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- FEMA Announces Adoption of Common Alerting Protocol for Emergency Alerts
- W3C Launches Points of Interest Working Group
- Guidelines and Registration Procedures for New URI/IRI Schemes
- ICAM Publishes SAML 2.0 Web Browser Single Sign-on (SSO) Profile
- WebP: A New Image Format for the Web
- Integrate Disparate Data Sources with Semantic Web Technology
- Exposing RESTful Services Using WCF
- Linked Data on 'Legislation.gov.uk' and the FRBR Specification
FEMA Announces Adoption of Common Alerting Protocol for Emergency Alerts
Staff, FEMA Announcement
"The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today announced the adoption of a new digital message format for the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), the nation's next generation emergency alert and warning network. The goal of IPAWS is to expand upon the traditional Emergency Alert System by allowing emergency management officials to reach as many people as possible over as many communications devices as possible, such as radio, television, mobile phones, personal computers and other communications devices. The current Emergency Alert System relies largely on radio and television to communicate to people.
The new digital message format being adopted by FEMA is the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) v1.2 Standard. This open standard will enable alert messages to be easily composed by emergency management officials for communication with citizens using a much broader set of devices to reach as many people as possible.
In order to assist officials in evaluating new alert and warning systems, FEMA is conducting an assessment program to ensure products adhere to the IPAWS CAP profile. A list of pre-screened products that meet the profile will be published at the FEMA Responders Knowledge Base, to aid federal, state, territorial, tribal and local officials in purchasing emergency alert products that comply with IPAWS CAP. Vendors can apply for these assessments...
The three documents defining the FEMA IPAWS technical standards and requirements for CAP and its implementation are: (1) OASIS CAP Standard v1.2; (2) IPAWS Specification to the CAP Standard (CAP v1.2 IPAWS USA Profile v1.0); (3) CAP to EAS Implementation Guide. Additional information and documentation on CAP technical standards can be found on the OASIS web site. The CAP to EAS Implementation Guide can be found on the web site of the EAS-CAP Industry Group..."
See also: the OASIS Emergency TC specifications
W3C Launches Points of Interest Working Group
Staff, W3C Announcement
W3C has announced the formation of a Points of Interest Working Group (POI WG) as part of the Ubiquitous Web Applications Activity. For the purposes of this Working Group, a 'Point of Interest' is defined simply as an entity at a physical location about which information is available. For example, the Taj Mahal in India is a point of interest, located at 27.174799° N, 78.042111° E in the WGS84 geodetic system. Additional information could be associated with it, such as: it was completed around 1653, has a particular shape, and that it is open to visitors during specific hours.
Points of Interest data has many uses, including augmented reality browsers, location-based social networking games, geocaching, mapping, navigation systems, and many others. This group will primarily focus on POI use within AR applications but will strive to ensure reusability across applications. The group will also explore how the AR industry could best use, influence and contribute to Web standards.
The Working Group is chartered through December 2011, and is initially chaired by Andrew Braun (Sony Ericsson). The POI WG will deliver the following documents: (1) Points of Interest Recommendation, which will define a format for the common components of a Point of Interest; (2) the 'Points of Interest: Augmented Reality Vocabulary', planned as a Working Group Note which specifies a vocabulary of properties to enable Augmented Reality applications by attaching additional information to POI data, e.g. logo, business hours, or social media related properties; (3) 'Augmented Reality and Web Standards', documenting how Augmented Reality applications may best re-use and/or influence current and future W3C Recommendations... The POI WG will be judged a success if it produces a Point of Interest format Recommendation that has two or more complete, independent and interoperable implementations.
In addition to the deliverables listed above, the Working Group is intending to produce a test suite for the POI Recommendation, and the AR Vocabulary Note to assist in ensuring interoperability. The WG may also publish use case and requirements, primers and best practices for Points of Interest as Working Group Notes. The Working Group may also explore the Augmented Reality landscape with regards to Web standards and publish these findings as a Working Group Note..."
Guidelines and Registration Procedures for New URI/IRI Schemes
Tony Hansen, Ted Hardie, Larry Masinter (eds), IETF Internet Draft
Members of the IETF Internationalized Resource Identifiers (IRI) Working Group have released an initial level -00 Internet Draft for Guidelines and Registration Procedures for New URI/IRI Schemes. This document "updates the guidelines and recommendations for the definition of Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) schemes, and extends the registry and guidelines to apply when the schemes are used with Internationalized Resource Identifiers (IRIs). It also updates the process and IANA registry for URI/IRI schemes, and if accepted, obsoletes RFC 4395... The draft has been written in response to the errata and the issues in the Trac issue tracker." An an official 'call for consensus' has been issued to to adopt this document as an official Working Group draft.
RFCs 2717 and 2718 "drew a distinction between 'locators' (identifiers used for accessing resources available on the Internet) and 'names' (identifiers used for naming possibly abstract resources, independent of any mechanism for accessing them). The intent was to use the designation 'URL' (Uniform Resource Locator) for those identifiers that were locators and 'URN' (Uniform Resource Name) for those identifiers that were names. In practice, the line between 'locator' and 'name' has been difficult to draw: locators can be used as names, and names can be used as locators. As a result, recent documents have used the terms 'URI'/'IRI' for all resource identifiers, avoiding the term 'URL' and reserving the term 'URN' explicitly for those URIs/IRIs using the 'urn' scheme name. URN 'namespaces' are specific to the 'urn' scheme and not covered explicitly by this specification.
This document eliminates RFC 2717's distinction between different 'trees' for URI schemes; instead there is a single namespace for registered values. Within that namespace, there are values that are approved as meeting a set of criteria for URI schemes. Other scheme names may also be registered provisionally, without necessarily meeting those criteria. The intent of the registry is to: (1) provide a central point of discovery for established URI/IRI scheme names, and easy location of their defining documents; (2) discourage use of the same scheme name for different purposes; (3) help those proposing new scheme names to discern established trends and conventions, and avoid names that might be confused with existing ones; (4) encourage registration by setting a low barrier for provisional registrations.
RFC 3987 introduced a new protocol element, the Internationalized Resource Identifier (IRI), by defining a mapping between URIs and IRIs. 'Internationalized Resource Identifiers (IRIs)' of September 2010 updates this definition, allowing an IRI to be interpreted directly without translating into a URI. There is no separate, independent registry or registration process for IRIs: the URI Scheme Registry is to be used for both URIs and IRIs. Previously, those who wish to describe resource identifiers that are useful as IRIs were encouraged to define the corresponding URI syntax, and note that the IRI usage follows the rules and transformations defined in RFC 3987 (2006) This document changes that advice to encourage explicit definition of the scheme and allowable syntax elements within the larger character repertoire of IRIs..."
ICAM Publishes SAML 2.0 Web Browser Single Sign-on (SSO) Profile
Terry McBride, Matt Tebo, John Bradley, Dave Silver (eds), ICAM TR
The U.S. Federal Identity, Credential and Access Management Subcommittee (ICAM) has published Version 1.0 of the "Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) 2.0 Web Browser Single Sign-on (SSO) Profile." This profile "has been adopted by ICAM for the purpose of Level of Assurance (LOA) 1, 2, and 3 identity authentication, as well as holder-of-key assertions for binding keys or other attributes to an identity at LOA 4.
The Profile is a deployment profile based on the OASIS SAML 2.0 specifications and the Liberty Alliance eGov Profile v.1.5. This Profile relies on the 'SAML 2.0 Web Browser SSO Profile' to facilitate end user authentication. This Profile does not alter these standards, but rather specifies deployment options and requirements to ensure technical interoperability with Federal government applications. Where this Profile does not explicitly provide guidance, the standards upon which this Profile is based take precedence. In addition, this Profile recognizes the Liberty Alliance eGov Profile conformance requirements, and to the extent possible reconciles them with other SAML 2.0 Profiles.
The objective of the document is to define the ICAM SAML 2.0 Web Browser SSO Profile so that persons deploying, managing, or supporting an application based upon it can fully understand its use in ICAM transaction flows. In general, the SAML 2.0 protocol facilitates exchange of SAML messages (requests and/or responses) between endpoints. For this Profile, messages pertain primarily to the exchange of an identity assertion that includes authentication and attribute information. Message support for additional features is also available. In ICAM, the endpoints are typically the Relying Party (RP) and the Identity Provider (IdP). SAML 2.0 Profile defined herein includes the following features: single sign-on, session reset, and attribute exchange. In addition, this Profile defines two main SAML 2.0 use cases: the end user starting at the RP, and the end user starting at the IdP. Use case diagrams and sequence diagrams are provided to illustrate the use cases. Privacy, security, and end user activation are also discussed. Programmed trust (a mechanism to indicate to RPs which IdPs are approved for use within ICAM) is also discussed, and a high-level process flow diagram is provided to illustrate the concept..."
"ICAM Mission: Fostering effective government-wide identity and access management, enabling trust in online transactions through common identity and access management policies and approaches, aligning federal agencies around common identity and access management practices, reducing the identity and access management burden for individual agencies by fostering common interoperable approaches, ensuring alignment across all identity and access management activities that cross individual agency boundaries, and collaborating with external identity management activities through inter-federation to enhance interoperability."
WebP: A New Image Format for the Web
Richard Rabbat, Blog
From Google: "Most of the common image formats on the web today were established over a decade ago and are based on technology from around that time. Some engineers at Google decided to figure out if there was a way to further compress lossy images like JPEG to make them load faster, while still preserving quality and resolution. As part of this effort, we are releasing a developer preview of a new image format, WebP, that promises to significantly reduce the byte size of photos on the web, allowing web sites to load faster than before.
Images and photos make up about 65% of the bytes transmitted per web page today. They can significantly slow down a user's web experience, especially on bandwidth-constrained networks such as a mobile network. Images on the web consist primarily of lossy formats such as JPEG, and to a lesser extent lossless formats such as PNG and GIF. Our team focused on improving compression of the lossy images, which constitute the larger percentage of images on the web today.
To improve on the compression that JPEG provides, we used an image compressor based on the VP8 codec that Google open-sourced in May 2010. We applied the techniques from VP8 video intra frame coding to push the envelope in still image coding. We also adapted a very lightweight container based on RIFF. While this container format contributes a minimal overhead of only 20 bytes per image, it is extensible to allow authors to save meta-data they would like to store.
While the benefits of a VP8 based image format were clear in theory, we needed to test them in the real world. In order to gauge the effectiveness of our efforts, we randomly picked about 1,000,000 images from the web (mostly JPEGs and some PNGs and GIFs) and re-encoded them to WebP without perceptibly compromising visual quality. This resulted in an average 39% reduction in file size. We expect that developers will achieve in practice even better file size reduction with WebP when starting from an uncompressed image..."
See also: the WebP Google Code site
Integrate Disparate Data Sources with Semantic Web Technology
Bob DuCharme, IBM developerWorks
"The core Semantic Web technology is RDF, a W3C standard that reduces all data to three-part statements known as triples. If your data fits into the triple data model and is stored in one of the specialized databases known as triplestores, the advantages of Semantic Web technology are obvious. This doesn't mean, though, that the technology has nothing to offer you if your data is in more traditional formats such as relational databases and spreadsheets. Open source and commercial tools are available to convert data in these formats to triples, giving you an easy way to combine data from multiple sources using different formats. Temporary conversion to triples is a great way to do ad-hoc data integration if you want to cross-reference between disparate sources or enhance data from one source with data from another.
The parts of a triple are officially known as the subject, predicate, and object. If you're from a more traditional database background, you can think of them as a resource identifier, an attribute name, and an attribute value. For example, if a relational database or spreadsheet says that employee 94321 has a hire-date value of 2007-10-14, it would be easy to express this as a triple.
A triple's subject and predicate must be expressed as URIs to make them completely unambiguous, and standard schemas and best practices for doing this with popular domains are gaining maturity. The extra context provided by a unique identifier means that schemas to specify data structures in a collection of triples—although useful for adding metadata that can enable inferencing and constraint checking—are optional. When you consider that the greatest difficulty in combining multiple sets of relational or XML data is lining up the corresponding parts of their schemas, you can see that the lack of a need for RDF schemas makes combining multiple sets of RDF data much simpler-- often as simple as concatenating files.
Different sets of RDF data are much easier to combine than different sets of data in other common formats. You can easily convert disparate non-RDF data sets to RDF and then combine them to create new content... To implement application logic by extracting subsets of data and sorting and rearranging this data, relational databases have SQL, and XML has XSLT and XQuery. RDF has the companion W3C SPARQL standard for querying triples, which is especially handy after you combine a few sets of triples..."
See also: RDF references
Exposing RESTful Services Using WCF
Joydip Kanjilal, DDJ
"REST, short for 'Representational State Transfer,' is an architecture paradigm for creating scalable services. A RESTful Web Service is one that conforms to the REST architecture constraints. Microsoft's Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) is a service-oriented framework that can be used to expose a RESTful service. A RESTful Web Service exposes resources URIs, then uses the HTTP methods to perform CRUD operations. In this article, I examine the basic principles of REST, explain what a RESTful service is, and show how a RESTful Service can be exposed using Windows Communication Foundation.
Although REST is based on the stateless HTTP protocol, resources are cacheable—you can also set expiration policies for your cached data. In a typical REST-based model, the client and the server communicates using requests and responses—the client send a request to the server for a resource which in turn sends the response back to the client.
A request in a REST-based model contains an Endpoint URL, a Developer ID, Parameters and the Desired Action. The Endpoint URL contains the complete address of the script. The Developer ID is a key which identifies each request origin and is sent with each request. You can pass Parameters to a REST request just as you do with your method calls in any programming language. The Desired Action in a REST request is used to denote the action to be performed for the particular request.
WCF is a Microsoft framework that you can use to implement connected, service-oriented, reliable, transacted services that are reliable and secure. In WCF you have a framework that provides an excellent unification of Microsoft's distributing technologies (Web Services, Remoting, COM+, and so on) under a single umbrella. The three main concepts related to WCF are: address, binding, and contract. While address denotes the location of the service, binding specifies the communication protocol and the security mechanisms that apply. To implement a RESTful Service using WCF, you start by using Visual Studio 2010 to create a WCF service and then make the service RESTful using the necessary attributes..."
Linked Data on 'Legislation.gov.uk' and the FRBR Specification
William Denton, Blog
The web site 'Legislation.gov.uk' uses FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) as part of a huge, fascinating, online publishing project that's based on linked data. For some background, check Pete Johnston's short blog post, the official blog post about their API, and then read the full explanation from John Sheridan...
'At the moment, the RDF from legislation.gov.uk is limited to largely bibliographic information. We have made use of the FRBR and the MetaLex vocabularies, primarily to relate the different types of resource we are making available. FRBR has the notion of a work, expressions of that work, manifestations of those expressions, and items. Similarly, MetaLex has the concepts of a BibliographicWork and BibliographicExpression. In the context of legislation.gov.uk, the identifier URIs relate to the work. Different versions of the legislation (current, original, different points in time, or prospective) relate to different expressions. The different formats (HTML, HTML Snippets, XML, and PDF) relate to the different manifestations. We have also made extensive use of Dublin Core Terms, for example to reflect that different versions apply to geographic extents. This is important as, for example, the same section of a statute may have been amended in one way as it applies in Scotland and in another way for England and Wales. We think FRBR, MetaLex, and Dublin Core Terms have all worked well, individually and in combination, for relating the different types of resource that we are making available...'"
From John Sheridan, Head of e-Services and Strategy at The U.K. National Archives: "...Open standards have played an important role throughout the development of legislation.gov.uk. All the data is held in XML, using a native XML database. The application logic is similarly constructed using open standards, in XSLTs and XQueries. Data and application portability were key objectives. We made considerable use of open source software like Orbeon Forms, Squid, and Apache... The simplest way to get hold of the underlying data on legislation.gov.uk is to go to a piece of legislation on the Website, either a whole item, or a part or section, and just append '/data.xml' or '/data.rdf' to the URL. We have taken a similar approach with lists, both in browse and search results. When looking at any list of legislation on legislation.gov.uk, it is easy to view the data. Simply append '/data.feed' to return that list in Atom.
The XML conforms to the Crown Legislation Markup Language (CLML) and associated schema. More general interchange formats for legislation such as CEN MetaLex lack the expressive power we need for UK legislation, but could relatively easily be wrapped around the XML we are making available. We have sought to surface richer metadata about legislation using RDF, but we would welcome feedback from users of the XML data about whether a MetaLex wrapper would be useful. And ee have used the MetaLex vocabulary in our RDF along with FRBR... Similarly, it should be relatively easy to add a wrapper for the OAI-PMH protocol on top of the API we have built. We are not yet clear who would make use of such a service, if we built one, or whether we should leave the creation of an OAI-PMH interface to others..."
See also: John Sheridan's blog article
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