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Last modified: September 29, 2009
XML Daily Newslink. Tuesday, 29 September 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

Design Notes for Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) 2.0
Liam R. E. Quin (ed), W3C Technical Report

Members of the W3C XSL Working Group XSL-FO subgroup have released a First Public Working Draft for "Design Notes for Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) 2.0." The XSL Working Group "has spent a lot of time working on non-rectangular page regions. Since this work-in-progress was not public, and since there is still a lot of work to be done, the Working Group decided to focus for a while on other areas of the 'XSL 2.0 Requirements'. This draft, then, reflects those other areas, but does not include the work on non-rectangular regions and new page masters. Public feedback is solicited. The Working Group (actually the Formatting Objects Subgroup) is short of resources, and would be interested in organizations or individuals in a position to help us work on the Specification. Comments on this document should be made using bugzilla...

XSL-FO defines an XML vocabulary for formatting and layout of XML documents; use XSLT to transform documents into XSL-FO for on-screen or paper formatting, for example into PDF... This document describes initial design notes for version 2.0 of the Formatting Object (FO) part of the Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL). The final document will be a complete specification, but the early Working Drafts, including this one, give only design notes and discussion of new features and changes...

Example design topics: Pagination and Layout (Inital Caps, Marginalia, Vertical Positioning), Tables and Lists, Composition (Improved font support, Force line justification, Alignment around breaks, hanging-punctuation, Tabs and tab stops, Word and letter spacing, Hyphenation and line breaking), Further improvements for non-Western language supportImages, Color Support, Collaboration with SVG..."

See also: The Extensible Stylesheet Language Family (XSL)

Linking a Public Government Dataset into the Semantic Web with RDF
Rick Jelliffe, O'Reilly Technical

"A few months ago, a client wanted to dip their toes in the semantic web... The client is the Australian Government Depart of Health and Aging Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme website. In Australia, the government negotiates with drug companies for a large range of medicines: in return for being on the list for a particular treatment code for a minimum of two years, the government gets a reasonable discount from the pharma companies, and it subsidizes drugs and promotes the availability of generics.

Coming at RDF from the project angle, I first looked at whether it was feasible or useful to represent the data in RDF, for detailed knowledge representation... the more I looked, the more that it seemed that really the kind of RDF information that was suitable was, in effect, little different from that in ISO Topic Maps: linking pages or sections to topics. Indeed, that is obviously the conclusion that the W3C is itself pushing. Forget the knowledge representation for now, when you think of RDF think of Linked Data. I was so pleased to re-read Tim Berners-Lee's page on this...

The approach I ended up taking was the most simple thing I thought could work and was meaningful: An RDF entry for each topic (drug etc.) linking to each HTML or XML page in the PBS website and also to one or more well-known descriptions of the same. For the ATC codes, it was easy because there is a WHO website giving the details. For the drugs, the drugbank site was handy. It really emphasized to me that the kind of approach in PRESTO is absolutely vital. Everything significant needs a good stable URL, otherwise we cannot link to it. As far as information modeling, the bare minimum was simply to make a single RDF entry for each kind of topic, and label it as a concept. That ties all the items together...

My conclusion is that using RDF well within its limits is actually very convenient. And, more importantly, the linked data approach is not bogus: by which I mean that the use of the RDF adds a semantic that is not present otherwise and that would be useful for processing..."

See also: Tim Berners-Lee on Linked Data

GEOPRIV: Creating Building Blocks for Managing Location Privacy on the Internet
Alissa Cooper and Ted Hardie, IETF Journal

With the GEOPRIV Working Group, the IETF's leadership recognised a set of problems with a series of technical proposals around location: the first was that proposals ignored the privacy implications of the release of location data, and the second was that almost all existing security mechanisms were designed around individual protocols. With the creation of GEOPRIV, the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) set out to charter a group that would focus as much on the privacy implications of the data transmitted as on the successful transmission of the data itself. Moreover, the IESG recognised early that data continually leaks from one protocol to another — for example, by moving from the Web to e-mail. Therefore, it charged the group with developing a system that worked both within and across many protocols...

By binding privacy rules to location information, however, GEOPRIV provides valuable information about users' privacy preferences so that nontechnical forces — such as legal contracts, government consumer protection authorities, and marketplace feedback — can better enforce privacy preferences. For example, in a growing number of countries, if a commercial recipient of location information violates the location rules that are bound to the information, the recipient can be charged with violating consumer or data protection laws. When rules are not tied to location information, consumer protection authorities are less able to protect consumers whose location information has been abused.

Location information is available through more interfaces and devices than ever before, yet because of the sensitivity of location information, that relationship requires a model for conveyance that has privacy protections built in. Binding privacy rules to location information requires recipients of location information to confront privacy head-on. The building blocks GEOPRIV has created provide the materials to create adaptable frameworks that pave the way for privacy-protective location conveyance..."

See also: IETF Journal Issue 5/2

Models for Enterprise-Wide Information Sharing: NIEM, LEXS, and ULEX
Jeremy Warren, Enterprise Architecture Conference Presentation

This presentation was given as part of the Enterprise Architecture Conference and Exhibition, held September 9-10, 2009, in Washington, D.C. Jeremy Warren is Chief Technology Officer for the U.S. Department of Justice. Warren oversees the technical aspects of the development and implementation of the Department's Law Enforcement Information Sharing Program (LEISP), which includes initiatives such as N-DEx, OneDOJ, NIEM, and LEXS.

The National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) and Universal Core (Ucore) are designed to develop, disseminate, and support enterprise-wide information sharing standards and processes across the justice, emergency and disaster management, intelligence, homeland security and national defense enterprise. An effective architecture and shared space infrastructure are needed to implement a successful information sharing model across all levels of government.

In the session "The NIEM and UCore as Models for Enterprise-wide Information Sharing," presenters from law enforcement, DoD and the intelligence community explained how they are working to provide a framework for an enhanced information sharing environment by merging cross-agency, cross-domain national security and civil processes to support EA. In addition, they examined at data level interoperability, content exchange between heterogenous IT infrastructures and common standards and security labels.

ULEX ('Universal Lexical Exchange') "defines the structural aspects of LEXS (Logical Entity eXchange Specifications) that provide extensible runtime interoperability. It is the parent for both LEXS and UCore, providing a framework for compatibility; it supports automated translation between UCore and LEXS messages..."

UCore (Universal Core) is "a U.S. government project to facilitate sharing of intelligence and related digital content across U.S. government systems. Based on a simple but extensible XML schema, UCore attempts to share basic and universally applicable concepts of who, what, when and where within related domains. UCore supports the National Information Sharing Strategy, a post-9/11 initiative. UCore is designed to permit 'definable levels of interoperability' across user communities. UCore specifies a framework, metadata, extension rules, security marking and physical schema to permit content sharing between dissimilar systems. However, a key objective in creating UCore was to keep it simple, easy to explain and easy to implement..." [according to Wikipedia]

See also: Wikipedia on the Universal Core (UCore)

Google Set to Take On Collaboration Giants
Paul Krill, InfoWorld

"Signaling an intent to compete with giants in the collaboration software space, Google has introduced an API to extend the Google Sites collaborative content development tool, featuring a capability to migrate files from workspace applications such as Microsoft SharePoint and Lotus Notes to Sites. One application already built using the Google Sites API is SharePoint Move for Google Apps, developed by LTech for migrating data and content from SharePoint to Sites. Google Sites is a free application for building and sharing Web sites; it is described by Google as a collaborative content creation tool to upload file attachments, information other Google applications such as Google Docs, and free-form content...

The API, released by Google Code Labs, enables exporting of Google Sites pages and editing them offline. Also with the Sites API, updates can be made from third-party applications. For example, a sales team's Google Sites page can be automatically updated when new leads are added to a CRM system. The API is a Google Data API, offering standard protocol support around authentication and querying. Like other Google Data APIs, the Sites API offers standard protocol support around authentication and querying..."

See also: the Google Code Labs web site

iCalendar Specification Now an IETF Proposed Standard Protocol
Bernard Desruisseaux (ed), IETF Approved RFC

The IETF RFC Editor recently announced that the Standards Track "Internet Calendaring and Scheduling Core Object Specification (iCalendar)" has been advanced to Proposed Standard Protocol, available as RFC #5545. IETF requests discussion and suggestions for improvements. This specification was produced by members of the IETF Calendaring and Scheduling Standards Simplification Working Group. This document obsoletes RFC #2445.

The RFC "defines the iCalendar data format for representing and exchanging calendaring and scheduling information such as events, to-dos, journal entries, and free/busy information, independent of any particular calendar service or protocol..."

Details: The memo "is intended to progress the level of interoperability possible between dissimilar calendaring and scheduling applications. This memo defines a MIME content type for exchanging electronic calendaring and scheduling information. The Internet Calendaring and Scheduling Core Object Specification, or iCalendar, allows for the capture and exchange of information normally stored within a calendaring and scheduling application; such as a Personal Information Manager (PIM) or a Group-Scheduling product. The iCalendar format is suitable as an exchange format between applications or systems. The format is defined in terms of a MIME content type. This will enable the object to be exchanged using several transports, including but not limited to SMTP, HTTP, a file system, desktop interactive protocols such as the use of a memory- based clipboard or drag/drop interactions, point-to-point asynchronous communication, wired-network transport, or some form of unwired transport such as infrared..."

An iCalendar XML Representation proposal was also published in June 2009: "The purpose of this [draft 'draft-daboo-et-al-icalendar-in-xml'] specification is to define an XML format that allows iCalendar data to be converted to XML, and then back to iCalendar, without losing any semantic meaning in the data. Anyone creating XML calendar data according to this specification will know that their data can be converted to a valid iCalendar representation as well... While many applications and services consume and generate calendar data, iCalendar is a specialized format that requires its own parser/ generator. In contrast, XML-based formats are widely used for interoperability between applications, and the many tools that generate, parse, and manipulate XML make it easier to work with than iCalendar..."

See also: the IETF Calendaring and Scheduling Standards Simplification (CALSIFY) Working Group

W3C First Public Working Draft: WebSimpleDB API
Nikunj R. Mehta (ed), W3C Technical Report

Members of the W3C Web Applications Working Group have published a First Public Working Draft for the "WebSimpleDB API" specification. This is one of the proposals being considered for standardization in the area of local, persistent storage in user agents. Comments are invited, and the latest stable version of the editor's draft of this specification is always available on the W3C CVS server.

Overview: "User agents need to store large numbers of objects locally in order to satisfy off-line data requirements of Web applications. The "WebStorage" W3C Working Draft is useful for storing pairs of keys and their corresponding values. However, it does not provide in-order retrieval of keys, efficient searching over values, or storage of duplicate values for a key.

This specification provides a concrete API to perform advanced key-value data management that is at the heart of most sophisticated query processors. It does so by using transactional databases to store keys and their corresponding values (one or more per key), and providing a means of traversing keys in a deterministic order. This is often implemented through the use of persistent B-tree data structures that are considered efficient for insertion and deletion as well as in-order traversal of very large numbers of data items..."

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

Emergency Data Exchange Language Resource Messaging (EDXL-RM) 1.0 Errata
Rex Brooks (ed), OASIS Committee Draft for Public Review

OASIS announced a 15-day Public Review for the Emergency Data Exchange Language Resource Messaging (EDXL-RM) 1.0 Errata document, ending October 14, 2009. "This is an open invitation to comment. We strongly encourage feedback from potential users, developers and others, whether OASIS members or not, for the sake of improving the interoperability and quality of OASIS work."

The EDXL-RM specification was produced by members of the OASIS Emergency Management Technical Committee. "This XML-based Emergency Data Exchange Language (EDXL) Resource Messaging specification describes a suite of standard messages for data sharing among emergency and other information systems that deal in requesting and providing emergency equipment, supplies, people and teams. This format may be used over any data transmission system, including but not limited to the SOAP HTTP binding...

"The goal of the EDXL project is to facilitate emergency information sharing and data exchange across the local, state, tribal, national and non-governmental organizations of different professions that provide emergency response and management services. EDXL will accomplish this goal by focusing on the standardization of specific messages (messaging interfaces) to facilitate emergency communication and coordination particularly when more than one profession or governmental jurisdiction is involved..."

See also: the merged errata document


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