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Last modified: June 11, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Monday, 11 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:
IBM Corporation

WSFED: Claims Transformation Provides Simple Federated Attribute Service
Don Schmidt (des), Blog

At its Inaugural TC Meeting on June 6-7, 2007 representatives from nineteen OASIS member organizations convened in a Redmond, Washington F2F gathering to discuss advancement of the WS-Federation specification through the international standards process. Exploring the value of extending the WS-Trust Security Token Service model to provide simple Attribute Services emerged as one of the key interests of the members. WS-Federation 1.1 covers a variety of complex topics, some of which are challenging to understand from just the normative language in the specification. The co-authors have contributed three other documents that were developed to explain the functionality addressed by this specification and the motivation for submitting it to OASIS for standardization (white paper, slide deck, overview). Presentations by Marc Goodner, Anthony Nadalin, and Don Schmidt elicited lively discussion and debate amongst the members. The most recurring topics were: (1) the need for standardized claim types and namespaces; (2) the relationship of WS-Federation to Attribute Services; (3) best practices for pseudonyms (logically a special type of attribute). There is a clear pattern here. The success of Federated Identity is dependent upon the ability to share a rich and commonly understood set of claims between an Identity Provider (IP) and a Relying Party (RP)... It appears that existing WSDL and WS-SecurityPolicy techniques, augmented with Federation Metadata documents, are sufficient to locate such federated attribute services.

See also: the contributed documents

W3C Workshop Report: Web of Services for Enterprise Computing
Eric Newcomer, Ken Laskey, Philippe Le Hegaret; W3C Report

W3C announced the availablity of a Workshop Report for "The Web of Services for Enterprise Computing (WSEC) Workshop," held February 27-28, 2007 in Bedford, MA, hosted by The MITRE Corporation. The Workshop was chartered to explore the suitability of Web services and Web standards for meeting enterprise software requirements, and what, if anything, needs to be done to improve enterprise support. Summary: The W3C should ensure that the requirements of those using the services are met by consolidating efforts on specification maintenance, improving the interoperability of the Web stack (e.g. test suites), addressing some of the limitations (e.g. authentication), and encouraging better tooling (e.g. REST description language). The Technical Architecture Group (TAG) reemphasized the importance of using uniform resource identifiers (URIs), including when exposing Web services resources. This is not intended to advocate changing addressing mechanisms in existing enterprise systems where such mechanisms provide current functionality but rather to reinforce the notion of creating maximum flexibility as appropriate to realize the original concepts behind Web services. There is also consensus that the answer is not one anointed set of specifications codifying one approach but rather reliable bridges are needed that leverage the whole arsenal of architectural concepts. This would enable seamless exploiting of any technique that provides an effective solution. The workshop endorsed such overriding principles as the importance of URIs to expose WS resources, such as WSDLs, and to use identifiers that provide transparent addressing without need for proprietary knowledge embedded in addressing constructs. The workshop, in particular, emphatically discouraged use of reference parameters in ways that go against accepted architectural principles that easily span implementation approaches.

See also: W3C Workshops and Symposia

Data Explosion Strains Peer Review: NIST's ThermoML
Brian Robinson, Federal Computer Week

The production and publishing of thermodynamic data in industry journals has caused overload. Recent improvements in measurement equipment mean that an already voluminous amount of thermodynamic data is doubling every 10 years. That explosive growth is straining the traditional journal-based peer-review system and causing increasing numbers of errors to creep into the data. Companies in the chemical, pharmaceutical, and energy industries depend on accurate data for their engineering applications and research projects. As part of its responsibility for promoting U.S. competitiveness through standards and technology development, NIST worked with industry partners to create a standard data format and online system for verifying and disseminating thermodynamic data. The agency's simple and effective solution is attracting the attention of other groups that need to share large amounts of complex data. NIST's global data exchange system has three parts: (1) ThermoML, an XML-based industry standard for formatting and storing thermodynamic data; (2) Software tools developed at TRC for extracting data from various academic journals; (3) ThermoData Engine, software NIST developed for evaluating research information. The NIST team submitted a proposal to the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) to make ThermoML a formal international standard for thermodynamic data. Publishers are already using the Web-based system; there are about 120,000 chemical plants worldwide for which accurate thermodynamic data is essential. Note: "ThermoML is an Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based IUPAC standard for storage and exchange of experimental, predicted, and critically evaluated thermophysical and thermochemical property data. ThermoML covers essentially all thermodynamic and transport property data (more than 120 properties) for pure compounds, multicomponent mixtures, and chemical reactions (including change-of-state and equilibrium reactions). Representations of all quantities related to the expression of uncertainty in ThermoML conform to Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement (GUM)."

See also: NIST ThermoML

Early Draft Review for JSR 275 Units Specification
Java Specification Request Expert Group, JCP Early Draft Review

The "Measures and Units" JSR-275 API Specification has been announced as available for Early Draft Review; the review closes on July 08, 2007. This JSR specifies Java packages for modeling and working with standard measures known as units. Java developers who work with physical quantities (such as developers in the scientific, engineering, medical, and manufacturing domains) need to be able to handle measurements of these quantities in their programs. Inadequate models of physical measurements can lead to significant programmatic errors. In particular, the practice of modeling a measure as a simple number with no regard to the units it represents creates fragile code. Another developer or another part of the code may misinterpret the number as representing a different unit of measurement. For example, it may be unclear whether a person's weight is expressed in pounds, kilograms, or stones. Developers must either use inadequate models of measurements, or must create their own solutions. A common solution can be safer and can save development time for domain-specific work. This JSR proposes to establish safe and useful methods for modeling physical quantities. JSR-275 specifies one or more Java packages for the programmatic handling of physical quantities and their expression as numbers of units. The specification includes: (1) Interfaces and abstract classes with methods for unit operations (Checking of unit compatibility, Expression of a quantity in various units, Arithmetic operations on units); (2) Concrete classes implementing the standard types of units (such as base, supplementary, and derived) and unit conversions; (3) Classes for parsing unit specifications in string form and for formatting string representations of quantities; (4) A database of predefined units.

See also: the OASIS UnitsML TC

AmberPoint Flexing SOA Management Muscles
Paul Krill, InfoWorld

AmberPoint is adding an Adobe Flex-based interface to its SOA management platform, with the goal of giving users a bird's eye view of their SOA networks. The company on Monday announced the release of Version 6 of AmberPoint SOA Management System and AmberPoint SOA Validation System. As part of Management System, AmberPoint will feature SOA Explorer, which provides a graphical, interactive view of SOA networks. SOA leverages Adobe's Flex and Flash technologies as well as AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML). With SOA Explorer, users can monitor operational status and drill down on areas of interest. Filtering of information gives users a more manageable amount of information to digest. Ed Horst, AmberPoint vice president of marketing: "We now have some customers with well over 1,000 components in their SOA; some customers are processing millions of transactions per day... With that comes effectively a pretty complex environment to govern at run time... AmberPoint focuses on visibility into an SOA as well as control and validation." According to the announcement, "The version 6 releases of AmberPoint SOA Management System and AmberPoint SOA Validation System deliver vital new capabilities for understanding and controlling heterogeneous applications. These new products are outgrowths of AmberPoint's close work with industry partners including BEA, IBM, Microsoft, SAP, TIBCO and others. With its new products, AmberPoint introduces capabilities that extend the breadth, depth and ease of real-time visibility into service networks, while also providing more comprehensive control."

See also: the announcement

Integrate Business Modeling and Interaction Design
Giuseppe Fioretti and Giancarlo Carbone, IBM developerWorks

Recently, business process optimization has become a primary strategy for reducing costs while improving efficiency. Indeed, the first step in the IBM SOA strategy consists of modeling business processes and organizations. Nevertheless, a well-established usage pattern for eliciting and modeling the business has not yet emerged. This article guides you through a process for integrating and applying two different methodologies to analyze and design solutions: business modeling and interaction design. Applying both these methodologies yields solutions that are both effectively aligned to the customer business and highly usable by those who implement the business day-to-day. There are organizations such as the Workflow Management Coalition and OASIS that take care of its standards. While modeling and analyzing business processes has been well-studied, there is no practical methodology for eliciting the processes themselves. Furthermore, business modeling does not help you understand how to link automated processes with user interaction, which is always required, at least to some extent. One approach is to look to the interaction design discipline for both business process elicitation and for a way to research the user interface definition. Interaction design (IaD) is a goal-directed design methodology by Alan Cooper that aims to describe "how things behave and then, as necessary, to describe the most effective form to communicate those behaviors." Its perspective is from "an understanding of how and why people desire to use products." It is based on the following: (1) The creation of personas, which are archetypal users of products with their goals, backgrounds, and mental models. (2) The description of scenarios involving actions the personas want to perform and for which a product must be designed. (3) The creation of storyboards of the product interface derived from persona scenarios and mental models, which then drive the rest of the product design.


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