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Last modified: April 26, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Thursday, 26 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.

OASIS Members Approve WS-Context
Staff, OASIS Announcement

OASIS, the international standards consortium, recently announced that its members have approved Web Services Context (WS-Context) version 1.0 as an OASIS Standard, a status that signifies the highest level of ratification. WS-Context defines an open framework for supporting coordinated and transactional compositions of multiple Web services applications. WS-Context was developed by representatives of ESI Acquisition, IONA, Oracle, Red Hat, Sun Microsystems, and other members of OASIS. Werner Enterprises, Red Hat, and IONA all verified successful usage of WS-Context, in accordance with eligibility requirements for OASIS Standards. WS-Context and the archives of the OASIS WS-CAF Technical Committee are publicly accessible. OASIS hosts the ws-context-dev mail list for exchanging information on implementing the standard. Eric Newcomer of IONA Technologies, co-chair of the OASIS Web Services Composite Application Framework (WS-CAF) TC: "When Web services are used in combination, the ability to set the boundaries of an activity (such as start/end or success/failure) and to inform participants of changes to activities become extremely important. WS-Context provides standard, interoperable ways to demarcate and coordinate Web services activities. Business process transactions can be recovered predictably and consistently with WS-Context, and the standard allows participants to define their relationships with one another."

See also: the specification

Implementing XProc, Part I
Norman Walsh, Blog

This essay is part of a series of essays about implementing an XProc processor. "XProc: An XML Pipeline Language" is a W3C specification for specifying a sequence of operations to be performed on one or more XML documents. I'm implementing XProc as the specification progresses. The fundamental operation that an XML pipeline processor performs is that it passes the output of one process to the input of another. Consider a simple, two step pipeline that expands XIncludes and then runs XSLT. At a high level, the processor: (1) Starts with an XML document—where that initial document comes from is an orthogonal issue. (2) Passes that XML document to an XInclude step. (3) The XInclude step does some work and produces, as its output, a new XML document. (4) The processor takes that new document and a stylesheet document and passes them both to an XSLT step. (5) The XSLT step does some work and produces, as its output, a new XML document. (6) That document is the result of the pipeline—and for the moment, like the initial document, what the processor does with the final result is an orthogonal issue. There are lots of possibilities: documents could be passed as serialized octet streams, of course, or more efficiently as DOMs or object models of some sort. The steps could be wired together as SAX or StAX filters. StAX events could be passed between them. There are probably other choices too. I chose to implement the connections between steps using StAX 'XMLEvent' objects. This approach has the additional feature that it fits perfectly into the 'water flowing through pipes' analogy that's sometimes used to describe pipelines. A pipeline is a sequence (or directed, acyclic graph at any rate) of steps. The steps are connected by pipes. Just as water flows through the pipes in your home, XMLEvent objects flow through the pipes in my XProc pipelines...

See also: the XProc

Business Process Management Enabled by SOA
Christina Lau, IBM developerWorks

This article series, using architectural scenarios, explains how BPM, when combined with SOA, provides greater flexibility for your business processes and IT infrastructure. Elements of SOA enable BPM so that users can be more responsive to changing market conditions, opportunities, customers, competitive actions, and to facilitate business change. Business agility is achieved through standardizing, automating and integrating key business processes and managing the performance of these processes to optimize business functions and enterprise activity. The series also describes specific technologies, products, best practices, and patterns you can use to develop your BPM solution from any starting point. In this first article, explore a high-level view of five entry points that enable you to enter into BMP with SOA. Future articles in this series drill down into each of the scenarios and describe the specific technologies, products, best practices, and patterns you can use to develop your BPM solution from any of these starting points. This series also discusses the integration between the products and shows how they can be used together to build your complete BPM solution.

A Prototype for Browser Compatibility
Alex Handy, SD Times

In the 1980s, the variety of operating systems used around the world necessitated reworking, recompiling and rewriting of corporate code for compatibility reasons. Today, the field of competing operating systems has narrowed, but the Web has created new wrinkles of inconsistency and idiosyncrasy for modern coders. Whereas the problem used to be compatibility with operating systems, the problem for the past decade has been compatibility with the browser. That's why a group of open source developers is expanding the scope of Prototype.js, a framework for building cross-browser applications in JavaScript. Despite the original intent for the Web to be a platform-independent method of information exchange, the current state of divergence among Firefox, Internet Explorer, Konquerer, Opera, and Safari has created a great deal of work for JavaScript programmers. Document Object Model (DOM) and allows for more effective use of the data interchange format JavaScript Object Notation (JSON). That means an application built on top of Prototype should function in the same way regardless of the browser it's run in. By contrast, the Google Web Toolkit takes an entirely different approach to cross-browser incompatibilities. While Prototype gives developers a single file of code that works in all browsers, GWT compiles separate versions of an AJAX application and then sends browser-specific code to each client that asks for the page. Prototype.js 1.5.1 improves JSON support and adds functional improvements.

See also: the Prototype.js web site

Sun Eyes a JavaScript Alternative to AJAX
Paul Krill, InfoWorld

Later this year Sun hopes to release an early version of Project Flair, a self-supporting programming kernel meant to streamline development and collaboration. Dan Ingalls, a Sun distinguished engineer and a principal investigator on the project, said the company's Project Flair is an open-source project now in development. Project Flair is "a self-supporting Web programming kernel that's all written in JavaScript... small and simple...presents a "great vehicle for experimenting with [a] collaborative object development... sort of almost an opposite approach to AJAX leveraging a multi-user whiteboard concept for development... "AJAX sort of deals with all of the old way of doing things. It makes it simpler, which is great, but underneath it's still all this junky HTML, Document Object Model, CSS, all that stuff, where 30 years ago, we knew how to do that stuff cleanly with a dynamic programming language and a simple graphics model... Flair takes us back to that simple model and adds the collaboration and Web access to it."

XML a Hot Issue in Thailand
Don Sambandaraksa, ZDNet Asia and Bangkok Post

The Asian Institute of Technology recently hosted the 12th International Conference on Advanced Database Applications in Bangkok, Thailand, where the latest challenges in database design and applications were discussed. Professor Vilas Wuwongse, vice president for external relations at AIT and the conference chair, said the hottest topic in databases today is the native XML database. More and more applications are communicating with each other via XML as a medium, and most of these applications store their underlying data in relational databases. The next logical step is therefore to develop native XML databases that can communicate directly with each other over a network, cutting out the need to translate to and from another format. The most obvious gain is in performance and scalability, but there are other benefits such as journaling and temporal (time-based) features. Vilas said that even today's relational database was nothing more than a conceptual view of data. Underneath the tables and joins, the database still has to get down to the nitty-gritty and store the information in an efficient way, both in terms of storage and in terms of performance. Ultimately, data is still stored in a binary tree (b-tree) form. Today's first generation XML databases are simply putting on another layer, translating XML to relational database SQL. However, many of the conference speakers were working on direct XML to native-format solutions. This is still a hot research topic and different methods are still being designed, tested and compared, each with different pros and cons. XML databases also put a new meaning on the significance of temporal records. While a lot of discussion has been made into embedding temporal data into databases since the relational database days, the concept of time was always something to be added on, rather than being inherent in the data. This is because when a record changes, it changes entirely and the old record no longer exists. [egrep -ic 'xml|xquery|xpath' program.htm 27]

See also: the Conference Program

ISO Ratifies 2.4 GHz RTLS Standard
Beth Bacheldor, RFID Journal

Companies looking to implement a real-time locating system (RTLS) to track goods in a supply chain, distribution center, industrial or other environment now have a new international standard in their court. The ISO 24730 standard, published last month, is likely to spur an increased supply of interoperable tags and readers, as well as a decrease in prices. ISO/IEC 24730 will provide companies a standard air interface and application programming interface (API) for use in active 2.4 GHz RTLS systems. Vendors supporting the RTLS standard in their systems will promote product compatibility and interoperability, giving companies the opportunity to buy the products best suited to their needs without worrying whether those products will work together. The ISO/IEC 24730 includes two parts. The first is the API, which Harrington says is general enough for any number of different RTLS products to use it to share location data and information with each other. The API uses widely known Web-based standards including Extensible Markup Language (XML) and SOAP, a protocol for exchanging XML-based messages over computer networks. Part 1 of ISO/IEC 24730 (Real-time locating systems (RTLS)—Part 1: Application program interface - API) "defines two air interface protocols and a single application program interface (API) for real-time locating systems (RTLS) for use in asset management and is intended to allow for compatibility and to encourage interoperability of products for the growing RTLS market. RTLS are wireless systems with the ability to locate the position of an item anywhere in a defined space (local/campus, wide area/regional, global) at a point in time that is, or is close to, real time. Position is derived by measurements of the physical properties of the radio link."

Adobe Opens Freely Available Flex
Sean Michael Kerner,

Adobe Systems is planning on making parts of its freely available Flex rich Internet application (RIA) development environment framework available under an open source license. By doing so Adobe hopes to improve the attractiveness of Flex to developers, as it competes against AJAX and other RIA technologies. The plan is for certain components of the next version of Flex to be available under a Mozilla Public License later this year. The current Flex version 2.0 will not be open source. The components of version 3.0 that will be open source include the Java source code for the ActionScript and MXML compilers, the ActionScript debugger, and the ActionScript libraries that make up the core Flex framework. Adobe is not open sourcing Flex Data Services, Flex Charting or its Flex Builder Eclipse-based IDE. Phil Costa, director of product management of Flex at Adobe, explained that Adobe has been involved in a process of opening up Flex for several years. He said the reason Flex version 2.0 is not going open source has to do with intellectual property issues. The first public builds of open source-licensed Flex components are expected in June 2007, though a public bug database or version-control repository may not necessarily be available at that time. The rollout will continue throughout the rest of summer and through fall.


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