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Last modified: August 07, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Tuesday, 07 August 2007

A Cover Pages Publication
Provided by OASIS and Sponsor Members
Edited by Robin Cover

This issue of XML Daily Newslink is sponsored by:
Sun Microsystems, Inc.

New Elements in HTML 5: Structure and Semantics
Elliotte Rusty Harold, IBM developerWorks

"HTML 5" is part of the future of the Web. Its new elements enable clearer, simpler markup that makes pages more obvious. DIV and SPAN still have their places, but those places are much more restricted than they used to be. Many pages will no longer need to use them. Although not all browsers will support these new elements at first, the same has been true for most elements introduced after HTML was first invented: IMG, TABLE, OBJECT, and many more. Support will come with time. In the meantime, HTML's must-ignore behavior for unrecognized elements means that users with legacy browsers will still be able to read HTML 5 pages. HTML 5 adds new elements to specifically identify each of these common constructs: (1) SECTION: A part or chapter in a book, a section in a chapter, or essentially anything that has its own heading in HTML 4; (2) HEADER: The page header shown on the page; not the same as the head element; (3) FOOTER: The page footer where the fine print goes; the signature in an e-mail message; (4) NAV: A collection of links to other pages; (5) ARTICLE: An independent entry in a blog, magazine, compendium, and so forth. In addition to the new structural elements, HTML 5 adds some purely semantic block-level elements: The ASIDE element represents a note, a tip, a sidebar, a pullquote, a parenthetical remark, or something that's just outside the main flow of the narrative. The FIGURE element represents a block-level image, along with a caption. The DIALOG element represents a conversation between several people. The HTML 5 DT element is overloaded to indicate the speaker, and the HTML 5 DD element is overloaded to indicate the speech. This gives reasonable display even in legacy browsers. The TIME element indicates a specific moment in history, such as '5:35 P.M., EST, April 23, 2007', where an optional 'datetime' attribute can store a machine-readable timestamp. New embedding elements include VIDEO and AUDIO. New interactive elements include DETAILS, DATAGRID, and COMMAND. The HTML 5 Working Draft copyright is owned by Apple Computer, Inc., Mozilla Foundation, and Opera Software ASA.

See also: the HTML 5 Working Draft

W3C Workshop Report: Declarative Models of Distributed Web Applications
Staff, W3C Announcement

W3C announced the availability of a new Workshop Report from the 'Workshop on Declarative Models of Distributed Web Applications' that took place on 5-6 June 2007 in Dublin, Ireland, hosted by MobileAware, with the support of the Irish State Development Agency, Enterprise Ireland. The workshop was chaired by Dave Raggett, a W3C Fellow from Volantis Systems, and Kevin Smith from Vodafone Group. The report recommends that W3C create requirements for declarative modeling of Web applications, and a gap analysis that identifies where existing standards are insufficient. The focus of the workshop was on exploring the potential of declarative approaches for reducing the cost and complexity of Web applications, especially those that need to work across a wide variety of devices and delivery contexts. Declarative models of applications can be used to generate the components needed to execute the application in specific environments, for example, HTML markup, client and server-side scripts, style sheets and images scaled to suit the needs of a specific device. Application developers would no longer need to be experts in the variations across browsers, and all the specialized work arounds needed to deal with them. With the increasing demand for richer interactivity, developers have been increasingly turning to client-side scripting, but not all users will have scripting enabled or available to them. Developers can provide fall backs via alternative page designs and server-side scripts, but these are expensive to develop in parallel with the rich web client version of each application. Further challenges are faced when trying to develop truly accessible applications, and in providing an attractive user experience on a wide variety of mobile devices. Declarative approaches have the potential to address all of these challenges in a manageable way with greatly reduced costs compared to traditional approaches to developing Web applications.

See also: the Workshop web site

Program with XML for DB2, Part 2: Leverage Database Support for XML
Hardeep Singh, IBM developerWorks

XML's status in databases has changed in the last couple of years from a temporary worker to that of a first class citizen. No longer does it need to morph its identity in order to fit into the relational world. It proudly maintains its hierarchical heritage, even while exploiting the power and stability of the relational database world. In fact, some of its relational neighbors have adapted techniques that make them look like XML in order to exploit the richness of the hierarchical XML model. This article showcases how the new XML storage and query environment plays into the XML data model from Part 1. It shows how once you adapt to the new XML-based application development architecture, your database schemas become much simpler and more natural. It also demonstrates how querying the XML data in the database is no different from querying the data in the application. Finally, it shows you how to marry the relational data with the XML data to get best of both the worlds. Most industries and government organizations are standardizing their XML schemas and are insisting on dealing with electronic documents that conform to these schemas. Since B2B data exchanged over the wire is now in XML, why not store that data as is (pureXML) in the database? Once you store the data as XML, you can index, query, validate, manipulate, transform, and update it using XQuery and standard SQL/XML. As you push more application logic into the query, your database becomes an active participant in the service-oriented architecture (SOA) world by publishing its stored procedures as Web services and feeds.

The Data Landscape: Interview with Owen Ambur, XML Community of Practice
Joab Jackson, Government Computer News

In January 2007, Owen Ambur retired as chief information architect at the [U.S.] Interior Department, where, 20 years ago, he was one of the first managers to recognize the value of electronic recordkeeping. Anyone who has attended meetings of the CIO Council's Extensible Markup Language Community of Practice can attest to Ambur's insistent nature: as co-director of the group, Ambur tirelessly encouraged XML-based interoperability. In this interview, Ambur discusses the importance of recordkeeping and StratML, an XML-based schema he is developing with Adam Schwartz of the Government Printing Office. Ambur: "The real benefits of records management is the day-to-day management of activities of the agencies themselves. We all spend countless hours trying to find information that should be right at our fingertips. If we had good records management, fraud would be nonexistent. Fraud relies upon poor recordskeeping systems. To the degree we agree to use electronic information systems to conduct business, we would have nearly perfect records of those transactions.... The technical standards should be developed by voluntary consensus standards organizations, but the records required to conduct we-the-people's business are inherently governmental. The data reference model was the last of the models to be produced because it was, from the government's perspective, the only one that matters. If agencies don't understand their data architecture, they don't understand their own business... StratML eventually will enable literal linkages between strategic goals, objective statements and any other record the organization creates. If you find a strategic objective that is important to you, you should be able to follow that strategic objective to links to any other records that are supportive of that objective. [Note on StratML: "A group of government and industry partners, collectively known as the Strategy Markup Language (StratML) Community of Practice (CoP), proposes to develop a framework by which Federal agency strategic management portfolios (strategic plans, performance plans, and performance reports) are created, structured, shared, and accessed by stakeholders. The primary output of the StratML CoP will be a vocabulary and template (i.e., a schema based upon Extensible Markup Language, XML) for use by government agencies. Also, in combination with good data modeling within the context of the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) Data Reference Model (DRM), the practice of providing standard XML vocabularies and schemas for data could be leveraged for myriad other purposes."]

See also: StratML CoP

Little Progress in States' ODF Considerations
Matt Hines, InfoWorld

The debate over use of the open document format among U.S. states appears to have hit a wall as experts representing both sides of the issue offered few new insights into the subject at a meeting of the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL). Many state legislators want to move state documents to ODF, citing compatibility and cost issues, but opponents wonder if the alleged benefits of ODF are just a mirage. During a conference session in Boston on Monday, where the NCSL is holding its annual meetings, representatives supporting adoption of ODF (a non-proprietary electronic document file format) and those who oppose such efforts injected few new details or considerations into the ongoing discussion over whether or not states should adopt such a standard in sachusetts is only just preparing to publish its first detailed audit into the cost savings that could be appreciated by pursuing ODF further, according to Senator Mark R. Pacheco, who serves as chairman of the senate's Post Audit and Oversight Committee, which has been tasked with investigating the issue. In a series of presentations and a question-and-answer session with representatives from several state legislatures, the only point that was repeatedly reinforced by the NCSL panel was that the ODF issue remains very much in flux as supporters work to build evidence that the technology will ultimately prove beneficial and detractors question the necessity of making a change in the immediate future. Despite the apparent lack of progress, some experts still maintain that the fact that legislators are even considering such a swap proves that the ODF push has merit and may soon have the support it needs to move forward.

See also: ODF references

Black Hat 2007 Sees Web 2.0 Repeating Web 1.0 Mistakes
Robert Vamosi, CNet News Blog

This year's Black Hat was pretty much summed up in a prescient keynote by Richard Clarke, the nation's former cyber security czar who is now a novelist and chairman of Good Harbor Consulting. Clarke said "we're building more and more of our economy on cyberspace 1.0, yet we have secured very little of cyberspace 1.0." The apparent speed gained in Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML), which is technology that divides processing tasks between the Web server (Web site) and the Web client (browser), has opened Web 2.0 to some old-school attacks. In a talk originally to have been presented alongside his colleague David Maynor, Errata Security CEO Robert Graham demonstrated for a standing-room-only crowd how he was able to use a tool called Hamster and Ferret to sniff the wireless airwaves for the URLs of Web 2.0 sites... Graham says that while traditional Web 1.0 sites long ago learned to terminate session cookies, the cookies used on Web 2.0 sites don't expire for several years, so you could sniff accounts out of the air at your local Starbucks and months later still have access to that person's account. That's what's really scary about this new kind of man-in-the-middle attack: the victim has no idea that this is happening, and even changing the account password will have no effect... There is hope. In addition to better coding practices on the Web server, another way to prevent runaway Web 2.0 vulnerabilities is to lock down the JavaScript in the client's browser. At Black Hat, Mozilla released new tools allowing anyone to test their Firefox (or any browser) against JavaScript errors. What's significant is that you can also use this tool against Apple Safari, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Opera.


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