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Last modified: November 26, 2008
XML Daily Newslink. Wednesday, 26 November 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

W3C Recommendation: Extensible Markup Language (XML) 1.0 Fifth Edition
Tim Bray, Jean Paoli, C.M. Sperberg-McQueen (et al, eds), W3C Technical Report

W3C announced that the XML Core Working Group has published Extensible Markup Language (XML) 1.0 Fifth Edition as a W3C Recommendation. This fifth edition of the widely deployed standard XML incorporates corrections to errata found in previous versions. In particular, one correction relaxes the restrictions on element and attribute names, thereby providing in XML 1.0 the major end user benefit currently achievable only by using XML 1.1. As a consequence, many possible documents that were not well-formed according to previous editions of this specification are now well-formed, and previously invalid documents using the newly-allowed name characters in, for example, ID attributes, are now valid. XML has been designed for ease of implementation and for interoperability with both SGML and HTML. The Extensible Markup Language is a simple, flexible text format derived from SGML (ISO 8879). The W3C created, developed and continues to maintain the XML specification. XML documents are made up of storage units called entities, which contain either parsed or unparsed data. Parsed data is made up of characters, some of which form character data, and some of which form markup. Markup encodes a description of the document's storage layout and logical structure. XML provides a mechanism to impose constraints on the storage layout and logical structure. The W3C is also the primary center for developing other cross-industry specifications that are based on XML. Some of these are done within the XML Activity, such as XML Query and XML Schema, and some are being done in other W3C Activities, such as Web Services, SVG and XHTML. The XML Activity tries to keep a balance between maintaining stability and backwards compatibility, making improvements that help to encourage interoperability, and bringing new communities into the world of XML.

See also: the Extensible Markup Language (XML) Activity

NetBeans Version 6.5 Goes Live
John K. Waters, Application Development Trends

NetBeans 6.5, was formally launched last week at Sun Microsystems's Tech Day's event in Beijing, China. Overview: "In addition to full support of all Java platforms (Java SE, Java EE, Java ME) and JavaFX, the NetBeans IDE 6.5 is the ideal tool for software development with PHP, Ajax and JavaScript, Groovy and Grails, Ruby and Ruby on Rails, and C/C++. The 6.5 release provides enhanced support for web frameworks (Hibernate, Spring, JSF, JPA), the GlassFish application server, and databases. Additionally it includes a new IDE-wide QuickSearch shortcut, a more user-friendly interface, and automatic Compile on Save." The NetBeans community released an early access version for Python runtimes with V6.5. Sun, the primary corporate supporter of the NetBeans project, chose Beijing for the launch because 6.5 came out in fully localized versions of Chinese, Japanese and Brazilian Portuguese. "We chose Beijing to launch this version because, said David Folk, group marketing manager for developer tools product marketing, "is because we were able to do this simultaneous release. It's a single release not delayed by the localized versions." The 6.5 version also comes with enhanced support for several Web frameworks, including Hibernate, Spring, JSF, JSF CRUD generator, and the Java Persistence API. There's also a new editor for JavaScript development, with supports CSS/HTML code completion and the ability to debug client-side JavaScript code within both Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers. Look, too, for a new ability to debug multithreaded Java technologies. This version comes with the latest generation of the open-source GlassFish application server. But it's the IDE's support for the leading dynamic scripters that is turning some heads. Sun offered users a preview of its PHP support in version 6.1 earlier this year. This release formalized the tool's support for the language. The list of early access Python tools includes an editor, debugger and choice of Python runtimes... NetBeans is gaining some ground among non-Java developers. It's now one of the top two Ruby IDEs on the market, according to Gartner analyst Mark Driver. With the arrival of Eclipse a few years ago, many industry watchers expected NetBeans to fade away, as did other Java IDEs. But the toolset continues to stand as perhaps the Eclipse alternative...

See also: the NetBeans IDE 6.5 Release Information

Reference Metamodel for the EXPRESS Information Modeling Language
Eurostep and 88Solutions; OMG Request for Comments

An announcement from the Object Management Group reports on the approval of several OMG specifications. The OMG Board of Directors voted to approve "Reference Metamodel for the EXPRESS Information Modeling Language" as a revised specification. The RFC was supported by NIST, Fraunhofer Institut fuerr Produktions- und Konstruktionstechnik (IPK), Fachhochschule Vorarlberg, AIDIMA, Electronic Commerce Promotion Council of Japan, John Deere, LKSoftWare Gmbh, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, New University of Lisbon (UNINOVA), and PDTEC. From the RFC Introduction: "The information modeling language EXPRESS was standardized in 1994 as Part 11 of the ISO 10303 Standards for the Exchange of Product Data. It was revised in 1999 and in 2004. It was used for every information model in the STEP series, and in 3 other standards series in ISO TC184 (Industrial Data), and for information models in standards developed by other ISO Technical Committees. As of 2005, there were over 300 major information models for manufacturing and construction information that are formally specified in EXPRESS and standardized by ISO. These models, and the EXPRESS language are in wide use in the manufacturing industry, and the exchange models are supported by dozens of software tools. In the more recent past, in order to make these models useful to an industry in which programmers and modelers are not commonly taught EXPRESS, further ISO projects have been undertaken to produce mappings from EXPRESS to XML Schema (ISO 10303-28) and UML (ISO 10303-25). But each of these mappings was specified entirely in text and targeted version 1 of XML Schema and UML respectively...Eurostep developed tooling to map a subset of the metamodel to OWL. This was a first step toward the goals of the third MEXICO project component. Further work in this area is continuing with Eurostep and other partners. At the same time, a number of other tool vendors who support the EXPRESS modeling community have developed independent internal models of EXPRESS and mappings to various languages, including UML, OWL, and XML Schema. Many of them are listed as "supporters" of this specification. We all agree that the time has come to standardize an XMI representation of EXPRESS, so as to permit these tools to interoperate around a common representation. This specification is the metamodel of the semantics of the EXPRESS language that was developed and tested in the MEXICO project. It represents completion of the first subproject in the MEXICO trilogy. And it has value in its own right to other EXPRESS tool developers. For this reason, we are bringing it to OMG for standardization. Participants in the metamodel development activity include four "technical experts" who participated in the development of the EXPRESS language itself. It also includes technical experts who were principal developers of the Part 25 (mapping to UML) and Part 28 (mapping to XML Schema) standards. This expertise gives us confidence that the metamodel is faithful to the semantic intent of the EXPRESS standard..."

See also: the earlier references for STEP/EXPRESS and XML

An Identity Provider and Its Security Token Service (STS)
Vittorio Bertocci, Blog

"A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of presenting as interactive session on the subject of equipping your Identity Provider with an STS. Many businesses are natural identity providers. Countries, banks, airlines, clubs, credit reporting agencies, social networks... those are all examples of entities involved in a 1:many relationship with subjects and knowing a great deal of interesting facts about them. Once you realize that yes, you want to be an IP, you've got to make that happen. That basically means that you need the capability of minting portable identities for your users whenever you are asked to and you deem appropriate: and yes, in the current backbone architecture of the metasystem that means that you need an STS. A security token service, or STS if you are in a hurry, is the tool that the IP uses for fulfilling its role: the security tokens are in a sense the reification (sort of) of identities, hence being able of processing requests for issuing tokens does the trick... the STS plays an absolutely pivotal role for the IP: no STS, no party; it is a key asset to secure; high availability is of essence... Let's say that you are now aware of the importance of getting the STS right: from where you should start? I suggest that the rough steps you may follow are: (1) Derive requirements from what you have; (2) Pick an off-the-shelf product that satisfies your requirements; (3)If there is no perfect fit, consider how to leverage product's extensibility points (4) If extensibility can't solve your problem, consider writing your own STS... At the end of the day, an STS can be just a web service that is able to issue security tokens. Or is it? Perhaps your scenario is a federation in which only passive clients are allowed: in that case, the STS is actually a web page rather than a WS-* service. And what "able to issue security tokens" means? Using which protocols? Authenticating against which kind of credentials? And which token format should be produced, by the way? Factors driving STS implementation decisions: (a) Attributes Stores: you want to be an IP, you've got to have some identities in your stash. (b) Authentication Factors: the authentication factor of choice will influence the protocols that your STS can use, and impose further requirements in the context of the protocol of choice, i.e., a specific token type. (c) Authentication Stores: authentication factors and authentication stores represent quite different requirements. (d) Requestors: how do we envision our users to access the STS? (e) Intended RPs: the relying party applications we foresee will require our tokens can influence, again, the protocol hosting and the supported protocol through which we'll expose our STS. If one of the apps we want to serve is a web service, we better be prepared to expose a WS-Trust STS which issues holder-of-key token types; if another is a web app which supports SAML-P, let's get ready to support browser redirects and to process SAML-P compliant requests. Another way in which the list of intended RPs can influence the behavior of the STS, though not the wire, is the fact that such list can (and should) be consulted for making decisions about if a token should or should not be released for a specific RP... (f) Other Authorities: it is pretty common to expect token issuance requests secured with tokens obtained by other STSes... You may have your own reason [for writing your own], and I don't want to discourage you from writing your own STS: I just want to make sure that you are aware of the implications of doing so..."

See also: the Geneva news story

NIST Guidance on PIV (Personal Identity Verification Card) Cards
William Jackson, Government Computer News

The U.S. government has established a common interoperable identity card for use throughout civilian agencies, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology is providing guidelines for integrating the cards into physical access control systems. The Personal Identity Verification Card was mandated by Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12) as a smart credential that would be interoperable not only across agency boundaries, but also across physical and logical access control systems. NIST Special Publication 800-116, titled 'A Recommendation for the Use of PIV Credentials in Physical Access Control Systems,' provides guidelines for best practices in integrating the cards into systems used to control access to facilities... PIV cards are smart cards that contain identifiers for each card holder in multiple formats, including printing, photographs, bar code and magnetic stripe, as well as digitally on a chip that also includes fingerprints, digital certificates and encryption keys. The technical standards for the cards are spelled out in the Federal Information Processing Standard publication 201... In the NIST model, risk-based access requirements for would range from unrestricted access, through controlled and limited access, to an exclusion area, with each level requiring additional authentication factors. A controlled area would require a single factor; a limited access area two factors, which might include a biometric; and an exclusion area would require at least three factors, including a PKI and card authentication keys. NIST recommends a phased implementation of PIV into physical access systems. Migrations paths could include use of multi-technology readers that can work with PIV Cards as well as other credentials, retrofitting existing systems for use of PIV Cards, and coexistence of PIV-enabled and existing systems in multi-tenant facilities...

Conversion of MIB to XSD for NETCONF
Xiaoqiong Wu, Yanan Chang, Debao Xiao (eds), IETF Internet Draft

Members of the IETF Network Configuration (NETCONF) Working Group have published a version -01 Internet Draft for "Conversion of MIB to XSD for NETCONF." The NETCONF protocol provides mechanisms to install, manipulate, and delete the configuration of network devices. It also can perform some monitoring functions. It uses an Extensible Markup Language (XML) based data encoding for the configuration data as well as the protocol messages. NETCONF can be conceptually partitioned into four layers; the last three layers of NETCONF have been already standardized in RFC4741, RFC4742, RFC4743 and RFC4744. However, there isn't a standard data modeling language or a standard data model for NETCONF content layer. If we can't make the content layer of NETCONF standardized, every vendor can define its own data model, which will cause trouble and confusion in understanding the syntax and semantics of data model in communication. Thus the NETCONF won't be applied widely as SNMP in the future and the NETCONF defined in RFC4741 will make no sense. Thus, NETCONF needs a data model for its process of standardization. This documentation defines a standard expression of SMI MIBs in XSD for NETCONF to ensure uniformity, general interoperability and reusability of existing MIBs. In addition, we define a XML schema to give a restriction and validation to translated XSD files... NETCONF uses XML-based data encoding for the configuration data as well as the protocol messages. Given such background, we should provide a standard translation to make using the MIB's managed objects with XSD easier... The work to standardize the content layer of NETCONF is represented by two efforts. (1) Create a new data modeling language and then a new data model for NETCONF. YANG is a new data modeling language which defines a new SMI for NETCONF containing datatypes, node statement, and syntax specification and so on. The NCX is somewhat like YANG. It not only defines the new SMI for NETCOFN but also has supplemented some ability to NETCONF protocol. All these new languages are under discussion, which means that these will be a longer term effort to create a solid SMI and then remodel some of the key data to be carried. Conversion from MIB to XSD. This is being done by XSDMI group. The XSDMI effort is designed to produce a XSD specification by translating from MIB. NETCONF configuration is an improvement of CLI, not SNMP which has been widely used for performance,monitoring and fault management. However, some MIB-based monitoring data have become part of the operational framework of many networks. And many of the data names and meanings have been widely accepted by vendors for years. For the long run, to establish a new data modeling language and new data model is much better than simple conversion of MIB to XSD... Based on the XSDMI's and previous smidump's work, this documentation defines a standard expression of SMI MIBs in XSD for NETCONF to ensure uniformity and general interoperability and reusability of existing MIBs...

See also: the IETF NETCONF Working Group Status Pages


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