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Last modified: April 23, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Monday, 23 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:
Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Version Numbers in X/HTML, HTML, and XHTML
Dave Orchard, Blog

"I'm just starting to get my mind wrapped around the issues of version numbers in X/HTML, HTML, and XHTML. There is pushback on whether version identifiers are a good thing at all... I've just posted a few thoughts on problems with a single namespace name as the version identifier in XML, and it's clear that the version identifier mapping problem applies to more systems than XML. My early thinking is that one of the reasons why HTML and CSS might not want version identifiers is because of the version identifier mapping problem. The WHAT WG wrote up HTML vs XHTML which says that there will effectively be no version information. [You can create a simple '(X)HTML' document, but] Which versions of (x)html is it? Well, it's almost all of them! But, you've got to serve it as three different documents under html 4, html 5, and xhtml 2. We'll put the xmlns declaration in all of them to make single sourcing the markup content consistent. Note: MovableType and Google and lots of others don't do this. I hear from TV Raman that saving the 30 characters or so is a huge win for Google. Note, with HTML, there's NO way of knowing whether this is version 5, 6, 7, 5.01, 5.1 or whatever. Seems a bit crazy to me but I'll have to do some more digging. I wonder if there's any way to 'fix' the version identification problem, or whether it needs to be fixed..."

See also: on single namespaces

SOA + RIA + OSS = Web 2.0
Adam Michelson, TechTarget

Service-oriented architecture (SOA), rich Internet applications (RIA), open source software (OSS) and Web 2.0 are all hot and relevant topics on their own. When combined, however, they really become powerful. Web 2.0 has become a popular, if ill-defined and often criticized, buzzword amongst the technical and marketing communities. The strongest perceived relationship between these terms is between Web 2.0 and RIA. They are used synonymously at times, much to the dismay of those who define Web 2.0 as a way to use the Internet rather than a specific technology such as RIA. Web 2.0 is supposed to describe the Internet as a social and collaborative network, where everyone and everything is connected though all means of available devises. An RIA browser is just one such devise. Web 2.0 also refers to futuristic concepts such as the Semantic Web, the long tail, social networking and Web ubiquity—which predicts that many devices, not just RIA browsers, will participate in the Web 2.0 network. It stands to reason that if RIA is the best way to build a user interface and SOA is the best way to build and expose business services, then combined these technologies are capable of building superior applications. At the recent SPARK conference the relationship between RIA, SOA and Web 2.0 was explored and spawned many interesting blogs on the subject. Most of the conversation surrounds the compelling benefits of the combined technologies rather than specific solutions. An application that combines RIA with SOA will benefit from the dynamic characteristics of an asynchronous, transactional and self-distributing user interface with the advantages of a loosely-coupled, reusable and agile services layer. There is some debate as to how to best integrate these technologies. An RIA moves the Model-View-Controller abilities back to the client, where it originated in Smalltalk... New architectures and frameworks will undoubtedly arise to address the security and scalability concerns of the RIA-to-SOA applications, but none are dominant yet.

Implementation Techniques for Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 2.0
Jutta Treviranus, Jan Richards, Tim Boland; W3C Technical Report

Members of the W3C Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines Working Group have published a Working Draft for the "Implementation Techniques for Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 2.0" specification, updating the document of 2004-11-22. The document is part of a series of accessibility documents published by the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). It provides non-normative information to authoring tool developers who wish to satisfy the checkpoints identified in the "Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 2.0" specification. It includes suggested techniques, sample strategies in deployed tools, and references to other accessibility resources (such as platform-specific software accessibility guidelines) that provide additional information on how a tool may satisfy each ATAG 2.0 checkpoint. ATAG helps developers design tools and authoring interfaces that are accessible to users including those with disabilities, and that produce accessible Web content. Resulting content can be read by a broader range of readers. The Working Group expects to update this document in response to queries raised by implementers of the Guidelines, for example to cover new technologies, and to publish Implementation Techniques for ATAG 2.0 as a W3C Note.

See also: ATAG 2.0

O'Reilly Book Notice: XQuery
Priscilla Walmsley (author), O'Reilly Announcement

This book "XQuery" is for query writers who have some knowledge of XML basics, but not necessarily advanced knowledge of XML-related technologies. It can be used both as a tutorial, by reading cover to cover, and as a reference, by using the comprehensive index and appendixes. Either way, the reader will find the background knowledge in namespaces, schemas, built-in types and regular expressions that is relevant to writing XML queries. This book provides: (1) A high-level overview and quick tour of XQuery; (2) Information to write sophisticated queries, without being bogged down by the details of types, namespaces, and schemas; (3) Advanced concepts for users who want to take advantage of modularity, namespaces, typing and schemas; (4) Guidelines for working with specific types of data, such as numbers, strings, dates, URIs and processing instructions; (5) A complete alphabetical reference to the built-in functions and types. The reader will also learn about XQuery's support for filtering, sorting, and grouping data, as well as how to use FLWOR expressions, XPath, and XQuery tools for extracting and combining information. With this book, one will discover how to apply all of these tools to a wide variety of data sources, and how to recombine information from multiple sources into a single final output result.

See also: XML and Query Languages

Ubuntu Linux Release: Java Technologies Extend Global Distribution
Staff, Sun Announcement

Sun Microsystems, Inc. and Canonical Ltd., have announced the immediate availability of a complete, production quality Java technology stack and developer tools with the latest release of Ubuntu, v7.04, making it easier for GNU/Linux developers to leverage the Java platform in their applications. This stack, which is comprised of key popular Java technologies such as GlassFish v1 (the open source Java Platform, Enterprise Edition 5 implementation), Java Platform, Standard Edition (JDK 6), Java DB 10.2 (built from Apache Derby) and NetBeans IDE 5.5 -- is available in the Multiverse component of the Ubuntu repository as of April 19, 2007. These technologies will be available for Ubuntu users to install easily over the network with apt-get and other standard software management tools. "Packaging NetBeans and Java for Ubuntu ensures that we are able to distribute it efficiently to the huge community of Ubuntu users," said Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu. "Developers who are interested in Sun's latest Java technology can install it instantly if they are running Ubuntu. As Java components are released under free software licenses, we will consider these components for inclusion in the core of Ubuntu." Sun is committed to supporting developers by providing versions of its technologies that are optimized and accessible by the various open source GNU/Linux and OpenSolaris communities.

SMTP Authentication Update
Larry Seltzer, eWEEK

Heady days, back in 2004, when the industry tried to reach consensus on a standard for SMTP authentication: the MARID (MTA Authentication Records In DNS) standards effort went down... In the years since the standards positions hardened, have they had any effect? Microsoft argues that they have. Last week at the AOTS conference in Boston they announced that SIDF blocks 20 million fraudulent messages. Now when Microsoft says "Sender ID" in cases like this they often mean "SPF" which is incorporated as part of SIDF. In fact, it's probably complete overlap now. It's possible, for example, for a spammer to put SPF records on their junk domain and use a proper envelope when sending it, and then to use FROM: and SENDER: headers in the message with "" in them. Sender ID would detect this, although the SPF test would pass. So if you're sending out spam and spoofing FROM: addresses to do it, make sure not to spoof a Sender ID domain... Microsoft throws out a lot of other numbers: [1] 98% of phishing messages are caught by Sender ID [2] 90% of e-mail marketers have implemented Sender ID... The message is as much (maybe more) to email marketers than anyone else, but the point is that SIDF and SPF have substantial implementation and are working to improve the email system. I can believe this. I can also believe that Microsoft's ability to promote SIDF through the massive Exchange Server community has, and will continue to have, a positive effect on adoption by business. So about two and a half years out from the MARID collapse, SMTP authentication is progressing as a real-world tool but slowly. Very large mail providers and senders are using it and benefiting from it, Some day a tipping point will arrive where it will be realized, generally, that you need to implement authentication and deal with any technical problems that result, but we're not there yet.

See also: the Microsoft PR

Aptana Moves Toward AJAX on Rails
Darryl K. Taft, eWEEK

Aptana has announced the incorporation of the Ruby Development Team project into the Aptana integrated development environment. CEO Paul Colton said the Aptana IDE has been downloaded more than 400,000 times since its release last August, and together, the projects are approaching 1,000,000 combined downloads. The Aptana IDE is targeted at AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) style development and provides support for JavaScript, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and HTML and is fully integrated with FireBug for JavaScript debugging. The Aptana IDE is cross-platform, open-source, and free; with the addition and integration of RadRails and RDT, the Aptana IDE will make "Ajax on Rails" a reality. Colton: "With numerous Web 2.0 startups using Ruby on Rails, our embracing of these two projects will have a tremendous and positive effect on the development community. We're looking forward to providing these developers with a powerful, consistent, end-to-end development environment, spanning all layers: database, Ruby, Rails, HTML, CSS and JavaScript. The Aptana IDE and RadRails are both EPL (Eclipse Public License) open-source products, and that will continue in the future. Initially, you'll see some immediate bundling of the products, and then we'll work on making a tighter integration as time goes on."

Too Soon for Definitive Standards?
Jeff Feinman, SD Times

The world of mashups can be a chaotic one, with little structure and order when it comes to the methods that developers use to merge data from various sources. Though the nature of the beast seems to preclude the development of standards expressly for mashups, various technologies that can be integral pieces of mashup creation are being enhanced, and standardized when appropriate. When asked if the World Wide Web Consortium is currently considering any particular standards for the creation of mashups, Lee Feigenbaum, chair of the W3C's data access working group, said that it is more accurate to think of the organization's efforts as a 'continuum of technologies.' The vast majority of mashups, he said, are based off of HTML, CSS and JavaScript, so those core technologies play a large part in their creation. Though neither GRDDL (Gleaning Resource Descriptions from Dialects of Languages), a mechanism for extracting RDF (Resource Description Framework) data from XML and XHTML documents, nor SPARQL is chartered specifically as a mashup standard, they both can play an integral part in the creation of mashups. Many mashups today are based on screen-scraping, extracting text data from a Web page, but GRDDL offers an RDF representation based on transformation algorithms, which are typically represented in XSLT. When a mashup creator uses SPARQL queries, he or she is essentially defining his or her own API, according to Feigenbaum. SPARQL may be only a few months away from becoming a full-fledged W3C Recommendation.

See also: the GRDDL Primer

Stallman: Free Software is Matter of Good vs. Evil
William Jackson, Government Computing News

Students at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County got a lecture today about morals, ethics and politics from radical software developer Richard M. Stallman, a founder of the free-software movement. Free software is not about the price of software or even about the quality or practicality of it, according to Stallman. It is much more important than that. 'This is about ethics,' he said. 'That is, good and evil.' Stallman's roots go back to the 1970s to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, when coding was called hacking and software development was a calling rather than a business. He remains true to those roots, and most of his efforts today are devoted to the Free Software Foundation he founded in the 1980s as a vehicle for developing a free software operating system. Free software supports four essential freedoms: (1) The freedom to run the software any way the user wants, or the baseline freedom; (2) The freedom to study and change the software; (3) The freedom to distribute the software and; (4) The freedom to distribute any contributions or modifications the user has made to the software. The GNU Project continues work on its own Hurd kernel, but progress has been slow. 'It doesn't work well enough that we could recommend general use of it,' Stallman said. Despite this weakness, Stallman is an evangelist for the free software movement and promotes membership in his foundation. He encourages an understanding of the distinctions between free and open source and calls on society to reject proprietary software under any name and embrace free software exclusively. Speaking in front of a projection screen with a Microsoft Windows logo screen saver bouncing around, this seemed a somewhat quixotic mission. But Stallman [...] is unfazed by the challenge. "Free software can create as much economic opportunity as the proprietary model he wants to replace," he said. FSF: "Free software is a matter of liberty not price."

See also: the Free Software Foundation web site


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