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Last modified: October 15, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Monday, 15 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:

jQuery and XML
Uche Ogbuji,

Whether you're an admirer of AJAX, or one who can't stand all the hype, if you're a web developer you must admit that it's proven very useful in driving explosive competition among JavaScript utility libraries. And the embarrassment of riches keeps on growing. jQuery "is a fast, concise, JavaScript Library that simplifies how you traverse HTML documents, handle events, perform animations, and add Ajax interactions to your web pages." jQuery emerged a couple of years ago to great acclaim for its performance, elegant design, and handy features, and now it's one of the most popular JavaScript frameworks. jQuery offers a lot of facilities, but it's best known for offering a cross-browser model for accessing and manipulating web page elements that means you don't have to deal with the endless pain of DOM. jQuery can be used for XML processing on the Web as well as HTML processing, and in this article I show some examples of this use. The most cross-platform way to process XML these days is by using XMLHttpRequest. We can hope overall browser support of XML improves, but I start by showing how you can use jQuery to load and manipulate XML from an HTML web page... jQuery has no selectors that understand XML namespaces. Even prior to version 1.2 when there was an option for XPath-like selectors, there was no namespaces support. This doesn't mean you can't use jQuery to process XML with namespaces. It just means you may have to sometimes take the escape hatch to DOM... JavaScript libraries are a matter of taste, and we can just thank our stars there is one for just about any taste. I came to enjoy jQuery because it made processing mainstream web content so much easier, and when I tried to make it do cool things with XML, I was pleased with how many things did just work, though some of the blind alleys were a bit unexpected.

See also: the jQuery web site

Eclipse Unwraps RAP
Darryl K. Taft, eWEEK

The Eclipse Foundation is rolling out Eclipse Rich AJAX Platform 1.0, a freely downloadable AJAX server for creating and deploying rich Internet applications. RAP 1.0 is the first Asynchronous JavaScript and XML platform that allows developers to create RIAs using the Eclipse component model, based on the Open Services Gateway Initiative standard. OSGi is a service-oriented, component-based environment that promotes the interoperability of applications and services, Eclipse officials said. Organizations using RAP are now able to create AJAX applications and RIAs that are component-based and integrate into existing enterprise systems. Innoopract, a longtime Eclipse member, is the leader of the Eclipse AJAX Toolkit Framework. From the announcement: "RAP 1.0 includes features well-suited for enterprises that are building a large number of new applications based on Ajax and RIA technologies. These features include: (1) The ability to create and deploy RIA or RCP applications from the same Java code base, allowing organizations the flexibility to create browser-based RIA application or desktop-based rich client applications. (2) Support for creating Ajax applications based on the OSGi component model. (3) Java development tools that tightly integrate with the Eclipse platform and allow developers to quickly develop, test, debug and deploy RIA applications. (4) A complete set of frameworks for creating Ajax applications that support scalable user interfaces, complex widgets, databinding and loose coupling for UI elements."

See also: the announcement

New Draft of ISO DSDL Part-8 (DSRL) Out for Review
Rick Jelliffe, O'Reilly Articles

Martin Bryan has released the latest FCD draft (second final committee draft) for ISO DSRL. He has an open source implementation available too: like some of the other parts of ISO DSDL (Schematron and DTLL) it is designed to be implementable on top of XSLT (XSLT2 in this case) however of course it can be implemented in Java or .NET or C++ directly too: DSRL is certainly suitable for building into a validator as a pre-processor, in a way a little analogous to OASIS XML Catalogs. DSRL is a real missing piece in the puzzle: it provides a simple tool for remapping names in documents. This allows a more declarative approach than just using XSLT, and makes the task of mapping suitable for non-programmers. It fits into the schema ecosystem because it lets you rename the names in your document to suit that of a standard schema. It is only about 18 pages long, including examples, and easy to read. We are used to saying that 'syntax is easy; semantics is hard'. But even syntax is not easy without straightforward tools. Just last week I was working with an example of a company that was considering using an standard external schema, but wanted to use its own terms for things where they existed. Exactly a job for DSRL! DSRL allows these kinds of mapping, and I think that like ISO Schematron and ISO NVRL it will progressively become part of the schema environment for standards, especially outside the English-speaking world, and especially because XML is the structured format 'for the rest of us'. Even the most tragic XML Schema devotee realizes that there needs to be some limits to XSDs scope, and DRSL (and Schematron and NVRL) have a good fit even with XSD. (Of course, we designed them around RELAX NG, but standards are pragmatics not religions.) DSRL allows the following remappings -- organized into a series of maps that typically relate to an output namespace: Element names (in an Xpath context); Attribute names; Element simple values; Attribute values; Default values for elements or attributes (including the subelement after which the content may go, in the case of an element: mixed content is not ignored!); Processing instruction targets; Entity names (e.g. for undeclared entity references). In addition, a new XML-based syntax for defining entities is given. Note: Document Semantics Renaming Language (DSRL) is Part 8 in the 10-part Document Schema Definition Languages (DSDL) ISO/IEC specification.

See also: DSDL Part 8 references

A First Look at IBM's Symphony Office Suite
Michael S. Lasky, InfoWorld Software Review

IBM's new Lotus Symphony office suite, now available as a public beta, does much of what the $400 Standard edition of Microsoft Office does, only at a much better price: It's free. Symphony supports both Windows (XP, Vista, 2000) and Linux operating systems. It is comprised of three applications: a word processor (Lotus Symphony Documents), a spreadsheet (Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets), and a presentation creator (Lotus Symphony Presentations). Each application can open and save in a variety of file formats, including Office (2003/XP/97; not 2007) and ODF (Open Document Format), as well as save files as PDFs. Unlike Microsoft Office, which makes you launch its applications separately, the entire Symphony suite opens in a single window with a tabbed interface that integrates all three applications. The feature set and cosmetics of the three applications mirrors Lotus's Symphony office suite from the 1990s, and the look and feel will be familiar to any Office user. IBM says that version 1.0 of Symphony will be available in the first quarter of 2008, and it will still be free of charge. That's a good thing, as the zero price point is Lotus Symphony's best calling card. It's an efficient program with a handsome interface but with feature enhancements still to be made. While powerful, it certainly does not rival Office's robust capabilities—yet.

Bridging XML, E4X and JSON
Kurt Cagle, O'Reilly Opinion

Efforts have been underway recently to develop a schema language for JSON, analogous to the XML Schema Definition Language (XSD) or RelaxNG languages in the XML arena. Similarly, a JSON transformation language is being proposed and bandied about in various AJAX circles as web2 developers attempt to take the best of what XML has to offer and recast it from the angle-bracket modality to the braced modality... The [JSON] notation is short, sweet, easy to code and is consistent with normal JavaScript practices. This simplicity in both declaring and working with JavaScript (and by extension with JSON) raises significant questions about whether in fact JSON may in fact be better in this role of web communication than XML. Admittedly, JSON does have some limitations. One of the most compelling is the fact that JSON has no intrinsic concept of namespace. Namespaces are not universally loved in the XML world, but as people work with an ever larger gamut of XML, the advantages of namespaces usually become apparent quickly. What this means in practice is that while it is possible to use lexical namespace constructs, in JSON, they are only coding conventions—there is no intrinsic capability within JavaScript for differentiating on namespaces. Another problem faced by JSON is what I call the ABA dilemma. A JavaScript object, like any hash or associate array system, can effectively store only one 'name' at any given level of object. However, it can (and indeed should) be argued that the principle role of JSON is to act as a lightweight object transport envelope, not a document one, and the ABA problem usually occurs very seldom in object representations. I've deliberately held off discussing EcmaScript for XML (e4x) here, because, at least for Mozilla Firefox and Adobe Flash, e4x readily addresses all of the same issues that JSON does... I'd like to push a proposal to both the XML and AJAX communities, something that I think needs to be taken up by the W3C, the OpenAJAX alliance and especially. Establish a set of conventions within JSON that most readily facilitate JSON being used in an XML context. These conventions should be syntactical, things that can be done with hash key naming conventions that can be picked up by a JSON/XML bridge to transform between the two formats.

See also: James Clark on XML and JSON

W3C Publishes Mobile Ajax Workshop Report
Staff, W3C Announcement

W3C announced the publication of a report on the Workshop on Mobile Ajax co-sponsored by W3C and the OpenAjax Alliance. The report was written by the Jon Ferraiolo and reviewed by Daniel Appelquist (the two co-chairs for the workshop). Among areas the Workshop identified as needing attention are JavaScript access to device APIs, offline/ disconnected operation, widgets, mashups and security. The Workshop was held in Mountain View, CA, USA, hosted by Microsoft. Some of the position papers called for new standards efforts across a spectrum of topics. Implicit in these proposals is the general notion that if the industry can agree on key standards, then the industry would be unleashed to pursue major innovations due to cost efficiencies achieved due to unification of the delivery platform. The attendees listed many candidates for standards activities: local caching, smart caching, APIs to device capabilities, key mapping, security, mashups, microformats for PIM information, server push, DOM extensions for mobile, CSS extensions for mobile, and best practices. Bennett Marks (Nokia) announced that OMA browser 2.4 include XHR and will be the last browser standard they will develop. OMA has concluded that full browsers will be sufficiently ubiquitous soon enough, so it does not make sense to do further updates of the OMA mobile browser subset standards. However, standards take years to develop and the marketplace is moving quickly. There was general agreement that standards activities are not good places for invention and sometimes better when attempting standards to achieve market consolidation.

See also: the W3C news item

Spring Tool Suite: Next-Gen JEE Development
John Dorsey, DDJ

Interface21, developer of Spring application framework has announced that it will partner with Tasktop Technologies, creator of the Eclipse Mylyn project, to develop the Spring Tool Suite, an integrated set of tools featuring Mylyn's task-focused user interface for building enterprise Java applications. The suite will allow teams of developers to more easily manage very large applications by emphasizing the relevant portions a developer is working on, with more-graphical, more-easy to navigate views, while minimizing the parts of the structure that aren't relevant in that particular context. The Spring Tool Suite will include support for: (1) The latest Spring 2.0 features, including namespace-based configurations; (2) Spring Web Flow, including an extension to WTP's XML editor for content assist, hyperlinking, validation, and graphical editing; (3) Tools for Spring Aspect-oriented programming based development, including support for validating configurations and visualization of cross cutting references; (4) Spring Java configuration. The partners plan to continue co-evolve both Spring Tools Suite and the open-source projects that it's built upon, thereby avoiding the pitfall of having tool development lag behind the advances in the Java language and libraries. For Interface21 subscription customers, the Spring Tool Suite will assist in training as well as in application development. The suite will contain training materials embedded along with Mylyn-based task contexts to walk through building Spring applications. The user interface will automatically trigger wizards and create projects, displaying only the parts of the JDK, Spring Framework and so on that are relevant to what you're learning.

Cleversafe Distributes Open Source Storage
Sean Michael Kerner,

Open source storage startup Cleversafe is set to challenge the decades-old RAID approach to distributing storage with its global Dispersed Storage Network (DSN). With a traditional RAID array, data is striped across a number of disks, a fixed number of which are required to be operational for the data to be recreated. With its new DSN release, Cleversafe is allowing users to specify how many locations the data will be sliced across and how many active nodes a user will need in order to recreate the data. In Cleversafe's initial release, the software required a fixed 11 nodes in order to have a DSN setup, with six nodes required to recreate the data. With the new release the user has the flexibility to specify the size of the network and the number of nodes required for recovery. So for example an enterprise could set up a DSN with eight nodes and specify that they only need three of them to recover the data. Cleversafe's DSN uses a mathematical formula known as the Cauchy Reed-Solomon Information Dispersal Algorithm (IDA) when slicing data. Each data slice on its own is unusable, so the GPL version 2 for its DSN software in order to help grow the ecosystem and the technology. GPL is a reciprocal license and requires developers to add code to the DSN to contribute it back into the project. Beyond the open source code, Cleversafe has also patented at least four inventions related to DSN, with more to follow. There is no conflict between GPL v2 and Cleversafe's patents, according to the company.

See also: the Cleversafe Open Source web site


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