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Last modified: September 20, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Thursday, 20 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:
Sun Microsystems, Inc.

W3C Last Call Working Draft for XProc: An XML Pipeline Language
Norman Walsh, Alex Milowski, Henry Thompson (eds); W3C Technical Report

Members of the W3C XML Processing Model Working Group have released a Last Call Working Draft for "XProc: An XML Pipeline Language," inviting public comment through 24-October-2007. Used to control and organize the flow of documents, the XProc language standardizes interactions, inputs and outputs for transformations for the large group of specifications such as XSLT, XML Schema, XInclude and Canonical XML that operate on and produce XML documents. An XML Pipeline specifies a sequence of operations to be performed on one or more XML documents. Pipelines generally accept one or more XML documents as input and produce one or more XML documents as output. Pipelines are made up of simple steps which perform atomic operations on XML documents and constructs similar to conditionals, loops and exception handlers which control which steps are executed. The Working Group considers this specification complete and finished. The scope of editorial changes since the last working draft has overwhelmed the utility of a [color-coded] draft with revision markup. Significant changes since the last working draft: (1) The namespace URIs have changed. The Working Group has no plans to change them again in the life of this specification. (2) The management of in-scope namespaces and XPath context is described much more carefully. (3) Namespace fixup on output documents is discussed. (4) Management of iteration counting has changed. The 'p:iteration-position' function was renamed to 'p:iteration-count' and 'p:iteration-size' was removed. (5) Added 'p:add-attribute', 'p:add-xml-base', 'p:directory-list', 'p:make-absolute-uris', and 'p:pack'. Renamed 'p:equal' to 'p:compare'. (6) Added a MIME type and fragment identifier syntax.

See also: the W3C XML Processing Model Working Group

Metadata Extraction Tool Version 3.2
Steve Knight, National Library of New Zealand Announcement

The National Library of New Zealand (Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa) has announced the release of version 3.2 of its open-source Metadata Extraction Tool. The tool was developed to programmatically extract preservation metadata from a range of file formats like PDF documents, image files, sound files Microsoft office documents, and many others. The Metadata Extraction Tool builds on the Library's work on digital preservation, and its logical preservation metadata schema. The preservation metadata schema details the data elements needed to support the preservation of digital objects and will form the basis for the design of a database repository and input systems for collecting and storing preservation metadata. It incorporates a number of data elements needed to manage the metadata in addition to metadata relating to the digital object itself. The Metadata Extraction Tool is designed to: (1) automatically extracts preservation-related metadata from digital files; (2) output that metadata in a standard format (XML) for use in preservation activities. Although designed for preservation processes and activities, it can be used to for other tasks such as the extraction of metadata for resource discovery. Extracting preservation metadata is a two-stage process. In the first phase each incoming file is processed by the adapters until one of the adapters recognises the file type. That adapter extracts data from the header fields of the file and generates an Extensible Markup Language (XML) file. In the second phase an Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) transformation converts the internal XML file into an XML file in a useful format. The Tool currently outputs the XML file using the NLNZ preservation metadata data model schema. The Tool is written in Java and XML and is distributed under the Apache Public License (version 2). Developers may be interested in extending some of the key components of the Metadata Extraction Tool such as extending existing adapters or developing new ones to process other file types, or creating new XSLT files to generate different XML output formats.

See also: the announcement

Manipulate XML Service Definitions with Java Programming
Stephen B. Morris, IBM developerWorks

A Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) typically exports a range of services. For XML service modelling and subsequent consumption of those services by users (people, machines, or other services), Java technology provides powerful mechanisms to handle XML data, which in turn provides a key foundation for using SOA concepts. SOA is still unfolding, and many of the big software vendors are still developing their SOA offerings. As a result, the SOA area is currently a complex soup of technologies that includes Java Business Integration (JBI), Intelligent Event Processing, and Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) servers. It's entirely likely that user organizations that intend to reap the benefits of SOA will have to invest heavily before converging on a solution. By making SOA so complex, the industry might well inadvertently pave the way for vendor lock-in, even though one of the promises of SOA is standards-based, component-oriented, vendor-independent computing. Is it possible for user organizations to gain some useful operational SOA experience before the expensive migration process? In answer to this question, this article demonstrates a few important SOA principles with straightforward XML and some Java code. It doesn't attempt to cover everything in the SOA universe; instead, the coverage is restricted to a few key areas. For example, you can conceivably use RSS to distribute XML service definitions. However, for this article's example, the transport mechanism uses Java facilities. The merit of such a focused approach is that Java developers in user organizations can use the ideas to build their own simple pilot SOA. Such pilot schemes can help the organization realize the business benefits of SOA. Included in the latter are modelling business services as computational services, user self-service, greater automation, and more responsive services. You can implement a migration like the one described as a stand-alone pilot that operates in parallel to existing business processes.

Atom Publishing Protocol Feature Discovery
James M. Snell (ed), IETF Internet Draft

Members of the IETF atomPub Working Group have released an updated version of the "Atom Publishing Protocol Feature Discovery" specification, previously published as "Atom Publishing Protocol Features Extension." The document introduces extensions to the Atom Publishing Protocol Service Document format for expressing metadata about the behaviors, functions and capabilities supported by an Atom Publishing Protocol collection. Examples of such capabilities can include the preservation of certain kinds of content, support for draft entries, support for the scheduled publication of entries, use of a particular set of Atom format extensions, and so on. The Internet Draft has been released with "Experimental" status: "Describing features using the mechanisms defined in this specification is currently considered to be largely experimental. While there are examples of such mechanisms being put to practical use in deployed applications, there is currently not enough collective implementation experience to determine whether the mechanism defined here is sufficient to fully address the general needs of Atom Publishing Protocol client and server implementations. Implementations and feedback are encouraged." The 'f:feature' element is used in an 'app:collection' element to declare the collection's support for a feature. The presence of a 'f:feature' element is an indication that the collection supports the feature identified. The lack of a 'f:feature' element identifying a particular feature indicates that support for that feature is unspecified. This does not mean that the feature is not supported, only that the server has not explicitly declared support. There are no means by which a server can indicate that a given feature is unsupported. The "supportsDraft" feature is used to indicate that a collection supports the use of the 'app:draft' control element as defined by Section 13.1.1 of "The Atom Publishing Protocol" specification. The "ignoresDraft" feature is used to indicate that a collection will ignore the use of the 'app:draft' control element.

See also: Atom references

Managed Agent Explorer, Part 1: Test and Inspect Your WSDM Endpoints
Balan Subramanian, IBM developerWorks

The Web Services Distributed Management: Management (WSDM) open standard is supported by two open source projects: a reference implementation in the Apache Muse project and tooling in the Eclipse TPTP project. The intent of the tooling is to support a complete build-deploy-test cycle for the development of WSDM endpoints while relieving you from the nitty-gritty details of Web services and the Apache Muse run time. This enables an iterative approach to development of endpoints. An important component of the Eclipse TPTP tooling is the Managed Agent Explorer. In this article, you learn how the Managed Agent Explorer can help you test endpoints you are building with the tooling as well as with testing and introspecting endpoints built outside of the tooling, including ones that are already deployed. The Managed Agent Explorer framework is a set of plug-ins in the Eclipse TPTP tooling that provides a graphical tree-based navigation for the introspection of different types of managed resources using various protocols. It builds upon the TPTP agent framework and provides a consistent user experience with the rest of TPTP. The framework does not use any remote agents to communicate with the resources because in many cases the resources themselves are instrumented for a particular management protocol and no agents are required. A key feature of The Managed Agent Explorer framework is its ability to talk different protocols to different types of resources. The framework adds a notification broker to the Eclipse workbench, which allows plug-ins within the workbench to subscribe to different kinds of notifications. Different types of notifications are supported by different notification providers. As you would expect, the WSDM extension to the Managed Agent Explorer includes a WS-Notification (WS-N)-based provider to the workbench, which is an OSGi-based WS-N consumer endpoint deployed onto the Eclipse Workbench (which is OSGi/Equinox based). The notification broker is efficient at handling multiple subscriptions from different plug-ins that route to a single resource by consolidating those subscriptions into one subscription from the workbench itself and then internally broadcasting received notifications.

See also: 'Open Source for the WSDM Open Standard'

Embarcadero Enhances Data Modeling Tool
David Kopf, Application Development Trends

Embarcadero Technologies has unveiled ER/Studio 7.5, a data modeling solution that helps businesses discover and reuse data assets. The solution supports standard data definitions, which is helpful for communication across heterogeneous environments, such as service-oriented architectures (SOAs). Data definitions are generated in well formed, standards-based XML schemas. Standardization and reducing redundancy are key to maintaining consistency among databases running on multiple on-site and remote platforms, according to Christopher Robin, database administrator for Advanced System Design. His company uses ER/Studio 7.5 to "enforce standards, enable reuse, and improve the efficiency and quality of modeling projects" for clients, according to an announcement issued by Embarcadero. A data model conversion utility in ER/Studio 7.5 maintains metadata quality. It imports data from modeling tools; business intelligence platforms; extract, transform and load platforms; and industry-standard exchange formats. The conversion utility helps migrate data models from various tools, such as CA's ERwin Data Modeler and Sybase's PowerDesigner, among others. According to the announcement, new ER/Studio 7.5 features include: (1) An easy-to-use wizard to build custom XML schemas directly from a logical or physical data model, allowing data architects to incorporate the same standards in SOA development that they previously used for building databases; (2) A naming standards utility and data type mapping editor to automatically transform the model metadata, enabling data architects to be more productive as they move models between the logical and physical design layers; (3) A re-architected data model conversion utility that significantly enhances the quality of the metadata when importing metadata from platforms such as modeling tools, BI platforms, ETL platforms, industry-standard exchange formats and modeling tools.

See also: the announcement

USB 3.0 Specification Proposed
Staff, DDJ News

Intel, along with Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, NEC, NXP Semiconductors, and Texas Instruments, recently formed the Universal Serial Bus (USB) 3.0 Promoter Group to create a superspeed personal USB interconnect that can deliver over 10 times the speed of today's connection. The technology will target fast sync-and-go transfer applications in the PC, consumer and mobile segments that are necessary as digital media become ubiquitous and file sizes increase up to and beyond 25 Gigabytes. USB 3.0 will create a backward-compatible standard with the same ease-of-use and plug-and-play capabilities of previous USB technologies. In addition, the USB 3.0 specification will be optimized for low power and improved protocol efficiency. USB 3.0 ports and cabling will be designed to enable backward compatibility as well as future-proofing for optical capabilities. Intel formed the USB 3.0 Promoter Group with the understanding that the USB-IF would act as the trade association for the USB 3.0 specification. A completed USB 3.0 specification is expected by the first half of 2008. USB 3.0 implementations will initially be in the form of discrete silicon. The nonprofit USB Implementers Forum was formed to provide a support organization and forum for the advancement and adoption of USB technology. The USB-IF facilitates the development of high-quality compatible USB devices through its logo and compliance program, and promotes the benefits of USB and the quality of products that have passed compliance testing.


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