This issue of XML Daily Newslink is sponsored by:
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Bob DuCharme, XML.com
For a long time now, RDF has shown great promise as a flexible format for storing, aggregating, and using metadata. Maybe for too long—as its most well-known syntax, RDF/XML, is messy enough to have scared many people away from RDF. The W3C is developing a new, simpler syntax called RDFa (originally called "RDF/a") that is easy enough to create and to use in applications that it may win back a lot of the people who were first scared off by the verbosity, striping, container complications, and other complexity issues that made RDF/XML look so ugly. RDF/XML doesn't have to be ugly, but even simple RDF/XML doesn't fit well into XHTML, because browsers and other applications designed around HTML choke on it. So, while the general plan for RDFa is to make it something that can be embedded into any XML dialect, the main effort has gone into making it easy to embed it into XHTML. This gives it an important potential role in the grand plan for the Semantic Web, in which web page data is readable not only by human eyes but by automated processes that can aggregate data and associated metadata and then perform tasks that are much more sophisticated than those that typical screen scraping applications can do now. In fact, the relationship between RDFa metadata and existing content in web pages has been an important driver in most use cases driving RDFa's progress. RDF often uses a subject, predicate, object combination called a triple to specify an attribute name/value pair about a particular resource. RDFa uses the existing XHTML 1 attributes href, content, rel, rev, and datatype, and it uses the new about, role and property attributes from XHTML 2's Metainformation Attributes module. RDFa lets you add triples of useful metadata to your XHTML with simple, straightforward markup. It also offers features that let you do even more interesting things with it. In Part 2 of this article, we'll look at how to assign data types to your RDFa values, reification (how to add metadata about your metadata), specifying RDFa metadata about elements with an id attribute, compact URIs, and platforms that make it easier to automate the creation of RDFa metadata.
See also: the W3C RDFa Primer
Vendors Form Open-Source Business Alliance
China Martens, InfoWorld
Ten leading open-source software vendors have created a nonprofit consortium, dubbed the Open Solutions Alliance (OSA), to push the adoption of more open-source technology in the business world. The group made the announcement Wednesday at the LinuxWorld OpenSolutions Summit in New York. The founding companies are Adaptive Planning, Centric CRM, CollabNet, EnterpriseDB, Hyperic, JasperSoft, Openbravo, SourceForge.net, SpikeSource, and Talend. They offer a wide range of open-source business software including business intelligence, business performance management, database, CRM (customer relationship management), ERP (enterprise resource planning) and systems management applications. [Note, from the OSA white paper: "The OSA plans to address the major interoperability issues faced by small and midsize businesses. We will develop a series of guidelines and best practices that detail how open source applications should support interoperability. The initial interoperability topics include compatible infrastructures, shared services, common standards, support models, the user experience and business models... The Open Solutions Alliance does not intend to draft new standards but supports the use of existing standards, both formal and ad hoc, where it makes sense. One common type of application integration is 'presentation integration', where the applications are actually separate but combine their presentation layer in a single web page via a portal. The OSA will host a community discussion of the various portlet standards such as JSR-168 from the Java Community Process and OASIS's Web Services for Remote Portlets. We will use the community's input to recommend all OSA member companies support a specific standard. A community member may nominate any standard, with the exception of standards only supported by one vendor where that implementation is not available under an open source license. De facto or ad hoc standards (such as Hibernate for Java object relational mapping) are eligible.
See also: the web site
Interoperability, Choice and Open XML
Tom Robertson and Jean Paoli, Microsoft Interoperablity Report
"Over the past year, Microsoft has stepped up efforts to identify and meet the interoperability needs of our customers. Among other things, we have launched the Interoperability Executive Customer Council, made up of senior CIOs from the public and private sectors around the world, who are working closely with us to help us understand their most critical needs... In document formats, customers have said loud and clear that they want interoperability, choice and innovation. On these criteria, Microsoft has long believed in the power of XML-based file formats to unlock data in documents and to help integrate front and back office processes—while providing significant opportunities for independent software vendors to create high-value applications. Microsoft has increasingly implemented XML-based formats in successive releases of Office. With Office 2007, the default file formats for Word, Excel and PowerPoint are now based on Open XML, which is also supported in Office 2003, Office XP and Office 2000 through a free update. In fact, Office has long supported multiple formats. We believe that Open XML represents an exciting advance toward achieving the original vision of XML, where broad interoperability allows documents to be archived, restructured, aggregated and re-used in new and dynamic ways. We believe that Open XML can help spark an explosion of innovation and investment, which will bring great benefits for customers in the years to come... Some discussion of the ratification of Open XML has focused on comparisons between it and ODF. It is important to recognize that ODF and Open XML were created with very different design goals and that they are only two of many document format standards in use today, each of which has characteristics that are attractive to different users in different scenarios."
See also: InfoWorld
End-user and Vendor Organizations Create SOA Consortium
Staff, SOA Consortium Announcement
The SOA Consortium is a new SOA advocacy group comprised of end users, service providers, and technology vendors, committed to helping the Global 1000 successfully adopt SOA by 2010. SOA Consortium Founding Sponsors include BEA Systems Inc., Cisco, IBM Corporation, and SAP AG. SOA Consortium Participants include Avis Budget Car Rental, Bank of America, CellExchange, Inc., HP, Integration Consortium, Object Management Group, and WebEx Communications. The SOA Consortium mission, strategies, and tactics center on the following premises: (1) Service-oriented architecture adoption is a key enabler for the 21st century enterprise; (2) Achieving the benefits of service-oriented architecture requires significant changes for both IT and business executives; (3) Service-oriented architecture is perceived by business executives as an IT integration and productivity story, rather than a business agility story; (4) Enterprise SOA practitioners would greatly benefit from a vibrant practitioner community to drive local, business-driven, SOA success, and to spur broader enterprise, and industry-wide, SOA adoption.
Members Approve OpenDocument Version 1.1 as OASIS Standard
Staff, OASIS Announcement
OASIS announced that its members have approved version 1.1 of the Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) as an OASIS Standard, a status that signifies the highest level of ratification. The result of a unique collaboration between advocacy groups for the disabled and open source and commercial software vendors, this new version of the standard provides key accessibility enhancements to ensure that the OpenDocument format (ODF) addresses the needs of people with disabilities. "The changes made in version 1.1. mean that OpenDocument now meets and even exceeds the accessibility support provided in other office file formats, as well as that specified by the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines," said Dave Pawson of the U.K.'s Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB). "OpenDocument 1.1 is a practical XML format that is readily transformable to the DAISY digital talking book standard for people with print impairments. The clear specification of OpenDocument v1.1 will remain usable long after commercial and proprietary formats have been condemned to the dustbin." OpenDocument 1.1 supports users who have low or no vision or who suffer from cognitive impairments. The standard not only provides short alternative descriptive text for document elements such as hyperlinks, drawing objects and image map hot spots, it also offers lengthy descriptions for the same objects should additional help be needed. In addition to text documents and spreadsheets, OpenDocument defines presentation format. Other OpenDocument accessibility features include the preservation of structural semantics imported from other file formats, such as headings in tables, and associations between drawings and their captions. The new version of OpenDocument reflects the work of the OASIS OpenDocument Accessibility Subcommittee, which is made up of accessibility experts from IBM, the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI), RNIB, Sun Microsystems, and others. The Subcommittee's recommendations were incorporated into the OpenDocument specification by members of the OASIS OpenDocument Technical Committee, which includes representatives from Adobe Systems, IBM, Intel, Novell, Sun Microsystems, and others.
See also: the OASIS TC web site
All Your Resolvers Are Belong To Us
Norm Walsh, Blog
Making resolvers easier for users... The plan is this: using the standard JAXP factory finder mechanisms, inject a special set of parser classes into the application. These classes behave exactly like the standard JAXP 1.4 parsers except that they always use a resolver. It turns out that this works quite well... The catch is that I constructed these specialty factories by stealing code from the JAXP 1.4 implementation. But I didn't want to steal all the code, so the result depends on JAXP 1.4. In practice, this means that you'll need to be running at least Java 6 or using the standalone JAXP 1.4 code... I haven't setup a special factory for the Transformer yet, so you'll still have to tell your application which URI Resolver to use if you're using XSLT. [Note from the xmlresolver Project Home: The goal is to design and build an "enhanced XML resolver with XML Catalog support, tation of the SAX EntityResolver, the Transformer URIResolver, and a new NamespaceResolver. The implementation uses the OASIS XML Catalogs V1.1 Standard to provide a mapping from public identifiers to local resources. In addition to enhanced support for RDDL-based namespace resolution, the implementation supports automatic local caching of resources. This provides the advantages of the catalog specification without requiring users to manage the mapping by hand. Applications can use the resolver directly or they can instantiate one of a set of convenience classes to access parsers that automatically implement these resolvers. The goal of the project is to produce a clean, reasonably simple API and a robust, thread-safe implementation. At this time, the code is probably neither completely baked nor entirely robust. Please consider it "beta' for the time being."]
See also: the xmlresolver Project Home
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