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Last modified: October 12, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Friday, 12 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:
IBM Corporation

XForms Evening Sessions at XML 2007
Staff, XML 2007 Conference Schedule

Seven presentations on XForms are scheduled for Monday, December 03, 2007 at the XML 2007 Conference and Exposition in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. W3C XForms is "a markup language that addresses the modern needs of electronic forms. It is based on XML and can deliver the collected values as an XML document. It addresses questions of authorability, usability, accessibility, device independence, internationalization, integration into different host languages, and reducing the need for scripting." This event brings together a number of the leaders in the XForms community to present the business value of XForms, including design experience, end-to-end solution development, case studies and driving business value through Web 2.0 integration. The session culminates in a keynote address by Elliotte Rusty Harold, who offers his vision and advice on the future of XForms. Sessions include: (1) John Boyer, "Seeing is Believing: Intuitive Visual XForms Design" — We will demonstrate that XForms can offer an order of magnitude simplification to the design and development of business applications. (2) Dan McCreary, "The Pure Declarative Approach: XForms in Real Estate Forms Case Study" — We use almost no Java or JavaScript and use mostly on XML Schemas to capture requirements, XML transforms to transform requirements into XForms, native XML databases to store the data, Schematron to store business rule checks, and XQuery for manipulation and reporting of XML datasets. (3) Doug Tidwell, "Creating a Custom Editor for Everything" — We'll demonstrate how to use XForms to create a custom editor for an XML vocabulary, using Service Component Architecture (SCA) as an example. (4) Erik Bruchez, "XForms and the eXist XML database: a Perfect Couple" — We show how the XForms 1.1 submission module, which supports REST, can be used to perform CRUD operations in eXist; we also look at how XForms can directly submit XML database queries using the powerful XQuery 1.0 language implemented by eXist. (5) Mark Birbeck, "XForms, XHTML, and RDFa for Internet-Facing Applications" — The applications include desktop widgets and gadgets, pure Ajax browser applications, web applications that use browser plug-ins such as formsPlayer, and complete standalone desktop applications, running independently of a browser. (6) Charles Wiecha, "Composition and Choreography of Web Components in XForms" — We propose a programming model for composing and controlling Web 2.0 documents based on the Model-View-Controller design of XForms. (7) Elliotte Rusty Harold, "How XForms Can Win" (Keynote).

See also: XML and Forms

Develop Asynchronous Web Services with Axis2
Eran Chinthaka, IBM developerWorks

This article gives you an overview of different patterns for asynchronous scenarios in Web services and provides insight into how to implement them with Apache Axis2. When first introduced as a way to do application development, Web services implementations supported only synchronous invocations for request-response interactions (synchronous in this article implies processing both request and response in the same thread of execution). But when more and more applications adopted Web services to expose functionalities and client applications were designed to interact with Web services, mere synchronous invocations were seen as bottlenecks. This is because some Web services implementations take a considerable amount of time to respond to requests due to various reasons inside the service implementation. For example, if a Web service requires human intervention or batch processing at some point, the Web service might take days to reach an outcome. These delays also caused some of the transport mechanisms to time out. With the evolution of Web services development, eventually some SOAP stacks tried to emulate asynchronous invocations on top of synchronous capabilities. Even though those efforts gave a sense of asynchronous invocations, they couldn't provide full and real functionality. Apache Axis2, the open source Web services engine from Apache Software Foundation, provides first-class support for asynchronous Web services invocations and implementation. Axis2 has two mechanisms to provide asynchronicity in the client side and one mechanism in the server side.

See also: Apache Axis2 (Java version)

Evolving Standards for IT Service Management
M. W. Johnson, A. Hately, B. A. Miller, R. Orr; IBM Systems Journal

In this paper we describe standards and widely adopted best practices that facilitate the deployment of information technology service management (ITSM). We cover the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework of best practices for delivering information technology (IT) services. As part of ITIL we discuss the central role played by the configuration management database (CMDB). Then we describe the CMDB federation specification, an emerging standard for federating data repositories in support of a CMDB. We discuss two standards for representing management data and constraints on those data: the Service Modeling Language (SML) and the Solution Deployment Descriptor (SDD). Finally, we describe how related but incompatible Web services standards are being unified into a consistent set of standards. A comprehensive approach to ITSM leverages standards for information, processes, and services so that people and technology can interact effectively and efficiently. As such, standards are essential elements of IT. ITIL, a set of process-based best practices for the management of IT services, was developed in the United Kingdom Office of Government Commerce. The International Organization for Standardization published ISO/IEC 20000-1:2005,6 commonly known as ISO 20000, which formalizes the ITIL best practices by establishing certification requirements. ITSM solutions benefit greatly from using a coherent and robust process framework such as ITIL. ITIL defines processes that enable IT organizations to efficiently and reliably manage services and to satisfy performance, availability, and cost objectives. For example, ITIL defines a change-management process that starts with a user's submission of a request for change (RFC) and includes the steps required to analyze the change and plan its implementation so as to avoid unacceptable impact to other services and to ensure that all changes are properly authorized. The configuration-management-database (CMDB) federation specification is an emerging standard describing how management data repositories can interact with each other to appear to external clients as a federated CMDB and how clients may access this data. The CMDB federation specification defines the interfaces to combine data from multiple sources into a single view based on reconciling resource identities or relating management data or both. For example, multiple management tools may manage the same resource, each assigning an identity to the resource. The Service Modeling Language (SML) is an emerging standard that specifies extensions to Extensible Markup Language (XML) schema to describe IT resources and their interrelationships. A companion specification, SML Interchange Format (SML-IF), describes how to represent an SML model in a standard way for interchange. Use of SML and SML-IF helps to integrate management tools and processes, even though their underlying technologies differ significantly. Decoupling the implementations gives IT organizations more flexibility to choose components that offer the best solution without sacrificing the integration and consistency goals in ITSM implementations. The SDD10 is an emerging standard from OASIS for representing installable software packages and their configuration, dependency, and life-cycle information. This information is used to automate manual tasks in the deployment of software solutions.

See also: the issue TOC

Establishing a Service Governance Organization
Jean-Jacques Dubray, InfoQ

The main objective of Service governance is to achieve the benefits of a Service Oriented Architecture by fostering the creation of reusable, enterprise class services. As a cross functional organization, Service governance ensures the timely resolution of issues and conflicts due to the necessary tradeoffs that are made when shared requirements are defined. In particular, the Service Governance organization is chartered to define clear service ownership boundaries and specify a fair funding model. Service Governance monitors the deployment and reuse of services across the organization. A high degree of service reuse, a steady flow of enterprise class service deployments, as well as trouble free service retirements are the indicators of successful governance... Service Governance is an essential aspect of a successful Service Oriented Architecture. Its establishment has to be planned and tested out early in the initial phases of a SOA initiative. However, a full scale governance organization driven by a rigorous process should be launched only when the service pipeline is big enough to keep the team motivated and knowledgeable. If governance activities are too distant in time, the team might lose interest and the critical knowledge to execute its activities properly. The Registry & Repository is a key ingredient for successful governance as it manages the "service record". The ultimate goal of Service Governance is to enable the specification, realization and operation of reusable IT assets. Overtime it is expected that Service Governance will evolve towards being a lot more proactive in commissioning the implementation of mission critical services

Pentaho Makes Open Source BI Semantic
Sean Michael Kerner,

The business intelligence software market is all about enabling business users to make sense of their data. But sometimes the data's complexity can make it a daunting task. Open source BI vendor Pentaho claims it has a solution in the new Pentaho Business Intelligence 1.6, which provides a semantic metadata layer. Lance Walter, vice president of marketing at Pentaho: "Pentaho has been marching down the path of making open source business intelligence easier to use. The latest release is a critical next step in that it adds an open source business intelligence metadata layer that lets users build reports with terms like 'customers,' 'products' and 'sales' and insulates them from the underlying database structure and schema." The BI metadata layer is centrally maintained by an administrator that can create a map of terms. Those terms are then served up to users in an AJAX-based thin-client interface so they can self-serve and create their own reports. Metadata is exposed via XML using the Common Warehouse Metamodel (CWM), an open-industry standard format for the expression of metadata that Informatica, Business Objects and others already support in their BI tools. Pentaho is built natively around the CWM, so it would be easy for customers to integrate with metadata they may already have in other tools. Pentaho spent a lot of time looking at where other BI solutions had failed with their metadata implementation in order to make sure that Pentaho didn't make the same mistakes. The standards-based approach is one that so far is serving Pentaho well and is why it isn't part of the Open Solutions Alliance (OSA), an effort that aims to make open source solutions interoperate with each other. Open source BI vendor Jaspersoft plays a large role in the organization.

See also: OMG Common Warehouse Metamodel (CWM)

SOA Consortium Elects Steering Committee
Kurt Mackie, Application Development Trends

The SOA Consortium, an advocacy group of end users, service providers and solution vendors centered on fostering service-oriented architecture (SOA) technologies, has elected its Steering Committee and established a new strategy group. The Consortium is also looking at building a case study with one of the larger potential SOA users — the U.S. Army. SOA is a way of handling loosely coupled applications across various silos, and the Army presents a tough case. It has multiple solutions running on different platforms in spread-out locations. The Army currently is conducting a Lifecycle Management Methodology (LCMM) project for its software operations and is looking at SOA as a way to manage its infrastructure in a less costly manner. The LCMM project is focusing on architecture, governance and change management issues, among others. The Consortium eventually hopes to add the Army to its SOA case studies list, which presents success-story summaries of SOA projects across various industries, big and small. From the announcement: "The SOA Consortium met recently in Jacksonville, Florida where it elected its Steering Committee, chartered a new Strategy Group, kicked off the 'SOA Consortium Army Adoption Project,' and recorded a new podcast on the relationship between SOA and BPM. The SOA Consortium is an advocacy group of end users, service providers and technology vendors committed to helping the Global 1000, major government agencies, and mid-market businesses successfully adopt Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) by 2010. Sponsors are BEA Systems, Inc., Cisco, IBM Corporation, SAP AG, and Sparx Systems... The SOA Consortium charted the new Strategy Group 'Generating Business Value from SOA.' Ashwini Ahuja, SDG, and Brian Erickson, Hitachi Consulting are leading this new strategy. The Generating Business Value from SOA strategy is focused on building awareness and linkages between business operations and information technology professionals on approaches for using SOA to enable business process improvement initiatives (e.g., BPM, Six Sigma, LEAN etc.).

ISO Schematron Gets More Standards Uptake
Rick Jelliffe, O'Reilly Articles

W3C's Services Modeling Language group has two new drafts out: Services Modeling Language 1.1 (latest version) and Service Modeling Language Interchange Format Version 1.1 (latest version). SML comes out of the XML activity at W3C, not the WS-* activity, so it seems more aimed at working on top of POX (plain ole' XML) systems. It has representation from IBM, Sun, BEA, CA, Intel, HP and a Microsoft. WS has a bad rep at the moment for over-engineering, but that is partly because many people have problems that they want to be solved by the almost-simplest possible technology. The would prefer erring on the side of modesty rather than grandiosity. SML has nothing directly to do with services despite the name, and nothing to do with modeling for that matter either: that just seems to be the use-case that has driven the development of a more general technology that takes seriously the problem 'How do we validate systems of documents, including documents held in multiple files and documents that transclude other documents?', which seems to be an entirely practical question to me: this is the kind of use case that should be driving XSD and DSDL development IMHO. In SML, definition documents are either schema documents that use W3C XML Schemas (with a completely reworked version of XSDs key/keyref mechanism allowed under appinfo that handles multi-file references), or rules documents that use ISO Schematron (vanilla XSLT query language with a slightly extended XPath). A whole Schematron schema is plonked into the appinfo element rather than using the Eddie Robertsson' minimal form for embedded Schematrom... In other Schematron news, I see that it is being used by the RELAXED online HTML validator, on SourceForge. This project is a good demonstration of using the ISO DSDL little schema langauges together: NVDL, RELAX NG, and Schematron. NVDL and RELAX NG are also used in Open XML, and ODF was defined using RELAX NG.

See also: Schematron references

Semantic-Web-Based Knowledge Management: Guest Editors' Introduction
John Davies, Miltiadis Lytras, Amit Sheth; IEEE Internet Computing

The Semantic Web promises to make Web-accessible data more amenable to machine processing. This special issue of "IEEE Internet Computing" presents several proposals for the Semantic Web. Hundreds of millions of users can now access several billion documents on the Web, and even larger data sets reside in organizations' intranets and Web-accessible databases — the so-called deep Web. As the amount of available data continues to grow rapidly, it's increasingly difficult for users to find, organize, access, and maintain the information they require. At the same time, the notion of the Semantic Web1 promises to make Web-accessible data more amenable to machine processing. The Semantic Web is about labeling (annotating) information so that computer systems (and humans) can process it more meaningfully. The semantics underlying such annotations usually come from ontologies, which encapsulate agreement among information creators and users with help from common nomenclature and the use of rich knowledge representation. We can distinguish three broad phases in knowledge-management trends in recent years. In the repository-centric phase, we had one or more central information repositories with a set of corporate contributors and reviewers. Second was the move to smaller, facilitated knowledge communities. Finally, a recent trend that includes social computing (the use of wikis, blogs, networking sites, collaborative filtering, and so on) and a less static view of knowledge and its representation has expanded and replaced previous knowledge-management archetypes. Knowledge sharing at a global level requires ontological agreements that support increased interoperability and integration reference layers. Several frameworks within knowledge-management theory set contexts for scientific debate. Some emphasize the knowledge life cycle, others the knowledge product, and many researchers have recently begun to emphasize the knowledge and social networking perspective, as previously described. The rapid adoption of Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 technologies adds to this picture a tight connection between knowledge management, social networks, and various implicit, formal, or powerful semantics.


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