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Last modified: March 22, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Thursday, 22 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.

New Liberty Alliance Specifications for Linking Digital Identity Management to Consumer Devices
Staff, Liberty Alliance Project

Liberty Alliance has announced the release of the Advanced Client specifications designed to allow enterprise users and consumers to manage identity information on devices such as cameras, handhelds, laptops, printers, and televisions. The Advanced Client is a set of specifications and technologies that leverage the proven interoperability, security and privacy capabilities of Liberty Federation and Liberty Web Services to allow users to conduct a wide range of new identity-based transactions from any device. The Advanced Client represents the third phase of Liberty's ongoing work in delivering increased identity management functionality to client devices. In phase one Liberty Alliance defined the LECP (Liberty Enabled Client/Proxy) which was incorporated into SAML 2.0 and supports federation operations as the Enabled Client/Proxy. The Active Client is part of phase two and provides client-based Web services functionality, single sign-on into Liberty Web Services and support for any authentication model. Work on the Robust Client specifications, phase four, is underway. These phase four specifications will support trusted digital identity relationships, mobility modules and provide a platform for facilitating client-based universal strong authentication. Advanced Client relies on ID-WSF 2.0 (Liberty Web Services) which includes support for WS-Addressing and WS-Security specifications. The specific functionality included in the Advanced Client specifications released in draft form includes: (1) Trusted Module: The Advanced Client acts as an extension of the identity provider (IdP) offering protocol support for trusted model capabilities and able to function when the IdP is not present. The specifications allow the client to assert assurances on behalf of the authority issuing the identity in a closed and protected environment such as a smart card or other tamper resistant mechanism within the client device. (2) Provisioning: The Advanced Client supports full life-cycle provisioning of data and/or functionality to the client over the air in a privacy sensitive and secure manner. (3) Service Hosting/Proxying (SHPS): Allows a service, such as a calendar or e-commerce profile to be hosted on a client device, such as a cell phone or laptop. The specifications allow others to interact with the service via a proxy based on the security, privacy and permission controls established by the user and when the device is either on or offline

See also: Liberty Alliance Specifications

IETF Opens New Media Server Control Working Group
Staff, IESG

The Internet Engineering Steering Group has announced the formation of a new Media Server Control (MEDIACTRL) Working Group in the Real-time Applications and Infrastructure Area. A media server contains media processing components that are able to manipulate RTP streams. Typical processing includes mixing multiple streams, transcoding a stream (e.g., from G.711 to MS-GSM), storing or retrieving a stream (e.g., from RTP to HTTP), detecting tones (e.g., DTMF), converting text to speech, and performing speech recognition. The work group will examine protocol extensions between media servers and their clients. However, modifying existing standard protocols, such as VoiceXML or SIP towards clients or MRCPv2 towards servers, is not in the work group's charter. The model of interest to this group is where the endpoint solely plays audio or video, transmits audio or video towards the server, and possibly transmits key press information towards the server. The only model of user interface processing the work group will consider is where the media server performs all of the media processing. A caveat here is the media server, in interpreting a VoiceXML page, may make requests to a server for speech services. However, to the media server client and the media end point, the single point of signaling and media interaction is the media server. Any protocol developed by this group will meet the requirements for Internet deployment. This includes addressing Internet security, privacy, congestion control (or at least congestion safe), operational and manageability considerations, and scale. The protocol will not assume a private administrative domain. There is broad market acceptance of the stimulus/markup application design model for the application server - media server protocol interface. Thus this work group will focus on the use of SIP and XML for the protocol suite. [Note: One of the RFCs relevant to the WG is "Media Server Control Markup Language (MSCML) and Protocol." MSCML) is an XML-based markup language used in conjunction with SIP to provide advanced conferencing and interactive voice response (IVR) functions. MSCML presents an application-level control model, as opposed to device-level control models. One use of this protocol is for communications between a conference focus and mixer in the IETF SIP Conferencing Framework.]

See also: Media Server Control Markup Language MSCML

Intel Aligns vPro with Microsoft for the Enterprise
Ann Steffora Mutschler, Electronic News

With the aim of making the management of enterprise PC networks less costly and more simple, Intel has aligned its vPro technology with the newly-released versions of Microsoft's System Center management solutions and has incorporated new PC management standards. Intel's next-generation vPro technology, codenamed Weybridge, adds support for the new Web Services Management (WS-MAN) standard and includes new Intel 'Active Management Technology' for the reduction of viruses and worms spreading through the enterprise. vPro also will support an upcoming Digital Management Work Group (DMWG) specification for interoperability across PC hardware and software developed by the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF), the company noted. To enhance the ability of IT organizations to protect computers from viruses and help lower maintenance costs, the Weybridge vPro technology desktops and the next Centrino mobile technology for notebook PCs, codenamed Santa Rosa, will support a variety of Microsoft System Center solutions to include System Center Operations Manager 2007, which monitors system health. Intel also noted that its Core2 Duo processor provides new remote management capabilities called 'Active Management Technology' that are meant to accelerate maintenance functions and improve security while reducing costs through remote diagnosis along with PC repair even if it is turned off, or crippled by a crashed operating system or hard drive. Intel and Microsoft said they led the development of WS-MAN as a standards-based method of accessing and managing PC fleets, as founding members of the DMTF, which developed the interoperable management specification.

HefeWeizen: An ebXML Message Service Handler
Sacha Schlegel, Developer Posting

A posting from Sacha Schlegel to the OASIS ebXML-DEV list announces the beta availability of "Free and Open Source Software" HefeWeizen, an ebXML Message Service Handler. An ebXML messaging system is typically used to reliably and securely exchange business documents over the Internet. "HefeWeizen supports ebXML Messaging Service Specification version 2.0 and ebXML Collaboration Protocol Agreement and Profile Specification version 2.0. Its features include: (1) ebMS 2.0 support (Reliable messaging, XML digital signature, XML encryption, HTTP and HTTP(s) support—server and client authentication, SMTP [in planning stage]; (2) ebCPPA 2.0 - Configuration of trading partners via ebXML CPAs. Requirements are [i] Ruby Programming Language and [ii] Linux/Unix (uses libxml2, libxmlsec1 C libraries). Related initiative: freebXML, "an initiative that aims to foster the development and adoption of ebXML and related technology through software and experience sharing. is sponsored by the Center for E-Commerce Infrastructure Development and the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems at the University of Hong Kong. Founding members include technical leaders from international technology firms, government organizations, standardization bodies and academic institutions."

See also: freebXML

Informal Last Call: Atom Bidirectional Attribute
James Snell (ed), IETF Internet Draft

A revised IETF Internet Draft for the "Atom Bidirectional Attribute" specification has been released, characterized as an Informal Last Call review draft. The specification defines a new attribute to the Atom Syndication Format used to indicate the base directionality of directionally-neutral characters. It updates the Atom Syndication Format specification (RFC 4287) by adding a new 'dir' attribute used to define the base directionality of directionally-neutral characters contained within an Atom document. The editor notes that "the only significant difference [in this -03 version] is a notice about direction guess algorithms; this has now been implemented in Apache Abdera, an Open Source Atom Implementation. The "dir" attribute specifies the base direction of directionally-neutral text, per Unicode. Possible values for the attribute are "ltr" and "rtl" indicating "left-to-right" and "right-to-left" respectively, or an empty string indicating that no base-direction is specified. If the "dir" attribute is not specified, the value is assumed to be an empty string. The attribute can appear on any element in an Atom document. The direction specified by "dir" applies to elements and attributes whose values are specified as being "Language-Sensitive" as defined by Section 2 of RFC 4287. The direction specified by the attribute is inherited by descendent elements and attributes and may be overridden. In Atom documents that do not contain a "dir" attribute, it is possible to apply heuristics to guess the base directionality of text in the document. Such heuristics can take into consideration the in-scope language context established by the use of the xml:lang attribute or an analysis of the directional properties of the Unicode characters used within the documents text. Such guessing algorithms can produce reasonably acceptable results in many cases but cannot be guaranteed to produce correct results in every case. For this reason, explicit determination of text direction using the "dir" attribute SHOULD be preferred over any guessing algorithm.

See also: Atom References

Representing ER models (and other abstractions) in ISO Schematron
Rick Jelliffe, O'Reilly Technical

The author demonstrates a way to express basic Entity Relationship model using ISO Schematron. "Schematron allows you to model entities and various relationships using 'abstract patterns'—a parameterized macro facility. You can use the same idea to model other kinds of diagramming and modeling systems. I think what it quite powerful about this approach is that we can separate the information relationships from the XML serialization. Fields can be child elements, attributes, attributes of the parent, any kind of XPath, we don't care. Similarly, if two fields are related, they may use a key or containment, but we don't care. If you like you see this a technique for capturing information from a model in a form which also happens to hook into Schematron validation; but you can use the captured model for non-Schematron purposes too. In the mini-example [provided], fields with a one-to-one relation can be nested or they can be linked using an ID-like mechanism. XSD is not powerful enough to allow this kind of alternative mechanism: this forces people to make a decision about the serialization strategy: this creates incompatibility because different people make different choices. Using this mechanism, you can get a complete separation from the declarative portions (which can have as much additional declarative information as you like) and the operational/implementation code. This kind of declaration is very declarative [and] easy to use for other purposes. In fact, it means that using Schematron syntax you can model your information using extensible collections of name-value pairs (can someone say 'tuple'?) including metadata that you won't be using in any assertions. You use Schematron abstract patterns to capture all the data and metadata about some information, then you decide which of that information you want to make assertions about and the metadata, being captured, is available in the most convenient form for other XML processes.

See also: Schematron references

Will PHP Bring Simplicity to AJAX?
Sean Michael Kerner,

PHP is one of the most widely used languages on the Web today. Yet despite that fact there is no "P" in AJAX, Zend co-founder Andi Gutmans believes that PHP could be the glue that makes AJAX work better. Gutmans began his session at AJAXWorld this week by noting that there are many different AJAX libraries for PHP. The problem is that there is no standard for doing AJAX with PHP. That's about to change. A new effort led by Zend is looking to provide a standard way to build AJAX with PHP. PHP, Gutmans argued, is a glue language for the Web that aggregates data sources and displays logic, as well as includes native support for databases. Additionally PHP supports a wide array of file formats, Web services, platform interoperability, and language integration... Among the items that make AJAX simpler to deploy using PHP is native JSON (define) support, as well as the inclusion of SimpleXML. SimpleXML is a PHP extension allowing for "simple" XML data manipulation, which abstracts a lot of the complexity of Web Services allowing a developer to manipulate XML as though it were native PHP. Zend Framework will extend the JSON support available to PHP developers with a new Zend_Xml2Json effort that is being developed by IBM. Gutmans explained that it will be a server component that enables XML to JSON conversion at the middleware server layer. The Zend component model, which will be part of Zend Framework, will go a step further and provide tooling for building AJAX applications. Gutmans explained that it will have server-side messaging and persistence, as well as an AJAX controller. The real goal according to Gutmans is to make the Zend component model a full development environment complete with drag-and-drop components, cross-language debugging and advanced CSS support.

Open-Source Goes Hammer and Nail
Jessie Scanlon,

At 10:30 on a Friday morning in February, Cameron Sinclair dropped two heavy bags onto the floor and sank onto the leather banquette at Balthazar, the bustling New York bistro. The executive director of the San Francisco-based Architecture for Humanity, a nonprofit dedicated to finding architectural solutions to humanitarian problems, was in town to speak with journalists about his new Open Architecture Network (OAN). Launched officially at last week's TED Conference, the free Web-based network is part database of architectural projects, part design tool, and part community for anyone dedicated to improving living conditions through innovative and sustainable design—be they architects, engineers, non-profits, government agencies, or donors. As its name implies, the OAN aims to bring the philosophy and collaborative methods of the open-source software movement to architecture, in the hope of meeting the housing needs of the millions of people living in slum settlements and/or displaced by war or natural disasters, as well as the general need for healthcare, education and civic buildings. Sinclair unveiled the OAN at the TED Conference because the network grew directly out of his 2006 TED Prize, a unique award that provides $100,000 and, more important, help from TED's powerful network of attendees and sponsors to fulfill the winner's wish. Soon after Sinclair described his desire to create an open-source repository of architectural ideas, Sun Microsystems donated two 3-terabyte servers and its engineering services, AMD offered to host the servers (and is also now funding the $250,000 Open Architecture Prize, a competition to design a computer lab that can be adapted for developing communities), and the small San Francisco-based HotDesign volunteered to design the Web site. Working with OAN to create one of the most critical and radical features of the site, Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization that has developed alternatives to standard copyright law, adapted its intellectual-property licenses to build structures that allow designers to stipulate usage rights. In total, Creative Commons drafted eight licenses for the network, including a Developing Nations license that lets an architect retain ownership of a design in the developed world but also allows the design to be freely used or adapted elsewhere, a "public-domain" license that frees a work from copyright entirely, and a more restrictive license that allows a design to be studied but prohibits changes or commercial use. OAN had some 2,241 registered users and 220 projects. Users can search for architectural designs by a growing number of criteria, including location, materials, cost, and project type, and can view a project's evolution from sketch through blueprints and construction drawings to completion, in either a high- or low-resolution format.


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