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Last modified: July 25, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Wednesday, 25 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:

Efficient XML Interchange Measurements Note
Greg White, Jaakko Kangasharju (et al., eds), W3C Working Draft

Members of the W3C XML Binary Characterization (XBC) Working Group have released a new version of the "Efficient XML Interchange Measurements Note", updating the publication of 2006-07-18. The objective of the specification is to provide an analysis of the expected performance characteristics of a potential "Efficient XML Interchange" (EXI) encoding format. A successful EXI format will include facilities for helping computers encode and decode the entities of XML documents efficiently and in a compact form. The purpose of such a format would be to enable the use of tools and processing models in the current XML technology stack, in environments where the costs of producing, exchanging, and consuming XML are currently high or prohibitive. Additionally, such a format may well enable an expansion of the use of web technologies to new applications or industries, which presently find some facilities of XML attractive, but are limited by some hard constraints on encoded length or some aspect of computational efficiency. XML, as an application profile of Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), provides a well defined syntax and encoding by which structured, textual, data can be examined by people, and exchanged and interpreted by computers. The well defined basis of XML, and its simple syntax that permits ready semantic interpretation, has resulted in a very broad range of successful uses. There are a number of use cases for which these advantages are tempered by inefficiencies which stem from the textual encoding of XML. These cases, for instance, require a compact form, such as in small portable devices like mobile phones, or an encoding which avoids the time spent on floating point conversion, such as in scientific and engineering fields. This draft adds analysis to the measurement results. Additionally, measurements of network interactions are included. Following drafts of this note may add measurements of further features under consideration for the candidate format recommendation, such as performance enhancement under strict schema dependence, IEEE float support, random access, etc.

See also: the W3C XML Binary Characterization WG Charter

Introducing OpenSearch
Uche Ogbuji,

Search and web feeds go together pretty naturally, as anyone who has set up some kind of vanity search feed knows. You go to your favorite Web 2.0 search engine and set up a query—but rather than getting back results as the usual HTML web page, you get it back in Atom format. You can subscribe to this URL in your favorite feed reader, and you have all the useful features of web feeds attached to this search query. Most notably, rather than having to poll the search engine yourself and having to remember which results you have seen, your reader will simply alert you when there are new results. This simple but very useful concept is the core idea behind the OpenSearch specification. OpenSearch was originally developed at's A9 incubator. It's a specification under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, covering discovery and description documents for search engines, expression of queries, and the convention of RSS 2.0 or Atom Web feed results. It is very RESTful in nature and complementary to the Atom Publishing Protocol (APP). In fact, many have called for OpenSearch to serve as the query aspect of APP, which provides a way to access identified or located results, but no mechanism for ad hoc query. With all this affinity to Atom and REST, OpenSearch is a natural topic for this Agile Web column... OpenSearch really just provides the framework of a query mechanism to complement the Atom Protocol. It defines enough semantics to tell you how to express simple full-text searches. You can extend it for more specialized query by adding your own extension parameters in URL templates. For example, you might want to specify a parameter to limit searching to a specific element in Atom feeds using a template. By keeping it simple, OpenSearch complements other related technologies very well, and adheres to solid Agile Web principles. There is a long and growing list of OpenSearch tools and search engines, so there is a good chance this specification will guide how we approach search and query for Web 2.0.

See also: the OpenSearch specification

Atom is Done: That's All, Then
Tim Bray, Ongoing Blog

The IESG has approved the "The Atom Publishing Protocol" specification as a Proposed Standard. Tim Bray, Co-Chair of the IETF Atompub Working Group, writes: "Atom is done. Now the editorial processes grind away and eventually the official specification of the Atom Publishing Protocol will be an RFC substantially identical to 'draft-ietf-atompub-protocol-17'. It will join RFC 4287 ("The Atom Syndication Format") as the official products of the IETF Atompub Working Group. What's Next? Now we'll find out who's interested. The Atom feed format is a success; RSS isn't going away, but a steadily-increasing proportion of the world's new feeds are Atom 1.0. I personally think the protocol's going to be a big deal... [but] What Do We Call It? The term 'Atom' is hopelessly vague, and most people use it to refer the feed format, which is fine. We could say 'Atom Protocol' or 'APP' or 'Atompub'; let's see what shakes out..." Note from the IESG announcement: "The Atom Publishing Protocol HTTP-based protocol for publishing and editing web resources, and is particularly useful for (but not limited to) blogs. It supports ideas such as collections of multimedia items and categorization of items. It uses the Atom Format (RFC 4287) for its messages. The document went through many revisions and was discussed actively. There are already many implementations of the spec from a wide variety of vendors, and many of those have been shown to interoperate."

See also: The Atom Publishing Protocol

Turn SQL into XML with PHP
Vikram Vaswani, IBM developerWorks

This article shows how to easily convert the results of a database query into an XML document. PEAR (PHP Extension and Application Repository) is a community-driven project that aims to provide an extensive, open source library of high-quality code, to assist PHP developers in rapid application development. Similar in concept to Perl's CPAN repository, PEAR has long been my first stop for interesting and useful PHP+XML widgets. Some of these include the XML_Serializer class, which is handy to serialize PHP data structures as XML objects; the XML_XUL class, which provides an API to construct Mozilla XUL applications; and the XML_SVG class, which offers methods to programmatically construct vector graphics in the SVG format. In this article, I will introduce yet another member of PEAR's XML section, the XML_Query2XML class. This class provides an API to quickly and efficiently turn SQL result sets into well-formed XML. With a little creativity, it's easy to convert this output into other formats through XSL transformations, or integrate it with other XML-based applications. XML_Query2XML uses any one of the DB, MDB2 or ADOdb database abstraction layers to communicate with the target RDBMS, and hence requires one of these abstraction layers to be present and correctly installed, together with the appropriate database driver. The XML_Query2XML package can do much more than simply format your SQL result sets as XML. It can serve as an enabler for a wide range of applications, ranging from simple SQL-to-HTML converters to tools that create complex XML documents from a wide range of input sources, including Web services, disk files, and multiple database systems.

See also: the PEAR XML_Query2XML package

Implementing XProc, Part VII
Norman Walsh, Blog

This essay is Part VII in a series of essays about implementing an XProc processor - Part the seventh, in which we consider a fundamental part of the design. "XProc: An XML Pipeline Language" is a W3C specification for specifying a sequence of operations to be performed on one or more XML documents. I am implementing XProc as the specification progresses. I have implemented XProc in the traditional way: I threw the first one out. In fact, I threw the first two out. And I think the third is headed for a major refactoring. [cf. Frederick P. Brooks, author of the landmark publication 'The Mythical Man-Month': "Plan to throw one away. You will anyway."] Given a pipeline, my implementation does two things: first, it builds and augments a model of the pipeline. This step makes defaults explicit, checks the validity of the pipeline, and makes a few changes that are necessary for my implementation to process it. In this model, the objects all represent 'source artifacts' of one form or another. Next, it constructs another model of the pipeline designed for execution. In this model, the objects all represent 'steps' of one form or another... One of the things that motivated having two models was that I was anticipating the possibility of accepting multiple pipeline document syntaxes. I thought modeling the pipeline in a syntax-agnostic manner before attempting to evaluate it would make things easier. My design vision for the XProc language was a very explicit, verbose one. Over time, the working group has found consensus in a much less explicit and verbose design with a fair number of defaults and syntactic shortcuts... I'm leaning towards a single model at the moment, but I'm open to suggestions...

See also: XProc

OASIS Creates New Discussion List: egov-discuss
Staff, OASIS Announcement

OASIS has opened an email list to discuss one or more possible new technical standards projects to further the goals of the OASIS' e-government community. Carol Cosgrove-Sacks is the discussion list leader. From the draft 'Rules of Procedure for the OASIS e-Government Member Section': "OASIS, and e-business data standardization in general, have benefited from strong leadership from technology-using governments since their inception. Regulatory and public administration activities are a key use case for many XML and e-commence projects. Many OASIS XML specifications have been initiated, enabled and strongly supported by global, regional, national and local government agencies. Further, many data flows in commercial, legal and household activities must flow through or share data with government sources. So compatibility with public administration needs is an important requirement, even for many non-governmental, commercial and private harmonization projects. The collection, discussion and refinement of public administration requirements and governmental data model and development issues is a strategically important part of OASIS' task, and historically has resulted in many improvements to OASIS works. The purpose of the e-Gov Member Section is: (1) To serve as a focal point for discussions of governmental and public administration requirements and issues for e-business standardization, and the outputs of OASIS technical committees. (2) To assist in the dissemination of, and collection response for, public reviews and other appropriate events generated by OASIS TCs seeking technical input, to encourage feedback from relevant governmental implementers and users. (3) To coordinate, or assist in coordinating, government-oriented demonstration and interoperability materials and events employing open standards... (4) Where the specific needs of public administration suggest additional work, to discuss, scope and if needed initiate additional standardization projects. (5) To serve as a coordination point for those OASIS TCs working on public administration matters who wish to affiliate with the Section. (6) To assist OASIS as appropriate in organizational liaisons with other standardization projects relevant to public administration..."

See also: the announcement

W3C Final Report: Multimedia Vocabularies on the Semantic Web
Susanne Boll, Tobias Buerger (eds), W3C Incubator Group Report

The W3C Multimedia Semantics Incubator Group, which includes thirty seven representatives from organizations in Europe and North America, published its final report "Multimedia Vocabularies on the Semantic Web." The document gives an overview on the state-of-the-art of multimedia metadata formats. Initially, practical relevant vocabularies for developers of Semantic Web applications are listed according to their modality scope. In the second part of this document, the focus is set on the integration of the multimedia vocabularies into the Semantic Web, that is to say, formal representations of the vocabularies are discussed. This publication is part of the W3C experimental Incubator Activity that develops new, potentially foundational technologies and Web-based applications in a rapid time frame. The Multimedia Semantics Incubator Group was chartered to: (1) Show how metadata interoperability can be achieved by using the Semantic Web technologies to integrate existing multimedia metadata standards. (2) Show, in addition to the interoperability advantages, the added value of the formal semantics provided by the Semantic Web. The XG will describe practical applications and services that provide extra functionality by using, for example, subsumption reasoning or rule-based approaches. These applications could be multi-platform, i.e. adapted to any device that accesses the web. (3) Provide best practices for annotating and using multimedia content on the Web, based on practical use cases that identify the users, the type of content and the type of metadata that they want to provide.

See also: W3C Multimedia Semantics Incubator Group

GPLv3 Scores Big Win With SugarCRM

By Sean Michael Kerner SugarCRM has changed directions, announcing today that it will move to the GPL version 3 for the upcoming release of Sugar Community Edition 5.0, which is expected in September 2007. According to SugarCRM's FAQ on the move, SugarCRM believes that the GPLv3, formally released in June 2007, will become the standard for all open source licenses, and wanted to get a head start on adoption. The announcement comes amid an ongoing debate in the open source community in recent months about what should actually be referred to as open source. Some, including Chris DiBona, open source program manager at Google, maintain that if the Open Source Initiative (OSI) doesn't approve the license, then it is not correct to refer to a program as being open source. The difference between what SugarCRM had been doing with its non-OSI-compliant license is similar to what the GPLv3 will provide. SugarCRM stated that the Sugar Community Edition conforms to the attribution provisions in GPLv3 - Section 7. Additionally they noted that the rights that they had been extending to developers under the SPL are similar to those provided by GPLv3. It's not clear whether other vendors, such as collaboration software provider Zimbra, which have modeled their license after SugarCRM's will follow its migration to GPLv3. Software vendor Palamida, which develops an application that is used to identify licenses and potential licensing issues, estimated the day before GPLv3 was finalized that some 5,509 projects indicated an intention to move to GPLv3. Since the GPLv3 release, Palamida said 212 projects have made the move.

See also: the eWEEK Blog

Microsoft: INCITS Standards Committee Will Approve Open XML
Elizabeth Montalbano, InfoWorld

The International Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) said this week it still hasn't decided whether it will vote in favor of Open XML in the upcoming ISO vote that would make the file format an international standard. However, Microsoft believes the U.S. vote will be in favor of Open XML, a format it created for its Office 2007 suite, because of a proposed ballot it said the INCITS executive board put out last week. The INCITS represents U.S. interests in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), a global standards body that is scheduled to vote on standardizing Open XML on September 2, 2007. Open XML is an alternative to Open Document Format for XML (ODF), which has already been approved by the ISO and is used in rival Office suites from IBM and Sun Microsystems. Late Tuesday, Microsoft said through its public relations firm that "those close to this process" believe a "yes, with comments" ballot means the U.S. National Body that will vote in the ISO "wants to make sure that the specification will actually become an international standard, despite the comments, and does not want to wait another year or more for a resubmission to be processed." The comments, which could call for tweaks or changes to the specification, would have to be addressed by ECMA International, the standards body submitting Open XML to the ISO, and resolved in what is called a Ballot Resolution Process, Microsoft said.

See also: Andy Updegrove Blog


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