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Last modified: November 12, 2010
XML Daily Newslink. Friday, 12 November 2010

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

This issue of XML Daily Newslink is sponsored by:
Microsoft Corporation

HTTP Framework for Time-Based Access to Resource States: Memento
Herbert Van de Sompel, Michael Nelson, Robert Sanderson; IETF I-D

Representatives of Los Alamos National Laboratory and Old Dominion University have published a first IETF Working Draft of HTTP Framework for Time-Based Access to Resource States: Memento. According to the editor's iMinds blog: "While the days of human time travel as described in many a science fiction novel are yet to come, time travel on the Web has recently become a reality thanks to the Memento project. In essence, Memento adds a time dimension to the Web: enter the Web address of a resource in your browser and set a time slider to a desired moment in the Web's past, and see what the resource looked like around that time...

Technically, Memento achieves this by: (a) Leveraging systems that host archival Web content, including Web archives, content management systems, and software versioning systems; (b) Extending the Web's most commonly used protocol (HTTP) with the capability to specify a datetime in protocol requests, and by applying an existing HTTP capability (content negotiation) in a new dimension: 'time'. The result is a Web in which navigating the past is as seamless as navigating the present...

The Memento concepts have attracted significant international attention since they were first published in November 2009, and compliant tools are already emerging. For example, at the client side there is the MementoFox add-on for FireFox, and a Memento app for Android; at the server side, there is a plug-in for MediaWiki servers, and the Wayback software that is widely used by Web archives, worldwide, was recently enhanced with Memento support..."

From the Internet Draft: "The state of an Original Resource may change over time. Dereferencing its URI at any specific moment in time during its existence yields a representation of its then current state. Dereferencing its URI at any time past its existence no longer yields a meaningful representation, if any. Still, in both cases, resources may exist that encapsulate prior states of the Original Resource. Each such resource, named a Memento, has its own URI that, when dereferenced, returns a representation of a prior state of the Original Resource. Mementos may, for example, exist in Web archives, Content Management Systems, or Revision Control Systems... The Memento framework introduces datetime negotiation (a variation on content negotiation), and new Relation Types for the HTTP Link header aimed at interlinking resources with their archival/version resources. It also introduces an approach to discover and serialize a list of resources known to a server, each of which provides access to a representation of a prior state of a same resource..."

See also: Memento, Time Travel for the Web      [TOC]

Voice Input and Response Using Fixed Grammars
Colin Beckingham, IBM developerWorks

"A variety of plain-text, application-specific formats exists for the definition of non-natural language grammars for the preparation of a voice recognition model. Programmers can use the Speech Recognition Grammar Specification (SRGS) not only to express many of these formats in an open-standards structure, but also to define rules for the dialog manager necessary for interpretation of the output generated by the recognition model... This article uses an SRGS approach to defining fixed grammars and addresses the issues of out-of-vocabulary (OOV) prompts and context in the dialog manager using the example of a set of 2-gram or bigram examples.

As computers diminish in size and increase in portability, the need to interact with them without using a keyboard or mouse increases. Voice is an alternative. Superficially, much less bandwidth is available with voice communications than with visual interaction. As a result of the impression that a picture equals a thousand words, computers display to screens in response to mechanical peripheral input much more readily than they accept audio input and respond in a like manner.

The goal is to have a computer react to speech and take a specific action based on the command. The general process to achieve this goal is to build (or adapt) a model, apply a spoken command against that model in a recognition process, and then decide on an action in a dialog manager. Models can be broad in the sense of recognizing a variety of voices but few commands, or you can train your own model from a specific grammar that gives the possibility of quite complex interpretation and interaction...

With SRGS, you can state requirements for a fixed grammar in addition to their usual role in NLP, providing a central location for the generation of both grammar and dialog manager files. By using the weight attribute to define whether a master rule is to be detected and the 'tag' element to instruct the dialog manager as to what action to take when a specific prompt is detected, autogeneration of grammar and dialog managers is more rigorous and effective...

See also: Speech Recognition Grammar Specification Version 1.0      [TOC]

Boosting Privacy Online: Anonymous Credentials in the Browser
Dave Raggett, Blog

"Identity matters: in everyday life we present different 'faces' to different people according to the social context, e.g. family, personal, and professional. Our online life is the same, and our privacy depends on keeping these different faces compartmentalized. To support this, we need ways to restrict access to services.

A powerful way to implement this is with anonymous credentials. Imagine the student union providing electronic credentials to all students that asserts that you are a current student at that college/university. This is an electronic equivalent of a student ID card. When you go online to the social website operated by the student union, you are asked to prove you are a current student, but not for your actual identity.

I have been working with Patrik Bischel on an implementation of this approach based upon a Firefox extension and the open source idemix (identity mixer) library. The extension recognizes policy references in web page markup and asks the user for a PIN or pass phrase to unlock her credentials and construct a zero knowledge proof which is then sent to the website for verification...

This has been done with support from the EU PrimeLife project, and we hope to be able to make the extension and servlet widely available in the near future. Further work is needed on tools for simplifying the creation of credentials and proof specifications, and there are opportunities for integrating biometric techniques as alternatives to typing a PIN or pass phrase. One possibility would be for the browser to confirm your identity by taking a photo of your face with the camera built into phones and notebook computers..."

See also: PRIME (Privacy and Identity Management for Europe)      [TOC]

A Guide to Publishing Linked Data Without Redirects
Ian Davis, Talis Blog

"The choice of URIs for identifying real-world things dictates how you can publish Linked Data about those things. If you choose to identify your things with URIs comprising a base URI plus a fragment such as '' (known as hash URIs) then you can simply publish a description document at the base URI containing RDF about the things you are identifying.

If you choose URIs without a such a fragment (i.e., with slash URIs) then you must publish your description document at another, distinct URI. Up until now to connect your thing to its description you had to configure your webserver to issue a 303 redirect to the description document whenever someone requests your thing's URI. This guide describes a way to avoid the redirect while still retaining the separation between the thing and its description...

The primary concern and raison d'être for the current 303 approach is that a web server responding with a status code of 200 is indicating that the entity in the response is a representation of the requested resource. The W3C TAG's decision on what resources can be identified by HTTP URIs (i.e., httpRange-14) forbids this for anything but information resources... Mike Kelly found the key piece of spec text that legitimises my proposed approach and it hinges on the use of the content-location header. The latest draft revision of the HTTP/1.1 specification seeks to clarify current usage of HTTP.

[Section 6.1 says] that if the server sends a status code of 200 with a content-location header then the entity in the response is not a representation of the requested resource but of the resource identified by the supplied header. This is exactly what is needed. It means we can use any HTTP URI to identify real world objects and serve Linked Data from that URI provided we also including a Content-Location header pointing to a URI for the Linked Data document that we served up..."

See also: on Whether 303 is Really Necessary      [TOC]

The European Union is Funding the Smart Cloud Initiative
Lucas Mearian, ComputerWorld

"IBM announced that it is leading a joint research initiative with fifteen (15) European partners that include standards bodies and companies in the telecommunications, healthcare and media industries to develop an object-based, standardized 'smart cloud' storage architecture. The research project, being led by IBM's research arm in Haifa, Israel, will tackle the major challenges facing modern storage clouds, including cost-effectiveness, data mobility across cloud providers, security guarantees and the massive computing power demands that affect quality of service..."

According to the text of the announcement: "The VISION Cloud will introduce a breakthrough storage cloud architecture which combines several new concepts, notably (a) a rich object data model, (b) execution of computations close to the stored content, (c) content-centric access, and (d) full data interoperability. Based on this architecture and the supporting technologies, VISION Cloud will enable the delivery of new classes of rich data-intensive services, offering unprecedented functions and providing high quality of service and security guarantees.

For example, with VISION Cloud, a future provider of storage services could offer a "digital safe" service, where people can safely store their digital information, including photos, videos, health records, financial records, and more. Then, for example, when an expecting mother undergoes a 3D ultrasound, the image is automatically uploaded and stored in her digital safe. This ultrasound is stored together with metadata, such as the date, format, stage of pregnancy, or content description; the metadata is stored as an integral part of the smart 'data object'. She can then give access to family, friends, or editing services, enabling them to download and view the video—no matter what kind of format their device or computer works with...

The partners in this initiative from across academia and industry include IT technology, business software, and service providers: SAP AG, Siemens Corporate Technology, Engineering and ITRicity; telecommunications providers: Telefonica Investigacion y Desarrollo, Orange Labs and Telenor; media service providers: RAI and Deutche Welle; the SNIA Europe standards organization, and leading universities: National Technical University of Athens, Umea University, Swedish Institute of Computer Science, and University of Messina..."

See also: the announcement      [TOC]

WS-I Completes Web Services Interoperability Standards Work
Staff, Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I) Announcement

"After nearly a decade of work and industry cooperation, the Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I has successfully concluded its charter to document best practices for Web services interoperability across multiple platforms, operating systems and programming languages. The release of WS-I member approved final materials for Basic Profile (BP) 1.2 and [Basic Profile] 2.0, and Reliable Secure Profile (RSP) 1.0 fulfills WS-I's last milestone as an organization. By publishing the final three profiles, WS-I marks the completion of its work. Stewardship over WS-I's assets, operations and mission will transition to OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards), a group of technology vendors and customers that drive development and adoption of open standards.

Since 2002, WS-I has developed profiles, sample applications, and testing tools to facilitate Web services interoperability. These building blocks have in turn served as the basis for interoperability in the cloud. Companies from across the industry have collaborated to build an interoperable Web services foundation that will benefit customers well into the future... Today's announcement is 'gratifying,' said Steve Holbrook, Chair of the WS-I Board of Directors. 'Each member of WS-I has contributed to this massive and lengthy undertaking for the benefit of the greater Web community. This work was only possible through the cooperation, commitment and shared vision of each WS-I member organization.'

Now that WS-I has achieved the goals it initially outlined in 2002, it is ready to transition ongoing maintenance of profiles to OASIS... "WS-I's significant contribution to Web services interoperability will continue to play a vital role in the future of IT, especially with regard to cloud computing, where safe and reliable access to information is a requirement. As WS-I completes its transition to OASIS, we look forward not only to safeguarding their accomplishments but also to advancing their mission,' said Laurent Liscia, Executive Director of OASIS...

Supportive statements and testimonials from Board member companies are available [online, including quotations from Chiseki Sagawa (President, Platform Strategic Planning Unit, Fujitsu Limited); Angel Diaz (Vice President Software Standards, IBM Corporation; Paul Cotton (Partner Group Manager, Microsoft Corporation); Jeff Mischkinsky (Senior Director, Oracle Fusion Middleware and Web Services Standards, Oracle); Michael Bechauf (Vice President, Platform Technology Strategy, SAP AG); Hans-Christoph Rohland (Senior Vice President-R&D webMethods, Software AG).]

Note: This online citation (substitution) highlights the second announcement from WS-I, as followon to a July 2010 notice about WS-I transition to OASIS. The WS-I web site section 'In the News' now references several articles about the accomplishments of the WS-I Working Groups, including summaries of past and ongoing interoperability activities to support WS-* specifications. See for exanple the referenced blogs by Paul Cotton and Michael Champion, with reference to additional guidance through a dedicated Web Service Interoperability site.

An OASIS Web Services-Interoperability (WS-I) Member Section has been created, with publicly accessible discussion list archives, membership list, etc. "The OASIS WS-I Member Section facilitates the creation and operation of an environment made up of customers and vendors in support of delivering interoperability guidance and testing of SOAP-based Web services that often goes beyond individual specification testing. The Member Section will provide coordination of any Technical Committees under its umbrella and various adoption and marketing activities it may choose to undertake. It will also provide the governance structure to accept and and manage funds."

See also: Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I) Transitions to OASIS      [TOC]

Microsoft Moves Ahead with ASP.Net MVC 3 Web Development Framework
Paul Krill, InfoWorld

"Microsoft has made available a release candidate for its ASP.Net MVC (Model View Controller) 3 framework. Among the features in version 3 is Razor, a compact view engine for ASP.Net. Razor Intellisense support, for coding assistance, is now supported within Visual Studio and the free Visual Web Developer Express tool.

Downloadable at Microsoft's website, the software enables development of Web applications via a Model View Controller pattern and represents the third version of the platform. An MVC framework is provided atop the .Net 4 runtime. Release candidates generally are the final stage before a general release of technology... Partial page output caching in ASP.Net MVC 3 allows developers to output cache regions or fragments of a response, instead of the full response.

According to ScottGu's Blog: "One of the nice enhancements with ASP.NET MVC V3 is that the AJAX and Validation helpers in ASP.NET MVC now both use an unobtrusive JavaScript approach by default. Unobtrusive JavaScript avoids injecting inline JavaScript into HTML markup, and instead enables cleaner separation of behavior using the new HTML 5 'data-' convention, which conveniently works on older browsers, including IE6, as well. This makes your HTML smaller and cleaner, and makes it easier to optionally swap out or customize JS libraries. The Validation helpers in ASP.NET MVC 3 also now use the jQueryValidate plugin by default."

From the web site: "ASP.NET MVC 3 is a framework for developing highly testable and maintainable Web applications by leveraging the Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern. The framework encourages developers to maintain a clear separation of concerns among the responsibilities of the application—the UI logic using the view, user-input handling using the controller, and the domain logic using the model. ASP.NET MVC applications are easily testable using techniques such as test-driven development (TDD). The installation package includes templates and tools for Visual Studio 2010 to increase productivity when writing ASP.NET MVC applications. For example, the Add View dialog box takes advantage of customizable code generation (T4) templates to generate a view based on a model object. The default project template allows the developer to automatically hook up a unit-test project that is associated with the ASP.NET MVC application. Because the ASP.NET MVC framework is built on ASP.NET 4, developers can take advantage of existing ASP.NET features like authentication and authorization, profile settings, localization..."

See also: Dino Esposito on Dynamic Action Filters in ASP.NET MVC      [TOC]

On-Body Sensing: From Gesture-Based Input to Activity-Driven Interaction
Paul Lukowicz, Oliver Amft, Daniel Roggen (et al), IEEE Computer

"Recently, systems have emerged that utilize a broad range of sensors to facilitate gesture and motion-based interaction. Examples range from multitouch surfaces to tilt control to complex, motion-based game controllers. As these technologies become mainstream, research is already focusing on the next step: activity-driven, implicit interaction. Next-generation on-body sensing systems interpret complex human movements, rather than only gestures, and extend interaction from intermittent, conscious control to the permanent, automatic monitoring of user activities.

The most common on-body motion sensors are accelerometers, which are used in commercial products such as step counters, mobile phones and cameras (to adjust screen orientation when the device is rotated), and game controllers... Using IMUs on each limb, it is possible to reconstruct exact motion trajectories of body parts. Because body motions determine most human activities, IMUs enable the recognition of complex movements as well as biomechanical applications such as rehabilitation or personal training...

Unobtrusive on-body sensing has attracted the interest of professional athletes. For example, miniature inertial sensors can help link ski jumpers' performance, expressed as jump distance, to coordinated motion activity. Closely related are personal health applications... Behavioral and cognitive disorders including dementia, autism, and Parkinson's disease are also a promising application field for body sensing and activity recognition. For example, MONARCA is a smartphone-based support system for the diagnosis and treatment of manic-depressive disorders. The system will monitor everyday behavior patterns and map them onto risk factors, make recommendations, mediate interaction with doctors, and help assess therapeutic success.

On-body sensing technology has recently progressed along two lines. First, sensors are increasingly being integrated into consumer devices such as mobile phones. Second, novel sensing concepts allow acquiring sophisticated information, including data about inner-body functionality, in an unobtrusive way. Together, these developments facilitate a new generation of interactive applications that replace explicit input, proactively reacting to users' actions in areas such as sports, healthcare, and industrial processes..."

See also: the MONARCA Project      [TOC]


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