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Last modified: March 16, 2009
XML Daily Newslink. Monday, 16 March 2009

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

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

OGC Request for Comment: Model for Writing Modular Specifications
Staff, Open Geospatial Consortium Announcement

The membership of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is requesting comments from the public on the candidate OGC Document: "The OGC Specification Model: Writing Modular Specifications." This document, prepared by the Policy 1.0 Standards Working Group (SWG), derives from the collective experience of members in developing and implementing OGC standards, geospatial applications, platforms and services. It provides a logical model and template for candidate standards to assure their internal logic and conformance to accepted software development procedures and the OGC's policy and rules regarding the structure of standards and the types of information that they must provide... Since this standard is a summary of collective experience, no one should claim intellectual property rights to its contents. This standard may be used by anyone as long as its source is specified. This standard, while it specifies the structures of other standards, does not supply them with specific content, since its level of abstraction is one level higher than any standard that would normally claim conformance... There are five conformance classes for this standard: (1) Specification documents in general (the core); (2) Specifications using UML to state requirements, extending the core; (3) Specifications using XML schema to state requirements, extending the core; (4) Specifications using Schematron to state requirements, extending XML schema; (5) Specifications defining requirement for a new category of XML schemas, extending the core, whose target XML schemas must be conformant with the XML schema conformance class. The document "Table of Requirements" lists the fifty-two (52) requirements for modular specifications and implementations. For the purpose of this document, a 'standard' "presents requirements targeting implementations of solutions of the original problem, which must be satisfied the tests of the conformance suite. These tests are organized into conformance classes, each of which represents a mechanism for partial satisfaction of the standard. These give the standard a modular structure, each requirements class represented by a conformance class. In a well written standard, the normative clauses and any model or schema are organized in a manner that parallels the conformance clause..." [Note: examples from the fifty-two requirements are included in the specification excerpt.]

See also: the Open Geospatial Consortium web site

User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG) 2.0: Updated Working Draft
James Allan and Jan Richards (eds), W3C Technical Report

W3C's User Agent Accessibility Guidelines Working Group has published an updated Working Draft of the "User Agent Accessibility Guidelines 2.0." The document provides guidelines for designing user agents that lower barriers to Web accessibility for people with disabilities. User agents include browsers and other types of software that retrieve and render Web content. A user agent that conforms to these guidelines will promote accessibility through its own user interface and through other internal facilities, including its ability to communicate with other technologies (especially assistive technologies). Furthermore, all users, not just users with disabilities, should find conforming user agents to be more usable. In addition to helping developers of browsers and media players, this document will also benefit developers of assistive technologies because it explains what types of information and control an assistive technology may expect from a conforming user agent. Technologies not addressed directly by this document (e.g., technologies for braille rendering) will be essential to ensuring Web access for some users with disabilities. A separate document, entitled "Implementation Techniques for User Agent Accessibility Guidelines 2.0" will be produced at a later date. It will provide suggestions and examples of how each success criteria might be satisfied. It also includes references to other accessibility resources (such as platform-specific software accessibility guidelines) that provide additional information on how a user agent may satisfy each success criteria. The techniques in the Techniques document are informative examples only, and other strategies may be used or required to satisfy the success criteria. The UAWG expects to update the Techniques document more frequently than the current guidelines. Developers, W3C Working Groups, users, and others are encouraged to contribute techniques.

See also: the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (UAWG) web site

Authority-to-Individuals Communication for Emergency Situations: Requirements, Terminology and Architecture
Steve Norreys, Hannes Tschofenig, Henning Schulzrinne (eds), IETF Internet Draft

During large-scale emergencies, public safety authorities need to reliably communicate with citizens in the affected areas, to provide warnings, indicate whether citizens should evacuate and how, and to dispel misinformation. Accurate information can reduce the impact of such emergencies. Traditionally, emergency alerting has used church bells, sirens, loudspeakers, radio and television to warn citizens and to provide information. However, techniques such as sirens and bells provide limited information content; loud speakers cover only very small areas and are often hard to understand, even for those not hearing impaired or fluent in the local language. Radio and television offer larger information volume, but are hard to target geographically and do not work well to address the "walking wounded" or other pedestrians. Both are not suitable for warnings, as many of those needing the information will not be listening or watching at any given time, particularly during work/school and sleep hours... This document summarizes key requirements for IP-based protocols to enhance and complement existing authority-to- citizen warning systems. These protocols may either directly reach the citizen or may be used to trigger more traditional alerts, such as, among many others, displays in subway stations, electronic bill boards, or SMS. This draft adds substantially with a new section on 'Architectures' For example: (3.1) Closed Warning Notification Provider and Aggregator Groups: this architectural variant allows the distribution of warning notifications from warning notification providers to warning notification aggregators. The communication is largely in a point- to-point fashion and the number of involved players is rather small, particularly on the side of the warning notification providers. (3.2) Open Communication between Warning Notification Provider and Aggregator: this model is similar to the closed group presented in the previous section with a difference in the way how warning notification aggregators can retrieve warning notifications from warning notification providers. When the aggregator interacts with the provider then no special client-side authentication procedure is assumed and no access restrictions are enforced. As such, the aggregator might be located anywhere on the Internet to retrieve the warning notifications. Warning notification aggregators might offer their subscribers the ability to receive warnings of a certain type (e.g., weather alerts) for a specific region (e.g., for a specific country or an entire continent). (3.3) Open Communication towards Warning Notification Customers: where the customers directly interact with various warning notification providers that a relevant for a specific type of alert type. In order to learn about the relevant warning notification providers it may be necessary to consult some form of discovery service; this may be done out-of-band via manual configuration or via a protocol mechanism. (3.4) Notification Population: an opt-in model where the warning notification customer need to provide information about what type of alerts it is interested in and, in order for the warning notification aggregator or the warning notification provider to be able to distribute warnings it is necessary for them to know the context, such as the current location, preferred language or device capabilities. This information may be provided by the customer itself or by other entities, such as the access provider.

See also: XML and Emergency Management

Scalable Vector Graphics and Bitmap Rendering Using Flex
Sandeep Malik, IBM developerWorks

In the world of graphics, two major rendering technologies have dominated the scene. The first and foremost, bitmap rendering, has been around for decades, and technologies and tools revolving around it have greatly matured. Images can be displayed in many formats, namely, jpeg, png, bmp, and so on... With the need for growing dynamics in Web content, it is imperative that these images "talk" and "respond" to user interaction. In other words, images need to have a behavioral aspect to them. Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) do just that. It is important to understand what the words "Scalable Vector Graphics" mean. Vector Graphics means that the images drawn are not a collection of colored pixels. A vector drawing is like a pencil drawing where you take a pencil from one point to another and connect the points with straight lines, curved lines, rectangles, and ellipses. You eventually fill the closed area with various colors. Therefore, a concept of path is fundamental to vector drawings. The benefit is that this path is independent of screen resolution. Generally, the paths are developed on a unit scale, and then the entire graphic is rendered to whatever resolution the user wants, so the image quality remains unchanged even if the resolution is changed to absurd limits. We call vector drawings "scalable" because they can potentially scale to any resolution that is supported by the platform (generally a Web browser)... In this article, the author explains SVG in detail and show its advantages in comparison to bitmaps, with a focus on the current tools and technologies that provide support for SVG, primarily those that are open source. Embedding a rich bitmap is fairly easy in Flex (by providing the 'backgroundImage' property), and adding a component with vector drawing is even easier. This example opens up a new door of opportunities where an application designer or developer can make the best use of both worlds, while sticking to traditional bitmap drawing and using Flex to add SVG support.

See also: the W3C SVG web site

Active Endpoints Announces ActiveVOS 6.1
Staff, SOA World News

"Active Endpoints announced the general availability of ActiveVOS 6.1, the latest release of the company's all-in-one business process management (BPM) system. ActiveVOS 6.1 has enhanced its offering for business analysts, operations staff and managers while breaking new ground in developer productivity. By integrating the knowledge gained from production deployments at organizations worldwide, ActiveVOS 6.1 offers new features including: (1) Process Rewind - Process rewind gives organizations unprecedented flexibility in managing running, in-flight processes; (2) Developer Productivity; (3) Any-Order BPM Development: In previous systems, developers had to know in advance the details of services to be deployed. Wizards which attempt to guide developers through entering service details are unforgiving if one or two items are unknown as the developer is entering them. With ActiveVOS 6.1, however, details are presented as graphical tables into which details can be entered at any time (4) Automatic Development: ActiveVOS 6.1 will automatically create the required WSDLs, in a 100%-standards compliant mode and in a human-understandable format. (5) Improved Data Handling - ActiveVOS 6.1 allows developers to visually specify what data is needed in each activity and guides the developer through XPath and XQuery statement generation with point- and-click ease when navigating the Business Process Execution Language (BPEL), the core language of SOA..."

Profiling Social Networks: A Social Tagging Perspective
Ying Ding, Elin K. Jacob, James Caverlee (et al), D-Lib Magazine

The web is undergoing a period of rapid transition from a space for presentation of syntactically formatted information to a more open and social platform that allows users to communicate knowledge and share resources. Pioneering technologies on the web make it easy for users to participate in social networks, leading to the development of online communities. In concert with Wikipedia, Google Map, RSS feeds, mashup services and the interlinked social semantics that are the hallmarks of the current web revolution, social networks are actively contributing to the evolution of collective intelligence. Among the many social networks available on the web, Delicious, Flickr and YouTube are three of the best known and most popular. These networks established their prominent position either by hosting large numbers of online objects, by building a large user community, or by generating heavy web traffic... This article investigates social tagging behavior in Delicious, Flickr and YouTube for the years 2005, 2006 and 2007. It describes the crawler used to harvest tagging data from each of these three social networks. It then provides an analysis of the most popular tags and the evolution of tag use in each of these three social networks. It concludes with a discussion of the findings, which indicate that it is possible to profile a social network through analysis of tagging data and that Delicious is a more representative venue for future analysis of social tagging data and the tagging behaviors of users.

Mozilla Firefox 3.1 Beta 3 Released
Nicholas Kolakowski, eWEEK

Mozilla has rolled out the 3.1 beta of its popular Firefox Web browser. The new version of the open-source browser is intended for developers and testers for evaluation and feedback, but Firefox nonetheless claims that the beta release is stable. While Microsoft Internet Explorer has a double-digit lead over Firefox with regard to market share, Firefox has still managed to dominate Apple Safari and Google Chrome in terms of percentage of users. Based on the Gecko 1.9.1 rendering platform, Beta 3 boasts improvements to Web worker thread support, increased stability with the TraceMonkey JavaScript engine, native JSON support, and support for 'video' and 'audio' elements, W3C Geolocation API, JavaScript query selectors, CSS 2.1 and 3 properties, and SVG transforms. Firefox has also improved its Private Browsing Mode, a feature designed for Firefox 3.1 beta and later. Once Private Browsing is turned on, Firefox no longer retains data such as visited pages, cookies, Web cache files, download list entries, or Form or Search Bar entries. Beta 4 is currently scheduled to roll out in mid-April, to be followed by a release candidate, and then the final release of what will be called Firefox 3.5. [From the blog:] "Native JSON parsing in Firefox 3.1 is safer because it does not support objects with functions. Attempting to convert an object with functions into a JSON string will only convert its properties and not its functions. And any malformed JSON string will result in a parse error instead of possible code execution...HTML 5 support: Using audio and video in Firefox (Firefox 3.5 adds support for the HTML 5 audio and video elements), Offline resources in Firefox: Firefox 3.5 now fully supports the HTML 5 offline resource specification. Drag and drop: The HTML 5 drag and drop API allows support for dragging and dropping items within and between web sites. This also provides a simpler API for use by extensions and Mozilla-based applications)...

See also: the Mozilla blog


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