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Last modified: March 06, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Tuesday, 06 March 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

Eclipse Delivers for Dynamic Languages and AJAX
Darryl K. Taft, eWEEK

The Eclipse Foundation has announced three new project milestones that extend the Eclipse platform to better support dynamic languages and AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML). The three projects include the Eclipse DLTK (Dynamic Language Toolkit), the Eclipse RAP (Rich AJAX Platform), and the Eclipse ATF (AJAX Toolkit Framework). These projects provide innovative new Eclipse-based technology to be utilized by AJAX developers and developers using dynamic languages such as Python, Ruby and Tcl, said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation. At the EclipseCon conference the Eclipse Foundation announced that the Eclipse DLTK extends the Eclipse platform to other dynamic computer languages, such as Python, Ruby and Tcl. And DLTK provides the frameworks and components, such as debugging and interactive console, code indexing and refactoring, to simplify the task of adding support for dynamically typed languages to Eclipse. The initial release of DLTK is available and provides support for Tcl. Future releases will have support for Ruby and Python. The Eclipse RAP project provides a run-time enabling organizations to build rich AJAX-enabled Internet applications. RAP extends the existing Eclipse RCP by adding a series of frameworks that allow developers to quickly create AJAX applications. Based on Eclipse RCP technologies, this new initiative will let organizations use a common component model and platform to build both rich desktop applications and rich browser-based applications. The first milestone release of RAP is now available. The Eclipse ATF project provides the tools and frameworks for building an AJAX IDE. ATF makes it easy for developers to build, debug and deploy their AJAX applications. It includes a variety of components, including a JavaScript debugger that supports debugging of local and network files and tools for inspecting running AJAX applications. Eclipse ATF supports a number of the more popular AJAX frameworks, including Dojo, Rico and Zimbra. The latest available download of ATF provides support for Mac OS X, in addition to existing Windows and Linux support.

See also: the announcement

Configure Apache to Send the Right MIME Type for XHTML
Elliotte Rusty Harold, IBM developerWorks

This tip shows you how to configure Apache to tag Extensible Hypertext Markup Language (XHTML) documents with the media type 'application/xhtml+xml' for browsers that support it, while still sending text/html to nonconformant browsers such as Microsoft Internet Explorer; it explains the use of mod_rewrite for browser sniffing. When a Web server sends a document to a browser, it prefixes the document with a response header which contains metadata telling the browser how to interpret the document. One of the most important pieces of metadata is the Content-Type: this tells the browser how to render the content. For instance, a browser uses different code to display a JPEG than it does to display a GIF. Most importantly, many browsers use different code to display XHTML than they do to display Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). Web servers are supposed to tag XHTML documents with the media type application/xhtml+xml. Web browsers that recognize this media type take this as a signal to work in strict mode rather than in tag soup mode. This enables more reliable display and is especially important for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) layouts and JavaScript programs based on the document's object model. Indeed, in some cases the same document can display two different ways depending on whether it's processed in tag soup mode or strict mode. If you go to the trouble to generate well-formed or even valid XHTML, strict mode is what you plan for and desire. A browser that does not support XHTML can still handle a well-formed document in tag soup mode. The results won't be perfect, but they'll be passable for the small fraction of users running very old browsers. They'll also be acceptable to the much larger fraction of users running the standards-nonconformant Internet Explorer. However, current versions of Internet Explorer (including versions 6 and 7) do not recognize the 'application/xhtml+xml' media type. If you send Internet Explorer an 'application/xhtml+xml' document, it will instead offer to save the file. Therefore, when serving XHTML, maximum compatibility requires sending 'application/xhtml+xml' to Firefox, Safari, Opera, and other standards-conformant browsers and 'text/html' to Internet Explorer. You send the same file in both cases. You just change the media type that tags it in the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) header. When using the Apache Web server, you can do this in the server config file or in the .htaccess file in an individual directory. XHTML is the future of the Web. However, like many other important technologies, its adoption has been hampered by poor support in Microsoft browsers. As this article shows, there's no reason to wait for Microsoft. You can easily serve correct XHTML to non-Microsoft browsers while still telling Internet Explorer to treat it as tag soup. Visitors and page authors using modern browsers will get the full benefit of XHTML, while visitors hobbled by Internet Explorer will still get most of the content. Setting the Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) media type properly isn't the only thing you need to do to serve XHTML to legacy browsers, but it is a big step in the right direction.

Oracle Proposes Open Source Persistence Project at Eclipse Foundation
Staff, Oracle Announcement

At the EclipseCon Conference, Oracle, a newly appointed Eclipse Board Member and Strategic Developer, announced it will donate its award winning Java persistence framework, Oracle TopLink, to the open source community. In addition, Oracle announced the proposal of a new Eclipse project to deliver a comprehensive persistence platform based on the contribution of Oracle TopLink, a component of Oracle Fusion Middleware, source code and test cases. With its latest contribution and project proposal, Oracle continues to demonstrate its commitment to the developer and open source communities. Oracle TopLink is the industry's most advanced persistence architecture, offering object-to-relational, object-to-XML, and Enterprise Information System data access through all of the major standards, including the Java Persistence API, Java API for XML Binding, Service Data Objects, and the Java Connector Architecture. It has consistently provided developers with superior performance and choice. Built on industry standards, Oracle TopLink works with any database, any application server, any development toolset and process and any Java application architecture. In addition to its code contribution, Oracle proposes to lead a new Eclipse run-time project to provide a set of persistence services that can be utilized in Java and OSGi environments. Working closely with the Eclipse Foundation, Eclipse member companies and other contributors, Oracle will use the existing code base of Oracle TopLink as the starting point for this project. Through its participation in the OSGi Enterprise Expert Group, Oracle will also work with the group members to create a set of blueprints that define how OSGi applications can access standardized persistence technologies. Oracle currently leads three projects at Eclipse: Dali JPA Tools project, JavaServer Faces Tools projects, and the BPEL project. Oracle is also participating in the Data Tools Platform (DTP) Enablement sub-project to provide integration between DTP and the Oracle Database and has contributed support for deployment of applications to the Oracle Application Server from the Web Tools Platform (WTP).

See also: the FAQ document

NETCONF Monitoring Schema
Sharon Chisholm and Hector Trevino (eds), IETF Internet Draft

Members of the IETF Network Configuration (NETCONF) Working Group have issued an initial Internet Draft for a "NETCONF Monitoring Schema" specification. NETCONF can be conceptually partitioned into four layers: Content, Operations, RPC, and Transport Prptocol. This document defines Netconf content via an XML Schema to be used to monitor the Netconf protocol. It provides information about Netconf sessions and subscriptions. XML elements are defined for (1) Managed Object - a collection of one of more Elements that define an abstract thing of interest; (2) Subscription - a concept related to the delivery of notifications (if any to send) involving destination and selection of notifications, bound to the lifetime of a session; (3) Operation - refers to NETCONF protocol operations defined in support of NETCONF notifications. The IETF Netconf Working Group was chartered to produce a protocol suitable for network configuration. Configuration of networks of devices has become a critical requirement for operators in today's highly interoperable networks. Operators from large to small have developed their own mechanisms or used vendor specific mechanisms to transfer configuration data to and from a device, and for examining device state information which may impact the configuration. Each of these mechanisms may be different in various aspects, such as session establishment, user authentication, configuration data exchange, and error responses. The Netconf Protocol Specification defines an operational model, protocol operations, transaction model, data model requirements, security requirements, and transport layer requirements. The Network Configuration Protocol (NETCONF) defined in RFC 4741 provides mechanisms to install, manipulate, and delete the configuration of network devices. It uses an Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based data encoding for the configuration data as well as the protocol messages. The NETCONF protocol operations are realized on top of a simple Remote Procedure Call (RPC) layer.

See also: the WG Charter

Uncertainty Reasoning for the World Wide Web: W3C Incubator Group
Staff, W3C Announcement

W3C has announced the formation of a new Incubator Group to address "Uncertainty Reasoning for the World Wide Web." The Initiating Members include: Image, Video and Multimedia Systems Lab (IVML-NTUA); McDonald Bradley, Inc; MITRE Corporation; National ICT Australia (NICTA) Ltd; University of Amsterdam; and University of Bristol. Chairs are Kathryn Laskey (George Mason University) and Ken Laskey (The MITRE Corporation). The objectives of the URW3-XG are twofold: (1) To identify and describe situations on the scale of the World Wide Web for which uncertainty reasoning would significantly increase the potential for extracting useful information; (2) To identify methodologies that can be applied to these situations and the fundamentals of a standardized representation that could serve as the basis for information exchange necessary for these methodologies to be effectively used. The deliverable of URW3-XG will consist of a report that describes the work done by the XG and identifies the elements of uncertainty that need to be represented to support reasoning under uncertainty for the World Wide Web. The report will include a set of use cases illustrating conditions under which uncertainty reasoning is important. It will also provide an overview of and discuss the applicability to the World Wide Web of numerous uncertainty reasoning techniques and the information that needs to be represented for effective uncertainty reasoning to be possible. Finally, it will include a bibliography of work relevant to the challenge of developing standardized representations for uncertainty and exploiting them in Web-based services and applications. As work with semantics and services grows more ambitious, there is increasing appreciation of the need for principled approaches to representing and reasoning under uncertainty. In this Charter, the term "uncertainty" is intended to encompass a variety of forms of incomplete knowledge, including incompleteness, inconclusiveness, vagueness, ambiguity, and others. The term "uncertainty reasoning" is meant to denote the full range of methods designed for representing and reasoning with knowledge when Boolean truth values are unknown, unknowable, or inapplicable. Commonly applied approaches to uncertainty reasoning include probability theory, Dempster-Shafer theory, fuzzy logic, and numerous other methodologies.

See also: the W3C Incubator Activity

Web Services Context Specification (WS-Context) Version 1.0
Staff, OASIS Announcement

OASIS announced that the Web Services Composite Application Framework (WS-CAF) Technical Committee has submitted a "Web Services Context Specification (WS-Context) Version 1.0" document as an approved Committee Specification, to be considered as an OASIS Standard. The TC was chartered in September 2003 to "define a generic and open framework for applications that contain multiple services used in combination (composite applications)... [where] multiple web services combined in composite applications require interoperable mechanisms to set the boundaries of an activity (such as start/end, or success/failure), to create, access and manage context information, and to inform participants of changes to an activity. Composite applications might also need to work with a range of transaction models, including simple activity scoping, single and two phase commit ACID transactions, and recoverable long running activities." From the WS-Context Version 1.0 specification Abstract: "Web services exchange XML documents with structured payloads. The processing semantics of an execution endpoint may be influenced by additional information that is defined at layers below the application protocol. When multiple Web services are used in combination, the ability to structure execution related data called context becomes important. This information is typically communicated via SOAP Headers. WS-Context provides a definition, a structuring mechanism, and service definitions for organizing and sharing context across multiple execution endpoints. The ability to compose arbitrary units of work is a requirement in a variety of aspects of distributed applications such as workflow and business-to-business interactions. By composing work, we mean that it is possible for participants in an activity to be able to determine unambiguously whether or not they are participating in the same activity. An activity is the execution of multiple Web services composed using some mechanism external to this specification, such as an orchestration or choreography. A common mechanism is needed to capture and manage contextual execution environment data shared, typically persistently, across execution instances."

See also: the announcement

Use XForms to Create a Dynamic Web Search: The Flexibility of XForms
Stony Yakovac, IBM developerWorks

This article demonstrates the creation of an interface flexible enough to view the results of multiple XML-based APIs by implementing a search engine client in which the user selects the engine the data comes from and automatically receives the appropriate entry fields and data. In addition, the form loads the data "in the background," so to speak, displaying the results on the page without requiring a full reload. In this case, the APIs involved are those of search engines Yahoo! and Teoma, but the concepts covered in this article apply to any situation in which you have an API that returns XML. Both search engines have a REST-based interface, which means you feed them a URL with all of your parameters and they give you back XML with the results. XForms implements dynamic changes to the content without re-submitting the page from the server by linking the XForms visual presentation to an XML data structure. When the XML data structure is changed, the visual presentation is re-calculated and changes without having to reload the page. There are many methods of changing the XML data behind the presentation. You can take these concepts and use them for your own XForms-based applications, creating interfaces that adapt to user choices and the available data.

See also: XML and Forms

The Role of Government in ICT Standardization
Andrew Updegrove, Consortium Standards Bulletin

Governments interact with standards in many ways: as developers, when they draft regulations; as adopters, when they reference private sector standards in laws and regulations; as influencers, when they exercise their vast procurement powers in the marketplace, and when they send representatives to participate in private sector standard setting organizations; and as end-users, when they utilize standards-based products. The role that a given government decides to play in relation to standards varies, depending upon the subject matter of the standard, and also among governments, and over time. To date, governments have not as often acted as developers or adopters in the area of information and communications technologies (ICT) as they have in traditional areas of interest, such as public health and safety. However, with the redeployment of a vast range of essential services (including government services) over the Internet, the digitization of public records, and the increased use of information technology in the work place, it is incumbent upon governments to reevaluate their relationship to ICT standards, and decide what roles they wish to play in ensuring that standards development and uptake best serves the public interest. In this article, I seek to facilitate that process, by reviewing the various roles that government can play, using accessibility standards (broadly construed) as an example.

OSGi Takes Off at EclipseCon
Darryl K. Taft, eWEEK

These are big times for the technology known as the Open Services Gateway Initiative framework, as the Eclipse Foundation has adopted it and several other large enterprise vendors and users have followed suit. The OSGi Service Platform provides technology that allows applications to be constructed from small, reusable and collaborative components. Application areas for OSGi range from use as a service platform on embedded devices to plug-in mechanisms for larger programs. The initial goal of OSGi was the embedded market, but it has evolved from there. The Eclipse plug-in model is based on OSGi. And OSGi will be heavily represented at EclipseCon this year, as the OSGi Developer Conference 2007 is taking place concurrent with EclipseCon. "OSGi is mature, it's been around since 1999 in the embedded world, and is widely adopted," said Richard Nicholson, CEO of Paremus, a London-based maker of software for SOAs (service-oriented architectures). "In the last 18 months there has been significant interest, support and commitment to OSGi in the enterprise software world with BEA (SOA360), IBM (WebSphere, Lotus), Oracle (Fusion), Red Hat (JBoss) and Spring (Interface21) all using or committing to using it." For Paremus, OSGi is one of the key standard initiatives the company's products use, the other being SCA -- Service Component Architecture). Nicholson said: "OSGi provides us with a lightweight, dynamic, component life cycle allowing us to provide true pluggable vendor-independent component or service reuse, and to deliver on the next-generation application server SOA promise" The Paremus OSGi-based solution, Infiniflow, features individual services that are defined as OSGi bundles. Paremus, BEA Systems, IBM, Oracle and Siemens are all talking about OSGi at the show. Moreover, Paremus will present a talk on Newton, its open-source project based on OSGi. BEA's mSA (microService Architecture) Backplane is an OSGi-based infrastructure that consists of about 100 different OSGi bundles... The U.S. Army, meanwhile, is using OSGi as the run-time on which its Cyrano software for helping to find weapons of mass destruction is based. And Adobe Systems has used OSGi as the underlying technology in its Version Cue embedded client/server tool set.

See also: the Paremus announcement

I Column Like I CM: Component Content Management
Bob Doyle, EContent Magazine

There has been a buzz lately on the mailing lists of the content management community about "Component Content Management." The discussion was provoked by a 2006 issue of the Forrester Wave on Content-Centric Applications. During the discussion, information management expert JoAnn Hackos commented that many content management professionals are interested in topic-based authoring using DITA XML, which is not provided in a robust way by the major ECM companies that Forrester analyzed. Ann Rockley, president of the Rockley Group, pointed to a Content Management Technology white paper by Bill Trippe of the Gilbane Group called "Component Content Management in Practice." One important area, according to Trippe, is the need for some organizations to manage large volumes of content that is used to support complex products before and after the products are sold. Examples include auto and truck manufacturers, airlines, and airplane manufacturers. For some, "component management" has become synonymous with "single-source" publishing. One industry leader is AuthorIT, which used "component content management" as their slogan on marketing materials for some time. What's really new in all this is the DITA standard. If you go to the AuthorIT site today, you will see they have embraced DITA as one approach to their reusable components. DITA has standardized the idea of components into four major elements, topics, concepts, tasks, and references. These elements can be arranged in a DITA map, with more than one map corresponding to different output channels. As AuthorIT says, "You can combine the same topics in different ways. For example, the sequence of topics in a tutorial will probably be different than in a reference manual about the same product or service." Another list-poster noted that not all content is suitable for "componentization." The best software and standards technology may simply not apply, for example to the content in magazine column like this one. The right content for single-source publishing can be broken up into small "chunks" that appear in many places. This is perfect for reducing the costs of translation and localization. If similar chunks can be identified, then rewritten to be identical everywhere, they need be translated just once, with enormous cost and time savings.

See also: the OASIS DITA Focus Area

Microsoft Chastises Google on Copyrights
Declan McCullagh, CNET

Google's narrow view of the protections that copyright law offers creators has famously made enemies of book publishers, news organizations and professional photographers over the last few years. Now Microsoft, which is increasingly competing with Google in business software and other areas, is piling on its rival as well. Thomas Rubin, Microsoft's associate general counsel, told an audience of book publishers on Tuesday that Google "systematically violates copyright" law. Rubin singled out Google Book Search and YouTube for specific criticism, saying the services take a "cavalier approach to copyright." The audience was an unusually receptive one: the Association of American Publishers, which filed a lawsuit against Google in October 2005 claiming that the search giant violated copyright law by scanning and distributing books protected under copyright law. A trial will not take place before next year. Google's very business model invites clashes over copyright, of course. As the company becomes more deeply interested in books and video, and expands its search domain beyond Web pages, it has found itself increasingly at odds with established content industries. For its part, Google denies any wrongdoing. The company circulated a statement on Tuesday from David Drummond, its chief legal officer, that said: "The goal of search engines, and of products like Google Book Search and YouTube, is to help users find information from content producers of every size. We do this by complying with international copyright laws, and the result has been more exposure and in many cases more revenue for authors, publishers and producers of content." This week's potshots at Google over copyright invites comparisons to Microsoft's criticism of free software six years ago, which led company co-founder Bill Gates to characterize the GPL (the GNU General Public License) as having a "Pac-Man-like nature" that consumes other software. Other Microsoft efforts called GPL-released software "viral," and the so-called Halloween documents warned that Linux poses a serious threat to Windows' hegemony.


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