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Last modified: June 17, 2008
XML Daily Newslink. Tuesday, 17 June 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.

W3C Publishes Three Working Draft Specifications on HTML 5
I. Hickson, D. Hyatt, A.van Kesteren, M Smith (eds.), W3C TRs

W3C has announced the release of three draft documents relating to HTML 5, where the W3C HTML Working Group is the W3C working group responsible for the HTML 5 specification progress along the W3C Recommendation track. (1) "HTML 5: A Vocabulary and Associated APIs for HTML and XHTML", for which a non-normative diff-marked version is also available. HTML 5 "defines the fifth major revision of the core language of the World Wide Web: the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). In this version, new features are introduced to help Web application authors, new elements are introduced based on research into prevailing authoring practices, and special attention has been given to defining clear conformance criteria for user agents in an effort to improve interoperability. "HTML" was primarily designed as a language for semantically describing scientific documents, although its general design and adaptations over the years has enabled it to be used to describe a number of other types of documents. The main area that has not been adequately addressed by HTML is a vague subject referred to as Web Applications. This specification attempts to rectify this, while at the same time updating the HTML specifications to address issues raised in the past few years. The HTML 5 specification is limited to providing a semantic-level markup language and associated semantic-level scripting APIs for authoring accessible pages on the Web ranging from static documents to dynamic applications. (2) "HTML 5 Differences from HTML 4" describes the differences between HTML 4 and HTML 5 and provides some of the rationale for the changes. The single language called HTML 5 can be written in a "custom" HTML syntax and in XML syntax, and Section 1.4 "Impact on Web Architecture" identifies HTML 5 areas or 'features' believed to impact the Web architecture. The HTML 5 language "custom" HTML syntax is compatible with both HTML 4 and XHTML1 documents published on the Web, but is not compatible with the more esoteric SGML features of HTML 4.... documents using this "custom" syntax must be served with the 'text/html' MIME type. HTML 5 also defines detailed parsing rules (including "error handling") for this syntax which are largely compatible with popular implementations. (3) "HTML 5 Publication Notes" was produced by the W3C HTML Working Group, part of the HTML Activity in the W3C Interaction Domain. It provides supplemental information on the 10-June-2008 working draft of the HTML 5 specification, primarily documenting changes that have been made to the HTML 5 draft specification since the time of its 22-January-2008 publication as a First Public Working Draft. The initial section "Summary: High-level List of Selected Changes" identified twenty-nine (29) important differences introduced in the latest HTML 5 specification.

See also: the W3C news item

Get Ready for Firefox 3.0: A Web developer's Guide
Uche Ogbuji, IBM developerWorks

This article provides a Web developer's guide to the many new features in this popular browser, especially the offline application features. Mozilla Firefox 3 is a major release with many enhancements, some of which are targeted at users, and some at developers. One of the most interesting updates gives Web developers the ability to build Web applications that work even when the user is disconnected from the Internet... Firefox 3 support for continued work while the user is offline is based on the HTML 5 working draft. A user can have a static Web page online several ways: from using the browser cache, to having a local caching proxy, to just downloading the Web content to disk. More and more of what we do on the Web is dynamic, including reading Web mail or Web feeds, browsing our favorite shops, or using our favorite social networks. Even the most standard productivity applications have gone Web-happy with online versions of word processors, spreadsheets, and presentation tools, as well as new categories of these applications such as Wikis. These applications would be even more valuable if you could continue to use them when no network is available. Firefox 3 makes it possible for you to offer this capability in your Web application... Firefox 3.0 promises an impressive array of improvements for the Web user and developer alike. The platform's innovation gives developers a head start on Web trends, and its standards support means that even on the cutting edge of these trends, Firefox offers transparency in its features that accelerates adoption and improves compatibility. I encourage you to explore a few other new features in Firefox. Web-based protocol handlers let you define new URI types beyond built-ins, such as 'http:' and 'mailto:'. For XML developers, Firefox 3 adds support for many EXSLT extensions, which greatly increase the power of XSLT transforms. It also improves support for the XML-based vector graphics standard SVG.

See also: the eWEEK review

XBRL to Support Interactive Data Initiatives
Staff, XBRL US Announcement

XBRL US, the national consortium for XML standards for business and financial information reporting, announced that the infrastructure it developed for US GAAP reporting in XBRL format is ready and able to support future interactive data reporting applications. XBRL US completed a contract with the SEC this Spring to build out the collection of financial and business reporting terms representing U.S. GAAP required disclosures and common reporting practices (taxonomies) that public companies will use to create their own XBRL-formatted financial statements. XBRL (Extensible Business Reporting Language) is a royalty-free, open specification for software that uses XML data tags to describe business and financial information for public and private companies and other organizations. XBRL benefits all members of the information supply chain by utilizing a standards-based method with which users can prepare, publish in a variety of formats, exchange and analyze financial statements and the information they contain. The SEC has issued three announcements within the past 30 days related to rule proposals requiring the use of XBRL. On May 14, 2008, the SEC commissioners met in an open meeting and unanimously approved a comprehensive rule proposal that would mandate the use of interactive data for public company filing, following a phased approach requiring the largest accelerated filers using US GAAP (those with a worldwide public float over $5 billion) to submit their financial statements in XBRL format starting in Q1 2009. One year later, all other large accelerated filers would be required to submit financials in XBRL format and one year after that, all other public company filers would follow suit.

See also: US GAAP Taxonomies 1.0 and Supporting Documentation

Geolocation API Specification
Andrei Popescu (ed), W3C Technical Report

A revised Editor's Draft for the "Geolocation API Specification" has been released for public comment. The draft Geolocation API defines a high-level interface to location information associated with the hosting device, such as latitude and longitude. The API itself is agnostic of the underlying location information sources. Common sources of location information include Global Positioning System (GPS) and location inferred from network signals such as IP address, RFID, WiFi and Bluetooth MAC addresses, and GSM/CDMA cell IDs. The API is designed to enable both "one-shot" position requests and repeated position updates in addition to the ability to query the last-known position. Location information is represented by latitude and longitude coordinates and optionally by reverse geocoded address information. The Geolocation API in this specification builds upon earlier work in the industry, including "Geolocation in Firefox and Beyond", "Gears Geolocation API," and's draft. The document currently has only informal support through the W3C 'public-geolocation' list, but the Use-Cases section presents eight example use cases motivating the requirements and other design. Examples: (1) Find points of interest in the user's area: "Someone visiting a foreign city could access a Web application that allows users to search or browse through a database of tourist attractions; using the Geolocation API, the Web application has access to the user's approximate position and it is therefore able to rank the search results by proximity to the user's location." (2) Annotating content with location information; (3) Automatic form-filling; (4) Show the user's position on a map; (5) Turn-by-turn route navigation; (6) Alerts when points of interest are in the user's vicinity; (7) Up-to-date local information; (8) Location-tagged status updates in social networking applications: "A social network application allows its users to automatically tag their status updates with location information; it does this by monitoring the user's position with the Geolocation API and using only certain parts from the Address object."

See also: the W3C 'public-geolocation' discussion list

IETF Centralized Conferencing Manipulation Protocol
Mary Barnes (et al, eds), IETF Internet Draft

Members of the IETF Centralized Conferencing (XCON) Working Group have published a version -00 Internet Draft for a "Centralized Conferencing Manipulation Protocol" specification. The IETF Framework for Centralized Conferencing (XCON) defines a signaling-agnostic framework, naming conventions and logical entities required for constructing advanced conferencing systems. A primary concept introduced in the XCON framework is the existence of a conference object. The framework introduces the conference object as a logical representation of a conference instance which represents the current state and capabilities of a conference. The Centralized Conferencing Manipulation Protocol (CCMP) defined in this document allows the creation, manipulation and deletion of a conference object by authenticated and authorized clients. This includes adding and removing participants, changing their roles, as well as adding and removing media streams and associated end points. CCMP implements a client-server model. The server is the Conference Control Server defined in the XCON framework. The client is the Conference and Media Control Client in the XCON framework. This document describes the protocol used by the client for conference control. CCMP manipulates conferences based on their semantic properties and is based on a client-server Remote Procedure Call (RPC) mechanism, with the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) used to carry out the appropriate client-server protocol transactions. The common information contained in conference objects is defined using an XML representation based on the schema in the XCON data model. These data structures are used as the basis for the Web Services Description Language (WSDL) definition and XML schema. Document Sections 12 and 13 supply the XML Schema and WSDL Definition.

See also: the IETF Centralized Conferencing (XCON) Working Group

OASIS Opens SAML Community Web Site
Staff, OASIS Announcement

The OASIS international standards consortium today introduced a new online community web site dedicated to supporting the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML). The new site will serve as the official information resource for the SAML OASIS Standard, which provides an XML-based framework for online partners to exchange user authentication, entitlement, and attribute information. SAML is a flexible and extensible standard designed to be used by other by other standards. The Liberty Alliance, the Internet2 Shibboleth project, and the WS-Security OASIS Standard have all adopted SAML as a technological underpinning for various purposes. All pages on SAML are accessible by the public, and users are encouraged to contribute content. The site features a wiki knowledgebase of information on using and understanding SAML. It also includes sections where readers can post related news, event information, listings for products and services, links to white papers, case studies, and other resources. Forums that support interactive discussions and blogs are also featured. Eve Maler, director of technology in Business Alliances at Sun Microsystems: "SAML is recognized as the gold standard for federated identity; OASIS has created SAML as a way to enable users, developers, vendors, and other standards efforts from around the world to share information and learn from one another. Sun has taken an active role in SAML's spec development, product support, interoperability, and education since its earliest days, and we're delighted to see the launch of this new resource."

See also: SAML references

W3C Launches Web Applications Working Group
Staff, W3C Announcement

W3C has announced the launch of a new Web Applications (WebApps) Working Group, co-Chaired by Art Barstow (Nokia) and Charles McCathieNevile (Opera Software). "This group merges the former Web APIs and Web Application Formats Working Groups. Per the charter for the Web Applications Working Group, the group's mission is to provide specifications that enable improved client-side application development on the Web, including specifications both for application programming interfaces (APIs) for client-side development and for markup vocabularies for describing and controlling client-side application behavior. The target environments for the Web Applications Working Group's deliverables include desktop and mobile browsers as well as non-browser environments that make use of Web technologies. The group seeks to promote universal access to Web applications across a wide range of devices and among a diversity of users, including users with particular accessibility needs. The APIs must provide generic and consistent interoperability and integration among all target formats, such HTML, XHTML, and SVG. W3C has also rechartered the Compound Document Formats (CDF) Working Group, to continue to develop specifications which combine selected existing document formats from the W3C and elsewhere, and which specify the runtime behavior of such combined documents. A Compound Document is the W3C term for a document that combines multiple formats, such as XHTML, SVG, SMIL and XForms. The W3C Compound Document Formats (CDF) Working Group will specify the behaviour of some format combinations, addressing the needs for an extensible and interoperable Web. Both Working Groups will conduct their work in public. The first order of business of the rechartered CDF Working Group is to propose Chair candidates to the Director."

See also: the Web Applications Working Group Charter

The Era of Closed Formats is Dead
Bob Jolliffe, Tectonic Blog

The South African e-documentation workgroup is hosting a number of the world's most influential XML and open standards activists at the 'XML in Government Workshop' next week. One of the key figures behind the event—and indeed behind much of the XML and digital standards work in South Africa—is Bob Jolliffe. A member of the South African department of science and technology, a founder of Freedom to Innovate South Africa (FTISA), and someone who has spent the best part of the past year arguing the merits and demerits of OOXML, he explains here how far the movement to open standards and XML in government has progressed. Jolliffe, on the intention of the XML in Government Workshop: "The South African government has made a strong commitment to the use of XML and open standards for interoperability. Yet we are only at the very beginning of understanding all of the possibilities and implications of these commitments. One of the factors which surfaces repeatedly is that we do not necessarily have all the expertise required to fully realise the potential of open standards-based interoperability. I firmly believe that in South Africa, contrary to what we have heard recently, capacity does exist, but it is dispersed amongst government, the private sector, academia, the wider FOSS community and the public. We hope in this workshop to bring some of that public together to look at building collaborative forums for further developing XML based open standards. It is not by accident that this workshop is being driven by the Presidential National Commission on the Information Society and Development eDocumentation workgroup. Open standards are an information society issue as much as a technical one..."

See also: Rick Jelliffe's blog


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