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Last modified: December 18, 2007
XML Daily Newslink. Tuesday, 18 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:
BEA Systems, Inc.

Liberty Alliance Publishes SAML 2.0 Interoperability Testing Matrix
Staff, Liberty Alliance Announcement

Liberty Alliance announced that products from Hewlett-Packard, IBM, RSA (The Security Division of EMC), Sun Microsystems, and Symlabs, Inc. have passed Liberty Alliance testing for SAML 2.0 interoperability. The Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) Specification Version 2.0 was approved as an OASIS Standard in March 2005. Products and services passing SAML 2.0 interoperability testing included: Hewlett-Packard's HP Select Federation 7.0; IBM's Tivoli Federated Identity Manager, version 6.2; RSA's Federated Identity Manager 4.0; Sun Microsystems' Java System Federated Access Manager 8.0; Symlabs Inc's Federated Identity Suite version 3.3.0. The vendors participated in the November 2007 Liberty Interoperable event administered by the Drummond Group Inc. and are the first to pass full-matrix testing Liberty Alliance incorporated into its interoperability program this year. All of these vendors also passed Liberty Alliance testing against the US GSA SAML 2.0 profile, meeting the prerequisite interoperability requirements for participating in the US E-Authentication Identity Federation. Liberty Alliance continually enhances the Liberty Interoperable program to meet cross-industry demands for proven interoperable identity solutions. The November event was the first to conduct Internet-based and full-matrix testing. Internet-based testing allows vendors to participate in the same interoperability event from anywhere in the world. Full-matrix testing requires each vendor to test with every other participant to ensure testing mirrors real word identity federation interoperability requirements. The breadth and depth of these testing procedures provides deploying organizations with assurances that products have proven to interoperate with each other across the widest possible range of deployment scenarios.

See also: the Matrix

FIQL: The Feed Item Query Language
Mark Nottingham (ed), IETF Internet Draft

An initial public draft of "FIQL: The Feed Item Query Language" has been released. The Feed Item Query Language (FIQL, pronounced "fickle") is a simple but flexible, URI-friendly syntax for expressing filters across the entries in a syndicated feed. For example, a query "title==foo*;(updated=lt=-P1D,title==*bar)" would return all entries in a feed that meet the following criteria; (1) have a title beginning with "foo", AND (2) have been updated in the last day OR have a title ending with "bar". The specification defines an extensible syntax for FIQL queries, explains their use in HTTP, and defines feed extensions for discovering and describing query interfaces. On the Atom syntax list, the author responded to a question "Why not XPath or XQuery or SPARQL (with an Atom/RDF mapping), or CSS selectors or some subset of one of those?" Mark says: "In a nutshell, there are two reasons; [i] Those query languages are optimised for data models that aren't feeds; respectively, XML Infosets, Infosets again, RDF graphs and CSS cascades. While it's possible to contort them to fit feeds, they don't really lend themselves to it. XQuery and SPARQL also present a fairly high barrier to adoption (if you're not a big XML vendor or a SW-head, respectively ;) Contorting them so that they're easy to fit into a URL isn't too attractive, either. [ii] When you expose a query interface, you're allowing people to consume compute power on your servers. An arbitrary query language allows arbitrary queries, which is unacceptable when you're working across administrative domains. FIQL gives you tools to constrain how queries are shaped. I've been asked this many times, and should probably add it as a FAQ in an appendix. Certainly there are use cases for using XQuery, etc. against feeds, but it's also become apparent that there's a place for something simple, reasonably flexible, and Web-friendly."

See also: Atom references

SugarCRM Offers Biggest Upgrade Yet
Chris Kanaracus, InfoWorld

SugarCRM has released the 5.0 version of its open-source customer relationship management software following a long period of development and testing. Sugar 5.0 features improvements in three main areas: A new on-demand architecture designed to improve security, tools that let nontechnical users build custom modules, and an AJAX e-mail client that is compatible with any server that supports the POP3 protocol. The release also delivers upgraded dashboarding capabilities. The software went through three beta cycles and was tested more than 30,000 times by members of SugarCRM's open-source community, said Chris Harrick, senior director of product marketing for the Cupertino, California, company. Harrick said the open-source development model allows software to be vetted far more thoroughly than an in-house quality testing team can. In a space crowded by seemingly similar CRM offerings, SugarCRM has tried to differentiate itself partly through fostering a user-friendly image, according to Martens. The company's attitude, according to China Martens (an analyst with the 451 Group) is: "Forget about the technical guys, we're Sugar and you can configure us. We're friendly."

XForms: Who Needs Killer Apps?
Kurt Cagle, O'Reilly Opinion

The XML 2007 Conference has come and gone, with as usual a number of thought provoking talks and controversies. During the evening of the first day, there was a special XForms Evening, with a number of the industry gurus in that space providing very good examples of why XForms is a compelling technology and here to stay... When you stop and think about it, you might begin to realize how very unusual XForms is in that regard. It's an application layer that transcends the implementation it is written in. It doesn't matter whether I'm writing an XForms component in C++ or Java or XUL or JavaScript—what is important is that I can send run the same 'applications' on any system, that the ecosystem is fitting XForms in where it can, despite the very best efforts of certain vendors to kill it... Pundits will continue declaring its imminent demise, year after year, and yet, year after year, it'll end up on more servers, more desktops, more browsers and mobile devices. Thus, my anticipation is that the number of XForms specialists will remain comparatively small for some time to come, but they will be educating others, who will quietly be incorporating XForms as a way of life into their applications. Some (many) of those will come from the AJAX community, both as AJAX implementations of XForms continue to proliferate and as many who work at the intersection of AJAX and XML understand that while they CAN continue to rebuild the wheel with every app, they can get a lot farther with XForms as part of their toolkit... I think that you need to make a distinction here between 'the industry' and a few companies such as Microsoft or Adobe. There are actually a number of vendors in this space that are doing quite well thank you, especially as interest in large XML vocabularies such as XBRL, HL7 and other vertical efforts continue to rise. IBM's Workplace forms incorporates XForms, as Sun had done with OpenOffice, Firefox has had XForms support ongoing for nearly two years, and products such as Orbeon, Formsplayer and Picoforms have continued to gain adherents. XForms support in desktop browsers is moving slowly, unfortunately, a space where more innovation needs to happen, but at the same time support DOES exist in one form or another, even if such support is not always native. On the flip-side, part of the change is also coming from the XForms working group, as they realize that while it is POSSIBLE to create a stand-alone application layer in XML, its not necessarily desirable to keep everything constrained to that one layer.

See also: XML and Forms

Orbeon Forms 3.6 Final Release
Staff, Orbeon Announcement

Developers have announced the final release of Orbeon Forms 3.6. Orbeon Forms is an open source forms solution that handles the complexity of forms typical of the enterprise or government. It is delivered to standard web browsers (including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Opera) thanks to XForms and Ajax technology, with no need for client-side software or plugins. Orbeon Forms allows you to build fully interactive forms with features that include as-you-type validation, optional and repeated sections, always up-to-date error summaries, PDF output, full internationalization, and controls like auto-completion, tabs, dialogs, trees and menus. Orbeon Forms 3.6 features over 170 improvements since Orbeon Forms 3.5.1, including major improvements in the areas of state handling, XML Schema validation, error handling, deployment within Java applications, and performance. In previous versions, XML Schema validation always followed a strict mode where all instances had to be strictly valid as per imported schema definitions. In particular, this meant that if you imported a schema, the top-level element of an instance had to have a valid schema definition or the instance would be entirely invalid. In version 3.6, Orbeon Forms implements a "lax" validation mode by default, where only elements that have definitions in the imported schemas are validated. Other elements are not considered for validation. This is in line with XML Schema and XSLT 2.0 lax validation modes. Founded in 1999, Orbeon is headquartered in Silicon Valley and maintains a field office in Switzerland.

See also: the XML 2007 blog

XForms and Ruby on Rails at the Doctor's Office, Part 1
Michael Galpin, IBM developerWorks

This is the first article in a four-part series about using XForms, IBM DB2 pureXML, and Ruby together to more easily create Web applications. We examine how XForms, DB2 pureXML, and Ruby on Rails can help you more rapidly build XML-centric Web applications. We examine how XForms simplifies creating an interactive front end. You will get the interactivity of Ajax, but without having to write any JavaScript or mapping code. We look at how easy it is to store and query XML using DB2 pureXML: DB2's SQL/XML will let you mix SQL and XQuery together to easily access XML data in your database. Finally, we look at how to set up Ruby on Rails to work with DB2 pureXML. With just a few minor adjustments, we were able to create XML-enabled tables in DB2 using Ruby on Rails. XForms allows you to define your data in a simple XML model and your view using standard HTML form elements. XForms then provides declarative mapping between these elements. That means you will not have to write either client-side or server-side code for taking some submitted value and inserting into an XML structure. XForms handles it for you. It even does all of this asynchronously: changes in the HTML form are bound to the XML model and sent to the server for synchronization. You get the benefits of Ajax without having to write any JavaScript.


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