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Last modified: May 31, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Thursday, 31 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:
Sun Microsystems, Inc.

FSF Issues GPL Version 3 Last Call
Staff, Free Software Foundation Announcement

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today released the fourth and 'last call' draft for version 3 of the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL), the world's most widely used free software license. The Foundation will hear comments on the latest draft for 29 days, and expects to officially publish the license on Friday, June 29, 2007. The new draft incorporates the feedback received from the general public and official discussion committees since the release of the previous draft on March 28, 2007. Changes in this draft include: (1) GPLv3 is now compatible with version 2.0 of the Apache License. (2) Distributors who make discriminatory patent deals after March 28 may not convey software under GPLv3. Novell is not prohibited from distributing this software because the patent protection they arranged with Microsoft last November can be turned against Microsoft to the community's benefit. (3) Terms have been added clarifying how you can contract for private modification of free software, or for a data center to run it for you. (4) A reference to a US consumer protection statute has been replaced by explicit criteria, for greater clarity outside the US. The FSF has also published an essay by Richard Stallman on the benefits of upgrading to GPLv3: "Keeping a program under GPLv2 won't create problems... the reason to migrate is because of the existing problems which GPLv3 will fix, such as tivoization, DRM, and threats from software patents... further advantages of GPLv3 include better internationalization, gentler termination, support for BitTorrent, and compatibility with the Apache license."

See also: the GPLv3 web site

Multimodal Authoring with the XML Specification Stack: SCXML, XHTML, REX
Gerald McCobb, IBM developerWorks

The first article in this series introducing the W3C Multimodal Architecture presented an overview of the architecture, which is still under development by the W3C Multimodal Interaction Working Group. The proposed Multimodal Architecture consists of a runtime framework and one or more distributed modality components that communicate with the runtime framework through a life-cycle events API. Various XML specifications could contribute to a Multimodal Architecture implementation—in terms of the architecture's main components, and then in terms of components that support the life-cycle API. This article shows how multimodal interaction could be supported in cases where the XML documents are distributed—that is, some documents are rendered on the client and some are rendered on one or more remote servers. Currently, none of the W3C XML languages directly support multimodal authoring, though in the near future the Multimodal Interaction Working Group may specify how to add that support. SCXML, XHTML, REX, and XML Events, and others could work together in a complete multimodal application. The objective of the article is to introduce some of the XML languages in the W3C specification stack and show how they could be combined to create a complete multimodal application. The author briefly introduces each language and explain the role (or roles) it could play in a multimodal application, then offers a speculative example that shows how several of the specifications could be combined.

See also: the W3C Multimodal Interaction Activity

The Flesh and Bone of SOA: BPEL and Role Activity Diagrams
Michael Havey, SYS-CON SOA

Over the years, business processes have become automated to the point that the BPM community now considers the SOA language BPEL, designed for the orchestration of Web Services, as the best platform for building contemporary processes. But many processes retain some level of human activity, and BPEL's support for human interaction is problematic. Most attempts to integrate human workflow with BPEL, such as BPEL4People (as well as proprietary task subsystems offered by the major BPM vendors), try to fit human activities into BPEL's execution model. Human tasks are simply special steps in the larger process. But people don't work that way [argues Keith Harrison-Broninski in his book "Human Interactions: The Heart and Soul of Business Process Management"]. Their work is complex and ad hoc; they interleave their tasks and adapt how they work as business rules change. Harrison-Broninski proposes Role Activity Diagrams (RAD) as the best way to model human workflow, and dismisses BPEL as an impossible fit... But what about processes that involve a mixture of human and automated activity, processes whose automation requirements are well served by BPEL? This article makes the bold claim that BPEL can model these hybrid processes, that it can accommodate complex RAD-style human workflow in a larger orchestration! Our example is the credit card disputes process of fictional ACMEBank. ACME has been sold on BPEL, Web Services, and business rules technology, but needs a RAD-style of human interaction to support its disputes specialists, who, as we'll see below, use the occasion to employ curious upsell techniques. RAD-like human interaction can be modeled in BPEL using business rules and common workflow patterns, and the implementation isn't as onerous as critics claim. The approach is ideal for hybrid processes, whose automation requirements demand an SOA stack built on BPEL, but which infuse ad hoc human work.

Case Study: Composite Applications at Safeco
Joanna Baas, Andy Coughlan, et al., InfoQ

This article describes how Safeco used SOA, SCA, BPEL, composite application approaches for legacy reuse, modifiability, Java and .NET interoperability, delivering a complex 5 system integration with a small team in under eight weeks. In early 2006, Safeco initiated the development of a Service Oriented Architecture to support the business in two strategic areas: new product development and business process improvements. In the context of this project, Safeco has chosen Microsoft Windows Communication Foundation for the Enterprise Services tier, IBM WebSphere Process Server for the process tier, and ASP.Net for the presentation tier. WCF is one of the best service containers to-date. Microsoft was the first one to innovate and provide a service container with a programming model that was technology agnostic: the same code written in .Net could be deployed in various distributed technologies, not just web-services. SCA augmented this new programming model with an "Assembly mechanism" which allow an integration developer to rapidly assemble web services and heterogeneous components, (written in Java, C++, BPEL,...) following the dependency injection pattern. SCA's assembly mechanism provides a viable alternative to the use of a registry at runtime to route calls to a logical endpoint rather than a physical one. The middleware technology for any given assembly is chosen at assembly time, rather than at component development time. IBM WebSphere Process Server is a BPEL based engine which supports an early draft of the SCA specification... This project demonstrated most of the benefits SOA can bring to an organization. the process implementation was done with less than 20 lines of code which were written for a special mapping capability. The assembly between the process component, the services and the human CSR was achieved with SCA.

Adobe ColdFusion 8 Beta Goes Public
Darryl K. Taft, eWEEK

Adobe Systems has announced the public beta of the latest version of its ColdFusion Web development system, Adobe ColdFusion 8. The San Jose, California company announced the release of the public beta on May 30, 2007 and company officials said commercial release of the technology is scheduled for mid to late summer. The public beta of ColdFusion 8 is available on the Adobe Labs site or through Adobe's hosting partner. ColdFusion 8 is designed for developers building dynamic Web sites and Internet applications and addresses day-to-day challenges to increase developer productivity. ColdFusion 8 leverages Adobe's Flex technology and AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML)-based components to enable developers to design and deploy rich applications. It also features Eclipse-based wizards and debugging to enable developers to build applications and identify and fix problems easier than in previous versions, Buntel said. Also, the ColdFusion 8 Server Monitor allows developers to identify bottlenecks and tune the server for better performance. ColdFusion 8 integrates with a broad range of platforms and systems, including .Net assemblies, Microsoft Windows Vista and new Java Enterprise Edition application servers, including JBoss, to support the development of enterprise applications. ColdFusion 8 also shows performance gains over ColdFusion MX 7 and earlier versions of the product; its applications interact with Adobe PDF documents and forms for a printable, portable way to intelligently capture information.

See also: the press release

Introduction to the SIP API for Java ME
Emmanuel Proulx, BEA Tutorial

"Mobile phones and Internet-ready PDAs are more popular than ever. All my friends have them. They bring with them a giant bouquet of possibilities for new applications. Many of these will be "networked," either client/server or point-to-point. When you develop a mobile networked application, you have a choice of communication protocol. You could open sockets and invent a completely proprietary protocol. You could use SOAP but with a proprietary API. Or you could go with a completely standards-based approach. I suggest using the latter, for the following reasons: (1) It's easier to develop when libraries exist. (2) It provides more control, for example, billing based on the type of interaction, not only on the number of kilobytes downloaded. (3) Mobile carriers may block non-standard protocols. (4) It's more interoperable with a variety of devices. This is precisely why I tend to recommend using SIP for mobile network programming. SIP is the standard connection protocol for mobile carriers. In addition, libraries for it are easy to find and use. This tutorial provides an easy-to-follow approach to developing a Java ME application that uses SIP. Along the way, it examines the SIP API for Java ME (JSR 180), which is distributed with the Java Wireless Toolkit. It also explores the various ways in which this stack can be used. You will see a real SIP application running on a cell phone or emulator. I decided to demonstrate the use of SIP in Java ME by developing an instant messaging client application. This application is extremely simple, but it demonstrates sending messages (REGISTER, MESSAGE), processing responses, and handling incoming messages.

See also: JSR 180 - SIP API for J2ME

Google Kicks Offline Web Apps Into Gear
Martin LaMonica, CNET

Google engineers have enabled what Internet surfers for years have yearned for—Web applications that work offline. The goal of Google Gears is to create a single, standardized way to add offline capabilities to Web applications. Google expects to have a consumer-ready release of Google Gears, which will be under 1 megabyte in size, "within months." It also expects to submit the code to a standards body so that it will eventually be built into all standards-compliant browsers. According to the web site: "Google Gears is an open source browser extension that lets developers create web applications that can run offline. Gears provides three key features: (1) A local server, to cache and serve application resources (HTML, JavaScript, images, etc.) without needing to contact a server; (2) A database, to store and access data from within the browser; (3) A worker thread pool, to make web applications more responsive by performing expensive operations in the background. The LocalServer module allows a web application to cache and serve its HTTP resources locally, without a network connection. It is a specialized URL cache that the web application controls. Requests for URLs in the LocalServer's cache are intercepted and served locally from the user's disk. The Database module is used to persistently store an application user's data on the user's computer. Data is stored using the same-origin security policy, meaning that a web application cannot access data outside of its domain. Data is stored and retrieved by executing SQL statements. For information on the SQL syntax supported, see the SQLite document "SQL as Understood By SQLite", and also local modifications to SQLite, below. Google Gears includes SQLite's full-text search extension fts2. Google Gears [Beta] works on the following browsers: Apple Mac OS X (10.2 or higher) with Firefox 1.5 or higher, Linux with Firefox 1.5 or higher, and Microsoft Windows (XP or higher) with Firefox 1.5 or higher and Internet Explorer 6 or higher. Additionally, the team is working on supporting Safari on Mac OS X in a future release."

See also: the Google Gears web site

REST and Web Services in WSDL 2.0
Eran Chinthaka, IBM developerWorks

For clients to interact with remotely hosted resources, REpresentational State Transfer (REST) is fast becoming an alternative for Web services, especially because REST doesn't require users to understand and use SOAP. There are ongoing debates as to which one is better suited in today's highly interactive environment. However, recent efforts, including Web Services Description Language (WSDL) 2.0, have tried to give Web services the ability to benefit from REST and use REST concepts. The HTTP binding specification, available in WSDL 2.0 adjuncts, talks a lot about this. The first part of this article focuses on how REST is married to Web services in WSDL 2.0. The second part explains how it's being implemented in the Apache Web services project. Does WSDL 2.0 enable REST? The motivation of WSDL 2.0 HTTP binding is that it allows services to have both SOAP and HTTP bindings. The service implementation deals with processing application data, often represented as an XML element, and the service doesn't know whether that data came inside a SOAP envelope, HTTP GET, or HTTP POST. WSDL 2.0 HTTP binding enables you to expose a service as a resource to be invoked using HTTP methods. At the same time, you need to understand that HTTP binding doesn't enable you to implement a full REST style system. This is often debated by a lot of people, and it all depends on how much you believe in what REST can deliver.

Altova Expands Support for IBM DB2 9
Brian Prince, eWEEK

Altova has released new versions of its XML development, data management and other products with tighter integration with the IBM DB2 9 data server. The new offerings, part of Altova's Version 2007 Release 3 product line, extend functionality within the company's XMLSpy, MapForce, StyleVision and DatabaseSpy products and expand users' ability to edit, exchange, transform and query XML data stored in IBM DB2 9 databases. In addition to allowing users to execute XQuery statements against DB2 9 databases, XMLSpy 2007 Release 3 provides support for IBM's extensions to XQuery and lets users register XML Schemas and open and edit XML content in DB2 9. Altova MapForce will now allow users of IBM DB2 9 to map XML data directly to and from XML-enabled databases by assigning an XML Schema to the data. MapForce then renders the schema as a subtree of the database field for direct mapping with disparate data formats via its visual drag-and-drop interface. It also features a quick connect wizard for accessing, previewing and integrating database data, as well as a new database query window that enables users to directly analyze SQL data. MapForce also now supports the SQL-WHERE filter, which allows for filtering of database sources used in data mapping projects. Altova StyleVision now works directly with XML data stored inside IBM DB2 9. Users can associate database XML fields with XML Schemas upon which their style sheets will be based, then drag defined data elements onto the design pane for rendering and publishing. StyleVision also now supports user-defined WHERE conditions via the command line, enabling users to produce multiple output documents in HTML, Word/RTF and PDF formats from XML columns in DB2 9 database tables. Altova DatabaseSpy is a unique multi-database query, and design tool. It connects to all major databases and eases SQL editing and database structure design. v2007r3 provides users of DB2 9 with added features and superior support for XML database content.

See also: the press release


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