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Last modified: October 01, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Monday, 01 October 2007

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

This issue of XML Daily Newslink is sponsored by:

Updated Working Drafts for the Service Modeling Language (SML)
James Lynn, Bhalchandra Pandit (et al., eds), W3C Technical Report

W3C announced that the Service Modeling Language (SML) Working Group has released updated Working Drafts for "Service Modeling Language, Version 1.1" and its "Service Modeling Language Interchange Format Version 1.1." The features and algorithms described in the normative portion of the document are now specified in enough detail adequate for early implementation experiments. SML is used to model complex services and systems including their structure, constraints, policies and best practices. Based on W3C XML Schema and Schematron, SML allows inter-document references and user-defined constraints. Depending on the application domain, SML models may include information such as configuration, deployment, monitoring, policy, health, capacity planning, target operating range, service level agreements, and so on. [In the general case] Models focus on capturing all invariant aspects of a service/system that must be maintained for the service/system to function properly; they represent a powerful mechanism for validating changes before applying the changes to a service/system; models are units of communication and collaboration between designers, implementers, operators, and users—and can easily be shared, tracked, and revision controlled; they drive modularity, re-use, and standardization; they enable increased automation of management tasks. A model in SML is realized as a set of interrelated XML documents. The XML documents contain information about the parts of a service, as well as the constraints that each part must satisfy for the service to function properly. Constraints are captured in two ways: (1) Schemas—these are constraints on the structure and content of the documents in a model. (2) Rules—Boolean expressions that constrain the structure and content of documents in a model, where SML uses a profile of Schematron (ISO/IEC 19757-3) and XPath for rules.

See also: the 2007-03 announcement

Swedish Company Xcerion Launches XML Internet Operating System (XIOS/3)
Staff, Xcerion Announcement

Xcerion has officially announced the Beta launch of XIOS/3 to a limited group of Beta users. The initial Beta launch consists of the core operating system, a user desktop, applications, a virtual XML file system, and a XML text editor for writing applications. According to the "Technology" overview, "The XIOS/3 consists of three distinct layers: User Experience Layer, Business Logic Layer and the Domain containing Data and Communication services. The XML Virtual Machine and UI components found in the Business Layer make up the core functionality of XIOS/3. The XML Virtual Machine is a client application server that interprets XML processes at its core. XIDE/3 automatically generates the required XML files for the XML Virtual Machine to deploy the application. In fact, the XIOS desktop that is used for managing documents, launching applications and handling the basic operating system tasks was created in the IDE. Applications, XML processes, Workflow, Data Constrains, XML Schemas, Data and UI Components are all described using XML. This makes XIOS one of the most open and standard based development and deployment platforms of today. The Domain layer is mostly used for persistence, update coordination, and transaction management. The server uses XML Web Services and can be replaced by other services, making it possible to use the server of choice. Changes of data bound to any application are instantly reflected in all applications working on the same data, at the same time, through the advanced Update Coordinator. Inside XIOS/3, all data is exposed as XML documents, even if they are XML Web services. The Service Transparency Layer handles this. XML documents in the repository are directly available as themselves." Planned features in Q4 2007 are: (1) A visual drag-and-drop development environment for building XML applications; (2) Productivity applications—word processor, presentation, email, calendar, RSS reader; (3) Marketplace for finding, sharing and selling applications and content; (4) Mozilla Firefox browser support, where currently Internet Explorer 6 and above is supported.

See also: the XIOS/3 technology overview

Enabling Read Access for Web Resources
Anne van Kesteren (ed), W3C Technical Report

This updated Working Draft, expected to progress along the W3C Recommendation track, defines a mechanism to selectively provide client side cross-site access to a Web resource. Using either a HTTP header or an XML processing instruction (or both) resources can indicate they allow read access from specified hosts (optionally using patterns). When a pattern is used, one can also exclude certain hosts. For instance, allow read access from '' and its subdomains with the exception of ''. Background: "The Web has a rich set of resources that can be combined to build content, applications and feature-rich Web sites. A contributor to this richness is Web sites including references (e.g. a link or an image inclusion) to resources residing in other domains. To prevent information leakage, user agents, such as Web browsers, implement a same origin policy that allows a document (e.g. some JavaScript) to read, process, or otherwise interrogate the contents of another resource if, and only if, the other resource resides in the same domain. This policy prevents domain 'A', acting on behalf of the user, to get information from domain 'B'. For instance, this prevents a malicious site from reading information from the user's intranet using a technology such as XMLHttpRequest. This restriction is very strict and generally appropriate. However, there are scenarios where an application would like to get data from another resource on the Web without these restrictions. For this to work the browser's same origin policy has to be extended or eased... To facilitate clear and controlled read access to resources, this specification defines a read access control mechanism that enables a Web resource to permit access to its content from external domains when such access would otherwise be prohibited by a same origin policy. The defined mechanism only works in conjunction with other specifications that are using the read access control mechanism to enable read access."

See also: the W3C news item

Common AJAX Platform Seen for Devices, Desktops
Paul Krill, InfoWorld

Anticipating one Web emerging for both mobile and desktop access, dignitaries at a mobile AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) workshop last Friday [2007-09-28] also saw a common AJAX platform emerging across both mediums. The OpenAjax Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium sponsored the event, which drew persons from such vendors as IBM, Microsoft, Google, and Sun. During the event's wrap-up session, views generally reflected a shared vision that a common AJAX platform will provide the industry with a universal content and application platform, according to a document summarizing Friday's event. This platform will be the Web on mobile, not on a separate mobile Web. The platform arising is based on two open-source browser projects, WebKit and Mozilla, as well as on the Opera browser, [IBM's Jon] Ferraiolo said. A role also is anticipated for the Windows Mobile technology. Participants also declared there will always be a difference between higher-end mobile devices and lower-end devices. In the short term, despite the rise of WebKit, there is likely to be more fragmentation on devices than on the desktop. Thusly, server-side content will continue to play a role. In other conclusions, participants noted AJAX on mobile devices has its own special requirements and opportunities, such as limited screen size, keypad, CPU, memory, and bandwidth. Availability of GPS, camera, and messaging also were cited. Critical areas to address included JavaScript access to device APIs, offline and disconnected operation, widgets, mashups, and security. To access device capabilities, participants suggested a bridge from JavaScript to Java Platform, Micro Edition. Also, a model for the future was described in which the existing Web moves to mobile AJAX in two waves. In the first wave, desktop content is made to work on devices even if the browser interface is suboptimal. Device manufacturers need to include a full-featured browser. With the second wave, content developers would adjust Web sites for a better user interface on mobile systems once they realize how large a percentage of users access their sites from these small-screen devices. To pursue standards, attendees decided to work within existing standards activities rather than start new ones. Participants also sought a call for pragmatism in the form of experience-based recognition of the limitations of standards activities.

Salesforce and SAP Events Prove That SaaS is Much More Than Hype
Mary Hayes Weier, InformationWeek

To get an idea of the momentum behind software as a service, consider's claiming that 7,000 people would attend its user Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. That's half the number of attendees that showed up for SAP's Sapphire user conference in Atlanta in April 2007. SAP is the world's largest business application vendor, with annual revenue of about $13 billion and a massive worldwide developer ecosystem, so the 14,000-strong attendance wasn't surprising. But Salesforce? Its annual revenue is about $1 billion, and most of that comes from on-demand CRM software. Even if a good number of Dreamforce attendees are other software sales reps hoping to drink from Salesforce's success, this much is true: software as a service is barreling forward as a popular alternative to purchasing and deploying software. Salesforce is working hard to expand beyond its CRM roots, this week introducing, a platform that lets developers build on-demand (also known as SaaS) apps using Salesforce's own Apex language plus a development environment it calls Visualforce for creating user interfaces using HTML, Ajax, and Adobe Flex. But appears to be just a formal name to market what Salesforce customers have already been doing, since the company also announced that 44,000 custom apps have been built on the "new" platform. Oracle and Microsoft, meanwhile, continue to drag their heels on SaaS. Oracle has simply said it will offer SaaS apps if that's how people want them, which it calls Oracle On Demand, but it hasn't done any formal product announcements that rival the klieg-lights approach SAP appears to be preparing for A1S. Microsoft is still dabbling with SaaS as an alternative for a few products, including its Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Office Live. But something has got to give: two out of three businesses are either planning or are already deploying at least some apps in a SaaS model. That's because on-demand software will increasingly make sense for certain types of applications, for all types of businesses. In the case of SaaS, the mounting vendor product hype seems consistent with the level of mounting demand.

SAP Launches Corporate-to-Bank Connectivity Service Offering for Banks
Staff, SAP Announcement

SAP has announced a new service offering for banks to help them prepare for and take advantage of the latest technological advances in corporate-to-bank connectivity. The SAP consulting package outlines the benefits of standards-based, real-time corporate-to-bank connectivity in reducing costs and IT complexity while increasing wallet share and enhancing customer satisfaction. The go-to-market service offering will be complementary to the SAP Bank Relationship Management application and SAP Integration Package for SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication), a standardized software solution linking SAP ERP directly to SWIFTNet, the IP-based messaging platform connecting nearly 8,100 financials institutions in 208 countries and territories. The consulting package was developed to provide banks an educational resource to better leverage the potential of standards-based corporate-to-bank connectivity based on XML messages. A recent study conducted by financial news services Finextra and SAP found that over 86 percent of respondents who are responsible for payments are embracing the new XML message types. But of these respondents, 32 percent are only interested in using this standardization for interbank connections. Such a finding demonstrates the need for better understanding of utilizing XML messaging for corporate-to-bank connections. Today, banks and corporations maintain multiple payment channels and communication lines, often haphazardly integrated with ERP and transactions systems. This complexity increases business inefficiencies and security gaps and leads to higher support costs. With the SAP consulting package for bank connectivity, banks will be able to move away from proprietary applications to streamline payment cycles, consolidate security log-in points and improve compliance management. Additionally, specific value-added services can be delivered through the offering based on customer preferences.

See also: the SIBOS 2007 Standards Forum

USDA Boosts Archive Retrieval
Rutrell Yasin, Government Computer News

The U.S. Agriculture Department is making digitized, archived publications more accessible to the public through a technology partnership between ZyLab, a maker of information access software, and Google. Officials with USDA's National Agricultural Library asked ZyLab to add functionality that would help users find and access public archives information located within secure ZyImage Extensible Markup Language repositories via the Google internet search engine. Last year, NAL launched the NAL Digital Repository (NALDR) using ZyLab's ZyImage system to provide access to the full text of selected USDA publications. An Internet search engine such as Google will offer added access to public archives stored in ZyImage. Carol Ditzler, head of USDA's collection services branch: "The NALDR contains a wide variety of publications that have been digitized by NAL dating back to 1864. This is all public information and we want to ensure that it is easily found by the public but stored in a secure manner. With the growing popularity of search engines such as Google, it made sense to incorporate that functionality into ZyImage." The Sitemap protocol lets Webmasters inform search engines about URLs on their Web sites that are available for crawling. A Google user can point to the URL that shows the document, even if it is an image-based scanned document, Zylab officials said.

See also: the U.S. National Agricultural Library Digital Repository (NALDR)

Tech Brief: OpenDocument Format
Erwin Tenhumberg, Redmond Developer News

The OpenDocument Format (ODF) is an open international standard that allows the exchange and retrieval of information in office documents. Reuse of Standards: A key benefit of ODF for developers is its reuse of existing standards. Instead of reinventing the wheel or using proprietary technologies, ODF integrates and leverages standards like HTML, Dublin Core, SVG, MathML, XForms, XLS:FO, XLink and SMIL. As a consequence, a developer already familiar with any of these standards can apply his or her existing knowledge to ODF. In addition, the conversion of ODF into other standards or the integration of ODF into other applications becomes simpler and standards-based. This reuse of standards also keeps the ODF specification lean and manageable. ODF also reuses concepts. The definition of a table in a spreadsheet document is almost identical to the definition of a table in a text document. Thus, code written for processing a spreadsheet table can be reused for a text table. This not only reduces complexity and redundancy but also lowers the ODF learning curve. If a developer is integrating ODF into workflows and business processes, for example, by using an ODF implementation like as a client for back-end services, ODF uses the XForms technology. The next version, ODF 1.2, supports RDF-based meta-data, so that existing standards are used to enable workflow and business process integration. Various development tools for ODF are available or under development. The most basic-but still very powerful-use case is the conversion of ODF content via XSLT. Because Apache Ant has both ZIP and XSLT support, it can be used to convert file formats. also provides a very granular and powerful API for the Java technology. Thus, by combining Ant with, powerful solutions can be built that include printing and PDF-exporting capabilities. Several open source community projects and vendors are implementing software development kits for ODF. The goal of the open source ODF Toolkit project on is to provide a set of tools that simplify the integration of ODF into new and existing applications. First results of the project include a Java API as well as a .NET interface.

Microsoft Finally Unveils Its Answer to Google Docs
Mary Jo Foley, ZDNet Blog

After months of speculation about what it would do to stave off potential encroachments on its Office turf by Google Docs and Spreadsheets, Microsoft has spelled out its strategy: Office Live Workspace. Microsoft unveils its answer to Google DocsOffice Live Workspace is, in Microsoft's words, "a new web-based feature of Microsoft Office which lets people access their documents online and share their work with others." It's aimed at consumers and small-business users, not corporations who are interested in being able to access their documents anywhere—from any computer and any browser. In other words, Microsoft isn't playing up Office Live Workspace as a head-to-head competitor with Google Apps Premier Edition (GAPE). Microsoft is positioning its Microsoft-hosted SharePoint, Exchange and Office Communications Services (which it has now rebranded with as its family of 'Office Online' services) as its GAPE competitors. Microsoft is taking sign-ups from those interested in beta testing the English-language version of Office Live Workspace starting October 1, 2007. The beta and the final versions of the service, at least for saving/accessing up to 1,000 documents, will be free; no word on how much, if anything, Microsoft plans to charge once users have more than 1,000 Word, Excel and PowerPoint files they want to store online. Office Live Workspace is not a hosted version of Microsoft Office. Instead, it is—like the rest of the Office Live family—an extension to the client-based version of desktop productivity software. Interestingly, Office Live Workspace isn't just an extension to Microsoft Office 2007, but also third-party-developed office programs like OpenOffice, StarOffice and more, as well as Office XP. However, as you might expect, Office 2007 will work best with the new Live Workspace feature.

See also: the announcement


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