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Last modified: June 06, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Wednesday, 06 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.

Concordia Project Announces Catalyst 2007 Meeting on Open and Interoperable Digital Identity Management Solutions
Staff, Concordia Project Announcement

The Concordia Project today announced the third face-to-face meeting taking place at Catalyst 2007 on June 26, 2007 in San Francisco. Concordia is a global, cross-industry initiative formed by members of the identity management community to drive harmonization and interoperability among various identity initiatives and protocols. This meeting will focus on gathering and refining use cases for prioritization of rapid interoperability efforts with presentations from AOL, the Government of British Columbia, General Motors, and others. At the Catalyst 2007 meeting, end deployers will present use cases with interoperability scenarios illustrating business and user benefits that could be delivered by the harmonization of identity initiatives. An expert technology panel consisting of Conor Cahill of Intel representing Liberty Alliance, Mike Jones from Microsoft and David Recordon of VeriSign representing OpenID, will discuss possible technology solutions to meet use case requirements presented. The Concordia Project expects to identify 2-3 priority use cases over the short-term and then deliver the first set of open standards this calendar year. Concordia is open to all individuals and organizations interested in speeding the development of a ubiquitous, interoperable and privacy-respecting Internet Identity layer. Concordia participants have started by documenting a range of use cases where the harmonization of identity solutions would provide users, enterprises and organizations with valuable new identity management functionality. A number of use cases involving Liberty Web Services (ID-WSF), CardSpace, OpenID, SAML 2.0, and WS-Federation technologies have already been identified. With today's news, the Concordia Project is issuing a global call for use cases with interoperability scenarios. As the use case development work progresses, the Concordia Project will focus on collaboratively developing open standards and interoperability profiles to meet defined requirements.

See also: the Concordia Project description

XQuery, the Server Language
Kurt Cagle,

This article serves as a very basic introduction to XQuery as a server language. One of the biggest benefits of working with XML is that an XML (or XHTML) document has its own internal integrity. You deal with XML at the level of the document, not the level of a string, and as such you can effectively abstract away the complications of creating markup content. Indeed, in a number of successful XML pipelines, such as the Apache Cocoon project, most if not all of the processing can take place through one XML operation—such as an XSLT transformation) or another, so that, in essence, your need to drop out of the XML world back into procedural languages drops off dramatically. In February 2007, the XQuery specification became a formal W3C Recommendation, after nearly six years of development. As a language, XQuery can best be thought of as a way to turn the integrated language used to retrieve sets of nodes from an XML document, XPath, into a standalone language. To do so, XQuery adds a number of features -- command and control structures (such as for expressions), the ability to create intermediate date variables (the let keyword), conditional handling (if/then/else), and the like to the XPath 2.0 language. Perhaps more significantly, however, XQuery also adds the ability to create modules consisting of collections of XQuery functions, and provides a way to subscribe to external functions within their own respective namespaces. A few recent XML databases have taken XQuery to heart, and use it as the primary mechanism for accessing the XML database content. One in particular, the open source into the XQuery engine as externally defined XQuery methods. In other words, in this situation, the server-side scripting language is not PHP or ASP.NET or JSP, it's XQuery. In the particular case of eXist, this all occurs in the context of a servlet hosted by Jetty or Tomcat or some similar Java Servlet engine, but from the standpoint of web development, this fact is immaterial. My prediction is that REST based XML databases like eXist will seriously challenge the existing raft of server languages, from ASP to Ruby, within the next couple of years. Right now, it's something of a closed secret among a few developers, but the power, sophistication and ease of use inherent in working with the XML as if it were a natural part of the server landscape can only be understood by trying it.

Internationalization Best Practices: Right-to-Left Scripts
Richard Ishida (ed), W3C Technical Report

W3C announced that its Internationalization Core Working Group published a revised Working Draft for "Internationalization Best Practices: Handling Right-to-left Scripts in XHTML and HTML Content." This draft updates the earlier publication of 2004-05-09, previously titled "Authoring Techniques for XHTML and HTML Internationalization: Handling Bidirectional Text 1.0." The document provides advice for the use of XHTML or HTML markup and CSS to create pages for languages that use right-to-left scripts, such as Arabic and Hebrew. It attempts to counter many of the misunderstandings or over-complexities that currently abound. It also offers advice to those preparing content that will be localized into scripts that behave like Arabic and Hebrew. 'Bidirectional', or 'bidi', text typically refers to text written using or including a script such as Arabic or Hebrew. In Arabic and Hebrew text the content flows predominantly from right to left, but embedded numbers or text in other scripts (such as Latin script) still runs left to right. Text in other languages, such as English, can also be bidirectional if it includes excerpts from languages such as Arabic and Hebrew. Scripts such as Arabic and Hebrew, which are predominantly right-to-left in orientation, may also be referred to as 'RTL' (right-to-left) scripts. Some people think that information about directionality can be inferred from information about the language of the text, but this is not true. There must be a one-to-one mapping between directionality and language for this to work, and there isn't. For example, Azerbaijani can be written using both right-to-left and left-to-right scripts, and the language code az is relevant for either. In addition, when using directional markup inline, the markup and the values of that markup do not necessarily coincide with language declarations. Also, markup used to indicate directionality has values that indicate that the normal directionality should be overridden; it is not possible to indicate that using language related values. In the same way, attributes indicating text direction in HTML and XHTML do not, and should not, provide information about the language of text. There exist already separate mechanisms for declaring language and directionality in HTML and XHTML, and these ideas should not be confused.

See also: the W3C Internationalization (I18n) Activity

Sun CEO Spills Apple Leopard Secret: Sun's Open Source ZFS
Gregg Keizer, InfoWorld

On stage Wednesday in Washington D.C., Sun Microsystems Inc. CEO Jonathan Schwartz revealed that his company's open-source ZFS file system will replace Apple's long-used HFS+ in Mac OS X 10.5, a.k.a. "Leopard," when the new operating system ships this fall. "This week, you'll see that Apple is announcing at their Worldwide Developers Conference that ZFS has become the file system in Mac OS X," said Schwartz. ZFS (Zettabyte File System), designed by Sun for its Solaris OS but licensed as open-source, is a 128-bit file storage system that features, among other things, "pooled storage," which means that users simply plug in additional drives to add space, without worrying about such traditional storage parameters as volumes or partitions. "ZFS eliminates volume management, it has extremely high performance... It permits the failure of disk drives," crowed Schwartz during a presentation focused on Sun's new blade servers. Apple's operating system currently relies on HFS+ (Hierarchical File System Plus), a 1998 extension of 1985's HFS. ZFS was touted by many as a possible successor to HFS+ last summer, immediately after Apple's CEO Steve Jobs first showed off Time Machine, the new backup feature planned to debut in Leopard.


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