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Last modified: August 27, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Monday, 27 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:
IBM Corporation

An Analysis of Feature Parity Between XCON/SIMPLE-Based Chatrooms and Other Chatrooms
Adam Roach (ed), IETF Internet Draft

A new "Chatroom Gap Analysis" document has been released as an IETF Internet Draft: "An Analysis of Feature Parity Between XCON/SIMPLE-Based Chatrooms and Other Chatrooms." The goal is to identify where additional work may be required in the IETF to define a complete chatroom system based on protocols defined in the SIP, SIMPLE, and XCON working groups, while living up to user expectations in terms of features offered. The IETF Centralized Conferencing (XCON) Working Group has produced a "Conference Information Data Model for Centralized Conferencing (XCON)" which defines an Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based conference information data model for centralized conferencing (XCON). A conference object, which can be manipulated using a conference control protocol, at a conference server represents a particular instantiation of this data model. The conference information data model defined in this document is an extension of (and thus, compatible with) the model specified in the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Event Package for Conference State. The "Chatroom Gap Analysis" document provides an overview of the features available in currently deployed text chatroom software, and analyzes which of these features can be acheived using IETF-defined protocols. The document does not seek to define protocol extensions, although it does make some recommendations about how protocols might be extended to implement certain features. The document also attempts to exhaustively list features of currently deployed chatroom servers, and analyze where any gaps may lie between such features and what can be achieved using IETF protocols.

See also: Conference Information Data Model for XCON

OGC Releases Discussion Paper on Water Markup Language (WaterML)
Ilya Zaslavsky, David Valentine, Tim Whitea (eds); OGC Discussion Paper

OGC has published CUAHSI WaterML (OGC 07-041r1) as a Discussion Paper on the Water Markup Language. The document was produced as part of the NSF-supported CUAHSI (Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science) HIS (Hydrologic Information System Project), and describes the initial version of the WaterML schema in the context of the WaterOneFlow services implementation. CUAHSI is in discussions with OGC about further standardization of the schema and the service signatures, and aligning them with OGC specifications. CUAHSI web services facilitate the retrieval of hydrologic observations information from online data sources using the SOAP protocol. The CUAHSI WaterML document describes the initial version of the WaterML messaging schema as implemented in version 1.0 of WaterOneFlow web services. It also lays out strategies for harmonizing WaterML with OGC specifications, the Observations and Measurement specification in particular. The CUAHSI Water Markup Language (WaterML) is an XML schema defining the elements that are designed for WaterOneFlow messaging, in support of the transfer of water data between a server and a client. WaterML generally follows the information model of ODM (Observation Data Model). One aspect of this is a data model for the storage and retrieval of hydrologic observations in a relational database. The purpose for such a database is to store hydrologic observations data in a system designed to optimize data retrieval for integrated analysis of information collected by multiple investigators. It is intended to provide a standard format to aid in the effective sharing of information between investigators and to allow analysis of information from disparate sources both within a single study area or hydrologic observatory and across hydrologic observatories and regions. The WaterML schema is [available online] . The goal of the first version of WaterML was to encode the semantics of hydrologic observations discovery and retrieval and implement WaterOneFlow services in a way that creates the least barriers for adoption by the hydrologic research community. The University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin) and The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) submitted this Implementation Specification to the Open Geospatial Consortium Inc. as a Request For Comment (RFC). In future versions of this specification, the developers intend to harmonize WaterML and WaterOneFlow with relevant OGC specifications. WaterML is most closely related to Observations and Measurements, and might be re-cast as a formal profile of O&M. WaterOneFlow is related to WCS/SOS/SAS and both might be interpreted as implementations of some conceptual observation service.

See also: the Hydrologic Developement Server

GML: The Key Enabler
Sam Bacharach, Geospatial Today

In this article, Sam Bacharach provides a look at the history and status of the OpenGIS Geography Markup Language (GML). Geographic Markup Language (GML) or more formally XML grammar is the basic encoding system of the web that facilitates a standard way of encoding geospatial information on the web. Developed by the Open Geospatial Consortium, GML is an important standard and has emerged as a key enabler of spatial data infrastructures (SDIs), helping stakeholders in various information communities overcome both technical and institutional obstacles in sharing data. The concept of "National Spatial Data Infrastructure" (NSDI) has been widely adopted by nations around the world, but there are also enterprise SDIs, municipal SDIs, regional SDIs (for multi-city or multi-nation regions), application domain SDIs and the Global SDI (GSDI). The World Wide Web has provided a critical foundation for SDI development. The importance of the Web became obvious to members of the OGC in the late 1990s. The emergence at that time of XML as the basic information encoding system of the Web provided an opportunity to create a standard way of encoding geospatial information on the Web. This standard was developed in the OGC and it is called the OpenGIS Geography Markup Language (GML). GML is an important part of many other OGC standards. GML is a "namespace," or more formally, an 'XML grammar.' Namespaces are identified on the Web via a URL—in this case: — and thus, they are globally accessible. They are a mechanism to prevent naming conflicts, that is to say, to prevent non-interoperability, in Web applications. The current version, GML 3.1.1, is heavily used and users have created dozens of application schemas (domain-specific GML schemas) and several GML profiles, which are agreed-upon GML subsets. All the major GIS vendors provide GML support and many have made GML an integral part of their offerings. The OGC and ISO TC/211 have worked closely together on GML. GML 3.2.1 is up for a vote in the OGC and it has been approved by TC/211 and sent to ISO Central Secretariat for publication.

See also: OpenGIS standards

Semantic Web Service Launched by Iterating
John Dorsey, Dr. Dobb's Journal

The Wiki-based software guide has created a Semantic Web service that provides access to data and ratings on thousand of open-source, commercial, and hosted software products in its database. ITerating collaborated with Tim Berners-Lee and other leaders in the Semantic Web community by extending existing Semantic ontologies to create a definition for rating open source software. The ontologies include DOAP (Description of a Project), FOAF (Friend of a Friend), Open BRR (Business Readiness Rating), and Review. The new web service will allow other software repositories such as Linux archives and other online guides to synchronize with Larry Augustin, venture investor, open source evangelist founder and founder of "The ability to exchange software product information in a free, standard format is a tremendously valuable asset for the software community; we look forward to seeing more companies endorse it." Nicolas Vandenberghe, CEO of ITerating: "By combining a Wiki format with Semantic Web services, we are able to ensure that the information on the ITerating site is both comprehensive and up-to-date. Now everyone has the opportunity to use this powerful but simple tool to organize, share and combine information about software on the web." Website description: " is the first Wiki-Based Software Guide, written by its users. We want to help people find, compare and give reviews to thousands of software products. Collaboration is easy because we provide the infrastructure for users to input software product descriptions while keeping everything editable. To manage such a large and ever growing job, we have used Semantic Web tools—RDF statements and reification in the back end—to create a special, structured wiki. Some people call it a striki. Web feeds are provided in RSS format so they are easy accessible. We also use feeds from other sites to keep our data comprehensive and up-to-date."

See also: the web site

The Fall of the Desktop and the File, The Rise of Topical Interfaces and Topical Documents
Rick Jelliffe, O'Reilly Articles

This decade has seen a tectonic shift in technology: the new information applications which are succeeding are those in which information is based on simple topics; the new document major document formats are those which allow the packaging of a topic. Over the last few months, in the office where I work, I have seen an amazing development effort that already is producing benefits, where a collaborative annotation system (PageSeeder) has been used to build a topic-based software engineering system that uses topics to tie all parts of a software job together: (1) Along ITIL lines, the basic abstract objects of interest inside the system and deliverables are identified as topics—e.g., a publishing system for pharmaceutical documents has 'drug' as a central topic, regardless of whether there is a corresponding XML element for drug or how the requirements were organized, because the topic of 'drug' is pivotal for discussion and use of the system; (2) Then links made to the original business requirements, architecture documents, sample documents, design documents, schema elements, stylesheets, test document and transforms, and bug tracking; (3) All email and correspondence is saved by thread under a topic, and documents sent as attachments themselves are linkable. The result is that when a customer decides they want some issue dealt with (new or altered functionality, bug fix, etc) and lodge this with a description, it is possible to trace trough the system to find all the original business requirements, which XML elements are affected, which scripts and styles and programs use these elements (and consequently, what will break or also need to be attended to), what previous discussion has been made, whether the new requirement contradicts an old requirement, and so on. Some of the topics can be mashups of information in existing systems of course...

SAP Takes Blue-Sky Approach to Web 2.0 Possibilities
Larry Barrett,

For a little more than a year, Denis Browne and a small team of developers and engineers at SAP have been given carte blanche to dream up, tinker with and ultimately deliver an entirely different breed of applications to complement its core business software franchise. This group, which SAP calls its Imagineering unit, is set up to run just like any other Web 2.0 startup but enjoys the distinct advantage of incubating within the confines of the world's largest enterprise software vendor. The goal is pretty straightforward: Incorporate new ways of using emerging Web 2.0 technologies to harness the power of its customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software into tools that are easy to use, engaging and eminently attractive to an increasingly younger and tech-savvy mix of employees and customers. Browne, Imagineering's senior vice president: "We're also tapping into the wisdom of the crowd through social networking, blogs, wikis, widgets and portals, all these things that blend together to provide the underpinning for tapping into knowledge inside and outside the enterprise." One of the widgets, called My Pipeline, was designed for sales managers who need to keep tabs on their small army of sales representives. Imagineering also birthed the company's first social-networking site, Harmony. Browne said a little more than half of the 1,700 SAP employees working in its North American Labs division are logging on to the site to share information. Finally, there's the Second Life thing. Second Life, the virtual world game/community/marketing Petri dish, already has been infiltrated by a number of large corporations including SAP, Cisco Systems, and IBM. Many these companies, including a large number of corporations outside the information technology industry, are holding virtual press conferences or product releases in this virtual world, trying to build their brands and, occasionally sell some product.

SOA Meets Situational Applications: Changing Computing in the Enterprise
Luba Cherbakov, Andy J. F. Bravery, Aroop Pandya; IBM developerWorks

As Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) comes of age, gaining wider acceptance in the enterprise, the Web 2.0 buzz grows louder—perhaps matching the SOA hype of two years ago. Many clients and colleagues are asking, "What's the relationship between the SOA and situational applications?" "Are they orthogonal or complementary?" "Who cares about the distinction, and are these relevant to two totally different audiences?" This article covers the applicability of Web-based situational applications (SAs) to the enterprise, their relationship to SOA, and how you can use them to improve the current state of corporate IT. The reader will learn about the IBM experience in building the Situational Applications Environment (SAE), which was developed to support the community-based computing that takes advantage of both traditional SOA and emerging Web 2.0 technologies and approaches. Also: examine several SAs, and learn about their business situations and challenges, architectures, tangible business results, technologies that enabled the solution, and the lessons learned.

U.S. INCITS Votes to Approve OOXML With Comments
Scott M. Fulton III, BetaNews

The executive board of the INCITS standards body voted yesterday [2007-08-23] to approve the recommendation of Microsoft's Office Open XML standard to the International Standards Organization as Draft International Standard 29500, once concerns voiced by some of its members have been attached and adequately addressed by Microsoft. The vote was 12 yea, 3 nay, and one abstention (again by the IEEE). Voting in the negative were Oracle; standards consulting body Farance, Inc.; and IBM, which had earlier indicated it would change its vote to "Yes, with comments" if others would do the same. Voting in the affirmative were Apple, the US Dept. of Homeland Security, the Electronic Industries Alliance, storage network manufacturer EMC, the barcode standards group GS1 US, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Lexmark, the National Institute of Science and Technology, Sony Electronics, Microsoft, and the US Dept. of Defense—which had been believed to be a staunch opponent of OOXML's recommendation. [Ed note: public commentary suggests that the vote described above (Letter Ballot INCITSLB2341) is not necessarily final or ultimately determinative.]

Open XML Stumbles in India
John Ribeiro, InfoWorld

A technical committee in India unanimously rejected Microsoft's Office Open XML file format as a standard, ahead of a vote on September 2, 2007 by the ISO on whether to approve Open XML as an international standard. However, the rejection may be temporary should Microsoft meet some of the objections to Open XML raised by committee members. The technical committee was set up by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), India's national standards body, which is a founder member of International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and represents India at the international standards organization. "There were a large number of technical objections raised about Open XML, and many of which Microsoft was not able to address at this point," said D.B. Phatak, professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Mumbai. One of the objections was that Open XML was not fully compatible with OpenDocument Format (ODF), a rival existing ISO standard, he added. IIT Mumbai is a member of the technical committee. The decision not to back Open XML as a standard was taken after a late evening meeting of the technical committee on Thursday in Delhi. Microsoft and Indian outsourcer Infosys Technologies were in favor of the committee voting "yes" but with qualifying comments, according to informed sources. That option wasn't available for voters. Open XML will be again reconsidered for a standard by the technical committee and BIS after Microsoft makes the required changes to the document format, Phatak said.

Selected from the Cover Pages, by Robin Cover

VoiceXML Forum Publishes Session Log Annotation Markup Language (SLAML) Specification

The VoiceXML Forum recently announced the publication of a new draft specification which describes a methodology for collecting, storing, and retrieving runtime data for speech-based services and will help make data-analysis and service-tuning tools platform-independent. The public comment period closes on November 9, 2007. The "Session Log Annotation Markup Language (SLAML)" specification was produced by members of the Forum's Data Logging Working Group, itself one of four working groups within the VoiceXML Tools Committee. The SLAML specification design recognizes that data generated by a speech-based application during runtime can provide valuable visibility into the performance of the application and the user interaction. However, "data capture has not been adequately addressed by or integrated into any relevant speech industry standards," according to David Thomson, Chair of the VoiceXML Forum Tools Committee. A complete VoiceXML system is divided into three parts: an application development environment (offline tools), an application server (online tools, sometimes called a VoiceXML page server or document server), and a VoiceXML browser, sometimes called a speech server or voice gateway. Service creation developers use application development tools to write the application. The application server takes the application specification as input and creates VoiceXML. The VoiceXML browser uses VoiceXML as input to provide the service. During runtime, the application server sends VoiceXML documents to and receives documents from the browser in response to user input and other events. The browser executes VoiceXML code and uses touch-tone, recorded prompts, text-to-speech, and speech recognition software to communicate with callers. The Voice Extensible Markup Language (VoiceXML) standard is designed for creating audio dialogs that feature synthesized speech, digitized audio, recognition of spoken and DTMF key input, recording of spoken input, telephony, and mixed initiative conversations. Its major goal is to bring the advantages of Web-based development and content delivery to interactive voice response (IVR) applications.


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