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Last modified: June 28, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Thursday, 28 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:

FBI Rolls Out Sentinel's First Phase
Wilson P. Dizard III, Government Computer News

The Sentinel investigative case management system allows FBI special agents, supervisors and executives to process evidence and other information as well as schedule and monitor work flow, using secure information sharing technology, the bureau said. About 30,000 FBI users now access Sentinel as they begin a typical work day. The first phase of the project cost the FBI about $59 million. Bureau IT officials gave the system a shakedown cruise with the day-to-day work in the Richmond, Va., Baltimore and Washington field offices as well as the headquarters Cyber Crime division before furnishing the system to other FBI users. During an early phase of Sentinel's systems integration, senior FBI officials commissioned a vendor analysis of how difficult it would be to upgrade the system's architecture of the now-standard National Information Exchange Model (NIEM), according to chief information officer Zal Azmi. NIEM affords service-oriented architecture features that facilitate information exchange among law enforcement systems, Azmi said. It is follow-on work to the Justice Department's Global Extensible Markup Language Model for tagging and hypertext of law enforcement data. The quick look at Sentinel's architecture elicited the response that tweaking the system's design so it would be upgraded to NIEM from the Global XML model wouldn't cause significant problems, so bureau officials commissioned that modification to the initial requirements.

See also: Global Justice XML Data Model (Global JXDM)

Companies Demonstrate Interoperability of XACML OASIS Standard
Staff, OASIS Announcement

At Burton Group's Catalyst Conference on June 28, 2007, eight companies joined together for the first time to demonstrate interoperability of the Extensible Access Control Markup Language (XACML) 2.0 OASIS Standard. An extremely flexible language for expressing access control, XACML is particularly designed to support large-scale environments where resources are distributed and policy administration is federated. XACML 2.0 is also ITU/T Recommendation X.1142. The Catalyst demonstration includes two scenarios. In the first, different implementations exchange XACML policies that control access for a variety of Web server addresses. This demonstrates the ability of different implementations to understand the language defined by XACML. In the second scenario, authorization decisions are enforced by applications based on interaction with an external policy decision point. Both the application and the policy decision point can be independently implemented, and communication between them will use the XACML Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) Authorization Decision Request Protocol. This shows how components such as services, applications and containers are able to defer to a centrally managed authorization service when making authorization decisions. Dan Blum, senior vice president and research director of the Burton Group: "Access control is a requirement of almost every application. XACML goes beyond simply denying or granting information access; it defines the mechanism for creating the rules and policy sets that enable meaningful authorization decisions."

See also: XACML interoperability demo details

WS-I Adding to Blueprints for Web Services Usage
Paul Krill, InfoWorld

During a meeting at the Burton Group Catalyst Conference in San Francisco, Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I) officials cited plans to upgrade the group's Basic Profile and Basic Security Profile and release a Reliable Secure Profile. WS-I profiles feature implementation guidelines on using related Web services specifications together for interoperability. Blueprints for implementing interoperable and secure Web services are being amended by the WS-I to incorporate the latest SOAP technology and reliable message transmission. WS-I is working concurrently on two upgrades to Basic Profile, versions 1.2 and 2.0. Due by the end of the year, version 1.2 adds support for SOAP-based attachments and WS-Addressing for addressing of Web services and messages. Version 2.0, expected in 2008, changes the SOAP implementation from SOAP 1.1 to SOAP 1.2, promising performance improvements for embedded devices, WS-I officials said. WS-I did not consolidate the two Basic Profile upgrades because switching SOAP versions requires a major upgrade to products. Basic Profile 1.0 was published in August 2003 with version 1.1 following a year later. The advent of Basic Profile has had a positive impact on Web services, according to analyst Anne Thomas Manes, vice president and research director of Burton Group. With Reliable Secure Profile 1.0, also anticipated by the end of the year, WS-I is accommodating reliable transmission of messages. This differs from the Basic Security Profile, which covers encryption and signatures. Reliable Secure Profile will incorporate support for the WS-ReliableMessaging 1.1 and WS-SecureConversation 1.3 specifications. WS-I at the conference Thursday evening plans to demonstrate interoperability offered by Basic Security Profile, featuring technologies from IBM, Microsoft, Novell, SAP, and Sun involved in a supply chain management application.

See also: WS-I Reliable Secure Profile

GRDDL Primer Published as W3C Working Group Note
Harry Halpin and Ian Davis (eds), W3C Note

W3C announced that its GRDDL Working Group has released "GRDDL Primer" as a Working Group Note. The W3C GRDDL Working Group was chartered to to complement the concrete RDF/XML syntax with a mechanism to relate other XML syntaxes (especially XHTML dialects or "microformats") to the RDF abstract syntax via transformations identified by URIs. GRDDL is a mechanism for Gleaning Resource Descriptions from Dialects of Languages. Linking microformats to the Semantic Web, it provides a technique for obtaining RDF data from XML documents and in particular XHTML pages. Authors may explicitly associate documents with transformation algorithms, typically represented in XSLT, using a link element in the head of the document. Alternatively, the information needed to obtain the transformation may be held in an associated metadata profile document or namespace document. Clients reading the document can follow links across the Web using techniques described in the GRDDL specification to discover the appropriate transformations. The "GRDDL Primer" document uses a number of examples from the "GRDDL Use Cases" document to illustrate, in detail, the techniques GRDDL provides for associating documents with appropriate instructions for extracting any embedded data. While anyone can create a transformation, a standard transform library has been provided that can extract RDF that's embedded directly in XML or HTML using 'rdf:RDF' tags as well as extract any profile transformations. GRDDL transformations can be made for almost any dialect, including microformats.

See also: GRDDL Use Cases and Scenarios

Manipulate's XML-based Document Formats
Roger McCoy, IBM developerWorks

This article presents simple steps to edit OpenDocument Format (ODF) text files to perform common or tedious tasks. You've run into it at some point: the office suite that you use has 500,000 features, just not the one that you need. No matter how many features are added to any particular office suite, you can always find a tedious task that, if automated, will save you endless repetition. For example: is great about generating references for indexes. You can generate hundreds or thousands of references in a few keystrokes. But what happens when you want to remove them? You have to delete them one at a time. This can be a pain if you decide to change the keywords that you want indexed. Depending on your problem, you might be able to do a quick fix without programming, thanks to the increasingly popular XML document formats. Using your existing knowledge of XML, common XML extensions (such as namespaces), and common XML-based file formats—such as Extensible Hypertext Markup Language (XHTML) and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)—you can quickly make massive changes to documents that are not easily accomplished in the office suite. The ODF used in is particularly handy for this. The ODF has the benefit of extreme simplicity. As used by, the format consists of a simple Java Archive File (JAR) file, which is basically a compressed (.zip) file with a manifest included. This compressed file contains a series of XML files that describe different parts of the document. Knowledge of manipulating XML through programming languages can allow you to accomplish almost anything you can think of, from massive automated changes to creating a new document. You can even use an existing file as a template and use simple shell scripts and tools to generate fancy reports using ODF text files, spreadsheets, and so on.

See also: ODF references

SOA Approaches Pondered
Paul Krill, InfoWorld

From the Burton Group Catalyst Conference in San Francisco: (1) Analyst Anne Thomas Manes, vice president and research director at Burton Group, observed that SOA offers benefits such as aligning IT with the business and providing flexibility and agility, but it is a long road to get to the benefits. "Vendors say to buy their new products for SOA, even if a lot of them are the same products that have been around for 15 years but with a couple of new features... technology only provides the raw materials; it's up to you to use those raw materials correctly." She also questioned the viability of the WS-* Web services specifications. "The question is, is WS-* (spoken as ws star) the true path to SOA," Manes said. WS-* has been viewed as burdened with excessive complexity, according to Manes. She noted, though, that WS-* specifications such as WS-BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) are now being ratified. She advised attendees not to abandon WS-*. Manes has endorsed the WS-I (Web Services Interoperability Organization) Basic Profile. REST (Representational State Transfer) also has gained traction in Web services and SOA, she noted. But the REST design model is unfamiliar to many developers. (2) In another presentation at the conference, Kevin Kosienski, enterprise architect at MassMutual Financial Group, concurred with Manes about SOA: "We view SOA as an architectural style... SOA involves converting complex systems into simpler sets of services and assembling them as enterprise-class applications" MassMutual views SOA as an architectural style that will enable a more flexible, adaptable business model; MassMutual's SOA leverages AmberPoint management software; SOA management tackles security tasks and alleviates developers from having to deal with these issues.

Oracle Backs BPEL4People
Jason Stamper, Computer Business Review Online

The developers of the BPEL4People specification, which adds human workflow and interaction capabilities to the business process execution language standard ratified by OASIS, have included Oracle in their list of those supporting the specification. However, anyone questioning Oracle's commitment to the spec will be reassured by Steve Harris, VP of Oracle's Java Platform Group, who told Computer Business Review: "Although we have a heavy investment in human workflow, it has been fairly consistent with BPEL4People. There is no disconnect between that and where we will be going, and no technical bifurcation." The question was raised because the spec was originally developed by IBM and SAP, the latter being Oracle's chief rival in the enterprise applications space. When IBM and SAP produced the original BPEL4People spec in a white paper, it was noted that Oracle at that time seemed to be favoring using BPEL's standard "invoke" mechanism and external task management service.

See also: the BPEL4People news story


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