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Last modified: September 24, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Monday, 24 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:
BEA Systems, Inc.

Lawrence D. Eicher Leadership Award Presented to ISO/TC 184/SC 4
Staff, ISO Announcement

At the 30th ISO General Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, Howard Mason received the Lawrence D. Eicher Leadership Award on behalf of ISO/TC 184 (Industrial Automation Systems And Integration) Subcommittee 4 (Industrial Data) from ISO President Hakan Murby. For the last decade, ISO/TC 184/SC 4 has been publishing a range of standards to support the efficient exchange and sharing of industrial information between dissimilar computer systems. The major development efforts have focused on the STEP series of standards, i.e., Standards for Exchange and Product Data (ISO 10303—Product data representation and exchange) for different functional areas, covering product design, analysis and manufacture. The STEP standards and data modules represent hundreds of millions of dollars of proven investment, and are available to help in the generation of consistent product information models through the entire range of products covered by ISO... The first application protocol (AP) to make use of the modular structure is ISO 10303 part 239, Product Life Cycle Support (PLCS). This AP extended the STEP model to support all the information required to design maintenance solutions for a product through life, to track planned and unplanned maintenance based on the actual state of the product, and the changing configuration of the product as components are replaced and repaired. PLCS implementations are now in production use in Norway, Sweden and the USA, and many more are under development or pilot testing. This standard is being used by OASIS [Product Life Cycle Support - PLCS] to develop a range of consistent data exchange sets to support different business processes across the life cycle. The modular approach means that another new AP -- the second edition of ISO 10303 part 203 on configuration-controlled 3D design—uses the same configuration model as PLCS for the initial design and manufacture of the product, so that information can be transferred directly from manufacturing to the support systems covered by PLCS. Howard Mason, Chair of SC 4, has been involved in industrial automation standards for over 20 years, and has chaired ISO/TC 184/SC 4 since 2000. He also chairs the OASIS consortium technical committee exploiting the STEP standard, and the management group of the MoU on eBusiness among ISO, IEC, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT).

See also: the ISO Focus article

Microformats: Toward a Semantic Web
Sean Michael Kerner,

Microformats offer the promise of helping Web content owners enable users to connect the disparate dots that connect content in a semantic way. Though the term "microformats" may not yet be mainstream, mainstream vendors have taken notice. Big names like Technorati, Mozilla, IBM, Microsoft, Google, Digg, and Yahoo among countless others are all at work trying to make microformats work. By some estimates there are already hundreds of millions of microformatted pieces of information online. currently recognizes nine specifications for microformats: hCalendar, hCard, 'rel-license', 'rel-nofollow', 'rel-tag', VoteLinks, XFN, XMDP, and XOXO. There are drafts for eleven (11) additional specifications, some of which are already in wide use: adr, geo hAtom, hResume, hReview, rel-directory, rel-enclosure, rel-home, rel-payment, robots exclusion and xFolk. Though microformats enable semantic Web connections, Mozilla's User Experience Designer Alex Faaborg explained that microformats are sometimes referred to as the lower-case semantic Web, since they are not as complex or as expressive as RDF and OWL. "While microformats are less formal, they are also easier to author, and the semantic information is human readable, in addition to being machine readable," Faaborg said. "But it isn't about one approach being better than the other, as much as each approach being useful in different situations." Technically speaking, though microformats and the Semantic Web are now actually interoperable as the W3C has announced that GRDDL (Gleaning Resource Descriptions from Dialects of Languages) now extracts data from microformats and make it part of the Semantic Web.

See also: the GRDDL Recommendation

Actuate: Commercial Open Source, Commercial Community
Seth Grimes, Intelligent Enterprise Weblog

"I'm grateful to Actuate for giving me an preview look at BIRT Exchange, a new community site set. Like the sponsoring company, the new site straddles the commercial open and closed source worlds. It will surely benefit BIRT Java programmers whether they use the open-source Eclipse version of BIRT or the closed source Actuate version. But make no mistake: Actuate's motives remain staunchly commercial and the company will retain tight control over BIRT development. BIRT is a set of Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools, simultaneously an Actuate commercial product and 'an Eclipse-based open source reporting system for web applications, especially those based on Java and J2EE.' Eclipse participation has paid off for Actuate. According to Vijay Ramakrishnan, Actuate director of marketing for Java reporting, 'Eclipse is such a diverse ecosystem of projects, and reporting is a pretty horizontal technology. There will be lots of cases where developers come to BIRT through other technologies.' Note that open-source BI rivals including Pentaho and JasperSoft and non-OS powerhouses such as Business Objects offer Eclipse plug-ins that are similar to Actuate's and allow comparable interoperability with non-BI Eclipse projects. Their technologies do not, however, share BIRT's status as a top-level Eclipse project."

See also: the announcement

W3C Working Draft: A MathML for CSS Profile
Bert Bos, David Carlisle, et al. (eds); W3C Technical Report

Members of W3C's Math Working Group have published an updated Working Draft for "A MathML for CSS Profile." This Working Draft specifies a profile of a specification, MathML 3.0, which is itself under development at W3C, and is intended to accord with CSS 3, which is likewise under active development. The Math WG hopes this outline draft will permit informed feedback on this part of its work. This subset of MathML 3.0 can be used to capture structure of mathematical formulae in the way suitable for further CSS formatting. This profile is expected to facilitate adoption of MathML in web browsers and CSS formatters, allowing them to reuse existing CSS visual formatting model, enhanced with a few mathematics oriented extensions, for rendering of layouts schemata of presentational MathML. Development of the CSS profile is assumed to be coordinated with ongoing work on CSS3 and may require a limited set of new properties to be added to existing CSS3 modules... One difficulty in the way of more adoption of MathML, especially on the web, has been the difficulty of rendering MathML in common browsers. However, with improved CSS support in recent browsers, as well as the extensions to CSS planned for CSS3, it will soon be possible to acceptably render a significant subset of the MathML language in a cross-browser way. This is already possible in browsers such as Opera that already implement some of the planned CSS3 functionality. This would remove a major obstacle to increased adoption of MathML, at least in many use cases... W3C's work on areas such as math, scalable vector graphics, synchronized multimedia, voice browsing and forms holds great promise for a new generation of Web content. MathML is intended, by design, to combine with such other XML vocabularies. The MathML Working Group collaborates with other Working Groups to realize the promise of combining MathML with other vocabularies.

See also: the Math Working Group Roadmap

Certificate Exchange Messaging for EDIINT
Kyle Meadors and Dale Moberg (eds), IETF Internet Draft

The EDIINT AS1, AS2 and AS3 message formats do not currently contain any neutral provisions for transporting and exchanging trading partner profiles or digital certificates. EDIINT Certificate Exchange Messaging provides the format and means to effectively exchange certificates for use within trading partner relationships. The messaging consists of two types of messages, Request and Response, which allow trading partners to communicate certificates, their intended usage and their acceptance through XML. Certificates can be specified for use in digital signatures, data encryption or SSL/TLS over HTTP (HTTPS). This document describes how EDIINT products may exchange public-key certificates. Since EDIINT is built upon the security provided by public-private key pairs, it is vital that implementers are able to update their trading partners with new certificates as their old certificates expire, become outdated or insecure. Certificate Exchange Messaging (CEM) described here utilizes XML data to exchange the certificate and provide information on its intended usage and acceptance within the trading partner relationship. CEM messages use the underlying EDIINT transport, such as AS2, to communicate information on the certificate, its intended use and its acceptance. Both digital certificates and the XML data describing their intended use are stored within a multipart/related MIME envelope (RFC 2387). For the CEM Request message, the certificates are stored in certificate chains through SMIME, certs-only MIME envelope, and processing information is XML data which is identified through the MIME content-type of 'application/ediint-cert-exchange+xml'. Appendix A supplies the EDIINT Certificate Exchange XML Schema, Example of EDIINT Certificate Exchange Request XML, and Example of EDIINT Certificate Exchange Response XML.

See also: Certificate Exchange Messaging

Semantic Technologies Meet SOA
David Worthington, SD Times

Do semantic technologies have a place in software-oriented architecture (SOA), and more important, can they break organizations' reliance on expensive data warehouses? Metatomix believes they can. This month saw the release of version 5.0 of Metatomix's semantic middleware platform . The platform applies business process rules, and semantic reasoning from industry domain ontologies to information that it collects, enabling customers to integrate data and to uncover and define relationships. "Semantic technology eases the way to describe and work with information," said chief technology officer Colin Britton. The use of a metadata-based approach permits users a network-centric view of information stored in various silos of data, he explained. Metatomix 5.0 uses the SPARQL RDF query language to perform federated queries across multiple databases and data formats, and now offers support for a number of data types, including relational, file-based and memory-resident, said Britton. Support has also been added for Oracle 11g's semantic layer. The new release also includes reasoning and validation enhancements to validate semantic data against an ontology, and has an improved business policy engine, licensed from an unnamed third-party vendor. The policy engine permits organizations to semantically describe business actions without writing business rules. Another new feature is service links, which are data access services that create links between data, creating reusable modules out of service profiles.

See also: the announcement

URI Identity Management for Semantic Web Data Integration and Linkage
Afraz Jaffri, Hugh Glaser, Ian Millard; Workshop Presentation

This online paper is published in the Proceedings of the Third International Workshop On Scalable Semantic Web Knowledge Base Systems. "The Semantic Web vision involves the production and use of large amounts of RDF data. There have been recent initiatives amongst the Semantic Web community, in particular the Linking Open Data activity and our own ReSIST project, to publish large amounts of RDF that are both interlinked and dereferenceable. The proliferation of such data gives rise to millions of URIs for non-information resources such as people, places and abstract things. Frequently, different data providers will mint different URIs for the same resource, giving rise to the problem of coreference. This paper describes the phenomenon of coreference, where it occurs in other disciplines and how it is relevant to the Semantic Web. We propose a 'Consistent Reference Service' for URI identity management and describe how this is being used in the infrastructure of a scalable Semantic Web system... The Consistent Reference Service (CRS) has been created in order to manage coreference between the millions of URIs that are accumulating on the Semantic Web. This section will describe the concept of a bundle that groups together URIs referring to the same resource, and also describe the implementation and architecture of the CRS. The CRS service has been implemented as both an RDF knowledge base and a relational database with RDF export. The CRS sits in the Semantic Web as any other knowledge base or database would. Each data provider maintains one or more CRSs for their own knowledge. In the ReSIST project there are over 15 repositories each with their own CRS. The CRS introduces a given context. Different bundles may be used to group together URIs of the same resource in different contexts. For example, there may be a bundle containing all of the URIs about a person in the context of institution #1; and another bundle containing all of the URIs about the same person in the context of institution #2. Each CRS can use different algorithms to identify equivalent resources. For example, the algorithms to detect equivalence amongst authors are different from the algorithms used to detect equivalence between countries. To begin with, each URI in a repository has its own bundle in the CRS. When an equivalence is detected the bundles containing the URIs are merged together to create a new bundle. In this way successive iterations group together larger bundles, with each bundle having an anonymous URI. The concept of a bundle is defined as a class in a coreference ontology used by the CRS. There is also a database schema that maps onto the ontology.

See also: the reference document

Open Source Is the Big Disruptor
Peter Galli, eWEEK

Gartner declared open-source software the biggest disruptor the software industry has ever seen and postulated it will eventually result in cheaper software and new business models. Open-source products accounted for a 13 percent share of the $92.7 billion software market in 2006, but should account for 27 percent of the market in 2011 when revenue is expected to be $169.2 billion. Gartner research director Laurie Wurster: "Open-source software is going to erode proprietary sales revenue by offering less-expensive or free alternatives, expanding the total market potential by meeting the demands of SMBs for affordable solutions, and creating a new business model for established and emerging service providers to provide selection, customization and management services for open-source solutions." A recent Gartner survey of 295 respondents in the U.S. and Europe found that open source software usage stood at 23.6 percent, and this number is set to grow to 25.9 percent over the next year. Wurster also spoke on some of the market accelerators to open source, which included the low barriers to entry and increased return on investment, the availability of high-quality solutions at low cost, the access to open standards and development processes, vendor independence and flexibility—resulting in investment protection -- and faster procurement and a shorter development time. Among the market inhibitors, many of which are perceptions rather than reality, are concerns about migration and skills transfer, internal development, support and maintenance costs, quality assurance, and the large number of license with conflicting terms.


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