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Last modified: June 05, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Tuesday, 05 June 2007

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

This issue of XML Daily Newslink is sponsored by:
BEA Systems, Inc.

IETF Atom Publishing Protocol (APP) Enters IESG Evaluation Stage
Joe Gregorio and Bill de hOra (eds), IETF Internet Draft

IETF announced the availability of a revised version of "The Atom Publishing Protocol" Internet Draft. The APP document is now at IESG Evaluation stage, being formally reviewed by the entire IESG; at this stage, documents are discussed in email or during a bi-weekly IESG telechat while the AD representatives review the document and raise any issues they may have. The "Atom Publishing Protocol (APP)" is an application-level protocol for publishing and editing Web resources. The protocol is based on HTTP transfer of Atom-formatted representations as documented in the Atom Syndication Format RFC. The protocol supports the creation of Web Resources and provides facilities for: (1) Collections: Sets of Resources, which can be retrieved in whole or in part; (2) Services: Discovery and description of Collections; (3) Editing: Creating, editing, and deleting Resources. The Atom Publishing Protocol is different from many contemporary protocols in that the server is given wide latitude in processing requests from clients. Atom Protocol documents allow the use of IRIs as well as URIs to identify Resources; before an IRI in a document is used by HTTP, the IRI is first converted to a URI. The Atom Publishing Protocol uses HTTP methods to author Member Resources: GET, POST, PUT, DELETE. Also updated: a new version of "Atom Publishing Protocol Features Extension," which introduces extensions to the Atom Publishing Protocol (APP) introspection format for expressing metadata about the behaviors, functions and capabilities supported by an Atom Publishing Protocol server implementation. A "feature" is an abstract behavior, function and capability supported by an Atom Publishing Protocol server. Examples of features that might be supported by an APP server include support for draft entries, scheduled publication of entries, use of a particular set of Atom format extensions, use of a particular authentication scheme, and so on. The specification uses the terms "atomUri" and "atomCommonAttributes" from the non-normative RELAX NG Compact schema.

See also: APP Features Extension

W3C Publishes Semantic Web Case Studies and Use Cases
Staff, W3C Announcement

W3C announced that its SWEO Interest Group has published a first set of Case Studies and Use Cases giving some examples of how the Semantic Web of machine readable data is used today. The Semantic Web Education and Outreach (SWEO) Interest Group was established to develop strategies and materials to increase awareness among the Web community of the need and benefit for the Semantic Web, and educate the Web community regarding related solutions and technologies. "Use Cases" are systems an organization has built as a prototype system, but it is not currently being used by business functions. Seven Use Case documents are available, produced by Agfa Healthcare, Boeing, BT Research and Venturing, Chevron, Renault, Spanish General Council of the Judiciary, and Vodafone Group Research. "Case Studies" describe deployed systems that have been deployed within an organization. Applications are presented in areas ranging from automotive to health care, and from B2B systems to geographical information systems. Initially, eleven (11) case study documents have been released. The SWEO Interest Group will continue to publish new Case Studies and Use Cases in the future, and an RSS feed for new submissions is available for subscription. W3C's Semantic Web Education and Outreach Interest Group supports: (1) the development and collection of use and business cases, stemming from both user and vendor companies, and documenting the value of Semantic Web technologies; (2) identification of possible vertical markets and application areas for the Semantic Web; (3) production of clear guidelines for tutorials, presentations, teaching materials, FAQ-s, etc, targeted at different audiences.

See also: Semantic Web Education and Outreach Interest Group

W3C Draft TAG Finding: Dereferencing HTTP URIs
Rhys Lewis (ed), Initial Draft

An initial publication of the W3C Draft Tag Finding "Dereferencing HTTP URIs" has been annnounced, produced by members of the W3C Technical Architecture Group (TAG). W3C created the TAG to document and build consensus around principles of Web architecture and to interpret and clarify these principles when necessary. The TAG also resolves issues involving general Web architecture brought to the TAG, helping coordinate cross-technology architecture developments inside and outside W3C. The draft "Dereferencing HTTP URIs" document addresses the question of whether HTTP URIs must always identify resources that the vast majority of users would consider to be documents or Web pages. Excerpt: WWW is an information space in which the items of interest, referred to as resources, are identified by global identifiers called Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI). Most users of the Web think of URIs as links to human-readable information. To them, the Web appears as a very large number of interlinked documents (Web pages or simply pages). Pages themselves usually contain URIs rendered in ways that allow user interaction. For example, activating a rendered link may make the content, of the page to which it refers, available to the user. Pages may directly convey information. They may also allow access to a huge variety of operations, from purchasing a book to remotely controlling a robot. For these users there is a clear expectation that links point to other pages in the Web and that those pages will be available to them when the link is activated. Links that do not behave this way are typically considered to be 'broken'. The architecture of the Web also supports many other kinds. Some of these uses may not directly involve a human user at all. In some of these alternative uses, it may not be necessary for URIs to identify resources with which human users can interact directly. Indeed, for some uses, there may be no representation associated with the resource identified by a URI. There is an apparent dichotomy between URIs whose primary purpose is to provide a way to access human-readable representations and those whose primary purpose is different.

Understanding XForms
Kurt A. Cagle, IBM developerWorks

One critical difference between imperative and declarative programming methodologies is the notion of completeness. In most procedural languages, it is perfectly permissible to start writing code without having anything designed up front, as the code can work on snippets and pieces and then get factored together over time with other code. With XML in general, and XForms in particular, you have to have at least a minimal data model in place before you can see anything working, but once the model exists, then the presentation of that model (the form elements) usually progresses very quickly. As such, XForms tends to enforce a more disciplined methodology of programming where you need to spend more time up front designing in order to gain faster development efforts in the back end. With XML-based technologies such as XForms, XQuery, and XSLT, it is possible to create complex multi-user applications, from interactive help systems to custom "game" applications in which multiple users can interact with at once. This article shows how to create you fairly simple scenario games. The article also showcases the eXist XML database, the Saxon 8.9 processor (for XSLT2 support), and the Mozilla XForms plugin for Firefox. It should be possible to adapt this same technology for use with other XML databases and XForms Implementations, but these tools provide a quick way to experiment with these technologies and to work with XML bindings. This particular application is comparatively simple except for all the XPath expressions, but obviously it has a lot of ramifications. For instance, the sample here has just used a selection of paragraphs and literal output of content to display the scenario bodies and links, but in many respects it makes more sense for that content to be markup code of some sort. This way you can include images, text formatting, and related manipulation. You can also include additional XForms control elements, perhaps feeding into another data model. The second part of this series will look at both how to go about creating a rich-text version of the scenario editor as well as building an editor that lets you create new scenarios on the fly and save them to an XML database.

See also: XML and Forms

WS-SecurityPolicy 1.2 Specification Submitted for OASIS Membership Vote
Anthony Nadalin, Marc Goodner (et al, eds), Candidate OS

OASIS announced that its Web Services Secure Exchange (WS-SX) Technical Committee has submitted an approved "WS-SecurityPolicy 1.2" Committee Specification to be considered as an OASIS Standard. Certification has been received from OASIS member organizations that they are successfully using the specification (IBM, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, BEA, and WS02). WS-Policy defines a framework for allowing web services to express their constraints and requirements. Such constraints and requirements are expressed as policy assertions. This document defines a set of security policy assertions for use with the W3C WS-Policy framework with respect to security features provided in WSS: SOAP Message Security, WS-Trust, and WS-SecureConversation. The assertions defined within the WS-SecurityPolicy specification have been designed to work independently of a specific version of WS-Policy. At the time of the publication of this [CS level] specification, the versions of WS-Policy known to correctly compose with this specification are WS-Policy 1.2 and 1.5. Within this specification the use of the namespace prefix wsp refers generically to the WS-Policy namespace, not a specific version. This document takes the approach of defining a base set of assertions that describe how messages are to be secured. Flexibility with respect to token types, cryptographic algorithms and mechanisms used, including using transport level security is part of the design and allows for evolution over time. The intent is to provide enough information for compatibility and interoperability to be determined by web service participants along with all information necessary to actually enable a participant to engage in a secure exchange of messages.

See also: the announcement

W3C Web Services Policy 1.5: Updated Candidate Recommendations
Asir Vedamuthu, David Orchard, Frederick Hirsch (et al), W3C TR

The W3C Web Services Policy Working Group has published updated Candidate Recommendation specifications for Web Services Policy 1.5, documenting their progress. Testing is underway based upon implementations from Axway, BEA, HP, IBM, Layer-7, Microsoft, Oracle, Sun, webMethods, WSO2, and WSO2-C; the implementation report summarizing the results of unit and interoperability testing is publicly available online. "Web Services Policy 1.5 - Framework" defines a framework and a model for expressing policies that refer to domain-specific capabilities, requirements, and general characteristics of entities in a Web services-based system. A policy is a collection of policy alternatives. A policy alternative is a collection of policy assertions. A policy assertion represents a requirement, capability, or other property of a behavior. A policy expression is an XML Infoset representation of its policy, either in a normal form or in its equivalent compact form. Some policy assertions specify traditional requirements and capabilities that will manifest themselves in the messages exchanged (e.g., authentication scheme, transport protocol selection). Other policy assertions have no wire manifestation in the messages exchanged, yet are relevant to service selection and usage (e.g., privacy policy, QoS characteristics). WS-Policy provides a single policy language to allow both kinds of assertions to be expressed and evaluated in a consistent manner. The "Attachment" document defines how to associate policies, for example within WSDL or UDDI, with subjects to which they apply. The Primer is an updated Working Draft. Candidate Recommendation feedback is welcome through 30-June-2007.

See also: the CR Dashboard

Adding Resources to an Atom API Server: Use of the Atom Slug Header
Nicholas Chase, IBM developerWorks

One advantage of the Atom Publishing Protocol is the ability to not only retrieve information, but also to add or edit information. The Atom Publishing Protocol works on the principle that you can accomplish everything you want to do through simple HTTP operations. You can read an item using the GET method, or add one to the system using the POST method. When you do, the response includes the URL for the new entry. In this tip, you learn to use Atom's Slug header to influence the final URL for this information. The example uses the Blogapps server, which supports draft 10 of the Atom Publishing Protocol 1.0 specification, but is applicable to any APP 1.0 compliant server. This can be handy for servers that do not automatically use the title for the URL, or in any situation in which you want more control over the URL that the server chooses. What if you wanted to control (or at least influence) the URL your server selects? The Atom API provides a specific header, Slug, that enables you to do that. The Slug header is named after the publishing industry's slug, or short name used to refer to articles. A server is not required to honor the Slug header, but if yours does, you can use it to control at least part of the URL provided to a new resource. [Note: As an application-level protocol for publishing and editing Web Resources using HTTP, APP supports creating, editing, and deleting of Entry and Media Resources: (1) GET is used to retrieve a representation of a known Resource. (2) POST is used to create a new, dynamically-named, Resource. When the client submits non-Atom-Entry representations to a Collection for creation, two Resources are always created—a Media Entry for the requested Resource, and a Media Link Entry for metadata about the Resource that will appear in the Collection. (3) PUT is used to edit a known Resource; it is not used for Resource creation. (4) DELETE is used to remove a known Resource.]

See also: Atom references

IBM Delivers Free Technical Resources to Help Insurance Companies Better Manage ACORD XML Standards
Staff, Enterprise Servers and Networks

"IBM is offering free technical resources to help insurance companies better access, integrate and manage ACORD standards-based XML data across the enterprise. Database administrators and software developers running IBM DB2 9 data server software can now view an interactive demo and download a new DB2 pureXML industry bundle that includes scripts and examples at no charge to begin seamlessly managing both conventional relational data and ACORD XML messages without having to reformat the XML data for consumption outside of the database. Insurance companies are grappling with siloed business applications that run on multiple platforms from different vendors, each with their own unique data types, interfaces and routing capabilities. Applications that support distinct lines of business such as life, annuities, health, property, casualty, surety, and reinsurance, each store XML data in a proprietary fashion. As a result, developers spend considerable time and resources to break XML data into consumable pieces and store it in relational databases for use in other applications, making application maintenance highly complex, time consuming and costly. The DB2 pureXML industry bundle addresses these issues and simplifies data integration by enabling database administrators to load XML messages and schemas directly from ACORD and to define XML queries and indexes for business applications."

See also: the press release


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