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Last modified: February 08, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Thursday, 08 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

Yahoo: Pipe in Data, Then Mash It Up
Martin LaMonica, CNET

Yahoo wants more mashups. The Web giant on Wednesday released Yahoo Pipes, a hosted visual-development tool that lets people manipulate data feeds from Web sites to create new applications. Mashup applications combine data from different Web services; some of the most popular mashups involve taking data from one source, such as real-estate listings, and displaying them on Web-based mapping services. With Yahoo Pipes, which is in beta, the company is trying to give developers and tech-savvy users more power in combining structured data feeds, typically done through the Really Simple Syndication or Atom protocols. Although the service currently works only with RSS and Atom feeds, Yahoo intends to expand the number of data sources with which people can work. It also plans to allow third parties to create add-on modules and to expand the service's information output composition to include formats such as maps. For example, someone can use Yahoo Pipes to combine multiple Web calendar feeds to display as one. He can customize news alerts to filter through several news feeds, and he can create an individualized eBay price watcher that monitors an RSS feed to find items within a certain price range. The technical inspiration for Yahoo Pipes comes from Unix, an operating system with which programmers can establish a pipeline of connected data sources.

See also: the Tim O'Reilly Blog

Grid Initiatives Part 2
Wolfgang Gentzsch, The Grid Today

While the Web offers easy access to mostly static information via Hypertext, the Grid adds another fundamental layer to the Internet, by enabling direct access to and use of underlying resources, such as computers, storage, scientific instruments and experiments, sensors, applications, data, and middleware services. Based on widely accepted grid and web services standards, resources communicate with each other and deliver results as services back to the user. These resources are part of a service-oriented architecture, called OGSA, the Open Grid Services. Simply speaking, grid middleware interconnects all the distributed resources in a network. Light-weight software sensors, often called daemons or agents, reside within each resource, monitoring its status, providing resources with work, and reporting their status back to the 'supervisor' software and then to the user. All interfaces between the heterogeneous components (services) are standardized, e.g., via the Web Services Resource Framework (WSRF) and thus enable full interoperability among them. Over the past 12 months, major grid projects have been studied to better understand how to successfully design, build, manage and operate large Community Grids, based on the experience of early adopters and on case studies and lessons learned from these grid projects. In the first part of the article, we mainly focus on the major results of our study on large community grid initiatives: the lessons learned and the recommendations for those who want to design, build and run similar grid infrastructures. This article presents additional general information about these six grid initiatives: The ChinaGrid, D-Grid, EGEE, NAREGI, TeraGrid, and the UK e-Science Initiative. In 2002, the Chinese Ministry of Education (MoE) launched the largest grid project in China, called the ChinaGrid, aiming at providing the nationwide grid computing platform and services for research and education among 100 key universities in China. The current version, CGSP 2.0, is based on Globus Toolkit 4.0, and is WSRF and OGSA compatible. The full report is presented in "Grid Initiatives: Lessons Learned and Recommendations" [Wolfgang Gentzsch, RENCI, Duke, and D-Grid, January 21, 2007].

See also: the full report

ISO 639-3 Language Codes Released with SIL as Registration Authority
Staff, SIL Announcement

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has announced the formal release of ISO 639-3 to comprehensively provide three-letter codes for the world's languages. International communication requires global standards that identify any given language. Unique codes are useful for a variety of applications such as specifying the language need for an interpreter or setting the language of an Internet web site. For many of the world's minority languages, it serves not only to grant bona fide recognition to the speakers, but also as an authoritative crosscheck for researchers. ISO 639-3 provides a unique three-letter code for 7,546 human languages, whether living, extinct, ancient, historical or artificial. ISO 639-1 and -2 are existing standards commissioned in the 1990s. The new standard, released February 5, 2007, greatly expands upon the 478 codes formerly provided by ISO 639-2, having the goal of comprehensive coverage for human languages. In 2002, the ISO invited SIL International to propose an expanded list because of its worldwide experience compiling data about minority languages for the Ethnologue, which lists 6,912 living languages (15th edition). Most of the additions from living and extinct languages were derived from the Ethnologue. The additional ancient, historical or artificial languages were obtained primarily from Linguist List. ISO 639-3 also introduces the concept of one code for a 'macrolanguage' as well as individual codes for each variety, a very useful feature for closely related language clusters such as Chinese, Arabic or Cree. As the Registration Authority, SIL International processes updates of registered language codes and distributes information on pending and adopted changes. Knowledge of languages at any point in time will never be complete. Given the comprehensive nature of ISO 639-3, changes to the code set are inevitable, especially in respect to lesser-known languages. An updated version of the code set will be released once each year.

See also: Language Identifiers

Forrester Narrows List of Specs for Web Services
Rich Seeley,

Web services developers can spend time keeping track of all the standards floating around or they can devote their time and energy to the few they need for the project they are working on, which is the advice analyst Randy Heffner offers. Heffner, vice president, Forrester Research, Inc., has expended a lot of time the past few months studying SOA and Web services specs and surveying developers working with them and has concluded that conservative adopters working on core connectivity need little more than SOAP and WSDL. He also has recommendations for those he labels more aggressive, but he warns them to look before they leap into a standard or spec where there is little or no evidence that it will actually work in an application. "What it really comes down to is how conservative are you as a technology adopter and what immediate business value can you get from any of these specs," he said. "The more conservative you are then the fewer of these specs you actually take a look at. If you're more aggressive then you better be building budgets for prototyping and testing and proving these things out before you commit to using them." Most Web services developers will have to work out a balance between those two extremes, he said. The standards and specifications for conservatives and those for the more aggressive are identified in his Forrester report titled, "Web Services Specifications: Core Web Services." For the conservative developer, the list is short: SOAP 1.1, WSDL 1.1, SOAP Messages with Attachments, WS-I Basic Profile 1.0, and WS-I Basic Profile 1.1. While SOAP and WSDL hark back to the early days of Web services, Heffner said they provide the basic foundation on which myriad other standards, proposed standards and vendor specifications rest. "The key way to understand the growth of additional specifications is to view what SOAP and WSDL give you as a core messaging model," he explained. "If you've got two end points and they both support SOAP, and the development environment supports WSDL, you get a basic connectivity. All the other specs are about improving the quality of service of that basic connection." Beyond keeping up with advances in SOAP and WSDL at W3C, he recommends that developers keep an eye on what is happening at Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I)...

Nokia Offers Free Mapping Program, Phone Search
Nancy Gohring, InfoWorld

Nokia will give away mapping software to its customers as well as users of Window Mobile devices. Phones based on Linux and older Nokia and Microsoft devices will be supported in the future, the Finnish mobile phone maker said. Mobile users can download the Smart2go maps that cover 150 countries and include 15 million points of interest, such as restaurants and accommodation. Users can store the map data on a memory card in the handset. The data can be downloaded over the air or via a connection to a PC. Users of phones with GPS (global positioning service) or with an external GPS module can subscribe to a turn-by-turn navigation service. Subscriptions come in a variety of packages so customers can pay for a week's worth of navigation services for use while on holiday. Nokia is trying to compete with the personal navigation device market but hopes to gain an edge in offering a different pricing model. While standalone navigation device makers typically charge users for the hardware and the maps up front, Nokia is giving the maps away and charging for the navigation services as users need it. In January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nokia announced that it would start giving away maps to Nokia customers and offering a paid navigation service. Nokia introduced another free offering on Thursday, this one only for certain Nokia phones. Users of 16 Nokia devices, which include the N95, N93, N71, N62 and N60, can download a free application that lets them search for content on their handsets. Users can search for information in calendar entries, SMS messages and multimedia files.

See also: the announcement

HP to Offer New Support Services to Users Adopting SAP's Enterprise SOA Approach
China Martens, InfoWorld

Hewlett-Packard is offering more services supporting application vendor SAP's SOA (service-oriented architecture) approach to IT as part of the companies' increasingly close relationship. HP has committed to make available a variety of new services to support users as they move to adopt SAP's Enterprise SOA (ESOA) approach. The services are designed to help very large global SAP customers as they migrate from older versions of the vendor's R/3 applications to the newer SOA-focused mySAP versions, according to Tim Treat, manager of worldwide packaged applications for enterprise applications services at HP. Such a migration is highly complex involving not only the upgrading of software, but also refreshing of servers and storage to support the new applications. In February 2006, HP announced a similar intensification of SOA services to support SAP's main applications rival Oracle and its Fusion middleware. HP's new move will position HP as offering the same level of SOA services for SAP as the vendor already does for Oracle. The new HP services will support core elements of SAP's NetWeaver middleware and will include programs like workforce integration for NetWeaver Portal and information integration for NetWeaver Business Intelligence. The services target the different stages of an ESOA implementation from the initial envisioning of the IT system through governance, development and deployment. Close to 50 percent of all SAP's global installations run on HP hardware. HP knows exactly what's involved since it's going through the same process as other SAP customers. Treat said HP has the world's fifth largest SAP application implementation with many of the company's 150,000 employees having access to the vendor's software. Like many other companies, HP has amassed multiple versions of R/3 over the years particularly as a result of acquisitions like that of Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC) and later Compaq. Implementing the SOA approach can take anywhere from one to three years, Treat said.

See also: the announcement

Mozilla Updates Firefox 3.0 Preview
Gregg Keizer, ComputerWorld

Mozilla Corpoation has released the second alpha version of what will become its Firefox 3.0 Web browser. The release is the latest milestone in a plan to put the open-source browser in users' hands during the second half of the year [2007]. Dubbed "Gran Paradiso," the preview is still geared toward "Web application developers and our testing community," according to release notes on the Mozilla site. The company warned general users to steer clear and stick with the 2.0.x and 1.5.x production versions. Among the changes to the second alpha are enhancements in the way Web pages render incrementally—while images load or dynamic changes are made to a page, for example. Other changes include improvements in the browser's interaction with Mac OS X widgets and the addition of full support for ACID2 test compliance. Firefox 3.0, which is based on the new Gecko 1.9 layout engine, will be the first Mozilla browser to drop support for Windows 95, 98 and Millennium, as well as for Mac OS X 10.2 and earlier. Alpha 2 can be downloaded in Windows, Mac OS X and Linux versions from the Mozilla Web site. [Note: "Acid2 is a test page for web browsers published by The Web Standards Project (WaSP). It has been written to help browser vendors make sure their products correctly support features that web designers would like to use. Acid2 tests features that web designers have been requesting. Everything that Acid2 tests is specified in a Web standard, but not all Web standards are tested. Acid2 does not guarantee conformance with any specification. After careful consideration, we have selected and are testing the features we consider most important for the future of the web. Although Acid2 was inspired by Microsoft's announcement of IE7, it is not targeted at a specific browser. We believe Acid2 will highlight problems in all current browsers. Acid2 assumes basic support for HTML4, CSS1, PNG, and Data URLs. It should be noted that Acid2 is rendered in standards mode. That is, the test page includes a DOCTYPE which signals that the browser should treat the page according to standards. Vendors that are reluctant to make changes in how they render legacy documents can continue their current behavior in what is known as quirks mode."]

See also: the Acid2 test page

XML Parsing Techniques With Perl: Tree Parsing and Event-Driven Parsing
Jim Dixon, IBM developerWorks

This series is a guide to those who need a quick XML-and-Perl solution. Part 1 looked at XML::Simple, a tool to integrate XML into a Perl application. In this article, Part 2 of the three-part series, the author provides an overview of the very complex world of XML parsing. First it showed how to convert an XML document into a tree of objects in memory. Initially most programmers find this approach more natural, and it is indeed more convenient in many ways so long as the data will fit in memory. Then it introduces SAX and event-based parsing, the approach you must take if your XML document is very large or is an unending stream. As it turns out, the tools developed to deal with these conditions lend themselves to an entirely different style of programming, one that turns out to be very rich: the SAX pipeline. Tree parsing: Most programmers will probably find it comfortable to view XML as a tree structure. This view of XML was formalized as the Document Object Model, the DOM, in a process lasting many years; DOM Level 3 was reached in 2002. The DOM represents an XML document as a tree of doubly-linked nodes, with the first child at each level linked up to its parent and across to siblings. A large set of functions is defined on the tree, with implementations in the major programming languages. Although you can navigate a DOM tree by following the links, it is generally more efficient in terms of programmer time to use the XPath protocol. This is a sublanguage allowing navigation to nodes, retrieval of sets of nodes, and so forth. The Simple API for XML (SAX), takes an entirely different approach to parsing, one that initially has a higher overhead. SAX conceives of a document as a series of events, and requires that you tell it how to respond to each. The next article in this series will show how you can use both of these approaches—DOM and SAX parsing—in more complex applications.


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