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Last modified: April 16, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Monday, 16 April 2007

A Cover Pages Publication
Provided by OASIS and Sponsor Members
Edited by Robin Cover

This issue of XML Daily Newslink is sponsored by:

Administrative Geography Ontology for Great Britain
John Goodwin, Ordnance Survey Announcement

Members of Ordnance Survey Research Labs announced the publication of an ontology of administrative geography in Great Britain, using RDF and OWL. The material has been released under a Creative Commons license (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England and Wales). The development team welcomes any comments or feedback. The ontology represents concepts relating to administrative units in the United Kingdom, including countries, government office regions, metropolitan counties, counties, unitary authorities, London boroughs, metropolitan districts, districts and parishes. The purpose of Ordnance Survey's Administrative Geography Ontology is to describe how administrative units are related to each other with the intention of improving the use of the surveyed data by our customers and enabling semi-automatic processing of these data. The conceptual ontology is the human readable ontology, (written in the Ordnance Survey "Rabbit" controlled English language) while the OWL-DL ontology is the logical, machine readable version. Each Ordnance Survey ontology has been created according to Ordnance Survey's Conceptual ontology authoring method and Logical ontology authoring method. The goal of Ordnance Survey's GeoSemantics team is to provide both an explicit representation of our organisation's knowledge and a set of increasingly automated operations that allow different datasets to be combined together, by representing them in a semantically meaningful way via ontologies. Ontologies contain a set of knowledge about a domain, such as topography. The team is in the process of building a Topographic ontology and the first step in this process was the creation of a hydrology ontology. Ontology modules that support this Hydrology ontology, and can be reused in other domain ontologies, are also listed here. The Administrative Geography ontology also includes RDF triple data. Ordnance Survey is Great Britain's national mapping agency, providing the most accurate and up-to-date geographic data, relied on by government, business and the public. The team is an eclectic, multinational mix of thirty or so academics, commercially weathered irregulars and bright young things form Research Labs within Ordnance Survey; skills and expertise range from the predictable (geography, surveying, remote sensing and computer science) to the less expected...

See also: Geosemantics

On-Demand Service Aims to Reduce AJAX Programming Headaches
Heather Havenstein, ComputerWorld

Bungee Labs has announced a new on-demand service that is designed to allow Web developers to quickly build rich Internet applications and then use Bungee's grid to host the applications. Bungee Connect, which was unveiled at the O'Reilly Web 2.0 Summit, can increase developer productivity by reducing programming complexity and by providing easy access to Web services APIs from companies like Inc., eBay Inc., Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., eBay's PayPal unit, RealNetworks Inc., Inc. and Yahoo Inc. to build new applications, Bungee said. The service, which Bungee describes as an "on-demand development environment," allows developers to build and test applications for free and to access application components that other developers have made publicly available, according to Lyle Ball, vice president of marketing at Bungee. Available in beta next month, the tool supports Web services integration to build rich Internet applications. "We're taking development to an on-demand model or development as a service... completely eliminating the need for AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) programming. We've automated each of the AJAX controls, and we have a very broad set of controls that meet the needs of developers." Connect allows developers to write an application once for use in either Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari and have the application work across all of the browsers... Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, said that because of the disjointed state of development tools and of testing and deployment methods, most developers find creating rich Internet applications to be complex, time-consuming and expensive. By combining development, testing and deployment into a service approach, Bungee Connect broadens the number of developers that can build Web applications.

Web Services Transaction Version 1.1 Approved as an OASIS Standard
Staff, OASIS Announcement

The Web Services Transaction Version 1.1 specification balloted for member vote has been approved as an OASIS Standard. Produced by the OASIS Web Services Transaction (WS-TX) Technical Committee, the specification has three parts: WS-Coordination, WS-AtomicTransaction, and WS-BusinessActivity. The WS-Coordination specification describes an extensible framework for providing protocols that coordinate the actions of distributed applications. Such coordination protocols are used to support a number of applications, including those that need to reach consistent agreement on the outcome of distributed activities. It defines a coordination context XML type that identifies a specific activity and the "coordination type" of the agreement protocol supported by the coordinatoin context. The specification also defines protocols that enable an application service to create a coordination context and to register for coordination protocols. The framework enables existing transaction processing, workflow, and other systems for coordination to hide their proprietary protocols and to operate in a heterogeneous environment. The WS-AtomicTransaction specification provides the definition of the Atomic Transaction coordination type that is to be used with the extensible coordination framework described in WS-Coordination. This specification defines three specific agreement coordination protocols for the Atomic Transaction coordination type: completion, volatile two-phase commit, and durable two-phase commit. Developers can use any or all of these protocols when building applications that require consistent agreement on the outcome of short-lived distributed activities that have the all-or-nothing property. The WS-BusinessActivity specification provides the definition of two Business Activity coordination types: AtomicOutcome or MixedOutcome, that are to be used with the extensible coordination framework described in the WS-Coordination specification. It also defines two specific Business Activity agreement coordination protocols for the Business Activity coordination types: BusinessAgreementWithParticipantCompletion, and BusinessAgreementWithCoordinatorCompletion. Developers can use these protocols when building applications that require a compensation -based, consistent agreement on the outcome of long- running distributed activities.

See also: the announcement

Is the IEEE Standards Process Broken?
Rob Garretson, Network World

High stakes, vendor hanky-panky and rudderless, bloated committees are pushing some working groups off track. Is there a better way? The vision was for mobile users—passengers on the high-speed Acela trains between Washington and Boston, for example—to have broadband Internet access as they zip along at 150 mph. After nearly four years of deliberations, the IEEE's Standard Association Executive Committee disbanded the working group, because it had become "highly contentious," showed evidence of possible vendor "dominance" and was suffering "other potential irregularities." Last year alone, in addition to the 802.20 suspension, the three-year effort to settle on an IEEE standard for Ultra WideBand (UWB) deadlocked and disbanded. The IEEE working group crafting the eagerly awaited 802.11n standard for 100Mbps-plus wireless LANs was supposed to agree on a standard in 2006. Because of vendor infighting, the projected date for final approval has been pushed back to 2008. One major problem is that IEEE working groups, which once typically counted attendees by the dozen, now frequently attract hundreds of voting members, greatly increasing the chances for gridlock. "The last committee I chaired had 15 people on it," says Joe Skorupa, a Gartner analyst and IEEE member who served more than eight years on the committee that developed the original Ethernet standards and chaired the 802.3 Network Management Task Force for four years. "Now you see committees where hundreds of people show up. One of the wireless committees had close to 1,000. And it becomes very hard to get business done with that many people." The sheer size of the working groups can slow the process of drafting, revising and ratifying a final standard, which requires a 75% majority of the member votes. Anyone can attend the plenary and interim meetings of the working groups by paying the registration fee—typically no more than a few hundred dollars -- and participants earn voting rights based on their meeting attendance.

Web 2.0 Expo Draws Startups, Superstars
Paul F. Roberts, InfoWorld

If anyone knows about the potential of what has been dubbed "Web 2.0" it's the folks over at O'Reilly Media. Heck, company founder Tim O'Reilly himself coined the phrase back in 2003 to describe the emergence of a new generation of Web-based business models in the wake of the dot-com collapse. And if this week's first-ever Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco is any measure, the Web 2.0 phenomenon is on track to exceed expectations. O'Reilly's company evangelized the Web 2.0 concept with events like its Web 2.0 Conferences, initially intimate gatherings of tech industry cognoscenti. But as sites like Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, and Digg took off, interest in Web 2.0 grew. On the enterprise front, applications of technologies like blogging, mashups, and Internet video play a big role, with executives from companies like Cisco, BEA,, enterprise Wiki firm Socialtext, and Web video firm WebEx. With more and more startups and enterprises eyeing social networking and user-generated content, identity management stands to be a big issue at this week's show, as well as Web 2.0 strategies like agile development, which established firms of all stripes are taking a hard look at for their internal teams, Pahlka said. With 10,000 visitors expected, organizers were surprised by the enthusiasm for the event, and expanded the Expo from two to three floors at the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco to accommodate the crowd. Still, Jennifer Pahlka, of CMP Media said that the Web 2.0 buzz is no replay of the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s.

Web 2.0 Arrives to Find Web 3.0 Underway
Thomas Claburn, DDJ

Just in time for the Web 2.0 Expo 2007, Web 3.0 has arrived. Programming tool makers TopQuadrant and Franz on Monday plan to announce a semantic Web development environment and database that may help make computers a bit smarter. The combination of TopQuadrant's TopBraid Composer and Franz's AllegoGraph 64-bit RDF Store database doesn't mean anything to most people. But meaning is what the two companies aim to provide. Semantic technology helps computers understand data better. For businesses and other large organizations, this becomes particularly useful when merging large data sets. For example, merging two personnel databases when one defines only full-time employees and the other includes part-time or temporary workers can cause problems. Semantic technology can help resolve that. It's also useful for search applications because semantic technology lets computers infer relationships among data elements that aren't explicitly defined. A keyword search, for instance, generally returns only those documents that contain the queried keyword. There already are a variety of semantic Web specifications, protocols, and languages including RDF, Web Ontology Language (OWL), and SPARQL, as well as related technologies like XML. This alphabet jumble gives developers the ability to organize data in a semantic framework. What the TopQuadrant/Franz combination adds to the mix is an Eclipse-based, graphic development environment for semantic Web applications and a database designed to scale with massive amounts of RDF data. And that can be important if you want to boot up in less than a week. GlaxoSmithKline is testing AllegroGraph because of the advantages semantic technology can theoretically provide: a more flexible IT infrastructure and increased productivity through automation.

Dynamic Languages: More Than Just a Quick Fix
Andrew Binstock, InfoWorld Test Center

IT's rise to prominence as a core competence that delivers competitive advantage has been accompanied by a dramatic increase in the number of software development projects it must complete. Well aware of the hidden costs of unfulfilled tasks, enterprise IT managers are fast shedding their prejudices against dynamic languages in search of a quick way to cut down the backlog. What constitutes a scripting or dynamic language is a topic of controversy—especially because users of these languages are both vocal and partisan. A reasonable breakdown of dynamic languages, however, comprises DSLs (domain-specific languages); little languages; scripting languages, such as PHP and Perl; and, at the top of the heap, general-purpose dynamic languages such as Ruby and Python. Each category addresses tasks of different scope, providing developers with tools of varying sophistication. Used appropriately, each can deliver the kind of productivity enhancements overloaded developers seek. Used widely throughout the enterprise, DSLs are considered more the historical basis for the ongoing dynamic-language revolution than a part of it. Some, in fact, argue that DSLs are more akin to series of commands or data items than true languages. Make (the utility used for compiling and linking C and C++ programs) is a DSL, as is Ant, which performs a similar function for Java. Ant commands are encoded as XML statements that must follow a specific format and sequence, which constitutes the language aspect of DSL. Of all the tools fueling the dynamic-language trend in the enterprise, general-purpose dynamic languages such as Python and Ruby present the greatest upside for enhancing developer productivity. Although premier dynamic languages such as Perl, Python, and Ruby have active, thriving communities, none approaches the size of those for mainstream languages such as C, C++, and Java.

See also: scripting limits


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