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Last modified: April 25, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Wednesday, 25 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.

UBL Internationale
Joab Jackson, Government Computer News

In the past few years, European agencies have been putting the Universal Business Language to work in a major way. Should U.S. agencies take a closer look? It just might be worthwhile. UBL is an Extensible Markup Language-based schema for documents used for business transactions, such as standard fields for ordering products, billing and invoicing. Last December, OASIS approved Version 2 of the UBL. In 2005, Denmark mandated that all public-sector billing be done in the UBL format. It is now tapering off its practice of exchanging business documents through Electronic Data Interchange-based Value-Added Networks. More than 440,000 Danish businesses are now e-mailing more than 1 million UBL-based invoices per month to government agencies, a number the government hopes to increase to 190 million annually. By doing so, the country should save more than $265 million annually, said Mikkel Hippe Brun, chief technical adviser of Denmark's National IT and Telecom Agency at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. In Denmark, we could save 10 minutes handling time on each invoice. It really adds up when you have 18 million of them," Brun said. "Our vision is that it should be as easy to exchange business documents as it is to send an e-mail." In addition to Denmark, officials from Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom are contributing to the further development of UBL, said Jon Bosak, chairman of the OASIS UBL Technical Committee. A Federal UBL Community of Practice is being formed with plans to get UBL inserted into the Federal Enterprise Architecture Technical Reference Model. And with both Oracle and SAP supporting UBL in their enterprise resource planning products, you soon may be getting invoices and receipts via the format.

See also: the OASIS UBL TC

Information Model for IP Flow Information Export
Juergen Quittek (et al., eds), IETF Internet Draft

Members of the IETF IP Flow Information Export (IPFIX) Working Group have produced an advanced Internet Draft for the "Information Model for IP Flow Information Export" specification. The IESG has approved the document as a Proposed Standard. The IESG contact persons are Dan Romascanu and Ron Bonica. The memo defines an information model for the IP Flow Information eXport (IPFIX) protocol. It is used by the IPFIX protocol for encoding measured traffic information and information related to the traffic Observation Point, the traffic Metering Process and the Exporting Process. Although developed for the IPFIX protocol, the model is defined in an open way that easily allows using it in other protocols, interfaces, and applications. Appendix A supplies the XML Specification of IPFIX Information Elements. Appendix B provides the XML Specification of Abstract Data Types. The main bodies of sections 2, 3 and 5 were generated from XML documents. The XML-based specification of template, abstract data types and IPFIX Information Elements can be used for automatically checking syntactical correctness of the specification of IPFIX Information Elements. It can further be used for generating IPFIX protocol implementation code that deals with processing IPFIX Information Elements. Also code for applications that further process traffic information transmitted via the IPFIX protocol can be generated with the XML specification of IPFIX Information Elements.

Achieving SSO With Sun Java System Access Manager and SAML
Vasanth Bhat and Marina Sum, Sun Developer Network

Single sign-on (SSO) within an enterprise enables users to sign on only once to access all applications of that enterprise. Implementing SSO requires the following: (1) An identity provider (IdP) to authenticate users; (2) A service provider (SP) to validate the authentication status with the IdP and verify that the authenticated users are authorized to perform the tasks in question. Exchanges of authentication and authorization data between an IdP and an SP are effected by means of an XML standard called the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), a product of the Security Services Technical Committee of the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS). Sun Java System Access Manager supports all versions of the SAML specification, including the recent version 2.0, for authentication and authorization exchanges. This article explains the basic SAML concepts and describes the steps for achieving SSO with Sun Java System Access Manager 7.1 and the SAML 1.x Web Browser Artifact Profile. Here, the IdP is Access Manager; the SP is SAP NetWeaver Enterprise Portal 2004s, deployed on SAP NetWeaver Application Server Java—the SAP J2EE Engine.

See also: SAML Assertions for SSO

W3C Releases VoiceXML 2.1 Specification as a Proposed Recommendation
Matt Oshry (et al., eds), W3C Technical Report

W3C has announced the advancement of "Voice Extensible Markup Language (VoiceXML) 2.1" the status of Proposed Recommendation. Comments are welcome through 25-May-2007. Fully backwards-compatible with VoiceXML 2.0, version 2.1 standardizes eight additional features implemented by VoiceXML platforms: data, disconnect, grammar, foreach, mark, property, script, and transfer. The specification describes only the set of additional features. The popularity of VoiceXML 2.0 spurred the development of numerous voice browser implementations early in the specification process. VoiceXML 2.0 has been phenomenally successful in enabling the rapid deployment of voice applications that handle millions of phone calls every day. This success has led to the development of additional, innovative features that help developers build even more powerful voice-activated services. While it was too late to incorporate these additional features into VoiceXML 2.0, the purpose of VoiceXML 2.1 is to formally specify the most common features to ensure their portability between platforms and at the same time maintain complete backwards-compatibility with VoiceXML 2.0. VoiceXML is designed for creating audio dialogs that feature synthesized speech, digitized audio, recognition of spoken and DTMF key input, recording of spoken input, telephony, and mixed initiative conversations. Its major goal is to bring the advantages of Web-based development and content delivery to interactive voice response applications.

See also: the W3C Voice Browser Activity

Microsoft's BizTalk Services Simplify SOA
Darryl K. Taft, eWEEK

Microsoft has delivered a set of new services based on its BizTalk Server technology to help developers build new SOA-oriented applications. Microsoft BizTalk Services, announced on April 24, 2007 include BizTalk Identity Services, which provide authentication, access control and federated identity based on the WS-Trust specification. The new BizTalk Relay Services facilitate the traversal and bridging of physical networks, enabling high-fidelity interconnection between cooperating systems for cross-organizational messaging behind firewalls. The new Internet Service Bus provides a simple publish-and-subscribe message bus. And the new BizTalk Workflow Services enable the designing applications graphically by drawing flowcharts. John Shewchuk blogged: "Today many businesses run on an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB). An ESB provides applications with a uniform set of mechanisms for naming, discovery, message routing, publish and subscribe eventing, message transformations, workflows, and so on. Here at Microsoft we think our Server platform does an excellent of job of providing a comprehensive set of ESB technologies though Windows Server, the .NET Framework, and BizTalk Server. Even thought setting up these products is pretty straight-forward, to really get everything configured just right and deployed can be daunting... especially for federated composite applications that span organizational boundaries. So we are extending our technologies, and the notion of an Enterprise Service Bus, to seamlessly work as a hosted service, thus creating the first Internet Service Bus. The BizTalk Services CTP is intended to give developers an early look at our thinking about how we can bring these capabilities together."

See also: John Shewchuk's blog

IBM Unstructured Information Modeler
W. Scott Spangler and Jeffrey T. Kreulen, IBM alphaWorks

IBM Unstructured Information Modeler is designed for use by data analysts on unstructured data sets. An example of such a data set would be problem ticket logs from a computer help desk. The data analysts' task is to find out what the commonly occurring problems are and to write or find solutions that will solve these problems in an automated way. IBM Unstructured Information Modeler helps the data analyst perform this task by automatically classifying the unstructured data set and providing insight into the categories. The tool further allows the user to modify the automatically-created categorization to incorporate any domain knowledge that the user may have in order to make the categorization more sensible. After the classification has been completed, the user can generate reports and create a classification engine for categorizing new problem tickets. In addition, IBM Unstructured Information Modeler can analyze trends by day, week, or month and can analyze correlations against a user-supplied categorical feature. This version of the software is applicable only to data sets containing between 1000 and 10,000 examples, where each example consists of between one and 20 sentences of unstructured text. Optionally, each example can be provided with a creation date and one or more categorical values (such as machine type). IBM Unstructured Information Modeler was written in 100% pure Java, so it can run on many different platforms.

A Call for Broad Distribution of Presidential Debate Video
Caroline McCarthy, CNET

It's no longer sufficient to just watch a presidential debate on television. You should also be able to upload it, YouTube it, share it, splice it, and 'remix' it online. That's the argument put forth by copyright-reform advocate and Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig, who sent a letter Wednesday asking the chairs of the Democratic and Republican National Committees to ensure that video from the 2008 presidential debates can be uploaded, distributed and edited by anyone online. In letters to Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and Republican National Committee co-chairs Mike Duncan and Florida Sen. Mel Martinez, Lessig encouraged them to "help usher in the next stage of the Internet revolution" by placing the debate video content in the public domain or under a Creative Commons license, "so that after the debate, the video will be free for anyone to access, edit, and share with others with proper attribution." "The initial reaction, from everyone who has responded, is very good," Lessig said in an interview. "It's a precedent about encouraging citizen-generated content." Lessig, who posted copies of both letters on his blog, is the CEO of the nonprofit Creative Commons, an organization promoting alternatives to traditional copyright standards in order to ensure free use with attribution. In its current form, the ownership rights of content from presidential debates would belong to the networks that broadcast them—and in the wake of a number of high-profile copyright lawsuits pertaining to online video, Lessig's letters are urging the national party committees to take steps that will assure that doesn't happen with the debates. Representatives from Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC (the cable news channels that will be nationally syndicating many of the debates) were not immediately available for comment.


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