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Last modified: September 16, 2008
XML Daily Newslink. Tuesday, 16 September 2008

A Cover Pages Publication
Provided by OASIS and Sponsor Members
Edited by Robin Cover

This issue of XML Daily Newslink is sponsored by:
IBM Corporation

DMTF Moves Forward on Virtualization Standards: VMAN and OVF
Richard Adhikari,

At VMworld 2008, VMware's user conference being held through Thursday (2008-09-18) in Las Vegas, the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) took the wraps off VMAN, the virtual-management initiative aimed at simplifying and cutting the cost of managing virtual environments. The DMTF also announced that the Open Virtualization Format (OVF) is now officially a standard. OVF, which was developed jointly by vendors and submitted to the DMTF a year ago, is part of VMAN. OVF lets vendors or enterprises package virtual machines together with applications, operating systems and hooks and calls to any other applications and hardware as needed, wrapped up in metadata about the package in XML and signed digitally to authenticate the package. VMAN will be based on OVF and will leverage existing industry standards such as CIM, the DMTF's Common Information Model, which provides a common definition of management information for systems, networks, applications and services; and WBEM, which is Web-Based Enterprise Management Technology... The standard will provide enterprises a standardized approach to managing virtual machines throughout their entire life cycle. It will also let independent software vendors create prepackaged virtual appliances to run on customized virtualization platforms. VMAN will also let enterprises create libraries of virtual machines for future use by packaging virtual machines they find useful in OVF and storing them. Vendors are already leveraging OVF. Yesterday, virtualization giant VMware unveiled VMware Studio for creating and packaging virtual appliances that can be shipped in OVF. And Oracle, which is on the DMTF board, is leveraging the standard in its Oracle Templates. Statements of support for VMAN are provides by industry partners AMD, Broadcom Corporation, Citrix Systems, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Sun, Symantec, VMware, and WBEM Solutions, Inc.

See also: VMAN details in the announcement

W3C Last Call Review Service Modeling Language (SML) Version 1.1
Bhalchandra Pandit, Valentina Popescu, Virginia Smith (eds), W3C TR

W3C's Service Modeling Language Working Group has issued a Second Last Call Working Draft review for the "Service Modeling Language Version 1.1" specification and companion "Service Modeling Language Interchange Format Version 1.1." SML defines extensions to the W3C XML Schema language by adding support for inter-document references and user-defined constraints. This combination of features is very useful in building complex multi-document models that capture structure, constraints, and relationships. In the management domain, these models are typically used to automate configuration, deployment, monitoring, capacity planning, change verification, desired configuration management, root-cause analysis for faults, etc. The base SML specification defines the Service Modeling Language Version 1.1 (SML) used to model complex services and systems, including their structure, constraints, policies, and best practices. The 'Interchange Format' specification defines the interchange format for SML 1.1. This format identifies the model being interchanged, distinguishes between model definition documents and model instance documents, and defines the binding of rule documents with other documents in the interchange model. A model in SML is realized as a set of interrelated XML documents. The XML documents contain information about the parts of a service, as well as the constraints that each part must satisfy for the service to function properly. Constraints are captured in two ways: (1) Schemas—these are constraints on the structure and content of the documents in a model. SML uses XML Schema as the schema language. In addition SML defines a set of extensions to XML Schema to support references that may cross document boundaries. (2) Rules—are Boolean expressions that constrain the structure and content of documents in a model. SML uses Schematron (ISO/IEC 19757-3, Introduction to Schematron, Improving Validation with Schematron) and XPath for rules. One of the important operations on the model is to establish its validity. This involves checking whether all data in a model satisfies the schemas and rules declared. The SML specification focuses primarily on defining the extensions to XML Schema for references that cross document boundaries, Schematron usage in SML, as well as the process of model validation. It is assumed that the reader is familiar with XML Schema and Schematron. The features and algorithms described in the normative portion of the XML document are specified in enough detail adequate for early implementation experiments. Comments on this WD are welcome through 03-October-2008. Comments should be made in W3C's public installation of Bugzilla, specifying "SML" as the product.

See also: the earlier SML Initiative announcement

Developers Announce Open Source Enterprise Search Server Solr v 1.3.0
Apache, Software Announcement

The Apache Solr development team has announced the availability of Solr 1.3.0 for public download. Solr is an open source standalone enterprise search server with a web-services like API. You put documents in it (called "indexing") via XML over HTTP. You query it via HTTP GET and receive XML results. The Solr search server os based on the Lucene Java search library, with XML/HTTP and JSON APIs, hit highlighting, faceted search, caching, replication, a web administration interface and many more features. It runs in a Java servlet container such as Tomcat. Solr offers: advanced full-text search capabilities; optimization for high volume web traffic; standards based open interfaces (both XML and HTTP) comprehensive HTML administration interfaces; server statistics exposed over JMX for monitoring; scalability, including efficient replication to other Solr Search Servers; flexible and adaptable customization with XML configuration; extensible plugin architecture. The Solr version 1.3.0 release contains many enhancements and bug fixes, including: (1) Distributed search capabilities; (2) Numerous Lucene and other performance improvements; (3) Support for multiple indexes in a single deployment; (4) SolrJ client and a binary response protocol for faster client-server communication; (5) Search Components that can be chained together to offer flexible query processing—components include existing functionality like faceting and add 'More Like This', Editorial Boosting (Query Elevation), and Spell Checking; (6) New DataImportHandler for easily indexing database content into Solr.

See also: the release notes

WSO2 Releases PHP Library for SOA Development
David Worthington, SD Times

The developer of a library that can be used to create and consume standards-compliant Web services in PHP hopes to prove that SOA is not just for Java and .NET programmers. WSO2's WSF/PHP 2.0 became generally available today. The library is written in C and is based on Axis2/C; WSO2 is a major contributor to Apache. WSO2 supports PHP data services to expose databases as a service in PHP platforms. According to the text of the announcement: "WSF/PHP 2.0 adds significantly expanded REST functionality, new Data Services, greater interoperability, and extended security. With WSF/PHP 2.0, developers now have a comprehensive framework for deploying PHP services that meet the strict enterprise SOA standards implemented by corporations and governments worldwide. WSF/PHP 2.0 is part of the WSO2 family of Web Services Framework (WSF) products designed to support enterprises' heterogeneous SOAs. Other WSO2 WSF products include WSF/Ruby, WSF/Perl, WSF/Java, WSF/JavaScript, and WSF/Spring. With the WSF family, enterprises' diverse developer communities have the functionality they need to create Web services in their language of choice. WSF/PHP 2.0 facilitates Web service creation for the large majority of PHP Web applications that rely on databases. The new WSF/PHP Data Services solution lets developers take data in LAMP, WAMP, and other PHP-based systems and expose it as a Web service with full WS-* support. Key features include a dbs2php converter tool, and support for multiple database engines, nested queries, and WSDL generation... WSF/PHP enterprise security and reliability includes the support for WS-Security, WS-SecurityPolicy, and WS-ReliableMessaging available with WSF/PHP 1.0. Version 2.0 of WSF/PHP adds capabilities in four areas. (1) Replay detection tracks whether a message is fresh or has been previously sent, preventing replay attacks that can lead to denial of service. (2) WS-Trust for issuing, renewing, and validating security tokens ensures trusted relationships. (3) WS-SecureConversation support allows a series of messages (a conversation) to be protected by a single session key, improving efficiency of the operation. (4) Support for the Public Key Cryptography Standards (PKCS) makes it possible for services written in WSF/PHP to handle multiple client x509 certificates simultaneously, further improving efficiency. Other development and performance enhancements in WSF/PHP 2.0 include: [i] Increased WSDL support includes tools, such as wsdl2php for contract-first development of services and clients; the ability to generate WSDLs for WSF/PHP Web services scripts; and proven support for a range of WSDL styles, including support for advanced schemas such as extensions and restrictions. [ii] Policy-driven design provides users with a maximum level of control by allowing developers to configure the behavior of services using policies. [iii] Binary data capability gives users a choice between sending and receiving binary data as attachments using either MTOM or a SOAP message with attachment (SwA). MTOM in version 2.0 has been optimized through caching, enhancing performance. [iv] Expanded deployment models for WSF/PHP 2.0 include several platforms—notably Linux, Windows, and Solaris—as well as seamless integration with Apache and Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) Web servers. [v] Enhanced stability to ensur e high availability and reliability...

See also: the announcement

Develop PHP Applications with Picasa Web Albums
Vikram Vaswani, IBM developerWorks

Picasa Web Albums offers Web application developers a REST-based Data API to manipulate the photos and albums stored on its servers. PHP's SimpleXML extension and Zend's GData Library are ideal to process the XML feeds generated by this API so you can customize PHP photo management and photo sharing applications. Picasa is more than just a tool you can download off the Web: it also exists online, as a free photo-sharing site called Picasa Web Albums. At the Web site, users can upload photos and videos, categorize them into albums, tag them with keywords for easy searching, and share them with others. The best part, though, is behind the scenes: Like many other Google tools, Picasa Web Albums exposes a Data API which allows developers to build customized applications around the images stored in user photo albums. You can access this API, which follows the REST model, through any XML-capable development toolkit. The API already has client libraries for many common programming languages...including the one I use most often, PHP. This article will introduce you to the Google Picasa Web Albums Data API, and show you how to integrate and use your Picasa albums and photos with PHP applications. It shows how to retrieve album and photo listings; filter these listings by search terms; add, modify and delete photos; and build a customized interface to the Picasa service; add, modify and delete photos; build a customized interface to the Picasa service... As with all REST-based services, things start with an HTTP request to a designated resource. This HTTP request contains a query with one or more input parameters; the server replies to the query with an Atom- or RSS-formatted response (or feed), suitable for parsing in any XML-aware client. The Picasa Web Albums Data API responds to a REST request with a feed of the requested data. Various feeds are available: album feeds, photo feeds, user feeds, user contact feeds, and so on. In most cases, therefore, the XML response contains a 'feed' element as the root element. The 'feed' element contains 'link' elements, which contain URLs for the current, next, and previous pages of the result set, and 'openSearch:' elements, which contain summary statistics for the search. The outermost 'feed' element encloses one or more 'entry' elements, each representing a photo matching the query. Each 'entry' contains further information on the photo it represents, including the caption, file name, publication date, and author. Each 'entry' also contains 'link' elements, which provide URL links to view and edit the photo. A set of 'gphoto:' elements within each 'entry' contain detailed information on the photo: its size, dimensions, album, comment count, and so on. A 'media:group' element within each 'entry' contains photo keywords and thumbnail links.

SAP Teams Up With InnoCentive 'Open Innovation Market Place'
Larry Dignan, ZDNet Blog

SAP is partnering with InnoCentive, an 'open innovation market place,' to link so called 'seekers,' or companies looking to solve a business problem, with 'solvers,' developers that can save the day. Launched in 2001, InnoCentive is a global open innovation marketplace, where individuals in all industries, regions and business areas collaborate to deliver breakthrough solutions for organizations driven by research and development (R&D). InnoCentive Seekers, who collectively spend billions of dollars on R&D, submit complex problems to the InnoCentive Marketplace, where more than 160,000 engineers, scientists, inventors, business people and research organizations in more than 175 countries are invited to solve them. Solvers who deliver the most innovative solutions receive financial awards... In one example of a USD 10,000 challenge ("Unified Heterogeneous Web Service Error Handling"), SAP "is looking for a method that simplifies unified web service error handling by consuming applications in multi-vendor Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) environments. Proposed solutions should support a variety of web service stack implementations and error schemes in an extendable way. The use of web services has grown rapidly over the past several years and has improved markedly. However, graceful and efficient error handling remains a largely unsolved problem particularly because there is no unified mechanism for different error types: (1) Technical errors because of communication problems or other unforeseen circumstances; (2) Usage errors that report semantically meaningful error conditions back to the caller (3) Application errors because of error conditions of the underlying application systems that exposes the web service The matter is further complicated by the fact that web services are implemented on a variety of web service stacks. A candidate solution should create a unified error handling architecture. The method should be independent of the language used to write the consuming application, or must support applications written in a range of widely-used language environments (e.g., Java, .NET, Ruby). The method should be capable of handling errors across different web service stacks and their associated error schemes. One of the supported web service stacks must be SAP NetWeaver and the specifics of error handling that follow the SAP Enterprise Service methodology. The solution's architecture should be described in a paper that is no more than 20 pages. A demonstration of how the solution is used by a consuming application would also be useful but is not strictly required." As to IP: "David Ritter, CTO of InnoCentive, said in a press conference that the company has been facilitating IP transfer for 7 years and has added software in the last year. Procter & Gamble has been the leading proponent of these idea exchanges as has pharmaceutical research firms. SAP is a big win for InnoCentive and there's an equity investment involved... When asked about intellectual property challenges, Yusuf said SAP would rely on InnoCentive's ability to facilitate transfers. Ritter added that there are many models used between solvers and seekers and challenges can be tailored to what a company is comfortable with..."

See also: the SAP Innovation and Technology Pavilion

Really Strategies Announces RSuite CMS Version 3.0
Staff, Really Strategies Announcement

The RSuite CMS solution from Really Strategies provides a full suite of editorial and production capabilities for XML and other content formats, including search, retrieval and content updating; content re-use at many levels; and editorial workflow tools. It supports the OASIS DITA (OASIS Darwin Information Typing Architecture) standard, allowing users to: (1) Import and export DITA maps; (2) Automatically configure a DTD or schema; (3) Create and manage DITA maps; (4) Publish and process DITA content by integrating with DITA-aware tools, e.g., with the open-source DITA Open Toolkit. The version 3.0 update to RSuite provides progressive editorial features, including RSuite Forms, a plug-in to access RSuite from Adobe CS3 InCopy, and XML Editor integrations. The 3.0 release also includes an extensions framework that enables developers to easily integrate custom code with RSuite to meet unique needs. The RSuite Forms feature offers users a way to quickly input content or metadata directly into an XML document without exposing the XML. Administrators of the system can quickly create, edit, and style forms that are easy for editors and authors to use. The tight integration with Adobe's CS3 enables InCopy users the ability to browse and open XML or InCopy documents in RSuite directly from the comfort of Adobe InCopy. Editorial staff doesn't need to go into an external system and publishers can maintain their content in XML throughout its lifecycle. With its WebDAV support, RSuite 3.0 includes the ability to integrate WebDAV-enabled editors such as oXygen, Arbortext, and Serna. This means users of XML editors can work with RSuite as easily as they do a file system. Leveraging auto forms generation, RSuite can provide the ability to edit XML in a forms-based interface for those users who prefer to not work in an environment that exposes XML tag sets. RSuite provides a graphical drag-and-drop setup and configuration of workflows, built on top of JBoss jBPM, an industrial-strength open source workflow system. Creating and applying a workflow can be done in minutes by selecting one of over thirty action handlers provided out of the box. Multi-threaded and parallel workflows are not a problem. Non-technical users can change and add workflow steps and tasks without always having to involve IT staff. Really Strategies solutions encompass XML editorial tools, XML repositories, content management systems, and editorial and production systems. Our services include workflow reengineering; technology evaluation; DTD and Schema development; business, functional, and technical requirements development; and electronic product development strategy.

See also: the RSuite feature description

Build a Simple WYSIWYG Web Page Editor
Greg Travis, IBM developerWorks

This article describes a simple system that lets users of your Web site build their own Web pages. With it, they can place text and images on their page, arrange them to their liking, and save their work. The code in this article stands alone, without any third-party libraries. It features a simple Asynchronous JavaScript + XML (Ajax) system that lets your users assemble pages by adding and arranging pre-made widgets. Many sites provide this kind of functionality, but this easy-to-use system lets you do it on your own site and provides a simple library for creating new widgets. Widgets are the individual elements that make up a Web page. This article considers only two widget types: an editable text widget and an image widget. There are many other kinds of widgets you could create. However, here I am more interested in the infrastructure that supports the widgets rather than a wide variety of options. The whole point of this is system is to let you create Web pages, which you do by creating, moving, and resizing text and image widgets. There's nothing really ground-breaking going on here—simply mouse event handlers, 'div' resizing, and the like. Users must be able to save their work and load it again later, so a persistence mechanism is needed. You'll use some basic serialization to turn the data into a savable form, and then you'll store it using Document Object Model (DOM) Storage. DOM Storage is defined in the HTML version 5 specification and is implemented in more recent versions of Mozilla Firefox... GUIs are difficult to develop. They involve many subtle issues surrounding the psychology of the humans who use them. And because GUIs form the boundary between two different autonomous agents—the user and the computer -- they suffer from the special status of having two masters. This generally results in code that is intricate and non-modular and that can often be quite fragile during the long development process. But, by carefully paring the general-purpose plumbing from the application-specific functions, it is possible to create libraries of GUI actions that can be combined into larger systems of relatively independent interactions. This article covers a lot of ground: it touches on several different elements, all of which are relevant to the Build-Your-Page system. Build-Your-Page is a toy system, but it does involve most of the elements of a substantial GUI application. It hints at a more sophisticated system, one that could fulfill the dream of a read-write Web.


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