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Last modified: April 24, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Tuesday, 24 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.

W3C Semantic Web Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Staff, W3C Announcement

Members of the W3C Semantic Web Education and Outreach Interest Group (SWEO Interest Group) have released an initial version of a "Semantic Web Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)" document. These answers to questions covering Semantic Web standards and their usage are presented in an evolving document that will continue to be updated over time. Some forty-two (42) questions are answered initially; question categories include; (1) What is the Semantic Web? (2) How does the Semantic Web relate to? (3) How do I participate in the Semantic Web? (4) Questions on RDF, Ontologies, SPARQL, Rules...? A Wiki site where the community can contribute to the further evolution of the FAQ and an RSS 1.0 feed to track changes are available. Semantic Web technologies can be used in a variety of application areas; for example: in data integration, whereby data in various locations and various formats can be integrated in one, seamless application; in resource discovery and classification to provide better, domain specific search engine capabilities; in cataloging for describing the content and content relationships available at a particular Web site, page, or digital library; by intelligent software agents to facilitate knowledge sharing and exchange; in content rating; in describing collections of pages that represent a single logical 'document'; for describing intellectual property rights of Web pages (see, eg, the Creative Commons), and in many others. In order to achieve the goals described above, the most important is to be able to define and describe the relations among data (i.e., resources) on the Web. This is not unlike the usage of hyperlinks on the current Web that connect the current page with another one: the hyperlinks defines a relationship between the current page and the target. One major difference is that, on the Semantic Web, such relationships can be established between any two resources, there is no notion of 'current' page. Another major difference is that the relationship (i.e, the link) itself is named, whereas the link used by a human on the (traditional) Web is not and their role is deduced by the human reader. The definition of those relations allow for a better and automatic interchange of data. RDF, which is one of the fundamental building blocks of the Semantic Web, gives a formal definition for that interchange.

See also: Semantic Web Activity News

Creole: Validating Overlapping Markup
Jeni Tennison, XTech 2007 Paper Abstract

XML assumes that documents can be represented by a single hierarchy of elements, each nesting neatly inside its parent. However, in the real world, documents are more complicated, and often contain overlapping structures: in a book, pages overlap with sections; in a play, speeches overlap with lines; in a collaborative document, comments overlap with each other. There are many ways in which such documents can be represented, from using empty elements or processing instructions as milestones in XML, to inventing a new syntax such as LMNL syntax. Whichever approach is chosen, the next problem is how to check that the document is valid. This XTech 2007 paper will present Creole (Composable Regular Expressions for Overlapping Languages etc.). Creole is an extension to RELAX NG, and follows its philosophy of defining a pattern that matches a valid document. Other schema languages for overlapping markup, such as SGML's CONCUR and Rabbit and Duck Grammars, consider a single document as multiple documents, each of which is validated separately. Creole treats the document as a whole, and markup languages that use overlap as separate languages in their own right. As the paper will show, Creole, like RELAX NG, is readily implementable using Brzozowski derivatives: considering a document as a stream of events, the derivative of a pattern with respect to an event is a new pattern that should match the remaining events. Since every syntax for overlap can be mapped onto a stream of events, Creole can be applied whatever representation is used. This paper will detail the syntax of Creole and the algorithm for its implementation, as well as providing examples of Creole schemas and describing its XSLT 2.0 implementation.

See also: the Creole Wiki

Understanding XML Query Standards
Nancy Vodicka, Application Development Trends

W3C [recently] granted Recommendation status to XQuery, the XML query language designed to do for Web services what SQL did for relational databases. XQuery allows you to work in one common model no matter what type of data you're working with—relational, XML or object data. It's used for queries that must represent results as XML, to query XML stored inside or outside the database, or to span relational and XML sources. SQL/XML is another standard that uses declarative, portable queries to return XML by querying relational data. It's an extension of SQL that is part of ANSI/ISO SQL 2003. SQL/XML enables SQL queries to create XML structures with a few XML constructor functions that can be used in the SELECT statement. For a SQL programmer, SQL/XML is easy to learn because it involves additions to the existing SQL language. SQL is a mature language with many tools and infrastructure in place—including Java Database Connectivity—to return results. Much as SQL has done for relational data, XQuery serves as a unifying interface for access to XML data. XML can represent any kind of data (relational, XML or object) and XQuery makes it possible to bring together both structured and unstructured data sources and process them in a unified way. As such, XQuery offers the potential to speed development, simplify data handling in Web services applications, and serve as a critical tool for service-oriented architectures (SOAs). XQuery goes above and beyond SQL/XML as a query language for several reasons. Because the XQuery language is XML-centric, XQuery code is straightforward, flexible and produces any XML structure. With XQuery, there's far less code to write and maintain for the resulting XML -- providing a faster time to application deployment and lower maintenance costs. XQuery doesn't care what the data source is—it can be any XML document, Web service, relational data and more -- while SQL/XML is limited to querying only relational data. Ultimately, XQuery provides performance and scalability at an enterprise application level that SQL/XML simply can't support.

See also: W3C XQuery specifications

Google Releases Improved MySQL Code
Thomas Claburn, InformationWeek

Google has released new programming code under the GPL license to enhance MySQL databases. Google uses the MySQL open source relational database internally for some applications that aren't search related. And its engineers are keen to improve the code by making their improvements publicly available. MySQL is the second most popular database behind Microsoft SQL Server, according to a winter 2006 report from Evans Data. Oracle comes in second if you combine its database offerings. The situation is similar among wireless developers, almost 30% of who use Microsoft SQL Server compared to the 20% who use MySQL. The new features include support for for semi-synchronous replication, mirroring the binlog from a master to a slave, quickly promoting a slave to a master during failover, and keeping InnoDB and replication state on a slave consistent during crash recovery. "We think MySQL is a fantastic data storage solution, and as our projects push the requirements for the database in certain areas, we've made changes to enhance MySQL itself, mainly in the areas of high availability and manageability," said Google engineer Mark Callaghan in a blog post. Callaghan noted that while Google would like to see its changes become part of an official MySQL release, he and others wanted the public to have access to the modified code.

Ajax and XML: Learning from Ajax's Best
Jack D. Herrington, IBM developerWorks

This article looks at some of the best of the new breed of Web applications to show what you can learn from them—the proud tradition of imitating the best. Discover how these applications succeed at the user level and find techniques you can explore for your own Web 2.0 applications to create an exciting user experience. Google in particular has several standout offerings. Google Documents and Spreadsheets demonstrates just how far you can go with WYSIWYG editing within the browser. Google Reader demonstrates how you can take RSS feeds and provide a hosted solution so that users can view their news from any location. Google Mail uses Ajax, JavaScript, and DHTML as well as Google Maps. Another area where Google excels is mobile accessibility. All their services have trimmed-down versions that work well on phones and other small devices. With a Google account, you can have a customized home page with one version for the Web and another for your phone. Google isn't the only one doing amazing Ajax work. Meebo is a fantastic example of a hosted chat application with a simple but elegant interface that works over Ajax. Kiko is a calendaring application that makes excellent use of DHTML for editing a calendar as well as Ajax for updating the server with new appointments, contacts, and related information. One common element that all these sites share is a deep respect for the power of the combination of HTML and JavaScript code. JavaScript code has received some bad press lately in the programming world. I think it's unfair, because most of the flaws that I heard mentioned are more about browser compatibility with the Document Object Model (DOM) than about the JavaScript language itself. It's clear to me that if you want to make a compelling Web 2.0 application, you need to embrace JavaScript as a language and give it the respect it deserves.

DataDirect Technologies Releases New XML Converters
Staff, DataDirect Announcement

DataDirect Technologies has announced the availability of version 3.0 of its DataDirect XML Converters products. The high-performance Java and .NET components provide bi-directional, programmatic access to virtually any non-XML file including Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), flat files and other legacy formats. As more companies turn to XML for the exchange of mission-critical data with trading partners, to conduct e-commerce and to ease data aggregation and Service-Oriented Architectures (SOA) integration projects, they are seeking tools to easily convert legacy data formats into XML and back without a major re-architecting of their applications. The DataDirect XML Converters products were created to maximize XML developer productivity by helping to eliminate some of the common challenges associated with XML data integration both in software development and deployment. Version 3.0 extends market reach and developer usability of the converters by adding a Microsoft .NET version built on 100 percent managed code architecture for greater security, reliability and scalability. With support for standards-based SAX, StAX, XmlReader, XmlWriter, DOM and I/O streaming interfaces, the DataDirect XML Converters products can be easily embedded into any application for translation or as part of a chain of programs including XSLT and XQuery, providing seamless integration for relational, XML and flat file types including EDI X12, Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport (EDIFACT), International Air Transport Association (IATA) and binary files such as dBase, CSV, tab-delimited, Silk, etc. To enable and manage extensions to proprietary file formats, custom XML conversions can be created using the Stylus Studio product, DataDirect Technologies' award-winning XML integrated development environment.

CollabNet Acquires SourceForge Software Assets
Andy Patrizio,

Collaboration software developer CollabNet announced on Tuesday it would acquire the assets of the SourceForge Enterprise Edition business from VA Software, along with a 30-month media relationship for online advertising services. SourceForge is a collaborative revision control and software development management system that is extremely popular in open source development projects. More than 146,000 open source projects are managed on, the public Web site powered by SourceForge software. SourceForge software begin its life as an open source project but was commercialized as SourceForge Enterprise Edition. The original codebase was splintered, or "forked" as they say, by the GNU Project as Savane. Bringing SourceForge Enterprise Edition under CollabNet's umbrella combines two of the leading collaborative software development solutions for distributed teams under one roof. The combined entity will support more than 300 enterprise customers with greater than 1.1 million users in dozens of countries worldwide. According to the announcement: "SourceForge Enterprise Edition customers around the world will now benefit from CollabNet's extensive, global support infrastructure, including around the clock support, as well as accelerated innovation due to an increased research and development staff. With the addition of SourceForge Enterprise Edition business to CollabNet's product portfolio and team, we have become the standard for this new method of performing decentralized development. Unlike conventional software development systems, CollabNet's solutions are designed to promote and optimize the benefits of collaboration and distributed software development, based on open source principles. Our solutions provide two to 10 times the cost advantage and a 20 to 50 percent productivity improvement, as compared to legacy software development platforms."

See also: the SourceForge description

Manage a Media Collection with the Atom Publishing Protocol
Nicholas Chase, IBM developerWorks

You might know the Atom syndication format as a way to provide blog entry information, but did you know that in conjunction with the Atom Publishing Protocol, you can use it to manage media files? This article shows you how to create a Web-based media repository with Atom. The article assumes that you are at least marginally familiar with the Atom syndication format, and with HTML concepts such as forms. To follow the example, you'll need an application server that supports the Atom Publishing Protocol (APP). Roller is great, and even runs the blogs here at developerWorks, but the installation manual is 27 pages long; fortunately, Dave Johnson has put all the pieces together in the Blogapps server. To run the example application, you'll need a servlet-capable server. Blogapps includes Tomcat, so you can use that. If you choose to use a separate instance, you'll need to alter the 'server.xml' file to prevent port conflicts. The last step is to install the Apache Abdera package, selected to make the APP easier to use. You will create a servlet that uses the Atom Publishing Protocol to add media resources to an Atom collection, which is part of a workspace. To add each resource, you'll use a POST request that sends the file to a URI designated for that collection. When you do that, the server creates a corresponding media-link entry that refers to it. You can then extract the information about all of those items in an Atom feed, which you can then use to display the information on a Web page. The Atom protocol also makes use of the other HTTP methods. You'll use GET to query information, DELETE to delete it (of course) and PUT to edit existing information (if possible). The Atom Syndication Format, combined with the power of the Atom Publishing Protocol, offers a good way to manage your resources, the images, audio, or even text or xhtml.

See also: Atom references


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