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Last modified: March 20, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Tuesday, 20 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:
Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Use Atom's Structure to Avoid Duplicates in Aggregate Feeds
Tyler Anderson, IBM developerWorks

Atom is a growing syndication format favored by many over the major syndication format, RSS. With any indexing system like Atom, you never want to intentionally create duplicate feeds as this can overwrite the older, original id element. And duplicated entries (if they aren't overwritten) waste hard disk space. But more importantly, duplicate content confuses search engines, which can cause your rankings in the search engines to suffer. This tip shows you how to take full advantage of the id tag as the main identifier, including other information about the feed entry (like the link id and source URL for the feed), to avoid duplicates in your Atom feeds. The article discusses the importance of keeping the 'atom:id' element unique. And more importantly, as you develop code to create feeds, keep the concepts discussed in this tip in mind to assure that a duplicate 'atom:id' element never occurs in a feed entry. Though the structure of your blog, news Web site, or whatever content that you syndicate might help you to prevent duplicate id entries, it's bad practice to just use the URL as the content for the atom:id element because of the potential for duplications. For example, you might edit a blog post or article. When you save the new content, the URL is the same. However, a new database entry is created, which means that the Atom entry must have a unique id from the entry that was updated. The fix is to properly format the atom:id element. The most common method to format the id element is to use the 'tag' URI scheme.

See also: Atom references

Justice Pursues Flexible Identity Management
Joab Jackson, Government Computer News

The U.S. Justice Department is piloting a federated identity management system to tackle the problem of how to give thousands of potential users, spread across multiple organizations, selective access to its critical systems. Such a system could be used to verify government online identities across different agencies, said Boris Shur, Justice's manager for the pilot project. The Law Enforcement Information Sharing Program (LEISP), run by Justice's Office of the Chief Information Officer, could offer validated user credentials to multiple applications that are being run across multiple agencies. The primary driver for the pilot is to find ways that other federal agency employees, as well as users at state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies, can access Justice systems. Credentialing is a multistep process. An agency must first positively identify the individual who is being credentialed. It must then list the systems that person is allowed to access. Finally, that person must be given the passwords, smart cards or other identification keys. Because employees need to access multiple systems, sometimes across agency lines, the agencies themselves must recertify employees multiple times. The pilot establishes a trusted broker to function as a liaison between applications and pro- viders of user credentials. The broker acts as a central repository, to which agencies submit a set of credentials for each of their employees. The LEISP system relies on open standards. It communicates credentials using public-key infrastructure, the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) and the Web Services Federation Language (WS-Federation). It interacts with a number of applications as well as with a number of identity servers, such as the Sun One Identity Server and the Hewlett-Packard OpenView Select Federation.

Three Major Foundations for SOA
Natan Gur, Blog

There aren't many successful or failed SOA stories to share since few have really managed to complete SOA adoption, but there are many enterprises that have started their journey in that field. As part of my work I have the opportunity to be part of several SOA journeys and although they are in the beginning stages there are already several lessons that we've learned. In all the SOA engagements that I was part of, we realized (sooner or later and sooner is better) that without three major foundations the building that we're trying to build will collapse. Those foundations are CxO support in involvement, Semantics and a clear information ownership model. (1) CxO support and involvement. Without direct support and involvement of the CxO level, don't even try to start your SOA journey. (2) Semantics: semantics are essential for SOA. Without business and information semantics it will be impossible to create a SOA implementation. If your enterprise hasn't any semantic model of the business and the information you won't have the basics to create services that supply business functions by using information as input and outputs. You will just have the foundation to build another Babylon tower. Creating semantic models might look obvious and simple but most enterprises don't have one semantic model for business and information that (at least) most of the enterprise business units accept. Furthermore it is a complex and tedious process to build semantic models and support around them. I believe that without a framework or proven methodology this task gets even harder to accomplish. Whether it's complex or not, without a clear and supported semantic model you'll find yourself in a dead-end one way or another. (3) Clear information ownership model. Information is the core component with SOA. At the end of the day services reflect business capabilities that manipulate data. Most of the IT problems in the enterprise usually derive from situations where information is managed by two or more business units or is just an asset of one business unit. If we want to build true SOA implementation, Information ownership should be explicit and approved by all parties in the enterprise. Services are about manipulating data and transfering the results to prevent data silos and data duplications.

See also: on 'Semantic'

Debian Linux Founder Joins Sun Microsystems
Neil McAllister, InfoWorld

Where to turn if you're committed to building a top-notch open source operating system but are frustrated with the logistics of pure community-driven development? In Ian Murdock's case, the answer is to join Sun Microsystems. Sun announced today that Murdock has come on board as the company's new Chief Operating Platforms Officer. Murdock is better known to the Linux community as the founder of Debian. In addition to being the Linux distribution that places the most emphasis on the Gnu GPL and Richard Stallman's concept of Free Software, Debian has long been known as the most democratic distribution. But in a recent interview with Linux Format, Murdock reveals that he might have preferred a more top-down approach. A union of Debian and Solaris code could be an intriguing development for the Linux and Free Software community. Sun has had an on-again, off-again relationship with Linux, generally preferring to tout the merits of Solaris over the competition (in particular, Red Hat). But Debian has arguably the best package management software of any Unix-like OS, and a growing number of Linux distributions are basing their offerings on the Debian core, including Linspire and the fan-favorite Ubuntu. Doubtless the speculation will be flying fast and furious in the coming months as to what Murdock's contribution may mean and how this latest development might affect Sun's relationship to the Linux market.

X-Trapolate: Use XForms to Create An Accounting Tool
Stony Yakovac, IBM developerWorks

This six-part series demonstrates how to leverage the power of XForms in conjunction with MySQL and PHP for support processing to create an online accounting tool called "X-Trapolate." Every good programming technology possesses a range of problems it excels at solving. The series highlights some of the problems that the XForms solves effectively, such as the need for live calculations and greater interactivity. This article, Part 1 of the series, provides an overview of the different forms and functionality that will be created in this series, examining some of the aspects of this type of tool you must consider when undertaking the design. XForms brings desktop-like interactivity into the picture while eliminating all of these differences. It provides a standardized way to perform tasks like form validation, calculations, and conditional output. It enables users to save a form to the local machine while offline and submit it to the server later. Perhaps most of all, it separates form from function, providing a way to specify what a form does while leaving the presentation up to the browser or other user-agent. That means that a browser, a PDA, and a voice recognition system can all use exactly the same form. XForms also provides a way to work with XML data directly. The X-Trapolate accounting toolset showcases a variety of standard XForms development methods and resources. The reader follows through the interface development of a functional XForms implementation. Fundamental form controls such as input, output, select, text entry, and secret play appropriate roles in the accounting tool. The introduction of each form control associates with a description of the control and a discussion of the choices made while implementing that control. Other non-visual XForms features also play an important role and the tutorial addressing that feature highlights the usefulness of that feature. Some examples of the features that will be covered include calculation, relevant, and required properties, toggles in conjunction with case and switch, interfacing to PHP, and interfacing to native XML servers.

See also: XML and Forms

AtHoc's Emergency Notification System Achieves CAP Compliance
Staff, AtHoc Announcement

According to an announcement from AtHoc, Inc., the the company's emergency alerting and management offerings are now compliant with the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), a standard created by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS). AtHoc is a contributing member of OASIS. By complying with the OASIS Standard for Emergency Information, AtHoc thus further expands its interoperability and ability to manage emergency alerting across all CAP-compliant notification channels. AtHoc, Inc. provides enterprise-class, network-centric alert delivery and management systems for emergency notifications, force protection readiness, anti-terror warnings and critical communications. CAP is an open, non-proprietary format for exchanging all types of hazard warnings and emergency alerts over disparate, network-based emergency management systems. AtHoc's systems are consistent with the OASIS CAP suggestions for interoperability between emergency management and alerting systems, including network alerting, radios, public address systems, telephony, etc. CAP is one of several interface options that support the ability for AtHoc's systems to communicate with network alerting, sirens, telephony and emergency broadcast systems, creating an overarching, multi-channel alerting system. Because the AtHoc product line includes a powerful alert management console aimed at launching multiple alerting systems through the click of a mouse, now any CAP-compliant system can easily interoperate with the AtHoc offerings. The AtHoc system functions as a CAP server, enabling the input and output of CAP messages.

See also: the OASIS Emergency Management TC

Adobe Woos Web Developers With Apollo Alpha
Stacy Cowley, DDJ

Adobe released the first public alpha version of Apollo on Monday, giving developers a first look at the fledgling rich-client development platform that ties together technologies including HTML, Flash and PDF. Adobe Systems on Monday released the first public alpha version of Apollo, giving developers a first look at the fledgling rich-client development platform, which ties together technologies including HTML, Flash and PDF. Apollo is Adobe's effort to stay at the forefront of Web development and fend of challenges from Microsoft, which is deepening its Web tools offerings, and from new Web 2.0 technologies like AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and Extensible Markup Language), which allows developers to create Web applications with the smooth interface and responsiveness of desktop programs. Apollo is something of an anti-AJAX: It brings elements of online interaction to a desktop client application. Like Flash, Apollo includes a free runtime that users will need to download to their PCs. Using Adobe's free Apollo development kit, programmers can draw on their Web development skills and build applications incorporating HTML, JavaScript, Flash, PDF and other Web technologies. Web services protocols and APIs for online applications allow Apollo applications to pull data from online sources. For example, programmers could incorporate photos from Flickr or product information from into an Apollo application. ISVs and Web developers are eyeing Apollo as a way to deliver functionality that doesn't fit smoothly within a Web browser. Adobe has given a handful of pilot-project developers early access to Apollo.

Selected from the Cover Pages, by Robin Cover

Charter Proposed for New WS-Federation Work in OASIS WSFED Committee

OASIS has acknowledged receipt of a draft Technical Committee charter proposal to establish a new Web Services Federation (WSFED) Technical Committee. The TC would accept as input the December 2006 Version 1.1 "WS-Federation" specification as published by BEA Systems Inc., BMC Software, CA Inc., IBM Corporation, Layer 7 Technologies, Microsoft Corporation, Novell Inc., and VeriSign Inc. The purpose of the WSFED TC is to extend basic federation capabilities enabled by other Web service Security specifications (WS-Security, WS-SecureConversation, WS-Trust, WS-SecurityPolicy) to provide advanced federation capabilities. The proposed charter is open for commment through on April 02, 2007. Federation capabilities envisioned by the TC proposers "includes, but is not limited to: structure and acquisition of federation metadata; sign-out notifications; the use of pseudonym and identity mapping services and attribute services in conjunction with Security Token Services; claims-based authorization; and protection of a principal's privacy with respect to claims asserted in security tokens. In addition, the TC will define an HTTP serialization mechanism allowing the richness of WS-Trust security token based mechanisms for SOAP Web services -- brokered trust relationships and distributed authentication and authorization—to be used in browser-based scenarios. This work will be carried out through continued refinement of the Web Services Federation Language (WS-Federation) Version 1.1 specification.

See also: the proposed TC Charter


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