The problems we address are typical warehousing problems such as change control or data integration." Compare a related project Open Archives Metadata Set (OAMS). For details, see: (1) the preliminary report, and (2) references in "Xyleme Project: Dynamic Data Warehouse for the XML Data of the Web."

  • [January 25, 2001]   W3C Approves XML Encryption Activity.    Joseph Reagle (W3C Policy Analyst, IETF/W3C XML-Signature Co-Chair) posted an announcement to the Public XML Encryption List '' indicating that an official W3C XML Encryption Activity has been approved. The XML Encryption Charter has been reviewed by the W3C Advisory Committee, Team, and Director. The [draft] charter says, in part: "The mission of this working group is to develop a process for encrypting/decyrpting digital content (including XML documents and portions thereof) and an XML syntax used to represent the (1) encrypted content and (2) information that enables an intendent recipient to decrypt it. XML Encryption is a method whereby XML content can be transformed such that it is discernable only to the intended recipients, and opaque to all others. There are many applications for such a specification given the increasing importance of XML on the Internet and Web including the protection of payment and transaction information. The proposed work will obviously address how to encrypt an XML documents including elements. The following additional requirements must be met by the WG; these requirements must be augmented and extended by the Requirements Document deliverable: (1) The mechanisms of encryption must be simple: describe how to encrypt/decrypt digital content, XML documents, and portions thereof. a) Only enough information necessary for decryption need be provided. b) The specification must not address authorization, authentication, nor the confidence or trust applications place in the provision of a key though it should enable (or at least not hinder) such XML based technologies. (2) XML-Encryption must be coordinated with and use the work product of other mature XML technologies including XML Schema and XML Signature. (3) The mandatory portions of the specification must be implemented in at least two independent implementations before being advanced to Proposed Recommendation. The core scope of this activity will be in specifying the necessary data model, syntax, and processing to encrypt XML content. The Working Group (WG) will: (1) Specify a requirements document that further defines the scope and requirements of the WG's deliverables. (2) Specify the syntax and processing necessary for creating XML Encryption content. The WG should decide what level of granularity is appropriate with the meta-requirement that the design be simple to implement and quickly deployable. (3) Choose a data model (and representation via XML element types or URIs) for describing any necessary public characteristics of the encrypted content (e.g., the data encrypted is an http://someURI#elementNode). The WG must use pre-existing models such as Information Set, XPath, SetX, or DOM. (4) Choose a method (that can be optional) to canonicalize XML prior to encryption such that it can be decrypted consistently. The WG must use a pre-existing canonicalization method such as Canonical XML. (5) Specify a minimal set of encryption and key information for interoperability purposes. This may be a separate document or part of the specification. (6) Address security concerns arising from the design and its implementation. This may be a separate document or part of the specification. (7) Optionally, develop a document of scenarios and recommendations regarding the affects and requirements of XML Encryption processing on XML parsing and validation. This must be a separate document. (8) Redefine the charter for subsequent work once (1-7) has been achieved. The requirement document must specify and describe the WG's choice with respect to the granularity of encryption, the data model and representation resulting from that choice, and the necessity and choice of canonicalization algorithms. The WG must rely upon existing W3C specifications as building blocks to its own design, unless the WG can demonstrate these specifications fail to meet the requirements of XML Encryption applications. In which case the WG must give a strong rationale and obtain Director approval." The web site for the XML Encryption WG is publicly accessible; interested parties are encouraged to subscribe to the publicly archived mailing list. For related references, see: "XML and Encryption."

  • [January 24, 2001]   Draft Requirements Document for Topic Map Query Language (TMQL).    Ann Wrightson recently announced the availability of a draft specification for TMQL requirements. The draft is referenced from the 'Topic Maps Query Language' resources on eGroups. TMQL - Topic Maps Query Language is the public discussion group working on the design and development of TMQL. TMQL is a new standardization project of ISO (JTC1 SC34 WG3) and - the organizations which developed ISO Topic Maps and XTM (XML Topic Maps). The goal of this working group is the development of a 'SQL' for Topic Maps. Standard co-editors are: H. Holger Rath (empolis) and Ann Wrightson (Ontopia).' The requirements document (Version 0.4) is 'a working draft of a document in preparation concerning requirements for TMQL, circulated following the first (informal) editing meeting for TMQL Requirements, January 2001. This editing meeting agreed that the scope of TMQL needed to be clarified, and in particular that 'TMQL' had hitherto been used as a catch-all for a range of topic map related operational concepts which now needed to be clarified and worked out in detail. To this end, this document is structured as follows: (1) Introductory/general stuff, including a draft for a formal 'introduction and scope' to the requirements document as it will go to WG3. (2) Topic Maps in Modern Distributed Systems: covers usecases and technical infrastructure considerations; intended to allow the question 'are these the right requirements?' to have a rational answer. (3) Requirements for a Reference Abstract Data Model: as much as the TMQL abstraction needs to standardize, about the nature of topic map data - currently a bunch of ideas, not a proposal. (4) Requirements for a Topic Map Querying Language: see also the accompanying 'Examples' document. Responses and comments are invited, by Feb 02, 2001 if possible..." For the document URL, see the 'tmql-wg' group ('') at eGroups. For related resources, see "(XML) Topic Maps."

  • [January 24, 2001]   Cogitum Proposes BannerML as New XML Language For Creating Descriptions of Internet Banner Products.    From a recent company announcement: Cogitum LC "announced today the pre-release of BannerML, a new language for creating user-friendly descriptions of products advertised in Internet banners. BannerML would allow advertisers to attach additional text information to banners. It is targeted to the end-user, and it describes recommended fields (tags) of information about the advertised product. Text marked using BannerML would be delivered directly to the user's computer without any serious changes in current banner delivery technology. BannerML is based on the XML format, so it is similar to many industries' mark-up languages. However, it is not intended for marking up banners, per se, but rather for marking up new text information associated with a banner. BannerML would provide significant benefits to advertisers and users alike. It increases business opportunities for all companies in the Internet advertisement business, yet it is technically extremely easy to support and handle, and it is ready for wide-scale use after just minor adaptations of existing software. Support of this language does not require any changes at the ad delivering sites, but full utilization of BannerML opportunities will require some software components on the end-user's side. Cogitum is developing BannerML in response to the challenges that face the Internet advertising market-banner ads have a short life span, are generally intrusive (i.e., to click on an ad means the user must abandon whatever he was doing previously), and they provide extremely limited information. The quickly dropping click-though rate experienced by banner advertisers is only a symptom of these limitations..." See also the BannerML Technical Description; it "includes a description of tags which structure information attached to the banner so that it can be placed directly in different fields in the user's database." Compare " XML for Advertising."

  • [January 23, 2001]   Semantic Web Agreement Group.    A posting from Aaron Swartz announces the formation of a new 'Semantic Web Agreement Group': "We are creating a strong infrastructure for the Semantic Web, whilst working with various members of the Web community to ensure that data remains interoperable. We maintain projects to achieve our aims, i.e., the SWAG Dictionary, a database of terms for the Semantic Web. SWAG's current focus is the compilation of the SWAG Dictionary and the creation of new vocabularies. We invite those who are interested in helping catalog, define and connect the terms of the Semantic Web to join SWAG and assist us in our work. We also encourage anyone who is building a public Semantic Web system to work with us to insure that all systems remain interoperable." Discussion is hosted on the eGroups 'swag-dev' mailing list. ('The SWAG Dictionary') "is a database of and home for namespaces, schemas, and terms in common use on the Semantic Web. It is home to the SWAG Dictionary, a database of triples that can be interfaced in a variety of different ways... We hope to not only provide information on defined schemas like basic RDF, RDFS and DAML terms; the popular vocabularies like Dublin Core (DC) and Friend of a Friend (FOAF)... but also to provide an infrastructure for sharing completely new terms as they arise... It is our hope that this project will be a major step in actually creating the Semantic Web, by providing a vocubulary to use with our well established grammar (RDF). Our terms can be used in both XML RDF, and Notation3 RDF." For related resources, see "XML and 'The Semantic Web'."

  • [January 23, 2001]   W3C Specification for Canonical XML Advances to Proposed Recommendation.    The XML Signature Working Group, a joint Working Group of the IETF and W3C, has released Canonical XML Version 1.0 as an IETF/W3C Proposed Recommendation. Reference: W3C Proposed Recommendation 19-January-2001, edited by John Boyer (PureEdge Solutions Inc.). The PR review period lasts until 16-February-2001. See also the interoperability report. Document abstract: "Any XML document is part of a set of XML documents that are logically equivalent within an application context, but which vary in physical representation based on syntactic changes permitted by XML 1.0 and Namespaces in XML. This specification describes a method for generating a physical representation, the canonical form, of an XML document that accounts for the permissible changes. Except for limitations regarding a few unusual cases, if two documents have the same canonical form, then the two documents are logically equivalent within the given application context. Note that two documents may have differing canonical forms yet still be equivalent in a given context based on application-specific equivalence rules for which no generalized XML specification could account." Details (from the "Terminology" section): "A document subset is a portion of an XML document indicated by a node-set that may not include all of the nodes in the document. The canonical form of an XML document is physical representation of the document produced by the method described in this specification. The changes are summarized in the following list: (1) The document is encoded in UTF-8; (2) Line breaks normalized to #xA on input, before parsing; (3) Attribute values are normalized, as if by a validating processor; (4) Character and parsed entity references are replaced; (5) CDATA sections are replaced with their character content; (6) The XML declaration and document type declaration (DTD) are removed; (7) Empty elements are converted to start-end tag pairs; (8) Whitespace outside of the document element and within start and end tags is normalized; (9) All whitespace in character content is retained (excluding characters removed during line feed normalization); (10) Attribute value delimiters are set to quotation marks (double quotes); (11) Special characters in attribute values and character content are replaced by character references; (12) Superfluous namespace declarations are removed from each element; (13) Default attributes are added to each element; (14) Lexicographic order is imposed on the namespace declarations and attributes of each element. The term canonical XML refers to XML that is in canonical form. The XML canonicalization method is the algorithm defined by this specification that generates the canonical form of a given XML document or document subset. The term XML canonicalization refers to the process of applying the XML canonicalization method to an XML document or document subset. The W3C XPath 1.0 Recommendation defines the term node-set and specifies a data model for representing an input XML document as a set of nodes of various types (element, attribute, namespace, text, comment, processing instruction, and root). The nodes are included in or excluded from a node-set based on the evaluation of an expression. Within this specification, a node-set is used to directly indicate whether or not each node should be rendered in the canonical form (in this sense, it is used as a formal mathematical set). A node that is excluded from the set is not rendered in the canonical form being generated, even if its parent node is included in the node-set. However, an omitted node may still impact the rendering of its descendants (e.g., by augmenting the namespace context of the descendants)..."

  • [January 23, 2001]   Last Call for IETF Delta-V Working Group's Versioning Extensions to WebDAV.    A communiqué from Jim Amsden (Chair, IETF DeltaV Working Group) announces a "last call for comments" on the IETF Internet Draft Versioning Extensions to WebDAV, which is intended to be moved into the standards track as a "Proposed Standard." The last call comment period ends February 1, 2001. Reference: IETF Internet-Draft 'draft-ietf-deltav-versioning-12'. January 20, 2001. 95 pages. By Geoffrey Clemm (Rational Software), Jim Amsden (IBM), Chris Kaler (Microsoft), and Jim Whitehead (U.C.Irvine). The resource properties defined in the versioning extensions to WebDAV are expressed in XML notation. Document abstract: "This document specifies a set of methods, headers, and resource types that define the WebDAV Versioning extensions to the HTTP/1.1 protocol. WebDAV Versioning will minimize the complexity of clients that are capable of interoperating with a variety of versioning repository managers, to facilitate widespread deployment of applications capable of utilizing the WebDAV Versioning services. WebDAV Versioning includes: (1) version history management, (2) automatic versioning for versioning-unaware clients, (3) workspace management, (4) baseline management, (5) activity management, (6) variant management, and (7) URL namespace versioning. The optional versioning capabilities provided by a particular server can be discovered with an OPTIONS request. The versioning options have been designed to be logically orthogonal, so that a client can easily deal with servers that support different sets of options. The exception is the working- resource and workspace options. These provide the same logical functionality but with significantly different client/server performance/complexity tradeoffs. It is expected that only a limited number of servers will support both the working-resource and the workspace options. This document will first define the properties and method semantics for core versioning, and then define the additional properties and method semantics for each versioning option..." Rationale: "Versioning, parallel development, and configuration management are important features for remote authoring of Web content. Version management is concerned with tracking and accessing the history of important states of a single Web resource, such as a standalone Web page. Parallel development provides additional resource availability in multi-user, distributed environments and lets authors make changes on the same resource at the same time, and merge those changes at some later date. Configuration management addresses the problems of tracking and accessing multiple interrelated resources over time as sets of resources, not simply individual resources. Traditionally, artifacts of software development, including code, design, test cases, requirements, and help files, have been a focus of configuration management. Web sites, comprised of multiple inter-linked resources (HTML, graphics, sound, CGI, and others), are another class of complex information artifacts that benefit from the application of configuration management..." The IETF Delta-V Working Group effort, according to the published WG charter, focuses on "extending the Web with versioning and configuration management... The Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) started work on versioning, but never finished; Delta-V is picking up where WebDAV left off." See also "WEBDAV (Extensions for Distributed Authoring and Versioning on the World Wide Web."

  • [January 23, 2001]   Sun Microsystems Proposes Java API for XML Registries 1.0 (JAXR).    A Java Specification Request 'JSR-000093' from Sun proposes a Java API for XML Registries 1.0. JAXR "provides an API for a set of distributed Registry Services that enables business-to-business integration between business enterprises, using the protocols being defined by, OASIS, ISO 11179. In addition, the JAXR specification assumes that all communication between registry and registry clients will be based on the Java API for XML Messaging (JAXM) specification. The Java API for XML Messaging 1.0 defines how XML messages are exchanged between a registry client and a registry implementation. This specification is key to ensuring interoperable communication between any ebXML registry client and any ebXML Registry implementation. The goal is to leverage the security services of the Java platform, Standard Edition and Java 2 platform, Enterprise Edition where possible." Details: "This JSR requests the creation of the Java API for XML Registries 1.0 specification (JAXR). JAXR may be viewed as analogous to Java Naming and Directory Interface (JNDI) but designed specifically for internet sharing of XML-related business information. This specification will describe Java API's designed specifically for an open and interoperable set of registry services that enable sharing of information between interested parties. The shared information is maintained as objects in a compliant registry. All access to registry content is exposed via the interfaces defined for the Registry Services. Currently there are numerous open standards for distributed registries. Examples include OASIS, eCo Framework, ebXML. In addition there also exists industry consortium led efforts such as UDDI which may eventually be donated to a standard body. JAXR will provide a uniform and standard API for accessing information from these registries within the Java platform. It is planned that this JSR will leverage work currently under way in the ebXML Registry Working Group, OASIS, ISO, W3C, IETF and potentially other relevant open standards bodies. This JSR does not aim to define either business Registry standards, XML messaging standards or XML schemas for particular tasks. These standards belong in standards bodies such as OASIS or IETF. Instead this JSR aims to define standard Java APIs to allow convenient access from Java to emerging open Registry standards, such as the ebXML Registry standard. The JAXR 1.0 specification will be provided initially as an optional package, but may be incorporated into the Java 2 Enterprise Edition platform as soon as this is practical and there is sufficient demand to warrant such integration. JAXR 1.0 will specify API's enabling the Java Community to develop portable eBusiness applications and tools that support emerging industry standards for XML registries on the internet. Among candidate capabilities are: support for industry standard XML registry functionality, support for registration of member organizations and enterprises, support for submission and storing of arbitrary registry content, support for life cycle management of XML and non-XML registry content, support for user-defined associations between registry content, support for user-defined multi-level classification of registry content along multiple user defined facets, support for registry content querying based on defined classification schemes, support for registry content querying based on complex ad hoc queries, support for registry content querying based on keyword based search, support for sharing of web services, support for sharing of business process between partners, support for sharing of schemas between partners, support for sharing of business documents between partners support for trading partner agreement assembly and negotiation, support for schema assembly, support for heterogeneous distributed registries support for enabling publish/subscribe XML Messaging between parties..." For related references, see "Java API for XML Registries (JAXR)" and "XML/SGML Registries and Repositories."

  • [January 19, 2001]   W3C CSS3 Working Draft Outlines CSS3 Modularization Project and Test Suite.    The W3C CSS Working Group has published an updated 'official introduction' to Cascading Style Sheets Level 3 (CSS3): Introduction to CSS3. Reference: W3C Working Draft, 19-January-2001, edited by Eric A. Meyer. This ("informative") working draft document describes details of modularization in the future Cascading Style Sheets Level 3 (CSS3) specification and describes the CSS test suite. The 'Module Overview" section supplies a list of all the CSS3 modules, together with names of the document editors and deadlines marking the time at which modules should be ready for Working Draft publication. Excerpt: "The members of the CSS&FP Working Group have decided to modularize the CSS specification. This modularization will help to clarify the relationships between the different parts of the specification, and reduce the size of the complete document. It will also allow us to build specific tests on a per module basis and will help implementors in deciding which portions of CSS to support. Furthermore, the modular nature of the specification will make it possible for individual modules to be updated as needed, thus allowing for a more flexible and timely evolution of the spcification as a whole... As the popularity of CSS grows, so does interest in making additions to the specification. Rather than attempting to shove dozens of updates into a single monolithic specification, it will be much easier and more efficient to be able to update individual pieces of the specification. Modules will enable CSS to be updated in a more timely and precise fashion, thus allowing for a more flexible and timely evolution of the spcification as a whole. For resource constrained devices, it may be impractical to support all of CSS. For example, an aural browser may be concerned only with aural styles, whereas a visual browser may care nothing for aural styles. In such cases, a user agent may implement a subset of CSS. Subsets of CSS are limited to combining selected CSS modules, and once a module has been chosen, all of its features must be supported." Note that a revised working draft for CSS3 Module: Multi-column layout has also been released. Reference: W3C Working Draft, 18-January-2001, edited by Håkon Wium Lie. This specifiction "builds upon the box model module, and provides a facility whereby stylesheet authors can allow content to flow from one column to another, specify column width, and allow the number of columns to vary, all depending on available space." See: (1) the main W3C CSS web page, (2) the public mailing list, and (3) general references in "W3C Cascading Style Sheets."

  • [January 19, 2001]   XBRL Specification Working Group Requests Requirements for XBRL Version 2.0.    The Specification Working Group of the Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) initiative recently posted an announcement requesting public contributions to requirements for XBRL 2.0. The goal of in XBRL is "to provide an XML-based framework that the global business information supply chain will use to create, exchange, and analyze financial reporting information including, but not limited to, regulatory filings such as annual and quarterly financial statements, general ledger information, and audit schedules. XBRL is freely licensed and facilitates the automatic exchange and reliable extraction of financial information among various software applications anywhere in the world." From the announcement: "The Specification Working Group of is soliciting input from all interested parties for the enhancement of the technical requirements for XBRL (Extensible Business Reporting Language). The first version of the XBRL Specification was published in July, 2000 and can be found at; see It is the intention of to update the specification periodically to take advantage of technology advances and facilitate market implementation. Market experiences with adoption and implementation of XBRL, along with new developments in other technologies, are expected to inform changes to the specification. If you want to participate in this important opportunity to influence the future direction of the technical design of XBRL, please help us now! We hope to receive proposals covering many areas of the specification. As examples of the types of comments that might be proposed: (1) Suggestions of better leverage, conformance or alignment with another specifications within the financial industry, or in the wider community of W3C and international standards. As an example, XML Linking and XML Schema are moving towards Recommendation status with the W3C. Your proposal may indicate that XBRL should take advantage of specific parts of those emerging technologies. (2) A deeper exploration of the domain of financial, accounting and business reporting. As an example, you may propose that XBRL documents explicitly state whether it is safe to do calculations (totaling, ratios, etc.) on the assumption that the data in the document is complete, or that it is not safe to make that assumption. You may suggest new use cases and scenarios in which XBRL can contribute, and which should influence XBRL. You may suggest that XBRL taxonomies should contain information on the 'natural balance' of a financial concept if that makes sense..." For other description and references, see "Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL)."

  • [January 19, 2001]   OASIS Technical Committee for Business Transactions.    BEA systems is presenting its 'Business Transaction Protocol (BTP)' as an initial specification in the work of a new OASIS Technical Committee for Business Transactions. From the recent announcment: "A new OASIS technical committee is being formed. The Business Transactions Technical Committee has been proposed by Rocky Stewart, BEA Systems (chair); Pal Takacsi-Nagy, BEA Systems; Frederick Carter, Sun Microsystems; and Mark Hale, Interwoven. BEA Systems, a member of OASIS, proposes to start a Technical Committee in OASIS to develop technology for business transactions on the Internet. Long lasting business transactions spanning multiple enterprises pose a unique challenge to B2B systems. The interdependent workflows managed among multiple trading partners, which drive business transactions, need to be coordinated to ensure that the outcome of the transaction is reliable. As an initial input, BEA intends to offer a specification for our Business Transaction Protocol (BTP), which provides this functionality and is implemented in our Weblogic Collaborate product. BTP is an eXtensible Markup Language (XML)-based protocol for representing and seamlessly managing complex, multi-step business-to-business (B2B) transactions over the Internet. The protocol allows complex XML message exchanges to be tracked and managed as loosely coupled 'conversations' between and among businesses. BTP goes beyond the problem domain currently being addressed by ebXML and is independent of transport protocols and messaging frameworks. We believe that it can be layered on any underlying transport mechanism including ebXML Messaging, RosettaNet, or XML-PC (SOAP). The purpose of this committee is: (1) To develop an agreed to set of requirements for a business transaction protocol; (2) To evaluate the BEA technology submission and other available technologies made available to the committee and determine their suitability to the requirements identified by the committee; (3) To produce a final specification for a business transaction protocol which works in conjunction with existing business messaging standards, particularly those being developed in the ebXML initiative. BEA will make its detailed submission available by the end of February 2001, before the first meeting, and will make a presentation describing the proposed BTP technology at the first meeting." See also in this connection: (1) description of the OASIS Technical Committee Process, and (2) Jon Bosak's recent article, "A Scalable Process for Information Standards."

  • [January 19, 2001]   IBM alphaWorks Releases Updated XML Parser for Java.    Version 3.1.1 Release 'XML4J-3_1_1' of the IBM XML Parser for Java is now available for download. "XML Parser for Java is a validating XML parser written in 100% pure Java. The package ( contains classes and methods for parsing, generating, manipulating, and validating XML documents. XML Parser for Java is believed to be the most robust XML processor currently available and conforms most closely to the XML 1.0 Recommendation. Version 3.1.1 increases performance as well as enhancing thread safety. This release contains public and stable support of the DOM Level 1, and SAX Level 1 specifications. It also contains implementations of the DOM Level 2, SAX Level 2 implementations, and partial April 7 W3C Schema implementations but these are considered experimental, as the specifications themselves are still subject to change. XML4J-3_1_1 contains a number of optimizations designed to improve performance as compared with XML4J-3_1_0. It is also more robust with regard to thread safety. In all other respects, XML4J-3_1_1 behaves like XML4J-3_1_0."

  • [January 17, 2001]   Unicode 3.1 Published Online as Proposed Draft Unicode Technical Report.    The Unicode Consortium has published Proposed Draft Unicode Technical Report #27: Unicode 3.1. Reference: Version 1.0, ', 2000-01-17; edited by Mark Davis, Michael Everson, Asmus Freytag, Lisa Moore, et al. Document summary: "This document defines Version 3.1 of the Unicode Standard. It overrides certain features of Unicode 3.0.1, and adds a large numbers of coded characters. This draft is for review with the intention of it becoming a Unicode Standard Annex." The specification has been approved by the Unicode Technical Committee for public review; it is a 'Proposed Draft', to be taken as "a work in progress." Details: "The primary feature of Unicode 3.1 is the addition of 44,946 new encoded characters. These characters cover several historic scripts, several sets of symbols, and a very large collection of additional CJK ideographs. For the first time, characters are encoded beyond the original 16-bit codespace or Basic Multilingual Plane (BMP or Plane 0). These new characters, encoded at code positions of U+10000 or higher, are synchronized with the forthcoming standard ISO/IEC 10646-2. Unicode 3.1 and 10646-2 define three new supplementary planes. Unicode 3.1 also features corrected contributory data files, to bring the data files up to date against the much expanded repertoire of characters. All errata and corrigenda to Unicode 3.0 and Unicode 3.0.1 are included in this specification. Major corrigenda and other changes having a bearing on conformance to the standard are listed in Article 3, Conformance. Other minor errata are listed in Article 5, Errata. Most notable among the corrigenda to the standard is a tightening of the definition of UTF-8, to eliminate a possible security issue with non-shortest-form UTF-8." The TR provides charts which contain the characters added in Unicode 3.1. They are shown together with the characters that were part of Unicode 3.0. New characters are shown on a yellow background in these code charts. They include: (1) Greek and Coptic; (2) Old Italic; (3) Gothic; (4) Deseret; (5) Byzantine Musical Symbols; (6) Musical Symbols; (7) Mathematical Alphanumeric Symbols; (8) CJK Unified Ideographs Extension B; (9) CJK Compatibility Ideographs Supplement; (10) Tag Characters. Note Section '13.7 Tag Characters', which provides clarification on the restricted use of 'Tag Characters U+E0000-U+E007F: "The characters in this block provide a mechanism for language tagging in Unicode plain text. The characters in this block are reserved for use with special protocols. They are not to be used in the absence of such protocols, or with protocols that provide alternate means for language tagging, such as markup. The requirement for language information embedded in plain text data is often overstated...This block encodes a set of 95 special-use tag characters to enable the spelling out of ASCII-based string tags using characters which can be strictly separated from ordinary text content characters in Unicode. These tag characters can be embedded by protocols into plain text. They can be identified and/or ignored by implementations with trivial algorithms because there is no overloading of usage for these tag characters -- they can only express tag values and never textual content itself. In addition to these 95 characters, one language tag identification character and one cancel tag character are also encoded. The language tag identification character identifies a tag string as a language tag; the language tag itself makes use of RFC 1766 language tag strings spelled out using the tag characters from this block...Because of the extra implementation burden, language tags should be avoided in plain text unless language information is required and it is known that the receivers of the text will properly recognize and maintain the tags. However, where language tags must be used, implementers should consider the following implementation issues involved in supporting language information with tags and decide how to handle tags where they are not fully supported. This discussion applies to any mechanism for providing language tags in a plain text environment...Language tags should also be avoided wherever higher-level protocols, such as a rich-text format, HTML or MIME, provide language attributes. This practice prevents cases where the higher-level protocol and the language tags disagree." See related references in: (1) Unicode in XML and other Markup Languages [Unicode Technical Report #20 == W3C Note 15-December-2000], and (2) "XML and Unicode."

  • [January 17, 2001]   CIP4 Organization Administers Completion of the Job Definition Specification (JDF).    CIP4 (The International Cooperation for the Integration of Processes in Prepress, Press and Postpress) recently announced the installation of a new Advisory Board which will shape the organization's direction and agenda. "CIP4 is an organization bringing together vendors, consultants and end-users in the print communications, Graphic Arts industry and associated sectors, covering a variety of equipment, software, peripherals, and processes. With the new Advisory Board in place, CIP4 begins its role of administering the Job Definition Specification (JDF). JDF, an emerging standard administered by CIP4 in the print production market, is an XML-based print workflow specification. As an open standard, JDF will benefit print buyers and print service providers by simplifying the job specification process, insuring cross-vendor system communication, and by automating many of today's manual production processes with a flexible, universal Job Ticket (JDF). One of the Advisory Board's first tasks will be to put the finishing touches on Version 1.0 of the JDF specification itself. Collaborative support for JDF by technology vendors, hardware manufacturers, e-procurement vendors, print production companies, and others involved in printed communication is expected to enable efficient end-to-end print supply chain workflow. JDF promises to integrate authoring, production, management, manufacturing, delivery and MIS control. This will allow system and software developers to extend existing high performance systems, to develop new, highly-configurable systems and to create a new level of process integration in the industry. E-procurement companies will be able to directly integrate this production workflow into print management systems, accessible via online web sites. End users can look forward to more cost-effective workflow automation." The principal specification governing JDF as of 2001-01-17 is: JDF Specification Draft Spiral 5.0, released December 05, 2000. This 451-page specification defines the Job Definition Format (JDF) and its counterpart, the Job Messaging Format (JMF). In this specification, a job "describes the entirety of a JDF project. Each job is organized in a tree structure containing all of the information required to complete the intended project. The information is collected logically into what is called a node. Each node in the tree structure represents an aspect of the job to be executed. The nodes in a job are organized in a hierarchical structure that resembles a pyramid.JDF nodes are encoded as XML elements. Nodes, in turn, contain various attributes and further sub-elements including nested JDF nodes. A node is a construct, encoded as an XML element, that describes a particular part of a JDF job. Each node represents an aspect of the job, either in terms of a process necessary to produce the end result, such as imposing, printing, or binding; in terms of a product that contributes to the end result, such as a brochure; or in terms of some combination of the two. In short, a node describes a product or a process... The JDF-based Job Messaging Format, or JMF, provides a wide range of capabilities to facilitate interaction between the various aspects of a workflow, from simple unidirectional notification through the issuing of direct commands. JMF messages are most often encoded in pure XML, without an additional MIME/Multipart wrapper..." Appendix A of the specification (Encoding) "lists a number of commonly used JDF data types and structures and their XML encoding. Data types are simple data entities such as strings, numbers and dates. They have a very straightforward string representation and are used as XML attribute values. Data structures, on the other hand, describe more complex structures that are built from the defined data types, such as colors. JDF is based on the XML Schema specification." For further description, references, and examples (from Appendix K), see "Job Definition Format (JDF)."

  • [January 16, 2001]   Updated 'XSLT-process' Editing Tool.    Ovidiu Predescu posted an announcement for the update of his XSLT-process editing application, now available for download. "XSLT-process is a minor mode for (X)Emacs that allows you to invoke an XSLT processor of choice on a buffer, displaying the result in an additional buffer. Currently supported processors include Xalan 1.x, and Saxon 5.x and 6.x. Cocoon 1.8.x, an XML publishing framework, is also supported through its command line interface. Support for other Java XSLT processor could be added easily. The homepage of XSLT-process is located at:" Description: "Have you ever developed XML applications using XSLT? If so you probably felt the need of viewing the result of applying the XSLT processor on the XML file using an XSLT sheet you have been working on right inside your (X)Emacs, without having to go to a terminal or to the Web browser. This minor mode allows you to do it! The XSLT-process minor mode allows you, while you're inside a buffer for which this minor mode is enabled, to enter a few keystrokes that will invoke the XSLT processor of choice on the buffer. The result is displayed in another (X)Emacs buffer, which allows you to quickly view and inspect the results. The XSLT file that's used to process the file should be specified inside the XML file using the XML processing instruction 'xml-stylesheet'..." New features in XSLT-process version 1.1: "(1) The 'xslt-process-additional-classpath' customization variable has been introduced. Setup this variable with any additional Java classpath components you want to be passed to the BeanShell when is first invoked. If you already started a BeanShell, you need to kill the corresponding buffer (named `*bsh*') and restart it by invoking XSLT-process on a buffer. [Suggestion from T. V. Raman]. (2) Allow for passing the user agent to the Cocoon processor so that multiple browser types can be simulated. This works with a patch I submitted against Cocoon 1.8-dev; it was incorporated and should be available in the 1.8.1 release. If you need the patch before this release, feel free to contact me, I'll gladly send it to you. (3) The way the error messages are displayed has changed, now error messages encountered during the JVM startup process also go in the xslt-output buffer. (4) The default keybinding has been changed to 'C-M-x' instead of 'C-c x', to conform to the (X)Emacs keybinding standards..."

  • [January 16, 2001]   XSL Formatting Objects Mailing List Formed on    A communiqué from Andrew Watt announces the formation of a new mailing list for XSL Formatting Objects (XSL-FO). "Basic information on the 'XSL-FO' mailing list may be accessed at Interested individuals may subscribe by sending an email message to Mailing list description: "XSL Formatting Objects are an emerging standard from the W3C. At present there are few tools which do anything with XSL-FO and, until recently, none which will display XSL-FO natively on screen. Some early releases of useful XSL-FO tools are now beginning to emerge. So exciting (and challenging) times lie ahead for those of us interested in XSL Formatting Objects. All questions are welcome. As the group grows hopefully we can share our experience and growing knowledge..." See other lists referenced in "SGML/XML Discussion Groups and Mailing Lists."

  • [January 15, 2001]   XML Encoding for SMS (Short Message Service) Messages.    A development team from First Hop recently submitted an IETF Internet-draft "specifying a common XML encoded interface and a simple messaging protocol to be used between service providers and SMSC. The standard interface would considerably lower the barrier to create SMS based services." The proposal is presented in XML Encoding for SMS Messages. Reference: Internet-Draft 'draft-koponen-sms-xml-00.txt'. November 16, 2000. Expires: May 17, 2001. By Juha P. T. Koponen, Teemu Ikonen, and Lasse Ziegler. The draft document provides examples of XML encoded messages and the full XML DTD. Document abstract: "The Short Message Service (SMS) messages have become very popular. However, the service provisioning is still relatively awkward. This draft presents an encoding and a simple protocol for describing and submitting Short Message Service (SMS) messages over the Internet. The protocol is aimed to be used between SMS Centers and service providers. The SMS messages are encoded in XML and the corresponding Document Type Definition (DTD) for the message structure is described." Description: "This draft describes an interface between SMSC (Short Message Service Center) and SP (Service Provider). The SMSC and SP reside at different physical locations and are connected over the Internet. In other words, the interface proposed here is a straightforward way to connect SMS messages to the Internet. The purpose is to make becoming a service provider as easy as possible. If the mobile operators would provide a standard way to connect to the SMS Centers, the only thing required for becoming a wireless service provider would be a server capable of delivering and transmitting XML encoded SMS messages. As the wireless services are maintained at the SPs servers, it is easy to connect the wireless services to the Internet based services and data bases hosted by the SP... SMS (Short Message Service) is a relatively simple messaging system provided by the mobile phone networks. SMS messages are supported by GSM, TDMA and CDMA based mobile phone networks currently in use. Although services based on SMS have been feasible for many years, the recent mobile phone penetration and large scale user adoption of the existing services have made the SMS based services even more attractive to service providers. Although services enabled by WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) and UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) will most propably replace SMS messages as the most popular media for wireless aplications, there will still be a very large user base still for a long time. The great market interest related to WAP and the so-called mCommerce (mobile commerce) has made also SMS more interesting as a service delivery channel. Operators and service providers are creating many new services. Wireless Application Service Provision (WASP) is a recent, interesting service architecture for providing SMS based services. The basic principle is that there is only one SMSC (SMS Center) which encodes the messages to be submitted through the GSM network. The basic difficulty in developing SMS based services is the variety of protocols used in SMS Centers. European Telecommunication Standards Institute (ETSI) has approved four SMSC protocols, SMPP (by Logica), CIMD (by Nokia), UCP/EMI (by CMG) and SMS2000 (by SEMA). All these protocols have a slightly different functionality and quite different character conversions. Supporting all these protocols is a demanding task for a service provider. There are several SMS gateways able to interact with some or all of the SMS protocols. However, there is no standard way for service providers to interact with the SMS gateways. Also, only few of the SMS gateways support all the SMSC protocols. This draft proposes a solution by introducing an easily adoptable interface to SMS Centers or SMS gateways for service providers." See other references in "XML Encoding for SMS (Short Message Service) Messages."

  • [January 15, 2001]   Updated XSLTDoc Application for Browsing XSLT Stylesheets.    Jeni Tennison posted an announcement for an updated beta version of the XSLTDoc application. Jeni writes: "Thanks to those of you that had a look at and commented on the last version of XSLTDoc. The somewhat improved beta version is now available at (35Kb). In particular, the XPath parsing/explanation is quite a bit more reliable in this version. XSLTDoc helps you browse a set of XSLT stylesheets. It gives four views: (1) a tree of the imported/included stylesheets; (2) a summary of the top-level elements in the selected stylesheet; (3) a view of the source of a selected top-level element; (4) a description of the functionality of a selected instruction or literal result element. You need MSXML3.0 (release version) installed in replace mode and IE5+. Unzip into a folder and open xslt-doc.xsl in IE. You will be prompted for an XSLT stylesheet to view; enter the absolute filename or a URL." In this connection, note the other XSLT resources on Jeni's XSLT Pages, including popular tutorials and XSLT utilities (e.g., Markup Utility and Select Parameters Utility). For related tools, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support."

  • [January 15, 2001]   Revisions to the IDMEF Data Model and IDMEF XML DTD.    David A. Curry recently posted a series of messages describing DTD/Data Model Changes for the Intrusion Detection Message Exchange Format now under development by the the IETF working group; the changes follow a recent San Diego IETF/IDWG meeting. According to the working group's charter, the Intrusion Detection Working Group "is to define data formats and exchange procedures for sharing information of interest to intrusion detection and response systems, and to management systems which may need to interact with them." Several specifications have been published, including: (1) "Intrusion Detection Message Exchange Format. Extensible Markup Language (XML) Document Type Definition."; (2) "Intrusion Detection Exchange Format Data Model."; (3) "Intrusion Detection Message Exchange Format. Comparison of SMI and XML Implementations."; (4) "Intrusion Detection Message Exchange Requirements.". A provisional update of the XML specification was presented in December 2000 as an attempt to merge the data model and the XML representation, to avoid divergences between the two. The July 2000 draft IDMEF XML DTD is presented in the principal 'Intrusion Detection Message Exchange Format' document. Rationale for implementing IDMEF in XML is offered as follows: "XML-based applications are being used or developed for a wide variety of uses, including electronic data interchange in a variety of fields, financial data interchange, electronic business cards, calendar and scheduling, enterprise software distribution, web 'push' technology, and markup languages for chemistry, mathematics, music, molecular dynamics, astronomy, book and periodical publishing, web publishing, weather observations, real estate transactions, and many others. XML's flexibility makes it a good choice for these applications; that same flexibility makes it a good choice for implementing the IDMEF as well. Other, more specific reasons for choosing XML to implement the IDMEF are: (1) XML allows a custom language to be developed specifically for the purpose of describing intrusion detection alerts. It also defines a standard way to extend this language, either for later revisions of this document ('standard' extensions), or for vendor-specific use ('non-standard' extensions). (2) Software tools for processing XML documents are widely available, in both commercial and open source forms. A variety of tools and APIs for parsing and/or validating XML are available in a variety of languages, including Java, C, C++, Tcl, Perl, Python, and GNU Emacs Lisp. Widespread access to tools will make adoption of the IDMEF by product developers easier, and hopefully, faster. (3) XML meets IDMEF Requirement 5.1, that message formats support full internationalization and localization. The XML standard specifies support for both the UTF-8 and UTF-16 encodings of ISO 10646 (Unicode), making IDMEF compatible with both one- and two-byte character sets. XML also provides support for specifying, on a per-element basis, the language in which the element's content is written, making IDMEF easy to adapt to 'Natural Language Support' versions of a product. (4) XML meets IDMEF Requirement 5.2, that message formats must support filtering and aggregation. XML's integration with XSL, a style language, allows messages to be combined, discarded, and rearranged. (5) Ongoing XML development projects, in the W3C and elsewhere, will provide object-oriented extensions, database support, and other useful features. If implemented in XML, the IDMEF immediately gains these features as well. (6) XML is free, with no license, no license fees, and no royalties..." Note that the Incident Taxonomy Working Group (ITDWG) is seeking to align the Incident Object Description and Exchange Format" (IODEF) specification data model and XML DTD with IDMEF. For other description and references, see "Intrusion Detection Message Exchange Format."

  • [January 15, 2001]   Voxeo Supports CallXML in Phone Network Infrastructure.    CallXML is one of several 'phone markup languages' supported by Voxeo in its development of web technologies which "enable web developers, service providers and business enterprises to rapidly create and easily deploy applications for an existing market of 1.5 billion telephone users. Voxeo is a 'stealth mode' company with exciting new products, CallXML and Voxeo Designer, which can be used to develop and deploy limitless XML-based Voice and telephony applications in hours or even minutes. Voxeo's network infrastructure lets any telephone or cell phone interact with web based applications, residing on traditional web servers, using phone markup languages." According the web site description, CallXML is "an XML based markup language used to describe the user interface of a telephone, voice over IP, or multi-media call application to a CallXML browser. A CallXML browser can then use that description to control and react to the call itself. CallXML includes: (1) Media action elements such as <playAudio> and <recordAudio> to describe what to present to the user during a call. (2) Call action elements such as <answer>, <call>, and <hangup> to describe how to control and route the call itself. (3) Logic action elements such as <assign>, <clear>, and <goto> to describe how to modify variables and interact with traditional server-side web logic such as perl, other cgi languages, PHP, or ASP. (4) event elements such as <onTermDigit>, <onHangup> to describe how to react to things the user can do during the call, such as pressing digits or hanging up. (5) block elements which logically group actions and events together, so that one set of event handling elements can be used for several sequential actions. In contrast to VoiceXML, CallXML uses a more simplified block / action / event interface model, which can be easier to learn and which allows for visual design tools which directly represent CallXML markup as simple flow-chart like user interfaces. VoiceXML is designed to make it easy for web developers to create voice recognition based interfaces for either telephones or computer-based applications. As such, VoiceXML is an excellent solution for voice based applications which provide access to web content and information, including applications which allow users to retrieve web content via phone (ie: voice portals, web-by-phone, audiotex, etc) and applications which allow users to interact with web based services using spoken commands (i.e., stock quotes, sports scores, etc). CallXML was designed to make it easy for web developers to create applications that can interact with and control any number or type calls, including: (1) Telephone or Voice over IP call applications which can control the initiation and routing of a phone call itself, supporting such features as outbound dialing, conferencing, and multi-call interactions (ie: conference bridges, internet call waiting, follow-me/find-me, etc) (2) Telephone or Voice over IP call applications which can easily interact and respond to touch-tone based entry and selection (ie: voicemail, interactive voice response, etc) (3) Call Applications which include support for additional media, such as faxes and video (i.e., unified messaging, video conferencing, etc)." For references, see "CallXML."

  • [January 13, 2001]   XML DTDs from the Shareable Courseware Object Reference Model Initiative (SCORM).    XML-based specifications supporting learning technologies have been developed by the Shareable Courseware Object Reference Model Initiative (SCORM) and distributed through the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative Network. The SCORM specifications build upon standards developed by the Instructional Management Systems (IMS) Project. Chapter 5 of the current SCORM specification presents the Course Structure Format. CSF is "an Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based representation of a course structure that can be used to define all of the course elements, structure, and external references necessary to move a course from one LMS environment to another..." Description: "SCORM consists of three main sections: an Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based specification for representing course structures (so courses can be moved from one server/LMS to another); a set of specifications relating to the run-time environment, including an API, content-to-LMS data model, and a content launch specification; and a specification for creating meta-data records for courses, content, and raw media elements. The Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) is a set of interrelated technical specifications built upon the work of the AICC, IMS and IEEE to create one unified 'content model'. These specifications enable the reuse of Web-based learning content across multiple environments and products. SCORM development teams are working with the standards groups internal and external to the Department of Defense (DoD). They are working closely with Educom IMS (Instructional Management System), a consortium of over 600 public- and private-sector organizations, to develop common guidelines and standards for ADL. They are also supporting the other Federal agencies (like the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST) and other standards groups, such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and the Aviation Industry CBT Committee (AICC). SCORM standards enable small, reusable, sharable course content; discoverable learning content (interoperable repositories); the ability to find and move entire courses; vendor support for SCORM-compliant COTS products; and the development of adaptive learning systems that can assemble content to meet the learner's needs 'on the fly'. Compliance test software is under development and will be made available to all free-of-charge. Reference implementations are under construction. A sample LMS (Learning Management System), available for download, provides a very simple working example of course content and a learning management system that illustrates the use of the SCORM API, data model, API adapter and more. The .ZIP package includes source and executable code and a working sample course. The Course Structure Format is designed to be able to support any number of levels and can be self-describing as to your organization's curricular taxonomy (e.g., Course, Chapter, Unit, Learning Step, etc.). There is no 'one-size-fits-all' assumption in SCORM. For learning content to conform with SCORM, must it must use the SCORM Application Programming Interface (API); however, content is only obligated to support LMSInitialize() and LMSFinish(). SCORM conformance test software is available online and includes the ability to test content, LMSs, and more." [adapted from the ADL/SCORM FAQ documents] For other description and references to the XML DTDs, see "Shareable Courseware Object Reference Model Initiative (SCORM)." For related efforts, see: (1) PostSecondary Electronic Standards Council XML Forum for Education; (2) IEEE LTSC XML Ad Hoc Group; (3) Universal Learning Format Technical Specification; (4) Educom Instructional Management Systems Project (IMS) Metadata Specification; (5) Learning Material Markup Language (LMML); (6) Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF); (7) Tutorial Markup Language (TML).

  • [January 13, 2001]   ebXML Technical Architecture Specification Available for Public Review.    The ebXML Technical Architecture Project Team has issued a draft version of the ebXML Technical Architecture Specification (4-January-2001, ebXML_TA_v1.0.doc), making it available for review by the eBusiness community. The 40-page draft specification has been edited by Duane Nickull (XML Global Technologies) and Brian Eisenberg (DataChannel), under the direction of project team leader Anders Grangard (EDI France). The current review period ends 26-January-2001. The document "describes the underlying architecture for ebXML. It provides a high level overview of ebXML and describes the relationships, interactions, and basic functionality of ebXML. It should be used as a roadmap to learn: (1) what ebXML is, (2) what problems ebXML solves, and (3) core ebXML functionality and architecture. The document is intended primarily for the ebXML Project Teams to help guide their work. Secondary audiences may include software implementers, international standards bodies, and other industry organizations... This conceptual overview introduces the following concepts and underlying architecture: (1) A standard mechanism for describing a Business Process and its associated information model. (2) A mechanism for registering and storing a Business Process and Information Meta Model so that it can be shared/reused. (3) Discovery of information about each participant including: a) The Business Processes they support, b) The Business Service Interfaces they offer in support of the Business Process, c) The Business Messages that are exchanged between their respective Business Service Interfaces, d) The technical configuration of the supported transport, security and encoding protocols. (4) A mechanism for registering the aforementioned information so that it may be discovered and retrieved. (5) A mechanism for describing a mutually agreed upon business arrangement which may be derived from information provided by each participant from item 3 above. (6) A standardized business Messaging Service that enables interoperable, secure and reliable exchange of messages between two parties. (7) A mechanism for configuration of the respective Messaging Services to engage in the agreed upon Business Process in accordance with the constraints defined in the business arrangement." From the background statement: "For over 25 years Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) has given companies the prospect of eliminating paper documents, reducing costs, and improving efficiency by exchanging business information in electronic form. Ideally, companies of all sizes could conduct eBusiness in a completely ad hoc fashion, without prior agreement of any kind. But this vision has not been realized with EDI; only large companies are able to afford to implement it, and much EDI-enabled eBusiness is centered around a dominant enterprise that imposes proprietary integration approaches on its trading partners. In the last few years, the Extensible Markup Language (XML) has rapidly become the first choice for defining data interchange formats in new eBusiness applications on the Internet. Many people have interpreted the XML groundswell as evidence that 'EDI is dead' -- made completely obsolete by the XML upstart -- but this view is naove from both business and technical standpoints. EDI implementations encode substantial experience in business processes, and companies with large investments in EDI integration will not abandon them without good reason. XML might enable more open, more loosely-coupled, and more object- or component-oriented systems than EDI. XML might enable more flexible and innovative eMarketplace business models than EDI. But the challenges of designing messages that meet business process requirements and standardizing their semantics are independent of the syntax in which the messages are encoded. The ebXML specifications provide a framework in which EDI's substantial investments in business processes can be preserved in an architecture that exploits XML's new technical capabilities." Review guidelines are provided on the ebXML web site; comments may be sent to the project team mailing list. For related information, see: (1) the ebXML web site and (2) "Electronic Business XML Initiative (ebXML)."

  • [January 13, 2001]   Schemas for DocBook: W3C XML Schema, RELAX, and TREX.    Norm Walsh (Sun Microsystems) recently announced the (alpha) release of schemas for DocBook, including W3C XML Schema, RELAX, and TREX. "I have just updated the experimental XML Schema for DocBook. You can get the new version (and the ChangeLog) at ['The DocBook XML Schema V4.1.2.3 attempts to be an accurate translation of the DocBook XML V4.1.2 DTD. In this version, the parameterization of the schema is roughly identical to the parameterization of the DTD. This may change as I begin to experiment with the construction of derivative schemas.'] I have also produced a RELAX schema for DocBook V4.1.2, although I have no tool that validates all of RELAX so, while I believe it is correct, I can't demonstrate it; see Finally, I produced a TREX schema from the RELAX schema. I tweaked it a bit by hand (removing a few redundancies), so it's not quite a simple mechanical transformation. See Norm has been busy: he recently published an article on 'diffmk', which uses XML and the Perl diff tool to track changes in XML documents. He also released a preliminary version of the JRefEntry DTD, which represents a customization of the DocBook RefEntry model: "the purpose of this customization is to mirror the order and nature of structured comment tags in JavaDoc documentation." See the JRefEntry web page for details. For schema references, see "XML Schemas."

  • [January 13, 2001]   Updated DTD to XML Schema Conversion Tool.    Mary Holstege posted an announcement for the release of an updated version of a DTD to XML Schema tool. "I am attaching an updated version of the Perl script [''] that is available on the W3C site [as 'A Conversion Tool from DTD to XML Schema']. This new version makes the following changes: (1) Use the CR syntax instead of the April [XML Schema] draft syntax; (2) Add support for an external mapping file for type aliases, simple types, model, attribute, and substitution groups; (3) Map ANY correctly to wildcard rather than element 'ANY'; (4) Support for treating lead PCDATA as string or other aliased simple type instead of as mixed content (may be more appropriate for data-oriented DTDs) e.g., <!ELEMENT title (#PCDATA)> => <element name="title" type="string"/>; (5) Support subsitution groups (simplistically). For the record: this update has no official standing... It is worth pointing out that this tool does not produce terribly high quality schemas, but it is a decent starting point if you have existing DTDs." See Mary Holstege's web site for samples and documentation on this version of the application. For other XML Schema references, see "XML Schemas."

  • [January 13, 2001]   XML Spy Version 3.5 Beta 4 Supports Advanced XML Schema Authoring Features.    An announcement for the evaluation version of XML Spy 3.5 describes the most recent added features of the XML Spy editing tool. "XML Spy is centered around a professional validating XML editor that provides four advanced views on your documents: an Enhanced Grid View for structured editing, a Database/Table view that shows repeated elements in a tabular fashion, a Text View with syntax-coloring for low-level work, and an integrated Browser View that supports both CSS and XSL style-sheets." From the announcement: "Version 3.5 Beta 4 is the last public beta release for our upcoming XML Spy 3.5 product, and includes several new features. Specifically this beta release contains/supports: (1) validation of XML Schemas with integrated error highlighting directly within the Schema design view; (2) improved validation of XML instance documents based on XML Schemas -- it consumes less memory and is much faster; (3) access and manipulate files in any respository that is accessible through an ftp:, http:, or https: URL; (4) browse and manipulate folders directly from the Open/Save URL dialog on any FTP or WebDAV server... [etc.] We are now also offering a quick introduction to the new XML Schema Design View online. If you are interested in working with XML Schema, please visit this URL, which explains the new XML Schema related features in detail: XML Spy 3.5 includes a new schema design menu that is available whenever an XML Schema document is opened and displayed in the XML Schema Design View. When you open an XML Schema document, XML Spy displays all globally defined particles (i.e., elements, complexTypes, attributeGroups, etc.) in the XML Schema as a list in the XML Schema Design View. If an element, complexType, or attributeGroup is selected, the corresponding attributes are automatically shown in the list underneath the globals. For each particle that has the little tree symbol next to it, you can click on that symbol to open the content model for that particle in the advanced tree view of XML Spy. To edit the content model, simply use drag&drop to rearrange elements or use the right mouse button for other manipulations. To return to the global view, please use the menu command 'Display All Globals'. To navigate to related elements or types, you can also double-click on the name of any complexType (shown as a rectangle with yellow background) or Ctrl-double-click on any element in the tree view. In addition, the following floating XML Schema Navigator window is always visible and lets you switch to different particles by simply double-clicking them in the list. At the same time, elements can be easily added to the content model, by dragging them from the XML Schema Navigator window onto the desired position in the content model. While most parameters of an element node (such as its name, type, and major facets) can be edited directly in the tree view, the full details of the selected node are always visible (and can be edited) in the detail views in separate floating windows. In addition to offering these flexible editing capabilities, the advanced Schema Design View of XML Spy is also highly configurable and lets the user choose what parameters should be displayed and how the display should be formatted..." Note 2001-01-19: final release XML Spy 3.5.

  • [January 11, 2001]   New XML DTD for Bioinformatic Sequence Markup Language (BSML).    LabBook, Inc. has announced the availability of BSML (XML DTD) version 2.2. "BSML is an extensible language specification and container for bioinformatic data developed originally under a 1997 grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) as an evolving public domain standard for the bioinformatics community. The objectives of LabBook are to offer BSML and other XML data formats for effective management, communication, and interactive visualization of bioinformatic data." The problem domain is presented thus: "Genome research projects typically involve a variety of data (sequences, annotations, analysis results, database links, graphical images, etc.) that may be distributed over multiple storage locations and networks. Creation, management, analysis, and communication of these data often require the use of various computer software applications and databases that utilize non-interchangeable data formats. The lack of standards in bioinformatics is a serious obstacle to productivity. Other obstacles include the loss of information content and state by transmission of data in HTML, and a lack of persistence in bioinformatic analyses and searches because the results are simply pictures in viewers." The new release of the XML data format is designed to "provide a common method for communicating genomic research information. The open XML data standard will allow life sciences researchers, suppliers, and content and service providers, to interact and exchange information through a universal data language. BSML enables the creation, delivery, integration, and storage of documents containing complex sequence information, features and annotations, plus the ability to describe how to visualize these elements. Researchers will be able to exchange information through an XML/BSML email, the Genogram, which is created and read by LabBook's Genomic XML Viewer and Genomic XML Browser. LabBook will support the standard by providing the language specification (BSML DTD Version 2.2) and Genomic XML Viewer to the life science community. LabBook will also develop 'XML converters' allowing the integration of disparate data in the life science community. Dr. Adel Mikhail, LabBook Vice President for Strategic Development, commented: 'Our clients and partners have come to us because they need an affordable robust XML-based solution for data integration, organization, and visualization that can be used effectively by all their end users, not just the bioinformatics specialists. Our technology is making genomic data more meaningful to biologists.' LabBook's solution is to format data and query results for delivery as a standardized XML representation that is persistent and reusable. A combination of XML data, XML converters, and XML-aware software can facilitate the discovery process by enabling the researcher to integrate and annotate complex data and query results within a highly visual and interactive environment. BSML facilitates integration of 'extragenomic' information (literature, images, documents) with bioinformatics data for improved knowledge management. According to LabBook Chief Science Officer, Dr. Jeffrey Spitzner: 'A major challenge in research today is accessing, organizing, and integrating information that is delivered in diverse, often incompatible formats from various sources distributed locally and over the Internet. For example, results of database queries delivered as database tables or HTML files are hard to manage and difficult to integrate. Yet, scientists must be able to share and work with their data and analytical results in order to apply their expertise and understand the underlying biology. A new era of discovery will be enabled by providing a standard XML data format that captures the richness of the underlying data itself, combined with interactive visual presentations that are meaningful to the life sciences community.' For additional details, see: (1) the full text of the announcement, "LabBook Inc. Announces Release of XML Standard for Genomic Research", and (2) "Bioinformatic Sequence Markup Language (BSML)." See similarly: (1) "Gene Expression Markup Language (GEML)"; (2) "BIOpolymer Markup Language (BIOML)"; (3) "CellML"; (4) "Genome Annotation Markup Elements (GAME)"; (5) "Microarray Markup Language (MAML)"; (6) "XML for Multiple Sequence Alignments (MSAML)"; (7) "Systems Biology Markup Language (SBML)"; (8) "OMG Gene Expression RFP."

  • [January 10, 2001]   Digital Dictionaries of Buddhism and East Asian Literary Terms in XML/XSL.    A posting from Charles Muller (Toyo Gakuen University, Japan) announces the public availability of CJK dictionary data sets in XML/XSL: "I would like you to be aware that I have, for the first time, made the full, updated content of both the Dictionary of East Asian Literary Terms (DEALT) and Digital Dictionary of Buddhism (DDB) compilations available in XML format and in downloadable ZIP packets. These are not expected to serve as functional browsing files, but instead to make the data available in a flexible format for: (1) Researchers in Asian studies who might want to try developing the data into a system on their own desktops; (2) Those who are new to XML, and are interesting in seeing how it works (including a DTD and XSL file), this material might serve as a useful learning example; (3) XML professional developers, from whom I would love to receive further advice on implementation. I am a humanities scholar with no formal web development or programming background, so the present XML implementation that you will see represents the extreme limit of my abilities. If you are using MSIE 5.5 with the MSXML 3.0 parser (available for download from the Microsoft web site), you should be able to browse these files. If you do not have this setup, you will see the underlying code in MSIE. I have had no success with Netscape 6. Please go to:" The Digital Dictionary of Buddhism is "a digital dictionary containing terms from Chinese, Japanese and Korean Buddhism (which also includes many Indian and Tibetan terms) that are written in literary Chinese. This compilation, which was initiated in 1986, is to the best of my knowledge, the most comprehensive compilation of CJK-Buddhist terms presently available in English. It is an ongoing project, that is now being supported through the collaboration of a number of scholars in the field of Buddhist Studies. It is closely linked to a sister project, the Dictionary of East Asian Literary Terms (DEALT) which is currently available for browsing through this same web site." The Dictionary of East Asian Literary Terms "represents the ongoing results of about 15 years of research in East Asian pre-modern texts, from Zhou dynasty materials to nineteenth-century writings in China, Korea and Japan. Besides its inherent digital attributes, this dictionary already surpasses many of its hard-copy counterpart dictionaries in a number of ways. The number of single characters contained in the database is 20,902 -- the entire CJK portion of Unicode 2.0. As of 4/17/00, about half of these contained complete information, along with 5,000 compound words. The definitions contained in this dictionary are, for the most part, far more extensive than any other current CJK-English dictionary, being derived from a wide range of authoritative Chinese, Korean and Japanese lexicons as well as through the direct reading of primary textual sources."

  • [January 09, 2001]   ARTS Convention to Demonstrate IXRetail XML Messaging.    A recent announcement from the Association of Retail Technology Standards (ARTS) describes a "public demonstration of the new IXRetail standard using XML to connect various applications from different vendors across multiple platforms. Convention attendees will see XML connect POS (Point Of Service) to Price Management and Inventory including transactions from RF, wireless and the Internet. The XML messages will build on the work of ActiveStore schemas and use the new ARTS XML Data Dictionary. ARTS, in cooperation with ActiveStore, has developed Extensible Markup Language (XML) messages to interface systems within the retail enterprise. The UCC has been working with VICS, ECR Europe and the Global Commerce Initiative to develop a merchandise classification standard focused on business-to-business operations. The Association for Retail Technology Standards (ARTS) of the National Retail Federation is a retailer-driven membership organization dedicated to creating an open environment where both retailers and technology vendors work together to create international retail technology standards. ARTS has two standards embraced by the retail industry around the world: (1) Standard Retail Data Model, and (2) Unified POS. These standards have been created through a cooperative effort of retailers and software solution providers to reduce the time and cost of implementing technology within the retailing industry. The National Retail Federation has been developing the Product Attribute System (PAS) for the past nine months, which is designed to assist consumers in quickly identifying and locating merchandise on the Internet. PAS is intended to be an industry guideline, rather than a standard. The UCC and NRF have identified initial areas for joint activity and cooperation. In September [2000], ARTS and IXRetail moved a significant portion of the Data Model into the public domain as an XML Data Dictionary for use in creating XML messages. ARTS and the UCC will meet to explore the possibility of creating a common data dictionary to support the retail industry processes on the global level." The IXRetail standard under development is a "cooperative effort of the Association for Retail Technology (ARTS), which is a division of the NRF, and ActiveStore, a Microsoft-led standards initiative." See further detail in (1) the text of the announcement, "NRF Convention to be Forum for First Retail XML Demonstration. IXRetail Cooperative Shows Proof Behind Theory", and (2) "ARTS IXRetail."

  • [January 09, 2001]   Marketplace XML (mpXML) for Virtual Private Marketplaces.    SourceTrack recently announced Marketplace XML (mpXML) as "open XML standard for the exchange of electronic commerce marketplace information." The company's hosted service, based on the Ariba Marketplace solution, provides customized 'virtual private marketplaces' for companies purchasing electronically from their own preferred suppliers. The SourceTrack web site provides access to the XML DTD and sample documents. From the announcement: "SourceTrack, a Tampa-based, e-purchasing service for mid-sized companies and their suppliers, has unveiled Marketplace XML (mpXML), an open XML standard for the exchange of electronic commerce marketplace information. SourceTrack authored mpXML in response to its need for a simple, flexible, standard method to quickly exchange supplier data and import supplier catalogs into the SourceTrack marketplace. mpXML is a combination of SourceTrack-authored rules and existing best-of-breed XML standards. The hybrid marketplace standard yields a simple, intuitive e-business solution for real-time ordering and tracking, marketplace-to-marketplace communication, and importing catalogs and updating existing ones into a B2B marketplace. XML standards are structured rules for designing text formats for data in a way that produces files that are easy to generate and read by a computer, are unambiguous and extensible, are supported for internationalization and localization, and are platform independent. [Don Bacon:] 'Although SourceTrack accepts suppliers' information in various forms, we found that XML provides clearer semantics for gathering and understanding the data exchanged. We developed mpXML because we needed a way to get volumes of catalog and contract information from various suppliers integrated into our marketplace very quickly. Our mpXML framework provides greater flexibility for extending its utility. By supporting the inclusion of new attributes, it also addresses performance optimization as well,' said Don Bacon, System Architect for SourceTrack. 'By providing our suppliers with access to mpXML, it improves our overall speed, flexibility, and value in working together on their e-Commerce initiatives.' mpXML uses elements from existing XML standard formats including: (1) Electronic Catalog XML (eCX); (2) Commerce XML (cXML); (3) Custom XML; (4) Open Catalog Format (OCF); (5) [SAP] Open Catalog Interface (OCI); (6) Rosetta Net Product Resource Update Guideline." For resources and references, see "Marketplace XML (mpXML)."

  • [January 09, 2001]   W3C Publishes MathML 2.0 Specification as a Proposed Recommendation.    Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) Version 2.0 has been released as a W3C Proposed Recommendation. Reference: W3C Proposed Recommendation 08-January-2001, edited by David Carlisle (NAG), Patrick Ion (Mathematical Reviews, American Mathematical Society), Robert Miner (Design Science, Inc.), and Nico Poppelier (Penta Scope). The Proposed Recommendation review period extends through 5-February-2001, after which the specification may become a W3C Recommendation. Document abstract: "This specification defines the Mathematical Markup Language, or MathML. MathML is an XML application for describing mathematical notation and capturing both its structure and content. The goal of MathML is to enable mathematics to be served, received, and processed on the World Wide Web, just as HTML has enabled this functionality for text. This specification of the markup language MathML is intended primarily for a readership consisting of those who will be developing or implementing renderers or editors using it, or software that will communicate using MathML as a protocol for input or output. It is not a User's Guide but rather a reference document. This document begins with background information on mathematical notation, the problems it poses, and the philosophy underlying the solutions MathML proposes. MathML can be used to encode both mathematical notation and mathematical content. About thirty of the MathML tags describe abstract notational structures, while another about one hundred and fifty 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, 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." Major changes: "Chapters 1 and 2, which are introductory material, have been revised to reflect the changes elsewhere in the document, and in the rapidly evolving Web environment. Chapters 3 and 4 have been extended to describe new functionalities added as well as smaller improvements of material already proposed. Chapter 5 has been newly written to reflect changes in the technology available. The major tables in Chapter 6 have been regenerated and reorganized to reflect an improved list of characters useful for mathematics, and the text revised to reflect the new situation in regard to Unicode. Chapter 7 has been completely revised since Web technology has changed. A new Chapter 8 on the DOM for MathML has been added; the latter points to new appendices D and E for detailed listings. The appendices have been reorganized into normative and non-normative groups. Appendices D (Document Object Model for MathML), E (MathML Document Object Model Bindings), and G (Sample CSS Style Sheet for MathML) are completely new." See further information in (1) the public mailing list archives, (2) the W3C MathML website, (3) the Zvon MathML reference, and (4) "Mathematical Markup Language (MathML)."

  • [January 08, 2001]   Revised Last Call Working Draft for XPointer Version 1.0.    Daniel Veillard posted an announcement for W3C's release of an updated (second) last call working draft specification for XML Pointer Language (XPointer) Version 1.0. Reference: W3C Last Call Working Draft 8-January-2001, edited by Steve DeRose (Brown University Scholarly Technology Group), Eve Maler (Sun Microsystems), and Ron Daniel Jr. (Interwoven). The working draft specification "defines the XML Pointer Language (XPointer), the language to be used as the basis for a fragment identifier for any URI reference that locates a resource whose Internet media type is one of text/xml, application/xml, text/xml-external-parsed-entity, or application/xml-external-parsed-entity. XPointer, which is based on the XML Path Language (XPath), supports addressing into the internal structures of XML documents. XPointer's extensions to XPath allow it to: (1) Address points and ranges as well as whole nodes; (2) Locate information by string matching; (3) Use addressing expressions in URI references as fragment identifiers, after suitable escaping. XPointer allows for examination of a hierarchical document structure and choice of its internal parts based on various properties, such as element types, attribute values, character content, and relative position. In particular, XPointer provides for specific reference to elements, character strings, and other parts of XML documents, whether or not they bear an explicit ID attribute. The structures located with XPointer can be used as link targets or for any other application-specific purpose. This specification does not constrain what uses an application may make of locations identified by XPointers. In particular, implementation of traversal to a resource is not constrained by this specification, and whether user 'traversal' is the purpose of an XPointer at all is application-dependent. A formatted-text browser traversal might scroll to and highlight the designated location; a structure-oriented graphical viewer or a document-relationship display might do traversal in quite a different way; and a search application, parser, archival system, or expert agent might use XPointers for other purposes entirely. The construction of linking elements in XML documents that associate arbitrary resources, including XML documents and portions thereof, is defined in a related specification, XLink." The Last Call period begins 8-January-2001 and ends 29-January-2001. Veillard says: "This second Last Call has been made necessary by a change required to XPointer to insure that URI References built using XPointer are context independant. This specific addition is detailed in section 5.2.1 of this XPointer Working Draft. Section 5.2.1 says, in part: "For any XPointer part that uses the xpointer scheme, the evaluation context of that part must be initialized to a set of namespace declarations consisting of a declaration of the xml prefix, bound to the URI, plus any namespace declarations specified by xmlns XPointer parts appearing to its left. Each xmlns part defines a namespace declaration as a prefix (NCName) and namespace URI (XPtrNsURI). In the event that two or more xmlns parts specify the same prefix, the rightmost one is used. Any xmlns parts attempting to override the xml prefix must be ignored..." Comments on the WD may be sent to the publicly archived mailing list. See related references in "XML Linking Language."

  • [January 08, 2001]   RenderX Releases 'XEP' XSL Flow Object (FO) Rendering Engine Version 2.01.    Nikolai Grigoriev (RenderX) has announced the release of an updated version of XEP, a XSL Flow Object (FO) Rendering Engine for converting XSL FO documents to either PDF or PostScript. XEP Version 2.01 is now available for download from the RenderX web site. "The web site itself has also undergone major changes in both the design and the contents. All examples and demos are now conformant to the last XSL FO version (Candidate Recommendation). The new version of XEP has several improvements as compared to the previous one (XEP 1.02): (1) it supports the fresh XSL FO specification (Candidate Recommendation of 21 November 2000); (2) additional XSL FO functionality has been implemented; (3) the code has been optimized to run faster; (4) native PDFlib library calls have been replaced by pure Java code; (5) font support is greatly improved [user fonts can be embedded; Unicode support is consistent and versatile]; (6) documentation has been improved: it now includes an XSL FO primer; (7) Ant-based installation script is provided; (8) extra examples and tools are included in the distribution [FO-to-HTML stylesheet; migration stylesheet to convert XEP 1.02 files to XSL FO CR.] New tests have been added to the Test Suite. Those include a number of non-English examples (Armenian, Polish, Russian, Old Italian sample texts) that may be of particular interest for international audience... XEP is a native-mode XSL FO processor: the whole procedure of calculating the layout of every page is performed inside, without recurring to any third-party formatting engines like nroff, TeX or whatever else. Such an approach is sometimes more difficult to implement: e.g., coding an algorithm for footnotes placement on a multi-column page has never been easy. On the other hand, native mode processing gives you considerable advantages in flexibility and cross-platform portability." The XEP FAQ document provides additional detail. For related resources, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support."

  • [January 08, 2001]   James Clark Announces New Schema Language 'TREX' (Tree Regular Expressions for XML).    James Clark (Thai Open Source Software Center) has posted an announcement for the release of TREX (Tree Regular Expressions for XML) -- a simple schema language for validating XML documents. "I've designed and implemented a small, simple schema language. It's called TREX (Tree Regular Expressions for XML). Calling it a schema language is perhaps misleading: it's goal is purely validation. It doesn't aim to assist in interpreting or processing the document. The post-validation infoset is exactly the same as the pre-validation infoset. You can find more, including a tutorial, a (relatively) formal spec and a sample implementation in Java on top of SAX2 at TREX is basically the type system of XDuce with an XML syntax and with a bunch of additional features (like support for attributes and namespaces) needed to make it a practical language for structure validation. Of existing Schema languages, it's closest to RELAX. It's not tied to any particular datatyping language; rather, the idea is that you can plug whatever datatyping language you want (e.g., XML Schemas Part 2). This is the first release, so there will certainly be bugs in both the documents and the implementation. I plan to continue to refine both the design and the implementation. Input is welcome." The TREX specification definitively describes the TREX language. From the 'Introduction': "The primary concept in TREX is the pattern. An unordered collection of attributes and an ordered sequence of elements and characters are matched jointly against a pattern with respect to an environment. An environment is a mapping from names to patterns together with a possibly null reference to a parent environment. The result of matching is true or false. XML document is valid with respect to a TREX pattern if an empty collection of attributes and a sequence containing just the document element of the document matches the pattern with respect to an empty environment. TREX also has the concept of a name-class, which is a set of expanded-names. [As to Data Model:] An element is a triple <name, attributes, children>, where name is an expanded-name, attributes is a unordered collection of zero or more attributes and children is an ordered sequence of zero or more elements or characters. An attribute is a pair <name, value>, where name is an expanded-name and value is a sequence of zero or more characters. An expanded-name is a pair <namespace URI, local name>, where namespace URI is a string containing a URI reference and local name is a string matching the NCName production of the XML Recommendation..." See other XML schema work referenced in "XML Schemas."

  • [January 06, 2001]   Multi-Channel Access XML (MAXML).    Curious Networks is developing 'Multi-Channel Access XML (MAXML)' as an XML application which "fully supports HTML, XHTML, XML, WAP (HDML and WML), Palm PQAs, VoiceXML and Java and will support new channels as they emerge." From the web site description: MAXML is "an XML-based definition language that enables a developer to create one application definition and have it instantly accessible. MAXML is designed specifically for the growing need to deploy applications on not just one, but many access channels simultaneously. By utilizing MAXML, [Curious Networks'] Continuum delivers powerful and efficient wired and wireless solutions through a single development effort. The Foundation of MAXML is Interaction Oriented Development. MAXML defines both the integration into backend systems and how users will interact with data in these backend systems -- independent of the access device. Curious Networks designed MAXML using a fundamentally different approach to application development. Unlike traditional development processes based on defining presentation, MAXML is founded on how users interact with information. Developers define their applications within MAXML in terms of interactions users will have with the applications. Curious Networks has defined these interactions through extensive research and usability tests on how people want information organized and presented as well as how they interact with it. Through its research, Curious Networks created a Human-Information Interaction Model that explains the relationship between data and how users interact with that data. This model defines standard ways users interact with information, regardless of the technology being used. MAXML allows developers to define their existing applications in terms of the Human-Information Interaction Model. This unique approach allows developers to focus on defining the types of interactions within MAXML, not the complexities of specific devices. This approach, called Interaction Oriented Development, produces a markup with significant advantages. (1) Complete Support: Developers can take advantage of the latest technologies without having to worry about learning or keeping up with the evolution of the specific markup languages associated with various devices. (2) Write Once: The power of MAXML is that the code for interactions remains the same, regardless of the access channel used. In other words, MAXML allows developers to define an application, and the interactions that comprise it, once and Continuum presents each interaction appropriately on each device. By creating a layer of abstraction between the presentation layer and the underlying data, the developer is removed from the complexities of the various channels. Defining the application once in MAXML results in significantly reduced time-to-market and development costs. (3) A Markup for the Future: By focusing on the interactions, MAXML can be accessed on new devices with no change to the MAXML, enabling companies to immediately benefit from emerging technologies... An application in MAXML "is a collection of activities or services a customer wants translated and made viewable across channels; it is an online environment that serves a particular purpose to the user. An example of an application might be a personal portal that allows a user to check all of his or her daily information, or a wedding registry service with gift registration capabilities. The application is the top level environment in which the Curious Networks system runs. Some examples of basic components that comprise an application are page views, portlets, static pages, servlets, and a supporting environment, such as web servers and application servers." A portlet is a specific service inside an application; each activity in an application will generally be associated with its own portlet. A personal portal might contain a portlet to fetch horoscopes, one to view news headlines, one for stocks, and so on." The MAXML Workshop has initial support for SOAP through the IBM/Apache v2.0 implementation. The MAXML Tag Reference is supplied in the MAXML Developer's Guide. See further description and references in "Multi-Channel Access XML (MAXML)."

  • [January 06, 2001]   Resource Directory Description Language (RDDL) Specification and RDDL API.    Jonathan Borden (of The Open Healthcare Group) recently announced the release of an updated specification for 'Resource Directory Description Language (RDDL)', together with a new RDDL namespace URI and some code which demonstates the beginnings of a RDDL API. A "Resource Directory" as defined by the Resource Directory Description Language (RDDL) Specification "provides a text description of some class of resources and of other resources related to that class. It also contains a directory of links to these related resources. An example of a class of resources is that defined by an XML Namespace. Examples of such related resources include schemas, stylesheets, and executable code. A Resource Directory Description is designed to be suitable for service as the body of a resource returned by deferencing a URI serving as an XML Namespace name. The Resource Directory Description Language is an extension of XHTML Basic 1.0 with a new element named resource. This element serves as an XLink to the referenced resource. This document defines the syntax and semantics of the Resource Directory Description Language, and also serves as a Resource Directory Description for the namespace The Resource Directory Description 1.0 DTD is an extension of W3C's XHTML Basic 1.0, according to Modularization for XHTML." Resources on the RDDL web site include a CSS Stylesheet, XML DTD, RDF Schema, and SOCAT catalog entry. Jonathan Borden says in a recent posting that "some code has been placed at: which demonstates the beginnings of a RDDL API. I haven't tried to compile it yet but I wanted to let people know where this project is located, in particular several people are looking at RDDL APIs for other languages, and this way we can all see what is going on. In particular support is being developed for interoperability with URLs that don't resolve to RDDL. The only information we generally get about such resources is their content-type as told by the HTTP server, and what we can figure out by parsing the contents. Additional support will be developed for clients which don't support RDDL but who specifically ask for a particular content-type (e.g., a particular RDDL document can define content-type="application/xml" as identifing an XML Schema)." For details and background information, see the principal RDDL web site [namespace URI resolves to this] and "Resource Directory Description Language (RDDL)."

  • [January 05, 2001]   PostSecondary Electronic Standards Council XML Forum for Education.    The Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) recently chartered an 'XML Forum for Education' for the purpose of establishing Extensible Markup Language (XML) standards for the higher education community. The Forum was established following several months of study by teams assigned to assess the technical aspects of XML, its application in higher education, and future development trends. The PESC XML Forum includes as participants all stakeholders in XML standardization. The Forum focuses on the XML needs of the higher education community, development of XML products needed by the participants, and evaluation of other XML initiatives and their impacts on the community. Forum membership is open to all organizations -- non-profit, commercial, or governmental -- interested in using XML in their data exchanges with education entities (schools, software and service providers, and financial aid lenders, servicers, and guaranty agencies). The XML Forum is chaired by John Evdemon, Chief Architect at XML Solutions. At present, the PESC XML Forum for Education "has established the following Work Groups: Core Components, Technology, Marketing and Communications. The primary deliverable of the Core Components Work Group (chaired by Rebecca Babel of ELM Resources) is a data model containing education data elements common to many transactions within education. To produce the data model, the work group intends to gather appropriate data dictionaries which will be compared and used as input to a modeling exercise. The Technology Work Group (chaired by Vincent Ferrer of the US Department of Education) is to produce a security best practices document, define a protocol for dealing with extensions, and provide guidance, proofs of concepts, and quality assurance to other work groups. The Marketing and Communications Work Group (chaired by Ellen Blackmun of the National Association of Financial Aid Administrators) is to focus on outreach activities and to increase awareness of XML standards for applications in education." PESC is is a non-profit membership organization whose mission is to improve service and control costs of higher education by promoting standards for data sharing. As a three-year-old organization, it represents a "partnership of schools, higher education associations, federal agencies, and software and service providers. The Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council leads the higher education community in leveraging the value of electronic standards for data exchange. Formed to support and promote the use of standards for sharing data within the higher education community, PESC provides a forum for identifying existing standards, encouraging the development of an infrastructure to exchange data successfully, and setting standards where none exist. Topics studied by the group include public key infrastructure (PKI) for encryption and digital signatures, single student and institutional identifiers, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) standards for prospect information and Hope Scholarship reporting, and electronic test score reporting." For other description and references, see "PostSecondary Electronic Standards Council XML Forum for Education."

  • [January 04, 2001]   Program for XSLT-UK, the First XSLT Conference.    Sebastian Rahtz has posted an announcement with the program listing for XSLT-UK, 'the first XSLT conference'. "The first XSLT-UK conference will take place in the UK, Sunday and Monday, 8-9 April 2001 in Keble College, Oxford, England. We now have our speakers lined up, the venue is booked, and its looking good for an interesting two days. The conference is priced reasonably, and if you are really new to XSLT, then Ken Holman's two-day course is set to run on Friday and Saturday, 6th and 7th April 2001. This provides an ideal introduction to XSLT." The speaker lineup includes Jeni Tennison, Michael Kay, Jacek Ambroziak, Norm Walsh, Steve Muench, Tom Kaiser, Wolfgang Emmerich, Leigh Dodds , Mario Jeckle, Ben Robb, Evan Lenz, Arved Sandstrom, and G. Ken Holman. The announcement is at, and registration is now open. See other conference listings in the events calendar.

  • [January 03, 2001]   W3C Last Call Working Drafts for Speech Recognition Grammar and Speech Synthesis Markup Language.    The W3C Voice Browser Working Group has issued two 'last call' working draft documents for the W3C Speech Interface Framework. These specifications are part of the W3C Voice Browser Activity, in which W3C "is working to expand access to the Web to allow people to interact with Web sites via spoken commands, and listening to prerecorded speech, music and synthetic speech. This will allow any telephone to be used to access Web-based services, and will be a boon to people with visual impairments or needing Web access while keeping theirs hands and eyes free for other things. It will also allow effective interaction with display-based Web content in the cases where the mouse and keyboard may be missing or inconvenient. The review period for both WDs ends 31-January-2001. Review comments on the WDs may be sent to the publicly archived mailing list ''. The Speech Recognition Grammar Specification describes markup for grammars for use in speech recognition. Reference: W3C Working Draft 3-January-2001, edited by Andrew Hunt (SpeechWorks International) and Scott McGlashan (PipeBeach). The specification "defines syntax for representating grammars for use in speech recognition so that developers can specify the words and patterns of words to be listened for by a speech recognizer. The syntax of the grammar format is presented in two forms, an augmented BNF syntax and an XML syntax. The specification intends to make the two representations directly mappable and allow automatic transformations between the two forms." This W3C specification is based upon the JSpeech Grammar Format (JSGF) specification, which is owned by Sun Microsystems, Inc. The Speech Synthesis Markup Language Specification for the Speech Interface Framework describes markup for generating synthetic speech via a speech synthesizer. Reference: W3C Working Draft 3-January-2001, edited by Mark R. Walker (Intel) and Andrew Hunt (SpeechWorks International). "The Speech Synthesis Markup Language Specification is part of this set of new markup specifications [under development by the Speech Interface Framework working group] for voice browsers, and is designed to provide a rich, XML-based markup language for assisting the generation of synthetic speech in web and other applications. The essential role of the markup language is to provide authors of synthesizable content a standard way to control aspects of speech such as pronunciation, volume, pitch, rate and etc. across different synthesis-capable platforms." This specification "is based upon the JSML specification, which is owned by Sun Microsystems, Inc." See also "W3C Speech Synthesis Markup Language Specification" and "W3C Speech Recognition Grammar Specification."

  • [January 03, 2001]   Microsoft Releases Updated SOAP Toolkit and Web Services Behavior Application.    From a recent company announcement: "Microsoft Corporation today unveiled two SOAP-related technologies to help developers build and use Web Services -- applications made available over the Web via Internet-standard XML, SOAP and UDDI. The first tool is the beta release of the Microsoft SOAP Toolkit Version 2.0, which provides developers using Microsoft Visual Studio 6.0 with rapid Web Services development capabilities for production-ready applications. The second is Web Services Behavior for the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser software, enabling Web developers to aggregate Web Services from multiple Web pages. Both are key technologies for facilitating the creation and integration of Web Services, the programmable building blocks that form the next-generation applications of the Internet. To make it easy for developers to build and use Web Services without having to learn the intricacies of SOAP or XML, Microsoft last summer announced Version 1.0 of the SOAP Toolkit for Visual Studio 6.0. With Version 2.0, Microsoft is making significant usability and architectural enhancements to track to the latest Web Services standards including full support for the Web Services Description Language (WSDL), Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) and SOAP 1.1. By delivering greater development productivity and by supporting the latest versions of these standards, Microsoft is continuing its leadership in delivering development and runtime support for Web Services. The final release of Version 2.0 will provide developers with the tools and technologies that will enable them to deploy enterprise-scale applications with forward compatibility with the Microsoft .NET platform. The toolkit will work with additional operating systems, including Windows 2000, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 98 and Windows Me, and will be fully supported by Microsoft Product Support Services... Web Services support for Internet Explorer provides a transparent mechanism for developers to easily use Web Services from scripts in a Web page to improve many aspects of traditional database-drive Web page design. This support, compatible with all major SOAP implementations available today, enables developers to easily build unique applications from multiple Web Services that offer more personalized, more targeted user experiences such as improving the end-user browsing experience by minimizing time-consuming full page refreshes. By releasing this behavior, Microsoft is the first company to deliver Web Services capabilities directly to a Web browser, bringing the power of aggregating applications across the Internet to all users and developers. Both the beta release of the Microsoft SOAP Toolkit Version 2.0 and the Web Services Behavior for Internet Explorer 5.0 are available for free download." See the announcement for other particulars: "Microsoft Updates Tools for Building Web Services With Visual Studio and Internet Explorer. Updated SOAP Toolkit and Web Services Plug-In for Internet Explorer Offer More Ways to Build and Use Web Services." See also "Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)."

  • [January 03, 2001]   W3C Working Draft for Stochastic Language Models (N-Gram) Specification.    The W3C Voice Browser Working Group has published a first public working draft for a Stochastic Language Models (N-Gram) Specification. Reference: W3C Working Draft 3-January-2001, edited by Michael K. Brown (Avaya Labs), Andreas Kellner (Philips Research Labs), and Dave Raggett (W3C/Openwave). Section 11 of the draft supplies the XML Document Type Definition for W3C Stochastic Language Model (N-Gram) Specification. This working draft specification "defines syntax for representing N-Gram (Markovian) stochastic grammars within the W3C Speech Interface Framework. The use of stochastic N-Gram models has a long and successful history in the research community and is now more and more effecting commercial systems, as the market asks for more robust and flexible solutions. The primary purpose of specifying a stochastic grammar format is to support large vocabulary and open vocabulary applications. In addition, stochastic grammars can be used to represent concepts or semantics. This specification defines the mechanism for combining stochastic and structured (in this case Context-Free) grammars as well as methods for combined semantic definitions." The new specification, produced as part of the W3C Voice Browser Activity, describes markup for representing statistical language models; it forms part of the proposals for the W3C Speech Interface Framework. At some point in the near future it is expected that these documents will be unified to ensure consistency among the common components of the specifications. To simplify this unification this document also borrows from some of the CFG examples. In maintaining such consistency the XML form of the deterministic grammar format will the primary definition followed in this specification to maintain compatibility with the XML based N-Gram format defined here." Description: "The parent language for specification of a stochastic grammar is XML; however for efficiency some variance from strict XML syntax will be used. Elements of the grammar specification already defined in the XML specification will not be repeated here (e.g., character encoding), thus avoiding any potential inconsistency with the current or future XML specifications. Since some structured grammars are also stochastic, we will avoid confusion from here on by only referring to these grammars as N-Gram grammars, or in some cases simply N-Grams. An N-Gram grammar is a representation of an N-th order Markov language model in which the probability of occurrence of a symbol is conditioned upon the prior occurrence of N-1 other symbols. N-Gram grammars are typically constructed from statistics obtained from a large corpus of text using the co-occurrences of words in the corpus to determine word sequence probabilities. N-Gram grammars have the advantage of be able to cover a much larger language than would normally be derived directly from a corpus. Open vocabulary applications are easily supported with N-Gram grammars. This specification is influenced by a variety of preceding N-Gram grammar formats. This specification is not explicitly based on any particular preceding format. Concepts are similar but the syntax is largely original in this specification due to the XML parent language." Comments on the WD may be sent to the publicly archived W3C voice browser mailing list.

  • [January 03, 2001]   CGM Open Releases Browser Helper Object (BHO) for WebCGM Web Graphics.    CGM Open has announced the public release of a Browser Helper Object (BHO) which allows software vendors to build WebCGM viewers that can handle object-level WebCGM addressing. CGM Open is an OASIS-affiliated global consortium dedicated to standardized graphical information exchange. The Browser Helper Object project has developed the product for software developers who want to develop a WebCGM viewer; the code is offered as a public service to the developer community. According to the announcement, the tool "enables browsers such as Microsoft Internet Explorer to effectively use the WebCGM Web graphics standard. Designed in collaboration with Microsoft, the CGM Open BHO is an add-on software component that allows object-to-object linking of graphics in Web content... W3C standards prescribe an extension associated with URLs -- the 'URL fragment' -- which enables specifications such as WebCGM (and SVG) to address individual graphical objects within Web documents or pages. It was discovered that Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE, 5.0 and 5.5 at least) did not correctly handle URL fragments in all necessary situations. The WebCGM BHO solves the problem for WebCGM applications running with IE. In collaboration with Microsoft, CGM Open developed a solution that examines all CGM URLs that are processed by Internet Explorer. If it encounters a URL that contains a WebCGM fragment it will store this fragment in a safe place so that the WebCGM viewer will be able to access it. WebCGM viewers will have to check this location to find out whether there was a fragment, and then act accordingly. The WebCGM BHO is freely available in object code form, to any builders and distributors of WebCGM viewers, and includes sufficient implementors' documentation... 'Object-to-object linking is critical to the useful integration of graphics on the Web,' explained Lofton Henderson, Program Director of CGM Open. 'The BHO is a prime example of the contributions CGM Open provides for the Internet community. The Consortium's role as a vendor-neutral resource makes this accomplishment possible. No single Web graphics provider could have developed this solution alone.' Although the CGM Open BHO was designed specifically for WebCGM access, the solution can also be adapted for SVG, the Scalable Vector Graphics format, currently under development by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). According to Henderson, 'CGM Open considers WebCGM and SVG as complementary standards optimized for solving different Web vector graphics requirements. We trust that the CGM Open BHO can be leveraged by the SVG community to facilitate successful SVG products.' WebCGM is "an application of the ISO-standard Computer Graphics Metafile for electronic documents. WebCGM was developed by CGM Open, in collaboration with the W3C, with support from the European Commission Esprit project. An 'intelligent graphics' profile, WebCGM includes both graphical and non-graphical content, allowing object hierarchies, link specifications and layer definitions. CGM Open is an international organization of vendors and users dedicated to open and interoperable standards for the exchange of graphical information. CGM Open is an affiliate member of OASIS, the XML interoperability consortium. The work of CGM Open complements that of standards bodies, focusing on making Web graphics standards easy to adopt and practical to use in real world, open systems applications."

  • [January 02, 2001]   Release of Apache FOP Version 0.16.    A posting from Arved Sandstrom contains the announcement for the Version 0.16 release of FOP, the Apache XML Project's XSL-FO (Extensible Stylesheet Language Formatting Objects) processor. FOP is a Java application that "reads a formatting object tree and then turns it into a PDF document. The formatting object tree can be in the form of an XML document (output by an XSLT engine like XT or Xalan) or can be passed in memory as a DOM Document or (in the case of XT) SAX events." Arved says: "Significant additions in this 0.16 release include column support, hyphenation, and PDF compression. Tables have also received a lot of attention. In the larger picture, work continues on filling in the gaps between the XSL Candidate Recommendation and FOP. We anticipate a production release which has at least Basic conformance in all areas by early-mid spring of this year. FOP is moving to TRAX for interfacing with XSLT processors, has active cooperation with Batik SVG (see, and has a number of initiatives underway to field new fo:instream-foreign-object content processors and back-end renderers. Features implemented since the 0.15 FOP release include: (1) support for multi-column and column spanning (column-count, column-gap, span); (2) compression for PDF files, changed output format to OutputStream; (3) improved handling of compound properties; (4) fo:character and property 'character' (limitation: not included into hyphenation, no Common Margin and Padding support); (5) vertical alignment for table cell contents; (6) Finnish hyphenation patterns; (7) hyphenation package, integration into FOP; (8) interim configuration package; (9) FopImage class that uses JAI and JAI compile target; (10) support for rule-style; (11) tables to handle headers, footers, keep-with, colspan is partly done; (12) SVG stuff for the latest Java bindings." See list of implemented features on the FOP web site. For related tools, see "XSL/XSLT Software Support."

  • [January 02, 2001]   XML Namespace Resources.    The end of calendar year 2000 saw eruption of (yet) another communal lament about the W3C XML Namespace specification, which fails to meet the requirements or expectations of some users. Resulting from the discussion: a number of new proposals for indicating "what a namespace URI should point to." (1) Tim Bray, one of the XML Namespace editors, licensed underground activity for a namespace markup vocabulary that could reference related resources ("it would have to be done low, fast, and under the radar...") and then floated his own suggestion for XNRL (XML Namespace Related-Resource Language). "XML Namespace Related-resource Language (XNRL) is an HTML-based markup language designed to contain a human-readable description of an XML namespace as well as pointers to multiple resources related to that namespace. Examples of such related resources include schemas, stylesheets, human-readable documentation (beyond that contained in the XNRL package) and executable code. XNRL is designed to be suitable for service as the body of a resource returned by deferencing a URI serving as an XML Namespace name. [The draft proposal] defines the syntax and semantics of XNRL, and also serves as an XNRL package for the namespace" (2) Jonathan Borden presented an "XML Namespace Catalog Format." The proposal "defines a format for an XML Namespace Catalog. An XML Namespace Catalog serves as a text description of an XML Namespace and includes links to resources associated with the namespace such as schemata, stylesheets and/or other resources associated with the namespace URI. An XML Catalog may also map Formal Public Identifiers into System Identifiers defined as URI references. An XML Namespace Catalog is designed to be suitable for service as the body of a resource returned by deferencing a URI serving as an XML Namespace name. The XML Namespace Catalog format is an extension of XHTML with a new element named resource. The resource element serves as an XLink to the referenced resource. The resource element represents an XLink with two additional attributes public and content-type which provide for optional formal public identifiers and/or content type specifiers The proposal document defines the syntax and semantics of the XML Namespace Catalog Format, and also serves as an XML Catalog for the namespace The XML Namespace Catalog 1.0 DTD has been produced as an extension of XHTML Basic 1.0." See also the example. (3) Sean B. Palmer presented also XNCL (XML Namespace Catalogue Language) as "just another hack attempt at producing an XML Namespace Catalogue Language that the people on XML-DEV will find solice in. XNCL is a language intended to be used as a de facto dereferencable resource for namespaces. XNCL uses empty div elements in the Link elements to avoid overloading them, and to allow for family derivations. The specification is an XHTML Family derived from XHTML Basic. It has been modified in the following ways: The content model for the link element has been changed so that it may now include div elements An additional resource element may now be used inside link elements, and they are of content type EMPTY..." Note the posting from Paul Grosso on "resource discovery directory" which (1) references the work of the OASIS Entity Resolution TC, and (2) advocates a separation of concerns, viz., between ER (entity resolution) catalogs and resource discovery (RD) directories. See other references in "Namespaces in XML" and "Catalogs, Formal Public Identifiers, Formal System Identifiers." See now: the XML-DEV project "Resource Directory Description Language,"; announced 2001-01-03.

  • [January 02, 2001]   DAMSAD Final Draft on 'Datatyping for Electronic Data Interchange' Approved.    A communiqué from Man-Sze Li (CEN/ISSS Electronic Commerce Workshop Chair) announces approval of a 'final draft' version of a DAMSAD datatyping specification which uses W3C XML Schema. The CEN/ISSS Electronic Commerce Workshop "has approved the final draft of "Datatyping for Electronic Data Interchange" produced by its Project Group on Defining and Managing Semantics and Datatypes for European Electronic Commerce (DAMSAD). The document, which is to be formally published as a CEN Workshop Agreement, analyses various techniques for defining and constraining data or code set values used within B2B electronic data interchange messages. It recommends usage of the W3C datatype specification. The Project Group plans to develop a set of guidelines to enable the harmonization of business semantics in support of European e-commerce. DAMSAD is chaired by Martin Bryan of The SGML Centre. In addition, CEN/ISSS is to hold an Open Forum entitled "The state of the art in B2B standards issues" on January 23rd and 24th in Brussels. The overall event includes two additional seminars, one of which will explore the harmonization of European semantic sets. The objective is to enable the various e-commerce sectorial and generic groups within CEN/ISSS, and in other standardization arenas, to share experiences and findings, and to discuss problems associated with the development and maintenance of semantic sets for use in European electronic commerce. A subsidiary aim is to ascertain the relevance of the DAMSAD recommendations to the sectoral work, and to help facilitate a European contribution to the on-going international standardization efforts on the use of datatypes..." See also the CWA document abstract.

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