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Last modified: July 19, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Thursday, 19 July 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

CSS 2.1 Becomes a W3C Candidate Recommendation
Bert Bos, Tantek Celik (et al,. eds), W3C Technical Report

W3C has announced the advancement of the "Cascading Style Sheets Level 2 Revision 1 (CSS 2.1) Specification" to Candidate Recommendation. W3C "Candidate Recommendation" means that the specification has been widely reviewed, and W3C recommends that it be implemented. CSS 2.1 will remain a Candidate Recommendation at least until 20-December-2007; a test suite and a report on implementations will be provided before the document becomes a Proposed Recommendation. CSS is one of the Web's most widely implemented languages. By separating the presentation of style from the content of documents, CSS simplifies Web authoring and site maintenance. CSS Version 2.1 is derived from and is intended to replace CSS Level 2. From the document Abstract: CSS 2.1 is a style sheet language that allows authors and users to attach style (e.g., fonts and spacing) to structured documents (e.g., HTML documents and XML applications). CSS 2.1 supports media-specific style sheets so that authors may tailor the presentation of their documents to visual browsers, aural devices, printers, braille devices, handheld devices, etc. It also supports content positioning, table layout, features for internationalization and some properties related to user interface. CSS 2.1 corrects a few errors in CSS2 —the most important being a new definition of the height/width of absolutely positioned elements, more influence for HTML's "style" attribute, and a new calculation of the 'clip' property). It adds a few highly requested features which have already been widely implemented. But most of all CSS 2.1 represents a "snapshot" of CSS usage: it consists of all CSS features that are implemented interoperably at the date of publication of the Recommendation. For this specification to exit the CR stage, the following conditions must be met: (1) There must be at least two interoperable implementations for every feature. (2) A minimum of six months of the CR period must have elapsed. (3) The CR period will be extended if implementations are slow to appear. (4) Features that were not in CSS1 will be dropped if two or more interoperable implementations of those features are not found by the end of the CR period. (5) Features will also be dropped if sufficient and adequate tests (by judgment of the working group) have not been produced for those features by the end of the CR period.

See also: the W3C Style Activity Statement

Bridging the Gap Between BI and SOA
Arnon Rotem-Gal-Oz, InfoQ

We already know that business intelligence (BI) can bring many benefits to an organization. Through consolidating, aggregating, and analyzing data, BI can provide many insights into what is currently happening, as well as what is going to happen within the organization. BI needs the data that is hidden within the organization's systems. As organizations make the transition to SOA, the data that BI requires is suddenly scattered between multiple services and hidden behind contracts. It seems that there are two options: either to go directly at the data and invalidate some of our SOA principles (like "share schema, not data") or to try to make do with the contracts that we have in place and hope that we will have enough data for BI. A third option is to create contracts specifically for the BI needs. One option is based on taking SOA forward, beyond the simple request/reply that we are used to thinking about, and combining SOA with another architectural style that is called event-driven architecture (EDA). In a nutshell EDA, like SOA, is an architectural style that is built on the push model. EDA components publish events. In the logical sense, an event is any significant change in the component that publishes the event. The change can be a result of proper conduct, such as an order than has been processed; it can be a fault, such as a database that is down; a threshold that was crossed, such as the millionth customer making a purchase; or anything else that seems important. In the physical sense, events are messages with a header describing the metadata of the event and the body containing the content... EDA on SOA solves the BI problem; as soon as you have event streams on the network, the BI components can grab that data, scrub it as much as they like, and push it to their data marts and data warehouses. However, event streams can also enhance the BI itself by enabling much more complex and interesting analysis of real-time events and real-time trend data, using complex event-processing (CEP) tools to get real-time business-activity monitoring (BAM).

OpenID: Decentralised Single Sign-on for the Web
Andy Powell and David Recordon, Ariadne Magazine

OpenID is a single sign-on system for the Internet which puts people in charge: a user-centric technology which allows a person to have control over how their Identity is both managed and used online. By being decentralised, there is no single server with which every OpenID-enabled service and every user must register. Rather, people make their own choice of OpenID Provider, the service that manages their OpenID. One key function which OpenID supports is the ability for a person to have 'single sign-on' across multiple OpenID-enabled services. Having provided their OpenID to the Relying Party they want to access, users are then redirected to their OpenID Provider in order to check their credentials. This means that sites which implement OpenID do not ever know the user's actual password (or other credentials). The benefit to users is increased security, particularly by employing a strong approach such as a one-time-password to login to their Provider, and a much simpler login experience on the Web. Note that although true single sign-on is achievable using OpenID it is not a requirement and there may be reasons why an individual will want to retain multiple online identities (i.e. multiple OpenIDs) for their different online activities. Although OpenID started with the blogging community, it is beginning to see adoption in technologies like the Ruby on Rails framework, the Zend PHP framework, and the Django Python framework. In addition, services such as Technorati,, 37Signals, and have added support for OpenID. Large service providers and enterprises such as AOL, Symantec, VeriSign, Mozilla, Novell, Microsoft, and Reebok have also begun working with OpenID in various products and services. In the majority of cases, an OpenID is a URL, which means that the Relying Party can easily use it to determine the location of the OpenID Provider without recourse to some kind of directory service...

See also: the OpenID web site

BEA Launches Web 2.0-Style Computing Inside the Enterprise
Charles Babcock, Intelligent Enterprise

BEA Systems injected wikis, mashups, and social computing into enterprise computing with the addition to its AquaLogic product line earlier this week of Pages, Ensemble and Pathways. The three products are meant to leave management, security, and supervisory power in the hands of corporate IT staffs, while putting the power of Web 2.0-type technologies into the hands of typical business users. AquaLogic Pages gives business end users the option of creating simple applications in a Web page environment. Working on a drag-and-drop palette, employees can direct that data from different enterprise sources be displayed and updated on an HTML page. The data can be used to support a topic of current interest or an ongoing project, with designated members of a workgroup able to share the information, according to BEA's Ajay Gandhi. AquaLogic Pathways is "focused on improving enterprise search," and can be used to find information buried in Lotus Notes, Microsoft Outlook and Exchange, or content management systems, such as FileNet or Documentum. Once found, information can be book-marked or tagged for easy retrieval and review. Crawlers that are part of Pathways go through repositories of unstructured information and index it for future searches. From the announcement: "BEA AquaLogic Pages, BEA AquaLogic Ensemble, and BEA AquaLogic Pathways are designed to bring Web 2.0 and social computing capabilities to the enterprise to empower greater end-user participation in the workplace while maintaining strong governance and control for IT. The release of these three products heralds the emergence of Web 2.0 technologies in the enterprise and signals the increased importance of collaboration and social software to improve knowledge worker productivity and user-driven innovation... SOA is about helping to increase business competitive advantage thereby enabling IT to deliver value faster through a more agile infrastructure. Enterprise social computing is about empowering end-users to become more productive and agile in carrying out daily activities."

Last Call for Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL 3.0)
Dick Bulterman, Jack Jansen (et al., eds), W3C Technical Report

The W3C SYMM Working Group has published a Last Call Working Draft for the "Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL 3.0)" specification. This third version of the Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL, pronounced "smile") is an XML-based language that allows authors to write interactive multimedia presentations. SMIL 3.0 extends the functionality of SMIL 2.1, facilitates the reuse of SMIL syntax and semantics in other XML-based languages, and defines new SMIL profiles. Specifically, SMIL 3.0 has the following design goals: (1) Define an XML-based language that allows authors to write interactive multimedia presentations. Using SMIL, an author can describe the temporal behaviour of a multimedia presentation, associate hyperlinks with media objects and describe the layout of the presentation on a screen. (2) Allow reuse of the SMIL syntax and semantics in other XML-based languages, in particular those who need to represent timing and synchronization. For example, SMIL components are used for integrating timing into XHTML and into SVG. (3) Extend the functionalities contained in the SMIL 2.1 into new or revised SMIL 3.0 modules. (4) Define new SMIL 3.0 Profiles incorporating features useful within the industry. Comments on the Last Call Working Draft are welcome through 14-September-2007.

See also: W3C Synchronized Multimedia

Where's XML Going?
Kurt Cagle, O'Reilly Articles

An assessment of where XML itself is going: (1) XML and Government: XML has become the lingua franca of a surprisingly large number of government agencies, ministries and departments. (2) Enterprise 2.0 is not JSON-based. (3) Marriage of XQuery and REST. (4) Add XForms and Stir: XQuery is effective because it reduces the middleware translation layer to practically nothing. (5) Keep It Simply Semantically-neutral. (6) Mobile Technology Pushing Standards: get away from the doddering browsers and take a look at the mobile market. (7) Semantics: semantic systems and knowledge management are the hot fields (8) AJAX is here to stay, though I see it being most predominant in the desktop/laptop presentation side more than anything... (9) Pipelines and Workflows: if XML development patterns hold true here, a simple workflow management schema would likely succeed where complex ones fail. (10) Schematron: There is similarly an effort at the W3C level for business rule encapsulation, though my suspicion is that in the long run it will look a lot like Schematron. (11) HTML 5 and Bindings: Note to the HTML camp that HTML 5.0 will be XML based, it's just a question of how much core technology will separate it from XHTML 2. (13) Public Repositories and Feeds. XML based data repositories are becoming common, and any time you provide that raw material you will see innovation. (13) Atom and the Atom Publishing Protocol should make it big. (14) XML Databases and the plateauing of SQL. This will take a while longer, but I see SQL-based server systems plateauing in the next few years; they won't go away, but those databases will likely begin to look increasingly like XML databases, while existing XML based database systems will continue to gain market share.

SOA's Six Burning Questions
Jon Brodkin, Java World Magazine

From ROI to security: six burning questions to consider before choosing SOA. Service-oriented architecture is one of the most talked about and least understood topics in IT today. It even has its own 'Dummies' book. As an approach to building IT systems, SOA connects applications across a network via a common communications protocol, allowing organizations to reuse old software, often with the help of Web services. Saugatuck Technology predicts that up to two-thirds of IT departments will have a limited or full SOA production environment by next year. In this article we examine six burning questions IT organizations face when they choose SOA. (1) Is anyone saving (or making money) using SOA? "Ashok Kumar of Avis Budget Group says he is. Avis began using SOA about two years ago in portions of the company to open new channels with travel partners... When we started that the cost of bringing on a new partner was anywhere from $40,000 to $50,000, now it's down to $3,000 or $4,000" (2) Why is it so hard to find employees with SOA expertise? "The task of finding SOA experts is complicated by the fact that people in the IT world simply don't agree on what SOA means..." (3) Has Microsoft gotten a clue about SOA? (4) How does SOA affect network performance and management? (5) Do security requirements change when an IT department uses SOA? (6) What are SOA's dark sides? "Security is clearly posing a challenge to at least some IT executives deploying SOA, but it's not the only dark side you'll find when building a service-oriented architecture. One of the 'dark underbellies ' of SOA, according to [Forrester Research Larry] Fulton is the challenge of providing a unified view of data and access to data across multiple business services."


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