This issue of XML Daily Newslink is sponsored by:
Write XForms That Work Across Browsers
Steve K. Speicher, IBM developerWorks
The W3C has developed the XForms standard for the presentation and collection of form data. XForms provides a number of advantages over existing HTML forms technology: "By splitting traditional XHTML forms into three parts—XForms model, instance data, and user interface -- it separates presentation from content, allows reuse, gives strong typing—reducing the number of round-trips to the server, as well as offering device independence and a reduced need for scripting." XForms documents feature a data model that contains one or more XML instance documents. The form manipulates such an instance document and provides for the submission of that XML to a back-end system. This article shows how XHTML and XForms documents should be hosted and written to ensure that your end users have the best experience with your XForms-based applications. Although the article attempts to show a thorough solution for a variety of deployment configurations, not all scenarios and configurations can be covered. XForms is intended to be used embedded within other markup. The most widely used, and the focus of this article, is within XHTML. There is a need to write your XHTML documents following some guidelines to ensure a smooth experience of a variety of browsers like Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Mozilla's Firefox, X-Smiles, and Opera, to name some. As of this writing, the only desktop browser that natively supports XForms is X-Smiles. Therefore, an add-on, or sometimes referred to as a plugin, is needed for a browser to process the XForms content. There are also solutions that convert XForms markup to ECMAScript and HTML, which are more widely supported in deployed browsers.
See also: XML and Forms
Lotus Forms 3.0 Now Available
John Boyer, Blog
IBM today announced a new version of its electronic forms software that allows customers and partners to take advantage of rich, interactive, open-standards based electronic forms in a Web 2.0 environment. Using Web Services, Lotus Forms provides a wizard-based interface that works tightly with Service Oriented Architectures (SOA). This makes it simple for customers to pre-populate forms with existing system information to help reduce data entry errors and improve employee productivity by streamlining process automation and reducing operation costs. Boyer writes: "The biggest news overall is the performance enhancements to Web Form Server, which is a 'Rich Internet Application' platform that provides the capabilities of Lotus Forms directly to web browsers without the need to install 'rich client' software. We have also added digital signature capability to Web Form Server... The biggest overall language change goes to the support of bidirectional text and components for Hebrew and Arabic locales. This is a deep integration with the XFDL language that encompasses nested component orientations, text direction options, and even support for visual versus logical data representations. Finally, on the XForms front, there are several XForms 1.1 features now supported in the product line, including having Lotus Forms that communicate with the web services of an SOA. This release also supports half a dozen new functions that facilitate everyday programming, such as date math and better string comparisons for sorting and searching of data. The release also supports the new XForms datatypes that allow empty content and simplify authoring.."
See also: the Lotus Forms web site
Last Call Review for W3C mobileOK Basic Tests 1.0
Sean Owen and Jo Rabin (eds), W3C Technical Report
W3C's Mobile Web Best Practices Working Group has released a third Last Call Working Draft for the "W3C mobileOK Basic Tests 1.0." Comments are welcome through 19-October-2007. mobileOK Basic is a scheme for assessing whether Web resources (Web content) can be delivered in a manner that is conformant with "Mobile Web Best Practices" to a simple and largely hypothetical mobile user agent, the Default Delivery Context. The Working Draft document describes W3C mobileOK Basic tests for delivered content, and describes how to emulate the DDC when requesting that content. mobileOK Basic is the lesser of two levels of claim, the greater level being mobileOK Pro, described separately. Claims to be W3C mobileOK Basic conformant are represented using (POWDER) Description Resources, also described separately. The intention of mobileOK is to help catalyze development of Web content that provides a functional user experience in a mobile context. It is not a test for browsers, user agents or mobile devices, and is not intended to imply anything about the way these should behave. A standard mechanism will be defined that allows content providers to claim that a URI or group of URIs, such as a Web site, conforms to mobileOK Basic or mobileOK Pro. It will be possible to make claims in a machine-processable form. It will also be possible to notify end users of the presence of the claim by means of a human-readable mark.
Improving the Customer Experience with DITA
Jerry Silver, SOA World Magazine
Businesses often overlook the impact that documentation has on customer satisfaction and view it as a last-minute item on the product release checklist. So how do organizations ensure the quality and quantity of valuable information isn't compromised in the rush to deliver? And, how do they keep up with the influx of content changes when the materials are produced in numerous versions, formats, and languages? To face these challenges, leading documentation and information development teams are moving to the Darwin Information Type Architecture (DITA) to handle these tasks in a significantly more efficient manner. Simply put, DITA provides a framework for content creation and management that facilitates reusing and re-purposing content across multiple communication channels and languages. This new open standard of XML information architecture is ideal for collaborating on and publishing high volumes of content in documentation and ensuring consistency and accuracy of that information. Authoring and editing content using traditional systems is no longer a viable option for global businesses that have to produce high-quality documentation not only to keep up with but exceed customer expectations. The DITA framework offers information development teams a highly effective way to maintain the integrity of information across multiple channels, languages, and audiences while reducing the time and costs associated with information publishing. DITA is helping companies like Sybase, Tellabs, and Sterling Commerce, to ensure content accuracy and consistency in a world of multi-channel communications, enabling these companies to deliver better customer satisfaction through better documentation.
See also: DITA references
BEA Boosts Its 'Mainframe Replacement' Solutions
Kurt Mackie, Application Development Trends
BEA Systems has rolled out new products for large companies and institutions that are struggling with legacy code and migrating from mainframe systems. The products are part of the company's venerable Tuxedo line. Tuxedo is used to help process massive transactions via high-end servers, allowing companies to continue to use older applications written in C, C++ and COBOL. The new Tuxedo products currently being offered by BEA include: (1) Tuxedo 10.0 application server; (2) SALT 2.0 (Services Architecture Leveraging Tuxedo), a solution that enables bidirectional Web services with Tuxedo; (3) TSAM 1.1 (Tuxedo System and Application Monitor), a product that helps manage end-to-end transactions using Tuxedo. The Tuxedo products help companies use their legacy applications in a service-oriented architecture (SOA). Tuxedo has a mechanism to natively support applications written in legacy codes, without necessarily using a compiler-like mechanism. It could theoretically support Java-based applications, but it does so through a connector architecture into BEA's J2EE container. This type of architecture is popular with financial services customers. One of BEA's largest customers is the credit card processing agency of the People's Republic of China. They are pushing close to 14,000 transactions per second on their system. The front-end applications are done in Java, but all of the backend processing and all of the credit card clearing is done in Tuxedo. Tuxedo 10 now uses secure socket layer (SSL) security across Tuxedo domains, replacing BEA's proprietary encryption method called Link Level Encryption (LLE). BEA's new SALT 2.0 product adds bidirectional Web services support to Tuxedo. It can expose Tuxedo services as Web services, and it also can consume external Web services as Tuxedo services. SALT 2.0 is built on an open source implementation of the SOAP standard over HTTP; it's configuration driven and creates Web services without coding.
Florida Law Enforcement to Use Coplink Tools
Trudy Walsh, Government Computer News
Florida's Regional Law Enforcement eXchange (R-LEX) project will use Coplink crime analysis tools from Knowledge Computing: using a Global Justice XML Data Model-compliant interface, Coplink allows large amounts of data in many disparate forms to be organized, consolidated and analyzed over a secure browser-based platform. The software also makes use of analytics and visualization tools to help law enforcement officials determine patterns of crime. R-LEX will be accessible only to authorized law enforcement investigators, detectives, line officers and crime analysts. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), 11 state criminal justice agencies and three of Florida's seven domestic-security task force regions will contribute data from 160 sources, including traffic citations, pawn data, dispatch records and local warrants... R-LEX will use metadata mapping tools from Sypherlink, which will map data to a central NIEM-compliant warehouse hub built by system integrator Keane. The hub will in turn feed into Coplink. The project is funded primarily through grants from the Homeland Security Department. Project manager Mike Phillips, who oversees the Florida Law Enforcement eXchange (FLEX) initiative, described R-LEX as "a powerful tool for fighting crime across multiple jurisdictions statewide, and it's among the first to incorporate the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) standards, which create greater flexibility for sharing critical information between local, state and federal law enforcement."
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