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Last modified: October 30, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Tuesday, 30 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:
Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Extending XForms to Enable Rich Text Editing
Steve K. Speicher and Andy Smith, IBM developerWorks

XForms provides a strict processing model for XML content. The XForms standard defines controls (text input, combo boxes, text areas, and more) that allow for editing text within a given XML element or attribute. Using the proliferation of rich text editing across many Web-based applications (such as e-mail, blogs, and wikis), the XForms set of controls can be expanded to accommodate this. This article shows to extend the standard XForms set of controls to provide this rich text editing. There are many HTML and ECMAScript rich text editors for HTML content;for the purposes of this article, we use Dojo, and provide a sample using FCKEditor as well. Since we require XForms and a rich text editor, we also need a mechanism to bind the editor's content to an XForm's instance. This could be accomplished by writing a bunch of JavaScript or using another technology for binding user instance controls, called XML Binding Language (XBL). Mozilla XForms provides a way of extending existing user interface controls using XBL, which also makes this choice desirable. By following some of the integration rules defined by XForms, XBL, and a rich text editor, the end result is a simple and powerful addition to the XForms set of controls. This can further enable the application of XForms in a variety of applications, such as blogs, e-mails, social networking sites, and more. These can then leverage the built-in capabilities of XForms for validation, XML submission, declarative programming, and more.

See also: XML and Forms

Give Your Applications Mapping Capabilities, Part 1
Bruno Zambetti,

Some of the most interesting features of modern web sites are based on Geographical Information System (GIS) technologies. GIS techniques essentially give you a way to manage and show geographical data in your systems. For example, a manufacturing company can display a map showing every building it occupies, every office in a building, or the location of every sale it makes (worldwide), or a cab company can use GIS data to track the position of its cabs nearly in real time. Not too long ago, the expense and rarity of the maps themselves hindered the use of GIS data in applications, but today, full-featured maps are available through Google Maps, Google Earth, and Microsoft Virtual Earth (among others) that you can use to display your GIS data in web applications. The advent of such mapping systems is one of the most exciting technologies to emerge in the last few years—and they're still undergoing constant and rapid evolution. Today, you can easily collect geographical data, analyze and filter that data, and merge it with a mapping provider to create maps that display the data to your users. This article gives you a launch point by exploring what GIS data is, how to collect it, and how to manage it. The first step in developing a GIS business system is to collect the geographical data, a process interchangeably called geomapping or geocoding. Both terms refer to the process of retrieving the real-world position of the objects or places you want to map. This process is simple for single-pointed objects, either static or moving, such as a building, a car, an antenna -- objects you would show as a point on a map. But the process becomes more difficult when you want to map lines and areas. Fortunately, the technologies involved are basically the same; first you learn how to work with points, and then you extend the process to work with lines (pairs of points) and then areas (sequences of lines)... An example Google Earth XML structure is written in an XML language called Keyhole Markup Language (KML). The most important portion of the code is the 'Point' element, which defines a point using the 'coordinates' node; the 'coordinates' node takes three comma-separated values that specify longitude, latitude, and altitude... Getting started with GID applications is quite simple: you collect points via GPS or existing maps, and render them using a mapping application. You don't need expensive hardware, and you can write simple software without too much work. With a little effort, you can write exciting business applications that feature 2D maps or 3D earth-rendering systems.

Microsoft Sets Oslo Project for Model-Centric Applications
Paul Krill, InfoWorld

Microsoft has unveiled what could be an industry-changing effort in application modeling and SOA with its "Oslo" project—which could significantly change the equation in the Windows application deployment space. Part of Oslo involves delivering a unified platform integrating services and modeling, Microsoft said. But instead of models describing the application, models are the applications themselves. Oslo is a codename for a set of technical investments that will be delivered in the next major versions of Microsoft's platform products; these products include Visual Studio, System Center, BizTalk Server, BizTalk Services, and the .Net Framework. Beta releases of Oslo technology are due in 2008. With Oslo, Microsoft is making investments aligned with a vision to simplify the effort needed to build, deploy, and manage composite applications within and across organizations. The effort builds on model-driven and service-enabled principles and extends SOA beyond the firewall. Featured in Oslo are three fundamental components: a modeling environment, a business process server, including a significant evolution of BizTalk Server, and a new deployment model. BizTalk Server "6," will continue to offer technology for distributed SOA and BPM and include capabilities for composite applications. BizTalk Services "1," which provides BizTalk capabilities within the cloud, will feature Web-based services for hosting composite applications that cross organizational boundaries; advanced messaging, identity, and workflow will be featured. Metadata repositories will be aligned across server and tools products, including System Center "5," Visual Studio "10," and BizTalk Server "6." Each will utilize repository technology for managing, versioning, and deployment models. Release dates of Oslo-driven products have not been set.

See also: the announcement

SOA Grid: Grid-Enabled SOA for Scalability
Kurt Mackie, Application Development Trends

The use of data-grid technology in service-oriented architectures (SOAs) was the subject of a keynote address at the first annual IT Architect Regional Conference in San Diego, which took place last week. Dave Chappell, Oracle's VP and chief technologist for SOA, spoke on the topic of "Next Generation Grid Enabled SOA" at the IASA event. Chappell described the sort of problems that happen when processing large amounts of XML data and trying to ensure reliability and scalability in an SOA. Oracle's model for grid-enabled SOA stems from technology that the company acquired about seven or eight months ago when it acquired Tangosol. Oracle now offers this technology for mission-critical applications, typically involving extreme transaction processing, through its Coherence product line. A few noteworthy technologies and concepts have helped enable SOAs, including: (1) The use of business process orchestration tools, such as Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) engines; (2) Basic SOA patterns for building composite apps that are constructed from service functionalities; (3) Loose coupling and modularity. However, in the process of using these technologies—and by choosing to use XML as the means for exchanging data between apps and services—the size of the data that is being shipped around has been inflated by a factor of five, Chappell said. With SOA, application silos are separated out and exposed as services. Such an arrangement presents problems in how to share and manage information across these services.

Radar Networks Ties Together Web 2.0, Semantic Web With 'Twine'
Antone Gonsalves, Information Week

This article presents an online knowledge management service that ties together social networking, wikis, and blogging with RDF, OWL, SPARQL, and XSL technologies. Startup Radar Networks has launched in private beta an online knowledge management system that's among the first to use computer-driving semantic Web technologies to find and organize information for people. Called Twine, the service was unveiled at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco last week. The service has elements of Web 2.0 technologies, such as social networking, wikis, and blogging, but goes a step further with an underlying platform built on Web 3.0 technologies defined by the Worldwide Web Consortium. Those technologies include RDF (Resource Definition Framework), OWL (a markup language), SPARQL (an RDF query language), and XSL (Extensible Stylesheet Language). In general, the service enables a person, or groups of people, to organize information and share it with others. People can upload contacts, pictures, and documents from their desktops, and save text, videos, and images from Web sites. Twine also uses software agents to import content and metadata from other sites, based on the knowledge the system builds about the user... Data brought into Twine is analyzed and tagged, with the system understanding if the keywords refer to people, places, or things. The tags are listed on a user's Twine page. Clicking on the keyword will bring up all the related information saved by the user or shared by other people in his network. Radar Networks, funded by Leapfrog Ventures and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's Vulcan Capital, believes that the semantic Web will enable it to build a knowledge network that provides users with a richer experience than other services using older technologies.

See also: Tim O'Reilly's blog

REST Easy With the JavaBeans Activation Framework (JAF)
Jeff Hanson, Java World Magazine

This article introduces REST and JAF. Using a sample Web application that tracks requests and responses through a Java servlet-based system, the author shows how JAF facilitates the exchange of data in REST-based systems. REST is a style of software architecture and a collection of architecture principles for distributed systems that stipulates mechanisms for defining and accessing resources. REST can be used to describe a framework that transmits data over a protocol, such as HTTP, without additional semantic layers or session management. REST defines a separation of concerns and stateless conversations that simplify the actors and communication semantics in a distributed system. Within REST, media types are exchanged using standard message verbs. The goal of REST is to simplify the implementation of actors in a client/server system by maintaining a strict separation of concerns. JAF is a standard extension to the Java platform that presents a framework of Java-based APIs and components in which resources represented by Java objects or beans are recognized and accessed. AF defines APIs that are used to register and discover data by content or Multi-purpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) type. Standard methods defined by JAF components then can be used to instantiate data handlers, on which commands and operations are performed to access and modify the data. JAF (1) Lets arbitrary data for a Java object or bean be registered and discovered according to content or MIME type using consistent APIs; (2) Presents standard methods for discovering the operations and commands that are available for data encapsulated by a Java object or bean; (3) Presents data handlers supporting commands and methods to access and modify date encapsulated by a Java object or bean. With JAF, developers use standard APIs to determine the content type of data for a given resource encapsulated by a Java object or bean. For example, an image resource in JAF might be identified by a content or MIME type of 'image/png'. A DataHandler component representing the image then could be used to access and modify the content of the image using the same standard streaming operations that would be used to access and modify content from a component representing an XML document, that is, a component with a content type of 'application/atom+xml'.

See also: JavaBeans Activation Framework Specification V1.1.1

Field Report: MIX Proves XBRL Handles More than Statutory Reporting
Robert D. Kugel, Iintelligent Enterprise

Most people who have heard of Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) associate it with regulatory submissions. U.S.-based public companies have the option of filing XBRL-tagged results with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), but it is used more intensively elsewhere. For example, XBRL is now mandatory for companies listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange (among others), and banks now routinely use XBRL to file financial reports with the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Bank of Japan and other oversight bodies. XBRL has the potential to be even more useful than this, particularly since the "extensible" aspect of the language means that any organization can create its own taxonomy to collect any kind of information. One organization that is pulling in both standard accounting information and other performance metrics is the Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX). MIX uses a microfinance-specific version of the International Financial Reporting System (IFRS) taxonomy, so the accounting data adheres to a broadly supported standard. And because XBRL is extensible, it enables MIX to add its own taxonomy for social reporting metrics. Extensibility facilitates the evolution of the information MIX collects and allows it to make apples-to-apples comparisons over time. MIX is in the final stages of system development and will open its XBRL-enabled system to participating institutions soon. MIX is an early example of how organizations other than financial regulators will use XBRL to manage the exchange of data among multiple entities (corporations, nonprofits, nongovernmental organizations and others). This is especially true because XBRL allows the data collection process to have low overhead and take a lowest-common-denominator approach.

See also: the XBRL FAQ document

World Wide Web Consortium Launches Office In Brazil
Staff, W3C Announcement

W3C announced the launch of its first W3C Office in South America: the W3C Brazil Office, hosted by the (Brazilian Network Information Center) institute, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. W3C looks forward to increasing interaction with the Portuguese-speaking community through this Office. Moreover, the current IT landscape in Brazil aligns with exciting current trends at W3C, such as mobile Web, Web applications, and video on the Web. Brazil ranks with Russia, India and China—countries identified by the acronym BRIC in a 2003 report by the Goldman Sachs Investment Bank—as a rapidly growing emerging economy. According to the report, these economies together may well surpass most of today's richest countries by the year 2050. Initiatives from the private sector and efforts by government agencies have promoted investment in business and infrastructure, from domestic and international investors alike. Brazil's diversity places the country in a position of distinction in the South American continent and strongly influences the attraction of foreign investment. It is the fifth largest country on the planet, responsible for a very promising, predominantly urban, market. Approximately 40 million Brazilians have Internet access, the highest number of Internet users of any country in Latin America. Telecommunications Industry News reported in October 2007 that the number of wireless users in Brazil exceeds 112 million. Brazilian companies compete effectively in a global market, and have delivered world class solutions in areas of mobile banking, open-source technology, Web accessibility, wireless Internet access, games industry, e-government solutions and HD digital television. Regarding HDTV, the development of a specific model of digital television turns the Brazilian market into a gigantic laboratory for studying the application of that technology. As its Members work to realize the full potential of the Web, W3C collaborates with regional organizations wishing to further W3C's mission. The W3C Offices assist with promotion efforts in local languages, help broaden W3C's geographical base, and encourage international participation in W3C Activities. W3C has Offices in Australia; the Benelux countries; Brazil; China; Finland; Germany and Austria; Greece; Hungary; India; Israel; Italy; Korea; Morocco; Southern Africa; Spain; Sweden; and the United Kingdom and Ireland.

See also: the Brazilian W3C web site

Selected from the Cover Pages, by Robin Cover

XForms 1.0 Third Edition Published as a W3C Recommendation

W3C has announced the publication of "XForms 1.0 (Third Edition)" as a W3C Recommendation, signifying that there is significant support for the specification from the Advisory Committee, the W3C Team, W3C Working groups, and the public. Forms are an important part of the Web, and they continue to be the primary means for enabling interactive Web applications. Web applications and electronic commerce solutions have sparked the demand for better Web forms with richer interactions. XForms 1.0 is the response to this demand, and provides a new platform-independent markup language for online interaction between a person (through an XForms Processor) and another agent, usually remote. XForms is an XML application that represents the next generation of forms for the Web. It splits traditional XHTML forms into three parts: XForms model, instance data, and user interface. By this means, XForms separates presentation from content, allows reuse, and provides strong typing. This design reduces the number of round-trips to the server, and offers device independence with a reduced need for scripting. XForms 1.0 XForms strives to improve authoring, reuse, internationalization, accessibility, and overall usability. The XForms Recommendation document responds to implementor feedback, brings the XForms 1.0 Recommendation up to date with second edition errata, and reflects clarifications already implemented in XForms processors. W3C reports that the Recommendation-level specification contains 343 diffs that have significantly hardened XForms for enterprise deployment. The XForms 1.0 Third Edition Test Suite was used in interoperability testing, including tests for: Document Structure; Processing Model; Datatypes; Model Item Properties; XPath Expressions in XForms; Form Controls; XForms User Interface; XForms Actions; Submit Function; XForms and Styling. More than twenty-five (25) XForms Implementations were reported as of 2007-10-29.


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