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Last modified: February 26, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Monday, 26 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:
BEA Systems, Inc.

Microsoft and Friends Tout .Net, BizTalk as BPM Foundation
Barbara Darrow, Computer Reseller News

If you're building business process management (BPM) for customers, Microsoft wants to make sure you're doing so atop its .Net foundations and factor in BizTalk. To hasten the process, the company today launched the Microsoft Business Process Alliance at a Gartner Business Process Management Summit in San Diego. And, it trotted out partners who've signed on including AmberPoint, Ascentn, IDS Scheer, Fair Isaac, Glboal360, InRule, Metastorm, and SourceCode Technology. IDS Scheer, a big-time SAP partner is aboard because BPM must work across technologies and stacks, Kapi Attawar said. SAP has endorsed both .Net and Java technology stacks inand works with Microsoft on NetWeaver-.Net interoperability. The two companies, who increasingly compete in mid-market ERP, have also agreed to forge between Office and back-office applications. The very nature of business process management, as with SOA and Web Services, is predicated that there must be linkage between unlike systems, services and applications for anything to work right. The fact is that many IDS Scheer customers work on Microsoft technology already; Attawar noted: "Microsoft can also connect at both the middleware and desktop layers and that is important if you look at BPM as the operating system that connects the business with the applications." Microsoft also said it would add support for BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) 2.0 into its core Windows Workflow Foundation over time. A CTP for BPEL 1.1 support in WWF is due within weeks, and 2.0 support is anticipated by year's end, pending ratification of the spec, a Microsoft spokesman said. In the short term, there will be a BizTalk adapter for BPEL 1.1 (then 2.0) and beyond that BPEL support will be built right into BizTalk. BizTalk Server 2006 R2 is due in the third quarter.

See also: the BPEL spec

Microsoft Provides BPEL 2.0 in WF: BPEL for Windows Workflow Foundation
Paul Andrew, Blog

In March 2007 Microsoft plans to release a CTP of a set of BPEL activities for Windows Workflow Foundation (WF). This will be called BPEL for Windows Workflow Foundation March CTP and the CTP release will implement the BPEL 1.1 specification. The final release of BPEL for Windows Workflow Foundation will implement the OASIS BPEL 2.0 standard and is planned for release in Q4 of calendar year 2007. The download will be separate from the .NET Framework and it will be required for developing BPEL based workflows in Visual Studio. The same download will provide runtime operations for executing BPEL based workflows. It will include a set of BPEL activities for Windows Workflow Foundation that will implement the BPEL standard. Import and export tools are provided so that BPEL can be loaded into the XAML format used by Windows Workflow Foundation and vice versa. Visual Studio is not required for the import/export but developers will benefit from using the workflow designer that runs in Visual Studio 2005. The next major version of BizTalk Server will be built on Windows Workflow Foundation. This was announced back when Windows Workflow Foundation was first disclosed in September 2005. BizTalk Server will be able to take advantage of these BPEL activities at that time to also allow for BPEL 2.0 support. At that time both Windows Workflow Foundation and BizTalk Server will support BPEL 2.0.

How To Dismantle a BPM Solution
Mariano Benitez, BEA dev2dev

Building BPM solutions is very different from building traditional applications. Consequently, defining the architecture for such solutions requires a different approach. In this article I describe the concepts around BPM solutions and the major architectural blocks that define a software solution built using BPM. In future articles I will provide ideas and tips on how to make a proper assessment of the requirements and turn them into a suitable solution architecture. This article is for people responsible for defining architectures or people trying to understand how BPM is implemented in the real world. A BPM solution is a business process running inside the infrastructure of an organization. A BPM solution is a 'live' business process doing the real work. The solution is everything you need to 'execute' a business process, interacting with people and systems. The architect needs to make sure the proposed solution fulfills all the requirements, by defining module specifications and layout. We are positioned here at a high-level view, focused on the major conceptual blocks. We don't worry how the pieces are implemented or about the complexity of each one; we are laying out the components. A business process is a set of activities arranged in a flow that reflects a real work process to achieve a business goal. Here, the business process can be thought of as the process-driven application, with the model and all the integration, presentation, and logic. The infrastructure of a solution is the set of services and applications that allow business processes to execute. To execute a business process you require a BPM execution engine, along with client applications, management tools, and more, to interact with it. It is critical to properly understand the requirements of the business and the organization, and transform them into an architecture that can fulfill the requirements, making the best use of resources. The output of this exercise is not a detailed list of items or roles or participants; it is more a set of rules, guidelines, or policies that have to be used when building the infrastructure, the organization, and the processes.

Extensible Markup Language Evidence Record Syntax
A. Blazic, S. Saljic, T. Gondrom (eds), IETF Internet Draft

Members of the IETF Long-Term Archive and Notary Services Working Group have published an initial release of an "Extensible Markup Language Evidence Record Syntax" specification. In many scenarios, users must be able to demonstrate the (time) existence, integrity and validity of data including signed data for long or undetermined period of time. This document specifies XML syntax and processing rules for creating evidence for long-term non- repudiation of existence of data. ERS-XML incorporates alternative syntax and processing rules to ASN.1 ERS syntax by using XML language. The ERSXML draft specifies XML syntax and processing rules for creating evidence for long-term non-repudiation of existence of data in a unit called "Evidence Record". An Evidence Record may be generated and maintained for a single data object or a group of data objects that form an archive object. Data object (binary chunk or a file) may represent any kind of document or part of it. Dependencies among data objects, their validation or any other relation than "a data object is a part of particular archived object" are out of scope. Evidence for an archive object is created by acquiring a timestamp from a trustworthy authority for a specific value that is unambiguously related to all data objects within an archive object. The Evidence Record syntax enables processing of several archive objects within a single processing pass and by acquiring only one timestamp to protect all archive objects. Due to the fact that digest algorithms or cryptographic methods used may become weak or that certificates used within timestamp (and signed data) may be revoked or expired, the collected evidence data must be monitored and renewed before such event occurs. Procedures for generation of such evidence are already specified within the ERS draft, but they depend on defined ASN.1 data structures. For a purpose of renewal of the evidence, digest values of ASN.1 formatted data must be calculated and used in further processing. Besides replacing an ASN.1 scheme with an XML scheme, this document modifies underlying procedures to use XML data structure. IETF's LTANS working group was chartered to define requirements, data structures and protocols for the secure usage of the necessary archive and notary services. Work done by the IETF Working Groups PKIX, S/MIME and XMLDSIG are being used as the basis to define relevant structures and protocols.

See also: the LTANS Working Group Charter

Sun Enlists in Free Software Foundation
Charles Babcock, InformationWeek

Sun Microsystems, which has viewed open source code alternatively as a competitor and as a friend, announced today that it is joining the Free Software Foundation, origin of the freely downloadable tools that helped spawn the open source era. Simon Phipps, chief open source officer, announced Sun would become a patron supporter of FSF during a Saturday 24 Feb. keynote at the Free and open Source Software Developers European Meeting in Brussels. FSF patrons make a financial contribution to the foundation in exchange for the right to use its logo on the Sun Web site. Patrons also get free consulting on the FSF's General Public License. Sun recently announced that Java would become GPL-licensed open source code. With Sun turning to the GPL, in addition to its own Common Development and Distribution License, "it seemed obvious that the connections should become stronger," Phipps said in his blog on the move. The CDDL license option allows Java users to produce and sell a product that includes proprietary code without being obligated to disclose the source code for the proprietary parts. In becoming an FSF patron, Sun joins the likes the Intel, IBM, HP, Google, MySQL, EMC and JBoss. Sun and Oracle declined to support Linux-oriented open source consortiums, such as the Open Source Development Labs. As OSDL merged with the Free Standards Group to become The Linux Foundation, Oracle became a corporate sponsor of the new group. Sun still steers clear of Linux-oriented organizations.

Understanding SOA Architectures and Models...SOA RA
Dave Linthicum, InfoWorld Blog

While there are SOA Reference Architectures all over the place, including mine, the best known SOA Reference Architecture (SOA-RA) is defined by OASIS. So, what's a reference architecture and how does it relate to a reference model? In short, a reference architecture is a description of how to build a class of artifacts. An architecture describes how to build a particular artifact. The appropriate way to write the description for a reference architecture depends on the particular artifact. While the definition is changing according to those writing the standard, the SOA-RA provides a bridge between the concepts and vocabulary defined by the SOA Reference Model (SOA-RM) and the implementation of a SOA. In other words, the SOA reference architecture models the abstract architectural elements for a SOA independent of the technologies, protocols, and products that are used to implement a SOA. I have to agree with this, albeit it is a bit confusing. They are describing a high level of abstraction to define a SOA, the "reference architecture," and the "architecture" as an instance of a SOA. I get that. However, the larger issue is the fact that the problem domains I'm seeing are not as similar as you think, thus the questions is: Can you define a single class of artifacts, and thus provide a sound "jumping-off-point" for the instance? I think a few use cases will prove this out. There really needs to be some fundamental discussions about the use of the Reference Architecture and the Reference Model in the real world. Based on what I found out, as an outsider, there seems to be an impedance mismatch between the way the architecture and model is defined and what's currently going on in the world of SOA. I'm assuming that will "self correct" over time. It's unclear as to how all of this reaches up into the domain of the Enterprise Architecture...perhaps not as a replacement, but an augmentation. If so, how do we approach that considering the other frameworks employed?

See also: OASIS SOA Reference Model TC

NIST Offers New Release of the XML Content Checking Tool
KC Morris, Software Announcement

"NIST is pleased to announce a new release of the online XML Content Checking Tool. The Content Checker assists in the application of XML Schema specifications to real business transactions. Many content standards are emerging today based on XML Schema. These specifications define semantics and structure for data to be exchanged between systems. However, in the interest of creating reusable standards, the specifications often do not capture the full range of semantics which will be needed in individual transactions. An extensively sophisticated schema specification would be too complex a specification for implementers to effectively use in a wide range of transactions. A simplistic schema specification, on the other hand, is too loose and allows for imprecise data exchanges. The Content Checker seeks to complement XML schemas by providing a facility to precisely specify, share, extend, and test for conformance data being exchanged based on semantics not captured in an XML schema. The Content Checker is one of several tools provided by NIST for developing XML schemas for the purpose of data exchange and systems integration."

See also: the Quality of Design Tool (QOD)

Internationalization Tag Set (ITS) Version 1.0 Advances to PR
Christian Lieske and Felix Sasaki (eds), W3C Technical Report

Members of W3C's Internationalization Tag Set (ITS) Working Group have published a Proposed Recommendation for the "Internationalization Tag Set (ITS) Version 1.0" specification. Comments are invited through 26-March-2007. Content or software that is authored in one language (so-called source language) is often made available in additional languages or adapted with regard to other cultural aspects. This is done through a process called localization, where the original material is translated and adapted to the target audience. In addition, document formats expressed by schemas may be used by people in different parts of the world, and these people may need special markup to support the local language or script. For example, people authoring in languages such as Arabic, Hebrew, Persian or Urdu need special markup to specify directionality in mixed direction text. From the viewpoints of feasibility, cost, and efficiency, it is important that the original material should be suitable for localization. This is achieved by appropriate design and development, and the corresponding process is referred to as internationalization. For a detailed explanation of the terms "localization" and "internationalization", see [l10n i18n]. The increasing usage of XML as a medium for documentation-related content (e.g. DocBook and DITA as formats for writing structured documentation, well suited to computer hardware and software manuals) and software-related content (e.g. the eXtensible User Interface Language—XUL) creates challenges and opportunities in the domain of XML internationalization and localization. ITS is a technology to easily create XML which is internationalized and can be localized effectively. On the one hand, the ITS specification identifies concepts (such as "directionality") which are important for internationalization and localization. On the other hand, the ITS specification defines implementations of these concepts (termed "ITS data categories") as a set of elements and attributes called the Internationalization Tag Set. Organized by data categories, the ITS set of elements and attributes supports the internationalization and localization of schemas and documents. Implementations are provided for DTDs, XML Schema and Relax NG, and can be used with new or existing vocabularies like XHTML, DocBook, and OpenDocument.

See also: the ITS implementation report


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