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Last modified: November 02, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Friday, 02 November 2007

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

This issue of XML Daily Newslink is sponsored by:
Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Election Markup Language (EML) Version 5.0 Submitted for OASIS Approval
John Borras (ed), OASIS Approved Committee Specification

OASIS announced that the Election and Voter Services Technical Committee has submitted the "Election Markup Language (EML) Version 5.0" specification as an approved (CS 01) Committee Specification for consideration as an OASIS Standard. A membership vote on the specification is scheduled for November 16, 2007 through November 30, 2007. Institutional representatives from Accenture, Boynings Consulting Ltd, EDS, Election Systems & Software, IBM, Opt2Vote Ltd, Oracle, Secstan, and University of California (Berkeley) are current members of the TC. The OASIS TC to was chartered to develop a standard for the structured interchange among hardware, software, and service providers who engage in any aspect of providing election or voter services to public or private organizations which is multinational (global acceptance), flexible (effective across different voting regimes and voting channels), multilingual, adaptable (support elections in private and public sectors), and secure. Members of the TC have been liaising very closely with the IEEE Voting System Electronic Data Interchange Project 1622, and their draft specification is seen as a compatible subset and USA localisation of EML. EML is designed to be flexible for use in elections and referendums that are primarily paper-based or that are fully e-enabled. The EML v5.0 four-part specification includes (1) EML Version 5.0 Process and Data Requirements, edited by John Borras; it describes the background and purpose of the Election Markup Language, the electoral processes from which it derives its structure and the security and audit mechanisms it is designed to support; (2) EML Data Dictionary, which defines the data used in the processes and required to be handled by the XML schemas, providing in tabular format information for each Data Element Name the EML schema type, list of schemas in which the data element ocurs, and W3C XML Schema (xs:) type; (3) EML Version 5.0 Schema Descriptions, which provides an explanation of the core schemas used throughout, definitions of the simple and complex datatypes, plus the EML schemas themselves and also covers the conventions used in the specification and the use of namespaces, as well as the guidance on the constraints, extendibility, and splitting of messages; (4) EML Version 5.0 XML schemas serialized in some 42 separate XSD files, also available in ZIP format.

See also: the OASIS Election and Voter Services Technical Committee

Device Independent Authoring Language (DIAL) Part 0: Primer
Kevin Smith (ed), W3C Technical Report

W3C announced that the Ubiquitous Web Applications Working Group has published a Working Draft for DIAL Part 0: Primer, updating the earlier document of 2006-10-10. This document provides an introduction to, and the benefits of, DIAL (the Device Independent Authoring Language). The most recent DIAL specification Working Draft (2007-07) defines a markup language for the filtering and presentation of Web page content available across different delivery contexts. This will facilitate an optimal user experience following adaptation of the DIAL instance document. DIAL is a language profile based on existing W3C XML vocabularies and CSS modules. These provide standard mechanisms for representing Web page structure, presentation and form interaction. The DIAL also makes use of the DISelect metadata vocabulary ("Content Selection for Device Independence—DISelect") for overcoming the authoring challenges ("Authoring Challenges for Device Independence") inherent in authoring for multiple delivery contexts. The DIAL Primer summarizes the concept of device independence, the scenarios in which it could be used, and the considerations in order to achieve that goal. It then describes the role of DIAL in ensuring the delivery of content suitable for the user, device and inherent circumstances in which it was requested. DIAL facilitates writing a Web page that can be presented by a range of devices, with differing capabilities and states; and consumed by users with differing preferences and entitlements (such varying conditions are illustrated in 'Delivery context characteristics'). This is achieved by allowing authors to declare authorial intent as to the conditions under which content should be chosen or filtered. When a request is made for a DIAL document, it must pass through at least one DIAL processor before being presented to the requesting user. DIAL processors may exist at any of the server, optional intermediary adaptation, or client layers. Their role is to determine whether to select or filter out blocks of content marked up with DISelect expressions. The evaluation of these expressions requires the processor to query the Delivery Context so that the decision to select or filter content involves the specific conditions under which the request was made. After all DIAL processing is complete, all content selections will have been resolved. Since DIAL implements XHTML 2.0 metadata extensions, it allows other metadata standards to be plugged in to allow content to be selected or excluded for rendering based on variable business rules. These could include flagging the nature of the content (such as erotic or violent), or by indicating that it should only be shown in a certain location or time of day. W3C's Ubiquitous Web Applications Working Group was chartered through March 31, 2009, seeking to simplify the creation of distributed Web applications involving a wide diversity of devices, including desktop computers, office equipment, home media appliances, mobile devices (phones), physical sensors and effectors (including RFID and barcodes).

See also: the W3C news item

Conference Information Data Model for Centralized Conferencing (XCON)
O. Novo, G. Camarillo, D. Morgan, R. Even; IETF Internet Draft

Members of the IETF Centralized Conferencing (XCON) Working Group have released an updated draft for the "Conference Information Data Model for Centralized Conferencing (XCON)" specification. The document defines an Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based conference information data model for centralized conferencing (XCON). A conference information data model is designed to convey information about the conference and about participation in the conference. The conference information data model defined in this document constitutes an extension of the data format specified in the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Event Package for Conference State. Appendix A supplies a Non-Normative RELAX NG Schema in XML format. Conference objects are a fundamental concept in Centralized Conferencing, as described in the "Centralized Conferencing Framework." A conference object contains data that represents a conference during each of its various stages (e.g., created/creation, reserved/reservation, active/activation, completed/completion). A conference object contains the core information of a conference (i.e., capabilities, membership, call control signaling, media, etc.) and specifies who, and in which way that information can be manipulated. A conference object can be manipulated using a conference control protocol at a conference server. The conference object represents a particular instantiation of a conference information data model. The core data set called the 'conference information data model' is defined in this document using an Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based language. The data model specified in this document is the result of extending the data format defined in RFC 4575 (A Session Initiation Protocol - SIP) with new elements. Examples of such extensions include scheduling elements, media control elements, floor control elements, non-SIP URIs, and addition of localization extensions to text elements. This data model can be used by conference servers providing different types of basic conferences. It is expected that this data model can be further extended with new elements in the future in order to implement additional advanced features.

See also: XCON/SIMPLE-Based Chatrooms

DITA for Enterprise Business Documents Subcommittee Proposal Background
Ann Rockley and Michael Boses, OASIS Committee Proposal

Members of the OASIS Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) TC have published a proposal for a Subcommittee focusing on 'Enterprise Business Documents'. The proposal document presents a brief discussion of the increasing usage of DITA for a broad range of narrative business documents that has led to a proposal for a DITA Enterprise Business Documents Subcommittee. It includes preliminary goals of the committee, and a discussion of the rationale for each goal. From the accompanying message: "In the past year, a growing number of organizations have come to believe that DITA not only provides the best basis from which to start addressing their requirements for structured authoring of narrative business documents, but that characteristics of DITA simplify the usability issues as well. The DITA standard is so compelling, that the absence of a sub-committee focus on narrative business documents has not stopped several organizations from embarking on the use of DITA for this purpose. Many of us who are currently engaged in DITA-based business document projects feel that this is an ideal time for the DITA technical committee to support the efforts of these business users with standardized approaches and experienced-based guidance. For your consideration at the next open Technical Committee agenda, we propose that the Technical Committee officially establish an Enterprise Business Document subcommittee. Attached are the name, goals, deliverables, chair, and initial membership for this proposed subcommittee. A background document has been uploaded to the OASIS site and may be accessed by interested parties."

See also: the Subcommittee proposal

XML 1.0: Possible Relaxation of Restrictions on Element/Attribute Names
Paul Grosso, Memo to XML-BLUEBERRY-COMMENTS Mailing List

Excerpt from the memo requesting user feedback: "Since XML 1.1 became a W3C Recommendation in August 2006, there has been a substantial uptake of it as a peer of XML 1.0 in new and ongoing W3C work. This is appropriate, as XML 1.1 was explicitly not designed to replace XML 1.0, but to supplement it for the benefit of various groups against which XML 1.0 had unjustly, but unintentionally, discriminated. However, there are very few XML 1.1 documents in the wild. The XML Core WG believes this to be the result of a vicious cycle, in which widely distributed XML parsers do not support 1.1 because the parser authors believe that few document authors will use it. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, as those who would benefit from XML 1.1 are rightfully concerned that documents written in it will not be widely acceptable... Unicode has expanded further to reach 5.0, and it is nowhere near complete with respect to the world's minority languages and writing systems. If XML 1.0 relaxed the restrictions on element and attribute names, those who preferred to retain the Appendix B constraints in their documents would be free to do so, but those who wish to use element and attribute names in languages normally written in any of the Ethiopic, Cherokee, Canadian Syllabics, Khmer, Mongolian, Yi, Philippine, New Tai Lue, Buginese, Syloti Nagri, N'Ko, and Tifinagh scripts will be able to do so, as will users of minority languages whose scripts appeared in Unicode 2.0 but were lacking essential letters for writing those languages... The XML Core WG assumes that if such an erratum were to be passed into XML 1.0, the XML 1.1 Recommendation would eventually be deprecated by the W3C. Paul Grosso, writing on behalf of the XML Core Working Group, notes that comments on all aspects of this possibility are earnestly solicited; please send them to the [publicly archived list] ''.

See also: the W3C XML Core Working Group

HELD Device Identity Extensions
James Winterbottom and Martin Thomson (eds), IETF Internet Draft

IETF has announced the publication of "HELD Device Identity Extensions," released by members of the Geographic Location/Privacy (GEOPRIV) Working Group. Protocols such as "HTTP Enabled Location Delivery (HELD)" need to identify a device in order to perform some task. Basic HELD only provides device identity through the IP address of the requesting Target, while ["GEOPRIV Layer 7 Location Configuration Protocol: Problem Statement and Requirements" provides examples of where this may be insufficent. This memo defines a set of URIs an a containment schema that allow the specification of device identity beyond source IP address and may be used with HELD and general presence documents as described in RFC 4479. This document defines a set of URIs for Device identities and a XML containment schema. These can be used in conjunction with HELD to provide Device identification beyond source IP Address. Examples and usage in HELD message syntax are provided. The details of this memo consist of a simple schema extension for HELD to support the inclusion of a device identity in the form of a URI or typed-token, and a set of URI definitions that can be used for device identities. The GEOPRIV WG was chartered to to assess the the authorization, integrity and privacy requirements that must be met in order to transfer such information, or authorize the release or representation of location information through an agent. As more and more resources become available on the Internet, some applications need to acquire geographic location information about certain resources or entities. These applications include navigation, emergency services, management of equipment in the field, and other location-based services.

See also: the IETF Geographic Location/Privacy (GEOPRIV) WG Status Pages

Best Practices for XML Internationalization
Yves Savourel and Jirka Kosek (eds), IETF Technical Report

W3C announced the publication of an updated version of the "Best Practices for XML Internationalization" specification. The document was developed by the Internationalization Tag Set (ITS) Working Group, part of the W3C Internationalization Activity. The ITS Working Group intends to publish this document as a Working Group Note before the end of December 2007. The document is a complement to the W3C Recommendation "Internationalization Tag Set (ITS) Version 1.0." That Recommendation defines data categories and their implementation as a set of elements and attributes called the Internationalization Tag Set (ITS). ITS is designed to be used with schemas to support the internationalization and localization of schemas and documents; an implementation is provided for three schema languages: XML DTD, XML Schema and RELAX NG. Not all internationalization-related issues can be resolved by the special markup described in the ITS Recommendation. The best practices in this document therefore go beyond application of ITS markup to address a number of problems that can be avoided by correctly designing the XML format, and by applying a few additional guidelines when developing content. The document is divided into two main sections: (1) The first one is intended for the designers and developers of XML applications, also referred to here as 'schemas' or 'formats'; (2) The second is intended for the XML content authors; this includes users modifying the original content, such as translators. "When Designing an XML Application" provides a list of some of the important design choices you should make in order to ensure the internationalization of your format. Section 4 "Generic Techniques" provides additional generic techniques such as writing ITS rules or adding an attribute to a schema; such techniques apply to many of the best practices. Section 5 "ITS Applied to Existing Formats" provides a set of concrete examples on how to apply ITS to existing XML based formats; this section illustrates many of the guidelines in the document. "When Authoring XML Content" provides a number of guidelines on how to create content with internationalization in mind. Many of these best practices are relevant regardless of whether or not your XML format was developed especially for internationalization. "Writing ITS Rules" provides practical guidelines on how to write ITS rules; such techniques may be useful when applying some of the more advanced authoring best practices.

See also: Markup and Multilingualism

OpenSocial Makes the Web Better
Joe Kraus, Google Announcement

This memo from Google Director of Product Management introduces OpenSocial, "a set of common APIs that make it easy to create and host social applications on the web." A tremendous amount of activity is occurring on social networks these days. Hundreds of millions of people share photos, rate movies, and throw virtual sheep at one another. But there's a problem: [not only] one or two social networks doing this, but ten or fifteen. Now, to get on all the social networks a developer has to customize their application for each one. When your "development team" is just one or two people, the proliferation of APIs forces you to make tough choices, because you can't do that much one-off work... OpenSocial allows developers to write an application once that will run anywhere that supports the OpenSocial APIs. OpenSocial applications use Google's gadget architecture but with extensions that provide programmatic access to social data within its container environment. Similar to Google Gadgets, OpenSocial apps are hosted XML documents with HTML/JavaScript within their bodies. Social apps have most of the infrastructure of Google Gadgets available to them but with a few minor exceptions... Social apps are initially created in the same manner as Google Gadgets: with your favorite text editor or within the Google Gadget Editor. They then can be augmented with the OpenSocial JavaScript APIs, where they can fetch and post social data about friends and activities. The Google Gadgets API consists of a few simple building blocks: XML, HTML, and JavaScript. To get started, all you need is a basic understanding of HTML. XML is a general purpose markup language. It describes structured data in a way that both humans and computers can read and write. XML is the language you use to write gadget specifications. A gadget is simply an XML file, placed somewhere on the internet where Google can find it. The XML file that specifies a gadget contains instructions on how to process and render the gadget. The XML file can contain all of the data and code for the gadget, or it can have references (URIs) for where to find the rest of the elements... Common APIs mean you have less to learn to build for multiple websites. OpenSocial is currently being developed by Google in conjunction with members of the web community. The ultimate goal is for any social website to be able to implement the APIs and host 3rd party social applications. There are many websites implementing OpenSocial, including, Friendster, hi5, Hyves, imeem, LinkedIn, MySpace, Ning, Oracle, orkut, Plaxo,, Six Apart, Tianji, Viadeo, and XING.

See also: the OpenSocial web site

Will OpenSocial Open Wallets for Google?
Clint Boulton, eWEEK

So how is this working out for Palo Alto, Calif.'s Facebook, which has seen the mad creation of some 7,000 food-fighting, sheep-throwing, slide-show presenting widgets pop up on the Web since it opened its platform May 24? Facebook, which a spokesperson said has "not been briefed on OpenSocial," and therefore is not sure if joining will benefit its 50 million users, declined to discuss dollar amounts with eWEEK. As Ovum's Bradshaw noted, Facebook pioneered the use of third-party widgets on its site, which has proven to be a success in terms of user enthusiasm and adoption. However, despite its lead in this area, Facebook requires programmers to use its proprietary APIs, while OpenSocial is built using standards such as HTML and JavaScript. This means widgets on Facebook will be a lot harder to deploy on other sites, and vice-versa, while OpenSocial widgets should be relatively easy to deploy to between sites, he said. So, for all those laughing at the amount of sheep flying or food being thrown between friends, remember that somewhere Google, Facebook and their armies of software developers are happily padding their coffers with your clicks.

The New Lightweight Service Models: A No-Brainer for SMB
David L. Margulius, InfoWorld

Google and Amazon are two of the companies offering Web-based services that let your enterprise focus on its strongest value-added layer. Last week I had an experience that drove home the giant leaps IT is making, particularly with Web-based service models. In my spare time, I've been developing a niche-content Web site. I'm user-testing it now, and the biggest user request has been for a search box. Developing on a shoestring, I'd written off search for version 1, thinking it would take months to build. Imagine my delight to find that Google just began offering a "business edition" of its custom search product, ad-free and with results delivered via XML into your pages, for as little as $100 per year for up to a 5,000-page site. Within five hours of my own tinkering time, I was up and running with site search. This is the future, ladies and gentlemen. Tap into the expertise and resources of larger, more specialized organizations and focus on the layer where you really add value. Here's an even better example: A friend of mine, Avery Lyford, has a company called Digisense, which provides secure data management (backup, archiving, recovery, and search) services to SMB customers through the managed service provider channel. Rather than building a gigantic datacenter and writing man-centuries of code to deliver this service, Digisense developed on top of best-of-breed resources and open source modules so that the company could focus its own brainpower on the key value-added security and management layers. The Digisense service, offered as a subscription through your managed service provider, consists of a small on-site appliance that encrypts and indexes the data locally before sending it out over a regular broadband connection for archiving to the Digisense back end. But where is the Digisense back end? It's at Amazon.

Wikipedia's Non-Profit Foundation Hits Fundraising Milestone
K.C. Jones, InformationWeek

The Wikimedia Foundation has attracted 10,000 fundraising contributors in nine days. The foundation's annual fundraiser supports the nonprofit organization that runs Wikipedia. The group announced Thursday that its 10,000th donation came from someone in Finland who donated 10 Euros. The total amount raised was not disclosed. The fundraiser, which began October 22, 2007 and continues until December 22, is held to support Wikipedia's online encyclopedia and the Foundation's other projects. Although users contribute material for free, the Foundation employs people to edit, monitor, and run the online encyclopedia, as well as other operations. Funds raised this year will help support programs that encourage the development of smaller-language Wikipedias, like the Wikipedia Academies occurring in Africa on Nov. 10 and Nov. 11. The Academies teach students, scholars, and community members how to edit Wikipedia. The Foundation hopes the work will help preserve endangered or lesser-known languages and record cultural knowledge for future generations. Most of the Foundation's revenue comes from private individuals, and donations average around $25.

The Holy Grail of Interoperability: A New Roadmap
Paul Downey, Programmatic Essay

Efforts to define and achieve "interoperability" have met with varying success, measured by variable levels of agreement between stakeholders (Web architects, sofware developers, application integration teams, and end users. SDOs and SSOs generally agree on the high-level goals, but find consensus on the actual path to success difficult in the extreme -- elusive, chimerical, maybe specious. Can anyone actually create a roadmap that includes all the WS-* and Un-WS-* standards? Paul Downey provides a sober, provocative essay on the prospects for success.

See also: the TBL contribution

Photos Lead to 3D Models of World Landmarks
Hannah Hickey, DDJ

More than 10 million members of the photo-sharing Web site Flickr snap pictures of their surroundings and then post those photos on the Internet. One group of researchers is doing the reverse—downloading thousands of photos from Flickr and using them to recreate the original scenes. In a technical paper "Multi-View Stereo for Community Photo Collections" then describe how photos from online sites such as Flickr can be used to create a virtual 3D model of landmarks, including Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and the Statue of Liberty in New York City. The long-term vision is to be able to reconstruct the detailed geometry of all the structures on the surface of the Earth. Many people are working toward that goal, but by using online collections this work brings in a whole new source of imagery and level of detail. The paper abstract: "We present a multi-view stereo algorithm that addresses the extreme changes in lighting, scale, clutter, and other effects in large online community photo collections. Our idea is to intelligently choose images to match, both at a per-view and per-pixel level. We show that such adaptive view selection enables robust performance even with dramatic appearance variability. The stereo matching technique takes as input sparse 3D points reconstructed from structure-from-motion methods and iteratively grows surfaces from these points. Optimizing for surface normals within a photoconsistency measure significantly improves the matching results. While the focus of our approach is to estimate high-quality depth maps, we also show examples of merging the resulting depth maps into compelling scene reconstructions. We demonstrate our algorithm on standard multi-view stereo datasets and on casually acquired photo collections of famous scenes gathered from the Internet."

See also: the research paper

Selected from the Cover Pages, by Robin Cover

SNIA Demonstrates Extensible Access Method (XAM) Interoperability

The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) recently announced successful interoperability demonstrations of the Extensible Access Method (XAM) specification at the Storage Networking World Solutions Center. Four distinct information management applications based on the XAM specification are provided by EMC, HP, Sun Microsystems, and Vignette. The demonstration illustrates XAM's ability to protect end user information from technology lock-in by decoupling storage systems from data applications. The three-part Extensible Access Method (XAM) specification addresses the problem of preserving and managing reference information, also called fixed content. Fixed content, as distinct from transactional content, "consists of data such as digital images, e-mail messages, presentations, video content, medical images and check images that don't change over time. Unlike transaction-based data, whose usefulness is short, fixed content data must be kept for long periods of time, often to comply with retention periods and provisions that government regulations such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 have specified" [NetwordWorld]. According to several estimates, most data born digital is now fixed content, and is rapidly gaining prominence over transactional data. The XAM (Extensible Access Method) Interface specification defines a standard access method (API) between Consumers (application and management software) and Providers (storage systems) to manage fixed content reference information storage services. XAM defines an XML-based XSet Canonical Format to support interoperability. XAM features globally unique names for objects, metadata as a first class object, pluggable storage architecture, and a standard XAM storage provider interface. XAM includes metadata definitions to accompany data to achieve application interoperability, storage transparency, and automation for ILM-based practices, long term records retention, and information security.


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