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WS-BPEL 2.0 Implementation: An Introduction to Apache ODE
Paul Brown, InfoQ
Apache ODE ("Orchestation Director Engine") aims to produce an implementation of the WS-BPEL 2.0 ("Web Services Business Process Execution Language") standard suitable for embedding in a generic runtime context. ODE recently graduated from incubation to a fully-fledged top-level project and had its first release since leaving incubation. This note provides a nickel tour and teaser for ODE along with some BPEL concepts in the form of deploying and executing a simple process. The ODE philosophy on BPEL is that it is a language for describing how to implement a set of message-based communication capabilities in terms of state manipulation and messages exchanged with external services. Other than in this sentence and in the preceding paragraph, the word "business" will not appear, and there will be no talk of alignment with IT or other silliness—ODE is guilt-free (and gilt-free) technology like a web server or a database; what you do with it is up to you. No GUI, IDE, ESB, or other TLA (other than a little XML) is required. Implementing an orchestration engine is a tantalizing but daunting task, and ODE encapsulates the details of concurrency, durable continuation (also called dehydration/rehydration), reliability, and recovery. Perhaps most importantly, ODE is delivered as a component rather than a framework in the hope that it can serve as a baseline for developers looking to add orchestration functionality to their systems. A BPEL implementation is orthogonal and complementary to product categories like SOAP stacks, enterprise service buses, integration engines, etc.—just get WSDL parts to the engine and give the engine the infrastructure (e.g., state persistence and timer events) that it needs. ODE realizes this minimal view through its integration layer abstraction. The ODE core uses an integration layer implementation to receive and deliver messages to external parties and to get access to resources such as threads. ODE includes integration layer implementations for Apache AXIS2 (ODE processes exposed as Web Services) and ServiceMix (ODE exposed as a JBI service engine), and a number of other implementations are under active development.
See also: BPEL references
W3C OWL Group to Refine and Extend Web Ontology Language
Staff, W3C Announcement
W3C has announced the launch of a new OWL Working Group, described in a Charter effective September 6, 2007. Ian Horrocks (Oxford University) and Alan Ruttenberg (ScienceCommons) chair the Working Group. The OWL Web Ontology Language is playing an important role in an increasing number and range of applications, and is the focus of research into tools, reasoning techniques, formal foundations and language extensions. The widespread use of OWL has revealed requirements for language extensions that are needed in applications. At the same time, research and development into reasoning techniques and practical algorithms has made it possible to provide tool support for language features that would not have been feasible at the time OWL was published. The new OWL Working Group is chartered through July 2009 to produce a W3C Recommendation for an extended Web Ontology Language (OWL), adding a small set of extensions, and defining profiles identified by users and tool implementers. The extensions, referred to as OWL 1.1, fall into the following categories: (1) Extensions to the logic underlying OWL, adding new constructs that extend the expressivity of OWL (e.g., qualified cardinality restrictions and property chain inclusion axioms). (2) Extensions to the datatype support provided by OWL, e.g., with XML Schema Datatype semantics and datatype facets. (3) Additional syntactic facilities that do not extend the expressive power of OWL but that make some common modelling paradigms easier to express (e.g., disjoint unions). The Working Group will also define a set of language fragments (profiles, or subsets of the language) that have been identified as having interesting or useful properties (e.g., being easier to implement). Other deliverables may include an XML Exchange syntax for OWL 1.1, with GRDDL enabled namespace document—to be decided by the group whether this document should go through the W3C Recommendation track or would be published as a W3C Note. The WG may produce additional outreach material aimed at easing the adoption of OWL 1.1 features by OWL users and other members of the Semantic Web community.
See also: OWL specifications
Key Management Standards Hit the Fast Track
Greg Goth, IEEE Distributed Systems Online
It might appear that the technology industry just discovered encryption-key management in 2007. Since the beginning of the year, data-security product vendors, enterprise customers, and standards bodies have embraced efforts to standardize methods for managing encryption keys across disparate encrypted-data storage and exchange systems. Three standards bodies — the IEEE, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), and OASIS — have recently chartered working groups on key management. For enterprise technologists, navigating the landscape of vendor-specific key-management solutions and emerging standards efforts might prove to be a daunting task. Bob Griffin, technical marketing director for RSA Security, sees two prevailing industry trends precipitating the urgency to create a key-management standard. First is the proliferation of endpoint devices that can share keys to access encrypted data. The second, following naturally from the first, is the increased number of vendors homing in on this market niche. A third factor, just as important as the technical nuts and bolts, is a regulatory climate that's becoming ever more security-conscious. Numerous laws, such as California's Breach Disclosure Law, and US federal regulations, such as the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), as well as the Payment Card Industry's Data Security Standard (PCI), have spelled out strict requirements for protecting customer and patient data. As a result, security experts increasingly recommend encrypting data stored on any device, not just data in transit. And those devices must be able to share keys efficiently. For now, RSA has staked the most of its key-management effort on the IEEE process. The key-management group, IEEE-P-1619.3, is a subgroup of the IEEE 1619 Security in Storage Working Group. Griffin is a member of 1619.3, which is focusing on storage encryption. He's also serving as an observer and liaison in the OASIS key-management effort, known as Enterprise Key Management Infrastructure (EKMI). Griffin characterizes the OASIS effort as "an extremely, extremely large project." It aims to enable universal encryption and decryption at the application layer. Because this would require every imaginable application to adhere to the same key management standard, both Steve Norall (Taneja Group) and Griffin see results at least five years away.
See also: the OASIS EKMI TC FAQ document
Ajax Startup Launches Web Desktop Linked to Gmail
Michael Singer, InformationWeek
Linspire Chairman Michael Robertson's latest venture, Ajax13, unveils ajaxWindows, a Web-based middleware platform that stores all desktop data in a user's Gmail account. The company is Ajax13, the product is ajaxWindows, and the concept is pretty straightforward: The software platform is operating system-agnostic and based on the XML User Interface Language (XUL) to act as a Web-based desktop. Files can be moved around and opened, and applications launch with a mouse click. The interface also includes customizable wallpaper, start-up and shut down sounds, and browser bookmarks. But instead of interacting with the hardware, the user stores all desktop data, documents, and content, free of charge into a Gmail account. So far, Robertson has managed to collect a fair amount of applications including an Instant Messaging client, a VoIP telephone client based on the Gizmo Project, and even Robertson own MP3 lockers and AnywhereCD application. The ajaxWindows software is compatible with Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers. Using IE requires a small plug-in to work with Microsoft (MSFT)'s ActiveX features and get the XUL engine up to speed. Who is Roberts targeting with ajaxWindows? On the consumer side, Google Pack and Microsoft's Windows Live come to mind. But if companies rally around ajaxWindows' APIs, the virtual desktop could be used in call centers, workstations and anywhere other SaaS companies like Salesforce.com are thriving.
See also: the ajaxWindows web site
Komodo Spawns New Open Source IDE Project
Sean Michael Kerner, InternetNews.com
See also: the Open Komodo Project
Snom Contest Seeks XML Innovation
Staff, New Telephony
snom technology AG on has announced the launch of its XML contest which calls on the VoIP programmer community and snom partners to develop XML-Minibrowser applications for the snom 3xx series of phones. The snom 3xx series of phones, which consists of the snom 300, 320, 360 and 370, has a permanent XML-Minibrowser. The XML contest will focus on data screens that will work on several snom 3xx series phones. Contestants can submit entries in two categories: Business Application and Lifestyle Application. Several factors will be considered when choosing the winners, including the number of snom phone models for which the application was programmed, the size of the application and various technical requirements. According to the Wiki description from Hirosh Dabui: "The snoms are able to use services from standard web servers. You can use snoms, to deploy customized client services with which users can interact with the keypad. The snoms will use the HTTP/HTTPS protocol from standard web servers, like Apache. Typical services are: To-do lists, Stock Information, Weather, Provisioning, Daily schedule, and Telephone directory. To create interactive services is relatively easy when you understand the XML objects that will supported since firmware v7.1.7 by snom 370, snom 360, snom 320 and snom 300. Snoms can use HTTP to load a XML page or can receive a SIP-Notify message. IPPhone XML library for PHP provides a set of PHP classes that allows rapid XML application development for the XML browsers implemented in both Cisco 79xx and snom phones; a T9-style phonebook application with flat file and MySQL backends is included."
See also: the Snom XML Contest page
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