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Last modified: March 26, 2008
XML Daily Newslink. Wednesday, 26 March 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.

US Department of Homeland Security Signs Historic Agreement with EIC
Staff, Emergency Interoperability Consortium Announcement

The Emergency Interoperability Consortium (EIC) announced that an historic agreement between EIC and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been signed to help further the continued development of data sharing standards for the emergency response community. With the endorsement of Department of Homeland Security Under-Secretary Admiral Jay Cohen, this unique relationship, thought to be the first of its kind between DHS and a non-government entity, strengthens an established alliance between the organizations to jointly promote the design, development, release, and use of standards to help solve data sharing problems commonly encountered during life-saving emergency operations. By working together, both DHS and the EIC believe that government and industry can more quickly and cost-effectively bridge the data sharing gap between organizations that must be able to interoperate in response to the natural and man-made hazards that form the core of the DHS mission. Numerous federal, state and local organizations as well as private industry benefit from the collaborative efforts of the DHS/EIC relationship. Utilization of the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) and the Emergency Data Exchange Language (EDXL) OASIS standards, and several other supporting standards form an interoperable data sharing communications bridge linking organizations, government entities and the general public. Los Angeles Fire Department Battalion Chief Robert Cramer: "By integrating these data technology capabilities on a platform, we're making it viable to provide data interoperability among fire, law enforcement, emergency medical services, Hazmat, and supporting agencies such as county health and transportation. Creating a common operating picture across multiple agencies and jurisdictions can reduce response times and save more lives." Specific objectives of the alliance, as specified in the Memorandum of Agreement, are to: (1) Improve information sharing capabilities to protect the nation and its citizens from the consequences of disasters and other emergencies, regardless of cause; (2) Encourage broad-based participation in the design, development, acceptance, and use of XML standards to enable emergency organizations to receive and share data in real time; (3) Educate federal, state, local, and tribal governments, the media, citizens, and industry on the meaning and importance of data sharing within the emergency response communities; (4) Promote innovation in these communities around open architectures and standards; (5) Foster a collaborative working environment among federal, state, local, and tribal jurisdictions on these matters. EIC recommends and assists with the implementation of technical interoperability standards for emergency and incident management. The Consortium consists of both public and private entities to ensure the practical use of open standards. The EIC has cooperated with DHS, worked with and in its practitioner working groups to develop detailed requirements for standards, organized interoperability demonstrations using draft and final standards, and submitted requirements to OASIS to initiate formal standards development.

See also: Emergency Management and XML

Sun Metro and .NET WCF Interoperability
Stefan Tilkov, InfoQueue

The latest interoperability event (a "plugfest") at Microsoft's Redmond campus showed impressive results for interoperability between future releases of Sun's Metro Web Services and Windows Communication Foundation in .NET 3.5. Metro 1.1 FCS is a Web Services framework that provides tools and infrastructure to develop Web Services solutions for the end users and middleware developers. With Metro, clients and web services have a big advantage: the platform independence of the Java programming language. InfoQ had a chance to talk to Harold Carr, the engineering lead for enterprise web services interoperability at Sun, about the interop results. When asked what the relevance of this for Java and .NET developers would be, Carr highlighted the role of interoperability in general: "Web services are about wire interoperability, not about the platform they are implemented in. Therefore, developers, whether using .NET or Java, expect their services to interoperate. It is relatively straightforward for platform developers to ensure interoperability for WS-I basic profiles. But when you add in WS-Policy, WS-Security, WS-Trust, WS-SecureConversation, WS-ReliableMessaging, etc., the bar for platform implementors gets way higher. The interop results give transparency into our current development stage to give people that are planning to use Metro with .NET 3.5 confidence that we will provide an interoperable platform—rather than a platform that has only been tested against itself. Reminder: Metro 1.0 already works with .NET 3.0... There are two aspects to consider: the interop scenarios we test and the deployment of services based on these specifications. The interop scenarios are very useful, but certainly not complete—particularly in reliable messaging. Real deployments will come up with combinations never tested (either by the interop scenarios tested at the plugfest or our more extensive in-house testing). Also, .NET 3.0 and Metro 1.0 (both released products) are based on the submission versions of the WS-* specifications (except for WS-Security, which is standard). .NET 3.5 (which is released) is based on the standard versions. Metro 1.x, which will ship later in 2008, will be based on the standard versions also. All this is a long-winded way to say the standard specs haven't been used in many deployments based on shipping platforms from different vendors."

See also: Harold Carr's Blog

Protocol for Web Description Resources (POWDER): Grouping of Resources
Andrea Perego, Phil Archer, Kevin Smith (eds), W3C Technical Report

Members of the W3C Protocol for Web Description Resources (POWDER) Working Group have published a new Working Draft for Protocol for "Protocol for Web Description Resources (POWDER): Grouping of Resources." POWDER facilitates the publication of descriptions of multiple resources such as all those available from a Web site. These descriptions are attributable to a named individual, organization or entity that may or may not be the creator of the described resources. This contrasts with more usual metadata that typically applies to a single resource, such as a specific document's title, which is usually provided by its author. The current document sets out how Description Resources (DRs) can be created and published, whether individually or as bulk data, how to link to DRs from other online resources, and, crucially, how DRs may be authenticated and trusted. The aim is to provide a platform through which opinions, claims and assertions about online resources can be expressed by people and exchanged by machines. The draft describes how sets of IRIs can be defined such that descriptions or other data can be applied to the resources obtained by dereferencing IRIs that are elements of the set. IRI sets are defined as XML elements with relatively loose operational semantics. This is underpinned by the formal semantics of POWDER which include a semantic extension defined in this document. A GRDDL transform is associated with the POWDER namespace that maps the operational to the formal semantics. Changes since the 31-October-2007 working draft are documented in the Change Log.

See also: the W3C POWDER Working Group Charter

OASIS Open Standards Symposium 2008
Staff, OASIS Announcement

OASIS announced that "Composability within SOA" will be the focus of Open Standards 2008, the fifth annual symposium hosted by OASIS. This event, which will be held in Santa Clara, California, 28-April-2008 through 1-May-2008, will examine the critical issues faced when architecting service-oriented applications and the benefits being reaped by real-world implementations that take advantage of Web services transactions. Presentations on the Business Process Execution Language (BPEL), Service Component Architecture (SCA), Service Data Objects (SDO), WS-Transaction, and related standards will be featured. In an Open Standards 2008 keynote address, Peter Carbone, Vice President, SOA, Office of the CTO at Nortel, will share insights on the new realities presented by communications-enabled applications and the opportunities they create for standards development, software vendors, and service providers. OASIS has announced the launch of a new Telecommunications Services Member Section which will work to bring the full advantages of SOA to the telecommunications industry. At Open Standards 2008, the OASIS Open CSA Member Section will host a table-top exhibition showcasing SCA and SDO supporters, BEA, IBM, Primeton, Rogue Wave, SAP, Software AG, and Sun Microsystems. Executives from these companies will participate in a press briefing on the current state of SCA on Tuesday, 29-April-2008.

See also: the event web site

Apache POI: Java API To Access Microsoft Format Files
Staff, Microsoft Announcement

Microsoft has announced a new partnership with Sourcesense, a leading European open source systems integration consultancy. The two companies will collaborate on the strategy, development and deployment of open source solutions for the Microsoft Office product suite. One of the initial goals of the partnership is contributing to the development of a new version of Apache POI, a top-level project of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF). Widely used in financial services and critical enterprise applications across related sectors, Apache POI is a leading open source file format reader and writer to create, edit and read Microsoft Office formats used in Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Visio. Apache POI is a Java application programming interface (API) used to access and manage Microsoft Office binary formats, and can be easily applied to today's billions of binary format documents by alleviating the need for complex programming and/or reverse engineering. Because Apache POI libraries are used in numerous open source projects, developing future libraries to support the Ecma Office Open XML File Formats (the default file format in the 2007 Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint products) will play an important role in new interoperability scenarios where XML-based standard formats will be key for Office documents. Apache POI support for Open XML is currently in development within the Apache Software Foundation; its first release is anticipated during the second quarter of 2008. Code contributions are made by ASF members and committers (developers authorized to 'commit' or 'write' code, patches or documentation to the ASF repository), and overseen by the Apache POI Project Management Committee (PMC). Details are published in the Microsoft press release "Microsoft and Sourcesense Partner to Contribute to Open Source, Apache POI to Support Ecma Office Open XML File Formats."

See also: the announcement

Jacquard: a Methodology for Web Publishing
Uche Ogbuji, IBM developerWorks

This article introduces Jacquard, a software development methodology specialized for Web projects, and especially for Web development among diverse teams. Jacquard seeks to align the work and goals of business interest personnel, Web designers, programmers, project managers, database analysts, and more. The author discusses the core principles of Jacquard, and provides an example of its use in communication between a user experience team and a programmer team. He uses the W3C's Simple Knowledge Organization System (SKOS), which is a very useful technology for the expression of ideas in a way natural to humans, but in a very Web-ready format (RDF)—together with the Turtle syntax for RDF, which is easier to read than RDF/XML. The Jacquard methodology requires formal expression of the core concepts in a way that can be a shared reference across the various teams... Jacquard (pronounced like "jack-card" with more emphasis on the second syllable) is a software development methodology specialized for Web projects, and especially suited for such development among diverse teams. The Web is in many ways different from any information platform before it, and this suggests a fresh approach to development and teamwork. In general it makes sense to look outward to the Web, and not inward and backward to traditional methodologies, to find what works. Lightweight, agile process mirrors the basic nature of the Web, and so does focusing on the data, and how data is organized for sharing. The specific application or database implementation is not as important, nor are the tools you choose to use. This mirrors the Web, which builds on sharing data, and does not require uniformity of implementations. As such, implementation independence is one of the core principles of Jacquard. Another principle is support for decentralized communication. The Web works well across geographical boundaries, and with the increase of off-shore outsourcing and flexible work arrangements, it's useful to learn lessons on decentralization and rich communication. The Web is such a rich information space that some philosophically consider it a realm of its own which parallels, and sometimes intersects, our own real world—the idea of "cyberspace." Paying attention to where idioms on the Web draw from real-world concepts and phenomena is important to usability, and so Jacquard's principle of conceptual alignment encourages you to take care to express the concepts behind your Web project, and to make that clear expression the foundation for communication on the project.


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