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Last modified: September 11, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Tuesday, 11 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:

DocBook: Write Once, Read Anywhere Documentation
Lara D'Abreo,

DocBook is an OASIS standard for creating technical documentation in XML. Particularly suited for computer-related content, DocBook is a set of XML tags, defined by a Document Type Definition (DTD) and XML schema for technical content. In addition to the DTD, DocBook and other open source projects supply a collection of tools and frameworks that enable developers to transform DocBook-compliant XML into PDF, HTML, Eclipse Help, and even MAN pages. This alleviates the need to write the same material multiple times or manually convert from one format to another. DocBook files can be included in other DocBook files using "xi:include". The "xi:include" element is useful for not only structuring your book but also for including source code. One of the common challenges of technical documentation, especially in agile environments, is keeping it in sync with the code. Sample source code in the documentation can get old fast. Source code that is incorporated manually using copy/paste is error prone, hard to test, and likely to get out of date quickly unless someone is willing to continually maintain the code samples. DocBook offers another way. You can place code that you want included in your documentation into unit tests where it can be automatically tested, refactored as normal, and then mark it up for inclusion in DocBook. It's a simple process to create an extraction program that can crawl the codebase for markup and extract the annotated code into DocBook XML files. The advantage of this approach is that you can maintain the code in once place (in the source files where it belongs), and unit test it as part of your build. Code included in your documentation is guaranteed to be correct if your unit tests pass. Extraction, along with the DocBook ANT build scripts, can be integrated using an ANT task to ensure that your documentation is always generated and always up to date with your code. DocBook is an ideal strategy for technical, developer-centric documentation because it enables you to work closely with documentation in the same way you would your code. Popular open-source projects such as Spring and Hibernate use DocBook to generate their documentation. However, as with all technologies it has its downside: it requires a bit of up-front investment to learn how to use XML and the DocBook tags and how to integrate the rendering tools and style sheets into your build processes.

See also: DocBook Version 5.x

BEA, Adobe Forge Rich Internet Apps Partnership
Paul Krill, InfoWorld

BEA Systems and Adobe Systems are partnering on rich Internet application development in an arrangement incorporating both SOA and Web 2.0 concepts. BEA will bundle Adobe Flex Builder 2 software with the BEA Workshop Studio Java development environment. Through this bundling, developers can build cross-platform rich Internet applications that integrate with SOA and Web 2.0 infrastructure. Enterprise mashups also can result. Adobe will distribute evaluation licenses of the BEA WebLogic Server Java application server with Adobe LiveCycle Enterprise Suite software for building customer engagement applications. BEA's Workshop Bundle includes Flex Builder 2, Adobe's Eclipse-based IDE, and the Adobe Flex SDK, which is slated to be released under the open-source Mozilla Public License. The bundle is to enable developers to add rich interactivity to enterprise applications. While Workshop already features an SDK and IDE, Roth insisted there was no redundancy. Both Adobe and BEA have built on the Eclipse platform. Combining Flex Builder and Workshop Studio is intended to give developers a workflow for building applications like interactive dashboards, customer and employee self-service applications, and business-to-business systems. AJAX leverages HTML and JavaScript while Flex runs in the Flash Player, extends the browser, and has capabilities around graphics rendering, animation, and client code performance, said Adobe's Phil Costa, director of product management for Adobe Flex and ColdFusion. The Flex programming model focuses on data-driven applications as opposed to HTML. Also under the agreement, customers can deploy LiveCycle ES applications that leverage characteristics of WebLogic Server including Java Message Service to support business events, clustering and failover. Web services interoperability technologies are supported such as WS-I Basic Profile 1.1. While LiveCycle has worked with WebLogic Server before, users with this announcement will be provided with turnkey infrastructure for enterprise deployments.

W3C Recommendation: Web Services Addressing 1.0 - Metadata
M. Gudgin, M. Hadley, T. Rogers, U. Yalcinalp (eds), W3C Recommendation

The World Wide Web Consortium recently announced the release of the "Web Services Addressing 1.0 - Metadata" specification as a final Recommendation. The "Web Services Addressing 1.0 - Core" Recommendation (WS-Addressing Core) defines a set of abstract properties and an XML Infoset representation of Web service endpoint references (EPRs) and to facilitate end-to-end addressing of endpoints in messages. The newly approved "Web Services Addressing 1.0 - Metadata" Recommendation defines how the abstract properties defined in WS-Addressing Core are described using WSDL and how WS-Policy can be used to indicate the support of WS-Addressing by a Web service. WS-Addressing is designed to be able to work with WS-Policy 1.5, WSDL 2.0, and also (for backwards compatibility) with WSDL 1.1 described services. W3C also announced that the Web Services Addressing Working Group has now successfully completed its work: the Web Services Addressing 1.0 Core, SOAP Binding, and Metadata Recommendations, as well as a Working Group Note, "SOAP 1.1 Request Optional Response HTTP Binding." The core properties allow uniform addressing of Web services and messages, independent of the underlying transport.

See also: the Web Services Addressing Working Group

Google Sky Mashup for Real-Time Astronomy
Staff, DDJ

Since Sky in Google Earth debuted to let the public explore the heavens from their computers, two University of California, Berkeley astronomers have jumped in to populate Google's sky with the most recently discovered heavenly objects. For Google Sky's launch, Geoffrey Marcy and his international planet hunting team provided Google with coordinates of all the stars with known planets—more than 200 planets around nearly as many stars. Now Google posted another layer of information users can add to their personal sky—real-time updates on new objects that flash in the heavens. According to Joshua Bloom, a member of the team that prepared this layer, it is a mash-up of new data on exploding stars, called "supernovae"—extremely bright and energetic flares called gamma-ray bursts—and peculiar brightenings of stars called "microlensing events" caused when starlight is bent around a nearer star and magnified... When first launched, Sky in Google Earth let users navigate the sky to find hundreds of millions of stars, to view Hubble Space Telescope images of beautiful galaxies and nebulae, to focus in on star fields mapped by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and to display the constellations, moon and planets. With Marcy's data, they also were able to chart the locations of exoplanets discovered by him and his California and Carnegie Planet Search team. Bloom and his team are feeding Google a mash-up of gamma-ray bursts discovered by NASA's Swift orbiting observatory and the Milagro ground-based observatory; microlensing phenomena detected by the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE), which searches for dark matter within the Magellanic Clouds and the Milky Way's galactic bulge; asteroids and optical transients from the Palomar-Quest survey; and newly exploded supernovas from surveys by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Supernova Search and ESSENCE. The mash-up is updated every 15 minutes. [Keyhole Markup Language (KML), is an XML grammar and file format for modeling and storing geographic features such as points, lines, images, polygons, and models for display in Google Earth and Google Maps.]

See also: Sky in Google Earth

Open CSA Sponsors SOA Educational Event in California
Staff, OASIS Announcement

On September 18, 2007, the OASIS Open Composite Services Architecture (Open CSA) Member Section will sponsor a full day of public educational sessions on the Service Component Architecture (SCA) at the SAP facility in Palo Alto, California. SCA simplifies SOA application development by defining a flexible model for creating business solutions using service components. The educational sessions are free and open to the public; however, registration is required. SCA TC Participants will will present educational tutorials, practical examples, SCA technical committee missions and charters, coupled with live demonstrations. This event is designed for architects, practitioners, application programmers, business partners and ISVs. It will be of particular interest to people who intend to follow the progress of, or participate in, the new OASIS TCs for SCA.

See also: the Open CSA Plenary Programme

Facebook: It's Not Just for Kids Anymore... (And It Does XML, Too)
Alexander Falk, Blog

Social networking sites have taken off over the last few years, and for a long time there seemed to be a clear divide: Doostang, Ecademy, LinkedIn, and Xing for business networking vs. Facebook, Friendster, and MySpace for kids (be it high-school or college). Plus: every network had their own particular and sometimes even unique focus (e.g. Musicians on MySpace, Harvard and MIT grads on Doostang, and lots of Europeans on Xing). But things are not so simple anymore... Facebook [now has an] open platform that uses XML: third party developers can add to it, and masses of developers are already flocking to the platform. Facebook applications are using FBML (Facebook Markup Language), which extends HTML by additional FBML elements (in the fb: namespace) that are described by this XML Schema... In addition to the FBML describing the user interface, the third party applications call a Facebook API, where most parameters and results are transmitted in XML. e.g., see the description of the Events.getMembers API call. [The FBML document on the Facebook Developers Wiki: "Facebook Markup Language (FBML) is an evolved subset of HTML with some elements removed, and others which have been added that are specific to Facebook. You set the FBML for a profile box by calling profile.setFBML through the API. The FBML is cached on Facebook's server until profile.setFBML is called again through a canvas page." There are 90 namespaced "FBML tags".]

See also: Facebook Markup Language (FBML)

Selected from the Cover Pages, by Robin Cover

Open Virtual Machine Format Specification (OVF) Submitted to DMTF

Dell, HP, IBM, Microsoft, VMware, and XenSource have submitted the Open Virtual Machine Format Specification (OVF) to the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) for further development into an industry standard. The OVF specification describes an open, secure, portable, efficient and extensible format for the packaging and distribution of (collections of) virtual machines. Its goal is to facilitate the automated, secure management not only of virtual machines, but the appliance as a functional unit. Most importantly, according to the DMTF announcement, OVF specifies procedures and technologies to permit integrity checking of the virtual machines (VM) to ensure that they have not been modified since the package was produced. This enhances the security of the format and will alleviate security concerns of users who adopt virtual appliances produced by third parties. OVF also provides mechanisms that support license checking for the enclosed VMs, addressing a key concern of both independent software vendors (ISVs) and customers. Finally, OVF allows an installed VM to acquire information about its host virtualization platform and run-time environment, which allows the VM to localize the applications it contains and optimize its performance for the particular virtualization environment. The proposed OVF uses existing packaging tools to combine one or more virtual machines together with a standards-based XML wrapper, giving the virtualization platform a portable package containing all required installation and configuration parameters for the virtual machines. This allows any virtualization platform that implements the standard to correctly install and run the virtual machines. OVF uses existing packaging tools to combine one or more virtual machines together with a standards-based XML wrapper to correctly install and run virtual machines.


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