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Last modified: June 18, 2008
XML Daily Newslink. Wednesday, 18 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.

Design and Customize XForms in OpenOffice
Bryan Rasmussen,

"Most developers have heard of XForms as an XML-based forms language meant to replace traditional HTML Forms. This is essentially correct: XForms was created as the next generation version of HTML forms—but the design goals are such that they can be implemented as forms in environments other than the web browser. One such environment is your typical office application. XForms is implemented as one possible method of doing forms-based applications in OpenOffice or Sun's StarOffice. The XForm discussed in this article has been tested on both a Microsoft Windows XP installation, and a Xandros Linux installation. The article presents an overview of how to design an OpenOffice form as an end-user, and provides the syntax for making an OpenOffice XForm match a required XML output format. It assumes that the reader has at least a simple knowledge of XML, XPath, and XML Schema; to follow along or use the downloadable code, you should have OpenOffice version 2.4 or higher installed... The XForms in OpenOffice implementation focuses on simple forms that end users can design themselves. This article provides a limited example of how an end user could use OpenOffice's design mode to build a form, including discussions of the XForms syntax, and common problems that users may encounter. You need an XML format for the form. The example discussed here uses a Danish governmental format that represents the data for a single postal address (only the address, not such extraneous information as the identity of whoever resides there) with additional constructs specific to Denmark. This format makes a decent example because it is simple enough to be comprehensible, yet real-world enough to be potentially useful... XForms in OpenOffice are analogous to the common MVC architecture: the Model is the XForm Model, the View is the rendered form fields, and the control is OpenOffice Forms. Note that the OpenOffice Forms Namespace abstractly describes a form and its properties -- the actual forms input portion of the XForms specification is not implemented. This varies from the XHTML model of XForms, because there's no clear analog to the Controller in that model..." [Note: Bryan Rasmussen is responsible for Core XML and Web technologies within the Danish Government's Data Standardization Project OIOXML.]

See also: XML and Forms

David Nuescheler on JCR and REST
Stefan Tilkov, InfoQueue

David Nuescheler is the specification lead on JSR 170 and JSR 283, Content Repository for Java Technology API. His group has been working for over four years to standardize the content repository market. David is also a committer on the Apache Jackrabbit Project and a member of the Apache Software Foundation. Excerpts from the interview about JCR [JSR 170: Content Repository for Java Technology API]: "A Content Repository as the best of both worlds from relational databases and filesystems, plus all the good stuff that we always missed and had to build into our own applications. This includes things like transactions, scalability, query on the DB side, being really good with very large files, streaming, access controls and hierarchies on the filesystem side and things like versioning, fulltext search and most importantly a 'data first' approach which neither of the two support. JCR is a Java API describing all these features... I am excited that I am aware of over a dozen of repositories that are compliant with JCR v1.0 (aka JSR-170) only two years after the initial release of JCR. As expected some repositories are compliant through third party connectors but the majority already shipping JCR compliance out of the box. This includes the major repository vendors as well as young and innovative new repositories. [As to claims that Atom and AtomPub compete with or obsolete JCR] "Frankly, I still have a hard time understanding why people think that protocols and API's are competing. I remember back in the days when people compared WebDAV and JCR (which btw I think is a much more appropriate comparison from a feature set perspective) we drew the comparison to HTTP and the Servlet API. You wouldn't see anybody saying things like 'Now I have HTTP, why do I need the Servlet API'. Programmers use APIs not protocols... comparing Atom and AtomPub to JCR is a bit of joke from a functional perspective. While Atom and AtomPub offer reading and writing JCR certainly goes beyond that in many different ways (Search, Locking, Versioning, Access Control..). From a technology perspective I think Atom and AtomPub are a more light-weight (probably needed) replacement for the WebDAV collections handling, but that's about it..." [As to REST] "In my mind JCR and REST are related in various different ways. First of all they both are information centric and support hierarchical addressing of the information. So the JCR paths map very intuitively to URLs just like paths in filesystems. One of the first exercises we went through was to map all the JCR API calls to WebDAV to offer a complete remoting of the JCR API in a RESTFul manner. This was not only important to be sure that we are aligned with WebDAV from a feature perspective but also manifest that we did not violate any of the constraints imposed by the REST architecture style..."

Attention Request (POKE) for Instant Messaging
Gustavo Garcia and Jose-Luis Martin (eds), IETF Internet Draft

Members of the IETF SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions (SIMPLE) Working Group have released an -00 level Internet Draft for a specification "Attention Request (POKE) for Instant Messaging." Some existing messaging platforms include the capability to send a message to a user requesting his attention. For example, XEP-0224: "Attention." This feature is usually known as poke, nudge or buzz, and in desktop applications the notification is usually implemented using a combination of sound and the vibration of chat windows. This Internet Draft document specifies a message content type and XML format to request attention from a targeted user. This feature is usually known as poke, nudge or buzz in existing messaging platforms. Its primary use is as an additional instant messaging capability that can be sent in the middle of a instant messaging session or in a standalone message at any time. This message also allows the sender to indicate the preferred realization of the attention request: vibrator, light, tone, media or text... The poke message can be used inside an instant messaging session (for example a MSRP session) or as a standalone message (for example in a SIP message). In session mode, the poke message is sent as part of the messaging stream and its usage is negotiated just like any other media type in that stream, with details depending on the session mode protocol. In the poke message the sender can include the preference for the realization of the attention request in the receiving side: vibrator, light, tone, media or text. This is just an indication and the final decission of the realization is in the receiver depending on the terminal capabilities and the user configuration. A poke message can include more than one realization to define complex patterns (e.g. light + vibrator). The receiver should start all the realizations (from the beginning and following the order in the XML document) in parallel until it finds one marked as "waitForPrevious". When that mark is found the receiver should wait until the end of all the previous realization before starting this realization and next ones... The vibrator realization could be implemented using a mechanical vibration or software vibration of the user interface. The parameters of this realization are the duration, frequency and intensity...

See also: the IETF (SIMPLE) Working Group Status Pages

XHTML 1.1 Basic and Modularization Published as Proposed Recommendations
Daniel Austin, Shane McCarron (et al, eds), W3C Technical Reports

W3C annnounced that the XHTML2 Working Group has published two Proposed Recommendations: "XHTML Modularization 1.1" and "XHTML Basic 1.1." Feedback from implementations is invited. The Modularization specification presents version 1.1 of XHTML Modularization, an abstract modularization of XHTML and implementations of the abstraction using XML Document Type Definitions (DTDs) and XML Schemas. This modularization provides a means for subsetting and extending XHTML, a feature needed for extending XHTML's reach onto emerging platforms. This specification is intended for use by language designers as they construct new XHTML Family Markup Languages. This specification does not define the semantics of elements and attributes, only how those elements and attributes are assembled into modules, and from those modules into markup languages. This second version of this specification includes several minor updates to provide clarifications and address errors found in the first version. It also provides an implementation using XML Schemas. "XHTML Basic 1.1": The XHTML Basic document type includes the minimal set of modules required to be an XHTML host language document type, and in addition it includes images, forms, basic tables, and object support. It is designed for Web clients that do not support the full set of XHTML features; for example, Web clients such as mobile phones, PDAs, pagers, and settop boxes. The document type is rich enough for content authoring. XHTML Basic is designed as a common base that may be extended. The goal of XHTML Basic is to serve as a common language supported by various kinds of user agents. This version of XHTML Basic, which uses the Modularization approach, has been brought into alignment with the widely deployed XHTML Mobile Profile from the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA).

See also: XHTML Basic 1.1

Public Review Drafts for OASIS Web Services Transaction Specifications
Staff, OASIS Announcement

OASIS announced the publication of three Public Review Drafts produced by members of the Web Services Transaction (WS-TX) Technical Committee. The PR drafts are open for comment through August 12, 2008. Most changes are relatively minor, including updated references and the addition of conformance sections. (1) "Web Services Atomic Transaction (WS-AtomicTransaction) Version 1.2" provides the definition of the Atomic Transaction coordination type that is to be used with the extensible coordination framework described in WS-Coordination. This specification defines three specific agreement coordination protocols for the Atomic Transaction coordination type: completion, volatile two-phase commit, and durable two-phase commit. Developers can use any or all of these protocols when building applications that require consistent agreement on the outcome of short-lived distributed activities that have the all-or-nothing property. (2) "Web Services Business Activity (WS-BusinessActivity) Version 1.2" provides the definition of two Business Activity coordination types: AtomicOutcome or MixedOutcome, that are to be used with the extensible coordination framework described in the WS-Coordination specification. This specification also defines two specific Business Activity agreement coordination protocols for the Business Activity coordination types: BusinessAgreementWithParticipantCompletion, and BusinessAgreementWithCoordinatorCompletion. Developers can use these protocols when building applications that require consistent agreement on the outcome of long-running distributed activities. (3) "Web Services Coordination (WS-Coordination) Version 1.2" describes an extensible framework for providing protocols that coordinate the actions of distributed applications. Such coordination protocols are used to support a number of applications, including those that need to reach consistent agreement on the outcome of distributed activities. The framework defined in this specification enables an application service to create a context needed to propagate an activity to other services and to register for coordination protocols. The framework enables existing transaction processing, workflow, and other systems for coordination to hide their proprietary protocols and to operate in a heterogeneous environment. Additionally the specification describes a definition of the structure of context and the requirements for propagating context between cooperating services.

See also: the announcement

Airlines Say They Lack the IT for US-VISIT
Ben Bain, Federal Computer Week

Ken Dunlap, the International Air Transport Association's director of security for North America, argued in a public hearing that airlines lack the information technology infrastructure needed to comply with a Homeland Security Department proposal which would put carriers in charge of collecting biometric information from most foreign travelers when they leave the United States. He said the DHS proposed rule that would place the airlines in charge of collecting certain travelers fingerprints completely ignores the existing IT infrastructure of the industry... airlines did not have the bandwidth to transmit even the low-resolution fingerprints and that IT infrastructure upgrades could take seven months with some airlines having to make significant changes... Dunlap, whose association represents 230 airlines from around the world, made the comments today at a public hearing on DHS' proposed plan for meeting a congressional mandate that requires DHS to expand the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT). A law requires the department to also collect biometric information from non-immigrant travelers as they leave the country. DHS has already been collecting biometric data from such travelers when they arrive in the United States. DHS would use the biometric data collected by the airlines to create an exit record and verify the identity of the traveler against entry data stored in DHS' Automated Biometric Identification System and the Arrival and Departure Information System. The airlines would send the biometric data in a message formatted in Extensible Markup Language (XML) which would contain a biometric image along with biographic data such as the person's first and last names, date of birth, and the date and time the fingerprints were taken. Dunlap claimed that if the proposed biometrics were required, data would amount to 128 megabytes for high resolution of data sent per flight... None of the airlines' data networks could handle that [and] "there is no XML standard for the industry".

Sir Tim Talks Up Linked Open Data Movement

Erin Joyce: Data isn't worth much until it's free—freed from the silo it's locked up in, and used in a mashup that creates valuable new resources for you and others. Freeing data is also behind a fast-growing movement around Linked Open Data - or what many call Web 3.0 for short, said the founder of the World Wide Web. During a keynote address at the Linked Data Planet conference here, Sir Tim Berners-Lee stumped for the next vision of the Web—dubbed Web 3.0—and the linked open data movement that is behind the forming Semantic Web. "Linked open data is a movement," he said. "It's a movement that has taken off internationally; it's a grass roots movement, and it's about information that is free to use in the Linked Data format." This doesn't mean all data should and will be free—you decide what's open and in the public realm and what stays behind a firewall, he stressed. But the decision not to trade data should be because you don't want to, and not because your data just doesn't understand the other party's. That's the fundamental part of the Linked Open Data movement he discussed with attendees at the conference, which was sponsored by Jupitermedia, the parent company of this site. Web 3.0, Semantic Web—even Linked Data, is "about simple ideas that make the Web work and using them for data. But it's about getting one format across applications so the Semantic Web standards enable me looking at my bank statement. Now I can drop that into my calendar and do something with it..."

See also: the abstract

The Web Time Forgot
Alex Wright, NY Times

On a fog-drizzled Monday afternoon, this fading medieval city feels like a forgotten place. Apart from the obligatory Gothic cathedral, there is not much to see here except for a tiny storefront museum called the Mundaneum, tucked down a narrow street in the northeast corner of town. It feels like a fittingly secluded home for the legacy of one of technology's lost pioneers: Paul Otlet. In 1934, Otlet sketched out plans for a global network of computers (or 'electric telescopes,' as he called them) that would allow people to search and browse through millions of interlinked documents, images, audio and video files. He described how people would use the devices to send messages to one another, share files and even congregate in online social networks. He called the whole thing a 'reseau,' which might be translated as 'network'—or arguably, 'web.' Historians typically trace the origins of the World Wide Web through a lineage of Anglo-American inventors like Vannevar Bush, Doug Engelbart and Ted Nelson. But more than half a century before Tim Berners-Lee released the first Web browser in 1991, Otlet (pronounced ot-LAY) described a networked world where "anyone in his armchair would be able to contemplate the whole of creation." Although Otlet's proto-Web relied on a patchwork of analog technologies like index cards and telegraph machines, it nonetheless anticipated the hyperlinked structure of today's Web... Otlet's vision hinged on the idea of a networked machine that joined documents using symbolic links. While that notion may seem obvious today, in 1934 it marked a conceptual breakthrough. "The hyperlink is one of the most underappreciated inventions of the last century," Mr. Kelly said. "It will go down with radio in the pantheon of great inventions." [...] Since there was no such thing as electronic data storage in the 1920s, Otlet had to invent it. He started writing at length about the possibility of electronic media storage, culminating in a 1934 book, 'Monde,' where he laid out his vision of a 'mechanical, collective brain' that would house all the world's information, made readily accessible over a global telecommunications network... Some scholars believe Otlet also foresaw something like the Semantic Web, the emerging framework for subject-centric computing that has been gaining traction among computer scientists like Mr. Berners-Lee. Like the Semantic Web, the Mundaneum aspired not just to draw static links between documents, but also to map out conceptual relationships between facts and ideas... [print format]


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