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Last modified: February 09, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Friday, 09 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

Distributed Event-Based Systems: An Emerging Community
P. Pietzuch, G. Muehl, L. Fiege; IEEE Distributed Systems Online

Over the past couple of years, event-based systems have appeared in many application domains, such as enterprise management systems, large-scale data dissemination, Internet applications, and autonomic computing. Event-based techniques have established themselves as an efficient way to structure such systems and handle challenging interaction patterns between components. Events and messaging have been in use in industry for years. With the advent of service-oriented and event-driven architectures, however, the eventing paradigm becomes a central building block of business IT. Traditionally, events have been used, for example, in enterprise application integration to mediate business events such as orders and invoices that are documents and artifacts of business processes. At the same time, dedicated information-dissemination applications, such as stock quotes and network monitoring, have operated at a distinct, lower level of granularity. However, for some time, we've been witnessing a shift from specific applications to eventing as a general architecture paradigm. The zero-latency enterprise was propagated a while ago only to be superseded more recently by service-oriented and event-driven architectures (EDAs). Service-oriented architectures don't prosper just because we communicate over HTTP. The components must be designed to serve by making them autonomous, composable, and responsive to input, exceptions, and changes. Event-driven design offers the flexibility to address these issues and reflects the real world's event-driven nature. With the advent of Web services, standardization efforts have begun to establish Web services in conjunction with related standards (such as XML) as a meta-middleware connecting applications running on various platforms. In many aspects, these efforts resemble past efforts to standardize middleware platforms such as CORBA. One crucial difference is that now all major players, such as Microsoft, IBM, TIBCO, and Google, are cooperating. Recently, these standardization efforts have also targeted event-based communication, leading to open specifications such as WS-Eventing and WS-Notification. This development is also pushed by the hype surrounding EDA and helps bring event-based programming to a broader public. The Inaugural International Conference on Distributed Event-Based Systems (DEBS) will be held June 20-22, 2007 in Toronto, Canada. [Note: BEA Systems, Computer Associates, IBM, Microsoft, and Tibco Software contributed WS-Eventing to W3C in March 2006.]

See also: Web Services Eventing (WS-Eventing)

Call For Participation: Extreme Markup Languages 2007
Staff, Mulberry Technologies Announcement

The Extreme Markup Languages Conference 2007, to be held August 7-10, 2007 in Montreal, Canada is "a friendly, technically challenging, intensive, thought-provoking, argumentative, welcoming, obstreperous conference on markup, managing information, and information structures." Conference organizers welcome participation by peer reviewer, as described in the Call for Participation. Extreme Markup is the leading international conference on markup theory and practice. If you have interesting markup applications, difficult markup problems, or intriguing solutions to problems related to the design and use of markup, markup languages, or markup tools; if you want to know what the leading theorists of markup are thinking; if you are the house markup expert and want to spend time with your kind, then you should plan on attending Extreme Markup Languages 2007. Extreme is an open marketplace of theories about markup and all the things that they support or that support them: the difficult cases in publishing, linguistics, transformation, searching, indexing, and storage and retrieval. At Extreme, markup enthusiasts gather each year to trade in ideas, not to convince management to buy new stuff. Extreme pushes the edges of markup theory and practice. Paper submissions are requested on a range of topics, including, for example: (1) XQuery, XSL-FO, XSLT, Pipelining, Topic Maps, SVG, RDF, TMQL, DSDL, OWL, SGML, XML, XSD, RELAX NG; (2) markup for document production; (3) markup for preservation and reuse of cultural artifacts; (4) issues in the design and deployment of markup vocabularies; (5) engineering tradeoffs in the design of markup-driven systems; (6) overlapping structures and how to represent them; (7) bias, objectivity, neutrality and ontological commitment in markup, markup design and software tools; (8) trees, tuples, sequences, directed graphs, and other data structures for the representation of information; (9) better markup as a tool for making the Web more useful; (10) the future of multi-purpose content; (11) the future of structured documents; (12) designing, creating, using, manipulating, and interpreting marked-up content; (13) new markup-related tools; (14) markup semantics.

Widgets 1.0 Requirements: Updated W3C Working Draft
Marcos Caceres (ed), W3C Technical Report

Members of W3C's Web Application Formats Working Group have released an updated Working Draft for "Widgets 1.0 Requirements". The document specifies the design goals and requirements for a specification that would standardize the way client-side web applications (widgets) are to be scripted, digitally signed, secured, packaged and deployed in a way that is device independent. The type of web applications that are addressed by this document are usually small client-side applications for displaying and updating remote data, packaged in a way to allow a single download and installation on a client machine. The application may execute outside of the typical web browser interface. Examples include clocks, stock tickers, currency converters, news readers, games and weather forecasters. Some existing industry solutions go by the names "widgets", "gadgets" or "modules". The W3C Web Application Formats Working Group was chartered to develop languages for client-side Web Application development. One deliverable is a specification of a declarative format for applications and user interfaces. It will be based on an existing application/UI format, such as Mozilla's XUL, Microsoft's XAML, Macromedia's MXML or Laszlo Systems' LZX, provided the owners of the format are willing to contribute. The format should allow embedded program code. This format, combined with existing technologies including XHTML, CSS, XForms, SVG and SMIL, should provide a strong basis for rich client application development. The WG's XBL2 deliverable is an extension to the sXBL specification developed jointly by the SVG and CSS Working Groups. XBL is a declarative language that provides a binding between custom markup and existing technologies. This enables an extensible framework for custom controls and the MVC (model, view, controller) methodology.

See also: W3C Rich Web Clients

XML 2.0?
Tim Bray, Ongoing Blog

Anne van Kesteren suggests an XML 2.0 mostly defined by less-Draconian error handling, provoking further discussion over chez Sam Ruby. I was recently asked about this by Xavier Borderie in an interview currently appearing at Journal du Net... [excerpt:] "Is HTML on the Web a special case?"—the answer is obviously "yes". Note that the HTML language being developed by the WhatWG is not XML at all, and I'm not brave enough to predict whether that is a good idea. There have always been a few tools that processed XML data but also accepted broken (non-XML) data; for example, every Web browser. It seems unlikely to me that there will ever be an official new release called "XML 2.0" that has different error-handling rules. But I'm sure that the arguments about when to apply real XML error handling and when software should accept non-XML data will go on forever; among other things they are quite entertaining. There's a spectrum of situations: at one end, if an electronic-trading system receives an XML message for a transaction valued at 2,000,000 euros, and there's a problem with a missing end tag, you do not want the system guessing what the message meant, you want to report an error. At the other end, if someone sends a blog post from their cellphone with a picture of a cute kitten, you don't want to reject it because there's an "&" in the wrong spot. The world is complicated...

See also: Results of mobile tests

Sun CTO Of Software Bob Brewin Hates 'Web 2.0'
Thomas Claburn, InformationWeek

Sun's CTO for software Bob Brewin has been instrumental in Sun's strategy on developer technologies including the NetBeans IDE and Java Studio Creator. Lately he's been thinking about how to improving the developer experience, and alignment and integration of Sun's platforms, technologies and tools. Asked about the most pressing problem that Web 2.0 faces: "The name? That's one of the big ones. (Laughs) I'm going to use the term—hate it—but have nothing else to replace it with. One of the problems we have with Web 2.0 in general is that a lot of it is defined as all or nothing for a solution. If you take a look at REST-type [Representational State Transfer] services, these in many ways abandoned the tried and true technologies we build up in enterprise infrastructure, which I think are quite useful. So there's going to be challenges, for instance, in how we take enterprises, which are now moving into providing services for consumers or Web 2.0 portals that look into their business, [how do we take enterprises into this world ] when most of that they're doing is build around WS-STAR standards—WS reliable messaging, security and so on. And most of what everybody else is looking for is not SOAP, they're looking for REST, right? So how do we bridge that gap and also handle things like security and identity in the new model? There're going to be areas like reliability—these applications tend to be built fairly quickly. What happens when you have to scale out to a million users because your site suddenly becomes popular? What do you do about languages? What do you do about performance? There's a whole slew of different things that as we get into the space, and by "us" I mean the industry in general, there are a lot of problems that people just don't know they have yet.

Few 'Substantive' Criticisms of Microsoft's Office Open XML Format
Peter Galli, eWEEK

According to an eWEEK "Source": More information is leaking out about the content of the comments, complaints and formal contradictions that 19 countries submitted to the International Standards Organization under the fast-track approval process for Microsoft's Office Open XML format. Office Open XML was approved as a standard by Ecma International in December 2006, and in early January that standards body began the fast-track process for adoption of the format as an ISO international standard. During the 30-day comment period that followed, the national standards body of 19 ISO member countries commented, complained or issued formal contradictions. A source close to Microsoft told eWEEK that Romania specifically stated that it is in support of the fast-track process, while other countries, including Hungary and Sweden, also raised no contradictions in their submissions. Many others, including the United States, felt that there were no grounds for contradiction and so chose not to make a submission during the comment period. Fewer than 10 of the submissions contain substantive comments that Ecma, Microsoft and others will work to address, the source said... The issues that have been raised include the question of how dates will be handled, given that there is an official ISO date format. The ISO Secretariat now has up to 90 days to seek resolution of the issues raised by the member submissions, although this can be extended if the issues cannot be resolved in the given time period. After that comes a five-month technical review period, followed by a vote.

See also: ComputerWorld

Improving Communication in E-democracy Using Natural Language Processing
Michele Carenini, et al., IEEE Intelligent Systems

"The E-democracy European Network project has applied natural language processing to improve communication between public administrations and their citizens. E-democracy—the design and development of new techniques for improving communication between public administrations (PAs) and citizens—is a major application field for natural language processing and language engineering. Helping citizens access information in a friendly, intuitive way (that is, using their own language) is the primary objective of a global e-democracy framework. If we take NLP and language engineering out of laboratory research and into a real communication context, e-democracy can represent the ultimate testbed for different tools and techniques. The E-democracy European Network project (EDEN) aimed at discovering whether a particular NLP approach could further e-democracy by increasing citizens' participation in the decision-making process. Our goal was twofold: to test whether we could meet e-democracy requirements using advanced linguistic technologies and to test whether Augmented Phrase Structure Grammars (APSGs) were robust and well-assessed enough to use in a real-world (and highly sensitive) environment... The fact that we used the same output format without major problems in developing the Dutch, English, Italian, and German parsers was the project's first interesting result. Rule-based analyzer development is usually a resource-consuming activity in linguistic engineering. The EDEN project demonstrated that combining the right approach with enhanced tools lets you quickly develop full-functioning parsing applications. Another interesting outcome concerns the output format. Linguistic analyzers embedded in EDEN NLP tools represent sentences by means of flat lists of triples. The output format clearly borrows from the EAGLES (Expert Advisory Group on Language Engineering Standards) initiative's proposed modeling for linguistic resources standards and was first tested in the SPARKLE (Shallow Parsing and Knowledge Extraction for Language Engineering) project; nonetheless, it's surprisingly effective and up-to-date. Its simplicity and flexibility make it independent of domain and language and easily customizable; at the same time, it can appropriately encode all information necessary for W3C RDF specifications, which are the leading Web sites and standards to the next generation.

See also: SPARQL Query Language for RDF

Random XML Encounter: UPS OnLine Tools
Staff, United Parcel Service Technical Documentation

Founded in 1907 as a messenger company in the United States, UPS has grown into a $42.6 billion corporation by clearly focusing on the goal of enabling commerce around the globe. Today UPS is a global company with one of the most recognized and admired brands in the world. UPS technology solutions offer a way to integrate tracking features into a customer intranet or Web site. The UPS Tracking Tool provides up-to-the-minute package status to a customer and its clients using HTML and XML. A UPS Signature Tracking Tool provides a signature (XML format) image along with tracking results; it obtains proof of delivery information, including an electronic signature and delivery address. The UPS File Download for Quantum View Tool automates retrieval of Quantum View files for integration into your back-end system, using XML-formatted data. The UPS Rates and Service Selection Tool provides quotes in XML-format for UPS service, allowing customers and employees to compare prices and select the UPS shipping service that best suits their needs. A UPS Time in Transit Tool enables employees and customers to compare different UPS shipping services where UPS delivers around the world. A UPS Address Validation Tool ensures that customer-entered shipping addresses are correct at the time of order processing. The UPS Shipping Tool uses XML-format daya to integrate UPS Web-based shipping with enterprise applications. UPS TradeAbility helps international shippers generate cost estimates for duties, taxes, and transportation, locate compliance and licensing information, and identify restricted trading parties using XML-based technologies. The XML documents have tags naming each data element allowing optional elements to be omitted and unexpected or uninteresting elements to be ignored. XML documents are also hierarchically structured so that a particular value, such as "City", can be used in a variety of contexts (e.g., OriginAddress, DestinationAddress, ShipperAddress) without confusion. Because unexpected data, identified by the tags, can easily be ignored, XML documents can be extended (i.e., added to) without impact to existing applications.


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