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Last modified: March 24, 2009
XML Daily Newslink. Tuesday, 24 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:

OASIS Public Review: eNotarization Markup Language (ENML) Version 1.0
Arshad Noor (ed), OASIS Technical Committee Public Review Draft

Members of the OASIS LegalXML eNotarization TC have completed a Committee Draft of the "eNotarization Markup Language (ENML) Version 1.0" specification and approved the document for public review. This TC was chartered to (1) "develop an agreed set of technical requirements for eNotarization of electronic documents taking into account the historic policies and underlying legal doctrines governing notarial jurats, certificates, acknowledgements and other notarized documents, the need for legal electronic documents suitable for real estate and e-recording purposes, the need for enduring document archiving, and the legal and administrative requirements for notarized documents (2) adapt existing or emerging standards as the W3C/IETF DSIG and OASIS DSS and other technologies to the requirements identified by the committee; (3) produce an enotarization technical specification tailored to foregoing purposes." The PR document defines the first version of the eNotarization Markup Language (ENML), an XML-based messaging protocol, by which applications executing on computing devices may notarize electronic documents for legal purposes. The specification accommodates most business and legal requirements of notarizing electronic documents without being constrained to a specific legal jurisdiction. While the initial specification was driven by notarization requirements of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia, there is foundational support for international jurisdictions and can be easily extended to accommodate specific requirements if needed. Background: Notarized paper documents are a mainstay of many legal transactions around the world. Requiring a modicum of formality in the US—perhaps more than a modicum in others—it offers a safe and reasonably-priced, sometimes free, procedure for engendering trust in business transactions of significant value. With a notarized document, relying parties have access to the legal framework of their jurisdiction in the event they must seek redress for a transaction gone awry. Computers have dramatically improved the efficiency of business procedures in many fields, including the legal field. The notarization of electronic documents is a logical extension of developments that continue the improvement. To ensure that electronically notarized ('eNotarized') documents are used and understood consistently and uniformly across applications, a standard protocol for depicting eNotarized documents is needed. The eNotarized Markup Language (ENML) is that protocol. Using ENML, any application—be it a word-processor, a document-management system, a web-application to manage property recordings, a standalone notarizing application, etc.—can either electronically notarize a document, or verify a notarized document depicted in ENML...

See also: the announcement

Sieve Email Filtering: Sieves and Display Directives in XML
Ned Freed and Srinivas Saisatish Vedam (eds), IETF Internet Draft

Members of the IETF Sieve Mail Filtering Language (SIEVE) Working Group have released an updated Internet Draft for "Sieve Email Filtering: Sieves and Display Directives in XML." RFC 5228 ("Sieve: An Email Filtering Language") describes a language for filtering email messages at time of final delivery. It is designed to be implementable on either a mail client or mail server. It is meant to be extensible, simple, and independent of access protocol, mail architecture, and operating system. It is suitable for running on a mail server where users may not be allowed to execute arbitrary programs, such as on black box Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) servers, as the base language has no variables, loops, or ability to shell out to external programs. The document "Sieves and Display Directives in XML" describes a way to represent Sieve email filtering language scripts in XML. Representing sieves in XML is intended not as an alternate storage format for Sieve but rather as a means to facilitate manipulation of scripts using XML tools. The XML representation also defines additional elements that have no counterparts in the regular Sieve language. These elements are intended for use by graphical user interfaces and provide facilities for labeling or grouping sections of a script so they can be displayed more conveniently. These elements are represented as specially structured comments in regular Sieve format... The XML representation is capable of accommodating any future Sieve extension as long as the underlying Sieve grammar remains unchanged. Furthermore, code that converts from XML to the normal Sieve format requires no changes to accommodate extensions, while code used to convert from normal Sieve format to XML only requires changes when new control commands are added—a rare event. An XML Schema, Relax NG Schema, and a sample stylesheet to convert from XML format are also provided in the appendices..."

See also: the Sieve Mail Filtering Language WG Status Pages

Google, Mozilla Back 3-D Acceleration Web Standard
Thomas Claburn, InformationWeek

In an effort to address one of the last major deficiencies of the Web browser as a platform for application delivery, a consortium of tech companies that includes Adobe, AMD, Apple, Google, IBM, and Intel on Tuesday announced an effort to develop an open, royalty-free standard for presenting accelerated 3-D graphics online. Prompted by a proposal from Mozilla, the Khronos Group said it has created a working group called "Accelerated 3D on the Web." Mozilla has offered to chair the group, which is open to any interested company that joins Khronos. The Khronos Group has helped develop a variety of graphics standards, including OpenGL, OpenGL ES, OpenCL, OpenMAX, OpenVG, OpenSL ES, OpenKODE, and Collada. The consortium includes most of the major computer technology companies, with the notable exception of Microsoft, which left the OpenGL standards group in 2003 to focus on DirectX, its own set of graphics APIs. The Khronos Group said it will look at ways to expose OpenGL (a cross-platform graphics API) and OpenGL ES 2.0 (a pared-down version of OpenGL for graphics on embedded devices) within ECMAScript, of which JavaScript is a dialect. What that means is that applications that require advanced graphics will look better and run more quickly inside Web browsers. As the proposed standard takes shape, applications running in browsers will become more competitive with applications running locally in terms of graphic sophistication. But improved graphics won't do much for responsiveness issues arising from network bandwidth limitations and latency... Chris Blizzard, Mozilla's director of evangelism, said that he expects the new graphics capabilities would be integrated into the Firefox browser that follows the release of Firefox 3.5, which is what the current Firefox 3.1 beta 3 should become. Firefox 3.5 is expected to be officially released in the second quarter of 2009.

Producing Documentation and Reusing Information in XML
William von Hagen, IBM developerWorks

XML was designed as a mechanism to identify structured content within a data set by wrapping different hierarchical portions of that data within text tags that identify the role of the text that they delimit within that hierarchy. These text tags, known as markup, tags, or, more properly, elements, conform to a predefined structure. That structure is specific to different types of data and is known as a schema or, historically, a DTD. Schemas are written in XML, while DTDs have their own syntax... The idea of separating the content of a document (the actual words or data that it contains) from its presentation (the way in which it is displayed in a specific output format or on a specific output device) is the key idea behind modern markup languages and, specifically, SGML and XML. Though XML makes it easy to devise DTDs and schemas for specific applications and industries, one of its big advantages in the documentation space is the existence of a number of standard DTDs and schemas for documentation markup. The best known of these are DocBook, Text Encoding Initiative (TEI), XHTML, and the schemas and DTDs that are used by the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA). This article focuses on DocBook, which is the best-known and most widely used schema for documentation markup... The power and flexibility of XML, sets of existing standards, and a rich set of tools for working with and converting XML documents makes it easy to install and configure your own set of tools to generate output in various formats from XML documents. Though many commercial tools are available to edit and format XML documents, creating your own set of tools to do this helps you better understand the process, and you can't beat the price.

Google Rolls Out Semantic Search Capabilities
Juan Carlos Perez, InfoWorld

New search technology allows Google's search engine to identify associations and concepts related to a query. Google has given its Web search engine an injection of semantic technology, as the search leader pushes into what many consider the future of search on the Internet. The new technology will allow Google's search engine to identify associations and concepts related to a query, improving the list of related search terms Google displays along with its results. Ori Allon, technical lead of Google's Search Quality team, said in an interview Tuesday that the search improvement involves a dollop of semantic search technology mixed in with a big helping of lightning-fast, on-the-fly data mining: "This is a new approach to query refinement because we're finding concepts and entities related to queries while you do a search, so everything is happening in real time and not [pre-assembled]," he said. "Because we're doing it in real time, we're able to target many more queries. The use of semantic search isn't more broad at this point because full conceptual analysis of documents would slow down the process of generating query refinements on the fly. If we want to get it all done in a matter of milliseconds, there's a lot of innovations we still have to do. A full semantic search would be very hard to do in this limited amount of time." Offering query-refinement suggestions is but the first application of the technology behind these enhancements, so users can expect other concrete improvements applied to things like search ranking. Google has often been criticized for using what is considered an aging approach to solving search queries based primarily on analyzing keywords and not on understanding their meaning. There is an entire field of Google competitors that are busy developing and perfecting semantic search engines, betting that they will be able to deliver on the promise of this technology: to let users type in queries in natural language and have the search engine understand their meaning and intent... Microsoft last year acquired Powerset, one of these companies, in order to improve its Web search engine with semantic search technology. Google also rolled out on Tuesday another enhancement to its search engine: longer "snippets," which are the text excerpts Google extracts from Web sites to show in search results where the query keywords appear.

See also: the Ori Allon Google blog

Does an 'Open' Format Provide the Benefits It Is Supposed To?
Rick Jelliffe, O'Reilly Technical

"One thing that struck me when reading Fort Worth legislator pushes for open format in state documents (hat-tip to Nick Carr...the other one) was the seemless transition in the article from open standard to open source as if the one necessitated the other. Would that it were that simple! I don't see that the current open standards for office document formats automatically provide all the particular advantages in the way people seem to think. It is of course better that the format information is published, that the IP has been sorted out, that it has been QAed by independent organizations to the champions, and that there are processes in place which, if taken advantage of, can allow broader future participation by users and other stakeholders. But the information in those kinds of documents is basically the same as the old .RTF formats. And these were already widely implemented, but the wide implementation had not favoured open source particularly well, up to that stage. (And, I support the RTF being de-proprietorized by making a standard description of it too, by the way...) Now I support all government/QANGO public information on public sites being available in open formats, and in a variety of open formats with HTML, PDF (if that makes the cut), ODF and DAISY in particular. But open formats are not pixie dust that necessarily change the game, though they may give the appearance of change necessary to agitate the market (which is not necessarily a bad thing.) So what would be a game-changer? Slightly more semantic markup. In the case of legislation, this means strictly adhering to a cohesive set of styles, where the styles are based on on a common pan-jurisdiction style catalog of some kind, and where there is even the most basic QA mechanism in place to make sure that the styles are being adhered to. The trade jargon for this is rigorous markup..."

Selected from the Cover Pages, by Robin Cover

W3C XML Security Working Group Invites Public Review of New Working Drafts

Members of the W3C XML Security Working Group have published a collection of eight Working Drafts for public review. This Working Group, part of the W3C Security Activity in the Technology and Society Domain, has been chartered through May 2010 to review requirements and take next step in developing the XML security specifications. Four of the eight specifications are subject of special call for early feedback. The "XML Signature 1.1" and "XML Encryption 1.1" First Public Working Drafts make changes to the default sets of cryptographic algorithms in both specifications. "XML Security Use Cases and Requirements" and "XML Signature Transform Simplification: Requirements and Design" are documents that the XML Security Working Group expects to help guide technical work on a future version of the XML Security specifications that might make more radical changes than the 1.1 series of these specifications. The Working Group would appreciate public feedback on these documents, with special attention to the algorithms listed in "XML Signature 1.1" and "XML Encryption 1.1", the proposed 2.0 changes in the "Transform Simplification" document and "Use Cases and Requirements." Additionally, the new "XML Security Derived Keys" specification introduces mark-up for key derivation, for use with both XML Signature and XML Encryption. "XML Signature Properties" defines commonly used signature properties. "XML Security Algorithms" provides a cross-reference for the algorithms and their identifiers used with the XML security specifications, bringing in one place information located in a number of documents. "XML Signature Best Practices" is a revised Working Draft for Best Practices in using the XML Signature specification.


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