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Last modified: January 02, 2008
XML Daily Newslink. Wednesday, 02 January 2008

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

This issue of XML Daily Newslink is sponsored by:

XML Outlook for 2008
Kurt Cagle, O'Reilly Opinion

"I've made it a habit over the last several years to put together a list of both my own forecasts for the upcoming year in the realm of XML technologies and technology in general and, with some misgivings, to see how far off the mark I was from the LAST time that I made such a list. The exercise is useful, and should be a part of any analyst's toolkit, because it forces you to look both at the trends and at potential disruptors to trends —which I've come to realize are also trends, albeit considerably more difficult to spot... As to open standards—I think we're going to see a period of consolidation and integration within the W3C after a few very productive years. The XPath family of languages are largely complete and solid (though I see the rumblings of an XForms 2.0 in the near future), the Semantic languages are close to complete, the initial burst of activity to align HTML with AJAX will continue but within a clearly defined timeline, and the mobile initiative set out a couple of years ago will likely run its course in 2008 or early 2009. My anticipation is that there will likely be a drawdown of activity by the W3C over the course of the next couple of years, at least until the next major wave... Overall, 2008 should prove to be an interesting, if somewhat nail-biting, year. There are signs that XML is maturing at the enterprise level and is beginning to make its presence felt within web browsers and web interfaces (especially beyond simply being local data islands or data stores), and XML is also beginning to become a solid data technology in its own right, rather than simply a messaging or 'document' format. In general, the coming year should prove not to have too many huge disruptions, but it will see a number of standards that have been in the works for several years now start to become widely deployed, including in the Semantic Web, XPath-family, and compound document arenas. I'm lost optimistic about proprietary XML client frameworks—they will continue achieving some market penetration, but likely not as much as their marketing departments would like to project. Beyond that, macro-economic trends will begin to have an impact upon XML and IT in general, especially towards the latter half of 2008 and early into 2009, though probably not as dramatically as in years past."

2008 Predictions: SOA, Grid, SCA, Web 2.0, REST
David A. Chappell, O'Reilly Opinion

"(1) Grid computing will grip the attention of enterprise IT leaders, although given the various concepts of hardware grids, compute grids, and data grids, and different approaches taken by vendors, the definition of grid will be as fuzzy as ESB. This is likely to happen at the end of 2008. (2) At least one application in the area of what Gartner calls 'eXtreme Transaction Processing' (XTP) will become the poster child for grid computing. This killer app for grid computing will most likely be in the financial services industry or the travel industry. Scalable, fault tolerant, grid enabled middle tier caching will be a key component of such applications. (3) Event-Driven Architectures (EDA) will finally become a well understood ingredient for achieving realtime insight into business process, business metrics, and business exceptions. New offerings from platform vendors and startups will begin to feverishly compete in this area. (4) Service Component Architecture (SCA) will become the new way for SOA applications to be defined as support from all the major platform vendors (sans Microsoft) will be rolled out... (9) By end of year it will be clear that an understanding of infrastructure requirements for common problems such as predictable scalability, reliability, security, (*-ilities) will be necessary in order to support any combination of SOA, REST, or Web 2.0 style applications. However the exact architecture or even the list of requirements in support of such infrastructure will not be well understood or agreed upon. Such a common understanding will not come to bear until at least 2010. This will be the new frontier to explore in the coming years..."

Eclipse Reeling in Swordfish as SOA Framework
Paul Krill, InfoWorld

The Eclipse Foundation with its Swordfish project is developing an open source SOA framework intended for applications ranging from enterprise environments to embedded systems. Based on technology from German logistics company Deutsche Post, Swordfish features an SOA runtime platform that leverages three popular projects: Service Component Architecture (SCA), Java Business Integration (JBI), and Open Services Gateway initiative (OSGi). SCA provides a common programming model and assembly description format while JBI serves as a common messaging model. OSGi, which is the basis of the Eclipse runtime platform, provides common deployment and runtime component models in Swordfish. The Swordfish architecture uses OSGi to implement JBI and SCA... According to the Eclipse Swordfish blog, Deutsche Post developed the core SOA engine with plans calling for the code to be refactored into an OSGi-based SOA engine. The OSGi engine serves as a milestone to an SOA runtime framework. The version 1.0 production release of Swordfish is scheduled for the third quarter of this year. Swordfish offers a way to use JBI, SCA, and OSGi for server-side applications, said analyst Michael Cote of Redmonk. It also demonstrates Eclipse's reach to the server.

openLiberty ID-WSF ClientLib Project Releases Alpha Code
Asa Hardcastle (ed), Software Announcement

Asa Hardcastle, Technical Lead for the openLiberty ID-WSF ClientLib Project, announced that the ClientLib Alpha is now available online. The ClientLib uses OpenSAML's Java XML Tooling, SOAP, and SAML2 Libraries. The Identity Web Services Framework (ID-WSF) is a set of open specifications for interoperable, secure, idenity-enabled Web services., a domain name donated by HP, has been launched with the aid of the Liberty Alliance as a resource for all those looking to deploy open source solutions for securing identity-based Web services at the relying party. The participants are initially focusing on ways to provide the open source community with ID-WSF Web Services Consumer (WSC) libraries so that developers can incorporate SAML 2.0 functionality into a variety of Web services and client-based applications... SAML 2.0 is the leading standard for federated identity and is now widely adopted. Liberty Federation (SAML 2.0 + Liberty Alliance policy best practices) is a key enabler for securing Web services across domains, protecting user privacy and enabling appropriate user control over the use of identity information. While SAML alone can secure access to Web-based applications, the client technologies of ID-WSF are required to allow applications to invoke services across the network. By focusing initially on WSC Libraries that take advantage of SAML 2.0, we will have new tools for building more functional, secure and privacy respecting Web services, especially at the relying party.

See also: the Architecture Document

Can IBM Bring the Semantic Web to Notes and Outlook?
Andy Dornan, Network Computing

OmniFind Personal Email Search tries to extract useful information like addresses or phone numbers from inboxes, and lets organizations customize semantic tagging to avoid irrelevant results. While email search itself isn't new (Google's Desktop Search will happily index your inbox along with the rest of your hard drive), the IBM software is slightly different. Rather than finding a specific email message or thread, Omnifind is aimed at searching for unstructured data: the information buried within an inbox. And it looks like one of the first genuinely useful desktop applications based on the Semantic Web—an idea that has been somewhat eclipsed by Web services and Web 2.0, but which could eventually unite them with SOA. The key technology in the tool is UIMA (Unstructured Information Management), an IBM-led open-source framework for analyzing text and other unstructured data. This is essentially pattern recognition: a series of ten digits with hyphens, brackets or spaces in the right places is a phone number, two letters followed by five numbers is a zip code, etc. The tool uses this to generate semantic XML tags automatically, overcoming what has been the biggest barrier to the Semantic Web: that people don't have the time or inclination to add metadata to documents manually... Omnifind also lets users edit the default tags or create their own, using regular expressions to represent search patterns. IBM suggests that these be used to customize the search to a specific organization, finding information like employee IDs or package tracking numbers. It could also be used to weed out irrelevant search results, most of which are caused by the one-size-fits-all approach that public search engines must take. The long-term goal of UIMA is to apply the same automated pattern recognition to other kinds of data, which will likely be harder. Email is in some senses the low-hanging fruit, as it isn't entirely unstructured: There are the formal fields like "To", plus the informal structure of salutations and signatures that it inherited from regular mail.

See also: the OASIS Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA) TC

Atom Syndication Format Tombstones
James Snell (ed), IETF Internet Draft

The "Atom Tombstones" specification has been updated after several months of dormancy. The specification defines mechanisms by which Atom Feed publishers can explicitly indicate that specific Atom Entries have been removed from an Atom feed. The "atom:deleted-entry" element may appear as a child of atom:feed to represent an Atom Entry that has been removed from the feed. The "atom:deleted-entry" element must contain one "atom:id" element whose value specifies the atom:id of the entry that has been removed. The "atom:deleted-entry" element may contain one atom:when element whose value is an RFC 3339 "date-time" specifying the instant the entry was deleted. An uppercase "T" character must be used to separate date and time, and an uppercase "Z" character must be present in the absence of a numeric time zone offset... Atom Feed Documents may contain any number of "atom:deleted-entry" elements... As specified in RFC 4287, Atom processors should be aware of the potential for spoofing attacks where an attacker publishes atom:entry or "atom:deleted-entry" elements using the same atom:id values as entries from other Atom feeds. An attacker may attempt to trick an application into believing that a given entry has either been removed from or added to a feed. To mitigate this issue, Atom processors are advised to ignore "atom:deleted-entry" elements referencing entries that have not previously appeared within the containing Feed document and should take steps to verify the origin of the Atom feed before considering the entries to be removed.

See also: the Atom Syntax list thread

Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac: The Complete Package
Elsa Wenzel, CNet Software Review

"The revamped Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Entourage offer expanded tools for image-conscious users and businesses. After a series of delays, Microsoft plans to release Office for Mac 2008 to brick-and-mortar and online stores on January 15, 2008, making this the first update in about four years. We've tested beta versions of the new applications over the last month without running into glitches. Office for Mac includes Word, Excel for spreadsheets, PowerPoint for presentations, and Entourage for e-mail and time management. There's no Microsoft Access database app for the Mac, although Filemaker's upcoming release of Bento offers Mac users a new choice. Unlike Microsoft Office 2007, the interface changes don't look radically foreign next to the 2004 edition. That's good news for anyone who doesn't want to relearn the locations of common functions. The 2007 applications for Windows arrange functions within tabs, while the 2008 Mac software largely clusters functions within the same drop-down menus including File, Edit, and View... Office for Mac saves work in the same new Open XML formats used by Office 2007 for Windows. We're not thrilled about this being the default option, even though you can save your work in the older DOC, XLS, and PPT formats. Free file conversion tools won't be available until up to 10 weeks from now, or eight weeks after the applications are available in stores. That means that for now, should you save work in a new Open XML format in a hurry, someone with the older software won't be able to open it. Although we're glad that Microsoft offers free converters, we find the forced extra steps annoying in Office 2007. That said, the new document types are smaller and purportedly more secure than their predecessors."


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