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UNICORE 6.0: WSRF-Based Implementation of UNICORE Grid Middleware
Staff, UNICORE Project Announcement
In science and industry today, computing and data resources are often widely distributed across different systems, sites or even countries. To make effective use of such a distributed infrastructure, end users rely on tools that provide easy and uniform access. The new release of UNICORE, the well-established European Grid middleware, provides a modern, lean software stack that implements an extensible service-oriented architecture compliant to current Web Service standards. UNICORE 6 will be officially released at the UNICORE Summit 2007 at Rennes, France, on 28-August-2007. On the technical side, UNICORE 6 complies with the OASIS WSRF 1.2 and OGF JSDL 1.0 standards, provides pluggable file transfer mechanisms with the OGSA ByteIO standard as default and uses XFire as a lean, high-performance SOAP stack in conjunction with the Jetty 6 web server. In the security domain, authentication and authorisation are based on full X.509 certificates, SAML assertions and XACML 1.0 authorisation policies; pluggable extensions for proxy certificates and VO management are provided. With recent fast-paced advances in Grid and Web service standards and tools, the UNICORE developer community under the leadership of Forschungszentrum Juelich has developed a major new version of the UNICORE Grid middleware. UNICORE 6 excels in supporting leading open standards, interoperability, and easy extensibility through well-defined interfaces, and it also provides excellent performance and scalability. The proven guiding principles of UNICORE have been preserved: seamless and secure access to resources, ease of use, simple deployment, straightforward support for adding new applications and user-specific services. UNICORE 6 achieves this through fully embracing service-oriented design principles and using a modern tooling stack. The key characteristics of the new UNICORE 6 system are an integrated, complete Grid software stack, strong security, workflows, openness, extensibility, interoperability, easy installation and configuration, and support for a wide range of operating systems, local resource management systems and batch schedulers. The development versions of UNICORE 6 are already in use in the European projects Chemomentum, OMII-Europe, and A-WARE. Major Grid infrastructures like D-Grid and DEISA are expected to upgrade their UNICORE production installations soon.
Tafiti: Searching With Silverlight
Stuart J. Johnston, InternetNews.com
Tafiti is a Microsoft search front-end designed to help people use the Web for research projects that span multiple search queries and sessions by helping visualize, store, and share research results. It's an experimental Microsoft search mashup application built around the company's Silverlight cross-platform streaming media technology and Microsoft's Live Search engine. Microsoft has been struggling for several years to catch up with Google's and Yahoo's search engines after initially missing the Internet search wave. The combination of Live Search with Silverlight's cross platform imaging could help give those efforts a leg up as Microsoft moves further along with its Live "software plus services" initiative to transform the company. Tafiti lets users perform multiple searches, and store the search results for later retrieval. One of the defining features is a set of onscreen "shelves" where the user can drag and drop interesting search results into stacks that can be labeled, e-mailed to others, and posted to blogs. Another feature lets users view a tree representation that slowly cycles through search results. Silverlight provides a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering rich Internet applications, two- and three-dimensional graphics, text, animation and video to a wide variety of form factors and platforms, according to company statements. As Silverlight, which supports a subset of Microsoft's .NET Framework, becomes more programmable, it promises to challenge competing technologies such as Adobe's Flash. Microsoft said Tafiti supports Windows Vista and Windows XP Service Pack 2, including Internet Explorer 6 and 7, and Mozilla Firefox 220.127.116.11, and Firefox 2.0.x. It also supports Apple Mac OS X with Firefox 18.104.22.168 and Firefox 2.0.x, as well as Apple Safari 2.0.4.
Voice Enabling XML, Part 1: Develop a Voice-Enabled RSS Reader
Martin Brown, IBM developerWorks
This article is the first of a four-part series on developing VoiceXML applications. It shows how to convert RSS feeds to voice and topic requests to voice instructions with VoiceXML. The input to the application is RSS data, and the output is VoiceXML that can be read and spoken by compatible voice applications. The reader will learn about VoiceXML basics and the RSS XML format, in addition to translating RSS to VXML using XSLT, writing a Perl script to generate the VXML, adding interactivity to a VXML file, and generating VXML using Java servlets. Part 2 of the series will look at developing a voice-enabled calendar. VoiceXML is the name given to the standard for voice-based XML output, although the file format itself is called VXML. VXML itself is powerful when married with a suitable VoiceXML browser that will convert the VoiceXML content into text—that is, Text-To-Speech (TTS)—and is also capable of recognizing voice commands (voice recognition). RSS is a hot topic these days, as it provides an easy way to stream data online. It is just one of a number of different syndication formats in XML. RSS is an XML-based solution for publishing information that is often used with blogs and other sites. The RSS format enables you to generate an easy list of articles or information, and you can combine the sources of many RSS feeds (aggregation). The result is an easily formatted list of articles or stories, with an URL for the full article, summary information, and classification information for each item. The RSS feed as a whole also includes classification and further detail and classification data. In this article, you start with a simple XSL transform and then move to more advanced Perl- and Java-based solutions to generate the output. The scripts themselves are relatively basic; the power is in the VXML that is generated in the process, and in the voice browser that uses the VXML to provide the voice-based interface. You see how you can use the interactivity in the VXML and dynamic scripts together to produce quite complicated voice-based applications with relative ease.
Spring Web Services 1.0 Released
John Dorsey, DDJ
Interface21 has released Spring Web Services 1.0, a Java-based framework for managing SOAP and Plain Old XML (POX) web services. One of primary design goals was to make the web service best practices also the easiest practices, so Spring-WS uses a contract-first, document-driven approach to provide more flexibility and avoid common interoperability issues in creating and consuming web services. In Spring-WS, loose coupling between the web services contract and implementation, allows developers to manipulate the XML payload in multiple ways. Spring-WS supports standard JAXP APIs including DOM, SAX, and StAX, as well as JDOM, dom4j, XOM, or even marshalling technologies. Spring WS also includes a separate Object/XML Mapping module to support JAXB 1 and 2, Castor, XMLBeans, JiBX, and XStream. The Object/XML Mapping module can also be used in non-web services code. Interface21 is well known for the popular Spring Framework, the layered Java application framework created by Interface21's CEO, Rod Johnson. In a statement from company, Rod explained the importance of modularity in the design of Spring Web Services: "With Spring Web Services 1.0, we have applied these same modular design concepts in order to deliver advanced integration and a more flexible, powerful programming model to developers working with sophisticated Web services." Spring-WS was developed with Apache's Maven software project management tool and is licensed under the Apache license. It is available for download.
See also: the Spring Framework web site
New KML Developments and Documentation
Mano Marks, Google Geo API Team Blog
As we announced at Where 2.0 and Google Developer Day, there are two exciting new developments in KML. (1) There's new documentation. For instance, we now have a page on Google's search for KML files, and how to best publish your KML files so that Google will index them. In particular KML will be extended to include Atom Syndication format 'atom:author' and 'atom:link' elements for attribution. This will allow you to assign attribution to your KML files on a Feature by Feature level. Google chose to use the Atom elements because of our commitment to open standards. (2) There's a new beta reference for KML 2.2. This is in a very early stage, and Google Earth and Maps do not yet support new elements in KML 2.2, but it gives you an idea what we're thinking about. Particularly, check out the references for PhotoOverlay, Camera, and the new Atom elements in Feature. From the web site: "KML is a file format used to display geographic data in an Earth browser, such as Google Earth, Google Maps, and Google Maps for mobile. KML uses a tag-based structure with nested elements and attributes and is based on the XML standard. An important new element in KML 2.2 is 'Camera', which provides an additional way to specify the observor's viewpoint and associated view parameters. 'Camera' is similar to 'LookAt', since both elements define the placement and orientation of a virtual camera that is viewing the Earth. The difference is that LookAt specifies the view in terms of the point of interest that is being viewed. Camera, in contrast, specifies the view in terms of the viewer's position and orientation. KML 2.2 also adds the 'AbstractView' element, which is a new base abstract type from which 'LookAt' and 'Camera' are derived. The new 'PhotoOverlay' element allows you to geographically locate a photograph on the Earth and to specify the placement and orientation of the Camera that views this PhotoOverlay. The PhotoOverlay can be a simple 2D rectangle, a partial or full cylinder, or a sphere (for spherical panoramas). The overlay is placed at the specified location and oriented toward the Camera. You can also now create KML files that display objects in the sky, such as stars, constellations, planets, the Earth's moon, and galaxies."
See also: the KML Overview
KML 2.1 Reference: An OGC Best Practice
Carl Reed (ed), Google Earth - OGC Candidate Specification
Google has submitted KML (formerly Keyhole Markup Language) to the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) to be evolved within the OGC consensus process with the following goal: KML Version 3.0 will be an adopted OpenGIS implementation specification that will have been harmonized with relevant OpenGIS specifications that comprise the OGC standards baseline. Google's contribution is published as KML 2.1 Reference: An OGC Best Practice. KML is a file format used to display geographic data in an Earth browser, such as Google Earth, Google Maps, and Google Maps for Mobile. KML is an XML language focused on geographic visualization, including annotation of maps and images. Geographic visualization includes not only the presentation of graphical data on the globe, but also the control of the user's navigation in the sense of where to go and where to look. From this perspective, KML is complementary to most of the existing OGC specifications including key standards such as GML (Geography Markup Language), WFS (Web Feature Service) and WMS (Web Map Service). Currently, KML (v2.1) utilizes certain geometry elements derived from GML (version 2.1.2). These elements include point, line-string, linear-ring, and polygon. The OGC and Google have agreed that there can be additional harmonization of KML with GML (e.g., to use the same geometry representation) in the future. The Mass Market Geo Working Group in the OGC will define additional harmonization activities. Other OGC specifications such as Context and SLD will be considered... You can create KML files with the Google Earth user interface, or you can use an XML or simple text editor to enter "raw" KML from scratch. KML files and their related images can be compressed using the ZIP format into KMZ archives. To share your KML and KMZ files, you can e-mail them, host them locally for sharing within a private internet, or host them publicly on a web server. Just as web browsers display HTML files, Earth browsers such as Google Earth display KML files. Once you've properly configured your server and shared the URL (address) of your KML files, anyone who's installed Google Earth can view the KML files hosted on your public web server.
See also: OpenGIS Standards
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