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Last modified: November 30, 2009
XML Daily Newslink. Monday, 30 November 2009

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

This issue of XML Daily Newslink is sponsored by:
Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Universal Core Advances Information Sharing Across Government Agencies
Maria S. Lee, MITRE Digest

"As the world grows more complex, inter-agency collaboration has become crucial. Although the government is working diligently to address this problem, interaction between and among agencies is still often hamstrung by technical and organizational challenges. UCore, a new data sharing standard and messaging framework developed by the U.S. federal government, may be the breakthrough that intelligence officials in several government agencies need to overcome barriers to effective information sharing. When the barriers come down, they can respond faster to potential threats...

The Universal Core (UCore) XML-based data exchange standard and messaging framework supports the information sharing needs of intelligence officials across several large agencies, including the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. During UCore's development, MITRE served as chief engineer and provided subject matter expertise in data sharing, IT, systems engineering, and standards development.

UCore improves information exchange by providing standard XML-based definitions for several critical, universally understood concepts — who, what, when and where — and implementing them across a broad government stakeholder base, regardless of the makeup of their IT systems. It also provides a mechanism to mark information with security classification markings through a standard used within the intelligence community, known as the Information Security Markings, or ISM, standard...

UCore was originally developed in response to lessons learned from events such as the 9/11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. It was officially released in March 2009, As of October 2009, the public UCore website has close to 2,000 registered users across the federal government, academia, and industry, offering training and tools for the UCore community..."

See also: the UCore web site

W3C Launches HTML5 Japanese Interest Group
Staff, W3C Announcement

A new W3C HTML5 Japanese Interest Group has been formed, as part of the HTML Activity, to facilitate focused discussion in Japanese of the HTML5 specification and of specifications closely related to HTML5. Particpants will gather comments and questions in Japanese about those specifications, collect information about specific use cases in Japan for technologies defined in those specifications, and report the results of its activities as a group back to the HTML Working Group, as well as to other relevant groups and to the W3C membership and community.

In addition to the HTML5 specification itself, other related specifications that the group might choose to review could include (but by no means be explicitly limited to) the following: Web Sockets, Web Storage, Web Workers, Web Database, WebSimpleDB API, Server-Sent Events, DOM Level 3 Events, File API, and Geolocation API...

The HTML5 Japanese Interest Group is also expected to take advantage of opportunities for discussion and collaboration with existing HTML5-related groups and communities in Japan... Participation in the HTML5 Japanese Interest Group is open both to W3C members and to public participants..."

See also: the W3C HTML5 Japanese Interest Group Charter

Updated IETF Draft: iCalendar XML Representation
Cyrus Daboo, Mike Douglass, Steven Lees; IETF Internet Draft

An updated Standards Track Internet Draft has been published by IETF for the iCalendar XML Representation specification. It defines a format for representing iCalendar data in XML notation. This revision adds a version number to the XML namespace for iCalendar, adds specification for XML property in iCalendar, and changes the values for the date, date-time, period, and duration elements to exactly match the values specified in IETF RFC 5545, where previously these were broken out into separate elements for day, month, year, etc.

"The iCalendar data format (RFC 5545) is a widely deployed interchange format for calendaring and scheduling data. 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.

The purpose of this iCalendar XML Representation 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.

Two key design considerations are: Round-tripping (converting an iCalendar instance to XML and back) will give the same result as the starting point. Preserve the semantics of the iCalendar data. While a simple consumer can easily browse the calendar data in XML, a full understanding of iCalendar is still required in order to modify and/or fully comprehend the calendar data..."

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

OASIS Creates DITA for the Web Subcommittee
Staff, OASIS Announcement

Members of the OASIS Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) Technical Committee have formed a new DITA for the Web Subcommittee. The Subcommittee Statement of Purpose reports that the group will: (1) Provide a public forum for discussion about the management and delivery of DITA content on the Web and how DITA relates to other web technologies; (2) Recommend strategies and guidelines to the OASIS DITA Technical Committee that promote best practices for applying DITA approaches to Web content.

Among the DITA for the Web Subcommittee list of expected deliverables: "(a) Recommendations to the DITA TC for specification changes or additions to the DITA standard that enable better support for DITA content on the Web; (b)Specifications or white papers on one or more of the above topics related to DITA for the Web; (c) Recommendations to the DITA TC for coordination with other related standards, such as the OASIS Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) TC or; (d) A white paper summary of recommendations and best practices guidelines for use of DITA content on the Web..."

See also: the DITA Subcommittee web page

Latest Firefox Beta Offers File-Handling Feature
Stephen Shankland, CNET

"Mozilla, determined to release Firefox 3.6 before year's end, is also determined to squeeze as many features as possible into the new browser. The latest example: support for the File interface that adds more sophistication to uploading and some other chores. Support for the File Interfacefeature is one of the 133 changes that arrived in Firefox 3.6 beta 4, which the Mozilla project has released for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

The File API (application programming interface), a draft standard at the World Wide Web consortium, lets browsers handle files better. Among its abilities are uploading multiple files at once, showing thumbnail previews of images that have been selected for upload, breaking a long video upload up into chunks to protect against network interruption problems, and integrating with drag-and-drop Web applications..."

From the W3C 'File API' Working Draft specification: "This API is designed to be used in conjunction with other APIs and elements on the web platform, notably: XMLHttpRequest (e.g., with an overloaded 'send()' method for File objects), postMessage, DataTransfer (part of the drag and drop API defined in HTML 5), and Web Workers. Additionally, it should be possible to programmatically obtain a list of files from the input element HTML 5 when it is in the File Upload state. These kinds of behaviors are defined in the appropriate affiliated specifications...

This specification defines an API for representing file objects in web applications, as well as programmatically selecting them and accessing their data. This includes: (1) A FileList sequence, which represents an array of individually selected files from the underlying system. The user interface for selection can be invoked via [input type="file"], i.e. when the input element HTML 5 is in the File Upload state; (2) A Blob interface, which represents raw binary data, and allows access to ranges of bytes within the Blob object; (3) A File interface, which includes readonly informational attributes about a file such as its name, its mediatype, and a URL to access its data; (4) A FileReader interface, which provides methods to read a File, and an event model to obtain the results of these reads; (5) A FileError interface and a FileException exception which define error conditions used by this specification. Additionally, the specification defines objects to be used within threaded web applications for the synchronous reading of files..."

See also: the W3C 'File API' Working Draft

Threat Analysis: Do RFID Passports Make Us Vulnerable to Identity Theft?
Alan Ramos, Weina Scott (et al), Communications of the ACM (CACM)

"Six pieces of information can be stolen from the RFID chip on a U.S. passport: your name, nationality, gender, date of birth, place of birth, and a digitized photograph. Numerous problems of identity theft could arise from someone taking that information, but this article focuses on the financial risk.

Banks in the U.S. require that applicants for credit cards submit their Social Security numbers to be used for background credit checks. Although the passport RFID tag does not carry your Social Security number, a perpetrator can use the information it does contain to obtain your number...

Should you really be worried as you walk through the airport that someone behind you might be stripping you of your passport information in a grand scheme to rob you? The technical hurdles are surmountable, at least in proof-of-concept demonstrations. It is possible that such an attack could occur, but this possibility must be balanced against the complexity of the attack, the difficulty of obtaining the required high-priced blank passport, and the limited return the attack is likely to produce. It seems much more likely that most perpetrators would resort to old-fashioned means of stealing your passport information, by stealing your physical passport itself..." [Note: the article was published in Communications of the ACM, Volume 52, Number 12, pages 38-42.]


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