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Last modified: August 11, 2008
XML Daily Newslink. Monday, 11 August 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.

DMTF Publishes Draft Open Virtualization Format Specification
Staff, Distributed Management Task Force Announcement

As reported in the 'DMTF Newsletter: Management Matters', August 2008 (Work In Progress: Open Virtualization Format Specification): The Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) recently made available the Open Virtualization Format (OVF) Specification for a limited period as a Work In Progress. OVF simplifies interoperability, security and virtual machine lifecycle management by describing an open, secure, portable, efficient and extensible format for the packaging and distribution of one or more virtual appliances. Software developers are able to ship preconfigured, standard solutions, allowing end-users to distribute applications into their environments with minimal effort. Normative ANNEX C presents the OVF Schema (XSD), while the distribution includes separate files for the OVF XML Schema Envelope Specification (DSP8023) and OVF Environment W3C XML Schemas (XSDs)... OVF supports content verification and integrity checking based on industry-standard public key infrastructure, and it provides a basic scheme for management of software licensing. OVF supports validation of the entire package and each virtual machine or metadata component of the OVF during the installation phases of the virtual machine (VM) lifecycle management process. It also packages with the package relevant user-readable descriptive information that a virtualization platform can use to streamline the installation experience... All metadata about the package and its contents is stored in the OVF descriptor. This is an extensible XML document for encoding information, such as product details, virtual hardware requirements, and licensing. The ovf-envelope.xsd XML schema definition file for the OVF descriptor contains the elements and attributes. Clauses 7, 8, and 9, describe the semantics, structure, and extensibility framework of the XML descriptor. These clauses are not a replacement for reading the schema definitions, but they complement the schema definitions. The XML document of an OVF descriptor shall contain one Envelope element, which is the only element allowed at the top level. Envelope element: The Envelope element describes all metadata for the virtual machines (including virtual hardware), as well as the structure of the OVF package itself.

See also: Open Virtual Machine Format Specification (OVF)

Citrix CTO Eyes the Future of Virtualization
Richard Adhikari,

Vendors of virtual machines must ensure their products are interoperable, or they will lock customers into yet another proprietary stack, nullifying the promise of anytime, anywhere computing on any platform offered by virtualization. This was the major theme of Citrix Systems chief technology officer Simon Crosby's keynote speech Thursday at the LinuxWorld Conference in San Francisco... VM vendors still face several issues in getting to interoperability and an industry standard architecture, Crosby said. One is that VM installations still are manual processes, which makes things difficult for global implementations. Also, key business requirements haven't been addressed, Crosby said. The need for openness led major players in the virtualization market to jointly create a proposed standard, the Open Virtual Machine Format (OVF). Members of the team were XenSource, which is owned by Citrix, VMware, Microsoft, HP, IBM and Dell. The OVF was submitted to the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF), which develops management standards and promotes interoperability for enterprise and Internet environments. The DMTF accepted the proposed standard in September. The OVF will package all VMs with an XML wrapper that will let them run on any virtualization platform. It will also incorporate a security check to ensure that the VM has not been tampered with; metadata about what hardware or hypervisor the VM can run on; and a license check. The DMTF said the OVF will be rolled out this year. The development of the OVF is the first step towards the goal of interoperability because, if the OVF becomes the standard way of creating and distributing virtual appliances, we can get towards the goal of getting virtual machines to install and run correctly anywhere in the world on anybody's product..

Google Open Sources Google XML Pages
Kurt Cagle, O'Reilly Technical

Given the mind-numbingly large number of pages that Google serves up every day, compiled efficiency is a key requirement for their web development team. However, as with many organizations, Google's team has also needed to split up their development efforts, so that web designers do not need to be programmers (and more importantly, do not need to endlessly spend their time validating and debugging low level code), and the core developers could spend time building components. Given that, it was perhaps not all that surprising that at some point, Google decided that the best way of building such tools would be to use XML as a way of abstracting out complex functionality, then using a Java-based interpreter to convert that XML into a compiled binary object. This technology, Google XML Pages, was first developed by Google engineer Laurence Gonsalves in 2001, largely as an experiment at first. Over the years, it migrated out of the lab and into a number of Google sites including the AdWords, Blogger, Google Analytics, AdSense and Google Checkout. At OSCON 2008, L. Gonsalves made the announcement that, after several years of consideration, Google was releasing Google XML Pages (or GXP) under the Apache Open Source License. Originally developed as a Python interpreter that produced Java source code, gxp was rewritten in 2006-2007 to be a completely Java based application. The idea behind gxp is fairly simple (and is one that is used, in slightly different fashion, for Microsoft's XAML and Silverlight): a web designer can declare a number of XML namespaces that define specific libraries on an XHTML or GXP container element, intermixing GXP and XHTML code in order to perform conditional logic, invoke server components, define state variables or create template modules. This GXP code is then parsed and used to generate the relevant Java code, which in turn is compiled into a server module invoked from within a Java servlet engine such as Tomcat or Jetty and cached on the server. The ability to customize the generated content to the appropriate channel output can dramatically simplify coding efforts for the designers, and it means that the same templates can be used to generate content to RSS, Atom, JSON and other encoding formats. The advantages that this approach brings can be coupled with other advantages of using XML-based authoring. It becomes considerably easier to develop applications using XML authoring tools in order to insure that documents are well developed and validated according to established schemas, rather than spending a lot of time in a cycle of syntactical bug checking. Additionally, this approach makes it considerably easier to utilize static-typing in code development, and further extends such typing to the typing of mime-types...

See also: the Google XML Pages web site

Oracle Launches WebLogic Server 10g R3
Becky Nagel, Application Development Trends

After Oracle acquired BEA Systems in April 2008, the company announced that it would be integrating key BEA software into Oracle's Fusion software line to create "next-generation" middleware. Now Oracle has released a key part of that strategy by launching Oracle WebLogic Server 10g 3, the latest iteration of what was BEA's flagship Web server software combined with technology from Oracle's products. Two versions of WebLogic Server 10g 3 are being offered: Enterprise and Standard. The software is also being included in the company's SOA, BPM and WebCenter suites. According to the text of the announcement: Oracle WebLogic Server 10g R3 is among the first of a number of products that combine technology from Oracle Fusion Middleware and BEA Systems. These products illustrate the rapid progress that Oracle is making in combining market-leading technologies from the two companies into a unified product offering. Oracle WebLogic Server 10g R3 is the cornerstone of Oracle WebLogic Suite, a comprehensive foundation for enterprise applications and SOA, supporting scale-out application grids, adaptive systems management and predictable performance. Oracle WebLogic Server 10g R3 remains the Application Server standards leader with new support for Java SE 6, new security standards including SAML 2.0, WS-Security 1.1 and WS-SecurityPolicy 1.2, and, in Web services JAX-WS 2.1, WS-Reliable Messaging 1.1 and WS-Policy 1.5. Oracle WebLogic Server 10g R3 was early to implement Java EE 5 in March 2007. Among new features: (1) The new HTTP publish-subscribe feature enables improved out-of-the-box capability for support of dynamically updated Web 2.0 style rich user interfaces. (2) Oracle WebLogic Server 10g R3 brings a new level of improved developer and end-user experience, offering a lighter-weight footprint, optional service startup, and faster startup, while the new FastSwap feature provides seamless and rapid develop-debug-test cycles. (3) Oracle WebLogic Server 10g R3's support for Spring developers is further expanded so developers can enjoy the Spring experience with the broad capabilities, stability, and manageability of Oracle WebLogic...

See also: the Oracle announcement

Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA) Version 1.0
Adam Lally, Karin Verspoor, Eric Nyberg (eds), OASIS Public Review

OASIS announced that members of the Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA) TC have approved a Committee Draft specification for public review, ending October 8, 2008: "Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA) Version 1.0." Unstructured information may be defined as the direct product of human communication. Examples include natural language documents, email, speech, images and video. The UIMA specification defines platform-independent data representations and interfaces for software components or services called analytics, which analyze unstructured information and assign semantics to regions of that unstructured information... Unstructured information may be contrasted with the information in classic relational databases where the intended interpretation for every field data is explicitly encoded in the database by column headings. Consider information encoded in XML as another example. In an XML document some of the data is wrapped by tags which provide explicit semantic information about how that data should be interpreted. An XML document or a relational database may be considered semi-structured in practice, because the content of some chunk of data, a blob of text in a text field labeled 'description' for example, may be of interest to an application but remain without any explicit tagging—that is, without any explicit semantics or structure. Unstructured information represents the largest, most current and fastest growing source of knowledge available to businesses and governments worldwide. The web is just the tip of the iceberg. Consider, for example, the droves of corporate, scientific, social and technical documentation including best practices, research reports, medical abstracts, problem reports, customer communications, contracts, emails and voice mails. Beyond these, consider the growing number of broadcasts containing audio, video and speech. These mounds of natural language, speech and video artifacts often contain nuggets of knowledge critical for analyzing and solving problems, detecting threats, realizing important trends and relationships, creating new opportunities or preventing disasters... While different platform-specific, software frameworks have been developed with varying features in support of building and integrating component analytics (e.g., Apache UIMA, Gate, Catalyst, Tipster, Mallet, Talent, Open-NLP, LingPipe etc.), no clear standard has emerged for enabling the interoperability of analytics across platforms, frameworks and modalities (text, audio, video, etc.) Significant advances in the field of unstructured information analysis require that it is easier to combine best-of-breed analytics across these dimensions. The UIMA specification defines platform-independent data representations and interfaces for text and multi-modal analytics. The principal objective of the UIMA specification is to support interoperability among analytics.

See also: the announcement

SCA Asynchronous Invocation Patterns In Depth
Yu Zhang and Yu Xiao Li, IBM developerWorks

Service Component Architecture (SCA), a next-generation programming model, provides three kinds of asynchronous invocation patterns. You can use those patterns to asynchronously invoke target SCA services without knowing how the request and response messages are "magically" processed. This article explains what happens when you issue an asynchronous request and how the SCA run time handles the asynchronous messages in the messaging systems. Learn how to develop a mediation handler to monitor the SCA asynchronous messages and how to use the mediation handler to analyze asynchronous invocations... A key feature of SCA is that its transport protocol-independent, which means the developers of the business applications can focus on business logic. As a developer, the only thing you need to know is that you have the ability to send a request to the service in either a synchronous or asynchronous way, without knowing how the request message is processed. The service also never needs to know where the request comes from. It might come from a Java Message Service (JMS) queue, an HTTP request, or even a socket request. All of this transport information is totally transparent to service providers and requesters. But the system architects, service maintenance team, and technical experts need to know what happens behind the scenes. This article explains those processes. The example The topology shows the SCA runtime asynchronous behaviors. The topology includes two modules: Caller and Callee. The Caller module contains two SCA components whose implementation type is Java. The first Java component (Caller) calls the Callee component in the same module or in another module asynchronously. An end user determines whether the invocation happens in a cross-module way and which invocation type is used. After building Caller and Callee modules in WebSphere Integration Developer, WebSphere Integration Developer generates the related Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) artifacts for each module...

Opening Soon: A Digital Library for Europe
Staff, EC Information Society Announcement

The European Commission has confirmed its commitment to help Member States bring their valuable cultural content online. In 2009-2010 Euro 69 million from the EU's research programme will go to digitisation activities and the development of digital libraries. In the same period, Europe's Competitiveness and Innovation Programme will allocate about Euro 50 million to improve access to Europe's cultural content. However, the total cost of digitising five million books in Europe's libraries is already estimated at approximately Euro 225 million, not including objects like manuscripts or paintings. Realising the vision of a European Digital Library (Europeana) needs substantial investment from national institutions, but at present most countries only provide small scale, fragmented funding for digitisation. The Commission today called on Member States to raise digitisation capacities to make their collections available for Europe's citizens, team up with the private sector, and address the designated priorities... Europe's cultural diversity in books, music, paintings, photographs, and films open to all citizens at the click of a mouse via one portal—this dream of a European Digital Library could become reality this autumn. However, further efforts by the EU Member States are needed, said the Commission today in a new Communication on making available digital versions of works from cultural institutions all over Europe. Digitisation of cultural works can give Europeans access to material from museums, libraries and archives abroad without having to travel or turn hundreds of pages to find a piece of information. Europe's libraries alone contain more than 2.5 billion books, but only about 1% of archival material is available in digital form. The Commission therefore called on Member States to do more to make digitised works available online for Europeans to browse them digitally, for study, work or leisure. The Commission itself will provide some—120 million in 2009-2010 for improving online access to Europe's cultural heritage. The Digital Libraries Initiative is the EU's way of making our cultural and scientific heritage (books, journals, films, maps, photographs, music, etc.) accessible to all and preserve it correctly for future generations. The initiative provides a strategy, an agenda and funding to achieve these objectives. A key goal is the creation of Europeana, the European digital library, whose prototype will be launched in November 2008. The Digital Libraries Initiative was launched in 2005. It is a flagship initiative of the Commission's overall strategy to boost the digital economy, the i2010 strategy. The Initiative will focus on two areas: (1) Cultural heritage, to make the collections of Europe's libraries, archives and museums accessible online so they can be used for work, leisure or study. (2) Scientific information, as an important driver for innovation.

See also: i2010


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