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Last modified: June 17, 2009
XML Daily Newslink. Wednesday, 17 June 2009

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

Lotus Symphony Now Reads Office 2007 Documents
Eric Lai, Computerworld

IBM today announced the release of Lotus Symphony 1.3, an update to its year-old free productivity suite that for the first time lets users import files saved in Microsoft Office 2007's native Office Open XML (OOXML) document format. The move brings Symphony up to par with, the open-source suite it is based on. 3.0, released last fall, lets users import OOXML documents. But like Symphony, cannot save documents in OOXML, the controversial document format created, publicly released by Microsoft and made an international standard last year... Symphony now limits users to saving files into Office 2003 or Office 2000's document formats. But the spokesman said saving in Office 2007 format was not off the table: 'We will continue to monitor the demand for this function and based on that demand respond as needed'..."

From the IBM announcement: "IBM's alternative to Microsoft Office 2007 makes cost-free document software a legitimate option for many companies around the business world which want to realize cost-efficiencies in the current economic climate but require assurance of the quality and reliability of the technology. In addition to adding support for Microsoft Office 2007 file formats, Lotus Symphony 1.3 offers DataPilot Table improvements that make it easy to drill down and analyze data. It also enhances mail merge and envelope printing for organizations that need simple, efficient ways to communicate with their customers. Symphony 1.3 also provides animation to add sizzle to presentations and interoperate with Microsoft PowerPoint presentations. The new version of Symphony allows users to drag-and-drop plug-ins, extending its use to other business applications. For example, a new learning plug-in can be installed on the right sidebar to help people learn new Symphony capabilities in real-time use..."

See also: the IBM announcement

NIST Releases Report on Smart Grid Development
Staff, National Institute of Standards and Technology Announcement

The U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology today released for public review a report that identifies issues and proposes priorities for developing technical standards and an architecture for a U.S. Smart Grid. The Smart Grid is a planned nationwide network that will use 21st century information technology to deliver electricity efficiently, reliably and securely, while allowing increased use of renewable power sources. The nearly 300-page report, developed and delivered to NIST by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), is available on the NIST Smart Grid web site. NIST will accept public comments on the report for 30 days after the publication of an upcoming notice in the Federal Register announcing the report's availability... NIST will use the EPRI report in drafting the NIST Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Framework. The NIST document will describe a high-level architecture, identify an initial set of key standards, and provide a roadmap for developing new or revised standards needed to realize the Smart Grid. Release 1.0 of the NIST Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Framework is planned to be available in September 2009. A third public EPRI-sponsored Smart Grid interoperability-standards workshop will be held in early August 2009 to engage standards-development organizations in responding to unaddressed, high-priority needs identified in the draft standards roadmap..."

From the Executive Summary of the 291-page report: "...This report provides an Interim Roadmap for the development of the Interoperability Framework. It describes the current status, issues, and priorities for interoperability standards development and harmonization. The report also describes the high-level architecture for the smart grid including a conceptual model, architectural principles and methods and cyber security strategies. A broad range of stakeholders were engaged in the development of this Interim Roadmap. Over 1000 stakeholders participated in two workshops to achieve consensus on the critical standards and standards development activities needed for the Smart grid...Section 2 summarizes the efforts to date to define the smart grid and describes the ongoing governance process that will be required to develop the smart grid. Section 3 defines a conceptual model for thinking about the smart grid and its implementation. It discusses the architectural principles that will enable the smart grid to support new technologies and support new business models. Section 4 introduces the applications Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI), Demand Response (DR), Plug-In Electric Vehicles (PEV), Cyber Security, Wide Area Situation Awareness (WASA), Market Communications, and Distributed Generation and Energy Storage (DG)..."

See also: Report to NIST on the Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Roadmap

Customer Information Quality Party Relationships (xPRL) Version 3.0
Ram Kumar (ed), OASIS Public Review Draft

Members of the OASIS Customer Information Quality Technical Committee have released an approved draft of the "Customer Information Quality Party Relationships (xPRL) Specification Version 3.0" for public review through August 16, 2009. This OASIS TC was chartered to develop royalty free, open, international, industry and application neutral XML specifications for representing, interoperating, and managing Party (Person/Organisation) Centric Information (Name, Address, Party Profile, and Party Relationships).

The rapid adoption of e-business has created a new world of interoperability between organisations, systems, processes, platforms, tools and, most importantly, data. When we start to consider party management initiatives (e.g. CRM/eCRM, Single/360 degree View of a Party, Customer Information Warehouse, Customer Data Management, Party Data Management, Master Data Management), there are many other factors than software license fees and customisation, training, maintenance that raise the cost of deployment... If there is a standard way of defining party information and relationships between parties that is vendor neutral and open (i.e., independent of tools, systems, languages and platforms) and enabled portability and interoperability of data, then it would be possible to reduce the expensive and complex Integration problems associated with new business initiatives. The Extensible Party Relationships Language (xPRL) specification is intended to meet this requirement. xPRL, is a set of XML vocabulary specifications for defining party (person or organisation) characteristics such as name, address, age, party identifier, e-mail address and so on that will assist in uniquely identifying a party.

In addition, xPRL describes, in a standard way, relationship(s) between parties. As currently defined, xPRL enables users to describe relationships such as person-to-person, person-to-organisation or organisation-to-organisation in a standard way... For detailed personal profile of each party (e.g. name, address, contact details, party characteristics), xPRL uses OASIS xPIL v3.0 Specification.

See also: the CIQ Name, Address, Name and Address, and Party Specification 3.0

Connecting to the Cloud, Part 3: Cloud Governance and Security
Mark O'Neill, IBM developerWorks

"In this third and final part of this three-part series on building a hybrid cloud application, we examine governance and security for cloud computing. We build on the example of the HybridCloud application by examining how to add access control policies to its use of Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS).

Cloud governance involves applying policies to the use of cloud services. It can be useful to think of cloud governance by examining its opposite: the free-for-all chaos in which cloud services are used by an organization without any oversight in place. To avoid this chaos, put polices in place for cloud service use to control the leakage of private information to the cloud and to control the excessive use of cloud services—which must be paid for, after all. With governance and security in place, cloud computing can be used in safety and confidence... At the moment, providers such as Amazon, Google, and are taking the lead at the service provider level. However, not all are convinced: The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has been asked to investigate the risks related to cloud computing due to perceived data management problems. As awareness of cloud governance and security builds, it can be expected that cloud governance and security offerings will develop further..."

W3C First Public Working Draft for 'Widgets 1.0: URI Scheme'
Robin Berjon (ed), W3C Technical Report

The purpose of this W3C first public working draft is to give external interested parties an opportunity to publicly comment on a URI scheme for use inside widgets or other such applications of web technology that do not run on the web. This document was produced by members of the Web Applications Working Group, part of the Rich Web Clients Activity in the W3C Interaction Domain. It is expected that this document will progress along the W3C's Recommendation track.

Many specifications in the Web stack depend on a context being defined that includes a current URI. This is easily provided for documents retrieved over HTTP, or from the local file system, but is currently undefined for documents extracted from within a widget package. Such a limitation has a number of implications which this document intends to address.

The 'Widgets 1.0: URI Scheme' specification defines the widget URI scheme for use inside widgets or other such applications of web technology that do not run on the web. There are many different efforts that have specified URI schemes to access the content of Zip archives, or endeavour to do so. While these efforts have merit, and while W3C Widgets rely on Zip as a packaging format, the use cases that this specification addresses are radically different. In fact, it is possible that both this scheme and another defined to access Zip archive content would be used jointly, with little or no overlap in functionality. The scheme defined in this specification could be used to implement inter-widget communication, but that is outside the scope of this current document.

See also: the W3C Web Applications (WebApps) Working Group

W3C Review Draft: Using Unicode Controls for Bidi Text
Richard Ishida, W3C Internationalization FAQ Draft

The intended audience for this document is content authors (using editors or scripting), script developers (PHP, JSP, etc.), and anyone who is wondering how to to achieve proper text flow for right-to-left scripts where appropriate markup is not available... All text should be stored in 'logical order', ie. bytes representing characters in memory progress in a single direction based on the pronunciation of the text. When text is displayed, however, even on the same line, characters used for right-to-left scripts such as Arabic, Hebrew, Thaana, Urdu, etc., need to progress from right-to-left, whereas characters from other scripts, such as the Latin script, and any numbers will progress from left-to-right. To achieve this visual reordering the Unicode bidirectional (bidi) algorithm is used. The bidi algorithm affects the direction of text by taking into account the directional properties of each character. Occasionally, however, the algorithm needs a little help to determine the flow of objects in the text that mixes scripts...

We show examples using text in real right-to-left scripts, but in case your user agent doesn't properly support right-to-left scripts we use graphics when the visual result is important. By clicking on the graphic, you open a text version in a new window, which also allows you to examine the source text. We also show an ASCII-only version immediately afterwards that shows English text in lower case and Hebrew or Arabic in upper case. The ordering and position of the characters in the ASCII-only version reflects that of the original..."

See also: Unicode in XML and Other Markup Languages

Digital Data Written in Stone
John Boyd, IEEE Spectrum

"What do data archivists have in common with monarch butterflies, salmon, and most geese? They are always preparing for their next migration. From magnetic tape through hard disks, floppy disks, CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray, digital data formats change periodically, forcing archivists to migrate their data before obsolescence or end-of-lifetime sets in. But now Tadahiro Kuroda, a research engineer and professor at Keio University, in Yokohama, Japan, and his team have come up with a device that could put an end to this recurring—not to mention costly—upheaval in data preservation by maintaining the data safely in an unchanging format that's predicted to last 1000 years... The device is a permanent memory system based on semiconductor technology. The prototype consists of four stacked 300-millimeter silicon wafers incorporating 2.5 terabits, (320 gigabytes), of data encoded on read-only memory and fabricated using a 45-nanometer complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) process, together with a separate data reader... The "Digital Rosetta Stone" would store data and give wireless access to it for 1000 years..."

Call for Prior Art on Patent 5,764,992
Staff, W3C Announcement

"On 5 March 2009, pursuant to its rights under W3C's Patent Policy, Apple, Inc. disclosed US patent 5,764,992 and claimed that it applies to the Web Application WG's 'Widgets 1.0: Updates' specification. Apple excluded all claims from the W3C Royalty-Free License commitment of the W3C Patent Policy given by Participants of the Web Applications Working Group... The PAG seeks information about software update systems available before June 1995 that offer a viable solution that may apply to the use of updates in Widgets. Such information could suggest ways to define a specification that can achieve the working group's goals without implementers infringing on the disclosed patent... This information may be useful to help the Web Applications Working Group to design around the excluded patent and allow for a Royalty Free Widget Updates Specification...

Apple Inc. is a necessary Participant in the Patent Advisory Group along with all AC Reps of all the Participants of the Web Applications Working Group. While the W3C Patent Policy has the goal to ensure that W3C Specifications are implementable on a Royalty Free basis, it also protects valuable assets of W3C Members participating in Specification work by allowing them to opt out of the RF commitments... The work on the Widget Updates Specification can continue in parallel to the Patent Advisory Group. Nevertheless, Widget Updates will not be able to enter the status of "Proposed Recommendation" as long as the PAG is running... The goal of the W3C Patent Policy is to assure that Recommendations produced under the policy can be implemented on a Royalty-Free (RF) basis..."

See also: the W3C Patent Policy


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