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Last modified: January 14, 2008
XML Daily Newslink. Monday, 14 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:
Sun Microsystems, Inc.

IBM and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development Announce the Eco-Patent Commons
Bob Sutor, Blog

Today IBM and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, together with Nokia, Pitney Bowes, and Sony, are announcing the creation of 'The Eco-Patent Commons,' a new collaborative effort focused on shared use of intellectual property to help the environment. Together these companies are pledging dozens of patents in what we hope will be an expanding effort. As the industry moves to have greater openness and collaboration as part of their balanced intellectual property strategy, the Commons can help companies ensure that 'green' is an essential part of that strategy... "Patents pledged to the Eco-Patent Commons—originally proposed at IBM's Global Innovation Outlook conference—feature innovations focused on environmental matters and innovations in manufacturing or business processes where the solution provides an environmental benefit. For example, a company may pledge a patent for a manufacturing process that reduces hazardous waste generation, or energy or water consumption. A pledged patent covering a procurement or logistics solution may reduce fuel consumption. Examples of the environmental benefits expected for pledged patents include: (1) Energy conservation or improved energy or fuel efficiency; (2) Pollution prevention—source reduction, waste reduction; (3) Use of environmentally preferable materials or substances; (4) Water or materials use reduction; (5) Increased recycling opportunity." Dr. John E. Kelly III, IBM Senior Vice President and Director of IBM Research: "As the leader in US patents for 15 consecutive years, with 3,125 patents issued in 2007, IBM is excited to bring its patent resources to bear in service of the environment. In addition to enabling new players to engage in protecting the environment, the free exchange of valuable intellectual property will accelerate work on the next level of environmental challenges. We strongly urge other companies to contribute to the Eco-Patent Commons."

See also: related 'Patent Commons' initiatives

Semantic Web Services, Part 2
David Martin (et al), IEEE Intelligent Systems

Semantic Web services has been a vigorous technology research area for about six years, producing a great deal of innovative work. In this Part 2 'Trends & Controversies' installment, the authors continue exploring the state of the art, current practices, and future directions for Semantic Web services. SWS aims to bring Semantic Web technology -- for representing, sharing, and reasoning about knowledge—to bear in Web service contexts. The objective is to enable a fuller, more flexible automation of service provision and use and the construction of more powerful tools and methodologies for working with services. The introduction [Part 1] includes references for major SWS initiatives, such as SAWSDL, OWL-S, WSMO, SWSF, and the Internet Reasoning Service. Part 1 also includes essays by Michael L. Brodie and Frank Leymann that discuss service technology needs from a long-term industry perspective. This issue concludes with four more essays. The first two essays are primarily concerned with nearer-term directions—steps that will let us build out from the current state of the art toward greater adoption and applicability of SWS approaches. Amit Sheth lays out a near-term roadmap of steps that will be essential for industry acceptance of SWS approaches, starting from SAWSDL and current industry practice. He counsels that essential steps are required to make SWS approaches sufficiently accessible and economically attractive to industry. Steve Battle starts with an analysis of OWL-S's strengths and limitations. He then discusses the necessary evolution of business ontologies for SWS. Along with the evolution of business practices, this will allow for Web services and SWS approaches to come together. The final two essays put forward longer-term agendas for the evolution of SWS. Katia Sycara argues that SWS could benefit from decoupling itself from the basic stack of Web service standards rather than following a more incremental trajectory tied to their evolution. She also identifies two important opportunities in which this strategy could pay off. Dieter Fensel takes a broad perspective, arguing that the characteristics of Internet-scale service usage, and problem solving in general, call for an entirely new conceptualization of some of the core challenges of computer science for the 21st century.

See also: W3C Semantic Web

Ecma Makes Open XML Changes in Bid to Swing ISO Votes
Eric Lai, Computerworld

Ecma, the standards body that is pushing Microsoft Corp.'s Office Open XML document format for approval as an ISO standard published a 2,300-page document on Monday addressing complaints and suggestions about the format made by ISO members after it failed to win enough votes in an initial round of balloting. The most significant changes in the standards submission by Geneva-based Ecma International include the sidelining of a graphics rendering technology used by Microsoft but few other vendors, and the release of more information on how Open XML, the native file format in Office 2007, supports file compatibility with older Office documents. Under ISO rules, the full text of Ecma's document can only be viewed by members of national standards bodies via a password-protected Web portal. But Ecma posted a summary of some the key changes that have been made in the Open XML standards proposal, which is being shepherded by the group's Technical Committee 45. The length of Ecma's response isn't surprising in light of the fact that ISO members offered up a total of 3,522 written comments about Open XML in the wake of last September's vote on whether to accept Ecma's fast-track standards submission. The proposal received a majority of the votes cast but not the amount required for approval; a second round of voting is scheduled for late next month... Activity already is ramping up in the campaign by Microsoft and Ecma to get Open XML on the same footing as ODF, which already had been accepted as an ISO standard. Ecma has provided a summary of "some of the notable changes that are included within the report of proposed dispositions" ("Proposed Dispositions for National Body Comments on DIS 29500 Complete — New Phase to Begin").

See also: Brian Jones' blog

Burton Group Report: Open XML Trumps ODF in Document Format Fight
Eric Lai, Computerworld

The OpenDocument Format (ODF) remains "more of an anti-Microsoft political statement than an objective technology selection" by users, according to a report released Monday by analysts at Burton Group, who recommend that companies adopt Microsoft Corp.'s Office Open XML document format whether or not it is approved as an ISO standard next month. Midvale, Utah-based Burton Group said that the report was neither commissioned nor paid for by Microsoft. However, Burton analyst Peter O'Kelly, one of the report's co-authors, is scheduled to make a presentation at an Open XML press briefing that Microsoft plans to hold in the Seattle area on Wednesday. Also speaking will be multiple Microsoft executives involved in the Open XML standards-ratification effort. In their report, O'Kelly and fellow analyst Guy Creese predicted that Open XML "will be more pervasive" among users than ODF will be... The two analysts also predicted that software-as-a-service vendors working with documents online likely will have to add Open XML support to their products over time. In addition, they said that they expect Adobe Systems Inc.'s PDF to remain the dominant format for "nonrevisable" documents. But ODF and especially Open XML will prevent PDF from catching on with documents that still may be changed or edited, such that Adobe will "likely" add support for Microsoft's format to its Buzzword online word processor.

See also: the Burton report

Mindreef Adds to SOA Testing
Paul Krill, InfoWorld

Mindreef is bolstering security verification in its server-based SOA testing software and adding three new client products for SOA quality. SOAPscope Server 6.1 and three new client products are being offered to verify quality. The company's SOAPscope Server 6.1 enables teams to test the quality of SOA, and is focused on the XML layer. Mindreef's Grossman: "XML is pretty much what is communicated across the wire between all the pieces of an SOA so it's very important. Version 6.1 makes it easier to test for WS-Security adherence in an SOA. Now, we have security profiles, which means you can have an architect set up all the pieces they need. Testers can verify security components, such as X.509 certificates." The three client products being added to the SOAPscope line include: (1) Architect 6.1, offering design-time governance and an SOA quality and testing platform for policy rules authoring, design-time support, prototyping, change-time, and run-time support; (2) Tester 6.1, for load testing and test automation; quality problems and potential performance bottlenecks can be spotted; (3) Developer 6.1, featuring tools for problem diagnosis and resolution, unit testing, and support of service consumers. Developers and engineers can build and test Web services and SOA and automate XML-oriented tasks. Functionality of the three client products is included in SOAPscope Server 6.1. According to the web site description: "SOAPscope Server 6.1 allows development and QA teams to verify adherence to the OASIS WS-Security 1.0 and 1.1 standard. SOAPscope Server can be used to test Web services that use WS-Security by invoking and resending protected SOAP messages, and running Scenario Tests using UsernameTokenProfile, X.509 Token Profile, signing, and encrypting. Users can create security profiles for different WS-Security configurations and switch between security profiles during testing. Security profiles can be created for each Service Space, a container that allows teams to organize, collaborate and share assets with other project team members, so that users sharing the same service space can quickly and easily run tests using any of the pre-defined security profiles."

See also: the web site description

Selected from the Cover Pages, by Robin Cover

OASIS Members Propose Charter for WS-BPEL Extension for People (BPEL4People) TC

OASIS announced that consortium members have submitted a charter proposal for a new WS-BPEL Extension for People (BPEL4People) Technical Committee. Companies sponsoring the proposal include Active Endpoints, Adobe, BEA, IBM, Oracle, SAP, Software AG, and Sun Microsystems. The designated TC Convenor is Jeff Mischkinsky (Oracle). This technical Committee proposal follows a June 2007 statement from a group of six technology vendors, including Active Endpoints, Adobe, BEA Systems, IBM, Oracle, and SAP AG, announcing that the two-part BPEL4People specification would be submitted to OASIS in the near future. The Web Services Business Process Execution Language Version 2.0 (WS-BPEL) specification was published as an approved OASIS Standard in April 2007. It provides a language for the specification of executable and abstract business processes, extending the Web Services interaction model to support business transactions. However, "BPEL was not designed for human workflow." The proposed BPEL4People Technical Committee would define: (1) extensions to the OASIS WS-BPEL 2.0 Standard to enable human interactions, and (2) a model of human interactions that are service-enabled. This work will be carried out through continued refinement of the Version 1.0 documents released in June 2007, consistent with the "WS-BPEL Extension for People -- BPEL4People" Joint White Paper published by IBM and SAP in July 2005. In particular, the new TC work will focus upon: (1) defining the specification of a WS-BPEL extension enabling the definition of human interactions ("human tasks") as part of a WS-BPEL process; (2) defining the specification of a model enabling the definition of human tasks that are exposed as Web services; (3) defining a programming interface enabling human task client applications to work with human tasks.

See also: the main BPEL4People reference document


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