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Last modified: August 13, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Monday, 13 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:
BEA Systems, Inc.

An Extensible Markup Language (XML) Patch Operations Framework Utilizing XML Path Language (XPath) Selectors
Jari Urpaläinen (ed), IETF Internet Draft

IETF has published a version -03 release of the specification "An Extensible Markup Language (XML) Patch Operations Framework Utilizing XML Path Language (XPath) Selectors." The document was prepared by members of the IETF SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions (SIMPLE) Working Group. "XML documents are widely used as containers for the exchange and storage of arbitrary data in today's systems. In order to send changes to an XML document, an entire copy of the new version must be sent, unless there is a means of indicating only the portions that have changed (patches). This document describes an XML patch framework which utilizes XML Path language (XPath) selectors. An XPath selector is used to pinpoint the specific portion of the XML that is the target for the change. These selector values and updated new data content constitute the basis of patch operations described in this document. In addition to them, with basic 'add', 'replace' and 'remove' directives a set of patches can be applied to update an existing initial XML document. With these patch operations, a simple semantics for data oriented XML documents is achieved, that is, modifications like additions, removals or substitutions of elements and attributes can easily be performed. This document does not describe a full XML diff format, only basic patch operation elements which can be embedded within a full format which typically has additional semantics. As a one concrete example, in the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) based presence system a partial PIDF XML document format consists of the existing PIDF document format combined with the patch operations elements described in this document. In general, patch operations can be used in any application that exchanges XML documents, for example within the SIP Events framework. Yet another example is XCAP-diff which uses this framework for sending partial updates of changes to XCAP resources."

See also: the IETF SIMPLE Working Group Charter

Google Pack Bundles Sun StarOffice
Linda Rosencrance, InfoWorld

"Google Pack, Google's software download package, has added Sun's office suite, StarOffice 8, to its offerings. StarOffice, which Sun normally sells for $70, is free through Google Pack. StarOffice is Sun's answer to Microsoft Office. In 2000, Sun released StarOffice's source code, which is the underpinning of, a Sun-sponsored open-source project. StarOffice 8 lets users create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. It supports most Microsoft Office formats, except for the new formats in Office 2007. It can also export documents as PDFs. The Google Pack version of StarOffice integrates a Google Search toolbar in all of the StarOffice applications... Comments on the [Google Operating System] blog say that Google's decision to offer StarOffice instead of OpenOffice is related to the software distribution agreement the company signed with Sun in 2005." From the Google web site: "StarOffice is an office productivity suite from Sun Microsystems that lets you create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. With StarOffice, you can easily view, edit, and save Microsoft Office compatible files... Because the StarOffice installer is such a large file (up to 210MB depending on your language), we recommend a broadband connection for faster installation. If you have a dial-up connection, it may take several hours to download. However, during that time, Google Updater will manage the download so you can still surf the Web and use your computer for other tasks."

See also: the Google Pack web site

Sun Rises in Forrester Evaluation of Platforms for SOA/BPM
Rich Seeley,

Among major vendors, Sun Microsystems Inc., has dramatically improved its standing in this year's evaluation of applications servers for service-oriented architecture (SOA) and business process management (BPM) by Forrester Research Inc. "What a difference 18 months makes," writes John R. Rymer, the Forrester vice president who authored the recently published Forrester Wave report on the "Application Server Platforms" market. He noted that Sun trailed the field in Forrester's 2004 evaluation of application server platforms but emerged as a "strong performer" in this year's evaluation. "Sun's platform grew substantially with its acquisition of SeeBeyond, and the company has spent about a year integrating those products with its Java Enterprise System (ES) modules," Rymer explained. "The SeeBeyond products, now called the Sun Java Composite Application Platform Suite (CAPS), provide very strong SOA, integration, and business process management (BPM) features relative to the competition." The improvement of its evaluation by Forrester was hailed by Sun as evidence of the success of its SOA platform strategy that includes not only the SeeBeyond acquisition, which provided much of the technology for JavaCAPS, but also the formation of its open source GlassFish Community. Sun's strategy is that the open source GlassFish provides the entry way into SOA, but as the implementation grows and matures, enterprises will then move to Sun's commercial JavaCAPS product. Sun's Rob Beauchamp: "We realized that because the app server is the basis for Web services, in our latest release of GlassFish, we incorporated improvements around deploying Web services, making it easier for people to develop and deploy the tooling around Web services... so people who are looking to create kind of a lightweight, early stage SOA deployment might look to GlassFish as the first step in that direction." Glassfish web site: "The GlassFish community is building free, open source, production-quality, enterprise software. The main deliverables are an Application Server, the Java EE 5 Reference Implementation, and the Java Persistence API Reference Implementation, TopLink Essentials. The community also delivers Maven Repository, tools and much more."

See also: the Glassfish web site

Declarative Specification of XML Document Fixup
Henry Swift Thompson, Extreme 2007 Paper

"Fixing broken XML is a problem interesting in its own right, and fixing broken (X)HTML is a particularly timely topic. This paper introduces a declarative approach to specifying the repair of ill-formed XML, based on the TagSoup work of John Cowan. A prototype implementation, called PYXup, is described, which operates on the PYX output of the scanner phase of TagSoup to fix-up all well-formedness and some structural problems." Background: "The historical and social dimensions of the current situation and future trajectory of the HTML family of languages are so complex as to defy easy analysis, but one issue at least stands out: should 'the next HTML' be an XML language, and should it have an explicit schema? One major constituency has specifically rejected the use of any form of schema, and is describing their candidate for 'the next HTML' only using (somewhat stylised) natural language. The primary motivation for the 'no schema' approach is the perceived necessity of specifying the language in a way which accommodates the brutal reality of current practice: most HTML on the Web today is invalid, but browsers process it pretty consistently none-the-less. The differences between HTML and XHTML are at best poorly understood, and rarely respected. The complex interplay of the relevant technologies and human propensities are judged likely to mean that this situation will persist indefinitely. The W3C's Technical Architecture Group (TAG) thus asks: 'Is the indefinite persistence of 'tag soup' HTML consistent with a sound architecture for the Web? If so, (and the going-in assumption is that it is so), what changes, if any, to fundamental Web technologies are necessary to integrate 'tag soup' with SGML-valid HTML and well-formed XML?'"

On-The-Fly Validation of XML Markup Languages Using Off-The-Shelf Tools
Mikko Saesmaa and Pekka Kilpeläinen, Conference Paper

This paper is published in the Proceedings of Extreme Markup Languages 2007. "Validation of XML documents is often treated as a major operation, performed only at major transitions in the document's life cycle, after it has been created or when it enters some new stage of processing. Users editing XML documents, on the other hand, would appreciate instantaneous feedback of the correctness of the document each time anything changes. Such on-the-fly validation can be implemented in an XML editor using the current version of Java and freely available XML tools. Our experience is that on-the-fly validation can be implemented easily without introducing observable delays even on relatively large documents. To demonstrate this, we have built an experimental XML editor which validates documents on-the-fly after every modification. The editor supports editing of DTDs and validation according to DTDs and according to schemas written in W3C XML Schema and Relax NG... The architecture also provides an interesting test-bed for validator implementations. While the editor-based approach does not support rigorous and systematic testing with collections of test-cases, the instantaneity of its feedback on the other hand makes it easy to check how validators behave on multiple variations of document structures. For example, we observed, without intentionally trying to compare validator functionality, that MSV and Jing spot slightly different errors in documents modeled by a common schema. We are planning to use Xeditor as a tool for teaching XML markup languages to our students. Immediate feedback provided by on-the-fly validation should be helpful for them to tackle with the syntactic details of the various XML-based languages."

Principles, Patterns and Procedures of XML Schema Design: Reporting from the XBlog Project
Anne Brueggemann-Klein, Thomas Schoepf, Karlheinz Toni; Extreme Paper

Our weblog system, XBlog, is being built using off-the-shelf XML-based publishing technology. In this paper, we propose principles, patterns and procedures that we discovered when translating from the conceptual model of XBlog articles into a schema language for XML. The XBlog project is part of a larger endeavor in which we explore to what extent novel publishing applications such as weblog systems can be composed from appropriately configured XML software with a minimum of programming. Our goal is to discover principles, patterns and procedures that reduce complexity and ensure sustainability when developing and maintaining Web applications. The XBlog system is no end in itself. Rather, the XBlog project serves as a case study for research in document engineering. In addition, XBlog is being used to teach XML technology to undergraduate and graduate students. In this paper we briefly introduce the domain of weblogs. Next, we model weblog documents conceptually, using UML class diagrams. Then, we translate the conceptual document model into XML Schema. Finally, we summarize the principles, patterns and procedures that we have applied during modeling and translation. Starting from a domain model, we have identified a number of principles, patterns and procedures for modeling documents with UML class diagrams and for translating these models into XML Schema. It remains as future work to translate relations between classes from model to schema. We have translated classes into types, mapping the part-of relationships into element hierarchies. One idiosyncrasy of XML is that a type definition both names and types its constituents. We have relied on a combination of XML Schema's type inheritance and element substitution features which we have called double extension to make this work in the context of abstract constituents and inheritance. XML Schema has proven itself as a powerful target language that has made the translation from model to schema quite straightforward. We have used only in passing, for the typing of the metadata elements, XML Schema's facility of context-dependent typing of element names.

See also: supplemental materials

Encrypting the Future: Elliptic-Curve Cryptography
Kathleen Hickey, Government Computer News

The cryptographic security standards used in public-key infrastructures, RSA and Diffie-Hellman, were introduced in the 1970s. And although they haven't been cracked, their time could be running out. That's one reason the National Security Agency wants to move to elliptic-curve cryptography (ECC) for cybersecurity by 2010, the year the National Institute of Standards and Technology plans to recommend all government agencies move to ECC. ECC, a complex mathematical algorithm used to secure data in transit, will replace RSA and Diffie-Hellman because it can provide much greater security at a smaller key size. ECC takes less computational time and can be used to secure information on smaller machines, including cell phones, smart cards and wireless devices. The specifics of the changeover were announced in 2005 with NSA's release of its Suite B Cryptography standards. Suite B falls under NSA's Cryptographic Modernization initiative and details ECC usage for public keys and digital signatures. The announcement, the first related to cryptographic standards in 30 years, was a watershed event, said Bill Lattin, chief technology officer at Certicom, a pioneer in ECC. NSA has licensed approximately 25 of Certicom's ECC patents for use by the government and vendors that develop defense products. The switch to ECC will be neither quick nor painless. It will require mass replacement of hardware and software to be compatible with ECC and new NSA cybersecurity standards. In fact, the 2010 goal might not be realistic for NSA, where more than a million different pieces of equipment will need to be moved to ECC, George said. NSA's move could potentially take as long as 10 years to complete, given the project's complexity and scope. The agency has not set a specific deadline for completing its Cryptographic Modernization initiative, started in 2001 and recognizes that cybersecurity will always be a moving target, he said. The move to ECC is part of the initiative.


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