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Last modified: December 10, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Monday, 10 December 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.

Paris Welcomes Ruby on Rails 2.0
Peter Sayer, InfoWorld

Version 2.0 of Ruby on Rails was released Friday [2007-12-07]. Rails offers a framework of tools for developing Web sites using Ruby, a programming language invented in 1995 by Yukihiro Matsumoto. Hansson, of Web application developer 37signals, joined the Paris on Rails conference by video-link to present the changes: "In 2.0 we're making a really strong statement about RESTful application design," he said, referring to the new version's preference for REST (Representational State Transfer) rather than SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) for passing messages in Web applications. Ruby now has support from industry stalwarts like Sun Microsystems and Microsoft. Sun recently hired the developers of JRuby, an implementation of Ruby for the Java virtual machine that allows Ruby on Rails developers to make use of the work enterprises have already put into developing Java application frameworks. Microsoft, for its part, hired the developer of RubyCLR, a bridge between Ruby and Microsoft's .Net framework, allowing Rails developers to similarly leverage businesses' .Net legacy. In the security space, Rails 2.0 makes it easier to protect against phishing, with provisions to guard against CRSF (cross-site request forgery) intrusions. Safeguards against XSF (cross-site forgery) attacks are included as well. Also featured in Rails 2.0 is improved testing support and backing for Atom feeds. Hansson: "We're making it really easy for applications to emit feeds, which is critical to application updates." Another new feature in version 2.0 is a framework called ActiveResource, which encapsulates Web services and makes them as easy to use as databases, Hansson said. This is similar to the ActiveRecord feature for encapsulating database calls in Rails.

See also: the release story

Iona Upgrades Open, Closed Source SOA Technologies
Paul Krill, InfoWorld

Iona Technologies is updating its Artix and Fuse SOA product lines, which feature the Artix closed source enterprise service bus and the Fuse open source technologies. Iona offers a distributed approach to SOA that supports combinations of open source and closed source software. "We could call that the hybrid approach," said Eric Newcomer, Iona CTO. A key addition to the Fuse product line is Fuse HQ, which serves as a management console for managing open source products from one console. It also can manage software such as Web servers. Fuse HQ is based on Hyperic Enterprise technology. According to the announcement, Artix Registry/Repository allows customers to utilize its active SOA governance capabilities to effectively develop, test, deploy and manage the lifecycle of services across their distributed SOA environments. Specifically, the updates include: (1) Versioning support for services and other repository artifacts; (2) The ability to customize the repository data model; (3) An improved user interface for viewing a visual state of policies, services and containers, simplifying IT operations; (4) And the ability to publish services to a UDDI V3 registry. Extended leadership in supporting SOA best practices and industry standards The latest Artix release includes support for the popular Enterprise Integration Patterns1. By implementing this standard vocabulary of services developers reduce error rates and shorten the time-to-market for new services deployed across an SOA. IONA also adds capabilities for facilitating the development of complex BPEL processes in Artix Orchestration through support for BPEL message attachments and Identity and Mail services.

See also: the announcement

PingFederate Web Services Provides WS-Trust Security Token Service (STS)
Staff, Ping Identity Announcement

Ping Identity announced that PingFederate Web Services 2.6 is available for immediate download from its Web site. Now packaged as an optional add-on module for PingFederate, Ping Identity's industry-leading standalone federated identity software, PingFederate Web Services 2.6 adds support for the OASIS WS-Trust 1.3 standard, as well as the ability to create and validate CA SiteMinder SMSESSION tokens. PingFederate Web Services, previously called PingTrust, is an optional PingFederate module designed for organizations wanting to extend their browser-based Internet Single Sign-On architecture to incorporate Web services and Service-Oriented Architectures (SOAs). It acts as a WS-Trust Security Token Service (STS), creating and validating security tokens that get bound into SOAP messages to carry user identity information in a standards-based manner. PingFederate Web Services 2.6 adds support for OASIS WS-Trust version 1.3, the first version of WS-Trust to be published as an official industry standard by OASIS. In addition, it adds the ability to create and validate SMSESSION tokens. With this new capability, SiteMinder-enabled enterprises can create Web service clients and providers that use WS-Trust to issue or validate proprietary SMSESSION tokens, as well as exchange SMSESSION tokens for other token types such as SAML assertions.

See also: WS-Trust 1.3

Mitre Pitches Microformats for Defense Use
Joab Jackson, Government Computer News

In its quest for net-centric operations, the Defense Department might benefit by using an emerging technology known as Microformats, engineers from Mitre suggested. Speaking at the XML 2007 conference, Rosamaria Morales, a senior information systems engineer at Mitre, said microformats could be used to share information more easily as well as cut down on the number of point-to-point data-sharing connections made across DOD. In a nutshell, Microformats are XML-based schemas written for very narrowly defined purposes. For instance, hCard is a set of tags that can be used to define the data fields within a virtual business card. iCalendar is a set of tags that could define an upcoming event in a similar manner. A content provider can fill some content within these tags and place the formatted information on a Web page or Really Simple Syndication feed. When encountered, that information can be piped into another application. For instance, the Firefox browser plug-in Operator alerts the user that the information is available, displays that information or even imports it into a contact database. Mitre engineers produced a prototype program to show how DOD could use Microformats. In a hypothetical example, a number of military service units could post into a RSS Feed some small summaries of incidents that they were involved in, using the iCalendar Microformat. Mitre's application would poll these feeds and then build a timeline of events that happened over a set period of time. It could also pass the information to a mapping program, which could visually show where all the incidents took place.

SAGE: Open Source Mathematics Software
Hannah Hickey, DDJ

Until recently, a student solving a calculus problem, a physicist modeling a galaxy or a mathematician studying a complex equation had to use powerful computer programs that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. But an open-source tool based at the University of Washington won first prize in the scientific software division of Les Trophes du Libre, an international competition for free software. The big commercial programs—Matlab, Maple, Mathematica and Magma—charge license fees [for math packages]. The Mathematica Web page, for example, charges $2,495 for a regular license. For another program, a collaborator in Colombia was quoted about $550, a special "Third World" discount price, to buy a license to use a particular tool. Over the past three years, more than a hundred mathematicians from around the world have worked with William Stein to build a user-friendly tool that combines powerful number-crunching with new features, such as collaborative online worksheets. Stein is associate professor of mathematics and lead developer of the tool. Sage can take the place of commercial software commonly used in mathematics education, in large government laboratories and in math-intensive research. The program can do anything from mapping a 12-dimensional object to calculating rainfall patterns under global warming. According to the web site description, SAGE can be used for studying a huge range of mathematics, including algebra, calculus, elementary to very advanced number theory, cryptography, numerical computation, commutative algebra, group theory, combinatorics, graph theory, and exact linear algebra. SAGE makes it easy for you to use most mathematics software together. SAGE includes interfaces to Magma, Maple, Mathematica, MATLAB, and MuPAD, and the free programs Axiom, GAP, GP/PARI, Macaulay2, Maxima, Octave, and Singular. "You work with SAGE using the highly regarded scripting language Python instead of an obscure language designed for a particular mathematics program. You can write programs that combine serious mathematics with anything else."

See also: the Sage web site

Red Hat Unveils JBoss Developer Studio
Dana Gardner, ZDNet Blog

Red Hat, Inc., Raleigh, NC, has finally released JBoss Developer Studio, an open-source Eclipse -based integrated development environment (IDE) that combines tooling with runtime. Red Hat released the beta version for free download on last August and said that the final subscription version would be available 'later this summer.' Since the beta was made available, according to Red Hat, there have been over 50,000 downloads. Designed to allow enterprises to be more agile and to respond more quickly to changing business requirements, Developer Studio eliminates the need to assemble IDEs. It's built on the Eclipse-based developer tools contributed to Red Hat by Exadel in March 2007 and introduced under open source in June, The Exadel products contributed to the project included Exadel Studio Pro, RichFaces, and Ajax4jsf. JBoss Developer Studio incorporates Eclipse tooling, integrated JBoss Entrperise Application Platform, Red Hat Enterprise Linux for development use and full access to Red Hat Network. Also included are tooling for technologies, including JavaEE, JBoss Seam, Ajax, Hibernate, Persistence, JBoss jPBM, Struts, and Spring IDE. JBoss Developer Studio "includes a Visual Page Editor for combined visual and source editing of Web pages. The Visual Page Editor even renders AJAX-enabled RichFaces components. JBoss Developer Studio includes a Technology Preview of JBoss RichFaces. RichFaces is a rich component library for JSF and an advanced framework for easily integrating AJAX capabilities into business application development. RichFaces provides nearly 70 skinnable components, including calendar, tree, drop down menu, drag-and-drop components, and more. JBoss Developer Studio's Visual Page Editor can render RichFaces components."

See also: the JBoss Developer Studio web site

Microsoft Leads Accessibility Effort
Darryl K. Taft, eWEEK

Microsoft is heading a group of technology companies that will collaborate on creating IT products for the disabled. The software vendor is chartering an initiative called the Accessibility Interoperability Alliance (AIA). Announced December 10, 2007, the AIA is an engineering collaboration between assistive technology vendors, IT companies and key nongovernmental organizations. The group's goal is to enable developers to more easily create accessible software, hardware and Web-based products that will reduce barriers to information and communication technologies for people with disabilities, Microsoft officials said. The AIA members also will collaborate on engineering projects to increase interoperability between existing technologies, deliver new technologies and work to create better developer guidelines, tools and technologies, and lower development costs. The group initially will focus on four areas: Consistent keyboard access; interoperability of accessibility APIs; user interface automation extensions; and accessible rich Internet application suite mapping through user interface automation.

See also: the announcement


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