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Last modified: September 10, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Monday, 10 September 2007

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

This issue of XML Daily Newslink is sponsored by:

Federating Configuration Management Databases (CMDBs)
Staff, CMDB Federation Working Group Announcement

The CMDB Federation work is a collaboration that involves BMC, CA, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, and Microsoft. The CMDB Federation Workgroup recently announced the publication of an industry-wide draft specification for sharing information between Configuration Management Databases (CMDBs) and other management data repositories (MDRs), such as asset management systems and service desks. The specification, which the group plans to submit as a standard, is intended to enable organizations to federate and access information from complex, multi-vendor IT infrastructures. The draft specification defines query and registration web services for interaction between a federating CMDB and an MDR, based on HTTP, SOAP, WSDL, XML Schema, and Web Services Interoperability (WS-I) standards. A federating CMDB can access data from a participating MDR using the query service defined in the specification and implemented by the MDR. A client of a federating CMDB can also use the query service to extract data from another federating CMDB, making it possible for a CMDB to hierarchically federate with other federating CMDBs. An MDR can also export data to a CMDB that has implemented a registration service. The federated CMDB is a "collection of services and data repositories that contain configuration and other data records about resources. The term 'resource' includes configuration items (e.g., a computer system, an application, or a router), process artifacts (e.g., an incident record, a change record), and relationships between configuration item(s) and/or process artifact(s). The architecture describes a logical model and does not necessarily reflect a physical manifestation. CMDBs give IT organizations complete visibility into the attributes, relationships, and dependencies of the components in their enterprise computing environments. An industry standard for federating and accessing IT information will integrate communication between IT management tools. With a standard way for vendors and tools to share and access configuration data, organizations can use their CMDBs to create a more complete and accurate view of IT information spread out across multiple data sources. This makes it easier to keep track of changes to an IT environment, such as the last time an application was updated or changes to critical configuration information. It also helps organizations better understand the impact of changes they make to the IT environment.

See also: the draft specification

IBM Throws Weight Behind Project
Elizabeth Montalbano, InfoWorld

After years of holding out, IBM has joined the open-source community and will contribute code to the office suite that serves as an alternative to Microsoft's Office software. IBM has been using code from the project in its development of productivity applications it included in Lotus 8, the latest version of its collaboration suite, but until now had not been an official member of the community, said Doug Heintzman, director of strategy for the Lotus division at IBM. The company now will contribute its own code to the project and be more visible about its work to integrate into Lotus, he said. Heintzman acknowledged that the International Organization for Standardization's (ISO's) recent vote to reject Microsoft's Open XML file format as a technology standard was one reason IBM decided to join the effort. uses ODF (Open Document Format), a rival file format to Open XML that is already an ISO technology standard. IBM is one of the companies pushing for the use of ODF in companies and government organizations that are creating mandates to only use technology based on open standards in their IT architectures. "They are certainly related," he said of the ISO vote and IBM's decision to join "We think that it's now time to make sure there is a public code base that implements this spec so we can attract a critical mass to build these new value propositions." Sun founded and offers its own commercial implementation of the suite, called StarOffice. The company, a long-time IBM competitor in the hardware and software markets, also has been the primary contributor to the code, one of the reasons IBM balked for so long before joining the group.

See also: the announcement

Microsoft Rolls Out New Release of BizTalk Server
Heather Havenstein, Computerworld

Microsoft Corp. today announced that the fifth major release of its BizTalk Server is now generally available. BizTalk Server 2006 R2 is designed to allow a company to extend its business processes to the corporate "edge" to collect RFID data from a warehouse or link with trading partners, Microsoft said. The company planned to unveil R2 in Taiwan to emphasize the focus on the supply chain in this release; Microsoft views the Asia-Pacific region as "a primary hub for manufacturing and the supply chain," said Burley Kawasaki, a director in Microsoft's connected systems division. R2 includes native support for RFID and EDI and also adds support for regulations like SWIFT, HL7, HIPAA and RosettaNet that are aimed at supporting various vertical industries such as health care and financial services. BizTalk RFID is a robust and extensible set of capabilities with open APIs and tools to cost effectively build vertical asset tracking / supply chain visibility solutions and configure intelligent RFID-driven processes. BizTalk RFID will include rich data, device and event management. BizTalk Server 2006 R2 is also available in a new Branch Edition aimed at supporting the connection of intraorganizational supply chain processes. Microsoft today also released for testing BizTalk Server Adapter Pack Beta 2, which is focused on helping companies integrate business applications from SAP AG, Oracle Corp. and Siebel Systems. The adapters work with BizTalk Server 2006 R2, SQL Server 2005 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, and are scheduled to be available in the first half of next year.

See also: the announcement

Building a Web Service Powered JSR 168 Financial Portlet
Howard Block (et al),

An increasing number of web applications built today use portal technology. A portal is a web application that typically provides services such as personalization, single sign-on, and content aggregation from different sources. Commercially available Java Portal Web Servers include BEA, IBM, and Oracle, but there are also many open source Java Portal Web Servers such as Liferay, Pluto, Stringbeans, and JBoss Portal. Most of these Java Portal Web Servers have tools that allow you to build portlets. In the early days of portals, you had to develop and maintain a separate version of your portlet that complied with the vendor-specific portlet API for each and every vendor portal. Maintaining separate vendor-specific versions was time consuming, aggravating, and cumbersome, and limited the availability of generic, cross-server portlets. Java Specifiction Request #168 (JSR 168) has solved this vendor-specific portlet configuration problem. By adhering to the standards, you can now build portlets that can run in portals irrespective of their vendors. Most Java Portal Web Servers support the JSR 168 specification. This article concentrates on the presentation and service layers of a Portal Web Server. The presentation layer interacts with services to aggregate data from different sources. These services are typically defined in the service layer and are part of any Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) implemented in a portal.

See also: JSR 168 Portlet Specification

Does SOA Need MEST on Top of REST?
Rich Seeley,

From the people who brought you Guerrilla SOA comes Message Exchange State Transfer (MEST) to compete for service-oriented architecture (SOA) developers' attention with Representation State Transfer (REST) and good old SOAP. MEST is how Guerrilla SOA will get done, according to Jim Webber, Ph.D., SOA practice lead for the ThoughtWorks Inc., the leading proponent of the guerrilla approach. Meanwhile, Savas Parastatidis, MSc., PhD. and technical computing architect at Microsoft, has written a definition of MEST that also compares and contrasts it with REST. Parastatidis sees REST as being primarily about resources at the end of URLs where MEST would be the paradigm for the basic message in a business applications, such as an invoice requiring an action in a basic accounting system. "We would like to see MEST become for service-orientation and Web Services what REST is for resource-orientation and the Web," writes Parastatidis. In explaining the basics of MEST, Parastatidis lists four key points: (1) MEST is not an application protocol in the same way that REST is not one either; (2) It is based on the transfer of a message and the processing of the contents of that message in application-specific ways; (3) The behavior of what happens with the contents of a message is defined through protocols (description of complex message-exchange patterns); (4) MEST attempts to describe service-oriented architectures in terms of services and messages and a set of architectural principles.

Open XML Voted Down But Not Out
Rutrell Yasin, Government Computer News

Microsoft's Office Open XML failed to get enough votes early this month for approval as an international standard. However, if Microsoft addresses technical concerns raised by members of the International Organization for Standardization, the specification could still join the OpenDocument Format next year as a certified ISO specification for creating and viewing electronic documents. The deadline for the five-month, fast-track voting process by 104 countries on whether to adopt OOXML as an international standard was September 2, 2007. ISO announced last week that the standard did not receive enough votes for approval. A ballot resolution meeting to address concerns identified in this round of balloting is expected to be held by ISO and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in February 2008. "At the moment, the ODF and OOXML have two different scopes," said Mike Hogan, an electrical engineer at NIST who is involved in the standards process. ODF, which had its origins with Sun Microsystems' Open Office program, is more generic, and OOXML focuses on opening Microsoft documents, he said... NIST favors competing document standards, NIST Director William Jeffrey said. "NIST believes that ODF and OOXML can coexist as international standards," Jeffrey said. "NIST fully supports technology-neutral solutions and will support the standard once our technical concerns are addressed." Hogan said NIST is seeing something similar to this in U.S. government agencies: "We have CIOs in the government say we might be buying products that purport to be able to open documents using either standard. So we're likely to buy [products] that can handle both standards." The first edition of OOXML is in play, he said. "There are a lot of changes being requested, let's see how many they can agree on" at the meeting in February. Aside from the fast-track ballot receiving a lot of publicity, there's nothing new in OOXML's journey to standardization, Hogan said. "As a proposed standard works its way through the many cycles of an ISO committee, you go through many ballots to get something right..."

Serena's Mashup Exchange for Business
Adrian Bridgwater, CNET

Serena Software kicked off its Chicago developer conference on Monday by making available a software-as-a-service mashup exchange that enables its partners to build, buy and sell business mashups. Mashup Composer is a Web 2.0 tool that enables users to visually design mashups that automate business activities. Presented as one of the highlights at the Serena xChange conference, the tool is designed to address projects that individually are too small to warrant dedicated IT support. Mashups, which have previously been the sole domain of specialist Web developers, combine data from multiple sources to create an integrated Web application. Also referred to as "custom applications," business mashups are sometimes lauded as being capable of bringing gains in productivity and creativity without burdening the IT department.

See also: the announcement


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