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Last modified: June 13, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Wednesday, 13 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

Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) Version 1.1
Daniel C. Burnett and Zhi Wei Shuang (eds), W3C Technical Reports

W3C's Voice Browser Working Group has released updated Working Drafts for "Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) Version 1.1" and the companion "SSML 1.1 Requirements". Version 1.1 improves on W3C's SSML 1.0 Recommendation by adding support for more conventions and practices of the world's languages including Asian, Eastern European, and Middle Eastern languages. The updated documents follow discussions from the three W3C Workshops on extending SSML. In 2005, 2006, and 2007 the W3C held workshops to understand the ways, if any, in which the design of SSML 1.0 limited its usefulness. In 2006 an SSML subgroup of the W3C Voice Browser Working Group was formed to review this input and develop requirements for changes necessary to support those languages. SSML is part of a larger set of markup specifications for voice browsers developed through the open processes of the W3C. Its goal is to improve the quality of synthesized content. Different markup elements impact different stages of the synthesis process. The markup may be produced either automatically, for instance via XSLT or CSS3 from an XHTML document, or by human authoring. SSML is designed to provide a rich, XML-based markup language for assisting the generation of synthetic speech in Web and other applications. The essential role of the markup language is to give authors of synthesizable content a standard way to control aspects of speech output such as pronunciation, volume, pitch, rate, etc. across different synthesis-capable platforms. VoiceXML 2.0 is being applied to a wide range of applications, for instance, call centers, government offices and agencies, banks and financial services, utilities, healthcare, retail sales, travel and transportation, and many more. VoiceXML has tremendous potential for improved accessibility for a wide range of services for people with visual impairments, and via text phones, for people with speaking and/or hearing impairments.

See also: the W3C news item

SOA Governance, Security Concerns Drive XACML Interoperability Demo
Rich Seeley,

Leading vendors in the service-oriented architecture (SOA) space are working to demonstrate interoperability with Extensible Access Control Markup Language (XACML) 2.0 for their Web services software products. The policy requirements of SOA are driving XACML, a two-year-old OASIS standard, into the forefront of security and governance considerations for vendors and their customers, said Hal Lockhart, senior engineering technologist principal for BEA Systems Inc. and co-chair of the OASIS XACML technical committee. Lockhart along with Rich Levinson, principal member of technical staff for identity management/standards architecture at Oracle Corp., are working with the other vendors to resolve XACML interoperability issues. Tuesday they previewed a XACML interoperability demonstration planned for Burton Group Inc.'s Catalyst Conference, June 28, 2007. XACML probably has not been the first standard to come to mind in discussions of SOA, but Lockhart said SOA and the rise of software as a service (SaaS) are major factors in driving the interoperability demonstration that will include BEA Systems, IBM, Jericho Systems, Oracle, Red Hat, Securent, and other TC members. "There are three recent trends which all are driving the need for fine-grain access control; SOA is one of them because instead of constructing your system from a large monolithic piece you have a lot of independent services and each service is going to need to enforce its own access control. Since it's going to be used by other services in different ways, the policy requirement is definitely becoming more complex than traditional environments." The other two trends are the increasing number of Web services being exchanged beyond the firewall with business partners and customers and the rise of SaaS... I think you are going to see with software as a service there's a need for fine grain access control because you are going to be integrating components that are in your organizations with components provided by one or more third parties. Fine grain access control will take into account business relationship contracts." Fine grained access control is what differentiates XACML from two complementary standards for Web services interaction, Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) and WS-Security Policy.

See also: the demo description

Web Inventor Gets Queen's Honour
Staff, BBC News

The inventor of the world wide web has been awarded the Order of Merit, one of the UK's most prestigious honours. Sir Tim Berners-Lee joins an elite group who have received the honour from the Queen for exceptional contributions in arts, sciences and other areas. The Order of Merit is in the Queen's personal gift, meaning that ministerial advice is not needed. It is restricted to twenty-four (24) living members, who are entitled to use the initials OM after their name. Past recipients have included Florence Nightingale, Sir Winston Churchill, Bertrand Russell, Graham Greene, Sir Edward Elgar, Mother Teresa, and Baroness Thatcher. In 1991, Sir Tim came up with a system to organise, link and browse pages on the net. He created his hypertext program while he was at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva. The code he crafted made it far easier for scientists to share their research and information across a fledgling computer network. From the announcement: "The Queen has been pleased to appoint The Lord Rees of Ludlow (President of the Royal Society), The Rt Rev The Lord Eames, (former Anglican Primate of All Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh), and Sir Timothy Berners-Lee KBE, (inventor of the World Wide Web) to be members of the Order of Merit. The Order of Merit, founded by 1902 by King Edward VII, is a special mark of honour conferred by the Sovereign on individuals of exceptional distinction in the arts, learning, sciences and other areas. Appointments to the Order are in the Sovereign's personal gift."

See also: the W3C news item

Using DocBook XML in Eclipse to Create PDF, HTML, and Help Files
Nathan A. Good, IBM developerWorks

This article demonstrates how to use DocBook XML and the Eclipse integrated development environment (IDE) together to create reusable technical documentation that is easily distributed in many formats. DocBook XML is a library of standard XML tags with which you can write stylesheets for generating almost any output. However, because DocBook has been around for nearly 10 years, many stylesheets have already been written that generate many types of documentation, including HTML, text, PDF, and man pages. After completing this article, you should be able to use DocBook XML to create documentation that can be generated into HTML and used in an Eclipse help plug-in and a PDF from a single XML source file. The Eclipse IDE includes editors for writing and validating XML documents. Eclipse also has integration with Ant, allowing you to create powerful build files that can be executed as regular builders in Eclipse. In addition, the templates included with Eclipse allow you to build plug-in projects quickly, including those that contain HTML files you can use for help in Eclipse. The DocBook XML files can be validated right inside Eclipse. Simply right-click the file in the Project Explorer, then click Validate. If validation errors occur, they appear in the Problems view in the IDE beneath Errors. If you double-click the error message in this view, the Eclipse IDE shows you the location in the file where the error occurred. Note: "DocBook V5.x is a complete rewrite of DocBook in RELAX NG. The intent of this rewrite is to produce a schema that is true to the spirit of DocBook while simultaneously removing inconsistencies that have arisen as a natural consequence of DocBook's long, slow evolution. The OASIS Technical Committee has taken this opportunity to simplify a number of content models and tighten constraints where RELAX NG makes that possible."

See also: resources

A New Identity for Web Services
Jason Levitt,

There are two basic styles of authentication in use: client authentication and web-based authentication. With client authentication, the third-party application asks the user for her login credentials and then uses those credentials to obtain a token, which can then be used to make authenticated web service requests. A more innovative method is web-based authentication, in which the user is directed to a login page at the web service providers' web site. Upon successful authentication, the user is redirected back to the third-party application, and the application is provided with a token in order to make authenticated web service requests. The way users sign up at web sites hasn't changed much since the dawn of the Web. Though many proposals for identity services have been floated over the years, few have gained much momentum. These relatively simple web authentication APIs have the advantage of familiarity and the fact that neither users nor developers have to do much to adopt them. On the other hand, they are tightly bound to their respective providers, which makes them more like competing services than the universal standard that most would prefer. Of the alternatives, OpenID seems to have the mindshare and implementations, although users would have to get used to the idea of logging in with their URI instead of a username/password. Many users would need to apply for new OpenID credentials. AOL, for one, already offers OpenID as an option, although it seems likely that Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! will eventually offer the option as well. Meanwhile, the catalog of authenticated web services that these providers offer should continue to grow providing more options for mashups and high-end web applications.

OGC Moves Google's KML Closer to a Standard
Patrick Marshall, Government Computer News

The Open Geospatial Consortium has dubbed Google's Keyhole Markup Language (KML)—the language used for developing Google Earth—a best practice. OGC is working with Google and other OGC members, including ESRI and Autodesk, to make sure KML integrates well with such other standards as the Geographic Markup Language (GML). Microsoft—which is continuing development of its Web-based mapping product, Microsoft Virtual Earth—is not currently an OGC member, though it is expected to join soon. Google offered KML 2.1 to the consortium last April [2006] and is working closely with OGC in further development of the language. An OGC official said the main advantages of making KML a standard are that it speeds development of Web-based mapping applications, encourages greater interoperability of products and ensures easier movement of data between applications. OGC expects KML 3.0 to be released as a standard early next year. KML is "a file format used to display geographic data in an Earth browser, such as Google Earth, Google Maps, and Google Maps for mobile. KML uses a tag-based structure with nested elements and attributes and is based on the XML standard."

See also: KML documentation

Evolving the Link
Danny Ayers, IEEE Internet Computing

This review of the hyperlink discusses early criticisms of the Web's most basic—though arguably most powerful—feature. Early critics pointed to the limitations of links that pointed in only one direction and were untyped. The Web's success has to a large extent overridden these criticisms without really proving them wrong. Ironically, it now seems that many of the early criticisms weren't exactly incorrect per se, but merely shortsighted. The open data movement aims to make data freely available to everyone, without limiting restrictions from copyright, patents, or other mechanisms of control. Like its cousin open source, no single organization is behind the movement—rather, it's more a philosophy shared by disparate individuals and groups. The one big thing these people have in common is the Internet as a communication medium. Although the Web allows the assertion of copyright and supports access control, its default mode tends to be wide open, making it a natural target for open data. Large data sets are already freely available on the Web, such as Wikipedia, Geonames, MusicBrainz, WordNet, the DBLP bibliography, and many more from the sciences. The W3C's Semantic Web Education and Outreach group recently agreed to support a community project called Linking Open Data on the Semantic Web. The project's goal is to make various open data sources available on the Web as RDF and to set RDF links between data items from different data sources. Groups in the field made progress before the community project even began. Examples include the project and the D2R Server publishing the DBLP bibliography. Virtually all the hypertext features said to be lacking from the Web have been formalized within various specifications. Conceptually, the key is viewing the link as a unit of data.

See also: Linking Open Data Project


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