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Last modified: October 21, 2008
XML Daily Newslink. Tuesday, 21 October 2008

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

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

XBRL Announces Public Review of Data Tags for Mutual Fund Risk
Staff, XBRL US Announcement

XBRL US has issued an invitation to investors, creators and other users of mutual fund and other investment company information to review and comment on the draft dictionaries of financial and business terms (taxonomy) for the risk/return section of mutual fund prospectuses and the schedule of investments. The national consortium for XML standards for business and financial information reporting has completed the set of data elements which will be used to put key mutual fund information contained in the risk/return summary section of the prospectus, as well as investment company portfolio holdings information, in structured data format. XML-based data tags will make mutual fund and investment company data more useable, searchable and extractable, resulting in a higher level of accountability from mutual funds and other investment management companies and better quality reporting, so that investors are better able to make informed and responsible decisions with confidence. The risk/return summary contains key information about a fund's investment objectives and strategies, costs, risks, and past performance. Mutual funds and other investment companies are required to disclose their portfolio holdings in their schedule of investments as part of their financial statements. XBRL formatting of this content may make mutual fund disclosure more accurate and improve accessibility for investors and others. All users and creators of investment company information are encouraged to download the full taxonomy or review it in an XBRL Review Tool that allows visitors to provide comments on the individual elements. Comments received will be reviewed and potentially incorporated into the final taxonomy that is likely to be used in mutual fund filing starting in 2009. The comment period will close on November 24, 2008.

See also: the XBRL International web site

Intelligent Agents and the Semantic Web
Daniel J. Lewis, IBM developerWorks

The Semantic Web envisioned by Berners-Lee, Hendler, and Lassila in 2001 was a grandiose vision that involved the use of agents to book doctor appointments and to find the best driving routes with the least hassle. The envisaged system was built upon formal ontologies that had already achieved a large following of scientists and agent developers. The key technology behind the Semantic Web is the Resource Description Framework (RDF), which can be seen as both a graphical (a graph of n-triples) and an object-oriented knowledge representational model. Several formats exist to make this model a machine-readable model (for instance RDF/XML, RDF/N3, and RDF/Turtle). Although the Semantic Web visionaries raised some important issues and put forward interesting connections between technologies, they missed one thing: the fact that the Web had turned into a web of documents. Therefore, a middle way needed to occur between the formalism of ontologies and the informalism of documents. This is known as Linked Data. Linked Data coupled with agent technology is an ideal way of dealing with Semantic Web data. This article provides an overview of the Interlinked Semantic Web, agent technologies, and an example of the two combined. There are four generic types of reactive agents that are traditionally discussed in texts: (1) Simple reflex agents, which act based on their current perceptions; (2) Model-based reflex agents, which act based on their current perceptions and partial histories; (3) Goal-based agents, which use their current perceptions in addition to their desires (goals) to act; (4) Utility-based agents, which try to maximize their status to achieve higher efficiency of acting... All agents have specific behaviors. A scheduler agent, which could be seen as an implementation of a Model-based reactive agent, takes time into consideration when executing those behaviors. There are many different types of scheduler behaviors. A simple example is the waker behavior, which runs after a particular time-out period. Another simple example is a ticker behavior, which executes once every set period. A searcher agent is a kind of information agent that has one particular role, which is to find one or more items in a set. It can be formally implemented as a goal-based or utility-based agent. A Web spider, which is just one kind of searcher agent, searches the Web to pre-index pages that are ready for users to search. Searcher agents, which are spawned with specific initial goals from builder agents, are also employed in the PubMed system, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine that includes over 18 million citations from MEDLINE and other life science journals for biomedical articles back to the 1950s. Text-based searcher agents usually have some kind of natural language processing built in and, in some cases, latent semantic indexing... The Semantic Web in Linked Data format is a perfect way to represent knowledge on the Web because the object-oriented model is simple to understand. Agent technology is the perfect way to model an autonomous process because of its ability to become an artificial society based on real-life society. This article demonstrates the beginnings of a simple project that could be taken further in several different ways, including closer modeling of a real-life user agent, more artificial intelligence, extensive use of formal ontologies, expanding the Linked Data sets beyond DBpedia, making it a multi-agent system, and translating an entirely free-text question into a SPARQL query.

See also: W3C Linked Data Design Issues

Microsoft Introduces Installers for Open-Source Applications
David Worthington, SD Times

Microsoft has introduced an installer that streamlines installations of free components from its Web application platform, and another to guide its customers in the installation of popular .NET and PHP open-source applications that are compatible with Windows. The company released a beta version of Web App Installer (Web AI). Web AI is a download manager that handles the acquisition and configuration of open-source applications that run in both cloud and hosted environments. According to Lauren Cooney, group product manager for Web platform and standards at Microsoft, applications span four solution areas: content management, eCommerce, digital marketing, and personal and social websites. Some of the packaged applications are DotNetNuke, Graffiti, PHPBB, and WordPress... Developers can use Microsoft tools and platforms to create open-source applications. Web Platform Installer (Web PI), is a download manager used to install Microsoft's developer technologies for building Web applications. Web PI, which was released in early October 2008, determines what components need to be installed together. It then installs products from the Microsoft website, such as .NET Framework 3.5, IIS, Silverlight, SQL Server Express and more, Cooney said. The installers are the result of a think session Microsoft held three months ago to determine how it should serve Web developers and what is important to them. Microsoft will be promoting the installers at upcoming trade shows, including Professional Developers Conference and DevConnections. From the web site overview: "The Web Application Installer Beta is designed to help get you up and running with the most widely used Web Applications freely available for your Windows Server. Web AI provides support for popular ASP.Net and PHP Web applications including Graffiti, DotNetNuke, WordPress, Drupal, OSCommerce and more. With just a few simple clicks, Web AI will check your machine for the necessary pre-requisites, download these applications from their source location in the community, walk you through basic configuration items and then install them on your computer."

See also: the web site

Multimodal Architecture and Interfaces Fifth Working Draft Published
Jim Barnett (ed), W3C Technical Report

W3C's Multimodal Interaction Working Group has published an updated Working Draft for the "Multimodal Architecture and Interfaces" specification. The main difference from the previous draft is the addition of the rules and guidelines which will allow modality experts to describe the features, capabilities and APIs for specific modality components in sufficient detail so that the components will be interoperable in implementations of the Multimodal Architecture. The modality components themselves will be defined by modality experts according to the guidelines. For example, voice modality components might be defined by the W3C Voice Browser Working Group. The specification describes a loosely coupled architecture for multimodal user interfaces, which allows for co-resident and distributed implementations, and focuses on the role of markup and scripting, and the use of well defined interfaces between its constituents. The aim of this design is to provide a general and flexible framework providing interoperability among modality-specific components from different vendors—for example, speech recognition from one vendor and handwriting recognition from another. This framework places very few restrictions on the individual components or on their interactions with each other, but instead focuses on providing a general means for allowing them to communicate with each other, plus basic infrastructure for application control and platform services... In discussing the design of MMI systems, it is important to keep in mind the distinction between the design-time view (i.e., the markup) and the run-time view (the software that executes the markup). At the design level, we assume that multimodal applications will take the form of multiple documents from different namespaces. In many cases, the different namespaces and markup languages will correspond to different modalities, but we do not require this. A single language may cover multiple modalities and there may be multiple languages for a single modality. At runtime, the MMI architecture features loosely coupled software constituents that may be either co-resident on a device or distributed across a network. In keeping with the loosely-coupled nature of the architecture, the constituents do not share context and communicate only by exchanging events.

See also: the W3C Multimodal Interaction Activity

Sun, Oracle and Novell Take Aim at Identity and Access Management
Brian Prince, eWEEK

Three of the major identity and access management vendors—Oracle, Novell and Sun Microsystems—put a new horse in the race for control of the security space. In the case of Oracle, the emphasis was on mitigating insider fraud and protecting business applications against phishing, Trojans and other Web-based threats. In Oracle Adaptive Access Manager 10g R3, the company built in context-aware capabilities to fight fraud. Also included is an autolearning feature that security administrators can use to detect fraud patterns and usage anomalies. In addition, Oracle added reporting tools that integrate with Oracle Business Intelligence Publisher and enhanced forensic capabilities. Meanwhile, Sun released its Identity Compliance Manager with a focus on enforcing segregation of duties and access certification—measures meant to help businesses meet regulatory and industry compliance mandates. Sun also added a number of compliance dashboards and reports to provide executives with relevant information to ensure that the proper controls are in place to meet compliance regulations. In the past six months, Sun has updated its entire identity management portfolio, offering a complete identity management solution that provides open access, open source and open standards. Sun's identity management suite includes the following products: Sun Role Manager, Sun Compliance Manager, Sun Identity Manager and Sun OpenSSO Enterprise... Novell introduced the Novell Access Governance Suite to augment its existing compliance management portfolio. The suite consists of two products, Novell Roles Lifecycle Manager and Novell Compliance Certification Manager. Aimed at bridging the gap between security mandates and unique business requirements, both products are based on an OEM relationship between Novell and identity and access management vendor Aveska. Access data is collected and normalized, Novell officials said, and there is full automation for access review, certification and reporting as well as access change management and access rights remediation.

Challenges for Future Web Bring Experts Together at W3C Global Plenary
Staff, W3C Announcement

The World Wide Web Consortium announced that it is holding its annual Technical Plenary week near its European host site in Mandelieu, France. More than 350 software engineers, developers, and other experts in a wide range of technologies such as HTML, XML, CSS, Mobile Web, Semantic Web, and Video in the Web, come together to address a variety of challenges in the development of Web standards. Through joint meetings, panels, and "hallway discussions," participants build shared understanding of these challenges, an important step in the design of standards that ensure that the Web remains open, interoperable, and accessible for all people. Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the Web, will open the 22-October-2008 plenary session with a keynote and discussion on the technical direction of W3C for the next several years and where Web applications, documents, and data come together. In the keynote, Berners-Lee will also share thoughts on the future of HTML in the browser and how HTML and XML communities can learn from each other. Technical experts from W3C staff and W3C Members organizations such as CWI, DERI Galway, Fundacion CTIC, Google, IBM, INRIA, IWA-HWG, Mark Logic, Mobileaware, NICTA, OMTP, Openstream, Opera Software, Oracle, TopQuadrant, University of Amsterdam, University of Edinburgh, and Vodafone, will deliver a wide range of talks and demonstrations as part of a diverse agenda that includes: (1) the architecture of the Web; (2) a demonstration on building Accessible Rich Internet Applications; (3) the impact of content management systems on the Web; (4) demonstrations of multimodal interaction, voice browsing, and Semantic Web technology. The meeting record of the Plenary Day sessions will be public, and attendees are encouraged to blog in real time.

Why BPEL Is Not the Holy Grail for BPM
Pierre Vignera, InfoQueue

From Pierre Vignera (BPM Team, Bull R&D): "Looking at recent articles and various BPM solutions, it would be easy to assume that BPEL is now the defacto standard to be used when implementing a workflow engine. From a technical perspective this may well be correct, however few people will claim that BPEL can be easily understood by the end-user, a.k.a the business analyst, who definitely prefers a graph based notation such as BPMN. This article will provide guidance in understanding the discrepancy between the technical point of view (pro-BPEL) and analyst's (pro-BPMN). Going further, even if most BPEL-based BPM solutions agree on the discrepancy (since they usually provide a BPMN to BPEL mapping) this article will explain why it is not currently the solution to BPM problems. A real-world example will be used to illustrate our arguments... Developers and BPM users may believe that BPEL is a structured language since it is basically based on blocks, much as traditional languages such as Java and C amongst others. This comes in part from its origin: Microsoft's XLANG, which was block based. However, BPEL origins also include IBM's WSFL, and this is of great importance for the following discussion as it was graph based (hence unstructured). We find in BPEL a mix of structuredness (blocks) and unstructuredness (control-links and events). Those last constructs introduce a bit of unstructuredness into a world of structuredness... The conclusion is that BPEL is not a structured languages even if it looks like a structured language. On the other hand, BPMN is a flow-chart notation which is naturally unstructured. No doubt about this. In chapter 11 (page 137) of the BPMN specification, a direct mapping from BPMN to BPEL is provided. Some BPMN editors (and users) believe that BPMN is a simple GUI for the underlying BPEL language. This is not quite true... In some ways, BPEL is much closer to a standard language such as Java than to a natural workflow notation such as BPMN (which is graph-based). Until now, programmers have dealt directly with their language. Integrated Development Environments are used to simplify several recurrent steps such as compiling, refactoring, testing and so on. But programmers speak their language directly. We claim that it should be the same with BPEL. An IDE can only simplify programming (note that we don't use the term 'designing' here). But BPEL programmers will have to speak BPEL in order to use it and make something useful out of it..."

See also: BPEL references

Live Blogging the OpenID/OAuth UX Summit
John McCrea, Blog

"I'm at Yahoo for the OpenID/OAuth UX Summit. The room is packed with 40 or so folks. Companies with representation include Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, MySpace, Plaxo, AOL, SixApart, JanRain, Vidoop,, and Magnolia, and projects including Internet2 and DiSo. The Summit is a response to recent usability studies by Yahoo and Google that show the current state-of-affairs with OpenID and OAuth is quite poor, and we need together to find a user experience for the 'open stack' that works for consumers... Next up: Max Engel of MySpace. 'The Hybrid Login: OpenID and OAuth.' MySpace will support OpenID, OAuth, and a hybrid of the two. Will use a pop-up iframe. Allows the user to stay in context. Max is showing screens of the experience they are planning. Every MySpace user has a vanity URL, which will be their OpenID. Still trying to figure out whether to support logging with just ''. Key design elements will be similar to Facebook Connect. Data types: content, address book, registration, profile, friends, activity. Big laugh as Max shows the original OAuth screen, that has so much fine print that it looks like it was designed by a lawyer! Lots of discussion about whether email address should be passed to the site. Why it matters: not just for communicating, but also to avoid duplicate account problem Plaxo has experienced as an OpenID Relying Party and Yahoo OpenID. Chris Messina advancing the idea of email address as OpenID, something under consideration for OpenID 2.1. Max revisiting that MySpace Data Availability originally was to have zero cacheability of the data, which was not going to fly with anyone. Now planning a 'portable profile' plus some cacheable MySpace-specific data. Allen Tom of Yahoo raises the point that the 'cacheable' data is all on public pages already, so why not just mark it up with microformats and remove the caching restriction... Now, Eric Sachs of Google, who just showed what I think is the first public demo of Google as an OpenID Provider. Giving context: SaaS vendors get asked to be a SAML RP for enterprise IDPs. In parallel, Google Checkout folks had questions/issues with login. Giving examples of login on and, as an inspiration for a new/better? login experience for OpenID/OAuth. Now the challenge of desktop apps and OAuth. Seems like 'No, help me sign in' is the key verbiage of this new 'LSO' login model Eric is advocating. Now Google Accounts vs. accounts for Google AppsForYourDomain..."


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