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First Public Working Draft: HTML Design Principles
Anne van Kesteren and Maciej Stachowiak (eds)., W3C Technical Report
W3C announced that the HTML Working Group has published a First Public Working Draft for "HTML Design Principles." This document describes the set of guiding principles used by the HTML Working Group for the development of HTML5, expected to define the fifth major revision of the core language of the World Wide Web. These design principles are an attempt to capture consensus on design approach in the areas of compatibility, utility, interoperability, and universal access. From the Introduction: "In the HTML Working Group, we have representatives from many different communities, including the WHATWG and other W3C Working Groups. The HTML 5 effort under WHATWG, and much of the work on various W3C standards over the past few years, have been based on different goals and different ideas of what makes for good design. To make useful progress, we need to have some basic agreement on goals for this group. These design principles are an attempt to capture consensus on design approach. They are pragmatic rules of thumb that must be balanced against each other, not absolutes. They are similar in spirit to the TAG's findings in Architecture of the World Wide Web, but specific to the deliverables of this group. Conformance for Documents and Implementations: Many language specifications define a set of conformance requirements for valid documents, and corresponding conformance requirements for implementations processing these valid documents. HTML 5 is somewhat unusual in also defining implementation conformance requirements for many constructs that are not allowed in conforming documents. This dual nature of the spec allows us to have a relatively clean and understandable language for authors, while at the same time supporting existing documents that make use of older or nonstandard constructs, and enabling better interoperability in error handling..."
Service Is in the Eyes of the Beholder
Tiziana Margaria, IEEE Computer
This article is the Guest Editor's Introduction to the November 2007 "IEEE Computer Magazine" special issue on service orientation. "We are in the early phases of the service era, with visions and promises, and as a community we still seek the essence and characterization of service orientation. Service orientation is not a technology; rather, it is an extremely wide-ranging philosophy or paradigm. It spans technical scenarios like back-end services—printers, faxes, or storage -- telecommunications services, scenarios as high level as business processes, and day-to-day Web services for everybody. The goal of this special issue on service orientation is to contribute to the convergence of the currently scattered SO communities... A proposal for a unifying approach emerges: (1) gather, use, and maintain the user's knowledge at his abstraction level and within his own application domain; (2) keep it as declarative as possible: use policies to gather the do's and don'ts like compliance issues, business rules, and so on. Good candidate formalisms seem to be logics—simple xor/ and structures, as in WS-Policy, but also temporal and first-order logics—for which automatic proof and reasoning algorithms exist; (3) sketch the solution's backbone as a model and refine it along the design life cycle, introducing a "one-thing" approach that avoids the cultural and technological gaps still customary in today's IT; widespread formalisms are Petri-net-like, but finite state machines with fork/join parallelism are simpler and cover the majority of the practical cases; (4) use the knowledge to evaluate the models and provide guidance to generate or modify the models in a way that conforms to it. Central here is the capability of automatic proof of the (logic) constraints on the models, as in model checking, and the automatic synthesis of processes from (temporal) logics, which can be extended toward theorem-proving-backed planning..." TinyURL: http://tinyurl.com/25bs4j
See also: the IEEE Computer publication web site
KML 2.2: An OGC Best Practice
Tim Wilson (ed), Approved OGC Best Practice
The Open Geospatial Consortium recently announced the approval of "KML 2.2: An OGC Best Practice" (reference: OGC 07-113r1) as an official OGC Best Practice document. "Google submitted KML (formerly Keyhole Markup Language) to the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) to be evolved within the OGC consensus process with the following goal: KML Version 2.2 will be an adopted OGC implementation standard. Future versions may be harmonized with relevant OpenGIS standards that comprise the OGC standards baseline. There are four objectives for this standards work: (1) That there be one international standard language for expressing geographic annotation and visualization on existing or future web-based online and mobile maps (2D) and earth 3D browsers; (2) That KML be aligned with international best practices and standards, thereby enabling greater uptake and interoperability of earth browser implementations; (3) That the OGC and Google will work collaboratively to insure that the KML implementer community is properly engaged in the process and that the KML community is kept informed of progress and issues; (4) That the OGC process will be used to insure proper life-cycle management of the KML candidate standard, including such issues as backwards compatibility. KML is an XML language focused on geographic visualization, including annotation of maps and images. Geographic visualization includes not only the presentation of graphical data on the globe, but also the control of the user's navigation in the sense of where to go and where to look. KML is [thus] complementary to most of the key existing OGC standards including GML (Geography Markup Language), WFS (Web Feature Service) and WMS (Web Map Service). Currently, KML (2.2) utilizes certain geometry elements derived from GML version 2.1.2. These elements include point, line string, linear ring, and polygon."
See also: OGC Best Practices Documents
Clean Up Your SOAP-based Web Services
Rick Grehan, InfoWorld Software Review
Though SOAP's significance may diminish as Web services evolve, its importance in the SOA marketplace for the time being is unquestionable. Therefore, a substantial portion of the QA work by Web service providers and consumers must entail verifying the accurate exchange of SOAP messages. Not surprisingly, several SOAP-focused Web service testing tools have appeared. I had an opportunity to look a five such tools: AdventNet's QEngine, Crosscheck Networks SOAPSonar, iTKO's LISA, Mindreef's SOAPscope Server, and Parasoft's SOAtest. Fundamentally, testing a SOAP-based Web service involves three activities: constructing a SOAP request, submitting it, and evaluating the response. As easy as that sounds, it is anything but. An effective SOAP-testing tool cannot simply rely on a user-friendly mechanism for building requests. It must also enable the user to organize and arrange requests in realistic sequences, provide a means of altering request input values, and intelligently tweak requests so as to expose the Web service to a range of good and bad usage scenarios. In short, you want the tool to run the Web service through a reasonable approximation of real-world activity. In addition, the tool must be equipped with a collection of gadgets for evaluating responses. Such gadgets should include everything from simple string matching to executing an arbitrarily complex XQuery on the SOAP payload. All of the tools reviewed here provide variations on the preceding capabilities. All make valiant attempts to shield the user from direct exposure to XML, and some keep users entirely in a protective GUI so that coding is never necessary.
GSA Signs On With SAML
William Jackson, Government Computer News
The government's push toward E-Authentication and federated identity management has given a boost to the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML). Federal program managers say the government's pioneering interoperability testing program for the E-Authentication Federated Identity and Authentication Initiative has helped drive standard implementations of the protocol in identity management products. The E-Authentication program, established in 2002, was using SAML 1.0 as the protocol for user authentication when it first went live in 2005. In September the program adopted SAML 2.0, and the General Services Administration announced it was turning interoperability testing over to the Liberty Alliance Project. That project, a coalition of 160 industry, nonprofit and government organizations including GSA and the Defense Department, sponsors standards development for federated identity management. E-Authentication Solutions forms part of the administration's e-government initiative. "The purpose is to provide credentialing services for outward-facing government applications on the Web," said Tom Kireilis, GSA's acting program executive. The E-Authentication program provides Assurance Level 1 and 2 credentials, which can be a user ID and password. Program leaders seek to build a system that would allow users to sign on across many applications using a single set of credentials. In addition to the domestic program, several other national governments are deploying SAML 2.0-based applications to enable identity-based access. Use of a common standard could allow federated identity access controls across multiple enterprises.
See also: the announcement
GNOME Foundation Defends OOXML Involvement
Chris Kanaracus, InfoWorld
The GNOME Foundation, recently slammed by critics who accused it of supporting Microsoft's OOXML (Open Office XML document format), has issued a statement to clarify its position on the matter. The International Standards Organization recently shot down Microsoft's request that OOXML be given "fast track" status. Another vote is expected next year. In the meantime, Microsoft has been working with the ECMA TC45 committee to address concerns over OOXML, which critics have argued is too proprietary to merit certification as a standard. The organization's statement seeks to answer such charges. Jody Goldberg, lead maintainer for the GNOME-backed Gnumeric spreadsheet program, has worked with ECMA TC45. "The GNOME Foundation's support for Jody's participation in TC45-M does not indicate endorsement for, or contribution to, ISO standardisation of the Microsoft Office Open XML formats," [the statement] reads. The group also argues that neither OOXML nor ODF will serve all needs and that the development of standards overall could be in jeopardy: "We are deeply concerned that abuse of the standards process is eroding public trust in the value and independence of international standards. Both ODF and OOXML are very heavily influenced by their implementation heritage, neither are likely to deliver the "one true office format," and both communities have—in their own way—played a role in this erosion of trust."
See also: the GNOME Foundation web site
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