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Last modified: May 09, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Wednesday, 09 May 2007

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

This issue of XML Daily Newslink is sponsored by:
IBM Corporation

Microsoft Says Support for Open XML is Growing
Eric Lai, InfoWorld

Citing statements of support from more than 300 companies and organizations, Microsoft claims that interest in its Office Open XML file format continues to grow. Comments backing the file format, coming mostly from groups and companies outside the United States, have been posted on a new Microsoft-sponsored Web site called Open XML Community. In a blog posting, Office program manager Brian Jones cited other evidence of growing interest in Open XML, including more than four million downloads since last November of software that lets users of earlier versions of Office read and then write to Open XML documents created in Office 2007. Jones wrote that the so-called Office compatibility pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 is the second most popular download on Microsoft's Web site, behind only Internet Explorer 7 for the Service Pack 2 release of Windows XP. The existing compatibility pack supports Windows only. But sometime this spring, Microsoft plans to release similar software to enable users of all older versions of Office for Apple's Macintosh systems to access Open XML files created in Office 2007 on Windows PCs. Meanwhile, an upcoming release of the Macintosh software, called Office 2008 for Mac, will use Open XML as its default file format. Open XML was approved as a standard last December by ECMA International. The standards body then submitted the file format to the larger ISO standards organization in Geneva. The format currently is on a fast-track process for possible approval by the ISO as an open standard as early as August. Earlier this week, a German standards body known as DIN announced the formation of a technical working group that will focus on defining how to make Open XML interoperable with the Open Document Format (ODF) for Office Applications, a rival file format supported by vendors such as IBM and Sun Microsystems. Governments are a key battleground for Microsoft and ODF supporters.

See also: the developer web site

New Developments in BACnet Integration
Bill Swan, HPAC Engineering

When the Building Automation Control Network (BACnet) committee was formed in 1987, its members had a vision of integrating all elements of building automation with a single protocol. It has been a slow and difficult process, but considerable progress has been made, as evidenced by several proposed extensions to the BACnet standard that strive to integrate more areas of building automation. The Utility Integration Working Group (UI-WG) has been working on extensions to connect and integrate buildings and energy utilities. Some interesting interactions between the UI-WG and other BACnet working groups show the value of working to integrate an entire building on a single platform. One proposal submitted to the UI-WG uses BACnet Web Services (published in 2006 by the XML Working Group) and BACnet Network Security for building-utility communications. The response to a request for a particular capability from the utilities industry, published last year as the Structured View object, is helping the Applications Profile Working Group develop standardized BACnet profiles for building elements, such as variable-frequency drives and variable-air-volume controllers. BACnet-incorporation efforts now extend throughout all areas of buildings. The vision is being realized with fire/life-safety, physical-access, lighting, and energy-utilities integration. While work will continue in other areas, such as application profiles, advanced Internet capabilities, and wireless capabilities, completion of current integration efforts likely will not be the end of BACnet's advance through all areas of building automation.

See also: BACnet references

Getting Started with Silverlight
Laurence Moroney, MSDN Library White Paper

Silverlight is a new Web presentation technology that is created to run on a variety of platforms. It enables the creation of rich, visually stunning and interactive experiences that can run everywhere: within browsers and on multiple devices and desktop operating systems. The XMLHttpRequest object, released by Microsoft as part of Internet Explorer 5 in 2000, became the foundation of Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) technology that allowed Web applications to provide a more dynamic response to user input, refreshing small parts of a Web page without requiring a complete reload of content. Innovative solutions built on AJAX, such as Windows Live Local maps, took Web applications a step further in being able to have a client-like user experience. In the Silverlight model, designers can build their desired user experience and express this as XAML. The XAML can then be incorporated directly by a developer into a Web page using the Silverlight runtime. Thus, the two can work more closely than ever before to provide a rich client user experience. XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language) is the foundation of the Silverlight presentation capability. As XAML is XML, it is text-based, providing a firewall-friendly, easy-to-inspect description of the rich contents. While other technologies—such as Java Applets, ActiveX, and Flash -- exist that can be used to deploy richer content than DHTML/CSS/JavaScript, they all send binary content to the browser. This is difficult to audit for security, not to mention difficult to update, as any changes require the entire application to be reinstalled, which is not a user-friendly experience and can lead to stagnation in pages. When Silverlight is used, and a change is needed to the rich content, a new XAML file is generated server-side. The next time the user browses to the page, this XAML is downloaded, and the experience is updated without any reinstallation. This white paper will step you through the basics of Silverlight to build rich graphical sites.

Cross-organizational Identity Service Schema Discovery: SAML2 and WS-Federation
Mark Wahl, Blog

This note summarizes a process for determining the supported schema elements of an organization's externally-provided identity services, if that organization uses SAML 2.0-based or WS-Federation-based federated identity protocols. (1) Identify the form of externally-provided identity services of an organization: [i] retrieve an organization's identity services metadata in a SAML2 XML encoding, [ii] retrieve an organization's identity services metadata in a WS-Federation XML encoding. (2) Determine the supported schema of those services. Both the SAML2 and WS-Federation formats for metadata documents allow, in addition to the lists of endpoints for their component protocols, an optional list of attributes (SAML) or claims (WS-Federation) that a service provides. SAML2 metadata documents can also contain an optional list of attributes that a service consumes. And independent of whether the SAML2 or WS-Federation style of retrieval is used, nearly the same set of security features are available to verify the integrity of the retrieved metadata document.

You Will Conform: NIST's QOD Tool
Patrick Marshall, Government Computer News

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has posted an online tool for testing Extensible Markup Language (XML) schemas against the Internal Revenue Service's Naming and Design Rules. The service represents an addition to NIST's Quality of Design Tool. NIST's QOD Tool assists in consistently using XML Schema for the specification of information. Consistent design of XML schemas within an organization or single integration project can reduce the number and the severity of interoperability problems. In addition, this consistency makes the XML schema easier to extend, understand, implement, and maintain; and, it paves the way for automated testing and mapping. The purpose of QOD is to provide a prototypical environment for checking the XML schema design quality in a collaborative environment. QOD is intended for both people developing guidelines for writing high quality XML schemas and those writing XML schemas. The QOD site contains sample sets of design quality test guidelines (aka rules) for XML schemas as well as tests for some of those rules. As a guest user, you may use these rules to check whether a schema that you are developing or uses meets those guidelines. More advanced users may be interested in creating their own rules and making sets of rules available to their communities. After registering at the NIST web site, users submit schemas via a Web form. The system automatically evaluates the schemas and posts results on an updated Web page.

See also: Naming and Design Rules


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