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Last modified: February 07, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Wednesday, 07 February 2007

A Cover Pages Publication
Provided by OASIS and Sponsor Members
Edited by Robin Cover

This issue of XML Daily Newslink is sponsored by:
IBM Corporation

Meet the Specs: WS-RT 1.0 Operations, Part 2
Kane Scarlett, IBM developerWorks

The WS-ResourceTransfer 1.0 initial draft specification (WS-RT) defines extensions to WS-Transfer, a general SOAP-based protocol for accessing XML representations of Web service-based resources. The family of Web services specifications, the "WS-" group, is designed to interoperate with other members of the family to deliver a set of tools for the Web services environment. As such, this specification relies on other WSs for such functions as message delivery and to express WS metadata. WS-RT is an essential core component of a unified resource access protocol for Web services. The WS-RT extensions deal mostly with fragment-based access to resources to satisfy the common requirements of WS-ResourceFramework and WS-Management specifications. The specification goals are to fulfill these requirements: (1) Define a standardized technique for accessing resources using semantics (get, put, create, and delete) familiar to system-management professionals; (2) Define WS-I BP 1.1-compliant WSDL 1.1 portTypes for the Web service methods described in the specification; (3) Define minimum requirements for compliance without constraining richer implementations; (4) Compose with other Web service specifications for secure, reliable, transacted message delivery; (5) Provide extensibility for more sophisticated or currently unanticipated scenarios; (6) Support a variety of encoding formats including SOAP 1.1 and SOAP 1.2 Envelopes. This article delves into how WS-RT extends the create operation. Future columns on WS-RT 1.0 will look closer at how the WS-ResourceTransfer 1.0 specification extends the put operation. They will also provide detail on the delete operation, the fault-handling rules of WS-Addressing, terminology and notation, and security—how the is WS-ResourceTransfer spec works with WS-Security.

See also: WS-RT references

Sun to Offer ODF Plug-In for Microsoft Office
Elizabeth Montalbano, InfoWorld

Sun has created software that will provide translation between the file format in Microsoft's Office 2003 suite and ODF (Open Document Format for XML). The plug-in lets people who use computers with assistive technologies to access documents written in ODF. A preview of the software, called StarOffice 8 Conversion Technology, is expected to be available in mid-February with a final release on Sun's Web site by the middle of June. The software enables two-way conversion between Microsoft Office 2003 and ODF, a standard format approved by the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) for office documents. Certain applications and devices that use assistive technologies—such as screen readers for the blind and technologies that allow people who are quadriplegic to operate a keyboard—come with drivers that are compatible with Microsoft Word 2003 or earlier, said Simon Phipps, chief open source officer at Sun. Vendors developing the assistive technologies have reverse-engineered Office 2003 interfaces to create the applications and devices. To create the converter, Sun built a library from that provides the same file conversions that are found in the and StarOffice productivity suites, Phipps said. Sun then added ODF support as a file format to all the places in Word using that library. Sun is not the only company that offers software to do ODF translation. IBM, which, along with Sun, is one of the most fervent supporters of ODF, has developed APIs that specifically enable assistive technologies to talk to ODF-based applications. Through Project Missouri, IBM developed an API called iAccessible2 that make it easy for visuals in ODF-based applications to be interpreted by screen readers that reproduce that information verbally.

See also: the announcement

Microsoft's Open XML Format Hits Roadblocks in U.S., Abroad
Peter Galli, eWEEK

Andrew "Andy" Updegrove, a partner with Boston law firm Gesmer Updegrove LLP and the editor of the standards blog, reports that Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Singapore, Sweden and the United Kingdom have all submitted comments, complaints or formal contradictions to JTC (Joint Technical Committee) 1, the ISO/IEC body that is managing the fast-track process under which Office Open XML (now Ecma 476) has been submitted. India is also believed to have responded by abstaining from voting, in protest over the extremely short amount of time provided to review the 6,039-page specification, he said. Ecma now has until February 28 [2007] to respond with its proposed "resolution" for each contradiction. Once this has been received, JTC 1 will publish the response, accompanied by the text of the contradictions themselves, as submitted by the national bodies. Tom Robertson, general manager for interoperability and standards at Microsoft, told eWEEK that there is a competitive situation in the marketplace, with ODF supporters actively trying to stop even the consideration of Open XML as a standard under the ISO's rules: "This is a pure competitive play on the part of ODF supporters like IBM; there are 103 countries that participated in the ISO process, and each country has a national standards body with the authority to act at the ISO on behalf of that country." The fast-track process started with a 30-day comment period, during which those national standards bodies could raise perceived contradictions that they feel fundamentally conflict with something the ISO is doing, or has done in the past. The ISO Secretariat then has up to 90 days to seek resolution of these perceived contradictions. After that comes a five-month technical review process, followed by a vote.

Service Modeling Language Manages IT Assets
Andrew Conry-Murray, Network Computing

A high-powered working group is striving to improve IT management and data-center automation with a common language to describe heterogeneous IT assets. The Service Modeling Language (SML) is an XML-based schema to define, or model, information about hardware, software, applications and services. This common language will make it easier to share information among disparate IT tools and provide a foundation for automating common tasks, such as application provisioning, configuration management and asset monitoring. SML also is being positioned as a way to overcome the barriers to federation and reconciliation of disparate data in CMDBs (configuration management databases). The outlook for the standard is a good one, judging by the big vendors that have backed it and the progress made thus far: The most recent draft of the specification was released in November 2006, and the specification may be submitted to a standards body this quarter. The basic goal of the SML working group is to create a grammar that describes everything in an IT environment--hardware, software, applications and, eventually, services—in a unified way. With a common vocabulary in place, third-party tools can more easily share information about the assets they manage. The Distributed Management Task Force's CIM (Common Information Model) offers much of what SML aims to do and is in wide use. SML proponents say they are evolving CIM by writing definitions in native XML, making SML built for Web services from the ground up. Today, there's a host of software for building, parsing and validating XML schemas, which will make it easier for vendors to create tools that can understand SML. By contrast, a DMTF specification exists for representing CIM in XML, but it requires complex transformations. That said, the SML working group says it will use CIM definitions wherever possible and will work closely with the DMTF to avoid reinventing the wheel. Although the major backers of WS-Management and WSDM will continue to support each technology, IBM and Microsoft are also converging the two specifications into a single spec tentatively called WS-Unified Management.

See also: the SML Working Group

W3C Proposed Recommendation: Semantic Interpretation for Speech Recognition (SISR) Version 1.0
Luc Van Tichelen and Dave Burke (eds), W3C Technical Report

W3C has announced the advancement of the "Semantic Interpretation for Speech Recognition (SISR) Version 1.0" specification to Proposed Recommendation. SISR tags are used to extract meaning from speech recognition. The specification defines the process of Semantic Interpretation for Speech Recognition and the syntax and semantics of semantic interpretation tags that can be added to speech recognition grammars to compute information to return to an application on the basis of rules and tokens that were matched by the speech recognizer. In particular, it defines the syntax and semantics of the contents of Tags in the Speech Recognition Grammar Specification (SRGS). The results of semantic interpretation describe the meaning of a natural language utterance. The current specification represents this information as an ECMAScript object, and defines a mechanism to serialize the result into XML. The W3C Multimodal Interaction Activity is defining an XML data format (EMMA) for containing and annotating the information in user utterances. It is expected that the EMMA language will be able to integrate results generated by Semantic Interpretation for Speech Recognition. Semantic Interpretation may be useful in combination with other specifications, such as Stochastic Language Models (N-GRAM).

See also: the W3C Voice Browser Activity

Sun Sticks With Solaris CDDL (For Now)
Sean Michael Kerner,

Whether or not Sun will migrate to the upcoming GPL version 3 license for OpenSolaris and Java is a question resulting in much speculation. Currently OpenSolaris is licensed under Sun's Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL) license and Java is set to be licensed under GPL v2. GPL v3 , which is currently still under development adds new terms for digital rights management (DRM) and patents that could have wide ranging effects on licensees. Sun Microsystems' Chief Open Source Officer, Simon Phipps, explained that Sun is picking the best license on a case-by-case basis for its software and will continue to use the license that is most appropriate for the community involved. Phipps noted that under CDDL, OpenSolaris has grown its user base and contributions. At least five distributions are now available that are based on OpenSolaris, which is facilitated by the CDDL. Just because the CDDL is working doesn't necessarily mean that Phipps won't consider adding another license to OpenSolaris. He commented that if the community wants another license than he would consider it. In fact, Phipps noted that he is just starting to see a debate in the OpenSolaris community on whether to add GPL v3. Currently Sun uses the GPL v2 license in some of its software applications, though Sun isn't automatically going to migrate to v3 when it comes out. Sun has been very active in the GPL v3 process since the beginning. Phipps noted that he has every confidence that GPL v3 will be a license that will be usable in some areas of Sun's software business.

NIST Invites Public Input in Upgrading Cryptographic Algorithm
William Jackson, Government Computing News

The National Institute of Standards and Technology will conduct a public competition to select new hashing algorithms for the Federal Information Processing Standard. The agency in January published for public comment a draft of minimum requirements for candidates for the new standard, along with guidelines for submission and evaluation criteria. NIST hopes to have the new standard in place by 2012. The new standard would replace the current FIPS-180-2, which now specifies several versions of the Secure Hash Algorithm, SHA-1; and SHA-224, SHA-256, SHA-384 and SHA-512, known collectively as SHA-2. The decision to upgrade the standard comes in the wake of successful attacks developed against some unrelated algorithms, as well as a partial compromise of SHA-1. A hashing algorithm is a cryptographic formula for generating a unique, fixed-length numerical digest, or hash, of a message. Because the contents of the message cannot be derived from the digest and because the digest is (to a high degree of probability) unique for each message, the hash can be used to securely confirm that a document has not been altered. This can be used to effectively 'sign' an electronic document and link the signature to the contents.

See also: NIST's Plan


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