References to general and technical publications on XML/XSL/XLink are also available in several other collections:
- XML Article Archive: [Current XML Articles] [January-March 2000] [July-December 1999] [January-June 1999]  [1996 - 1997]
- Articles Introducing XML
- Articles/Press Releases - XML Industry News
- Comprehensive SGML/XML Bibliographic Reference List
The following list of articles and papers on XML represents a mixed collection of references: articles in professional journals, slide sets from presentations, press releases, articles in trade magazines, Usenet News postings, etc. Some are from experts and some are not; some are refereed and others are not; some are semi-technical and others are popular; some contain errors and others don't. Discretion is strongly advised. The articles are listed approximately in the reverse chronological order of their appearance. Publications covering specific XML applications may be referenced in the dedicated sections rather than in the following listing.
[June 29, 2000] "In the Grand Schema of XML." By Yasser Shohoud (devxpert Corporation). In XML Magazine Volume 1, Number 3 (Summer 2000), pages 38-43. ['If you are designing an Internet, intranet, or client-server application, you should be thinking about XML schemas. XML Schema Language is a powerful feature that can be used to validate data in myriad ways and save you time in the process. Yasser Shohoud shows you how.'] "XML Schema Language is likely to become a standard in the near future. Although at the time of this writing, no validating parsers support the current version of the schema language, at least one parser, XML Authority from Extensibility, supports an earlier version of the language. XML Authority version 1.2 is planned for release soon and should support a more current version of the XML Schema Language specification. Also, the MSXML parser supports Microsoft's version of the schema language known as XML-data. Microsoft has plans to support the XML Schema Language when the W3C finalizes it. XML documents can be thought of as containers for data; they are similar to tables in a relational database and objects in an object-oriented language. In relational databases, the Data Definition Language is used to define new data types and create tables using those types, while specifying rules and constraints on columns in those tables. You can then insert data into the tables, and the database will ensure that your rules and constraints are enforced. Object-oriented programming languages let you define classes that have properties whose type may be one of the intrinsic data types or another class. You can then instantiate objects from those classes and set the values of their properties. The run-time type checking system will ensure that property values are of the correct type according to the class definition. An XML document contains one or more elements containing attributes, other elements, and text. As with database tables and object-oriented classes, you need to define rules about the structure, permissible data types, and constraints that apply to each element within the document. These rules would be equivalent to a class definition in Java. An XML document can then be considered an instance of this class definition and therefore be validated against the definition at runtime. Using the XML Schema Language, document authors can define the structure and permissible data types within their documents. Validating parsers can then be used to check conformance of documents claiming to be instances of a given schema. Going back to our database analogy, XML Schema Language is like a DDL for databases, a specific XML schema is like a specific table definition in a database, and an XML instance document is like a record in a database table. The object-oriented language analogy may be obvious by now: XML Schema Language is like the language you use to define a class (for example, Java or C++); a specific XML schema is like a class with properties, and the XML instance document is like an object instance of that class. The object-oriented analogy applies only to class properties, since XML elements are data containers with no methods of their own. . ." For other articles on XML Schema, see "XML Schemas."
[June 29, 2000] "Merging Mobility and Middleware. Build a lightweight, easy-to-implement architecture for accessing distributed objects from an Internet-enabled PDA." By John Allen. In DevX JavaPro (July 2000). ['The true benefit of mobile, Web-enabled applications emerges when you can access critical business data and resources efficiently anywhere, anytime. This architecture uses XML and servlets to access data from a PDA.'] "The architecture I propose is based on Waba, HTTP, XML, and Java servlets. The client application is written using a Java-based toolkit from Wabasoft (www.wabasoft.com) that runs on the Palm operating system and Windows CE. The server is a Java servlet hosted on a Web server. Using HTTP and XML, the client posts a request to the servlet to call a method of an object. The servlet parses the request, processes it, and returns the results. The results are also packaged as XML. What about distributed objects? That's where XML comes into play. XML is a markup language in the same vein as HTML. A markup language is a method used to identify the structure of documents. A document uses tags that adhere to the semantics and syntax of the particular markup language. HTML defines a fixed set of tags for describing the visual appearance of a Web page. XML differs from HTML in that it does not define specific tags or their semantics; it defines a standard method to specify the elements of a document structure. XML is usually mentioned in reference to representing data in vendor-neutral formats for integration of disparate systems or business-to-business e-commerce. For this scenario, I use XML to describe the client request and server response in a distributed object method call. The concept of using XML for distributed object calls is an interesting topic. If you would like to read more about it, www.xml-rpc.com is a good starting place. . ."
[June 29, 2000] "Using the Java programming language with XML." By Stuart Halloway. In Java Developer Connection (JDC) Tech Tips. June 27, 2000. 'This issue is covers some aspects of using the Java programming language with XML. First there's a short introduction to XML, followed by tips on how to use two APIs designed for use with XML. This issue of the JDC Tech Tips is written by Stuart Halloway, a Java specialist at DevelopMentor. [XML Introduction, Using the SAX API, Using the DOM API]."
[June 29, 2000] "Vendor Update: IBM and Sun." By Edd Dumbill. From XML.com. (June 26, 2000). [Vendors IBM and Sun are both committed to XML, and have donated substantial code to the XML community through Apache. We talked to both organizations about their plans for XML product support, and what they have lined up for the rest of this year.'] In the current atmosphere of all-encompassing visions of the XML future, Sun Microsystems is taking a cautious, bottom-up, approach towards its own XML offerings. Sun announced today the free availability of their XSLT compiler technology Sun also plan to donate this technology to the Apache XML Project. The XSLT compiler arose from research efforts, and is viewed by Sun as an important factor in countering possible future bottlenecks in the transformation stages of e-business servers. [. . .] For IBM, this year is the 'time to deliver' on the promise of XML, according to Bob Sutor, Program Director for XML Technology at IBM. After spending last year on technical evangelism for XML, IBM is introducing XML support across their product lines, and also rolling out XML infrastructure via their global services division. The focus for IBM this year is more and more on integration, Sutor explained. It's because of this that IBM is concentrating on building web service-oriented architectures, connecting diverse businesses across the web. Core to this is the use of SOAP and XML schemas, both of which technologies IBM are firmly behind. . . [Part of the XML DevCon report. Edd Dumbill (Managing Editor, XML.com) also wrote in the XML.com newsletter introduction about XML DevCon 2000 in NY: "Andrew Layman from Microsoft opened the conference explaining how XML provides the infrastructure for the multi-device, net-connected services of the future. He emphasized asynchronous messaging rather than RPC and APIs. Layman explained that diverse devices and levels of connectivity form more of a "biological" network and require robustness and tolerance from the operating infrastructure. Layman also expressed hope that the W3C would pick up further standardization work required to bring about the vision of interoperable web application services, a wish later echoed to me by IBM's Bob Sutor. Web services are becoming the overreaching themes for XML in the second half of 2000. IBM, Sun and Microsoft are all pushing forward in this area, and we can expect to see some interesting developments -- both in terms of products and in standards work.]"
[June 29, 2000] "Developing Wireless Applications with WAP, WML, and JSP." By David Sims. From XML.com. (June 26, 2000). ['Consultant and JSP author Chad Darby delivered a light overview of a hot topic at XML DevCon.'] "Darby's talk brought the wireless hype home to the XML opportunity that lies at its heart: there's never been a better reason to start storing data in XML, given all the predictions that more and more users will be trying to access that data over wireless phones. You can't serve HTML pages to phones, and even if you could it doesn't make any sense. Wireless users will want only a subset of the amount of information that web users expect from a page. Data stored in XML format is well suited for that kind of extraction. The aim of the course was to show how to use Java server pages to grab XML content and serve it to wireless and web users. Throughout, he showed how to use Phone.com's emulator (part of its software development kit) to test the WML (wireless markup language) code as you write it. Phone.com's microbrowser (v. 3.0 and v. 3.1) are the most common web browsers in North American Internet-ready phones. . . There are still a lot of bugs to work out before the wireless clients are as easy to serve to as web clients are. One gets the impression that the wireless telephone companies are not as used to working in an open environment as XML people may be used to. For example, most phones have the browser burned into the ROM. Want to upgrade to the 4.0 browser when it comes out? That's easy: toss your phone in the trash and buy a new one..."
[June 29, 2000] "XML: A Disruptive Technology." By Simon St. Laurent. From XML.com. (June 21, 2000). ['XML is placing increasingly heavy loads on the existing technical infrastructure of the Internet. This article charts some of the pressure points, and speculates on the benefits of an XML-specific foundation to the Internet.'] "XML's generic syntax allows it to take advantage of XML-specific infrastructures, from parsers to repositories, while its chameleon-like ability to carry any vocabulary is putting it into situations that go far beyond the typical delivery models used by Web and Internet applications. This isn't good news for a lot of people who have already deployed infrastructure and have understandings of how that infrastructure should work. XML could be a serious problem for much of the existing Internet, as developers push the envelope on technologies that weren't built to host flexible content. Existing protocols work very well, up to a point, and at that point the troubles begin. I'd like to illustrate my point with a few examples -- we'll look at MIME content-type identifiers, URIs, HTTP, HTML, and some general security and infrastructure issues..."
[June 29, 2000] "New XSLT Technologies Debut." By Leigh Dodds. From XML.com. (June 21, 2000). ['As XSLT adoption grows, developers from Sun and Oracle have been pushing the boundaries of the technology with "translets" and an XSLT virtual machine.'] "A big draw at the Sun Microsystems stand in the conference exhibition was the demonstration of an XSLT compiler. The compiler is capable of taking an XSLT style sheet and generating pure Java classes called 'translets.' The compiled translets showed impressive performance in comparison to XT, widely regarded as one of the fastest XSLT engines. The translets do not run as part of a style sheet engine, giving them a very low footprint -- developers were treated to a demonstration of the translets running on a palmtop. At present, the compiler only supports a subset of the full XSLT language, although it wasn't clear which features are not yet implemented. Development of the tool is continuing, and it's expected that a fully conformant implementation will be available by the end of July... In an interesting presentation on the last day of the [XML Europe 2000] conference, Anguel Novoselsky of Netfish Technologies introduced an architecture for an XSLT Virtual Machine (XSLTVM), developed in a project by Oracle. The presented architecture was fairly standard: a compiler takes an XSLT style sheet and produces bytecode, which encodes simple machine instructions that will carry out the transformation. The bytecode is then executed by a virtual machine to effect the transformation. This means that the bytecodes produced by the compiler are platform-independent, just like Java classes..."
[June 28, 2000] "Clean Interactions. SOAP simplifies Web application development." By Timothy Dyck. In eWEEK (June 26, 2000). "Businesses wanting to integrate purchasing systems, share business data or participate in the fluid business alliances that global e-business favors will find the recently updated SOAP a key technological enabler. The Simple Object Access Protocol is an XML (Extensible Markup Language)-based RPC (remote procedure call) standard originally developed by Microsoft Corp., Develop Mentor Inc. and UserLand Software Inc. (later joined by IBM and Lotus Development Corp.) that can greatly simplify cross-language and cross-business development. Key changes in SOAP 1.1 are a switch from Microsoft's older XML-Data to XML Schema and the addition of transport protocol independence. SOAP 1.0 required HTTP; SOAP 1.1 is transport-agnostic -- e-mail or message queuing links can be used if desired to move SOAP messages around. . . 'Making it independent was one of the main things we worked on with Microsoft in SOAP 1.1,' said Bob Sutor, program director for XML technologies at IBM. Like all prestandard efforts, SOAP is, for now, a slippery target. Even so, we believe SOAP 1.1 can deliver value now in specific situations." See "Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)."
[June 28, 2000] "XORBA Lathers Up SOAP." By Timothy Dyck. In eWEEK (June 26, 2000). ['Version 1.1 of Rogue Wave Software's XORBA provides a quick way to connect Web applications to CORBA servers, finds eWEEK Labs.'] "Version 1.1 of Rogue Wave Software Inc.'s XML-CORBA Link (known as XORBA) significantly simplifies the job of connecting Common Object Request Broker Architecture components to other types of program objects, such as those written using Microsoft Corp.'s Component Object Model framework or as straight Java classes. However, eWeek Labs' tests showed that, as with most programming object frameworks, IT staffs will have their hands full trying to connect CORBA with competing frameworks. As one of the very earliest products implementing Simple Object Access Protocol, or SOAP 1.0, XORBA also gives organizations a way to learn about and start implementing this important new remote procedure call technology. . ." See "Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)."
[June 28, 2000] "Getting Value from XSL Parameters." By Kurt Cagle. Microsoft 'Extreme XML' Column. (June 23, 2000). ['In the latest Extreme XML column, guest writer Kurt Cagle examines how variables and parameters can significantly expand what you can do with XSLT, exposing ways to make your style sheets a lot more dynamic. Guest writer Kurt Cagle is filling in this month while regular columnist Chris Lovett is on vacation.'] "When I started playing with the older XSL (the one based on Microsoft's December 1998 submission for XSL and XML Patterns), I quickly realized how much power it had to radically simplify the production of output code. An XSL filter (as I call the stylesheets) could turn a database call into a table, could safely incorporate boiler-plate HTML code, and could even perform simple processing tasks. However, XSL had some limitations for serious, heavy-duty lifting. The biggest issue was parameters; there was no clean way to change an XSL structure without having an intimate acquaintance with the underlying code in the stylesheet. All too often, the only way around passing information into an XSLT transformation was to put parameters on the XML input. Another issue was retaining information internally about the current state of the processor. If you had XML markup that would be sent to the output stream, you couldn't save it temporarily and use it in more than one place. Finally, there was no real way to save state within the XSL environment itself; you had to take the results from the XSL transformation, filter that out with a document object model (DOM) call, and effectively lose any intermediate states that may have taken place within the filter. The Technology Preview XML parser provides support for the newer XSL-Transformation specification (located at http://www.w3.org/TR/xslt). This newer spec contains a number of innovative features that together make XSLT far more capable than Microsoft's December 1998 version of XSL. The spec also makes XSLT a serious competitor for scripting languages as a server tool. In addition to this, Microsoft has also introduced a new way to integrate scripting code (one that is compliant with the W3C standards, by the way), which may end up changing the way we think about server-side programming altogether. . ."
[June 28, 2000] "Hanson Brothers Interoperability Sample." MSDN Technical article. (June 20, 2000). This sample demonstrates the SOAP Toolkit for Visual Studio 6.0 and how it can be used to interact with a Web Service. It displays interaction between two Web Services: one that resides on a Windows 2000 server and a second that resides on a Sun Solaris server.'] "Hanson Brothers is an online retailer who recently expanded their product offerings through the acquisition of a sporting goods company. They wanted to integrate their e-commerce site with an operational system from the recently acquired sporting goods company. The sporting goods company's inventory management system runs on a Sun Solaris server. The company's product and inventory information is maintained in an Oracle database and the data is accessed through Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) components. Hanson Brothers' e-commerce and order management systems are based on the Windows DNA application architecture and run on Microsoft. Windows 2000. servers. Rather than rewrite the sporting goods inventory management system, the Hanson Brothers IT department decided to integrate the systems using the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) Toolkit for Visual Studio 6. In addition to reusing existing systems, Hanson Brothers wanted to provide systems to support its business partners. Hanson Brothers created an additional Web Service to allow partners to browse their catalog and add orders. In writing the HBInterop sample, our first goal was to provide a demonstration of how COM+ and components could be integrated using SOAP. Next, we wanted to demonstrate how SOAP could be used to integrate components on distinct platforms such as Windows 2000 and UNIX. Finally, we thought this sample provided a great opportunity to demonstrate the use of the SOAP Toolkit for Visual Studio 6.0 and how it simplifies the process of calling and implementing a Web Service. To meet these goals we: (1) Used the SOAP Toolkit for Visual Studio 6.0 to verify and manage inventory that is maintained in an Oracle database on the Solaris server. (2) Created a component that uses the SOAP Toolkit for Visual Studio 6.0 to make calls to CORBA components on a Solaris server. (3) Provided a Web Service so remote business partners can reuse our COM+ component to browse the catalog or place orders. The resulting sample demonstrates not only the reuse of COM+ components by remote users, but how COM+ and CORBA components residing on distinct platforms can be integrated using SOAP. . ." See "Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)."
[June 28, 2000] "Microsoft aims at Web site creation." By Bob Trott. In InfoWorld (June 28, 2000). ['Software giant to release beta Commerce Server 2000, tools to build e-commerce sites.'] "Looking to make good on its vow to boost its e-commerce offerings, Microsoft on Wednesday will announce the release of the beta of Commerce Server 2000 at PC Expo in New York. With Commerce Server 2000, Microsoft aims to give users the ability to quickly and easily build Web sites with rich business-to-business and business-to-customer functionality. Formerly called Site Server Commerce Edition, Commerce Server 2000 is expected to ship by the end of the year. . . . In particular, Commerce Server 2000 will mesh with another server from the Redmond, Wash.-based company, BizTalk Server 2000. Unveiled at the Microsoft TechEd conference earlier this month and also expected to ship by the end of 2000, BizTalk Server 2000 is an XML-based back-end integration server that will link myriad systems and applications over the Internet, thanks in large part to technology called 'orchestration,' a service that connects various business processes." See the announcements: (1) "Microsoft Releases Commerce Server 2000 Beta to Customers. Comprehensive E-Commerce System Delivers Faster Time to Market, Powerful Analytics and Broad Partner Support."; (2) "Microsoft and Interwoven Announce Content Express For Microsoft Commerce Server 2000. Industry's First Integrated Solution Provides Entry-Level Content Management For Microsoft Commerce Server 2000."
[June 28, 2000] "The X Factor." By Bryan Morgan. In Wireless Developer Network. "The eXtensible Markup Language (XML) has taken portions of the computing world by storm. Organizations looking to standardize data exchange, facilitate e-commerce, or provide standardized interfaces to enterprise data have aggressively found ways to integrate XML into their business processes. Software tool and application vendors haven't lagged far behind in their support of XML, either. A wide range of products, from WAP to Microsoft Office 2000 to the Oracle 8 database server, have quickly put this technology into the hands of users and developers. In this inaugural article, we'll examine what XML is, why it is important, and how the mobile application developer can make use of it. . . . XML holds promise for mobile, handheld applications as well due to their unique requirements. While high-bandwidth wireless communications to handheld devices may be the norm in as little as two years (depending on where you live), the current reality is that these devices are generally used to collect data out "in the field" and asynchronously submit this data at a later time. Even devices with fulltime wireless connections are limited to a low bandwidth environment. Knowing this, we wil delve into some current and future applications of XML that can greatly simplify and standardize the development process for those working on these mobile platforms. The majority of these applications deals with data synchronization and interchange after a mobile device returns from it's "disconnected" state. The final application (Distributed Computing) addresses the use of XML with a connected device. Keep in mind that XML, in this case, has a downside as well due to the additional bandwidth constraints it places upon the client connection. For every piece of data that is interchanged, XML tags must also be sent back and forth which may or may not impact your development decisions. This is yet another tradeoff in the continual give-and-take comparison of functionality, ease-of-use, and performance. . . XML is often mentioned together with terms such as lingua franca, holy grail, and glue because it offers the hope of standardized data interchange. It also facilitates advanced data display capabilities and promises to add additional intelligence and capabilities to the Web as it currently exists. Technologies such as WAP and SOAP promise to revolutionize mobile computing as well through the use of XML. Hopefully having learned lessons from HTML, XML vendors will hopefully decide to stick with the standards this time and not use this technology as yet another marketing tool in the game of technological one-upsmanship." See: "WAP Wireless Markup Language Specification (WML)."
[June 27, 2000] "XSL Concepts and Practical Use." By Paul Grosso (ArborText) and Norman Walsh (Sun Microsystems). Version 1.4. Monday, 12 June 2000. Presented at XML Europe 2000, Paris, France. A presentation from slides (some 111 slides). "What's with stylesheets in the first place? - XML is not a fixed tag set (like HTML) - XML by itself has no (application) semantics - A generic XML processor has no idea what is 'meant' by the XML - XML markup does not (usually) include formatting information - The information in an XML document may not be in the form in which it is desired to present it - Therefore there must be something in addition to the XML document that provides information on how to present or otherwise process the XML. . ."
[June 27, 2000] "Programming Guidelines Improved." By Tom Sullivan. In InfoWorld (June 27, 2000). "Microsoft on Tuesday [2000-06-27] announced the XML-based BizTalk Framework 2.0, touting increases in the programming guidelines' protocol support and reliability. First, BizTalk Framework 2.0 is designed to be fully compatible with the company's Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) for communications among platforms and applications. Second, Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft added functionality to the syntax that ensures delivery of documents over the Internet. Finally, the framework now supports multipart MIME attachments, so users can attach any MIME file to XML documents. Although BizTalk Framework 2.0 is actually part of the overall BizTalk 2000 Server, it was designed by the BizTalk Steering Committee, which consists of vendors, standards bodies and customers." See the announcement.
[June 27, 2000] "WAP: The technology everyone loves to hate." By Ephraim Schwartz. In InfoWorld (June 23, 2000). "For my inaugural column, I'm going to lay out what is increasingly becoming a contrarian view: Rumors of WAP's demise are greatly exaggerated. For better or worse, WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) will become the protocol that wouldn't die -- at least not without a fight. And let's face it, what's the alternative? Sure, if you ask anyone in the industry about WAP, you'll get comments ranging from "WAP is dead, or dying, or barely adequate" to a more cautious "WAP is a transitional technology." But at the same time, research company IDC promises 1 billion cell phones worldwide by 2004, with half of them Internet-enabled. And the only Internet-enabling technology I see being adopted en masse by handset manufacturers and service providers is WAP. Nokia, Ericsson, Motorola, NTT DoCoMo to name a few -- as well as giants in banking, retail, and travel who are developing their mobile e-sites, including Amazon and Schwab -- all are settling on WAP. Microsoft, who came a bit late to the game, gave its grudging approval recently by redoing its cell phone browser for WAP. Once WAP is so well seeded how easily, can it be uprooted? The answer is, not very easily. . ." See: "WAP Wireless Markup Language Specification (WML)."
[June 27, 2000] "BizTalk Framework 2.0 Draft: Document and Message Specification." From MSDN Online - Web Workshop. June 27, 2000. "Summary: This draft specification provides a general overview of the BizTalk Framework 2.0 conceptual architecture, including the BizTalk Document and BizTalk Message. It provides detailed specifications for the construction of BizTalk Documents and Messages, and their secure transport over a number of Internet-standard transport and transfer protocols. . . This specification provides a general overview of the BizTalk Framework conceptual architecture, including the fundamental notions of BizTalk Document and BizTalk Message. It then provides detailed specifications for the construction of BizTalk Documents and Messages, and their secure transport over a number of Internet-standard transport and transfer protocols, as described below. BizTalk Documents follow a number of rules for structure and content in order to provide rich functionality and predictable semantics. This specification describes the following aspects of BizTalk Documents and their semantics: (1) Overall structure of BizTalk Documents. (2) BizTalk headers for document routing, properties, catalog, and process management. (3) Structure and handling of BizTalk Documents that require reliable delivery. When implementing solutions using the BizTalk Framework, specific transport, encoding, and security mechanisms must be used to secure and deliver messages. This specification describes the following mechanisms and aspects of BizTalk Message encoding and transport: (1) Transport bindings for Internet protocols (HTTP only; Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), and File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to be added). (2) MIME-based transfer encoding and attachment packaging. (3) Signatures and encryption based on S/MIME and Public-Key Cryptography System (PKCS) (to be added). This specification is intended to define messaging interaction between BizTalk Framework 2.0 Compliant servers, referred to as BFC servers in this specification..." For other references, see "BizTalk Framework."
[June 27, 2000] XML moves to the mainstream." By Andreas Pfeiffer [Pfeiffer Report on Emerging Trends and Technologies, Special to ZDNet]. In ZDNet News (June 26, 2000). "What is happening with Extensible Markup Language? Over the past few years, the markup language derived from SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) has gained a lot of ground in high-end information-management applications. Lately, XML has also become an industry buzzword, a must-have feature for anybody working in modern content-processing applications. While XML has been the backbone for high-end applications for some time, the market for shrink-wrapped XML products is also starting to take off. Quark Inc. just shipped avenue.quark, its XML import/export extension for QuarkXPress. Meanwhile, Adobe Systems Inc. has released FrameMaker 6.0, which exports (but doesn't import) XML and has announced XML support for the next version of Golive, to name just a few examples. As for Microsoft Corp., the company's recently announced .Net strategy for Internet-based services is also based on XML. Twenty questions Is there a low-end XML market? What strategies should software developers use to jump on the XML bandwagon? Will XML simply stay a data format, or is there an emerging market for XML applications? There's no quick and easy answer to these questions. XML is a very powerful tool . . ."
[June 27, 2000] "C# Introduction and Overview." By [Staff]. In MSDN Visual Studio (June 26, 2000) "The new model for developing applications means more and more solutions require the use of emerging Web standards like Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Extensible Markup Language (XML), and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). Existing development tools were developed before the Internet or when the Web as we know it today was in its infancy. As a result, they don't always provide the best fit for working with new Web technologies. C# programmers can leverage an extensive framework for building applications on the Microsoft .NET platform. C# includes built-in support to turn any component into a Web service that can be invoked over the Internet-from any application running on any platform. Even better, the Web services framework can make existing Web services look just like native C# objects to the programmer, thus allowing developers to leverage existing Web services with the object-oriented programming skills they already have. There are more subtle features that make C# a great Internet programming tool. For instance, XML is emerging as the standard way to pass structured data across the Internet. Such data sets are often very small. For improved performance, C# allows the XML data to be mapped directly into a struct data type instead of a class. This is a more efficient way to handle small amounts of data." See the recent announcement: Microsoft Introduces Highly Productive .NET Programming Language: C#. New Language Enables Rapid Development of Web Services For the Microsoft .NET Platform."
[June 27, 2000] "Standards Watch: VISTAinfo Participates in Proof-of-Concept Tests For NAR-Sponsored RETS. RETS Open Systems Architecture Provides Seamless Data Exchange for VISTAinfo's National MLS Infrastructure." By Patrick Spreng. In CMPNet CommWeb (June 20, 2000). "VISTAinfo announced its role in the proof-of-concept tests for the real estate transaction standard (RETS). RETS is the open data exchange standard sanctioned by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) and developed with the participation of VISTAinfo and other Industry leaders. RETS open system architecture allows seamless data exchange between two different applications, regardless of the vendor. VISTAinfo is using RETS to deliver technologies that let real estate professionals and organizations share and manipulate data faster than ever before. . . . In mid-May VISTAinfo took a giant leap in empowering real estate professionals through superior technology by announcing the creation of an online, National Multiple Listing Service Infrastructure (NMI). NMI will be the industry's first national MLS infrastructure built on RETS. NMI will be available to all MLSs nationwide and is intended to enhance and add value to their services while not removing local MLS control. NMI incorporates the RETS XML open standard for open and secure communications among all real estate professionals -- agent, franchise or broker systems -- that also use NAR standards-based tools. It can also serve as the open platform for transaction engines currently under development by HomeStore.com and HomeAdvisor for seamless, secure connections to the MLS listing database and office management software to avoid duplicate or triplicate listing and prospect entry. Currently, there are few MLSs that can keep pace with every facet of the home buying/selling transaction because of the rapid technological change in the real estate industry. NMI, utilizing RETS, leverages the collective strengths of individual MLSs while mitigating weaknesses to provide a superior service to every REALTOR. This, in turn, will contribute to an enhanced agent/customer relationship through expanded customer service." See "Real Estate Transaction Markup Language (RETML)."
[June 27, 2000] Emerging Technology: DSML and DEN: Signs of Things to Come. The Directory Services Markup Language is poised to make directory interoperability come true." By Doug Allen. In Networking Magazine (June 14, 2000). If Directory Enabled Networking (DEN) isn't the Holy Grail of most network managers, it's safe to say that enhanced service creation is. As an underlying technology, DEN is attractive (at least conceptually) because directories can efficiently store and relate subscriber profiles, service definitions, and network-resources data. This creates an intelligent pool of information that acts as the brains of the network when delivering applications. . . [But] DEN is rarely interoperable with the full variety of players found in a large private or public network. Directories themselves suffer from the lack of a common schema, which is sort of an index to the directories' contents, stored by category name. . . . Enter Directory Services Markup Language (DSML), which seeks to put interoperability problems into the past tense. The brainchild of the DSML Working Group -- which consists of leading directory vendors Bowstreet, Microsoft, Novell, the Sun/ Netscape Alliance, IBM, and Oracle it was unleashed at the close of 1999 as an attempt to solve the interoperability issue. Some observers hoped it would help jump-start DEN again. Such is not the case, but DSML is nonetheless important to understand. The DSML specification defines an open, extensible, standards-based format for publishing directory schemata and interchanging directory contents. As you might guess, it's based on the Extensible Markup Language (XML), which is one key to understanding its usefulness. The protocol also works across a variety of Internet protocols -- including HTTP and SMTP, in addition to Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) 3ML as a universal translator. Because of this, DSML can access directories in cases where Internet firewalls screen out LDAP requests. It can also be used for nondirectory-based applications, such as e-commerce transactions. What does all this mean to the enterprise network manager? 'The primary goal of this initial specification is to provide a format that supports the core requirements of metadirectory tools and directory-enabled applications that need access to directory information via XML. DSML allows today's XML-capable applications to leverage directory services more easily. Any application that can parse or produce XML documents can process DSML interchangesrmediate format, such as LDAP Directory Interchange Format." See "Directory Services Markup Language (DSML)."
[June 27, 2000] "Mobile CT: The Call of the Wireless Web." By Robert Richardson. In Computer Telephony (June 20, 2000). (June 14, 2000), pages 140-153. [WAP's the big player in the new wireless Internet -- and it's finally ready to take your calls. We look at how it works, along with some other Net-ready options.'] "Here's a walk through how WAP works, including a quick, messy job of slinging together a 'WAPlication', a look at the all the fresh-minted products you'll need if you want to do it right, and a first-pass at products and services that play in this hot new CT market. Step one begins with the realization that most people who deal with WAP are going to be dealing with the tip of the WAP iceberg. Indeed, they quite possibly won't deal with WAP at all - they'll deal with a web server. WAP applications are actually web applications, at least in the pure model envisioned by the WAP Forum, the more-than-two-hundred-member consortium that guides WAP's future. Like all good web applications, WAP applications are therefore migrating to XML. The idea is that what used to be HTML pages with lots of hardcoded information about how the page should look on a PC screen will now be pages where the content is first marked up in terms of what data it contains and how the various pieces of data relate to each other (using XML), only thereafter passing through a second step where those various data entities are mapped by a 'style sheet' into different appearances that your browser melds together into something pretty. If the web request is coming from a WAP client, then the idea is that a different style sheet kicks in and maps the content into a subset of XML called WML (wireless markup language). As we'll see, WML looks a lot like HTML, only designed to address the paltry half-dozen or so lines of display that your handheld browser's bringing to the game. For the moment, though, let's forget about the XML part. Most real-world web servers aren't using XML just yet, so why should we? Let's start instead by focusing on WML - nothing prevents us from writing our application in straight WML and sending that to the WAP browser. ALL ABOUT WML WML is different from HTML because it doesn't have pages. Instead, it has decks and cards. A deck is the page of markup data that gets sent to the phone when it requests a given URL..." See: "WAP Wireless Markup Language Specification (WML)."
[June 27, 2000] "Web-Driven, POP-Delivered CT." By Ellen Muraskin. In Computer Telephony (June 20, 2000). ['A dealer-locator and fulfillment-request IVR for Sears' DieHard Security Battery campaign.]' "This month's app, by the developer's own admission, is relatively prosaic: It's a dealer-locator and fulfillment-request IVR for Sears' DieHard Security Battery campaign. The 800-number caller won't know it from any other IVR, for example, one scripted and run from a CT box sitting off a company PBX or DID'ed into a service bureau. But it's not running on a simple box - it's running on the 'new network.' The product is one of the first publishable applications from Telera (Campbell, CA - 408-626-6800, www.telera.com), a start-up formed to provide a host of distributed IVR and carrier facilities to large telecom end users (e.g., call centers, etc.). The application, written to output XML pages, retrieves XML-coded data from a database of 42,000 zip codes and 1,100 dealer locations - this, too, resides in the central Campbell server. Data dips as well as XML pages are carried from Campbell to POP over IP. Telera wrote, tested, and implemented the app for Sears in three weeks, using its own, XML-based tools. Development time for IVR can be long and drawn out if you can't put your own resources on the jo,b recalls Kevin McLinden, Sears' manager of telecom technology. But Sears couldn't spare the manpower for this relatively stand-alone application. Instead, they took the opportunity to test Telera's almost-CPE-free proposition. Now they simply FTP daily updates of an Excel file of dealers to Telera. Telera's long-term strategy advances in several directions from this simple IVR. First, they don't want to focus their energies on developing apps for clients. The whole idea behind a web-driven, XML-based application interface is putting app design and maintenance in the hands of their customers, who are already used to tending their own websites. With XML, coding the back end of e-commerce sites and IVR is one effort. In fact, 'Intelligent Communications Applications' can be developed on Windows NT using Active Server Pages and VBScript for Internet Information Server, or on Sun Microsystem's SPARC platform using Java Server Pages to run on Netscape or Apache Web servers. In April, Telera is even introducing a drag-and-drop, icon-based Rapid Application Development tool to automate creation of the XML code. It's important to understand that while the XML app (and, the plan goes, the database) remains in the hands of Telera's customer, the telephony resources that the XML pages control still sit in Telera's POPs. Between enterprise app and POP, transmission is IP. So in the same way that I change my HTML with Front Page or Dreamweaver and upload my new pages to my enterprise web server for distributed browsers to interpret, IVR developers are to design and maintain their own call flows and apps for interpretation by Telera's POPs."
[June 27, 2000] "Best Practices. CIM is Coming." By Andy Dornan. In Networking Magazine (June 20, 2000). "In the following piece, John W. Cocula, founder and CTO of management software vendor Managed Object Solutions, explains what the Common Information Model (CIM) is, and what network architects should do with it. (The table also chronicles CIM's evolution.) In fact, consultancy firm Enterprise Management Associates (EMA, www.enterprisemanagement.com) estimates that the worldwide management software market generates between $30 billion to $60 billion in revenue. Enter the Common Information Model (CIM). Spearheaded by the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF, www.dmtf.org), an industry alliance of more than 200 companies, CIM is an architecture designed to eliminate the issue of interoperability between different management systems by unifying multivendor management data through a single interface. The CIM specification is the language and methodology for describing management data and includes models for systems, applications, networks, and devices. CIM is facilitated by the Extensible Markup Language (XML; see the Special Report entitled "XML: HTML Extreme", October 1999). This provides the opportunity to describe information in a common format and common syntax. Enterprises that attempt to use common models can initiate changes in organizational thinking and achieve a high level of process integration. Together, CIM and XML stand poised to launch the next generation of network management... CIM is backed by major industry players, including Compaq Computer, Computer Associates, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Microsoft, Novell, Sunsoft, and Tivoli. It has even been included as a key component of the Windows 2000 OS..." See "DMTF Common Information Model (CIM)."
[June 27, 2000] "Novell's Ombudsmen to the World." By Rich "Doc" Colley. In CMPNet CommWeb (June 20, 2000). "After a remarkable comeback, the venerable father of NOSs is again spiraling downward in yet another admitted management blunder. Living on the bleeding edge of integrating directory structures world wide, Novell failed to keep one foot in the real world. As stock gurus and high tech wonder kids debate the future of this once omnipotent power, Novell continues to progress towards a dream of universal directory integration. A sort of 'ombudsmen' to all who seek workstation, internet, intranet, and DB directory compatibility. Without any public concessions in the NOS arena, Novell has started to wander into the Switzerland of OS competition. The big question is whether users of Microsoft, Linux, Solaris and others will be interested in Novell's turnkey solutions. . . Novell does have plans. And given their investment in this direction, I'd have to believe they intend to follow through. This could well be, for the foreseeable future, their bread and butter. Ed Anderson (Director, Product Management, Directory Services, Novell, Inc.) states clearly, 'For Windows 2000, Novell intends to provide the same level of functionality as the Windows NT redirection solution. The key difference, however, will be the use of synchronization technologies, i.e. DirXML, in place of redirection. In other words, there is no plan to create redirection solutions for Windows 2000. As with the NT domain redirection solution, Novell will be providing the management snap-ins to ConsoleOne for administering the Windows 2000 objects that are synchronized to NDS. The DirXML synchronization driver for Active Directory will be part of the base DirXML offering when the DirXML product ships (sometime this summer). The Windows 2000 management solution will follow shortly thereafter'."
[June 26, 2000] "Corba & XML - Hit or Myth?" By Mark Elenko and David Clarke. In XML-Journal Date? (June 2000). ['Is XML a potential competitor to CORBA? Does it represent CORBA's nemesis? Or is it, on the contrary, too lightweight for use in distributed systems? Much heated debate has centered recently on the question of the possible combination of CORBA and XML.'] Since opinions on the topic diverge widely, in this article we're going to articulate and debunk some of the more common myths that we've encountered in our work as consultants and product developers. In the time-honored style of late-night talk show hosts and corporate executives, we've put together a Top 10 list of myths associated with the integration of CORBA and XML. It's worth noting that a lot of these observations also apply when considering the integration of XML with other distributed component systems, such as EJB.'] "XML Is a Comprehensive Middleware Infrastructure, Like CORBA - This is perhaps the single most prevalent - and insidious - myth about CORBA and XML. CORBA is a fully featured, stateful, quality-of-service-rich distributed runtime environment; XML is a means of describing document structure. XML is about structure; CORBA is about infrastructure. People talk about building their systems on CORBA in a way that's not meaningful for XML. If you have an XML document and want to transport it somewhere, it's necessary to appeal to other distributed techniques such as CORBA (for more detail on transport issues and misconceptions, see Myth #2). The part of CORBA that's most directly comparable with XML is its Interface Definition Language (IDL). This allows interfaces to servers to be specified in an implementation-neutral way. However, CORBA implementations then go further and use this information to provide a complete distributed messaging and runtime environment, complete with naming, security, transaction and persistence services. . ." See "XML and CORBA."
[June 26, 2000] Constructing a Business Web." By George Lawton. In Knowledge Management Magazine Volume 3, Number 7 (July 2000), pages 50-56. ['XML is a tool that companies can use to do business despite inconsistent IT platforms, applications, and other formats.']
[June 23, 2000] "Supply Chain Optimization. An Overview of RosettaNet e-Business Processes." By Malcolm Lewis (Vitria Technology). In eAI Journal Volume 2, Number 6 (June 2000), pages 12-18. "Business-to-Business (B2B) e-commerce promises to optimize product and service supply chains by replacing expensive and time-consuming physical inventory flows with automatic,system-to-system, real-time information flows. While an important part of the solution, standard inter-company document formats based on the XML are not the panacea for enabling this transformation. The key is the explicit definition and automatic implementation of standard business process models that describe the step-by-step exchange of these XML documents. That's what may finally unlock the significant business benefits of end-to-end supply chain optimization. . . While an obvious improvement over manual techniques, EDI has seen limited adoption due to the complexity and cost of the software required to interface internal IT systems to VANs. Also problematic is the high, transaction-based costs of the VAN itself. Fortunately, a simple, low-cost alternative to EDI has arrived in XML and the Internet. XML-encoded business documents are much simpler to understand and easier to customize and extend. Moreover, XML documents can travel the public Internet, which represents a significant advantage over EDI. The latter method requires expensive VANs with limited reach. Since XML provides little more than an alphabet to describe business documents, companies augment XML with the use of Document Type Definitions (DTDs) to unambiguously describe the structure of XML-encoded business documents. The use of XML, DTDs, and the Internet is a step toward convenient, low-cost exchange of information and transactions between trading partners. It's not, however, a panacea for end-to-end, system- to-system supply chain automation. . . RosettaNet Implementation Framework: The RNIF provides specific details on how to implement the RosettaNet process and data standards. The standard assumes partners will use XML documents and the Internet for B2B information exchange and transactions. RosettaNet PIPs define the specific sequence of steps required to complete a B2B process such as the distribution of catalog update or placement of a purchase order. They also define the specific information exchange and transactions each step in the business process triggers. RosettaNet PIPs defines the public processes -- and related data -- required to conduct common business transactions electronically over the Internet. RosettaNet uses the Unified Modeling Language (UML) to define common B2B processes, and XML to describe shared B2B data formats. As of February 2000, RosettaNet has published detailed specifications for the following 10 PIPs [ . . .] RosettaNet is significant in that it provides the first e-business standard to recognize that automatic, system-to-system, real-time partner information exchange and transactions require an explicit standard for both B2B data formats and B2B process flows. Companies that implement the RosettaNet standard may finally achieve the Utopian business dream -- end-to-end optimization of their product and service supply chains." See "RosettaNet." [cache]
[June 23, 2000] "20 Questions for Jim Green, CEO, Active Software." By Tony M. Brown. In eAI Journal Volume 2, Number 6 (June 2000), pages 70-74. ['While attempting to solve an integration problem at Sun Microsystems, Jim Green realized the existing technologies he had at his disposal were inadequate. After completing several projects, he also realized the same code was going to be written repeatedly. Clearly,a product to help with integration was needed. So, in 1995, Active Software was formed. What started with just nine people is now a public company, worth more than $1 billion, and a leading player in the booming market for enterprise integration technologies. eAI Journal's editor-in-chief, Tony M. Brown, recently spent time visiting with Jim Green,founder and CEO of Active Software.]' " [eAIJ: XML has shot to prominence in the industry over the past year. How do you see the role of XML?] Green: It's possible that a model could emerge where all applications talk XML, reducing the amount of data transformation. That's where XML can really provide significant benefits. However, there's no finite standard set of XML formats, so we're likely to see a proliferation of different kinds of XML DTDs -- to the point where increasingly, people will convert from one type of XML to another type of XML! [eAIJ: Does RosettaNet put some shape around this problem?] Green: RosettaNet starts to provide processes for XML frameworks that can be useful in moving the standards to the next level. Keep in mind that RosettaNet is relatively new, so almost all the Partner Interface Processes (PIPs) are still under definition. RosettaNet is also focussed on the IT community and it's not clear how well that will extrapolate to other sectors. But it's a much-needed next step to make things work together. We're fascinated by what's occurring at RosettaNet and optimistic it will help advance the industry. [eAIJ: Whatever happens with XML standards, do you agree there's always going to be a need for integration technology?] Green: Yes. IT organizations don't replace their applications every year, two years, or even five years. This is especially true today -- after enterprises have recently spent hundreds of millions of dollars preparing their applications for Year/2000 compliance. Doing all that work and then replacing the applications doesn't make sense. The new model in IT is all about connecting the new with the old. Often, the old has been around for 20 years. So how long will it take for all applications to convert to XML? It could take forever. We're going to see many, many years where there'll be a need to integrate XML-based applications with non XML-based applications. Upper management will look to IT to leverage existing applications as much as possible. None of them are XML-compliant, so the game plan involves leveraging the spent investment and simultaneously adding new XML capabilities. So we've structured a product that lets people connect existing applications and add a Business-to-Business (B2B) server -- not to the applications but to the integration system. This means any application that talks to the integration system can have its application-specific format converted to XML for communication across the Web without changing any of the applications. In other words, with one piece of software, you have XML-enabled your enterprise. It's a really interesting concept. You can add an XML enabler to your integration platform and then XML-enable the enterprise. . ."
[June 23, 2000] "Representation and Organization of Information in the Web Space: From MARC to XML." By Jian Qin (Syracuse University, NY, USA). In Informing Science Volume 3, Issue 2 (2000), pages 83-88 (with 19 references). [ISSN: 1521-4672] "Representing and organizing information in libraries has a long tradition of using rules and standards. The very first standard encoding format for bibliographic data in libraries, the MARC (MAchine-Readable Cataloging) format has been joined by a large number of new formats since the late 1980s. The new formats, mostly SGML/HTML-based, are actively taking a role in representing and organizing networked information resources. This article briefly describes the historical connection between MARC and the newer formats for representing information, and the current development of XML applications that will benefit information/knowledge management in the new environment." In this connection, note that an academic summmer course "IST600-8 Web Site Content Management with XML" and WebCT site is available for visitor access. Course Description: "Website content management involves creating and organizing different types and formats of documents/objects into a coherent structure. This course introduces concepts and techniques in website content design, content representation with the eXtensible Markup Language (XML), content organization, presentation, and development. Content design includes designing various document types, such as about, product listings, technical support, customer relations, white papers, by using generic and proprietary XML schemas, and how to utilize a hyperlinking system to highlight relationships across documents, directories, servers, and cross distributed systems. Other specific topics include XML specifications and syntax and examples of applications, XML schema development, creating index and catalog systems and interfaces for dynamic access, and cognitive and interactive organization of website content." [cache]
[June 23, 2000] Charming Python: Tinkering with XML and Python. An introduction to XML tools for Python." By David Mertz, Ph.D. (President, Gnosis Software, Inc.). From IBM DeveloperWorks. June 2000. [Get a run-down on the most useful Python modules for XML in this first installment of David Mertz' new Python column. A major element of getting started on working with XML in Python is sorting out the comparative capabilities of all the available modules. In this first installment of his new Python column, 'Charming Python,' David Mertz briefly describes the most popular and useful XML-related Python modules, and points you to resources for downloading individual modules and reading more about them. This article will help you determine which modules are most appropriate for your specific task.'] "Python is in many ways an ideal language for working with XML documents. Like Perl, REBOL, REXX, and TCL, it is a flexible scripting language with powerful text manipulation capabilities. Moreover, more than most types of text files (or streams), XML documents typically encode rich and complex data structures. The familiar 'read some lines and compare them to some regular expressions' style of text processing is generally not well suited to adequately parsing and processing XML. Python, fortunately (and more so than most other languages), has both straightforward ways of dealing with complex data structures (usually with classes and attributes), and a range of XML-related modules to aid in parsing, processing, and generating XML. One general concept to keep in mind about XML is that XML documents can be processed in either a validating or non-validating fashion. In the former type of processing, it is necessary to read a "Document Type Definition" (DTD) prior to reading an XML document it applies to. The processing in this case will evaluate not just the simple syntactic rules for XML documents in general, but also the specific grammatical constraints of the DTD. In many cases, non-validating processing is adequate (and generally both faster to run, and easier to program) -- we trust the document creator to follow the rules of the document domain. Most modules discussed below are non-validating; descriptions will indicate where validation options exist. . ." See also "XML and Python."
[June 23, 2000] "Globalizing e-commerce. Open standards like XML and Unicode are promoting truly global software." By Jim Melnick (President, Internet Interactive Services). From IBM DeveloperWorks. June 2000. ['See how open standards like XML and Unicode are helping to open wallets as e-tailing spreads across the planet; The combination of eXtensible Markup Language (XML), XML-enabled browsers, and Unicode fonts will soon make some forms of multilingual e-commerce possible. That prospect could bring about another Internet revolution. Open standards will play a critical role in producing software that is ready for the global economy. Jim Melnick describes the building blocks that will be used to construct multilingual e-commerce applications. These critical components of any global business strategy will come to fruition with a wider use and understanding of XML, the proliferation of XML-enabled browsers, and the use of Unicode as the universal encoding standard upon which truly global software can be built.'] "The nexus of Unicode and XML: Bringing Unicode and the properties of XML together now brings us to the nexus where multilingual applications can begin to take off. One of the most promising initial areas will probably be multilingual forms. These should be fairly easy to produce, will provide a mechanism with which to collect and synthesize real data from different language sets, and on that basis, will provide a foundation for eventually moving to true multilingual e-commerce. How will this work? We begin with an XML/Unicode-enabled browser pulling down a hypothetical multilingual Web site. Let's assume the user sees ten boxes to choose from, each described in a different language. The purpose of the site could be a business survey assessing to what degree the user is Internet-savvy. The user clicks on the box in his or her native language, and that takes the person to another page entirely in that language. To keep it simple, first-level types of responses are 'yes/no' or multiple-choice answers. Though the questions may be framed slightly differently to reflect cultural variances, they all ask the same thing in each language, and the range of possible answers is the same. Now XML enters the scene. The results can be tabulated across all the languages as if they were all from the same language, according to whatever XML schema has been previously devised. Then the data can be collated and manipulated across various languages according to whatever elements have been set up: <UserAge>, <NumberofComputersOwned>, <ModemSpeed>, <TypeofISP>, etc. This is a pretty powerful combination. Internet statisticians and Web advertisers are now overwhelming us (and themselves) with primarily English language-based data about our Web habits, our likes and dislikes, numbers of site impressions, and a whole host of related information. . ." For related references, see "XML and Unicode."
[June 23, 2000] "XYZFind: Searching in Context with XML." By Daniel Egnor and Robert Lord (XYZFind Corporation, Seattle, Washington, USA). Paper submitted to the SIGIR 2000 XML Workshop. "In an attempt to improve search precision, information retrieval systems struggle to understand the context of text in unstructured documents. While not all documents have explicit structure, we believe the emergence of XML as a standard format for representing structure offers an opportunity for greatly improved information retrieval based on the logical context that is made explicit in XML documents. At XYZFind Corp., we are building an information retrieval system which indexes diverse corpora of XML documents to offer a context-based search experience that outperforms unstructured information retrieval systems. XYZFind does not merely return a better list of documents matching a user's query; instead, we engage the user in a dialogue. Using information known about the domains of knowledge (XML schemas) in the corpus, XYZFind helps the user construct a highly precise query. In some cases, XYZFind actually constructs a precise query automatically from the user's keyword query. Finally, rather than simply listing document locations, the software is able to extract and format results in a way that is highly relevant to the user's query. We are implementing this technology by extending well-known information retrieval techniques as well as drawing on database research. We have not sacrificed the traditional strengths of information retrieval systems (ease of use, flexibility, scalability and low deployment cost)..." See also (1) the software description and (2) the reference collection, "XML and Query Languages."
[June 23, 2000] "Gates: Microsoft future rides on .Net strategy." By Mary Jo Foley. In ZDNet News (June 22, 2000). "Calling Microsoft's .Net initiative a 'bet-the-company' strategy, Chairman Bill Gates Thursday detailed plans to push into new technologies and services riding the Internet. Gates introduced what the company calls the Microsoft.Net platform, the final name for Microsoft's Next Generation Windows Services (NGWS) architecture. The .Net platform described by Gates is comprised of a number of Extensible Markup Language-enabled products and services, taking the form of building blocks from Microsoft and third parties. While all .Net devices will be able to access the .Net back-end infrastructure, those running the Microsoft .Net interface and other client software will have richer access to the services, Gates acknowledged. Examples of some of the .Net building blocks that will underlie Microsoft's next-generation platform are storage; identity (an outgrowth of Microsoft's existing Passport Internet authentication service); notification/messaging; and calendaring. These building blocks interface with a database-based, network-resident XML store, on top of which Microsoft is building a new user interface, dubbed 'the new user experience.' The Windows.Net 1.0 user interface won't launch until next year. XML-enabled Visual Studio 7.0 is now a 2001 product. While Passport is available today, the next three to four key .Net services aren't due out until next year." See the full text of the announcement: "Microsoft Unveils Vision for Next Generation Internet. Company Introduces .NET Generation of Software."
[June 23, 2000] "Microsoft Unveils Its Next-Gen." By Charles Babcock. In Inter@ctive Week Volume 7, Number 24 (June 19, 2000), page 14. "Microsoft will show developers how eXtensible Markup Language lies at the heart of future Windows operations on the Web when they gather in Seattle this week for a by-invitation-only gathering called Forum 2000, said informed sources. The Forum has been called to give Microsoft chance to sketch out its Next-Generation Windows Services (NGWS), the direction in which it plans to move to take its technology set beyond the Windows desktop onto the Internet. 'Microsoft views XML documents as little, petite databases,' which a business system may query when they arrive at its Web server, said Barbara Bouldin, chief technology officer at infoShark, an XML vendor. If the receiving system finds data that it needs, identified by XML tags, it can initiate operations with the data to further an electronic commerce exchange, she said. Microsoft and other vendors have been active in building BizTalk, an extensive XML tag business vocabulary. In addition, Microsoft has proposed Simple Object Access Protocol for use in transmitting text commands in XML over the Internet. It was joined by IBM in submitting the SOAP specification to the World Wide Web Consortium. . . NGWS is 'an evolutionary flow of Office and other applications becoming more accessible over the Internet.' By leveraging XML, other application services could be delivered through Microsoft Network servers, Smith added. Through XML, said Bill Martschenko, development engineer at Stingray Software, raw data, such as stock quotes, can be moved over the Web and arrive at a destination as XML-tagged data instead of an HTML presentation. At the destination server, it could be unloaded from the document and plugged into a client system that searches it for certain results, or processes it for a historical comparison. Currently, the Web limits the user to whatever HTML page format the data arrives in, Martschenko said. His firm, a subsidiary of Rogue Wave Software, a supplier of C and C++ components, foresees NGWS as dealing with numerous XML data feeds over the Web."
[June 22, 2000] "Microsoft to take wraps off new Windows strategy." By Wylie Wong and Mike Ricciuti. In CNet News.com (June 21, 2000). "Microsoft is expected to disclose a new strategy to develop Internet-based software and services called Next Generation Windows Services (NGWS). Chairman Bill Gates, CEO Steve Ballmer and other executives are scheduled to announce the new initiative at company headquarters in Redmond, Wash. Core to the e-services strategy are Extensible Markup Language (XML), a Web standard for exchanging data, and new XML-based software tools that allow businesses with different computing systems to communicate with one another. Microsoft executives have said a future service could allow patients to go to one Web site for all their health-care needs, from viewing medical histories to paying doctors' bills. While consumers will use e-services, most of the money will be made in the business e-commerce market, analysts say. It will be like a virtual Yellow Pages, where a business can request a service over the Web and get responses back from companies that offer that service. A travel agency, for example, could send a request over the Web for cheap flights from San Francisco to London. Through XML technology, the travel agent could automatically receive information from airlines that fit search criteria. . . Earlier this month, Gates unveiled a key piece of the strategy, called BizTalk Server 2000. BizTalk Server is Microsoft's XML-based software for linking computing systems and applications across the Net. A new feature within BizTalk Server, called "orchestration," allows businesses to easily define how e-commerce Web sites function and how information needs to be passed among mainframe, Unix, personal digital assistants, and Windows-based computers to complete a transaction."
[June 22, 2000] "The Merit of XML as an Architecture Description Language Meta-Language." By Steve Pruitt, Doug Stuart, Wonhee Sull, and T.W. Cook (Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corp., Austin, TX, USA). "We investigated the use of XML, eXtensible Mark-up Language, as a way to represent software architecture models described with an Architectural Description Language (ADL). We believe XML provides a flexible and extensible framework highly suited to ADLs. Also, its adoption imparts many advantages that the ADL community can enlist to fulfil the responsibilities ADLs may soon be called to provide the industrial sector." See: "Architecture Description Markup Language (ADML)." [cache]
[June 22, 2000] "From EDI to XML." By Emily Kay. In ComputerWorld (June 19, 2000). ['Until the emerging XML standard matures, IT managers will need a patchwork of tools and services to find their way from EDI to XML and back.'] "When advanced Marketing Services Inc. distributes its books to membership warehouse clubs, the company and its customers exchange purchase order data using electronic data interchange (EDI) technology. But when Advanced Marketing wanted to work online with SamsClub.com, it had to figure out how to send its EDI messages over the Internet using SamsClub's proprietary XML format. XML is an emerging data-description standard designed to simplify Web-based e-commerce transactions among supply-chain partners. EDI is the de facto legacy standard for automating order processing and document interchange among intracompany or intercompany applications. It enables highly secure document exchanges in a compressed, machine-readable form over private value-added networks (VANs). To compete in e-commerce, electronic businesses need to support EDI-to-XML interoperability with supply-chain partners. The problem lies in getting EDI and XML data to interoperate seamlessly - and in translating EDI data into the many XML languages. 'The biggest challenge is trying to choose an XML standard,' says Peter O'Neill, technology vice president at ECOutlook.com, a software and services supplier in Houston. 'There is no one XML standard right now.' Despite these challenges, some tools and services are available today to smooth EDI-to-XML integration. But the selection is limited. 'The whole XML world is so new, there really are not many tools that support XML, period,' says Philip Russom, director of business intelligence at Hurwitz Group Inc. in Framingham, Mass."
[June 22, 2000] Consortium Unveils Online XML Registry. Sun, IBM and Oracle Help Launch OASIS Site." By Elizabeth Montalbano. In Computer Reseller News (June 20, 2000). "With help from Sun Microsystems, IBM, Oracle and other key partners, an interoperability consortium Tuesday launched the first phase of an XML registry and repository. The site -- www.xml.org -- aims to be a warehouse for XML schemas to help solution providers architect the future of e-business, says Laura Walker, executive director of OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information). In e-business transactions -- particularly in vertical-market B2B exchanges -- it is essential for smooth data transfer that systems use the same schemas to translate XML tags. Currently, developers and XML standards bodies still are defining which schemas to use for data transfers in a variety of applications. Palo Alto, Calif.-based Sun and Pleasanton, Calif.-based Documentum, a document content-management systems vendor, designed the xml.org site." See the announcement: "XML.ORG Goes Live with First Phase of Open Registry & Repository for XML Specifications."
[June 21, 2000] "Adelard: XML Data Binding for the Java Platform." [Presentation slides] By Mark Reinhold (Senior Staff Engineer, Sun Microsystems, Inc.). JavaOne. June 08, 2000. "The Adelard project aims to create an XML data-binding facility for the Java platform. Data binding makes XML easy to use in Java technology-based programs by compiling an XML schema into one or more Java programming language classes. The generated classes handle all the details of XML parsing and formatting; they also ensure that the constraints expressed in the schema are enforced. This session will review the fundamentals of data binding, present a status report on Adelard and walk through several in-depth examples." See the description of Adelard also from February 2000. [cache]
[June 21, 2000] "Canonical Format-Serializing Graphs of Data in XML." By Adam Bosworth, Andrew Layman, and Michael Rys. Microsoft Corporation [BizTalk Framework] White Paper. Also apparently presented at XML 99 Europe and at WWW8. See also a PPT version. "XML is evolving as the standard format of exchanging data among heterogeneous, distributed computer systems and as such is used to represent data of various origins in a common format. Often, this data possesses rich structure and represents relationship among various entities. These relationships form graphs, where the relations are directed from one entity to another (and may have inverses) and where there may be multiple paths to an entity. Thus, an important goal of the encoding of this data is to preserve the exact graph structure in the serialization to XML. The aim of this paper is to describe a specific way to use XML to serialize graphs of data (such as database tables and relations or nodes and edges from directed labeled graphs) in such a way that the graph structure is preserved and can be reconstructed. A graph of data serialized according to the described rules is said to be in canonical form. Other representations of the same data can be mapped into and out of the canonical form as long as they do not lose or add information. Therefore, the canonical form provides a common basis that can be exploited for information integration across multiple sources and it can be used as a common abstraction for data interchange. This paper does not change the fact that every validatable XML document conforms to a specific grammar. Rather, it proposes a way to mechanically generate, from a database's or graph's schema, a particular grammar that can be used to serialize data from the database or graph, and into which any other serialization of that data can be mapped. The proposal here is not appropriate for every usage of XML (such as documents), but it is appropriate for those usages that are encodings of directed, labeled graphs. . ." [cache]
[June 21, 2000] "Navigating Haystacks and Discovering Needles: Introducing the New Topic Map Standard." By Steve Pepper (Ontopia). In Markup Languages: Theory and Practice [ISSN: 1099-6622]. Volume 1, Number 4 (Fall 1999), pages 47-74 (with 19 references). [STANDARDS REPORTS.] "This article provides an introduction to the new topic map standard (ISO/IEC 13250) with particular reference to the domain of encyclopaedia publishing, and discusses the relationship between topic maps and the W3C recommendation Resource Description Framework (RDF). It is based on the author's participation in the development of the topic map standard (representing Norway in SC34, the ISO committeee responsible for SGML and related standards), and two years' collaboration with the leading reference works publishers in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, and Germany." See also Steve Pepper's presentation from the XML Europe 2000 Conference: "The TAO of Topic Maps." For other references, see "(XML) Topic Maps." For other articles in Markup Languages: Theory and Practice Volume 1, Issue 4 (Fall 1999), see the annotated Table of Contents document.
[June 21, 2000] "Topic Maps [at XML Europe 2000]." By Liora Alschuler. From XML.com. June 16, 2000. [Topic maps have made a big splash at XML Europe this year , with fourteen presentations and two tutorials.'] "If there is resistance to Topic Maps, ISO 13250:2000, based on their [ISO/SGML] parentage, you wouldn't know that from the crowds attending the two tutorials, 14 presentations, and three startup technology booths at GCA's XML Europe 2000. What follows is a quick look at the specification, the three vendors with topic map code, some early implementations, some early impressions of the issues topic maps will face in the next months. . . Topic Maps describe knowledge structures and associations between structures and resources. Structures and associations, and association types can all be 'topics' that are mapped to each other and to resources, which are real-world media objects. Since this is all recursive, it is easiest to describe TMs (topic maps) with an example. In the domain of opera, using an example laid out by Steve Pepper in the his paper The TAO of Topic Maps, 'Tosca' is a topic, 'is written by' is an association, and occurrences are the instantiations of this link in identified media. If it sounds like RDF, well, it is, but it's not. . ." See "(XML) Topic Maps."
[June 21, 2000] ADO 2.5 Embraces the Web. Use ADO 2.5's client- and server-side features to send and receive data in XML form over HTTP." By Andrew J. Brust. In XML Magazine Volume 1, Number 3 (Summer 2000), pages 44-51. "More and more of the code my company writes is in the Active Server Pages (ASP) environment. I believe this trend is fairly widespread within the Visual Basic community. Because ActiveX Data Objects (ADO) 1.0 was introduced with ASP, it makes sense that ADO should do more than function as a data-access technology running on a Web server; it should implement features to make it thrive in that environment. ADO begins to do just that with version 2.5, but it doesn't stop there. ADO also provides features that let client-side VB, VBA, and VBScript code communicate and share data with the server-based code. Although this all ties in nicely with Remote Data Services (RDS), RDS and the DataFactory server-side object are no longer required to obtain such HTTP-based client/server functionality. If you've read up on XML and Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL), you'll find yourself keenly rewarded: they're marvelously useful in taking advantage of ADO's new features. If you're an XML/XSL newbie, fear not: the sample code for this article gets you started, and the ADO tie-ins will motivate you to learn more. Before I get into the guts of all this, I have some good news and some bad news. First, the bad news: your ASP code must be running on Internet Information Server 5 (IIS5) to take advantage of these features easily. The good news: I'll share some workarounds that make most of the functionality available on IIS4, as well. Just keep in mind that these operations will become even easier when you migrate to IIS5. Let's start with some background. In ADO 2.1, you can save a recordset as XML. . ."
[June 21, 2000] "XML Holds Key To Development Of Directory Applications." By Jamie Lewis. In InternetWeek (June 12, 2000), page 93. "It's fair to say that the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) has gone a long way toward addressing the first part of that equation. But to date, differences between LDAP implementations, including both schema and application interfaces, have weighed down efforts to create directory applications. In addition, there's a distinct lack of good directory-enabled development tools, as well as a lack of skilled developers who know how to use them. While LDAP directories are proliferating, the industry has yet to fully realize the value of this important infrastructure technology through directory-enabled applications. That's where the Extensible Markup Language (XML) comes in. By supplying a higher-level interface to directory services, XML will make it easier for Web application developers to leverage directories and will, in turn, increase the value of, and need for, directory services. . . In short, developers need a higher-level abstraction for directory functionality, one equal to many of the powerful, but much more simple, tools for leveraging databases. Scripting engines prove the foundation for environments such as Active Server Pages and Java Server Pages, for example, and XML interfaces provide high-level ways of discovering, retrieving and modifying data. Directory development tools of this kind will let Web programmers familiar with XML build templates that define interactions with multiple directories. They will also be able to use templates to describe how Web applications will present the information the engine retrieves from those directories to wireless devices, Web browsers on PCs and other clients. Over the next year, we'll see such tools emerge for the directory. IPlanet recently purchased Innosoft, whose DirectoryPortal provides an XML scripting engine for LDAP directories. Both Microsoft and Novell are developing XML interfaces to their directory service implementations. These tools will finish the job that LDAP started, allowing directories to take their rightful place alongside databases as a key component of e-business infrastructure, finally fulfilling their potential."
[June 21, 2000] Network Ensures Uniform Content Presentation." By Chuck Mookakis. In InternetWeek (June 12, 2000), page 9. "To help companies eliminate the hassles associated with authoring content for disparate devices, AlterEgo Networks Inc. last week took the wraps off its Adaptive Network. The company's adaptive technology, based on software developed by SRI International (formerly Stanford Research Institute) lets AlterEgo convert HTML content into an abstraction layer based on XML. From there, the content is adapted to wireless markup languages such as Wireless Application Protocol for delivery to untethered devices. AlterEgo goes one step further, though, by taking that content and pumping it through its nationwide infrastructure, built upon nine data centers that mesh with private network access points administered by InterNap Network Services Corp."
[June 20, 2000] "Sun's newest StarOffice versions take to the Web. One designed for enterprises, service providers; second for consumers." By John Cox. In Network World Volume 17, Number 25 (June 19, 2000), page 16. "Sun is set to release two new versions of its desktop productivity software as part of an effort to convince enterprise users that its Internet applications are a better deal than Microsoft Office. Sun's StarOffice suite was originally built by Star Division Corp. of Germany as a group of object-oriented programs for word processing, spreadsheets, presentation graphics and the like. Sun acquired Star Division in August 1999 and began offering the software as a free product. The new stand-alone desktop version, StarOffice 5.2, will feature better performance and greater support for file formats used in the market-dominant Microsoft Office, the company says. Another major push has been to make the software more reliable and stable, according to Sun executives. Version 5.2 will support files formatted with XML, a standard way to share data in Web documents. But most of the attention on this StarOffice release will be focused on the second version, called StarPortal. The portal version is designed to run on servers, instead of individual desktops and be accessible with a Web browser. . . The portal includes a group of device templates, which can be thought of as a set of directions on how to present StarOffice documents, or parts of them, to specific devices such as a Palm V or cell phone screen that use the Wireless Application Protocol. Using the templates, the server can read an incoming browser request, select the relevant documents or data, and format them to match the client's screen. In the future, StarPortal will import and export documents formatted in XML. One benefit of XML, Petry says, is that it will let the portal move parts of a document, instead of the entire file, back and forth between client devices and servers."
[June 20, 2000] "Sun releases latest version of StarOffice suite." By Grant DuBois. In eWEEK (June 20, 2000). "Standing by an earlier prediction, Sun Microsystems Inc. today released version 5.2 of its StarOffice productivity suite. StarOffice 5.2 can be downloaded for free from Sun's Web site, or the CD can be purchased for $9.95 via the site. The suite includes such tools as a word processor, spreadsheet, e-mail, scheduler and presentation software. According to Sun officials, StarOffice 5.2 improvements include greater reliability and performance; increased interoperability with Microsoft Office 2000; a reduced file size for presentations to make them more transportable; full online help, wizards and documentation; an easier-to-use interface; the addition of a separate StarOffice Player to give presentations without having StarOffice fully loaded on a laptop; and simultaneous spell checking for multiple languages. Sun is also introducing Extensible Markup Language as a new file format to display different types of Web pages as well as a software developer's kit."
[June 20, 2000] "XML and Software Configuration." By Tony Sintes. In Dr. Dobb's Journal (DDJ) #314 = Volume 25, Issue 7 (July 2000), pages 56-62. [Special issue on Distributed Computing.] "Tony explores software configuration and how it relates to XML. In the process, he presents an XML configuration markup language and Java framework that you can use as the basis for any Java configuration engine. Additional resources include xmlcfg.txt (listings) and xmlcfg.zip (source code)." The article features an implementation scenario using DCML (Dynamic Configuration Markup Language). [cache]
[June 20, 2000] "Creating WAP Services." By Luca Passani. In Dr. Dobb's Journal (DDJ) #314 = Volume 25, Issue 7 (July 2000), pages 70-78. [Special issue on Distributed Computing.] "WAP is a communications architecture designed for wireless networks. Luca examines WAP services, then presents a WAP application used to pick songs from a database of music. To build this application, he uses the Apache web server (with PHP support) and MySQL database. Additional resources include wapserv.txt (listings) and wapserv.zip (source code)." See: "WAP Wireless Markup Language Specification (WML)."
[June 20, 2000] "Are you prepared to face a major data quality challenge?" By David Stanvick. In SunServer Magazine Volume 14, Number 6 (June 2000), pages 15-16. ['One of the most important challenges IT departments face is managing the accuracy of data coming into a Web site. There are several steps that you can follow to increase data quality on your Web site regardless of what content management strategy you are using.'] "XML provides a richer set of tags and lets users define new tags to extend the language to fit their own needs. XML documents can also deliver data within client applications, such as a spreadsheet, and can perform operations on the data if the original column-name and data-type information is preserved. Although HTML documents contain no inherent rules or mechanisms by which the browser can check the validity of their format, XML documents can be checked for this kind of validity and well-formedness each time they are opened. The XML processor checks the document to ensure the validity of the logical structure of the elements within the document. The processor can also check for well-formedness to verify that the physical structure of the document is in order; for example, that the tags match appropriately. . ."
[June 20, 2000] "SAP taps Commerce One for Net push." By Eugene Grygo. In InfoWorld Volume 22, Issue 25 (June 19, 2000), page 8. "Although most perceived SAP's announcement this week that it will be working closely with Commerce One as a bold move, many participants at the SAP Sapphire 2000 user conference in Las Vegas had questions about how SAP will be able to pull off what is regarded as a major integration project. . . Engineers from Commerce One and SAP will have to build a platform that includes Commerce One's MarketSite portal and its accompanying Exchange Operating System, Auction Services, and Content Engine, and SAP's mySAP.com with APO (advanced planning and optimization) for supply-chain management, product life-cycle management, and business information warehousing. The embrace of a major third-party player further underscores SAP's best-of-breed approach in contrast to competitor Oracle's pre-integrated, Internet-based, one-stop shopping pitch for its ERP (enterprise resource planning) suite. But the SAP approach will be limited best-of-breed, said Hasso Plattner, co-chairman and CEO of SAP, who cautioned that SAP will be very selective. To help users connect via trading exchanges, Commerce One and SAP will splice together Commerce One's XML Common Business Library (xCBL), an XML variant for grafting buying and selling applications, with the SAP Business Application Programming Interfaces (BAPIs), which link non-SAP software to the SAP environment." See the announcement "SAP and Commerce One Form 'Dream Team' for the New Economy. Leader in e-business applications and leader in global trading services join to deliver the next-generation e-business marketplace solution."
[June 20, 2000] "Commerce One partners with XML software startup." By Adam Feuerstein. In Upside Today - Tech Insider (June 20, 2000). Commerce One (CMRC) is forming an alliance with a small Internet software startup to help solve a big e-marketplace problem. The startup, XML Solutions Inc., has developed software that lets large companies set up Web-based trading networks using XML -- the lingua franca of Web-based business communications -- while still using their expensive EDI -- electronic data interchange -- commerce systems. Over the last week, Commerce One has been busy inking deals that boost its ability to actually build the Net marketplaces and exchanges it has touted over the last six months. The technology provided by XML Solutions is expected to figure prominently in the launch of Covisint, the auto exchange being formed by Ford, General Motors, and DaimlerChrysler. XML Solutions will also play a role in Commerce One's aerospace exchange for Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and others. Last week, Commerce One inked a partnership with enterprise software giant SAP and its e-business arm, SAPMarkets. On Monday, the company said it was in talks to acquire AppNet for $1.38 billion, a consulting firm that helps build e-marketplaces. Founded in June 1999, closely held XML Solutions makes it easy for large companies to move their business to the Web. These companies, most of which rely on EDI to transact electronically with partners, have been reluctant to ditch the system for New Economy solutions such as Web-based marketplaces built around XML. This structural hurdle has been frustrating for small and midsize businesses as well. Smaller companies lack the millions of dollars required to invest in EDI systems, so they've been shut out from electronic trading with large customers. Adding to the problems: Almost every industry has evolved its own 'flavor' of EDI, which further hinders inter-industry electronic commerce. . ."
[June 20, 2000] Industry consortium launches XML site." By Wylie Wong. In CNet News.com (June 20, 2000). "A consortium of tech firms has launched a new online service to jump-start the use of a Web data exchange language. OASIS, a nonprofit group that includes IBM, Sun Microsystems and Oracle, has created an online warehouse for XML (Extensible Markup Language) technology. XML is a Web standard for exchanging data that proponents say will allow companies to easily and cheaply conduct online transactions with customers, partners and suppliers. XML is related to HTML, a language used to generate Web pages. But unlike HTML, XML allows software developers to define their own vocabulary for data exchange, making it a potentially more powerful tool for linking businesses. The new online service on Oasis' Web portal site -- XML.org -- will serve as a library for XML vocabularies, or 'schemas,' developed by specific industries, such as insurance, health care, and any other industry grappling with data exchange and e-commerce. It will also include general XML specifications, such as the Trading Partner Agreement Markup Language, which provides a common format for companies to define and execute business contracts over the Web. OASIS' hopes to connect its library of XML vocabularies with other libraries being developed by companies, such as Microsoft, and other industry groups, such as RosettaNet or the Object Management Group. The goal is to link all the XML repositories together, so businesses can easily find the XML vocabularies they need to conduct e-business. . ." See the announcement: "XML.ORG Goes Live with First Phase of Open Registry & Repository for XML Specifications."
[June 19, 2000] "Is CWMI the Holy Grail of Meta Data Standards?" By Sridhar Iyengar [and Rich Seely]. In eAI Journal Volume 2, Number 6 (June 2000), pages 36-39. "The Object Management Group (OMG), headquartered in Needham, Mass., is close to adopting the Common Warehouse Metadata Interchange (CWMI) standard, which is touted as the Holy Grail sought by developers working on integration, data warehouse and e-business applications. OMG calls the specifications it has developed for the CWMI standard -- a landmark submission that follows the creation of the Extensible Markup Language (XML) by the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) and XML Metadata Interchange (XMI) by the OMG. Backed by industry leaders including Oracle, IBM, Unisys, NCR, and Sun Microsystems, CWMI is viewed as the next step toward establishing a standard for metadata interchange among all data warehousing, business intelligence, knowledge management and portal technologies. The proposed standard provides an object model with a set of Application Programming Interface (APIs), interchange formats and services for the wide range of metadata involved in the extraction, transformation, transportation, loading, integration and analysis phases of data warehouse projects. OMG also advocates CWMI as the standard which 'resolves potential integration issues by enabling users to extend the model to meet their specific needs.' The proposed standard is viewed as a boon to developers of Web-based projects. 'CWMI lowers implementation costs for our customers by extending metadata interoperability into the world of Web-based data warehousing environments,' said Sridhar Iyengar, Unisys Fellow, member of the OMG Architecture Board and architect of Unisys Universal Repository (UREP). eAI Journal recently spoke to Iyengar, who has been cast by OMG as the King Arthur in this quest for the Holy Grail of metadata. Iyengar discussed the potential for CWMI and how it will interact with XML, XMI, Meta Objects Facility (MOF), Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA), Java Beans and other existing standards." See: "OMG Common Warehouse Metadata Interchange (CWMI) Specification."
[June 19, 2000] "Oracle adds analysis tools to e-commerce software." By Wylie Wong. In CNet News.com (June 19, 2000). "Oracle is revamping its database and e-commerce software to include analysis tools designed to help managers and executives make business decisions. The database software maker traditionally sold its analysis software separately but has decided to integrate that software into its database and e-commerce products to make it easier for companies to analyze their data, an Oracle executive said. . . In related news, Oracle today announced plans to build software tools that will support a new XML-based standard that will allow different data analysis tools to work with each other. XML (Extensible Markup Language) is a Web standard for data exchange. Oracle this summer will release a developer's kit allowing software makers to build software that links Oracle's products with software from other companies, Oracle executives said. Oracle this fall will ship management tools -- called One Meaning -- that will allow businesses using the new XML-based standard to manage information." See "OMG Common Warehouse Metadata Interchange (CWMI) Specification."
[June 19, 2000] "How AxKit Picks Stylesheets and/or Processors." By Matt Sergeant. "[Kay Michael: 'Should I run the XSL processor twice? Or is there a more efficient way to accomplish this? XSLT is a "single-pass" process, all template rules are applied to the input document (or tree), there's no standard way within the language of applying a second transformation to the result of the first...'] "Actually there is a standard way, but its outside the realm of XSLT and inside the realm of XML. Its called 'cascading' and is detailed in the HTML 4.0 spec, and referenced explicitly in http://www.w3.org/TR/xml-stylesheet. The only processor I'm aware of that directly supports this model is AxKit (funny that, eh?), although I'm certain there must be others. I've written a sort of high-level overview of how this works on the axkit web site... When an XML file is encountered (determined by AxKit's XMLFinder module - which checks first for a .xml extension, then for a processing instruction), AxKit needs to determine how to process that file. To do so it needs a list of stylesheets to process that file against. The stylesheet type (a MIME type) determines the module used to actually process the XML file together with the Stylesheet. It's also worth noting that a stylesheet file isn't necessary if using a DefaultStyleMap - this benefit could be useful, for example, for a Cocoon-like XSP page where there is no stylesheet to interact with..."
[June 19, 2000] "XSLV." - "A simple, accessible layout vocabulary targeting text-oriented display, that has XML syntax and semantics.." By Amy Lewis. June 19, 2000. [Part of the FO discussion on XML-DEV, June 2000.]
[June 16, 2000] The Data Melting Pot. Building a business-to-business application with XML." By Brett McLaughlin. From IBM DeveloperNet. May 2000. ['In this demonstration of how to exchange data with other companies through XML, find solutions to some of the problems inherent in B2B communication. Code samples include a means to translate an XML representation of an SQL query to a JDBC-usable query and how to convert the resulting data back into an intuitive XML format.'] "The commercial world has grabbed onto the concept of electronic business with a feverish grip. As a result, an application is rarely the sum of its parts, but instead the central component of a larger system, often involving data from alien applications. Data has become the commodity in the 21st century, and the original source of that data no longer matters to most companies. Legacy systems, applications in COBOL, FORTRAN, and C, and databases from countless vendors all act as gatekeepers of data that companies must access. Often monumental format, storage, and language differences obstruct communication across the entities. Managers and executives don't care how you solve these problems, but you must come up with a way to manage an increasing variety of data formats in your applications. Enter the extensible markup language (XML). By providing a standards-based data format, XML allows communication between heterogeneous systems, while allowing both endpoints of the exchange to remain ignorant of the other application's specifics. As long as requests come in XML format, they can be interpreted. And since XML results are returned, you can achieve interoperability without having to write code to handle the hundreds of varieties of clients that may need to interact with an application. In fact, the identity of the client becomes, in a sense, a mystery: bachelor number three sits completely hidden from view, speaking only in occasional bursts of XML..."
[June 15, 2000] "IBM, Rational to propose new e-business spec." By Roberta Holland. In eWEEK (June 14, 2000). "IBM and Rational Software Corp. announced plans Tuesday night to submit a new data interchange specification to the Object Management Group standards body, with the underlying goal of reducing costly failures of e-business systems. The specification, which the two companies intend to formally submit to the OMG at the organization's September meeting, is an extension of the XMI standard. XMI, which stands for XML (Extensible Markup Language) Metadata Interchange, is a standard way to exchange data between application development tools. The extension proposed by IBM and Rational takes that one step further, allowing tools to exchange data with applications. Essentially, companies could use the new specification to test applications while they are being developed rather than waiting until the end of the deployment cycle. Sam Guckenheimer, senior director of technology for Rational in Lexington, Mass., said a fundamental part of e-businesses is that they have a complicated mix of different software and systems. . ." See (1) the full text of the announcement: "IBM and Rational Collaborate On Proposal For XMI-Based Data Interchange Specification To Streamline e-Business Development. Open Invitation For Software Tools and Server Vendors To Participate In And Adopt Specification Proposal." and (2) "XML Metadata Interchange (XMI)."
[June 14, 2000] "Adelard, one year later. Sun's Adelard is a robust alternative to SAX and DOM." By Todd Sundsted. In JavaWorld Magazine [JavaOne Wrapup] (June 2000). ['Sun's forthcoming technology for transforming XML schemas into Java classes has taken some new directions that promise big wins for developers of electronic business and enterprise applications. Todd Sundsted reports on the Adelard project.'] "Perhaps coincidence causes the paths of Java and XML to cross as often as they do. Or perhaps it is their linked paternity (James Gosling, of Sun Microsystems, fathered the Java programming language, and Jon Bosak, of Sun Microsystems, fathered the Extensible Markup Language). Whatever the reason, their intersection gives rise to powerful technology. Adelard, the code-name for Sun's XML data binding technology, is an excellent example. Mark Reinhold, senior staff engineer at Sun and architect of the Adelard project, talked about Adelard during a Thursday afternoon session at JavaOne titled 'Adelard: XML Data Binding for the Java Platform.' He described its status, hinted at its performance relative to existing technologies, and shared some of the insight he and his team gained from designing and implementing this exciting technology. Data binding establishes two-way mapping of XML documents to Java objects. Adelard will provide the tools necessary to transform an XML schema into one or more Java classes. These classes will make the job of building XML-enabled Java applications easier by hiding the complicated transformational machinery from the eyes of the developer in much the same way that Remote Machine Invocation (RMI) hides its networking machinery. Adelard is an alternative to existing technologies like Simple API for XML (SAX) and Document Object Model (DOM). These technologies, while useful, operate at the level of individual elements and attributes. The application code must implement the bridge from these low-level components to business-level entities. Adelard, on the other hand, will map XML documents structures directly to business-level objects. Adelard comprises two integrated parts: a binding framework and a schema compiler. The data binding framework supports the transformation of XML documents to and from Java objects. The schema compiler translates a schema into a set of related classes. These classes use the facilities provided by the binding framework..."
[June 14, 2000] "Sun Microsystems outlines future XML plans at JavaOne: An Update on JAXP." By Mark Johnson. In JavaWorld Magazine [JavaOne Wrapup] (June 2000). ['Sun's James Duncan Davidson describes current and future work on JAXP, the Java API for XML Processing.'] "The Java programming language and XML are two complementary technologies for producing cross-platform Internet applications. As the originator of the Java language, and as a driving force behind the development of XML, Sun Microsystems has a keen interest in XML-enabling Java. At the JavaOne conference on Wednesday, Sun Staff Engineer James Duncan Davidson outlined Sun's current technology for parsing and processing XML in Java, and described Sun's future plans for XML support. XML is a language- and platform-independent data representation that uniquely complements Java's platform-independent representation of program behavior. Calling XML 'the most-hyped technology since Java (though that's a good thing),' Davidson outlined the meteoric rise in interest in XML in the past year. Sun's perspective is that XML provides access to 'portable data' in much the same way that Java provides "portable code." Davidson pointed out two viewpoints on XML data: data treated as documents, and data treated as messages. The JAXP (Java API for XML Processing, described below) treats XML data from a document point of view. XML documents represent related data, often used for eventual presentation to a human being, usually following an arbitrary series of transformations, filterings, and stylings. XML messages represent communications between systems, formatted as XML. It should be noted that there is no technical difference between these two 'points of view,' since XML is XML. The distinction has to do with how the XML is being used: for aggregating information (documents) or performing transactions (messaging). The document viewpoint is currently the most common way of looking at XML, largely because of XML's roots in SGML, a sophisticated language for document markup. The JAXP specification focuses on this aspect of XML programming, providing an API for creating, configuring, and manipulating XML parsers. JAXP supports the Document Object Model (DOM) and Simple API for XML (SAX), the two most common current interfaces to XML from Java (and many other languages). . ."
[June 14, 2000] "Engenia brings 'Unity' to Web-based collaboration." By Anne Knowles. In eWEEK (June 13, 2000). "A company founded by a group of former IBM knowledge management executives today will launch an XML-based desktop that allows people inside and outside a corporation to collaborate. Engenia Software Inc.'s Unity is a so-called 'digital dashboard' that consolidates a user's applications, e-mail and Web-based information (such as news and stock feeds) onto a single page that can be customized and accessed from a browser. Unity users can then create workspaces to which they add any desktop element, such as a word processing or spreadsheet application, and grant access to any other Unity user available via the Internet to collaborate in the space. The collaboration is enabled by the company's Relationship Web, an object-based architecture that creates items as XML-based files and defines their relationship to everything else."
[June 14, 2000] The Joy of SAX: a Visual Basic Sample." By Martin Naughton. MSDN Online. ['This article outlines an approach to programming the SAX2 interfaces from Microsoft Visual Basic. Includes sample code.'] "One of the key features of the May 2000 MSXML Technology Preview is an implementation of SAX2 (Simple API for XML, version 2). As an introduction to SAX2, the MSDN XML Developer Center provides an article entitled SAX2 Jumpstart for XML Developers and a downloadable Microsoft Visual C++ application. In this article, I outline an approach to programming the SAX2 interfaces from Visual Basic. Note that this sample is unsupported and is intended to assist you in prototyping SAX/Visual Basic solutions. In addition, it should be made clear that the interfaces in this sample have no bearing on Microsoft's Visual Basic support for SAX in the future."
[June 14, 2000] "Frequently Asked Questions About XML." Updated document. June 07, 2000. MSDN Online. 'Quick and straightforward answers to commonly asked questions about XML.' For related resources: "XML FAQ Documents: Answers to "Frequently-Asked-Questions".
[June 14, 2000] "Web Services and the SOAP Toolkit for Visual Studio 6.0." From Microsoft. June 08, 2000. ['This toolkit allows you to easily build and use SOAP Web Services with Visual Studio 6.0. Includes source code.'] "The key to making Web Services work across the Web and its heterogeneous infrastructure is to agree to a simple data description format. That format is XML. Specifically, Web Services require XML for three things: the basic wire format, service description, and service discovery. Basic Wire Format: At the lowest level, systems need to speak the same language. In particular, communicating applications need to have a set of rules for how they are going to represent different data types (for example, integers and arrays) and how they are going to represent commands (that is, what should be done with the data). Also, the applications need a way to extend this language when necessary. The Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), an implementation of XML, represents one common set of rules about how data and commands will be represented and extended. Service Description: Once applications have general rules for how they will represent data types and commands, they need a way to describe the specific data and commands they accept. It's not enough for an application to say that it accepts integers; somehow, there must be a way to deterministically say that if you give it two integers it will multiply them. The Service Description Language (SDL) is an XML grammar that developers and development tools can use to represent the capabilities of a Web Service. Service Discovery: The final layer required is a set of rules for how to locate a service's description: Where does a person (or a tool) look by default to discover a service's capabilities? You can easily imagine a simple specification that provides enough information so a person (or a tool) can easily locate an SDL description of the service. Once these three layers are in place, a developer can automatically find a Web Service, instantiate it as an object, integrate it into an application, and build enough infrastructure so that the resulting application can communicate back to the Web Service. One example of that kind of infrastructure is the SOAP Toolkit for Visual Studio 6.0. Included in this toolkit is the infrastructure necessary to expose SOAP Web Services on Windows operating systems and to consume them using Visual Studio 6.0." Available for download.
[June 14, 2000] "XInclude, Anyone?" By Chris Lovett. June 01, 2000. Extreme XML Column. ['Extreme XML columnist Chris Lovett shows how you can use XInclude to merge data sets and create specific views into them. "How do you create an XML document that includes chunks of XML from other places? This is something programmers know all about, because programming languages have provided this feature for decades. Any time you have a team of people working on the same product, you tend to want to break it down into manageable chunks. But what about XML? I ran into this problem while maintaining an XML-based intranet Web site for our team. XInclude specifies the low-level manipulations necessary to merge two XML resources at the tree level. . . The Problem: There were too many ways to slice the information people wanted to publish on our internal Web site. We had two axes. The first axis was by the type of information, including specifications, development information, test, documentation, and release information. The second axis was by team. We have four sub-teams, each working on a specific area. We also have other people within Microsoft who want to see everything that is going on; a centralized user-education team that works on the documentation for the entire product; and one release team that manages the actual build and release of all the bits. The sub-teams wanted to see stuff that was immediately relevant to what they were doing, but not have this information crowded by anything the other teams were doing. We also needed master lists for the people who wanted to see everything." With source code.
[June 13, 2000] Magically Storming the Gates of Buddhahood: Extensible Text Technology (XML/XSLT) as a Simulacrum for Research." By John Robert Gardner. In International Journal of Tantric Studies (IJTS) Volume 4, Special issue (June 2000) [ISSN: 1084-7553]. "An (un)surprising conceptual parallel between Tantric and Vedic practices of mantra manipulation, and the very latest in computer information technology -- XML, or Extensible Markup Language -- provides scholars with unique new research possibilities. The well-known procedures by which mantras are selected and extracted for ritual application -- e.g., vidhaana -- as well as transposition and intertwining -- e.g., viharaNam -- can be almost directly translated into a powerful new computer tool, called Extensible Stylesheet Language for Transformations (XSLT) and used on electronic versions of shrutii. The paper draws upon these functional parallels to introduce the reader to XML -- which is very much like HTML -- and then demonstrate the theory and application of ideas like viharaNam and vidhaana with electronic texts (full set is included with technical appendices) from the Rig Veda (specifically RV 3.62). Basic theory of XML, XSLT and XPath are introduced, explanations and links to required files and programs (all freeware), and a complete electronic Rig Veda in XML, with pre-written, adaptable XSLT scripts are included. . . This article explores potential of electronic text technology, specifically Extensible Markup Language (XML) and Extensible Stylesheet Language for Transformation (XSLT), in the study of mantra and text resources. The reader should know that due to the necessity for clear explanation of this technology a detailed, incisive, and otherwise comprehensive treatment of mantra theory must remain secondary. Not unlike the competing demands for developmental time that a scholar of the humanities finds when trying to add digital technology to their arsenal of research techniques, this article strives for an appropriate balance. Accordingly, the citations related to mantra use are points of academic reference rather than a suggestion of rhetorical conclusiveness. In the present document, the phenomenon of mantra presentation-specifically Vedic and Tantric-will serve as analog and a source of examples in the illumination of the new, extensible, text technology for research represented by XML and its related standards. There is a great deal more to the technology and related tools for working with XML than the basic outline of its primary characteristics presented below..." [Note: John also wrote on XML-L: "As introductory materials can be hard to find--all in one place, and which go beyond just the abc's of tagging, and for free with support files--I'm bordering on self-promotion by drawing readers' attention to the following publication of applied XML/XSLT in a text-based usage (academia with Mantra studies and Sanskrit, actually, but knowledge of the field is not required). See the endnote."] [cache]
[June 13, 2000] "Fathering XML." By Mark Johnson and Jon Bosak. In JavaWorld Magazine [JavaOne Wrapup] (June 2000). ['Jon Bosak chats about his hopes and concerns as XML grows up.] "Jon Bosak, considered by many to be "the father of XML," remains one of XML's guiding lights. In this interview with JavaOne Today reporter and JavaWorld XML columnist Mark Johnson, Bosak expresses his hopes and concerns about the future of XML, discusses his views on the creation of a semantic network, and explains why he believes that the most important benefits of XML are social -- not technical. . . "The father of XML" is the usual title given by the press to Jon Bosak, whose official title is distinguished engineer at Sun Microsystems's XML Technology Center. When asked about this, Bosak will typically cite the contributions of other people in the XML community, particularly those of Yuri Rubinski, late president and co-founder of SoftQuad, who began the first initiatives for "SGML on the Web." Following Rubinski's sudden passing in 1996, Bosak picked up the torch and began to create the community of experts that created XML. Today, two years after the completion of the XML 1.0 standard, Bosak's vision of XML as an open information representation standard guides his current efforts in keeping XML open "to all interested parties." In the following interview, Mark Johnson talked to Jon Bosak about the creation of the next level of XML technology -- how schema and semantics can be added to an open information representation, and what challenges arise from that goal."
[June 13, 2000] "What's the buzz about XML?" By Jason Hunter and Brett McLaughlin. In JavaWorld Magazine [JavaOne Wrapup] (June 2000). ['There's no denying it -- XML has made its way into developers' minds, and the marriage of Java and XML is the talk of the town. This year at JavaOne, the hot topic is certainly XML. Boasting its own track, making its way into BOFs from 7 p.m. to midnight, and showing up in almost every conversation, XML has quite a buzz. We look at what's being said, and what it all means for the future of Java.'] "At last year's JavaOne, the hot topics were server-side Java technologies, like EJB and servlets, and the emerging Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition (J2ME). Altogether, these topics made up nearly one third of the sessions at the conference. However, this year everyone appears obsessed with a single technology: XML. From the opening keynote of the first day to the last topic of discussion at an 11 p.m. BOF, XML has made its presence felt. There's an entire track, "Java Technology + XML," devoted solely to XML and the Java platform. And countless sessions and BOFs that aren't in the track still end up squeezing XML into their names, subject matter, and question-and-answer periods. And the buzz is still "We want more XML!" Here, we'll take a look at some of the highlights and lowlights, and give you a taste not of just what speakers are saying, but also what the developers down in the trenches are talking (and arguing) about late into the night and early morning hours. Even Steve Jobs is talking about it! Surprisingly, the first public mention of XML at JavaOne came not from Scott McNealy (Sun Microsystems's CEO) or a guest speaker from the W3C or OASIS, but from the technologists at Apple. During the keynote on Tuesday, the first day of JavaOne, Steve Jobs and a Macintosh product manager demonstrated Java on the Macintosh Server X software -- and wedged in between Java and that nice Aqua user interface was the Extensible Markup Language. Java server components were producing XML that was rendered into a GUI. ..."
[June 13, 2000] "XML accelerates rise of Java." By Roberta Holland and Dennis Fisher. In eWEEK (June 09, 2000). "Sun Microsystems Inc. may get most of the credit for Java's growing popularity, but the emergence of another standard, XML, has accelerated Java's usefulness in developing cross-platform applications. Several vendors were on hand at Sun's JavaOne Conference here this week to tout products that use Extensible Markup Language as a protocol to communicate between chunks of Java code or objects such as Enterprise JavaBeans. Sun itself got into the act, expanding support for XML in the J2EE (Java2 Enterprise Edition) and announcing development of the Java API for XML Messaging. . . Bluestone Software Inc., SilverStream Software Inc., IBM and KL Group Inc. were on hand at JavaOne demonstrating XML services in their respective Java software. Bluestone debuted its Total-e-Server, an application server based on J2EE that uses XML for internal communication and external integration. The server will be available next month and is priced starting at $60,000. . . In addition, KL Group's JClass 4.5 family of Java components, released last month, introduced XML support, enabling users to populate tables and charts from XML-based data sources. . . Java isn't the only beneficiary of XML's capabilities, however. Microsoft this week unveiled initial plans for Next Generation Windows Services, of which XML is a fundamental piece. Microsoft's BizTalk platform for business-to-business transactions also relies heavily on XML, as do new services of BackOffice 2000, such as the Web Parts technology for Digital Dashboard. . ."
[June 13, 2000] "XML Gave A War, But Nobody Came." [STOP BITS.] By Tim Wilson. In InternetWeek (May 29, 2000). "Like many standards before it, XML is now battling an identity crisis. In fact, XML has so many personalities, it makes Sybil look like Al Gore. The problem is that although XML defines a generic language that lets e-commerce applications exchange documents, its implementations are subjective and varied. Ariba's flavor is cXML; Commerce One's is xCBL. There are scores of other implementations, and each one has its champions. Like other standards, XML has the potential to be the battleground for religious crusades that promote one implementation over the other. But even if a particular industry could agree on which version to use, there's so much cross-industry e-commerce that such an agreement would have limited value. Doing e-commerce today means doing e-commerce with a wide variety of companies and applications, so it's unlikely that a single implementation of XML will win out. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with nine e-commerce executives at top Internet exchanges and e-businesses. Asked if they cared about which XML version will win, they all shook their heads. They will fight to set standards for the structure of XML documents in their respective industries, they said, but not about setting a common, global standard for the language..."
[June 12, 2000] "Sun changes tune in support of SOAP protocol." By Wylie Wong. In CNet News.com (June 07, 2000). "After criticizing a potential Web standard created by rival Microsoft as 'pure hype,' Sun Microsystems has now reversed its stance and will support the technology. The software, called Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), lets businesses connect their computing systems over the Net so they can conduct online transactions with customers and partners. SOAP is based on the XML (Extensible Markup Language) Web standard. SOAP, which was created by Microsoft but does not require any Microsoft software, is a network protocol that lets software objects developed using different languages communicate with each other. Sun executives say they decided to support the technology after looking at the newest version of SOAP, which included development work from IBM and Lotus Development. Sun is the second company to flip-flop on SOAP. In April, IBM also reversed its stance, saying the need for the software industry to find a way for businesses to link their different computing systems outweighed competitive issues." See "Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)."
[June 12, 2000] Commentary: Microsoft needs BizTalk to stay in the game." By David McCoy [Gartner Viewpoint]. In CNet News.com (June 07, 2000). "With the announcement of BizTalk Server 2000, Microsoft asserts that modeling and implementing complex business process flow is a core requirement for rich business-to-business integration. Without the new business process management ('orchestration') software, Microsoft's entry in the integration broker market would have been an underpowered offering in a competitive market. Many products already address complex process flow modeling. BizTalk Server benefits from the orchestration technology, but not without cost. Originally announced in 1999, BizTalk Server will likely appear no earlier than late in the fourth quarter of 2000 as Microsoft addresses the missing pieces. Therefore, with all BizTalk Server's parts still not in beta release, Microsoft trails other vendors that have gained a significant understanding of business process modeling in live customer settings. Microsoft has significantly improved the features of its unshipped integration broker, but the biggest challenge is getting BizTalk to market in 2000. Many companies Microsoft considers to be competitors of BizTalk Server are buying, building or partnering to add business process support to their products. Through a collision of workflow, integration middleware and business process modeling tools, many powerful vendors are in various stages of addressing business process management extended to the integration arena. Those vendors include BEA Systems, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Level 8 Systems, Oracle, Software Technologies, Tibco Software and Vitria Technology. . ."
[June 12, 2000] OASIS of Interoperability." By Brad Shewmake. In InfoWorld (June 06, 2000). XML interoperability consortium OASIS is slated to announce next Tuesday public access to the first phase of XML.org Registry, an open registry and repository for XML specifications and vocabularies, according to group officials. The registry will allow companies from numerous industries to submit their XML schemas online in a secure environment that will foster collaboration and communication within industries, said Laura Walker, executive director at Oasis. Sun Microsystems and Documentum have both co-sponsored the initiative, contributing more than $500,000 to the registry. Sun officials gave the common example of how a shoe business might use XML.org Registry to help it deal with suppliers and partners in different countries. Whereas a shoe may be a size 9 in the United States, it would be a size 8 in the United Kingdom and a size 42 in other countries. If a foreign business partner went to the registry and knew which schema the shoemaker was using, he could figure out the corresponding sizes and make the appropriate order. XML will allow the shoe supplier to transcend many linguistic and cultural obstacles, said Bill Smith, an engineering manager at Sun..."
[June 12, 2000] "OASIS for Nurturing XML Technologies Becomes Habitable." Brad Shewmake. In InfoWorld Volume 22, Issue 24 (June 12, 2000), page 26. "XML interoperability could receive a boost as the OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) consortium this week initiates public access to the first phase of XML.org Registry, an open registry and repository for XML specifications and vocabularies. One analyst said that the registry is a necessary and crucial step driving toward XML standards, but that it still does not answer the question of who will be responsible for making those decisions. 'It's a long time coming ... but it's only one piece of the puzzle,' said Steve Garone, an analyst at IDC, in Framingham, Mass. 'There is still an issue of establishing the standards themselves, and there needs to be a decision-making entity to do that.' The registry will be available at www.xml.org."
[June 11, 2000] "XMLterm: A Mozilla-based Semantic User Interface." By R. Saravanan. From XML.com. (June 07, 2000). ['Mozilla's support for rendering XML and CSS offers the capability for creating new types of user interfaces, combining aspects of the command line, GUI, and web interfaces. In this article, the author of XMLterm explains his project to integrate the Unix shell and Mozilla.'] "The open source browser platform, Mozilla, provides a nice test bed for experimenting with semantic UIs. The Mozilla browser itself clearly separates the browser functionality from the visual UI, allowing vendors other than Netscape to easily provide their own GUIs for the browser engine. Mozilla can display both HTML and XML documents, using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). It also provides UI description languages like XUL (XML-based UI Language). In this article we describe a prototype semantic UI called XMLterm, implemented using the Mozilla platform. XMLterm is a terminal emulator application providing a command line interface (CLI), like an Xterm or an MS-DOS window. It uses the Mozilla layout engine as its front end and a Unix shell program as its back end. An XMLterm window can display any marked-up content that can be rendered by the Mozilla layout engine, including HTML, XML, MathML, and, in the near future, even SVG. XMLterm is implemented as a component of Mozilla, and is currently at the alpha stage of development. The basic design philosophy of XMLterm is that the user interface is a dynamic XML document. The user and the computer interact by taking turns appending this document. The plain text content of the XML document (i.e., excluding any mark-up) corresponds to the plain text that would be displayed by an Xterm. The design goal of XMLterm is to enable a CLI user to access many GUI capabilities in a seamless manner. To this end, XMLterm aims to be fully backwards compatible with the Xterm."
[June 11, 2000] "Transforming XML: Copying, Deleting, and Renaming Elements." By Bob DuCharme. From XML.com. (June 07, 2000). ['... we announce a new monthly column on XML.com. "Transforming XML" will focus on practical instruction on using XSLT to manipulate XML documents.In the first of our new monthly column on using XSLT, Bob DuCharme shows how to do basic transformations on XML documents.']
[June 11, 2000] "XML-Deviant: The Future of XT." By Leigh Dodds. From XML.com. (June 07, 2000). ['James Clark, whose software has significantly influenced the popularity of both XML and XSLT, has said he sees no future for his own XSLT processor, XT. To the dismay of many users, Clark has announced he would no longer be developing XT, used by a lot of people as their preferred processor since the early days of XSLT. XML-Deviant looks at the community's reaction, and their determination to carry on with XT.']
[June 11, 2000] "Using WordPerfect 9 to Edit XML." By Greg Kohn and Michel Rodriguez. From XML.com. (June 07, 2000). ['Corel's WordPerfect 9 boasts XML editing support, but how practical is it for everyday production use? We gave it a test in the field with an XML developer and a user. This article gives us a developer's perspective.'] "One of the most annoying problems with XML (and SGML before it) is the lack of editors/word processors supporting it. Sure, Emacs+PSGML fits the bill, but would you let people familiar with traditional office suites or word processors use it? The remaining options are a few pieces of Java software, Adobe's FrameMaker+SGML (at $1499 a pop), or the even pricier Adept from ArborText. In other words, unless you have a healthy budget or an inclination to fiddle with things technical and complex, XML and its cosmic potential are likely to pass right by. The lack of XML editors impedes one of XML's main goals: cross-platform, cross-application functionality.. . The bad news first. Two things are really annoying when trying to set up an XML environment for WordPerfect: the documentation is very thin, and WordPerfect keeps crashing. Now for the good news. Style sheet development is somewhat crude but effective, especially when starting from one of the several templates that come with the software. Although not as powerful as FrameMaker or Adept Editor, WordPerfect 9 is a great tool in which to quickly set up an editing environment robust enough to handle simple to moderately complex XML documents."
[June 11, 2000] "IBM donates Net communications technology." By Wylie Wong. In CNet News.com (June 01, 2000). "IBM has donated an Internet communications technology to the Apache Software Foundation, a nonprofit organization that builds free Web software. The computing giant today said it has given away its communications software that allows businesses to link their computing systems over the Net and conduct trades online. The software, called Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) for Java, is based on a Web standard for exchanging data called XML (Extensible Markup Language). The product is a working version of a communications technology developed by Microsoft, IBM, Lotus Development and others that could potentially become an Internet standard for linking Web-based software. Apache is a nonprofit group best known for creating a popular and widely used Web server technology that delivers Web pages to browsers. Like the Linux operating system, it is an "open-source" effort, allowing anyone to modify and redistribute the software. During the past six months, Apache has worked on a new XML initiative, called the "xml.apache.org" project. Its goal is to drive the use of XML by offering free XML tools donated by software companies. Proponents claim that XML allows companies to easily and cheaply conduct online transactions with their customers and partners. It also delivers sound, video and other data across the Web. The SOAP for Java technology is just the latest of about half a dozen XML technologies that software companies have donated to Apache. SOAP for Java allows software developers using the Java programming language to use SOAP for its business e-commerce needs. . ." See "Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)."
[May 24, 2000] "Cocoon: Sanity for Web Site Management." By Jason Levitt. In InformationWeek Issue 787 (May 22, 2000). ['Java servlet offers the ability to transform XML-encoded Web content into multiple formats and separates the management components of a Web site to help developers separate content management, presentation, and programming logic.'] "Managing Web content has become a huge undertaking for the many IT professionals and content specialists running company Web sites. A new standard called Cocoon is emerging that will let developers re-architect Web sites to deliver scalable, dynamic content. Cocoon, part of the Apache Extensible Markup Language Project (xml.apache.org), will also give developers a way to cleanly separate management of Web content, presentation, and programming logic. Cocoon's developers hope to change the way that Web information is created, rendered, and served. The standard takes into account that Web content, style, and logic are created by different individuals or work groups. Cocoon will allow the three areas-content, style, and logic-to be designed, created, and managed separately. This division should ease the job of managing Web content and increase the ability to reuse work. The Cocoon model divides Web development into three areas: XML creation, processing, and rendering. Cocoon is essentially a Java servlet that transforms XML-encoded Web content using Extensible Stylesheet Language technology. Cocoon is an open-source project that makes use of many new standards, such as Document Object Model Level 2, Simple API for XML 2.0, XML, XSL, and XSL Transformations. It's implemented completely in XML and Java..."
[May 25, 2000] "Wireless Internet Database Connectivity. Info on the Go: Wireless Internet Database: Connectivity with ASP, XML, and SQL Server." By Srdjan Vujosevic and Robert Laberge. From Microsoft MSDN Magazine Online (May 24, 2000). See the June 2000 issue. ['Learn to create a wireless-accessible Web site that dynamically draws data from a SQL Server database using ASP and XML.'] "Many handheld wireless devices such as cellular phones and PDAs already have the ability to access Web sites. So how do you build Web applications that tap this wireless audience? Although there are a number of limitations to wireless devices -- such as screen size, navigation, and connection speed -- you can use familiar Web development technologies to make your existing Web applications available to mobile users. This article outlines the services and equipment currently available to support wireless Web access. A sample wireless-accessible Web site that dynamically draws data from a SQL Server database back end in real time is created using tools such as ASP and XML. . . More people are buying wireless handheld devices such as cellular phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs), and they demand access to online resources. This article discusses the missing link used to connect these portable devices with the vast resources of the Internet, focusing on connecting a cellular phone to your database-driven Web site. The samples we'll provide are based on the Unwired Planet (Phone.com) UP.Link server platform and Wireless Markup Language (WML). There are other standards proposals, such as Handheld Device Markup Language (HDML), a WML predecessor, but we will not discuss them here. If you want to learn more about standardization visit http://www.wapforum.org, a site operated by the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) Forum. WAP uses HTTP 1.1-compliant Web servers, which means that CGI, ASP, NSAPI, Java servlets, and other Internet technologies can also be used. WAP created the XML-based WML syntax, which is what most wireless systems use. . . There are four basic components that make up a wireless Web service: UP.Browser phones, WML, UP.Link Server, and WML services. UP.Browser phones are handheld devices with special software that replace conventional Web browsers. The WML language is a programming language consisting of a set of statements that defines what the UP.Browser phone displays in its window and how it interacts with the user. Instead of Web pages, the wireless world uses decks consisting of cards. . ."
[May 25, 2000] "AxKit: XML Web Publishing with Apache and mod_perl." By Matt Sergeant. From XML.com (May 24, 2000). ['AxKit is a new Apache- and Perl-based solution for publishing web pages using XML and style sheets. In this article AxKit's creator, Matt Sergeant, describes the architecture and the future direction of the project.'] ". . . [one] choice is to use an XML content delivery infrastructure such as that provided by the Apache Cocoon project. Cocoon is a Java-based environment for pipelined transformation of XML resulting in web pages served to the user. It also offers more advanced features for active server pages etc. AxKit, a mod_perl and Apache-based XML content delivery solution, takes an approach similar to Cocoon. It provides simple ways for web developers to deliver XML utilizing multiple processing stages and style sheets, all programmable through Perl. AxKit takes care of caching so that the developer doesn't have to worry about it. It's also tightly bound to the Apache web server, providing a good route forward for those with an existing investment in mod_perl and Apache. The fundamental way in which XML is delivered to a client in AxKit is through transformation with one or more style sheets. AxKit does not see style sheets solely in terms of XSLT transformations, but as more generic processing stages allowing arbitrary languages and operations. In this article, I will describe AxKit's architecture, and give details of its installation and future development..."
[May 25, 2000] "ebXML Gathers Pace." By Alan Kotok. From XML.com (May 24, 2000). ['A recent meeting of the ebXML initiative was able to demonstrate proof-of-concept technology of some of its early specifications. A third of the way through its allotted 18-month timetable, ebXML has made definite progress, but still has a long way to go.'] "The joint initiative of OASIS and UN/CEFACT began in November 1999, seeking to develop specifications for exchanging business messages worldwide using XML. Like other business frameworks, such as BizTalk and eCo, ebXML defines a common structure for interoperable messages sent between companies and among industries. Unlike most other messaging frameworks, however, ebXML is creating an end-to-end architecture that includes not only messaging but also generic business process models, a core set of common data components, and distributed repositories for storing industry or company requirements. The group hopes its work will stimulate development of inexpensive solutions that any company anywhere can use. First Proof of Concept Test: An early proof-of-concept test demonstrated by Nick Kassem of Sun Microsystems at the closing plenary session showed how some of the ebXML specifications could work, but it also highlighted the extent of the work that lies ahead. In the test, fictitious companies that had never done business before achieve a desired outcome, in this case have a travel agency update a customer preference profile residing at an airline and car rental company... Specifications make good documents, but a skeptical technology community needs more of these tangible results to prove that ebXML can meet its aggressive timetable. A Gartner Group report earlier in the year raised questions about the ability of ebXML to achieve its goals, especially in the limited time frame it has set for itself. Naujok, the ebXML Chair, reported that some industry groups have asked to partner with ebXML on joint projects to pilot test the specifications, and asked the ebXML marketing team to draw up the ground rules for these activities. The ebXML leadership also added a proof-of-concept team to design and conduct these tests."
[May 25, 2000] "XML-Deviant: News from the Trenches." By Leigh Dodds. From XML.com (May 24, 2000). ['Over four hundred mail messages in one week makes relative URI references in XML Namespaces a hot topic. The discussions remain, however, fearsomely impenetrable. XML-Deviant ventures into the battlezone to summarize the debate.'] Summary: On May 15th, W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee posted an announcement for an XML-URI mailing list to discuss "whether XML namespaces should be URIs." See the email@example.com mailing list archive. There were some 576 messages posted by mid-day 2000-05-25.
[May 25, 2000] "Shaken, But Not That Stirred." By Edd Dumbill. From XML.com (May 24, 2000). ['Although the XML Protocols Shakedown Panel at WWW9 in Amsterdam last week clarified the positions of the various participants, the session did not result in any clear consensus.'] "The panel, chaired by Dan Connolly (XML Activity Lead, W3C), consisted of some of the main protagonists in the XML protocols arena, including authors and implementors of SOAP and XML-RPC. Connolly introduced the panel session by noting the submission to the W3C of several XML protocol specifications as Notes (including ICE and SOAP1.1), and mentioning that there was a feeling that there may be scope for a standardization process in this area... So, now that the arguments have been thoroughly rehearsed by the concerned parties, where do we stand? Microsoft is still pressing ahead with their SOAP deployment, the technology likely to find its way deep into their new products. Thus, anyone wanting to communicate with their systems will find SOAP an irresistible force. At a higher level, the ebXML effort is expected to deliver a more wide-ranging solution to meet the needs of electronic business, but not for at least 12 months. If the W3C were to undertake an activity on XML protocols, it is highly likely they would take that amount of time (or more) as well. The W3C Advisory Committee meets this week and will probably make a recommendation as to whether the W3C should pursue the issue. SOAP is definitely here for the short and medium term, regardless of any other activity undertaken by standards bodies. The many issues of security, scalability, and interoperability remain to be discovered by implementors."
[May 23, 2000] "Commentary: Vignette plans OnDisplay acquisition in response to competition. [Gartner Viewpoint.]" By Mark Gilbert. In CNet News.com (May 22, 2000). "As enterprises become more serious about business-to-business e-commerce and Web content management, they face the perplexing choice of which vendors and technologies to use. Enterprises need their systems to interact with as many other enterprises as possible, yet few standards have emerged. Accordingly, enterprises often turn to vendors that offer the most flexible and comprehensive technologies. For more than a year, Vignette and BroadVision have battled to become leaders in the expanding Web content management market. Both vendors have turned to XML as a key technology. XML describes a grammar or framework within which interchangeable documents, such as purchase orders, can be built. Using XML technology, two enterprises can exchange documents and do business with each another even though they do not have the same applications; XML enables one system to translate what the other sends. Another advantage of XML is that it enables Internet content to be reused for different output channels -- PCs, WAP-enabled phones and interactive TV. Vignette and BroadVision have made significant acquisitions involving XML recently. The acquisition of OnDisplay broadens Vignette's strong background in XML-based publishing applications, which are particularly focused on Web content management. OnDisplay's CenterStage application suite brings strength in XML-based application-to-application integration and allows content aggregation and syndication. These capabilities will complement Vignette's other recent moves to broaden its e-business platform. The V/5 eBusiness Platform that Vignette announced in April 2000 facilitates the management of Web content and the deployment of applications across many media, including the Web, pagers, mobile phones and email."
[May 23, 2000] "XML: An Interview With Peter Flynn. With sidebar: XML's Development." By Peter Flynn [interviewed by] Richard Wiggins. In IEEE Computer Volume 33, Number 4 (April 2000), pages 113-114, 116. ['Standards' Column, edited by Charles Severance.] "If business can actually agree on what constitutes an invoice order, we might actually see some real XML-enabled e-commerce. Richard Wiggins speaks with XML pioneer Peter Flynn about this emerging standard... The developers of XML (Extensible Markup Language) intended it as a metalanguage -- a language in which you can describe another language -- for designing your own markup. Today, businesses see XML as a way to tag data so they can interchange it among applications, and groups are developing XML-based languages for exchanging data for business-to-business e-commerce, directory services, financial transactions, and wireless devices. As such, XML is becoming an important tool in application integration. Peter Flynn was a key voice in developing the standard and remains an active observer of how XML is finding its place in the world." Note: Peter Flynn is the author of Understanding SGML and XML Tools (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1998) and coauthor of the XML FAQ.
[May 23, 2000] ""Standards Rule iPlanet Server." By Stephanie Sanborn. In InfoWorld Volume 22, Issue 20 (May 15, 2000), page 12. iPlanet this week will roll out its iPlanet Application Server (iAS) 6.0, focusing on the server's embrace of Internet standards, including Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) application-model compliance and XML technologies. The iAS product also supports core XML technologies, including XSL (Extensible Style Language), Sarathy said. XSL takes information from a single source, transforms it into another XML-based language, such as HDML, and can deliver that content to a variety of devices. 'We provide both the core XML technologies, like an XML parser, as well as an XML engine for companies to be able to read and transform XML documents,' Sarathy said. Pointing to iPlanet's large installed base of NetDynamics and Netscape Application Server customers, Quinn said iPlanet is on the right track with J2EE..." See the announcement: ""iPlanet Ships Industry's First Application Server to Pass Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) Certification. Unveils Aggressive J2EE Migration Program for Application Server Customers, Including Netscape Application Server, NetDynamics and Other Customers."
[May 23, 2000] "webMethods to Acquire Active Software for $1.3 billion." By Eugene Grygo. In InfoWorld (May 22, 2000). "webMethods, a business-to-business trading exchange application integration specialist, said Monday it will acquire EAI (enterprise application integration) player Active Software in a $1.3 billion deal expected to close during the third quarter of this year."
[May 23, 2000] "Vignette to acquire OnDisplay." By Stephanie Sanborn. In InfoWorld (May 22, 2000). "E-Business applications vendor Vignette on Monday announced plans to buy OnDisplay for $1.7 billion and integrate the business-to-business infrastructure company's technology into its own family of e-business platform offerings. The stock-for-stock transaction will involve 1.58 shares of Vignette stock for each share of OnDisplay. Vignette will add OnDisplay's trading networks and online marketplaces to their own. After the transaction is completed, the company will have about 2,000 employees and 870 customers. OnDisplay's XML-based business-to-business infrastructure products help companies link their own data and applications with business partners and suppliers. This XML technology will complement Vignette's V/5 eBusiness Platform architecture, which allows users to manage content and e-business applications..."
[May 23, 2000] "Big Blue Seeks B2B Partners. Ariba, I2, Data Junction and eCredit are on board." By Jacqueline Emigh. In Sm@rt Reseller (May 19, 2000). "Not even big blue can tackle the B2B market alone. Indeed, IBM is seeking partners to fill some gaps in its e-biz portfolio. Early recruits include Ariba, i2, Data Junction and eCredit. Much of the partnering effort involves IBM's new WebSphere Commerce Suite, Marketplace Edition. The suite adds capabilities like auctions, exchanges and RFP/RFQ to the existing CommerceSuite offerings, says Ed Kilroy, general manager of IBM Electronic Commerce. Marketplace Edition is slated to ship this fall, and customers will be able to pick and choose their own pieces for customizable solutions. Many of the components will come from IBM, such as MQSeries Workflow for complex approval processes; Lotus Sametime for buyer/seller collaboration; and IBM's WebSphere Everyplace Suite, for wireless messaging. IBM will fill out the suite with third-party offerings. For instance, marketplace will connect to Ariba's procurement solution through CXML, Ariba's proprietary implementation of XML, says David T. Liederbach, IBM's VP of Electronic Commerce Marketing. Other partners' software will be hooked up through either XML or MQSeries Integrator messaging middleware, notes Ruviano Martinez, product manager at IBM. Third-party options for WebSphere Marketplace will include i2's supply-chain software; Data Junction's software for content aggregation; eCredit's online credit-approval system; and EBX and Bluegill's electronic billing software..."
[May 23, 2000] "W3C Accepts VoiceXML 1.0 Specification." By Grant DuBois. In eWEEK (May 23, 2000). "Extending the Web to voice-based devices reached a milestone Monday when the World Wide Web Consortium accepted version 1.0 of the Voice Extensible Markup Language specification. Based on the W3C's industry-standard XML, the VoiceXML 1.0 specification provides an intelligent API to speech and telephony applications for developers, service providers and equipment manufacturers. The W3C's acceptance of VoiceXML 1.0 will accelerate and expand the reach of the Internet by 'voice enabling' Web content and services, VoiceXML Forum officials said. According to forum officials, standardization of VoiceXML will simplify the creation of personalized interactive voice-response services on the Web; allow voice and phone access to information and services on Web sites, call center databases and company intranets; and produce new voice-access devices..." See (1) the announcement "VoiceXML Forum Founders Submit VoiceXML 1.0 Specification to W3C. Submission Marks Milestone on the Path to Voice-Enabled Internet." and (2) "VoiceXML Forum."
[May 18, 2000] "XML Unites Processes Across Exchanges." By Roberta Holland. In eWEEK (May 17, 2000). "B2B integration companies are putting XML to work in a drive to create integrated networks of trading partners. On Tuesday webMethods Inc., which provides business-to-business integration software based on the Extensible Markup Language, announced the formation of B2B.com, an online service that provides its largest customers with a faster way to set up integrated networks of suppliers and other trading partners. The Web-based service provides a password-protected Web site that acts as a hub for a company's B2B trading activities. When a potential trading partner taps into the site, it provides an overview of the benefits of joining, walks them through the integration of their business processes into the exchange and creates their profile. It also generates a customized project plan that details the steps and time needed to join, said webMethods officials in Fairfax, Va. . . Looking to capitalize on the market opportunity is Extricity Inc. of Redwood Shores, Calif., which sells an XML-based B2B platform for internal and external integration of information and applications over the Internet. Yesterday Extricity filed for an initial public offering and announced a partnership with Moai Technologies Inc. Also getting into the game is Scriptics Corp., which next week will change its name to Ajuba Solutions Inc. and change its focus from the programming language TCL to the wider area of B2B integration solutions. The company is expected to announce new products next month under the Ajuba name. . ." See the announcement: "Microsoft Unveils Latest Version of XML Parser Technology Preview. Support for Simple API for XML (SAX) 2.0 Allows Developers to Process XML Documents More Efficiently."
[May 18, 2000] "Short Take: Microsoft Readies XML Parser." By Paul Festa. In CNet News.com (May 17, 2000). "Microsoft completed the latest version of its parser for Extensible Markup Language (XML). The revised MSXML parser, available for download, includes support for the Simple API for XML, Version 2 (SAX2). Parsers interpret code and pass it from a document to a browser. SAX2 is an application programming interface that lets applications interpret XML files without needing to load them entirely into memory..."
[May 18, 2000] "World Wide Web Conference: Emerging technologies steal the limelight." By Carolyn Duffy Marsan. In InfoWorld (May 15, 2000). "It may sound like alphabet soup, but two emerging technologies known to the Internet-savvy as XML and RDF (Resource Description Framework) promise to transform the way information gets published and exchanged across the World Wide Web. XML and RDF are setting the stage for a next-generation Web that promises to be easier to navigate, more automated, and readily accessible from a wide array of devices including mobile phones and handheld computers. That's why XML and RDF are the main attractions at the Ninth International World Wide Web Conference (WWW9) being held this week in Amsterdam, Netherlands. More than 1,400 Web application developers and Web site designers are attending the conference, which is the premier event of the year for showcasing cutting-edge Web technologies. XML became a recommended specification in February of 1998, but the W3C continues to roll out related technologies such as style sheets, query languages, and schema. Many XML-compliant products are already shipping, particularly in the area of e-commerce applications. The newer development is RDF, which provides a layer of metadata, or a description of the data, on top of the information marked up in XML. Because RDF enables automated processing of meta data, it promises to improve search engine capability, support intelligent software agents, and create new ways of cataloging information for improved navigation..."
[May 18, 2000] "Style Matters: Creating an HTML/WML Portal." By Didier Martin. From XML.com. May 15, 2000. ['With the explosion in alternative browsing devices, portals need to present more than one representation of their content. Didier Martin demonstrates how to build your own XML-driven portal.' He describes 'building a portal aimed at multiple devices: HTML browsers and the WAP-enabled cell phone. Using XSLT, XLink and XInclude, he demonstrates the advantages of an XML-based approach. Didier creates his own mini-vocabulary to represent portal content, and shows how both local and remotely stored content can be integrated using and XSLT processor. he concentrates on the underlying principles and the HTML rendering of the portal.'] "A portal fulfils this role by providing features such as: Aggregating content, Organizing content, [and] Searching through document collections. The best way to understand the internals of a portal is to create one. So, we'll move to the labs and build a portal prototype..."
[May 18, 2000] "XML Portal Content Aggregation." By Bryan Caporlette. From XML.com. May 15, 2000. ['Not all the information you need in your portal will be in XML. Sequoia's EXTRA schema allows routing of both XML and non-XML content into a portal server.'] "Enterprise portals are intended to provide users with a single point of access to a variety of content aggregated from within the enterprise, as well as from business or trading partners and the Web. XML provides an excellent language for representing both structured and unstructured information. The feature of extensibility, the ability to arbitrarily define new markup languages, enables XML to represent an infinite number of data types. We are moving toward a time when users of popular application and database software will have the ability to save information as XML. Until this becomes the norm, organizations interested in aggregating disparate data using XML will be faced with purchasing or developing custom 'connector' applications that convert legacy formats to XML: a step that is necessary for giving users the ability to 'work' with the data. As an alternative to converting non-XML content to XML, organizations can utilize XML messaging to transport content in its native format to a portal server. In this case, the XML message can extract metadata along with the content. From the metadata, a portal server can index the content, and give users the ability to retrieve the native data or document for viewing through the portal. This would be facilitated through an information exchange application, such as Inso's Outside In Server, which recognizes and displays over 225 data formats as HTML."
[May 18, 2000] "XML at Jetspeed." By Edd Dumbill. From XML.com. May 15, 2000. ['Jetspeed is a new open source project to create a Java and XML-based enterprise information portal. We review the progress so far and examine the possibilities for the project's future.'] " Jetspeed, part of the Java Apache Project, is a project to create an XML-based enterprise information portal. Naturally, being part of the Apache Project, it's open source. Though very much still in development, Jetspeed utilizes XML not only in its integration and aggregation facilities, but also at a deeper level inside the application. One feature of Jetspeed's XML support is that it is cutting-edge in its employment of W3C technology. XSLT and XML Schemas drive the heart of the configuration and data-integration code. . . Despite Jetspeed's early stage of development, the project team has a lot of energy, and there is a realistic prospect of a solid, easy-to-administer, open source portal product in the not-too-distant future. The use of XML technology in particular is very intriguing and has some great possibilities. If you have the resource, then I recommend you spend some time with Jetspeed, and maybe even get involved."
[May 18, 2000] "XML-Deviant: Namespace Trouble." By Leigh Dodds. From XML.com. May 17, 2000. ['XML Deviant reports on a Namespace-related debate holding up XML work at the W3C, and the final release of SAX2/Java.'] "Berners-Lee stated his belief that Namespace identifiers are extremely important, and that an alternate string-comparison-based approach was technically broken: 'When it comes to XML namespaces, the namespace identifier is very special. It is (or they are) the key to the whole document. The namespace identifies the terms which are used, and upon the meaning of those terms rests the meaning of the document...It is really important for electronic commerce and, indeed, the whole future of the web, that XML documents be defined in terms of namespaces which are considered to identify the meaning of the language they are written in.' Berners-Lee's vision for a Semantic Web of interconnected, machine-readable resources is founded on the need to attach names and ultimately semantics to these resources. Not surprisingly, Berners-Lee is keen to see the URI mechanism used to facilitate this, and is against reducing Namespace identifiers to simple strings. If this happens, then how do the semantics get attached..."
[May 15, 2000] "Portals: Poles Apart. Time to benefit, extensibility are biggest differentiators; organizationwide buy is key to success." By Jim Rapoza. In eWEEK (May 15, 2000). "Organizations exploring corporate portals have plenty of options to choose from -- not only in number of solutions but also in number of distinctly different solutions. The products tested during this eWeek Labs eValuation come from a variety of technical disciplines, and -- for better or for worse -- each leverages this background in its portal offering. Brio Technology Inc.'s Brio.Portal 6.0 showed strong back-end data integration and reporting capabilities -- not surprising for a product from a company that has long provided excellent data querying tools. Also not surprising is the fact that DataChannel Inc. -- one of the first firms to effectively leverage XML (Extensible Markup Language) in its initial push application -- offers a portal application that is based heavily on XML and demonstrates strong content distribution features. Coming from a services and Lotus Notes background, InfoImage Inc. focuses on application integration and collaboration in its Freedom 2 portal platform. And, as one would expect from the Sun-Netscape Alliance, the iPlanet Portal Server 3.0 has strong server and directory integration and makes good use of server-side Java. Finally, Plumtree Software -- a relative portal veteran -- makes good use of its knowledge management experience in deploying corporate portals to offer as close to an out-of-the-box experience as you will get with this type of application. The portals we tested were designed to touch every area of an organization. This is the applications' value, but it is also what makes them so intimidating. The deal makers when deciding on a corporate portal will be price, time to benefit, ability to conform to established business processes and corporate culture, and extensibility -- not only of the products themselves but of the companies providing the products. Because the market is relatively new, our judges wanted to bet on the player that will survive the inevitable market shakeout..."
[May 15, 2000] "ebXML Registry and Repository Part 1: Business Domain." Working Draft Version: 1.0, May 11, 2000. Abstract: "This document is Part 1 of the Functional Requirement Specification for an ebXML-compliant registry and repository. Part 1 defines the scope of the workflow to interact with a registry and repository, the actors involved in these interactions and the overall Domain Architecture for the e-Business Requirements of the registry and the repository. The Domain Architecture provides the basis of the detailed workflow specifications as defined in ebXML Registry and Repository Part 2: e-Business Requirements as well as forming the basis of traceability between Part 1 and Part 2."
[May 12, 2000] "JAXP: XML Plug and Play for Java." By [sjh]. In Server/Workstation Expert Volume 11, Number 5 (May 2000), pages 12-14. "Sun Microsystems's new Java Application Programming Interface for XML Parsing Optional Package, or JAXP for short, will allow Java developers to more easily integrate eXtensible Markup Language (XML) parsers into their Java applications. JAXP, released earlier this year, provides a common API to XML parsers, which read XML tags in a document and translate the contents. The API allows developers to swap between multiple parsers without having to change any application code. While JAXP specifies Sun's Java Project X parser as the default parser, it permits programmers to use any XML-conforming parser, including the Xerces parser from the Apache Software Foundation, or IBM Corp.'s XML for Java parser. 'JAXP is the basic plumbing necessary to use XML for data exchange inside of a Java application,' explains Rick Schultz, group product manager for the Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition at Sun in Palo Alto, CA. 'There's a lot of XML parsers out there. So we set this up so that as long as the parser meets the industry standard, it can plug into the Java platform.' Schultz says JAXP can be used immediately by developers who want to start working with XML and Java. Also, he expects to see makers of Java development tools and application servers begin to embed it in their products. For instance, Bluestone Software Inc., Philadelphia, PA, already supports JAXP in its Sapphire/Web Application Server and XML Suite Integration Server products. According to Bob Bickle, Bluestone's Chief Technical Officer, there is a need for JAXP because not all XML parsers for Java are alike, even though they may comply with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)'s XML 1.0 recommendation. 'A number of parsers have come out on the market and there's been a little bit of divergence in terms of the capabilities of the various parsers. What the JAXP does is provide a higher level interface to the different parsers.' Specifically, it helps hide differences between parsers conforming to either the Simple API for XML (SAX) or Document Object Model (DOM) standards. 'Java and XML are complementary technologies. Java is the portable business logic and XML provides the portable data,' says Schultz. 'So, for instance, in the world of B2B ecommerce, where you have people building applications that exchange data between companies, the applications are being built in Java and the data exchange is happening in XML.' Schultz says Sun will most likely include JAXP in the Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition Version 1.4 due out in mid-2001. That would make it a core Java technology and ensure that it is supported by any product bearing the 100% Pure Java logo from Sun." See the Java Technology & XML web site for links to Project X and the JAXP specifications. In particular: Java API for XML Parsing Version 1.0.1 (May 2, 2000). "The JAVA API for XML Parsing (JAXP) Optional Package provides basic functionality for reading, manipulating, and generating XML documents through pure Java APIs. It is a thin and lightweight API that provides a standard way to seamlessly integrate any XML-compliant parser with a Java application. Depending on the needs of the application, developers have the flexibility to swap between XML parsers (such as high performance vs. memory conservative parsers) without making application code changes. Thus, application and tools developers can rapidly and easily XML-enable their Java applications for e-commerce, application integration, and dynamic web publishing. The reference implementation uses the high performance Java Project X as its default XML parser. However, the software's pluggable architecture allows any XML conformant parser to be used. This release offers 100% conformance to the XML 1.0 Specification, SAX 1.0, DOM Level 1 Core and XML namespaces.
[May 12, 2000] "Web RPCs Considered Harmful." By Ken MacLeod. In MonkeyFist (May 12, 2000). ['I have written an article that describes major issues with Internet security and open standards when writing Web applications that rely on exposing their APIs over the Internet vs. Web applications that simply store data on Web servers. This article is motivated by the growing popularity of SOAP and XML-RPC and the emphasis they place on RPCs. ... I want to be clear that SOAP is more (or less, depending on how you look at it :-) than just RPCs, it's the marketing focus and user interest in using SOAP for RPCs that matters.'] "There are two relatively distinct dangers with RPCs used over the Internet, the first is a security issue, the second an open standards issue. There are alternatives that significantly reduce the security and standardization risks, and are just as simple, but they involve application designers using different design patterns than they have become used to, and strongly encouraged by the industry to use, on the desktop and local networks. The term RPC is used here generically to refer to any application or object interface that is made available over the Internet, regardless of whether it uses remote procedure calls, remote methods, distributed objects, or messaging. Common products and standards that support this are CORBA, DCOM, Java RMI, DCE RPC, XML-RPC, SOAP, and others. The issues described here only apply to applications implemented on an Internet scale for public use and is not intended to apply to the use of the above products on a local host or network or for proprietary applications, although the alternatives described can be used for those applications also. CORBA and DCOM are mature architectures for implementing distributed applications using the remote procedure/remote object model (RPCs). Although common and widely adopted on the desktop and local networks, they have not enjoyed broad Internet usage because of slightly heavy installation and usage requirements placed on users. Simpler protocols, like XML-RPC and SOAP, are about to change that and will make RPCs on the Internet as common as HTTP, HTML, and XML. But there is danger lurking here..."
[May 12, 2000] "The Problem of Business Semantics." By Jon Bosak. Slide Presentation (April 14, 2000). Stanford Knowledge on the Web Seminar (KnOWS) seminar focused on Ontologies, E-Commerce, XML, and Metadata (CS 545), hosted by the InfoLab (Spring 2000 Seminar Organized by Gio Wiederhold and Stefan Decker). Abstract: "For thousands of years, commercial transactions have consisted of two things: an exchange of goods and services, and an exchange of documents. XML is achieving wide acceptance because it allows us to implement the exchange of documents electronically. Originally designed as a more capable replacement for HTML, XML is becoming the technology of choice for a style of spontaneous trade in which previously unacquainted buyers and sellers meet and do business in a virtual marketplace. But trade -- especially international trade -- works only if we have common vocabularies and forms for the conduct of business. XML solves this problem on one level by providing a mechanism for the creation of an unlimited number of these vocabularies and forms, each designed for a different purpose. But clearing away the syntactic underbrush merely exposes the real problem: How do we arrive at shared systems of meaning across industries and cultures? This talk describes attempts to grapple with this question now taking place in ebXML, a joint initiative of two organizations -- the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) and the United Nations body for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) -- dedicated to the development of an XML-based infrastructure for electronic commerce." See "Electronic Business XML Initiative (ebXML)."
[May 12, 2000] "electronic business XML (ebXML) Requirements Specification." ebXML Candidate Draft. 28-April-2000. By Team Leader Mike Rawlins (Rawlins Consulting) and Editor Mark Crawford (Logistics Management Institute). "This ebXML Requirements Specification represents the work of the ebXML Requirements Project Team. It defines ebXML and the ebXML effort, articulates business requirements for ebXML, and defines specific requirements that will be addressed by the various ebXML project teams in preparing their deliverables." See "Electronic Business XML Initiative (ebXML)."
[May 12, 2000] "Efficiently Publishing Relational Data as XML Documents." By Jayavel Shanmugasundara, E. Shekita, R. Barr, M. Carey, B. Lindsay, H. Pirahesh, and B. Reinwald. Paper [to be] presented at the September 2000 VLDB Conference. Also available in Postscript format. [cache]
[May 12, 2000] "Junot Releases NLINK XML eXtender. Provides XML standardization for applications." By [Staff]. In eAI Journal (May 11, 2000). "The NLINK XML eXtender will be included in the forthcoming NLINK 3.0 release, planned for shipment in May 2000. Junot Systems has announced the general availability of its NLINK XML eXtender, designed to meet the needs of organizations wishing to standardize on XML as a means to exchange business data but who do not yet have all of their applications or trading partners XML-enabled. Enterprises with fully XML-enabled applications and systems can still use the NLINK XML eXtender to insulate themselves from competing or non-standardized schemas..." See the announcement from Junot: "Junot Systems Announces Support for XML Standard. Announces the Immediate Availability of its NLINK XML eXtender."
[May 12, 2000] "XML Conformance Update." By David Brownell. From XML.com (May 10, 2000). ['David Brownell has updated the OASIS test suite to take into account the most recent XML 1.0 specification errata, and run his tests against Ælfred 2, MSXML3, Oracle's parser, Sun's parser, Xerces-J and XP. The open source parsers delivered an excellent showing, leaving Microsoft and Oracle lagging behind.'] "This article is an update to my earlier articles from 1999 that tested the XML 1.0 conformance of parsers. Since then, there has been notable development of the parsers, and updates to the XML 1.0 specification itself. With respect to the dozen Java parsers reviewed last year, there have been a number of interesting changes, both in their conformance and in their open-source status. Microsoft's MSXML parser has also received a significant update, with the release of 'technology previews.'... There appears to be a pause in the OASIS work on XML infrastructure conformance. The ball is temporarily in the W3C's court to address bugs in the XML 1.0 specification that have been reported by its implementors and users. I'm not sure there's enough dialogue in that process: my personal preference would be for the W3C to adopt the IETF approach, and insist on interoperability and conformance testing processes with positive results (and multiple full implementations) before making recommendations." For background and references, see "XML Conformance."
[May 12, 2000] "Setting the Standard." By Liora Alschuler. From XML.com (May 10, 2000). ['We all know standards are important for XML, but what about the people who make them? Liora Alschuler investigates the options for processes, structure, and financial support in standards-setting organizations. Standards bodies differ in their processes, government and funding. Liora looks at what is required of a standards organization and some of the options for supporting that work.'] "I take full cognizance of the conflict inherent in my writing about 'who should write standards?' I am, after all, co-chair of a technical committee in an ANSI-accredited SDO (XML TC of Health Level 7). I am chair of the group charged by the TC to draft an XML document architecture for healthcare. Worse, I am under contract to HL7 working on one project and worse yet, in negotiations with them over another standards-writing project... So, who is actually writing high-tech standards today? Apart from those organizations affiliated with ANSI, who share some common structure and commitment to open governance and process, there are many smaller, ad hoc and formal organizations with no affiliation, and no stated intention of coming under the umbrella of ANSI (or anyone else). These bodies range from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to OASIS to the team of David Megginson and XML-DEV, who wrote and maintain the Simple API for XML (SAX)... So, how should government be involved, and where should the money come from? Professional societies and industry consortia have a role, as do government and regulatory agencies. I'd like to suggest a National Endowment for standards writing; a set-aside -- even a voluntary one -- created through profits of companies who have benefited from existence of standards. In essence, this is what the W3C has designed itself to be, by soliciting funds from interested parties and, to some degree, insulating the process from their direct control. NIST, which already invests heavily in seeding technology, could start a program to underwrite the development of the standards that are most needed. In fact, if you shake the family tree of ebXML, you'll find that one of the strong influences, the CommerceOne eCo Framework is the third generation of standards writing done under a NIST grant. An open, democratic process and public financing form a necessary, but not sufficient, context to ensure good work. If you ignore either process or the financial subsidy for standards writing, you put the power into the hands of those with a strong self-interest and the ability to pay."
[May 12, 2000] "XML Protocols." By Edd Dumbill. From XML.com (May 10, 2000). ['The biggest XML story of the last few weeks has been the release of the SOAP 1.1 protocol by Microsoft, IBM et al., and its subsequent submission to the W3C as a Note. SOAP is just one example of an XML protocol, an area currently under investigation by the W3C with a view to pursuing the creation of a Recommendation.'] "A public input session at XTech 2000 earlier this year showed that there was a great deal of confusion as to what exactly an "XML protocol" was and what it should do. There was a lurking distrust of SOAP, because of its Microsoft heritage, and little shared vision among participants. What did emerge from XTech 2000, though, was an impetus to define the problem more clearly, along with existing solutions in that area. Eric Prud'hommeaux of the W3C has been busy since then documenting and describing technologies such as SOAP, XML-RPC, and XMI in a matrix ["XML Protocol Comparisons"]. He has been ably assisted by Ken Macleod, maintainer of several XML protocol software packages, and creator of the Lightweight Protocols home page. One valuable achievement of Prud'hommeaux and the members of the xml-dist-app mailing list has been the identification of the facets of XML protocol technologies. These include such things as having a serialization format for data types, having a mechanism for machine interface discovery, enabling remote procedure calls, and security provisions. For a full list, refer to the protocol matrix. Thanks to this activity it would seem that we are some way closer to understanding the problem space. Next week, at the 9th World Wide Web conference in Amsterdam, there will be an 'XML Protocols Shakedown' panel discussion. Several points for the agenda have already been raised on the xml-dist-app list, and the discussion is likely to be lively..."
[May 12, 2000] "Vendors Brawl Over XML Standards." By Cassandra Brewer. In Computer User (May 12, 2000). "You can look at a drunken brawl two ways: You might see it as a destructive conflict between ornery miscreants; or, especially if you've had a few, you might view it as a constructive contest of will and wile that could ideally result in fresh rounds for everyone. What does this have to do with XML? Aside from subtly suggesting that a stiff shot might be a good precursor to any overview of the current melee of XML development, it reminds us that even chaotic conflict can be beneficial. . . it's not surprising that the schema scene is chaotic. There is a standard for writing XML, but no standard for writing schemas and DTDs. Nor is there any standard way for business communities to collaborate in syntax creation. Nevertheless, functional syntaxes are in such heavy demand that new schemas and DTDs appear almost daily. Issues of interoperable-resource identification, classification, cataloging, and delivery often take a back seat to feature-richness and delivery speed. Businesses are left to bet on one or more standards with minimal guidance, no assurance of long-term viability, and little background information. . . The complexity of the standards situation ranges across every level of development and integration, including generating theories of language-building for maximal use by diverse industries, getting people (and companies and industries) to agree on the process of modeling common information, ensuring that available languages are appropriate for all entities involved, and even building the foundations of interoperable applications. Beyond that, people must agree on common vocabularies, relationships or structures, processing methods, and approaches to building applications. Above all, there must be responsible management of information resources within application domains and a willingness to share intellectual constructs across enterprise domains. It's difficult to overestimate the amount of time and collaborative effort that such a process might require, which is why many developers have largely bypassed it in favor of rapid schema deployment. Cumulatively, this has resulted in many cases of competing, incompatible standards within and across market sectors..."
[May 12, 2000] "XML Tools Today." By Molly W. Joss. In Computer User (May 2000). ['More and more, small players are filling the XML tools gap.] "XML (extensible markup language) is big news these days, as more and more companies and developers get interested in cross-media publishing. It's also the latest and greatest for those who want to do any kind of Web design or site development. Analysts are betting that XML will outshine SGML and take the top spot for Web applications for years to come. This means that there are lots of XML tools available today, including tools for creating and editing XML, creating Web site elements that use XML, or building XML e-commerce applications. Expect to see more applications coming to market within the next year or so as companies turn up the heat on their XML product-development efforts... Coming from behind in a few short years to lead the pack, XML will be with us for years to come. It is a standard that's flexible, yet strong enough for print, Web, and CD-ROM publishing requirements. There are many tools that you can choose to create XML content, manage XML files, and create XML applications. More are on the way, so there will be plenty of selection for years to come. Make up your wish list and start shopping -- you're sure to find one (or more) tools [reviewed here] to meet your XML-related needs."
[May 12, 2000] "Java's Brewing on the AS/400." By Amy Rowell. In Midrange Systems Volume 13, Number 6 (May 01, 2000), pages 23-28. ["It's not surprising that Java on the AS/400 is considered a critical step forward in the evolution of the AS/400 platform. To learn more about what this all means for AS/400 users, MIDRANGE Systems recently spoke with IBM's John Quarantello, AS/400 Java segment manager, and his counterpart on the AS/400 e-business side, Louise Hemond-Wilson."] "... Basically, we'll be continuing with various releases to optimize the Java environment so that it has more functions and better performance. The other thing you'll see is we're investing in the area of XML more and you'll see more support for XML. One of the important capabilities that XML provides is data portability. Java provides application portability -- XML is an excellent environment to support data portability. So if somebody has some data in a relational database, some data in a flat-file system, and some in an embedded database, XML gives them the ability to present all different forms of data into one user interface. The really exciting part of XML is that that's how the AS/400 is going to be communicating to pervasive computing devices -- that's how we're going to be talking to Palm Pilots, cellular phones, Personal Digital Assistants, rings and so on. And it won't be long before we'll begin to see this technology becoming available. In fact, we expect to see this all happening in the second half of this year. ... There will also be derivatives of XML -- different versions of XML that are discipline-specific -- for instance in the area of trading partner agreements, which will become extremely important in the B2B space..." In this connection, note the 'New XML Technology from alphaWorks': "XML Interface for RPG." "XML Interface for RPG provides access to DOM level APIs in RPG programs. It allow RPG applications to create new or parse existing XML documents, facilitating the use of XML as both a datastore and IO mechanism in RPG... XML for RPG on AS/400 provides a set of RPG wrappers (interfaces) and a corresponding service program which front end the XML4C parser for the AS400. The actual parser functions are still implemented in C++. These wrappers allow RPG application to create or parse XML documents using equivalent DOM level APIs surfaced in the RPG interface. Use of XML for RPG requires the download of the XML for C++ version 3.1.0 parser for AS/400. Currently the interface supports DOM level 1 APIs. The addition of DOM level 2 and SAX APIs are under consideration."
[May 12, 2000] "Tamino Improves XML Data Management." By Mario Apicella. In InfoWorld Volume 22, Issue 19 (May 08, 2000), pages 106-112. [Tamino 1.2.1 Developer Edition, Software AG. Tamino offers a unified interface for storing and retrieving both XML and relational data, letting you fully leverage the power of the XML standard while shortening development cycles and simplifying application deployment. Using an XML-specific data engine, Tamino can store and retrieve XML data structure in its native format. The product lets you access multiple data sources, but its general lack of attentiveness -- ODBC and Web server configurations are left entirely to the user -- leaves room for improvement.'] "XML deepens the data content of e-business applications, but it also makes data management more complex largely because most companies store their XML documents in database management systems that aren't optimized for XML. . . Tamino's most innovative feature is its data engine, the X-Machine, which can efficiently store and retrieve XML data structures without altering the hierarchical structure or sequence. You access the X-Machine via the Tamino Manager, a browser-based interface that simplifies the process of defining XML databases by creating links to relational data structures and managing access rights. The Tamino Manager is the main access point to the data engine and is similar in functionality to IBM DB2's Control Center or Microsoft SQL Server's Enterprise Manager. Defining an XML database with the Tamino Manager was a no-brainer. A wizard guided my steps, suggesting default values for most options. To improve performance the Manager's wizard lets you easily adjust the value, location, and size of data, indexes, and log files. For example, you can spread data or log files across different disk devices much as you would in a traditional DBMS..." See the recent announcement: "Software AG Launches Award-Winning Native XML Database in United States; Tamino Provides Speed, Performance for Mission-Critical E-business Applications."
[May 12, 2000] "W3C acknowledges submission of SOAP 1.1 for linking applications via XML." By Brad Shewmake. In InfoWorld (May 09, 2000). "Several industry heavyweights took a step closer in their quest to create an XML-based standard for linking applications and services over the Internet Monday night, as the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) acknowledged the submission of SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) Version 1.1 for its review. Primarily authored by Microsoft, Userland Software, and DevelopMentor, SOAP 1.1 seeks to create a lingua franca for linking applications and services on the Internet, Microsoft officials said. Several other companies have also stepped up in support of the protocol, including IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Ariba, Compaq, Commerce One, and Lotus..." See "Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)."
[May 12, 2000] "On The Same Page With XML." By Don Kiely. In InformationWeek Issue 785 (May 2000), pages 207-209. ['For the standard to reach its potential, everyone must agree on how to use it.'] "...But for XML to reach its fullest potential, everyone must agree to use the language in the same ways. This means that both the sending and the receiving parties must agree to use a particular schema, a way of describing data using XML notation. To accomplish this, applications will need additional standards from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), some of which are just in the early proposal stages. XML will fully blossom into a valuable technology for E-commerce when industry groups work together to define XML schemas to describe industry data. For example, participants in an industrywide E-marketplace might define a schema with the specific tags needed to encapsulate information on the customers, products, and services that form the basis of their transactions. These schemas would have to be agreed upon and shared by the people and companies that use them. One such initiative is Microsoft's BizTalk (www.biztalk.org), a platform for launching the company's BizTalk Server. Microsoft is defining the BizTalk Framework, a set of guidelines for publishing schemas in XML and using XML messages to integrate software programs. The BizTalk Server, available as a technology preview, provides Internet application integration using XML and the BizTalk Framework. It includes secure and reliable data delivery, routing and transformation of business documents, and development tools for existing applications. The Mathematical Markup Language is one of the earliest XML schemas. It was developed to describe mathematical notation, including structure and content, letting content be served, received, and processed on the Web. The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards sponsors www.xml.org. This site features a wealth of information about XML and its uses, as well as an impressive catalog of XML schemas by industry group. The site provides a registry and repository for XML schemas and other public resources. Industry groups can register their XML data-exchange specifications, individuals can look for specifications in their areas of interest, and applications can access the XML resources needed to act on an XML document..."
[May 12, 2000] "XHTML: A Bridge To The Future." By Don Kiely. In InformationWeek Issue 785 (May 2000), pages 210-214. ['The W3C's recommendation blends XML and HTML to produce extensible Web-page formatting.'] According to the W3C, XHTML offers three major advantages to Web-site developers: extensibility, portability, and modularity. XHTML is extensible, as it adds new elements to HTML without altering the entire DTD that the document is based on. The second major advantage is portability, sometimes referred to as interoperability. Most Internet access is through browsers on desktop computers, though more and different types of devices are being introduced. Some of these devices, such as cell phones, won't have the processing power of a desktop PC, and browsers on them will be less tolerant of any malformed markup used to render a document. XHTML is designed to make Web documents accessible and interoperable across platforms, in part by enforcing a rigorous coding standard. Modularity made it into the specification late in the process, and acknowledges the growing role that the Web is playing in handheld devices. Browsers on these devices won't need all XHTML elements, so XHTML allows subsets of elements. The primary focus for the next version of XHTML, already called XHTML 1.1, will be modularization..."
[May 10, 2000] "The XML Security Suite: Increasing the security of e-business." By Doug Tidwell. Cyber Evangelist, developerWorks XML team. From IBM developerWorks. April 2000. "As more and more companies use XML to transmit structured data across the Web, the security of documents becomes increasingly important. This article presents some basics of Web security, describes the components of the XML Security Suite, and gives examples that illustrate how the technologies in the XML Security Suite increase the security of Web commerce. . . As more and more companies use XML to transmit structured data across the Web, the security of documents becomes increasingly important. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) are currently defining an XML vocabulary for digital signatures. The Tokyo Research Lab has created the XML Security Suite, a prototype implementation of the XML signature specification. The XML Security Suite, available from IBM's alphaWorks, contains utilities to automatically generate XML digital signatures. . . The XML Security Suite provides two other utilities, an ASN.1-to-XML translator and a variety of DOMHASH tools. The ASN.1-to-XML translator automatically translates between ASN.1 data (such as X.509 certificates and LDAP data) and XML. DOMHASH is an algorithm that generates a unique hash value for a given node in an XML document tree. The DOMHASH tools included with the XML Security Suite calculate hash values for given nodes, and provide a suite of DOMHASH test tools. alphaWorks contains a DOMHASH application called XMLTreeDiff; it uses DOMHASH to determine the differences between two DOM trees..."
[May 10, 2000] "Timber Time. [Sequoia Software's IPO.]" By Larry Dignan. In Inter@ctiveWeek (May 08, 2000). "Is the price right for Sequoia Software's initial public offering? Amid a slumping market for initial public offerings, the company had to lower its asking price, but could do well considering it's an eXtensible Markup Language e-business software company. What gives Sequoia the confidence to go public in a turbulent market? The right buzzword: eXtensible Markup Language (XML). The company, based in Columbia, Md., provides XML-based Internet software to create e-business portals. The idea is that businesses can use Sequoia code to create a hub where employees, customers, suppliers and partners can interact, share information and boost productivity Sequoia's flagship product is the XML Portal Server (XPS), which the company says is 'the first interactive portal software product that uses XML as its core technology'."
[May 10, 2000] "XML growth continues -- in more ways than one." By Bellman. In IT-Director (May 10, 2000). "Amid concerns that the increased use of XML will cause problems with larger file sizes affecting performance, Intel has come up with some new products that should broaden its uses within business solutions... The problem with this is that XML is not really designed with efficiency in mind but is, instead, focussed on usability. The content-tagging approach that is used within XML can hardly be described as 'brief' and the result is that using XML can require up to three times as much data to be transmitted when compared to equivalent EDI transactions. Whilst it appears that this problem has been noted by a few large-scale users, it is not expected to curtail use of the language. At this time, the majority of XML transactions involve small amounts of data and so the impact has been minimal. The potential for affecting application performance by using XML should, however, be noted and application designers need to balance the benefits of real-time response against the volumes of data to be transferred. Not all applications will be suited to XML."
[May 10, 2000] "An XML-Based Realty Company." By Toufic Boubez and Doug Tidwell (IBM). From IBM DeveloperWorks (March 2000). "Data interchange is one of XML's strengths. The ability to move structured data from one system to another, without losing anything in translation, makes a whole new class of applications possible. We'll demonstrate this through a sample application built for a fictional realty company, California Properties, and one of its branch offices, San José Realty. California Properties needs to keep an updated database of listings, sales data, and new home starts. San José Realty needs to keep their agents up-to-date with the latest listings, keep their local systems in sync with the central office, and display listings on a variety of remote devices. We'll discuss the XML technologies we used to build the application and demonstrate how they tie various data stores and devices together."
[May 10, 2000] "ActionPoint Addresses Customer Needs. XML-based system lets companies present updated information -- can be used with legacy systems." By Matthew G. Nelson. In InformationWeek (May 01, 2000), page 131. "As more buyers and sellers log on to online marketplaces, Web-site operators are facing a variety of challenges: providing interfaces to users' systems, ensuring that purchasing information is up-to-date, and connecting the data to back-end financial systems. For the next version of Equilinx's system, [Lee] Fife [CEO, Equilinx Inc.] is looking to the Extensible Markup Language and a new software system from ActionPoint Inc., formerly Input Software Inc. Equilinx is testing the ActionPoint Interaction Management System, which the vendor unveiled last week when it changed its name. The XML-based system lets a company present its online customers with user interfaces that update themselves with new information based on responses, then translate the purchase data via XML so it can be used in legacy systems or in standard enterprise application integration systems, according to ActionPoint. The Interaction Management System consists of three applications: the ActionPoint Dialog Server, which distributes and manages the users' browsers; the ActionPoint Enterprise Server, which stores and routes user information and provides the links to legacy systems; and InputAccel, which captures print and fax information for translation into electronic systems..." See the recent announcement: "ActionPoint Ships XML-Based Product to Beta -- Fortune 500 And Net MarketPlaces Among Users Of World's First Interactive Management Product For B2B E-commerce."
[May 10, 2000] "Gates emphasizes security, Windows 2000 in speech." By Wylie Wong. In CNet News.com (May 09, 2000). "In his first speech since the government's request to break up Microsoft, chairman Bill Gates today stressed the language of technology over legalese. Gates appeared at the Networld+Interop conference here to discuss Microsoft's role in the future of the Internet, as well as highlight Windows 2000 as an operating system that can help expand the reach of e-commerce...The chairman also hailed XML (Extensible Markup Language), a Web standard for exchanging data, as a key component to the Internet's future. Proponents say XML will allow companies to easily and cheaply conduct online transactions with customers and partners. Microsoft has been building XML support into all its software. The Internet is mostly PC- and Web browser-centric, allowing people to grab data from only one Web site at a time. With XML, people can get information from multiple sites and on different devices, such as cell phones. Gates said the language 'will form the foundation of the digital economy'."
[May 10, 2000] "Intel aims to give B2B a boost. Two new products, the NetStructure 7280 XML Director and 7210 XML Accelerator, control and direct Internet transactions based on XML." By Ken Popovich. In eWeek Magazine (May 08, 2000). "...The Intel NetStructure 7280 XML Director combines the acceleration of security functions and XML, control of XML transactions and 'XML transaction roll-back' (re-submitting failed XML transactions to another server for processing) in a single device. Overall, Intel said, the 7280 will enable companies to carry out secure transactions up to 150 times faster than previously possible. While many B2B management devices currently support simple load balancing, the 7280 can identify and classify incoming XML requests based on specific elements within the XML transactions. Once classified, the 7280 prioritizes and directs the XML requests based on a number of selected criteria."
[May 10, 2000] "Microsoft, others aim for Net communication standard." By Wylie Wong. In CNet News.com> (May 2000). "Microsoft and 10 other firms have submitted an Internet communications technology to a Web standards body. The technology, called Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), lets companies link their computing systems over the Net and conduct e-commerce. It is based on XML (Extensible Markup Language), a Web standard for data exchange... The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) will consider SOAP and 11 similar communications protocols before determining which one becomes the standard XML format, according to W3C spokeswoman Janet Daly. The W3C will host a panel discussion next week on the issue, but no immediate decisions are expected. The group is likely to begin the standards process by listing the features it wants in an XML-based communications protocol, Daly said. The SOAP technology is intended to solve a dilemma faced by businesses over competing programming models. Most software developers have settled on two ways to write business software. Microsoft supports a model that steers businesses to use its dominant Windows operating system. Sun Microsystems, Oracle, IBM and dozens of others support their own proprietary model based on the Java programming language and Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA), two tightly integrated technologies. SOAP would serve as a common communications format that would link the various programming models together, allowing businesses with different computing systems to connect and conduct trades online, regardless of the model they use." See "Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)."
[May 10, 2000] "Intel speeds e-commerce." By Cathleen Moore. In InfoWorld Volume 22, Issue 19 (May 08, 2000), page 10. "At this week's NetWorld+Interop show in Las Vegas, Intel will roll out NetStructure networking devices designed to speed up XML-based e-commerce transactions. The network control devices, designed to be used in conjunction with switches, load balancers, and other traffic management equipment, are built around a rules-based engine that analyzes XML data and allows greater control than does URL-or port-based traffic management, according to Intel officials. One analyst agreed that XML-based prioritization makes sense... The 7280 can also identify different XML dialects, such as Microsoft's BizTalk, Ariba's cXML, and the ebXML standard, and then direct them to the correct back-end servers for processing, Intel said..."
[May 10, 2000] "The Information-Centric Enterprise. How XML Makes All Your Data Work for You." By Coco Jaenicke. In eAI Journal (May 2000), pages 22-25. [abstract]
[May 10, 2000] "XML for RMS from Accelr8." By Philip E Courtney. In eAI Journal (May 2000), page 27. Software Review article. "XML for RMS enables record-level access to files, [translating] the data in the record to a properly formatted XML document..." See also the announcement: "Accelr8 Releases XML for RMS."
[May 08, 2000] "Intel to introduce products to ease XML adoption." By Michael Kanellos. In CNet News.com (May 08, 2000). Intel will try to smooth the path for XML (Extensible Markup Language) adoption with two new server appliances that will improve how networks handle the new Web technology. At Networld+Interop this week in Las Vegas, Intel will unveil the 7210 XML Accelerator and the 7280 XML Director, two products that will decipher, route and manage network traffic written in XML. When XML messages enter the network, they will be directed to the 'XML Only' window. The new products also will be able to identify different XML vocabularies and to route traffic to the appropriate part of the back-end computing network that speaks the same variant, said Brett Helm, general manager of the network equipment division at Intel. Hardware specifically geared toward XML traffic is likely to alleviate some of the burden, or speed up the acceptance, of XML's use in e-commerce, said Warren Wilson, senior analyst at Summit Strategies. XML is a richer language that is expected to heighten overall network efficiency. A transition to XML, however, will require retrofitting existing systems to some degree. . . The 7280 Director will be able to handle approximately three times the number of connections that the Accelerator can handle and will come with other features, such as being able to prioritize messages. For example, a $10,000 purchase order can receive priority over a $50 order. An Intel spokesman said that the company's two XML server appliances are complementary to XML software that giants Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, the Sun-Netscape Alliance and others are creating. The software companies are building XML integration software that lets businesses use XML to tie their back-end computing systems together to conduct e-commerce. Although the XML integration software is located in businesses' back-end computing systems, Intel's products reside in between, on the network. It routes and prioritizes XML traffic to the appropriate back-end computing system..." See the Intel announcement: "Intel To Introduce Groundbreaking New Products For Transacting Business Over The Web New Intel NetStructure Systems for B2B Accelerate and Prioritize XML-based e-Commerce."
[May 05, 2000] "BizTalk Simplifies Data Exchange." By Tom Yager. In InfoWorld Volume 22, Issue 18 (May 01, 2000), pages 63, 66. "Even though the XML language has been promoted as a panacea for EDI (electronic data interchange), most businesses have yet to fully exploit its power. True, business data produced and consumed within your company yields easily to XML, but business-to-business data interchange presents huge challenges. Although you can apply XML today in custom-written b-to-b applications, a simpler solution would be a package that provides structured, secure, reliable document handling with minimal programming. Microsoft's BizTalk Server 2000, now downloadable at www.microsoft.com/biztalkserver as a free technology preview, is an adaptable, capable, and open suite of EDI services and objects that simplifies the handling of b-to-b data interchange. With BizTalk Server, there's no need to convene in lengthy meetings with suppliers, clients, and other partners to hammer out business document conventions. In fact, your partners don't even need to use XML, because BizTalk Server can turn any document that meets your standards into XML. BizTalk Server marks the evolution of Microsoft's BizTalk XML. That initiative, a public XML schema repository available at www.biztalk.org, was supposed to standardize data document formats within the corporation. But BizTalk XML didn't solve the problem of linking to your partners' non-XML and foreign XML documents. Moreover, BizTalk XML didn't directly address the problems of transferring data between organizations, routing data to applications, or automating data processing. With BizTalk Server, Microsoft offers to take over the entire middle tier of data interchange processing. [...] In early testing, I was struck by the utter absence of raw XML in BizTalk Server's user interfaces and utilities. XML is a BizTalk Server constant; it's even used to represent documents that didn't start out as XML. But if you're expecting to invest a lot of time hacking XML documents, you're mistaken. Using the tools provided, you can create an impressive data interchange system without editing or even understanding XML. BizTalk Server makes no effort to prevent the modification of underlying XML files; you're free to modify them in the text editor of your choice. Given XML's reputation for simplicity, you may wonder why you'd need GUI tools to manage it. True, core XML, the basic hierarchical document, is straightforward. But the dark side of XML emerges when you start working with the technologies that support it. In particular, DTDs (Document Type Definitions), schemas that help a parser judge the validity of an XML document, are infamous for their complexity. And although newer schema standards, such as XML-Data, make document-validity specifications easier to create, there are still plenty of rules to follow. The BizTalk Editor takes care of all those hassles. You simply build a tree diagram representing the elements of your business document. After importing one of my dense DTDs into BizTalk Editor and working with it graphically, I came to appreciate this simple approach. Being insulated from the uglier inner workings of XML frees you to focus on your data... Standards compliance is another common gripe with Microsoft solutions. But the company recognizes the need to stay current with evolving EDI and XML standards; so in this case, Microsoft tracks standards about as well as it can. Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT), the World Wide Web Consortium's extensible style sheet language for XML transformations, powers BizTalk Server's document translator. The document-specification editor imports XML formats from a variety of sources, including well-formed XML and DTD files. Overall, I consider BizTalk Server's architecture to be highly adaptable to changes in technology. It certainly bodes well that, even in this preview, non-Microsoft data sources and destinations were supported." For references, see "BizTalk Framework. . ."
[May 05, 2000] "Opening the Vault. [Business/Data Intelligence.]" By Peter Fischer. In Software Magazine Volume 20, Issue 2 (April/May 2000), pages 24-28. ['Integration and XML provide the keys, but there are many different approaches to information integration. The challenge is to choose the best one for your needs.'] The author discusses the 'information portal' and the central role of XML; he surveys a number of products which support information integration.
[May 04, 2000] "Building the Bell Atlantic Tariff Management System. SGML and Electronic Loose-Leaf Publishing." By John S. Barker. In Dr. Dobb's Journal Volume 25, Issue 5 (May 2000), pages 90-97. [Programmer's Toolchest.] "Bell Atlantic's Tariff Management System is a web-based, collaborative system for generating and managing tens of thousands of pages of documents. What made building the system difficult is that it had to be capable of delivering the product in multiple formats -- paper, PDF, and HTML -- while obeying strict, legislated rules regarding page layout..." The article describes a 'TopLeaf' SGML-based document production system. While working for Open Text, Barker developed the Bell Atlantic Tariff Management System, providing fully-integrated, web-based production of loose leaf regulatory documents. The system provided workflow analysis and process management methodologies. Barker founded Metaformix in 1999. Description of the Bell Atlantic Tariff Management System is available on the author's Web page: "The Bell Atlantic Tariff Management System is designed to integrate an SGML-based authoring system, with a high-throughput loose leaf typesetting system and web-based document management and work-group system, to provide complete, page-oriented document management for eight distinct jurisdictional regulators, including the FCC, each of which has its own page formatting requirements. Unique to this application is the marrying of page-oriented documentation maintenance processes to international-standard SGML data storage. Built around Open Text's Livelink Intranet software, the system integrates Arbortext Adept Editor and Turn-Key Systems' TopLeaf loose leaf SGML typesetting software, providing a batch-oriented publishing engine in an n-tier client/server environment, through which all the major functions and processes necessary to Bell Atlantic's tariff management can be accomplished. From SGML source files, page-oriented PDF, GIF and TIF renditions of changed pages can be automatically generated. This allows for complete web-based electronic submission of the regulatory documents to the jurisdictional regulators for each tariff. Key in this application architecture was the collapsing of the traditional loose leaf document management methodology from "one page = one object" back to the section level, greatly simplifying the management of changes to the documents within the environemnt. TopLeaf maintains the location of page breaks, and creates pages out of the edited SGML file. It then runs difference tools to detect which pages have changes on them, and then builds printable images of this information. The printed, paged output, is automatically uploaded back into Livelink using Livelink's API, where users can preview it via their web browser's PDF plug-in. From a business perspective, Bell Atlantic was motivated to change from the current system, which had been built around Interleaf 5 and Interleaf RDM, due to aging hardware. As a going-forward strategy, they saw the advantages of converting the data to SGML, making their data insensitive to any future technology changes. For a quick view of the application architecture, look at the slide presentation..." [Note that the DDJ Web site now has an XML corner edited by Ken North, and an XML discussion forum.]
[May 04, 2000] "XML, Reflective Pattern Matching, and Java." By Andrew Dwelly. In Dr. Dobb's Journal Volume 25, Issue 6 (June 2000), pages 46-54. [Special Issue on Object-Oriented Design.] "Although the pattern matching available in Hex, the program Andrew presents here, is relatively simple, it is still powerful enough to perform sophisticated XML document processing. Additional resources include xmljava.txt listings and the source code." [Alternate email: firstname.lastname@example.org] On HEX: see Chapter 3 of "The Annotated Marius." "Earlier versions of Marius use a standard technique, recursive descent, for processing the parse tree of DOM nodes that the XML parser produces. The resulting classes were large and very tightly couple to the structure of the Marius DTD. Even the smallest change to the DTD requires a change sometimes a substantial one to the class that processes the tree of Node objects to produce the output. From version 0.6 a new technique is used, reflective pattern matching (rPM). This idea, original to the Marius project, uses one of the more powerful aspects of Java, reflection, combined with the pattern matching paradigm for specifying tree processing. The resulting class is marginally smaller; my experiments show a typical reduction between ten to fifteen percent. However the structure of the class is much less strongly coupled to the structure of the DTD. A change to the DTD does not necessarily imply a change to the processing class. Even if it does, a change may not be a substantial one... The need for a scheme like Hex arose because I was looking for a way to break the increasingly unwieldy Weave class into something smaller and more manageable. The use of recursive descent does not produces small classes if the DTD itself is large. I was also searching for a way to make it easy to generate a variety of outputs from a single DTD. I'd experimented with output templates in my "Intranet in a Box" project a few years ago, but this turned out to be rather unsatisfactory as I was constantly finding new situations that the template solution could not easily cope with. I've also spent part of this year trying to adapt Prolog style Horn clauses to this task. This idea looked promising, but after some effort on my part, did not really seem to offer the elegance and simplicity of a satisfactory solution. So Hex is my third attempt at improving XML processing, and I think I've struck gold this time. Hex has the following advantages: (1) The delegate classes tend to be smaller (experiments show this is around a 15% reduction) (2) The coupling between a delegate class and the XML is much looser. (3) Pattern matching is a powerful way of expressing tree processing..." [Why call it Hex? - Officially Hex stands for Highly Evolvable XML processing. Actually I named it after the computer Hex in the Terry Pratchett discworld novels. Ever since I first read about this I've been looking for an opportunity to name a method "redoFromStart"; and this turned out to be my chance. I haven't found a good use for an "OutOfCheeseException" yet.] Marius documentation, cache.
[May 04, 2000] "Parsing Complex Text Structures." By Ian E. Gorman. In Dr. Dobb's Journal Volume 25, Issue 6 (June 2000), pages 90-98. [Special Issue on Object-Oriented Design.] "A pattern language that includes recursive patterns and conditional pattern matching can handle complex text structures without supplementary programming. Ian uses the OmniMark pattern language from OmniMark Technologies to do a job that might otherwise be done with tools like lex and yacc. Additional resources include parse.txt listings and the source code."
[May 03, 2000] "Demystifying Object Options." By Karen Watterson. In Server/Workstation Expert Volume 11, Number 4 (April 2000), pages 52-59 [cover story]. ['Whether you're a shop that prefers to build your own components or not, the good news is distributed computing is getting easier. Today, the field has narrowed to two competing architectures: J2EE and Windows 2000 DNA.'] "[Object models?] Today, the field has narrowed and it's more a question of competing architectures: the Microsoft Windows 2000 Distributed Internet Architecture, or DNA on one hand, and the IBM Corp. and Sun-Netscape Alliance Java 2 Enterprise Edition, or J2EE, on the other. Either one of them can serve as the foundation of an organization's distributing computing environment -- and both want to be the market leader. Unfortunately, both of these architectures are still works in progress, and although the future seems to hold the promise of an object-agnostic, service-centric world greased by technologies such as eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), we're not there yet... Microsoft needs to deliver SQL Server 2000, Commerce Server 2000 and Host Integration Server before the first stage of Windows DNA 2000 is really complete. And it's not expected to deliver the next version of Visual Studio, which will allow programmers to create next-generation COM+ Web components until sometime in 2001. (Visual Basic will also be gaining support for true inheritance in that release of Visual Studio.) More interesting, perhaps, is how 'open; Microsoft's Next Generation Web Services will really be. XML and the SOAP protocol seem to be poised to liberate Microsoft customers from the chains of COM. But one Microsoft independent software vendor (ISV) who requests anonymity says, 'The shift of Microsoft from proprietary technology to supporting a standard such as XML, even at the component level, is a bit curious -- and makes me wonder what tricks they have up their sleeves.' He's not alone. Will customers essentially have to buy into Microsoft's version of XML and its BizTalk server in order to do e-commerce with COM-centric partners? The idea seems to be that anyone is welcome to develop a set of XML schemas that conform to the BizTalk Framework. These schemas are then submitted to the BizTalk.org ('org' has such a nice nonproprietary sound, doesn't it) Web site (http://www.biztalk.org) for testing and validation, before being made publicly available. The BizTalk steering committee, which consists of key industry influencers, including the American Petroleum Institute, Baan Co., Boeing, Clarus Corp., Commerce One, Concur Technologies, the Data Interchange Standards Association (DISA), J.D. Edward & Co., Merrill Lynch, Microsoft, Open Applications Group (OAG), PeopleSoft Inc., RosettaNet and SAP, reviews and approves the final BizTalk Framework specification. Then, individuals or organizations can use published, public XML schemas from BizTalk.org within their applications. Businesses will also have the option of publishing the schemas on a secure Web site for private use between trading partners. The goal is to get a set of common XML schemas that are tuned to promote the most popular types of e-commerce and business-to-business (B2B) transactions. BizTalk represents a major departure for Microsoft because it moves Microsoft from a technology focus to a Web services focus, albeit in a nonrevenue-generating mode... But whether you're a shop that prefers to build your own components -- or at least, some of them -- or not, the good news is that distributed computing really is getting easier. XML and the Microsoft-drafted SOAP, a protocol based on XML that promises to handle remote procedure calls across the Internet in a nonproprietary fashion, seem destined to provide the glue that makes distributed computing a given -- the way object-oriented programming and components are today." [cache]
[May 03, 2000] "On Display: XML Web Pages with Internet Explorer 5.x." By Simon St. Laurent. From XML.com. May 02, 2000. ['Completing our survey of XML browsing support, we take a look at Microsoft's Internet Explorer, and attempt to create a cross-browser XML document that works in Mozilla, Opera, and MSIE.'] "Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser for Windows and Macintosh renders XML content best using a technique very different from its Mozilla and Opera competitors: it relies on XSLT, and provides only a minimal level of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) support for use with XML. In general, Microsoft appears to be remaining far more dependent upon HTML for the presentation and linking tasks for which Mozilla and Opera use CSS and XLink. This leaves developers with a 'support Microsoft, or support everyone else' problem. While there are ways around this, developers who want to support complex formatting in these two categories of browsers are going to have to write duplicate code, or possibly wait for the next generation of browsers. [...] While this multiple-stylesheet approach works for now, the version of XSLT that Microsoft is using may cause problems if and when Mozilla and Opera add XSLT support, and these problems may also be affected by the timing of Microsoft's XSLT upgrade to production versions of its browsers. Fortunately, Microsoft is offering a converter from its XSLT to the final version. It's a lot more work to build multiple style sheets, making XML browsing much less tantalizing than it might otherwise be. Hopefully, before long the browser vendors will converge on some kind of compatible vision of XML document presentation."
[May 03, 2000] "Browser XML Display Support Chart." By Simon St. Laurent. From XML.com. May 02, 2000. ['An at-a-glance guide to the level of XML browsing support in Mozilla, Opera, and Internet Explorer.'] "This table summarizes the findings of our investigations into the support for XML browsing offered by the latest web browsers."
[May 03, 2000] "Style Matters: DSSSL for XML: Why not?" By Didier Martin. From XML.com. May 02, 2000. ['Although a forerunner to CSS and XSLT, DSSSL can still be used today with XML to create RTF, HTML, and other formats. Didier Martin show us how. A styling language invented for use with SGML, DSSSL still has practical application in formatting XML documents for print. In "DSSSL for XML: Why not?", Didier demonstrates that the DSSSL monster is in fact a gentle creature.'] "I'll talk about a grove processing and styling language, DSSSL (pronounced 'deesel'). DSSSL stands for Document Style Semantics and Specifications Language. Like groves, DSSSL is another technology with its roots in SGML, and sometimes suffers from bad press in the XML world. In fact, as you'll notice after reading this article, a DSSSL style sheet can be as simple to read and understand as a CSS style sheet. Both are rule-based languages, as indeed is XSLT. DSSSL is mainly intended for processing SGML documents but, since XML 1.0 documents are also SGML documents, they can be processed by a DSSSL engine. The OpenJade DSSSL implementation can be used to style DTD-less well-formed XML documents, as you would with CSS or XSLT. For those of you who use XSLT, you'll find DSSSL has some familiar processing concepts..." For description and references, see "DSSSL - Document Style Semantics and Specification Language. ISO/IEC 10179:1996."
[May 03, 2000] "XML-Deviant: JDOM and TRaX." By Leigh Dodds. From XML.com. May 03, 2000. ['Two innovative technologies have recently been announced to the XML developer community: JDOM, a Java-specific DOM; and TRaX, an API for XML transformations.']
[May 03, 2000] "Generic Data Models and Schemas." By Jeff Lowery. From XML.com. May 03, 2000. ['Jeff Lowery writes to share how he is using the DOM in his applications, and his wishes for XML Schema integration in programming languages.'] "There are some unique aspects to writing software for the publishing industry that motivate the use of generic data structures (such as XML) as an application's internal data model. For instance, there are many tagged data formats (PDF, PJTF, PPD, etc.) that we must support. By having tag names for every data element, we can easily map one tagged data structure to another. We do this by building hash maps in Java that map our tags to classes that transform one particular type of data item to a target data format. As we traverse our tree-based data model, each tag encountered is looked up in the hash map, the associated class instance is retrieved, and one of its methods is called with the instance data as its parameter. [...] Having a simple but powerful declarative mechanism for describing data member constraints in a programming language (such as a schema definition) would save millions of developers a lot of mindless hand coding of low-level constraints through class methods. Higher level, business rule constraints will still have to be written by hand, but often these business rules change over time, or from one department to another, so declaring these high level rules would not be as useful. Lastly, having schema definitions in a programming language should facilitate the transformation of one data format into another."
[May 03, 2000] XML, EBiz Features Beef Up SQL Server 2000. New SQL 2000 Features, Functionality Emerge in Second Beta Version." By Carolyn Welch (Senior Associate Editor, Visual Basic Programmer's Journal). "SQL Server 2000, the latest version of Microsoft's flagship database product, is the latest example of Microsoft's push to the Web. E-commerce is everything to Microsoft right now, and all its products and product announcements reflect this. Microsoft outlined its improvements to the database at a recent reviewers conference. Microsoft is emphasizing SQL Server 2000's ability to provide real-world solutions, right now, in ways that are both easier-to-use and more robust than its competitors and Oracle 8i in particular. The planned improvements aren't revolutionary, but they are extensive. Roger Jennings, longtime VBPJ contributor and SQL developer, notes, 'SQL Server 2000 includes a little something for everyone, including a severe migraine for Oracle's marketers'. Microsoft touts improvements in three key areas: e-commerce and the Internet; scalability and reliability; and management and development. XML figures prominently in the list of e-commerce and Internet features. For example, SQL Server 2000 lets you view and access relational data using XML; use T-SQL and stored procedures to access and manipulate XML documents as if they were tables; and enables you to insert, update, and delete table data wherever it might reside, even over firewalls..."
[May 03, 2000] "XHTML: The Clean Code Solution." By Peter Wiggin. From The O'Reilly Network. April 28, 2000. "XML continues to be a hot topic among web developers. Why? Because it delivers a standardized markup that separates display and layout code from syntax, making the creation, maintenance, and parsing of documents much easier for all involved. But that's just one example of how a strict, standardized markup standard can make programming easier. As we watch the growing trend of portable web-enabled devices, we realize they require only small subsets of the bloated HTML code we are sending to desktop browsers, and multiple output formats are what XML and standardized markup languages were designed for. Getting to that point, however, will require some work..."
[May 03, 2000] "Tag, You're It. [STANDARDS.]" By Beth Stackpole. In CIO Magazine (March 15, 2000). ['XML promises to simplify data exchange for the masses...as soon as industries can chase down standard definitions of key business terms.'] "...what appears to be universal buy-in for XML, the lack of standard, vertical vocabularies, or tag sets, is still a major hindrance. If you think of XML as an alphabet, it's clear that without consensus on how key business terms like customer or invoice are defined, there is no guarantee that companies within the same vertical industryis bound to get lost in the translation. The problem is exacerbated when data is exchanged between companies in different industries. Taken to an extreme example, terms like sole and heel would refer to footwear components at a shoe company and body parts at an HMO. Standard XML vocabularies for specific industries will ensure that systems exchanging data speak the same language, thereby reducing or eradicating any communication gap. [...] In a telling show of support for XML, the automotive industry, which is so heavily invested in EDI that it may take years to evolve to an XML standard, acknowledges that existing EDI tags must be leveraged into XML. 'In a sense, XML is EDI -- it's just another way of transferring data between trading partners, which we've been doing,' says Dave Van Noord, vice president of advanced technologies at CMI-Competitive Solutions, an automotive ERP provider in Grand Rapids, Mich. Van Noord also provides XML expertise and training within the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG). 'You'll see a transition to XML in areas where we don't have a lot of EDI [tags], like for buying MRO [maintenance, repair and operations] goods. It will also enable a lot of tier-two and -three companies to be able to participate in the [electronic data exchange] process.' [...] Most XML standards are in the early stages of development, with few industry verticals having begun any meaningful pilots. Many groups were targeting first quarter 2000 for the release of complete vertical XML tag sets. Yet because there are so many efforts underwayrtical industries interested in developing XML tags, it's that we manage against the multiple factions within an industry working in opposition to one another,' says Laura Walker, executive director of OASIS in Boston. 'It's not unexpected or unhealthy in this early stage of development. But OASIS will make every effort to unify the efforts.' [...] At Sabre Labs in Ft. Worth, Texas, that means using some of the new packaged XML integration tools where they can help and actively participating on XML standards boards like the travel industry's Open Travel Alliance, according to Bob Offutt, vice president for the R&D arm of Sabre Inc., a global IS provider to the travel and transportation industry. While Sabre is still functionally dependent on EDI links, Offutt says the company is experimenting with XML internally on a number of projects. XML is also a critical piece of a Sabre joint venture with IBM and Nokia, which will provide a service through travel agents to deliver Sabre travel data directly to cell phones, giving customers the convenience of checking flight information and booking hotels without having to talk to an agent or log on to the web. That's something that wouldn't be possible with EDI, Offutt notes. 'EDI is computer-to-computer, high-speed communications whereas XML's value is on the display side,' he explains. '[XML allows us to] reformat Sabre data to be displayed in multiple devices'."
[May 03, 2000] "ABC's of Schema. Chapter 8: Best Practices." By Dan Rogers. BizTalk Forum Online Book. April 21, 2000. ['Ever wonder what schemas are and why XML is going to be so important to your business? Want to know why schema libraries are an essential part of a new business-to-business global infrastructure? How do you form a schema strategy? What are best practices? BizTalk.org is here to help you learn more.'] "Chapter 7 covered some first steps in applying what we've discussed to XML projects in a business setting. This chapter continues that thrust by exploring an issue that programmers face very early on while learning to use XML in applications. ... The issue involves namespaces and dealing with namespace prefixes in application logic that uses an XML DOM (document object model) to parse or construct XML." [Online book description: 'Chapter by chapter, The ABC's of Schemas covers the issues surrounding XML and the businesses need to understand the implications of the technology, its relevance to electronic commerce, and ways to manage the introduction of this technology into your business. One final note on this book: It's interactive, so you can ask your own questions and help shape future chapters. New chapters will appear periodically and be announced in this news item - which serves as the table of contents.'] See "BizTalk Framework."
[May 02, 2000] "XML and SQL Server 2000." By Paul Burke. In SQL Server Magazine (May 2000). ['Check out SQL Server 2000's XML enhancements and explore an example of how you can extract data from SQL Server 2000 as XML, format the data, then use that data in your application.'] "One of the most eagerly awaited features in SQL Server 2000, support for XML, is also one of the most nebulous in terms of immediate, practical value. Everyone's heard the hype about a language to bridge all languages, and nearly every relational database management system (RDBMS) now claims XML support. But when and where do you use XML and why? XML, an Internet standard for information exchange, lets you publish data types in a platform-independent manner, facilitating interoperability and e-commerce. XML also separates data from presentation information within Web pages, giving you a standard way to define and exchange data between applications and databases. As a language for defining markup languages, XML's primary value will come from either the widespread acceptance of a particular language defined in XML or the widespread acceptance of XML and the availability of utilities, tools, and infrastructure to support its use. Although XML has several excellent defined languageser, in this Internet age, few organizations are an island unto themselves. And even within organizations, a pure environment of any one server, platform, or language is rare. Although SQL Server 2000 is the first SQL Server version to feature XML support, Microsoft's XML technology preview runs under versions 7.0 and 6.5. You can also provide XML support in SQL Server 7.0, 6.x, and 4.2 by writing extended stored procedures and standard stored procedures, although standard stored procedures can drag down performance for large data sets with a complex structure. In addition, certain SQL Server 7.0 functions, such as full-text search, let you store XML as text. So what features make SQL Server 2000 officially XML-enabled? Traditionally, you can request two kinds of XML from a database: static XML stored within the database and dynamic XML generated from data within the database. Even the first version of SQL Server could serve as an XML repository, and developers have used pre-SQL Server 2000 versions to create applications that generate XML. But SQL Server 2000 supports an XML data type, letting you store XML natively in the database. Having a native XML data type is just one of the criteria that makes SQL Server 2000 XML-enabled. SQL Server 2000 also lets you use... With XML, you can define standard document types that let you share, transmit, and transform business information and facilitate automated business processes. The box XML Links, at left, points to some Web sites that can help you research XML and its benefits. This article barely scratches the surface of what you can do --and do quickly -- with XML in SQL Server 2000. For example, I recently created a simple HTTP-based service -- a set of URLs with well-defined query parameters that return XML data -- in a staggering 10 minutes. I had the URL running in less time than the phone call asking whether the specification had arrived. This kind of productivity enhancement will make SQL Server 2000 a platform of choice for XML delivery."
[May 02, 2000] "SQL Server mines for gold. Data mining, XML, performance gains ahead for database." By Timothy Dyck. In PC Week (May 01, 2000). "Microsoft Corp.'s upcoming SQL Server 2000 database provides new ways of analyzing data, XML features and sure-fire performance upgrades that will please current customers but won't fundamentally change the product's position in the market. As PC Week Labs' tests of SQL Server 2000 Beta 2 code (evaluation CDs are available for $10 from Microsoft's Web site) showed, the release is refined and expands on what was in SQL Server 7.0. Overall, we found that what is good about SQL Server 7.0 -- data analysis, ease of use and performance on Intel Corp. machines -- gets better. What's bad -- Transact-SQL programming, multimedia data handling and platform support -- stays that way. This release of SQL Server has comprehensive XML (Extensible Markup Language), XPath and XSLT (XML Style sheet Language Transformations) support that let us very easily query relational data and get responses in XML (optionally formatted using XSLT), or send XML to the database and extract relational data. This support is implemented using extensions to SQL commands and through a new set of stored procedures... This will be a major upgrade for current SQL Server customers with large databases or for those wanting to use XML as a data interchange format. SQL Server 2000 will strengthen Microsoft's position in the midmarket but isn't likely to displace Oracle or IBM at the high end."
[May 02, 2000] "XML, SQL, and Security." By Rodney Guzman. In SQL SERVER MAGAZINE XML UPDATE (May 02, 2000). [The weekly XML update newsletter.] "Microsoft has provided a technology preview for SQL Server 7.0 to give us a taste of the XML enhancements in SQL Server 2000. You can download the preview at http://msdn.microsoft.com/xml/articles/xmlsql/sqlxml_prev.asp. The preview installs an Internet Server API (ISAPI) extension on your IIS server that lets users bring SQL data to the Web in XML format. ISAPI extensions are high-performance applications invoked through IIS. Rather than serving static XML documents to the Web and updating the documents when your information changes, you can use this preview to make your XML documents truly dynamic. Less than a minute after I installed the preview, I was viewing XML in my browser from one of my databases. The preview accommodates several methods of data retrieval, including placing the SQL command directly into the URL. To retrieve XML data from your database without the technology preview, you need to write a COM object to accept SQL commands through ASP, use ADO to execute the command, and, for SQL queries, convert the resultant recordset to XML and direct the document to the ASP Response object. This labor-intensive method of retrieving data works, but it doesn't come close to offering the versatility and functionality of Microsoft's technology preview..." ['XML UPDATE is a biweekly online alert for developers who use Extensible Markup Language (XML) to add value to data-oriented applications and for database administrators who work with XML-based systems. XML UPDATE features opinion pieces by XML industry insiders, as well as industry news, XML development tips, descriptions of new XML-related products, and summaries of books about XML. Designed for XML experts and those who need to get up to speed quickly on this powerful data-exchange technology, XML UPDATE is a must-read for any IT professional who builds or manages Web applications based on XML technology.']
[April 30, 2000] "Querying XML Documents." By John A. Miller and Sonali Sheth (Department of Computer Science, University of Georgia). In IEEE Potentials Volume 19, Number 1 (February-March, 2000), pages 24-26 (with 12 references). "Abstract: Web based environments will typically need to maintain many documents (e.g. simulation model information and data results from multiple sites). Ideally, this information would be held in a widely utilized and highly viewable format. The eXtensible Markup Language (XML) is a new standard that meets this criteria for World Wide Web based applications. It is sophisticated enough so that complex real world structures and relationships may be captured. Large collections of XML documents can be stored for efficient retrieval using database management systems (DBMSs). Current database management is represented by the object oriented (OO) and object-relational (OR) database systems. Each type has their own query languages, Object Query Language (OQL, v.2) and Structured Query Language (SQL), respectively. These database query languages provide a high-level way to ask for information from a database. The article looks at storing and retrieving XML documents. It surveys work being done on query languages and tools for XML. It then discusses a simple graphical XML query tool for front end use in the Java Simulation (JSIM) Web based simulation environment." Note in this connection the 'QT4XML' query tool from John Miller's and Sonali Sheth. "QT4XML is a visual query builder for querying XML documents stored in a database. It is user-friendly and does not need much knowledge about existing query languages. The code is written in Java using JDK1.2. JAVA-RMI is used to communicate the query built using QT4XML to the server side database and to return the results to the client after query execution. A prototype of the client can be downloaded..."
[April 30, 2000] "Net standards ... without Sun and MS?" By Deborah Gage. In MacWeek (April 29, 2000). "Some of the biggest players in the industry are forming a consortium to set standards for Web applications that would supersede Java and other emerging Internet standards, including HTML, XML and HTTP. IBM, Intel, Oracle, Hewlett-Packard and Compaq have joined with several smaller companies to form OpenServer.org, which plans to create 'a vendor-neutral environment' to ensure the compatibility of applications developed according to open Internet standards, according to an industry source. The group is expected to announce itself within the next few weeks but intends to make its efforts public before the beginning of Sun Microsystems' annual JavaONE developers' conference on June 5, the source says. Both Sun Microsystems -- which includes iPlanet -- and Microsoft are invited to join OpenServer.org. Microsoft did not return calls for comment, but iPlanet says it is considering joining. The group is concerned that the ongoing battle over Java between Sun and Microsoft, and the proprietary mentality of both companies, is hampering the development of Web applications. [The group] also would work with Internet standards bodies such as the IETF, xml.org and the Linux community..."
[April 30, 2000] "Extending eDirectory's Reach. DirXML beta code links diverse directories, wraps up network control." By Henry Baltazar. In PC Week Volume 17, Number 17 (April 24, 2000), pages 79, 81. ['Novell's DirXML will be the key technology that will establish NDS eDirectory as a legitimate metadirectory. Assuming that the emerging XML standard takes hold, DirXML will be easier to implement than older metadirectory solutions, which had to utilize proprietary technology, but IT administrators should not expect an easy implementation.'] "Although Novell Inc. hasn't revealed the product's road map yet, DirXML will be the key technology the company will use to expand the reach of its NDS eDirectory. In PC Week Labs' tests of DirXML beta code released at Novell's BrainShare conference last month, we were impressed with its ability to link directories such as Microsoft Corp.'s Active Directory into Novell's NDS eDirectory -- truly making NDS the directory of directories. The major benefit of DirXML is that it will enable the consolidation of directory management using the industry-standard XML (Extensible Markup Language) protocol; all metadirectory products up to this point have used proprietary protocols because a standard didn't exist before. With DirXML in place, IT managers will be able to administer multiple user databases from a single interface and use NDS eDirectory to replicate and propagate information throughout a corporation. [...] After setting up DirXML on a Windows 2000 server that was running NDS eDirectory and Active Directory concurrently, we could link the two directories so that when we created or altered a user account in one directory, the administrative action was duplicated in the other. Likewise, we could eliminate a user from several databases and directories simultaneously with a single action. DirXML's administration interface is woven seamlessly into Novell's ConsoleOne management tool. Using ConsoleOne, we could manually edit data publishing and subscription rules to control the information to be shared between directories."
[April 30, 2000] "Hierarchical or Relational? A Case for a Modern Hierarchical Data Model." By H.V. Jagadish (University of Michigan), Laks V.S. Lakshmanan (Concordia University and IIT-Bombay), and Divesh Srivastava (AT&T Labs-Research). Pages 3-10 (with 9 references) in Proceedings the 1999 Workshop on Knowledge and Data Engineering Exchange (KDEX '99) [Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society, 2000.] KDEX '99: 07-November-1999, Chicago, IL. Abstract: "Much of the data we deal with every day is organized hierarchically: file systems, library classification schemes and yellow page categories are salient examples. Business data too, benefits from a hierarchical organization, and indeed the hierarchical data model was quite prevalent thirty years ago. Due to the recently increased importance of X.500/LDAP directories, which are hierarchical, and the prevalence of aggregation hierarchies in datacubes, there is now renewed interest in the hierarchical organization of data. In this paper, we develop a framework for a modern hierarchical data model, substantially improved from the original version by taking advantage of the lessons learned in the relational database context. We argue that this new hierarchical data model has many benefits with respect to the ubiquitous flat relational data model. We argue also that this model is well-suited for representing XML, and for interchange of information across heterogeneous databases. [Subject: Data model, XML, LDAP, directory, warehouse, data integration] "Standard LDAP provides a very limited query language against a exible hierarchical data model. Such a query language may be adequate for most simple directory look-ups, but is far from adequate for advanced applications. We have presented here a considerably more powerful language, with much greater expressive power, yet with manageable computational cost. The new query language proposed is a far cry from the navigational access in days of yore, and overcomes what we believe were the major limitations of the hierarchical data model of the past: the absence of a declarative query language, and the lack of a suitable abstraction. We thus have a data model that is far more extensible and expressive than the at relational model, but yet enjoys all the same benefits of an effective declarative query language. Unlike nested relational or object-oriented schemes, we continue to have a very simple (and fixed) data model, that is extremely popular in many applications. Finally, on top of all the benefits discussed above, the proposed hierarchical data model has the additional virtue of being extremely amenable to a partitioning of management. Multiple autonomous entities can manage the schema appropriately in their parts of the system, while still permitting global queries to remain oblivious to needless distinctions. There is much work that remains to be done with respect to developing the foundations as well as an efficient implementation for a modern hierarchical model. For a study of schema definitions for hierarchical databases, see "On Bounding-Schemas for LDAP Directories," In Proceedings of the International Conference on Extending Data Base Technology .
[April 30, 2000] "ERX: A Data Model for Collections of XML Documents." By Giuseppe Psaila (Politecnico di Milano, Dipartimento di Elettronica e Informazione, Piazza L. Da Vinci, 32 - I-20133 Milano, Italy). Pages 99-104 (with 9 references) in Proceedings the 1999 Workshop on Knowledge and Data Engineering Exchange (KDEX '99) [Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society, 2000.] KDEX '99: 07-November-1999, Chicago, IL. Abstract: "XML is able to represent any kind of structured or semistructured document, such as papers, web pages, database schemas and instances, style-sheets, etc.. However, the tree-structure of XML documents, induced by mark-up nesting, does not provide a sufficiently expressive and general conceptual model of data in the documents, particularly when multiple source documents are processed at the same time. This paper proposes the ERX (Entity Relationship for XML) data model, an evolution of the Entity Relationship model that copes with the peculiar features of XML. ERX is devised to provide an effective support to the development of complex XML processors for advanced applications." [...] "XML, the eXtensible Markup Language proposed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), is object of an increasing interest by researchers and industries. XML has been designed to become the format to exchange documents over the Internet, but is becoming a standard to represent any kind of documents in any application domain. This is due to the fact that it is able to represent any kind of structured or semi-structured document, such as papers, manuals, technical reports, web pages, database schemas and instances (see XML-Data), stylesheets (see XSL), metadata (see RDF), etc.. As a consequence, new complex and advanced applications designed to operate in Internet / Intranet environments are being developed, which use XML both to exchange data with other applications and as an internal representation. In many cases, such applications deal with large repositories of documents, that must be maintained, consulted, and published (for instance via Internet) with different user-dependent styles. Since the amount of data in such collections of documents may be large and the structural complexity of data may be significant, a conceptual model of data is necessary before starting the implementation of those software components, called XML Processors, that process the XML documents. However, the tree-structure of XML documents, induced by markup nesting and usually adopted by XML parsers, does not provide a sufficiently expressive and general conceptual model of data in the documents, because concepts of a given type are dispersed in the tree and it is not possible to view them as collections of homogeneous concepts. This is particularly evident in the case of XML processors that process multiple source documents at the same time: in fact, relationships between different document classes may be intricate to model and manage using the tree representation. This paper proposes the ERX (Entity Relationship for XML) model, an evolution of the Entity Relationship model that copes with the peculiar features of XML. ERX is devised to provide an effective support to the development of complex XML processors for advanced applications, by giving a conceptual model to the collection of documents that puts in evidence classes of concepts and their relationships, even across different classes of documents. The paper is organized as follows. Section 2 discusses a simplified, but inspired to reality, case concerning the treatment of papers and stylesheets. Section 3 introduces the ERX data model. Section 4 draws the conclusions. [...] We plan to follow several directions. At first, we are going to test the effectiveness of ERX on complex cases coming from industry and/or bank applications; these tests will be the occasion to validate ERX, specifically as far as its completeness is concerned. From the implementation point of view, we are realizing several versions of the ERX data manager; in particular, we are investigating both a main memory solution and an implementation that exploits a relational DBMS; in fact, this latter solution seems very promising to build complex and distributed information systems based on XML. A third research line will consider the definition of a formalism to specify XML to ERX transformation rules; this formalism is the first step toward the development of CASE tools that automatically generate XML-ERX mappers."
[April 30, 2000] Unicode in XML and other Markup Languages. DRAFT Unicode Technical Report #20 (3). W3C Working Draft XX-xxxx-2000. Unicode Revision 3, TR20-3 [viz., 'http://www.unicode.org/unicode/reports/tr20/tr20-3.html'] Unicode date: 2000-04-27. [Edited] By Martin Dürst (email@example.com) and Asmus Freytag (firstname.lastname@example.org). The revision 3 changes are substantial: "Added sections 2.1-2.6 (MJD), sections 3.1-3.5, and 3.8, as well as sections 4.4-4.6 and 8 (AF). Edited text for publication as DRAFT Unicode Technical Report (AF)." Summary: "This document contains guidelines on the use of the Unicode Standard Version 3.0 in conjunction with markup languages such as XML. The Unicode Standard [Unicode] is the universal character set. Its primary goal is to provide an unambiguous encoding of the content of plain text, ultimately covering all languages in the world. Currently in its third major version, Unicode contains a large number of characters covering most of the currently used scripts in the world. It also contains additional characters for interoperability with older character encodings, and characters with control-like functions included primarily for reasons of providing unambiguous interpretation of plain text. Unicode provides specifications for use of all of these characters. For document and data interchange, the Internet and the World Wide Web are more and more making use of marked-up text. In many instances, markup provides the same, or essentially similar features to those provided by formatting characters in the Unicode Standard for use in plain text. While there may be valid reasons to support these characters and their specifications in plain text, their use in marked-up text can conflict with the rules of the markup language. The issues of using Unicode characters with marked-up text depend to some degree on the rules of the markup language in question and the set of elements it contains. In a narrow sense, this document concerns itself only with XML and to some extent HTML, however, much of the general information presented here should be useful in a broader context, including some page layout languages... There are several general points to consider when looking at the interaction between character encoding and markup: (1) Linearity of text vs. hierarchy of markup structure; (2) Overlap of control codes and markup semantics; (3) Coincidence of semantic markup and functions; (4) Extensibility of markup; (5) Markup vs. Styling." See other references in "XML and Unicode."
[April 30, 2000] "Parsing Comma-Separated Values." By Doug Tidwell (IBM). From IBM DeveloperWorks. April, 2000. ['A developer asks how to convert comma-delimited files into XML. He asked: "My assignment on an XML pilot project is a transformation from data formatted in comma-delimited files (CDF) that the customer wants to transform into XML data. Seems logical enough, but I can't find any reference to a CDF-to-XML translator. What would you suggest?" See Doug Tidwell's response and download his code.'] "It all starts with getting the data... To make a comma-separated value (CSV) file to work with, I used DB2's EXPORT command for the sample database of employee records that ships with the product... After I had the data file, I started looking around for some code to parse comma-separated values. I didn't find exactly what I wanted, but I did stumble across the Java class StreamTokenizer. This class lets you design a rudimentary parser fairly easily. You select the delimiter between tokens, and it parses the file, converts data to strings and integers, and does some other nice things. You can view the code I wrote or download it..."
[April 30, 2000] "Much ADO About XML. [XML@Large.]" By Michael Floyd. In WebTechniques Volume 5, Issue 5 (May 2000), pages 71-73. ['Michael Floyd believes it's all about the data -- and how to get at it.'] "It's about the data. Moreover, it's always been about the data. When you stop to consider some of the emerging technologies that have influenced computing, everything comes down to data. Relational technology, for example, was about new ways of dealing with data. Object-oriented programming was about combining data with logic and creating objects. Three-tier architecture was about separating the database from the client-server environment. So it shouldn't be a surprise that one of the cornerstones of Web application development is data access. Nor should it be mysterious that a data representation language, XML, is emerging as one of the underpinnings of such development. This month, I'd like to examine strategies for accessing back-end databases and applying XML to the problem. Because many of you are using Active Server Pages (ASP) to generate XML documents, I'd like to introduce you to ActiveX Data Objects (ADO) and show how you can combine them with ASP and XML to serve XML data... Storing XML data makes it easier to navigate and retrieve document fragments. For example, you could retrieve paragraphs that only discuss Asimov's theory of hyperdrive. Once you have several paragraphs on the subject, you could perform specialized refinements like drill-down searching. In this sense, the system uses XML as metadata because it better describes the data. This promising use has been inciting much of the current excitement over XML. In the coming years, I think XML data will become prevalent in the database. Our problem will be how to consistently describe and structure data. In the meantime, most of us are dealing with existing data. In many cases, converting data to an XML format is impossible. Even if sheer size isn't an issue, existing database applications would most likely break if you inserted XML tags into your database. Therefore, it's more likely that you'll continue to store raw data in the database and add XML markup before processing it. This example just gives an inkling of what you can do with XML and raw data. Although space doesn't permit a discussion of the style sheet used in this example, you could further massage the recordset by applying filters from within XSL. On the presentation side, you can customize the output to specific browsers by adding a mechanism that chooses a style sheet based on the browser's type and version."
[April 30, 2000] "ListEditor: A Useful XML Web Service." By Chris Lovett. In MSDN Extreme XML (April 21, 2000). ['The latest Extreme XML column explores this handy ASP tool that provides an editable view over a list of items.'] "I find myself using this little XML ASP tool over and over for all sorts of things. I'm finding that people use this tool all over the company, too. It's an ASP application that gives a live collaborative editable view over a list of items. It isn't designed to scale to www.microsoft.com usage scenarios. It is a low-tech solution that is useful for small teams of people who want to maintain simple little shared lists. There's a good amount of source code included, which you may find useful. What Is It? The ListEditor is a general-purpose set of Active Server Pages (ASP) scripts that provide an editable list view on any XML file on the same Web server -- so long as that XML file contains a special kind of simple inline schema that describes the shape of the list items. The user interface is built using DHTML. You can see a live demo of this application... To get the table-view display, an XSL style sheet is generated on the client from the schema, allowing you to edit the schema without having to worry about also updating the XSL. This is done by the GenXSL() function in the utils.js file, which walks the children of the <ElementType> in the schema and generates table column headings for each <element> or <attribute> it finds. It then generates an <xsl:for-each select="..."> statement containing a template for the table rows, and it looks up the customized-view check boxes to see which columns to include in the style sheet. Each cell contains an <xsl:apply-templates/> statement instead of <xsl:value-of/>, so that you can use HTML markup -- such as bold, anchors, lists, and so forth -- inside the table cells. . . Even though ListEditor is a relatively low-tech little application, it's really easy to move around from server to server, and it provides an easy-to-use UI that offloads cycles from your server to your rich clients. I've used ListEditor for a while now, so it also should be pretty free of bugs." Also: source for the article
[April 30, 2000] "SOAP Specification Version 1.1 Now Available." By Don Box, DevelopMentor; David Ehnebuske, IBM (et al). From MSDN (April 2000). Version 1.1, '18 Apr 2000'. ['DevelopMentor, IBM, Lotus, Microsoft, and UserLand Software have finished work on the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) specification version 1.1, adding a place for supporting protocols other than HTTP, complex message patterns, and generally cleaning up language that makes the spec easier to read and implement.'] Abstract: "SOAP is a lightweight protocol for exchange of information in a decentralized, distributed environment. It is an XML based protocol that consists of three parts: an envelope that defines a framework for describing what is in a message and how to process it, a set of encoding rules for expressing instances of application-defined datatypes, and a convention for representing remote procedure calls and responses. SOAP can potentially be used in combination with a variety of other protocols; however, the only bindings defined in this document describe how to use SOAP in combination with HTTP and HTTP Extension Framework." See "Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)."
[April 30, 2000] "The XML Files: XPath, XSLT, and other XML Specifications." By Aaron Skonnard. From MSDN Online. (April 26, 2000 = 'May 2000' Issue). ['Columnist Aaron Skonnard reviews the basics of XML 1.0 and the family of supporting languages and technologies.'] "When I wrote the first installment of The XML Files for the premiere issue of MSDN Magazine, I dove right into a discussion of XML-based persistence behaviors. This month I'd like to give you a proper introduction to this column. The XML Files will focus primarily on XML and the technologies that support it. Upcoming columns will provide a study of the technology specifications and standards (as defined by W3C, IETF, and so on), and the support for these technologies in Microsoft. products. The main goal of this column is to distill XML's undeniable merits from the noisy industry hype. Over the past year, several XML specifications have reached the W3C recommendation status, and the development process has begun. This introduction wouldn't be proper if I didn't review what every XML developer needs to know about the basics of XML 1.0 and the family of supporting languages and technologies. Once I've established this foundation, I'll dive deeper in future columns. [...] As more XML specifications develop and solidify, XML continues to mature into a powerful and flexible technology capable of serving many application domains. It's evident that XML is finding its way into every facet of the software industry. It's becoming an integral part of database technologies (such as DBMS and ADO), remote procedure call mechanisms such as SOAP, and business-to-business integration and messaging software such as BizTalk. XML is showing up in Web browsers and servers such as Internet Explorer 5.0 and Internet Information Services 5.0, and many other domain-specific applications. Sometimes it seems hard to stay afloat in the sea of XML technologies and specifications. The technologies covered in this column represent the important aspects of XML that every XML developer should be familiar with. In future issues I'll delve deeper into many of these areas, as well as other new topics. Also: the code for the article.
[April 30, 2000] "Squeaky Clean Markup. [Integrated Design]." By Molly E. Holzschlag. In WebTechniques Volume 5, Issue 5 (May 2000), pages 26-29. ['Molly E. Holzschlag predicts that pretty soon, all our Web pages will be coded in XHTML.'] "HTML as we know it has undergone specific and eye-opening changes to prepare for tomorrow's more demanding technological needs. It has been reformulated into Extensible Hypertext Markup Language, or XHTML. The language's maturation was an eventuality, but that hasn't made it any less of a headache for coders. Despite the annoyance of breaking old HTML habits, XHTML is a useful tool once you've surmounted the learning curve... But before extending a language, authors should ensure the best possible stability by addressing any weaknesses. To do this, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) took a visit back to the grass roots intelligence of the Web markup origin, the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML). SGML rules are quite strict, and as its personality clearly demonstrates, HTML is an unruly child in need of some discipline to make it behave more consistently and appropriately. Both XML and the resulting XHTML are truer, more proper subsets of their mature SGML parent..."
[April 30, 2000] "Retail 2000 focuses on XML for supply chains." By Ellen Messmer. In ComputerWorld (April 24, 2000). Online supply chains were a hot topic at last week's Retail Systems 2000 conference in Chicago, where thousands of retailers from around the world convened to share stories and wander among the vendor booths. Among the dozen or so online supply chains that have recently sprung up are NonStopRX.com for the pharmaceutical industry and Retail.com for apparel manufacturers and buyers. But the most ambitious may be UCCnet, set to go live this July with a half-dozen food industry giants, including Procter & Gamble Co., Supervalu Inc., Ralston-Purina Co. and PepsiCo. The Internet-based exchange was designed to allow the sharing of synchronized, real-time updates on prices and shipment information by swapping data according to XML structures set by the Uniform Code Council Inc. (UCC). The UCCnet technical standards, backers say, are intended for open use by all supply-chain exchanges so they can be linked. Although started by the food industry, UCCnet is expected to spawn exchanges to serve other vertical industries. Supervalu, which has a $20.3 billion business in food distribution as well as being an $8 billion grocery retailer, will use XML-based UCCnet to extend its electronic trading community beyond what's feasible with its installed EDI systems..." See the earlier announcement, "UCC Announces XML Strategy for Electronic Commerce." - "The Uniform Code Council, Inc., (UCC) leaders in facilitating efficient international business, has announced a comprehensive electronic commerce strategy will be built around Extensible Markup Language (XML). The goal of this effort is to promote the global development and implementation of XML standards for Business-to-Business and Business-to-Consumer electronic commerce. This strategy was presented at the UCC Electronic Commerce User Commerce in October and approved by the UCC Board of Governors in November 1999. The UCC's commitment to XML to facilitate electronic commerce has been based on the extensive feedback and participation of UCC member companies, spanning a wide range of industries, geographies and company size..." [from UCC]
[April 30, 2000] "Finance Players Back XML-Based Standard. Consortium to push report specification." By Maria Trombly. In ComputerWorld (April 17, 2000). "Many of the world's top financial institutions have formed a consortium to promote a new XML-based specification for exchanging financial reports over the Internet. The group, the XBRL Project Committee, expects to launch the specification by July 1, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the group's founder, announced last week. The initial release in July will cover specifications for publishing a company's financial statements in XBRL, said Mike Willis, a partner at New York-based accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and chairman of the XBRL Project Committee. Willis said XBRL won't be used for individual transactions, but for high-level aggregate data, such as that included in quarterly sales reports, for example. XBRL will ultimately affect any company that processes financial reports or uses them online, according to a statement by Keith Macbeath, director of strategic planning at financial information publisher Reuters Group PLC in London. Reuters is considering using XRBL to help it acquire, process and deliver financial data..." See: "Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL)."
[April 30, 2000] "XML on the Front End: Connecting People and Processes in B2B E-commerce Environments." By Mary Laplante. In The Gilbane Report on Open Information & Document Systems Volume 8, Number 3 (April 2000), pages 1-8. ['This month we welcome back Mary Laplante as a contributor. Mary's article dovetails nicely with our analysis of e-commerce evolution in Volume 7, Number 10. In that issue we emphasized the similarities between B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) technology developments. Mary reminds us that there are also important differences. For example, where B2C solutions initially targeted human interaction with web pages and largely ignored integration with back-end systems, B2B solution have done just the opposite -- they have focused on the interaction between back-end systems and mostly neglected how humans interact with these systems. As B2B systems become more integrated the growing number of many-to-many interactions become increasingly unwieldy. Humans need direct and easy access to these systems and processes to manage them. Because all the major B2B vendors are using XML to facilitate application and information integration, it seems obvious that we should expose this XML to humans via a browser to accomplish the required access. Mary builds a convincing case for connecting people and processes in B2B environments sooner rather than later.'] "... The first generation of interaction management solutions is already on the market. These are product configuration systems from companies like OnLink, Selectica, and Calico. They allow developers to create interfaces that walk the user through the process of configuring a complex product. The established players (Tibco, Extricity, webMethods, Vitria, etc.) in business-to-business integration solutions may also be candidates for interaction management offers as they attempt to leverage their expertise in creating and managing XML business objects and to extend their product reach beyond infrastructure. Look for partnerships with companies like ActionPoint. Research firm IDC (International Data Corporation) estimates that only 1.1% of all B2B e-commerce is Internet enabled today. Its analysts say that a key inhibitor is the interface between people and processes -- it's just plain difficult for humans to interact with e-commerce systems. Interaction management software addresses this problem, and so removes one more barrier from the wider adoption of global business-to-business commerce. What's more, the use of XML business objects in the browser will have the affect of accelerating that adoption because XML-based front-ends can be snapped into place fairly easily with XML-based process automation systems, integration servers, and back-end enterprise applications. With the introduction of interaction management solutions, technology for connecting people and processes can catch up with technology that's available today for integrating systems and processes. These solutions will be critical to getting beyond these early stages of Web-enabled e-commerce. After all, people make markets, not computers."
[April 30, 2000] "Directory Services Markup Language (DSML). [Technology QuickStudy.]" By Christine McGeever. In ComputerWorld Volume 34, Number 15 (April 10, 2000), page 82. "Directory Services Markup Language (DSML) is a proposed standard for using XML to define the data content and structure of a directory and maintain it on distributed directories. DSML gives developers a simple and convenient way to implement XML-based applications on the Internet. Such support is crucial to e-commerce applications... A combination of XML and DSML will be essential to Internet directory services, enabling a new generation of applications that use directories more effectively. In particular, DSML will be important to supply-chain and customer service applications, all of which rely heavily on customized presentation of data. DSML metadata descriptions will be the tools for that job." See "Directory Services Markup Language (DSML)."
[April 29, 2000] "Digital Rights Management: Technology Evolves to Aid Content Marketing. [Rights Management: Ready for Prime Time.]" By Mark Walter. In Seybold Report on Internet Publishing Volume 4, Number 8 (April, 2000), pages 9-16. Note: The "Extensible Rights Markup Language (XrML)" from Xerox (ContentGuard) is one of several proposed digital rights management technologies which uses (SGML/XML) "markup" as a key feature. XrML is in draft, as a nominal revision of the Xerox "Digital Property Rights Language (DPRL)." Anyone who attempts to fetch the XrML spec (and extract the XML DTD) will see why this facility -- so (commercially) delicious to content providers -- is certain to prove frustrating to end users [you thought the hardware dongle was a pain in the butt? you ain't seen nuttin' yet!] This SRIP article on DRM was written too early to cover XrML, but we expect Mark Walter to put XrML in the Seybold publication lineup. "Digital Rights Management (DRM) is one of the hottest publishing technologies this year, attracting both large software houses and small upstarts eager to help publishers expand their sales into digital markets. In Part One of our coverage, we explain what it does and review four DRM vendors that have recently made news." [To come in SRIP:] "Digital rights management, once viewed as just a way to protect copyright and enforce old business rules in the digital domain, is rapidly maturing into a critical component of digital content marketing. What is DRM and why is it becoming so important? In this month's feature we answer those questions, explaining what DRM systems provide and how they relate to the digital marketing programs professional publishers are running today. No overview would be complete without reviewing the vendors. This month, [SRIP] begins with a look at four DRM players. Early leader Reciprocal has just launched a professional publishing unit and has teamed with Xerox to streamline its services. Vying for a share of the same market are upstarts PublishOne and DigitalOwl, which are launching this spring. We also update readers on InterTrust, whose DRM DigiBox platform is used by a variety of services, including Reciprocal and PublishOne. It recently acquired Infinite Ink and launched Flying Media, a packaging application aimed at professional publishers. In upcoming issues, we'll continue the survey with a look at Acrobat-related DRM systems from Authentica, FileOpen and SoftLock; permission-clearance services from Copyright Clearance Center, YBP Clearance Direct and iCopyright.com; and new DRM service providers entering the market this year..."
[April 29, 2000] "IBM announces large-scale content-management system. Blends Digital Library with imaging and records-management products." By Mike Letts and Mark Walter. In Seybold Report on Internet Publishing Volume 4, Number 8 (April, 2000), pages 23-24. ['IBM plows into a crowded content management market with a large-scale offering.'] "Pulling together two previously separate product lines, last month IBM announced Content Manager version 6.1, a large-scale, generic content-management system that unites DB2 Digital Library with IBM's electronic data-management tools... Building on the foundation of Digital Library, which was intended for 'unstructured' data (meaning rich media), Content Manager handles relational data as well. Specific support for XML text streams is coming courtesy of several extensions to the DB2 database. From its Web site, IBM offers DB2 extensions that will be folded into the next DB2 release. One extension provides full-text searching that recognizes XML elements. Another extension shreds XML documents into fragments that get loaded into the database and recomposed on the fly when extracted back out..."
[April 29, 2000] "Arbortext deploys its XML-based content management as an ASP. Extends software business to outsource basis." By Mark Walter. In Seybold Report on Internet Publishing Volume 4, Number 8 (April, 2000), pages 21-22. ['Arbortext and Citrix break ground in offering XML-based content management via the ASP hosting model.'] "After seeing Oracle enter the application service provider (ASP) business, it was only a matter of time before asset and content-management vendors began to take the database vendor's lead and follow suit. Last month, we noted WebWare's precedent-setting foray into serving as an ASP for asset management. This month, Vignette announced that its partner, Breakaway, has begun hosting StoryServer as an ASP. Now the latest: Arbortext has announced its own ASP offering, called Extend. Extend sets its own precedent: it will be the first XML-based content management software that you can deploy on an ASP basis... In Arbortext's case, it is offering not only the server-based Epic product but also its desktop editor, Adept, and its Microsoft Word filter on an ASP basis. It's able to do this with the help of technology from Citrix. Citrix creates a browser view of the desktop application. Users interact with that view, and Citrix captures the keystrokes, sending the instructions back to their instance of the desktop application that's running on the central server..."
[April 29, 2000] "Adobe Debuts FrameMaker 6.0. New version boasts improvements, but still lacks XML import, editing." By Mark Walter. In Seybold Report on Internet Publishing Volume 4, Number 8 (April, 2000), page 24. ['Adobe upgrades FrameMaker, but still misses the mark in some key areas.'] "FrameMaker, which remains the leading desktop page layout program for book work, has reached version 6.0. The new version, which features a new user interface for producing books, improves the HTML and PDF export facilities and adds an XML export capability. FrameMaker's book features (including automatic numbering, cross-references, and indexing across chapters) are a clear point of differentiation between it and word processors... The 6.0 release improves an excellent product in areas that customers will surely appreciate. What is troubling, though, is what's missing: XML import and editing. In the SGML editing space, Frame's rival, Arbortext, has introduced XML-specific tools, as has SoftQuad. Other XML-authoring tool vendors have sprung up, looking to capitalize on the growing trend to use XML for Web publishing. Adobe is gradually adding XML support across all of its products, but it's hard not to notice that its flagship product for structured authoring is lagging the market in this regard. In working with Quadralay, we think Adobe made a good decision: Quadralay has an excellent product for HTML export, and its XML export facility buys some time for the Adobe development team. If Adobe is to pull off the GoLive integration it promises, and also take FrameMaker into structured Web authoring, it will have to develop true XML editing, a task for which it will not be able to rely on third-party support."
[April 29, 2000] "XML Is Not Yet A Cornerstone Technology." [Application Integration and Management.] By Peter Fischer (Quantum Enterprise Solutions). In Application Development Trends Volume 7, Number 4 (April, 2000), pages 55-60. ['XML Is Not Yet A Cornerstone Technology. But development managers beware: XML is already a key enablement technology for Web developers, and an investment now will pay off in spades down the road.' With Michael W. Bucken's editorial: "While many observers are touting XML as the technology to solve all integration issues, consultant Peter Fischer warns that XML remains somewhat immature and that key problems must be resolved before its potential can be met. The rewards of XML can be huge, he points out, and using the technology as a key piece of development and integration projects almost ensures that its path to maturity will be short. This story can help any organization trying to get its arms around XML."] "XML is the high-tech industry's new 'favorite word,' as the technology rides a wave of popularity last witnessed just a few short years ago with Java. Along with the hyperbole comes an overload of information, valid and otherwise, from a variety of sources describing how XML technology can solve most Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) problems. Despite the promises, corporate developers need to make smart decisions about how to apply the technology as it is today to specific integration problems and challenges. Perhaps just as important, developers have to disregard some of the growing myths that surround the eXtensible Markup Language (XML). This article will show that while XML is not the cornerstone of EAI, it is an important enabler that, when used correctly, can be a key weapon in any corporation's IT arsenal. Nevertheless, the Web as a delivery mechanism and XML as the delivery format is already a very powerful combination that can enable integration across the board for business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C) and application-to-application (A2A) connectivity... Combining XML with the World Wide Web (dubbed XML/Web) provides a basis for functionality with widespread potential usage. A new form of XML messaging, called XML/HTTP, has emerged from this powerful combination. Joining the openness and extensibility of XML with the ubiquity of HTTP as a connectivity mechanism provides a foundation for a lightweight and universal information-messaging platform that enables the exchange of information between businesses, as well as businesses and consumers. This significantly broadens the range of problems that can be solved. Because XML can be used at various levels in A2A, B2B and B2C integration projects, the technology holds the keys to the exchange of information and data inside and across organizations..." [survey of products/methodologies follows; cache version]
[April 29, 2000] "The Big Shift." By Colleen Frye. In Application Development Trends Volume 7, Number 4 (April, 2000), pages 63-68. ['EAI has grown up mainly as a technology and process for integrating installed applications; now organizations are looking for tools that focus on business-to-business integration.'] "Feel the earth move? That is the shift underway in the Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) marketplace and mindset. What started as a promise to boost efficiency and lower maintenance costs within an organization by reducing spaghetti code and point-to-point integration solutions has evolved into a business-to-business (B2B) integration focus. The eXtensible Markup Language is on every EAI provider's radar screen, as well as every customer's. If an EAI vendor has not announced some XML support already, rest assured it is probably coming. At Intermountain Health Care, Salt Lake City, 'people are asking about it left and right,' said Tara Larkin, interface team leader. The health-care organization uses STC's e*Gate for internal app integration and process flow, but will be moving to B2B, noted Larkin. 'My understanding is the next version of e*Gate will offer XML support. We're very interested in using XML.' ... Time0 is 'looking for a deeper integration of XML within [ActiveWorks] core product; they have that to some degree, but I'd like to see it more as an intrinsic part of what they do vs. an add-on,' said Time0's Skidmore. 'We believe XML provides a level of flexibility that is much needed in these complex digital marketplaces. The tools are pretty raw at this point, and I would like to push [XML] down to the middleware layer.' The ActiveWorks Business Exchange Server offers features such as document workflow, open support for XML, built-in security, graphical tools for mapping documents from one format to another, graphical tools for modeling business partner processes, implementation to support RosettaNet and EDI/XML, as well as an integration methodology."
[April 28, 2000] "XML Microstandards. Smaller is better when it comes to XML naming standards." [Information Supply Chain.] By William J. Lewis. In Intelligent Enterprise Volume 3, Number 7 (April 28, 2000), pages 66-68. "If I were a bettin' man, as the saying goes, I'd probably not bet in favor of much across-the-board adoption of standard XML schemas. I say this despite the fact that several industries are putting a lot of collective effort into developing these schemas, such as those in repositories at Biztalk.org and Xml.org. If XML is to fulfill hopes that it'll be the data interchange lingua franca, we do need standards, but schema repositories just don't provide adequate support for tag names. What I would bet on is the continuing use of these repository-based schemas in the typical 'search, download, and modify' scenario. Of course, then you have to ask how 'standard' the product of such a 'search, download, and modify' methodology ends up being. Typically, developers take what is essentially a monolith, chop away what they don't want or need, and add what they require. Anyone who has done any coding in a real-world development environment will recognize this as the time-honored technique of code (as opposed to component or object) reuse... As the pace of activity around the Web-based XML schema repositories accelerates, the number of registered schemas increases dramatically. As an example, a quick count revealed that among the more than 300 schemas at one of the major XML repositories, at least eight of these describe purchase order documents. As a developer, which should I choose? [...] All of this may begin to sound familiar to those with a data administration background. The problem has been labeled 'semantic dispersion,' the dilution of shared meaning due to proliferation of synonyms and homonyms. What is needed is a direction toward 'semantic convergence,' clarity of shared meaning with a minimum number (approaching zero) of synonyms and homonyms. Are there frameworks or tools available today that support semantic convergence, and by doing so, help XML developers and their companies work toward a truly common vocabulary? One such framework is the Universal Data Element Framework, or UDEF. UDEF is a tool for identifying and resolving 'semantic equivalence,' multiple names meaning the same thing. It therefore resolves synonyms and prevents homonyms. It's been used as the basis of a product configuration data dictionary for the federal government (MIL-STD-2549), and is currently under consideration by the Electronics Industries Alliance, as well as the XML/EDI Group..." Note: Ken North compared 'BizCodes' (BizCodes Initiative). See: "Universal Data Element Framework (UDEF)."
[April 28, 2000] "Harmonizing XML Tag Semantics via UDEF Intelligent Identifiers." By Ron Schuldt. Slides from the presentation at XML '99. (December 7, 1999). The UDEF "Universal Data Element Framework" is described as a 'Dewey Decimal-Like Indexing System' for the Web. Presentation also in PowerPoint format. Abstract: "The integration and harmonization of data semantics is a recognized challenge that stands as a barrier to enterprise applications integration and seamless electronic business. The Universal Data Element Framework (UDEF) is a proven rules based approach for establishing data semantic context across multiple domains of discourse. If adopted by the XML community at large, the UDEF-based intelligent identifiers would enable businesses to achieve their XML driven internal (application-to-application) and external (business-to-business) integration visions." See: "Universal Data Element Framework (UDEF)."
[April 28, 2000] "If You Build It, They Will Come." [News Analysis] By Hank Simon. In Intelligent Enterprise Volume 3, Number 7 (April 28, 2000), pages 10-12. ['The big three automakers' new supply chain initiative is a victory for XML standards.'] "Extensible markup language (XML) has hit a grand slam in the automaker supply chain. In February, the big three major automakers -- Ford, General Motors (GM), and DaimlerChrysler -- announced the formation of an unprecedented alliance to migrate their vast network of suppliers to an open-architecture e-business exchange. The agreement calls for GM and Ford to merge their previously announced efforts to build business-to-business (B2B) exchanges: TradeXchange and AutoXchange, respectively. This alliance will likely represent the next step up the evolutionary ladder for improved use of information in the supply-chain network, and it's built on XML. If successful, this project will lead to the largest, fastest exchange for transacting business -- e-commerce or otherwise -- ever built. Each of the automakers manages a network of approximately 30,000 suppliers, collectively accounting for nearly $300 billion worth of business each year. Last year, GM launched TradeXchange in collaboration with B2B portal company CommerceOne Inc. TradeXchange is best described as an Internet-based parts and components procurement system. Similarly, Ford set up an e-business system called AutoXchange in collaboration with Oracle to leverage the productivity of its $83 billion purchasing budget and suppliers. Oracle and Commerce One will continue to participate in the combined venture, and Cisco Systems Inc. will bundle networking products in a 'quick-start' kit for the suppliers involved, enabling immediate, secure access for transacting business. (SAP is reportedly in conversations with DaimlerChrysler about serving as that company's strategic technology vendor.) The exchange will serve as a separate company and be open to other automakers; it may even eventually expand to include other industries..."
[April 28, 2000] "XML Spec Eases Customer Data Sharing." By L. Scott Tillett. In InternetWeek Issue 810 (April 24, 2000), page 28. "XML has come in handy as a way to exchange data between Web sites, but the technology's full potential may be untapped in the back office, where site data is mined. Lacking so far have been standards defining how those data-gathering systems should operate when using Extensible Markup Language. Still, at least one new XML specification may alleviate the problem. The open spec, forwarded by customer service software vendor eHelp, is designed to permit data sharing among the many systems that monitor online customer assistance. The spec promises to make it easier to share information among systems that may, for example, track the pages user visit; gather data on search terms used; and decipher problems visitors are having. EHelp calls its spec the Aggregation and Logging of User Requests (ALURe) standard, and Asch said eHelp officials hope acceptance of the specification will grow as e-businesses start demanding from vendors greater interoperability through XML in the tools used for managing customer relationships..." For further description, see the ALUReXML.org web site and the reference page "ALURe (Aggregation and Logging of User Requests) XML Specification."
[April 28, 2000] "Xerox, Microsoft join for Web property rights." By Anne Knowles. In PC Week (April 27, 2000). "In a week in which the fight between musicians and MP3 advocates came to a head, Xerox Corp. and Microsoft Corp. announced they were forming a new company to help content owners manage digital property rights. ContentGuard Inc., the Xerox spin off funded in part by Microsoft, plans to provide a suite of software that will let owners of digital content, such as books and music, assign rights and bill for the use of their creations. ContentGuard's self-named suite of software will use XrML, a language developed by Xerox that uses XML to assign rights to digital content. The rights travel with the content wherever it goes, all the way down to the PC, which Thoman said differentiates ContentGuard from many other products on the market that stop at the server. Twenty companies, including Adobe, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Microsoft, have signed on to support XrML. The specification for the potential standard is available now at Xerox's web site." See: "Extensible Rights Markup Language (XrML)."
[April 28, 2000] "Innoveda Latches Onto XML." By Chris Edwards. In Electronic Engineering Times [Online] Issue 1110 (April 24, 2000). "Innoveda Inc. will use the Extensible Markup Language (XML) to define storage of high-level design and constraints information for electronic systems. Innoveda (Marlboro Mass.), formed by Viewlogic's merger with Summit Design, is working with a 'major' but undisclosed telecommunications company on the project. The company will open up the specification for the XML schema-structures and tags that make up valid design elements-if it gains enough support from customers... At this June's Design Automation Conference, Innoveda plans to roll out its first tools based on technology developed by Viewlogic and combined with Summit's existing Visual products. The tools will support system simulation using a mixture of C, C++ and SystemC."
[April 28, 2000] "Cadence spins library development tool based on XML." By Michael Santarini. In Electronic Engineering Times [Online] Issue 1110 (April 24, 2000). "Cadence Design Systems Inc. this week will announce the release of a PCB library development tool, endorsing the Si2's Extensible Markup Language (XML) as an industrywide EDA library symbol standard for schematic entry tools. Now, with Cadence's new PCB Librarian Expert supporting Electronic Component Exchange (ECIX) project's XML, Cadence hopes to streamline the process and have all chip makers supply consistent data in one pin count symbol format based on XML. That will allow EDA librarians to download XML files and develop consistent libraries of part symbols that can be easily used by schematic entry tools. The library management tool suite currently supports library data generation for use by pc-board designers and engineers with the latest versions of Cadence Concept, OrCAD Capture and Cadence Allegro. Nonetheless, the company said that other EDA vendors with schematic and layout tools supporting XML will also be able to use the tool. So far, only Innoveda-the recent merger of Viewlogic and Summit Design- has sent a letter of intent supporting the tool. PCB Librarian Expert includes XML import, part template, data management and verification features. According to the company, the XML import feature allows the user to search Web sites, such as SpinCircuit's Activeparts, for data sheets from manufacturers and import that information quickly into their engineering libraries..." See "Electronic Component Information Exchange (ECIX) and Pinnacles Component Information Standard (PCIS)."
[April 28, 2000] "Enhydra 3.0: Bringinng XML and Java to Linux Development." By Eric Foster-Johnson. In Linux Programming (April 27, 2000). ['With a focus on quick implementation and real-world solutions the Open-Source Enhydra Web application server earns kudos from reviewer Eric Foster-Johnson for its usefulness as a Linux-based application server suppporting Java and XML.'] "There's a huge variance in the features Web application servers provide, except in one area: cost. Web application servers, such as BEA's WebLogic or IBM's WebSphere, are almost always high-cost systems. Part of that comes from the huge amount of work required to put such an application server together. That makes it even more surprising, then, to see quality free Java application servers like Enhydra. Enhydra's roots go back prior to the current fixation on the Java 2 Enterprise Edition, or J2EE. Enhydra really developed as a Java Web application server using custom technology instead of following Java standards because those Java standards, such as servlets, didn't exist when Enhydra started out. Currently, Enhydra supports Java servlets and Java Server Pages, or JSPs, but not Enterprise Java Beans, or EJBs. Furthermore, Enhydra's technology provides features similar to that of JSPs. Enhydra provides an interesting mix of do-it-yourself and standards-based technology. It supports emerging Java standards but at the same time promotes home-grown proprietary technology. (Note: even though Enhydra uses proprietary technology, it is still an Open-Source product. The full source code is available for all the pieces.) For example, Enhydra supports the Java Servlet 2.2 API and will, in the upcoming version 4.0, support Enterprise Java Beans. But, Enhydra also provides its own proprietary technology, especially with the xmlc compiler. Using xmlc takes you out of the mainstream of Java standards technology and into Enhydra-only space. This could be a real issue, except that Enhydra includes the full source code, allowing you to better deal with the proprietary Enhydra-only technology..."
[April 28, 2000] "The Mobile Developer. Separating the Content From the Presentation Using XML and XSL." By Eric Giguère. From Wireless Developer Network. "April 2000." "If you read any good book on software engineering or architecture you'll know that it's considered a Good Thing to separate an application's data from its presentation. You'll often hear this idea referred to as the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture, where the model represents the data, the view is the presentation, and the controller is the user input. Java's Swing user interface components use a modified MVC architecture, for example, and so does Microsoft's MFC C++ framework. [...] It's hard to retrofit an MVC architecture onto an existing application that wasn't designed that way, so chances are you'll have to rewrite your web applications to make them into wireless web applications. If you can spare the time (hard to do, I know, when your boss is urging you to get the "wireless apps" out there as soon as possible), try to separate the content from the presentation. One way to do this is to use XML and XSL: define your content in XML and control its presentation with XSL."
[April 28, 2000] "RAX: An XML Database API." By Seán McGrath. From XML.com (April 26, 2000). ['Sean McGrath presents a simple record-oriented API for XML, RAX. Building on his earlier work with PYX, RAX provides a very simple way to get work done quickly with XML databases. In his article, Sean provides comparisons with SAX and DOM, and a full Python implementation of the RAX API... Neither SAX nor DOM are well-suited to processing database-generated XML. RAX is a record-oriented API to XML data that reduces the overhead and complexity of handling XML generated from databases.'] "XML is finding its way into applications beyond those that traditionally utilize markup languages. In particular, XML is becoming popular as a data interchange notation for database-oriented applications. The two mainstream XML APIs (SAX and DOM) are highly document-centric. They are designed to handle XML in all its generality, including deeply nested structures, mixed content, external entities, and so on. Although these APIs can be used to process the simple, flat XML that databases typically generate, they are not well-suited to doing so. Moreover, the processing paradigms they employ (event processing and tree processing, respectively) are unfamiliar to most database programmers. This article presents a simple, record-oriented API for XML (RAX) that is suitable for processing database-style XML. The RAX, SAX, and DOM APIs are contrasted with a worked example. An implementation of RAX in Python that is based on the PYX notation introduced in the Pyxie project is also presented..." [Note: SIG for XML Processing in Python.]
[April 28, 2000] "Character Encodings in XML and Perl." By Michel Rodriguez. From XML.com (April 26, 2000). ['One troublesome area of XML -- that often makes people close their eyes and hope the problem will go away -- is character encodings. In his article "Character Encodings in XML and Perl," Michel Rodriguez provides an overview of encodings and XML, and gives plenty of practical examples of how you can handle and convert between character encodings using Perl. After reading his article, you'll be skipping happily from Big5 to Unicode without batting an eyelid... This article examines how to handle character encodings with XML and Perl: which encodings are handled natively, converting to and from Unicode, and what to do when your tools don't support Unicode.'] "This article examines the handling of character encodings in XML and Perl. I will look at what character encodings are and what their relationship to XML is. We will then move on to how encodings are handled in Perl, and end with some practical examples of translating between encodings... in order to encode text or data, you first need to specify an encoding for it. The most common of all encodings (at least in Western countries) is without a doubt ASCII. Other encodings you may have come across include the following: EBCDIC, which will remind some of you of the good old days when computer and IBM meant the same thing; Shift-JIS, one of the encodings used for Japanese characters; and Big 5, a Chinese encoding. What all of these encodings have in common is that they are largely incompatible. There are very good reasons for this, the first being that Western languages can live with 256 characters, encoded in 8-bits, while Eastern languages use many more, thus requiring multi-byte encodings. Recently, a new standard was created to replace all of those various encodings: Unicode, a.k.a. ISO 10646..." [Note in this connection: (1) Unicode: A Primer, by Tony Graham (Mulberry Technologies, Inc.); IDG Books, ISBN 0-7645-4625-2; (2) the reference document "XML and Unicode."
[April 28, 2000] "XML-Deviant: Problems and Prospects." By Leigh Dodds. From XML.com (April 26, 2000). ['The last few weeks have been troublesome ones for the XML-DEV mailing list's new hosts, OASIS. On the plus side, the resultant introspection has raised new ideas regarding the future of the XML-DEV community...The XML-Deviant column focuses on the recently troubled relationship between the XML-DEV mailing list and its new hosts, OASIS. After some difficulties, things are looking up for the list, and some creative ideas are being considered for the future of the community.']
[April 28, 2000] "XML at ibm.com." By Maciej Wisniewski and Doug Tidwell. From IBM developerWorks. March 2000. "IBM's home page is our front door to the Internet world. As part of our continuous effort to maintain a state-of-the-art Web site, we have begun using XML in a production environment. Using XML in a large commercial site is complicated by the lack of XML support in the browsers used by the Web community, a lack of tools, and the slow development of Web standards. We use a variety of XML-related technologies, including XSL, XML Fragments, XLinks, and XPointers. We discuss the prototypes we built, the lessons we've learned, and our wish list for the future. Problem Statement: The ibm.com Web site is one of the busiest on the Web, receiving an average of 8 to 10 million hits a day. Given the importance of the site to IBM, any experiment with XML would have to be fast, reliable, and scalable. As with most production applications, end-user performance is paramount; our use of new technologies is of secondary importance. . . [Conclusions:] IBM is clearly committed to XML technology. Our early work with XML on the IBM home page makes it clear that several things need to happen quickly to speed up the XML revolution: (1) High-performance XML parsers and XSL processors. IBM researchers are currently working on these items, and we expect to be using them soon. (2) Better XML and XSL support in the more popular browsers. (3) Complete, consistent implementations of XSL in the major browsers. (4) An XML-based query language, capable of accessing relational and object-oriented databases, LDAP directories, XML documents, and plain text documents. (5) A standard for XML schemas, particularly in the area of data typing. We look forward to these developments in the XML community and to implementing these new technologies on our Web site..."
[April 27, 2000] "SOAP: Simple Object Access Protocol." Version 1.1. 18-April-2000. "SOAP is a lightweight protocol for exchange of information in a decentralized, distributed environment. It is an XML based protocol that consists of three parts: an envelope that defines a framework for describing what is in a message and how to process it, a set of encoding rules for expressing instances of application-defined datatypes, and a convention for representing remote procedure calls and responses. SOAP can potentially be used in combination with a variety of other protocols; however, the only bindings defined in this document describe how to use SOAP in combination with HTTP and HTTP Extension Framework." ['IBM and Lotus joined in co-authorship of SOAP, and the 1.1 spec is out.' - Dave Winer. See description and references in "Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)."
[April 27, 2000] "IBM Switches Support to Microsoft-Backed Web Standard." By Wylie Wong. In CNet News.com (April 27, 2000). "After criticizing a Web technology created by rival Microsoft, IBM has changed its mind and is working with the software giant on a potential Internet standard that allows businesses to link Web-based software. The communications technology, Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), allows businesses to link their computing systems over the Net. It is based on a Web standard for exchanging data called XML (Extensible Markup Language). When the software giant unveiled the technology in October, IBM executives said SOAP too closely favored Microsoft technologies over industry standards. They said the effort to create SOAP should have originated from a standards organization, not from Microsoft. Sun Microsystems was even more dismissive, calling the technology pure hype with no value. But IBM has had a change of heart. Microsoft yesterday released an updated version of SOAP that included the work of IBM and its subsidiary Lotus Development. IBM and Microsoft executives said they expect to release tools soon that will allow developers to test SOAP in their own software. The main reason for IBM's support is the need for the software industry to find a way for businesses to link their different computing systems, said Bob Sutor, IBM's program director for XML technology... About 20 companies have voiced support for SOAP, including Iona Technologies, Compaq Computer, Intel, Ariba and Commerce One. Both IBM and Microsoft executives believe the W3C and the Internet Engineering Task Force will have roles in making SOAP a standard protocol. Sutor said some important changes in the latest version of SOAP include the ability to not only exchange data over the Internet but through other technology, such as messaging software." See description and references in "Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)."
[April 26, 2000] "Why XML is Failing. [TODAY'S COMMENTARY.]" By John Taschek. In PC Week Volume 17, Number 17 (April 24, 2000), page 61. ['The 'unifying' technology is falling victim to its own popularity as big adopters bypass the standards bodies.'] "XML has been touted as the Holy Grail of unifying technology. Within months it seems that every company gravitated toward it, and you couldn't talk to a vendor without hearing the acronym ten (10) times. Tell you what, though: XML's facing troubled times simply because it is getting more popular. [...] Clearly there is enough room for both [automakers'] exchanges to work, so each will come out as a winner. Also winning are the platform vendors developing the exchange technology: i2, Ariba, IBM and Commerce One. The losers are pie-in-the-sky XML-indoctrinated organizations, such as the Microsoft-spearheaded BizTalk.org and OASIS. The automakers chose to bypass BizTalk and OASIS to develop proprietary (but published) schemata. Every big organization will do the same, and though some of their XML work may feed back up to OASIS or BizTalk, every one wants standards for their cliques only. BizTalk and OASIS aim to use standards-based markup languages -- SGML, XML and HTML for OASIS, XML only for BizTalk -- to help companies develop a standard way of talking to each other..." See comments by David Megginson and Steve DeRose.
[April 21, 2000] "The Meanings of XML: DTDs, DCDs and Schemas." By Michael Classen. In Internet.com WebReference (April 16, 2000). XPLORING XML - Column 10. ['Don't be scared by the schema. The syntax and semantics of XML are the sources of its strength. Join our Xpert as he reveals the secrets of XML data and structure definitions.'] "So far in this column we ignored the more formal aspects of XML, such as defining the correct syntax and semantics of specific documents. While we examined the set of rules common to all documents (remember well-formed vs. valid documents?), I have so far neglected the mechanisms for specifying your own families of documents..." For schema description and references, see "XML Schemas."
[April 21, 2000] "Microsoft BizTalk Server 2000 Technology Preview." (April 17, 2000 - Download). ['The BizTalk Server 2000 Technology Preview combines support for XML and other data formats with reliable delivery over multiple protocols, including HTTP, and is the foundation for next-generation business-to-business e-commerce.'] The BizTalk Server 2000 Technology Preview is available for download. Now you can easily integrate business processes with your suppliers, customers, and partners, regardless of the systems or technologies used. Combining support for XML and other data formats with reliable delivery over multiple protocols, including HTTP, it is the foundation for next-generation business-to-business e-commerce. Included are rich graphical tools, the Editor and the Mapper, which allow schema development and transformation, simplifying complex business application integration... Microsoft BizTalk Server 2000 is a standards based platform for developing and managing application integration within and between organizations. Utilizing XML as the common document format, it allows companies to integrate and manage end-to-end business processes regardless of operating system or location. BizTalk Server's foundation is its reliable and rules-enabled business document delivery, transformation, and tracking infrastructure. It enables trading partner integration, electronic procurement, B2B portals and extranets, as well as automating value chain processes."
[April 21, 2000] "BizTalk Server 2000: Architecture and Tools for Trading Partner Integration." By Aaron Skonnard and Bob Laskey. In MSDN Magazine. "This article provides an overview of the concepts involved with implementing a trading partner integration system on BizTalk Server 2000 and details the document interchange server architecture and toolset. Additionally, an early look was taken at some business process integration features planned for the production release of the product that allow easy design, execution and sharing of new business processes with trading partners. The concepts and architecture presented allow companies to prepare internal line-of-business applications and trading partners for systems that improve customer service and reduce operating costs. This article assumes you're familiar with Visual Basic and XML. BizTalk Server 2000 is a data and business process integration server designed to facilitate collaborative e-commerce business processes. The server is built on industry-standard XML technology. It includes a document interchange engine, a business process execution engine, and a set of business document and server management tools. A business document editor and mapper are provided, in addition to useful tools for managing trading partner relationships, administering server clusters, and tracking transactions. At runtime, BizTalk Server 2000 is a scalable engine for validating business documents, translating data formats, transforming schema, transporting documents, and tracking transactions. Supported data formats include UN/EDIFACT and X12 Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), text delimited, positionally delimited flat files, and XML. Transport protocols supported include HTTP, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), Microsoft Message Queue (MSMQ), FTP, DCOM, and SMTP."
[April 21, 2000] "XML and E-Commerce Seminar (Seminar)." "On April 25, this seminar will be held simultaneously in 20 cities in the U.S. Learn about XML and e-commerce, including message-passing with XML, loosely coupled architectures, SOAP, the Simple Object Access Protocol, and BizTalk, the universal language for e-commerce transactions."
[April 21, 2000] "StarDOM: From STAR Format to XML." By Jens P. Linge, Michael Nilges, and Lutz Ehrlich. In Journal of Biomolecular NMR Volume 15, Number 2 (October 1999), pages 169-172. [ISSN: 0925-2738, Kluwer Academic Press] "StarDOM is a software package for the representation of STAR files as document object models and the conversion of STAR files into XML. This allows interactive navigation by using the Document Object Model representation of the data as well as easy access by XML query languages. As an example application, the entire BioMagResBank has been transformed into XML format. Using an XML query language, statistical queries on the collected NMR data sets can be constructed with very little effort. The BioMagResBank/XML data and the software can be obtained at http://www.nmr.embl-heidelberg.de/nmr/StarDOM/." See: "StarDOM - Transforming Scientific Data into XML."
[April 21, 2000] "Technology Tussle Underlies Wireless Web." By John Borland. In CNet News.com (April 19, 2000). "The market for Net access over cell phones, while still young, is attracting huge amounts of attention, from Wall Street to mainstream shopping malls. A study this week from Cap Gemini America optimistically predicted that a full 78 percent of Net subscribers would be tapping into the wireless Internet as soon as next year. But underneath the hood of this giant-in-waiting lies a technology some influential industry players say is short-lived at best, and at worst a mistake... The WAP technology was largely developed by Phone.com -- once called Unwired Planet -- and the big three cellular phone equipment makers, Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola. The companies were looking for a way to send content over slow networks and allow it to be displayed on the two-inch screens common to most mobile phones. That meant stripping out most of what the graphics-heavy Web was becoming. But the companies didn't stop there. They based the new standard on something called Extensible Markup Language or XML, which is related but not identical to the language used to create most Web sites...A small but vocal cadre of start-ups has also set itself against the developing WAP orthodoxy. Xypoint, a Seattle firm that provides access to email, stock trades and auction bids over cell phones, says it has deliberately based its service on the two-way text messaging system popular in Europe instead of the WAP." For description and references, see "WAP Wireless Markup Language Specification (WML)."
[April 21, 2000] "Standard Method for Describing an Electronic Patient Record Template: Application of XML to Share Domain Knowledge." By Shunji Yamazaki (Department of Medical Informatics, University Hospital, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa) and Yoichi Satomura (Division of Medical Informatics Chiba University Hospital, Chiba, Japan). In Methods of Information in Medicine Volume 39, Number 1 (March 2000), pages 50-55 (with 24 references). [ISSN: 0026-1270; the official journal of the European Federation for Medical Informatics EFMI.] "TDL (Template Definition Language) was developed to share knowledge of how to construct an electronic patient record (EPR) template, based on XML (Extensible Markup Language). TDL has been designed to be independent of EPR platforms or databases. Our research of TDL was conducted through the evaluation of the description of various templates in currently available EPRs and through comparisons with some electronic clinical guidelines. We conclude that TDL is sufficient for the objective but still needs improvement of the algorithm for describing dynamic changes." See: "Template Definition Language (TDL)."
[April 20, 2000] "Ballmer Hints At Microsoft Tech Strategy." By Mo Krochmal. In CMPNet TechWeb News (April 19, 2000). "Steve Ballmer, the ever-enthusiastic top salesman of Microsoft products, continued his XML stump speech this week, while he gave conference attendees a glimpse of the future according to Microsoft. The immediate future revolves around XML and servers, lots and lots of them, and all running Microsoft software, Ballmer said to attendees of the Financial Summit on Wednesday. Ballmer also evangelized XML, a rapidly evolving standard that helps people describe data and make it machine-readable across platforms. 'You have to realize the great power that the world will derive from XML,' Ballmer said. 'The Web today is not programmable. The medium of interchange will be XML-based. The world has embraced XML.' This tool will even make tools like the Pocket PC better by taking data and displaying it intelligently, he said. 'The PocketPC guys are excited about taking a Web page and displaying it on a little bitty screen,' he said. "What you really want to do is take XML and pass it to a user instead of remapping a website'."
[April 20, 2000] "XML: The right tool for odd jobs. [SILICON CARNY.]" By Rich Morin. In SunWorld Online (April 17, 2000). ['This upstart language offers clean solutions to gritty problems. XML is receiving increasing amounts of attention and is being proposed for all sorts of problems. Rich examines the reasons and gives us his own predictions for XML's prospects.'] "I have been watching XML (Extensible Markup Language) with a great deal of interest. XML has a good shot at being a really pervasive technology that may cause changes in all parts of the computing community. Let's look at some XML fundamentals, to see how this could be. ... XML documents are optimized for processing by computer programs. Their tight rules of syntax allow both consistency checking by the creator and ease of access by random clients. Further, the semantics (and high-level syntax) of XML files can be defined by a document type definition (DTD) file or an XML schema. These can provide a programmer (or a particularly deft program) with a guide to reading and parsing the actual XML file. (HTML has DTDs, as well, but they tend not to be as detailed.) XML has many other interesting characteristics, but these should get us started. Let's explore some possible XML-based applications..."
[April 20, 2000] "WebMethods Speaks RosettaNet's XML." By Antone Gonsalves. In PC Week Volume 17, Number 16 (April 17, 2000), page 31. "WebMethods Inc. has embraced RosettaNet's specifications for extending the capabilities of XML in e-commerce. The Fairfax, Va., company last week delivered WebMethods B2B for RosettaNet, an Extensible Markup Language integration server with full support for the industry consortium's standards. B2B for RosettaNet supports Rosetta Net's 12 PIPs (Partner Interface Processes), which let users define in an XML document activities controlling every aspect of an e-commerce transaction between trading partners, primarily in the computer industry. PIPs provide a way, through XML, to integrate business processes among companies, making it possible to automate more of a transaction." See the announcement: "webMethods Launches webMethods B2B For RosettaNet. Powerful, Platform Independent Business-to-Business Integration (B2Bi) Solution Provides Full Support for RosettaNet and All B2B Protocols for Real-Time Supply Chain Integration."
[April 20, 2000] "TIBCO's B2B Ties that Bind. ActiveExchange app integration software helps exchanges do business." By Antone Gonsalves. In PC Week Volume 17, Number 16 (April 17, 2000), pages 27, 31. "When the task is business-to-business e-commerce, how businesses are tied together is as important as what the businesses are and what they sell. To help get its Web site off the ground this week, SingleSource IT Inc. is using the latest application integration products from TIBCO Software Inc. to connect corporate IT with suppliers. SingleSourceIT, which has been operating its site in beta since November, has 11 customers on its network of buyers and suppliers of systems, networking and peripheral products. Its infrastructure includes TIBCO's Active Exchange, a set of products for building e-marketplaces or other B2B hubs. ActiveExchange, also in beta, is scheduled to ship next month. ActiveExchange comprises BusinessConnect, an integration server, and BusinessPartner, a lightweight application that enables partner systems to receive and process data. BusinessConnect includes management tools that provide a GUI for building message flow among applications. The server supports RosettaNet's Partner Interface Processes, or PIPs, an XML (Extensible Markup Language)-based technology that defines activities controlling every aspect of an e-commerce transaction between partners. RosettaNet sets XML-related standards for the computer industry. ActiveExchange's pricing will start at $200,000."
[April 20, 2000] "Adoption Of Standard Fuels Growth In XML Tools. Vendors add support for language to dozens of products to speed data exchange." By Charles Waltner. In InformationWeek (April 03, 2000). ". . . The most important tools that make use of XML are the same types that were important for other document and data development, exchange, and management tasks. Those XML products fall into a few broad categories such as authoring, content management and storage, and transactions and E-commerce. Some of the leading vendors of applications and servers for XML data transactions include Bluestone, Extricity, OnDisplay, and WebMethods. Content and data storage software vendors include companies such as Enigma, Flow Systems, Poet, and Vignette. XML authoring toolmakers include companies such as Exosoft and SoftQuad... The driving forces behind the boom in XML-enabled tools include the growth of the Internet and a surge in business-to-business E-commerce. XML also is viewed as a promising replacement for electronic data interchange. Dennis Freeman, senior director of product marketing for Harbinger Corp. in Atlanta, which has been facilitating the exchange of electronic data among trading partners since the mid-1980s, says XML offers several advantages over EDI--which has been most common data exchange language used by businesses."
[April 20, 2000] "Groves Explained." By Fabio Arciniegas A. From XML.com. (April 19, 2000). ["Every so often somebody on an XML mailing list will tell you that groves are the answer to all your problems. But what exactly are they? Unfortunately, there are few resources that clearly explain what groves are, and why they might be usefully applied to XML. Fabio Arciniegas A. presents an introduction to groves and their use; he presents a simple explanation of groves, and why he thinks they deserve more widespread attention in the XML world.'] "Despite valiant efforts from certain quarters of the XML world to promote the idea of groves, they are still perceived in the mainstream as being a complicated, obscure concept. This article tries to clear up some of the mystery surrounding groves by providing a clear exposition of their underlying concepts. The main aim of this article is to show what groves are, though it includes a brief argument as to why we should care about them. Groves are sets of nodes and properties that represent some logical resource -- say an MP3 song or a plain text file. The possible groves that may result from the parsing of a resource are determined by a set of rules called a property set. The process of creating a grove starts with a notation processor. A notation processor is a piece of software that can read (and make sense of) resources in a given source notation (say, MP3). A notation processor reads data in the source notation and creates a grove to represent it. The type of output a notation processor can offer is determined by a property set. A property set defines the classes and properties that will be used to represent the original data (as a grove). A notation processor reads the source notation, identifies the classes and properties specified in the property set, and produces a graph of nodes, called a grove. This process is called the grove construction process. Additionally, we may not want all possible nodes returned. In order to say which nodes we want to include in the output (and which to ignore) we define a grove plan. You can think of a grove plan as a filter for the grove output of a given processor..." See also "Groves Basics: HyTime Annex A.4 Annotations/Presentation," by Fabio Arciniegas A. (March 2000). For other references, see "Groves, Grove Plans, and Property Sets in SGML/DSSSL/HyTime." [F.A.A. Bio: 'Fabio Arciniegas A. is a software engineer focusing on research in the field of languages, XML, and distributed objects. His XML experience includes the design and construction of SamXa, an XML based academic test manager, and the definition of design patterns for the serialization of objects into XML. He currently works on the construction of Heqet, a generic XML editor for Gnome, and on the theoretical basics of a new XML based framework for agent collaboration.' Note Perceval, an XML-based Aspect Design Language and Toolkit.]
[April 20, 2000] "XML-Deviant: Speaking Your Language." By Leigh Dodds. From XML.com. (April 19, 2000). ['This week's column addresses the issue of internationalization in XML DTDs and schemas, as well as reporting on the latest initiative of the SML-DEV group to produce a simplified XML.]
[April 20, 2000] "Style Matters: Architectures for Styling." By Didier Martin. From XML.com. (April 19, 2000). ['How should you style your XML? Client-side or server-side? CSS or XSLT? Didier Martin presents an exploration of architectures for styling your XML.'] "...in order to view an XML document, it has to be transformed into objects that our senses can perceive -- this transformation process is called styling. This transformation can occur either on the server side or on the client side. The same XML document may be presented in many different ways. On a cellular phone, where only a few lines of text are available, the XML document is not displayed in the same way as it would be with a desktop computer browser. Thus, the appearance an XML document takes depends on the client user-agent we are using to render it. Some user agents may transform the document into an aural experience, others into a visual or a tactile experience. So, where should styling occur? In the user-agent, or before the user-agent ever receives a document? Should we use XSLT or CSS? We'll examine the possible combinations of styling languages and processing models. [...] XSLT allows either server side or client side styling. It also offers one to many mappings between XML objects (element, attributes, etc.) and formatting objects. Multiple views can be created from a single XML document, even if these views require a re-ordering or modification of the document's tree structure. CSS is closely mapped to the XML document structure. Some document views are impossible to create with CSS. CSS does not allow distributed processing, it is a client side only styling engine. However, it is a great complement to certain rendering languages like XHTML, HTML or SVG." References: CSS and XSL/XSLT
[April 19, 2000] "Battle Cry: Integrate E-Biz Apps." By Tim Wilson. In InternetWeek (April 14, 2000). "Enterprises are gathering on the banks of e-commerce. On their side are legacy applications, systems and processes. On the other side are their business partners and the uncharted world of commercial electronic marketplaces. What's missing is a steady bridge. They're starting to build that bridge, deploying a new class of middleware known as business-to-business integration software. The idea behind the software is to provide a common, XML infrastructure that enterprises can use to reach any customer, supplier or e-marketplace. The software vendors, meanwhile, are working to widen the bridges they're building. Just last week, WebMethods said it will include RosettaNet specifications in its B2B package. By adding RosettaNet to its arsenal of interfaces, WebMethods will make it easier to map data from computer and electronics companies to other e-commerce environments that have yet to implement the RosettaNet guidelines for e-documents and e-business processes. Another vendor, Mercator, last week debuted b-to-b integration software that uses XML to map document and transaction data across disparate e-commerce applications and b-to-b marketplaces... Vendors are approaching the integration problem from very different directions. But they provide at least one common function: a means of using XML to translate data coming from other companies or from b-to-b exchanges into a format that can be processed by an enterprise's internal business applications and presented to employees as if it had been generated on those familiar internal systems."
[April 19, 2000] "XML To Speed Financial Data Online. Committee releases specification to help countries' systems interoperate smoothly." By Matthew G. Nelson. In InformationWeek Issue 782 (April 17, 2000), page 93. "The use of the Extensible Markup Language to convey information among different systems and across international boarders continues to gain momentum, as the XBRL Project Committee last week released a framework for the exchange of financial information online. Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) is an XML-based specification that uses financial-reporting standards to exchange financial information. By using XML, XBRL lets individual countries' financial systems -- each of which has a different way of defining currency worth, different standards of measurement, and other factors -- interoperate smoothly. Companies that adopt the XBRL framework will also be able to more easily assimilate financial data when they merge or acquire other companies, says David vun Kannon, a manager at KPMG Consulting..." See: "Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL)."
[April 19, 2000] "Online Syndication Still A Dream For Most." By Paula Jacobs. In InternetWeek Issue 808 (April 10, 2000). [Section: TRANSFORMING THE ENTERPRISE] "For more than a year, Web content vendors have promised that their products offer a way to manage content syndication over the Web. Kinecta, Vignette, Interwoven and other vendors point to product benefits such as revenue tracking, instantaneous news feeds, automatic reformatting, precise content targeting and elimination of custom code requirements. Yet, there's still a lag between the availability of this technology and full deployment. A case in point is media giant Reuters, which since 1994 has been posting content over the Web to more than 900 Web sites and portals worldwide, including America Online, Go Network and Yahoo. Nine months ago, Reuters began using Kinecta's software to build what it calls the Internet Delivery System. Tony Allday, director of development and product management at Reuters Media in London, says IDS takes Reuters news content, converts it into XML and links content strands where necessary-for example, associating a picture with a news story. The system then syndicates content across the Web to Reuters customers. All the customer needs is a simple piece of Java code, which can be downloaded from a Kinecta/Reuters site and installed on their server... Impressive as it is, this project is still being beta tested, with the commercial rollout slated for later this month. Meanwhile, few companies are even close to deploying this technology. And while some of the vendors could point to companies that were getting started with content syndication tools, most of them are still in the early stages. Reuters is one. Another is We Media Inc., a portal site for people with disabilities, which is using Interwoven's TeamSite, a content syndication tool that lets it deliver XML content to customers. Jonathan Randall, We Media's senior director of interactive development, says eliminating the need for HTML coding and other custom coding lets TeamSite cut the process of pushing content out on to the Web by 30 percent..."
[April 19, 2000] "Open-solutions provider webMethods readies supply chain apps kit." By Eugene Grygo. In InfoWorld (April 17, 2000). "Targeting the electronic component and IT industries, webMethods will be unveiling next week a Java-based kit, webMethods B2B for RosettaNet, that promises to help users integrate quickly to a RosettaNet-based supply chain. The RosettaNet consortium is responsible for developing a framework and XML-based PIPs (partner interface processes), or computer-to-computer dialogs for supply chain interactions in the IT industry. The webMethods kit is an optional add-on to webMethods B2B, the flagship business-to-business XML server, said Kristin Weller, vice president of product development at webMethods. 'We've leveraged the base capabilities [of RosettaNet] to make a total package,' Weller said. The new package is aimed at business analysts who need to coordinate integration with trading partners. The webMethods B2B for RosettaNet software can be used to link data, systems, and collaborative processes in real-time, officials said. The offering, a spin-off from RosettaNet projects done for customers, supports PIPs, the RosettaNet Implementation Framework, and data dictionaries, Weller said. For its RosettaNet offering, webMethods had 11 beta sites..."
[April 19, 2000] "Tibco Extends EAI Wares." By Ellis Booker. In InternetWeek Issue 809 (April 17, 2000). "Add Tibco Software Inc. to the list of infrastructure vendors with an XML system for industrial e-commerce. Tibco's TIB/ActiveExchange 1.0 leverages the vendor's flagship line of enterprise middleware products, as well as its newer enterprise portal platform. While ActiveExchange doesn't require these other products, the association with them is what will set the Tibco B2B server apart... WorldStreet Corp. plans to use the Tibco software to enhance its exchange product, which filters real-time market data and financial information for clients and includes workflow, content management and collaborative capabilities for institutional investors... ActiveExchange includes two pieces. TIB/BusinessConnect is for modeling and handling intra- and inter-company processes, security services and operational necessities like transaction audit trails. It will support all the major XML schemas, including RosettaNet, BizTalk and cXML. TIB/BusinessPartner is client-side software for a workstation or server that links into ActiveExchange. TIB/BusinessPartner supports push, pull and scheduled transactions, and can convert XML documents into flat file and relational database formats."
[April 19, 2000] "Making the Connection -- XML is the standard that brings e-markets together." By David Gabel. In VarBusiness Issue 1608 (April 17, 2000). [Section: Cover Story -- The Next Wave of E-Business] "We are just in the beginning stages of the e-market phenomenon, but you know the next step: connecting them. It's really a no-brainer. Once an e-market is in place and functioning, people will start to wonder why they cannot get from that market to another... There's only one way, and its name is XML. It's becoming a sort of lingua franca for e-business."
[April 18, 2000] "Ballmer Pitches Microsoft IT Solutions to the Government." By Stephanie Neil. In PCWeek (April 18, 2000). "Given the guilty verdict handed down here against Microsoft Corp. earlier this month in its landmark antitrust case, it would be understandable if Steve Ballmer, the company's president and CEO, wanted to stay as far away from this town as possible. Then again, the government is Microsoft's biggest U.S. customer. So a rainy Tuesday morning found Ballmer here at the FOSE 2000 conference for government IT leaders, talking about how Windows 2000 and XML can help reinvent their business. During his keynote speech, the lively Ballmer talked about e-government, empowering knowledge workers, and the many administrative efficiencies that will ensue once federal and state agencies convert everything to work in a digital world. The catalyst in transforming a paper-based system to the online world is XML, as well as some of the new security and directory features in Microsoft's new Windows 2000 operating system, Ballmer said. To make his point, Ballmer presided at a presentation of Health eVet, a prototype system now under development at the Department of Veteran Affairs that consolidates patient information within a secure site. It also includes hyperlinks to Web portals, such as WebMD, through SQL Server 7, to do full text look-ups and gain rich content about medications or conditions within the same interface. Ballmer also highlighted some recent deployment projects that Microsoft is engaged in with government agencies, including the Marine Fisheries Department, which is helping fishermen to get licenses online and capture landing reports via a voice-response system; the Government Printing Office, which is using Microsoft's BizTalk with XML to automate workflow; and Pennsylvania's "PA Powerport" project, a community portal that enables citizens to apply for a car registration online, for instance, and provides tools for getting local businesses onto the Net..."
[April 18, 2000] "Ballmer Pitches XML As Way To E-Government." By Darryl K. Taft. In Computer Reseller News (April 18, 2000). "Microsoft Corporation's Chief Executive Steve Ballmer addressed the FOSE 2000 show here Tuesday and extolled the benefits of XML as an interoperability technology and spoke of Microsoft's focus on providing technology to disabled users. Ballmer described XML as a way of wrapping the semantics of information in a way that can be passed from one source to another, from platform to platform, 'from agency to agency, or from state government to the federal government.' XML is very important in the effort to implement 'personal constituent services' via the Internet, Ballmer said. He cited several examples of where Microsoft has worked with the government, from a marine fishing system, which enables commercial fishermen to go online and apply for commercial fishing permits, to a system Microsoft helped the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania build. The PA Powerport is an integrated portal that features a vast array of information and capabilities, such as registering automobiles online and other tools, for Pennsylvanians, Ballmer said... Another project, called Health eVet, uses XML as the data structure behind a system that tracks medical information on veterans. The project, developed in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, integrates all sorts of data from legacy and other systems and presents it via a secure line to doctors at the VA's 150 hospitals, Ballmer said. Microsoft also employed its XML-based BizTalk toolset to create a workflow system for the U.S. Government Printing Office, he said." See also the announcement: "Steve Ballmer's FOSE Keynote Describes Technology's Critical Role In Redefining Government Services. Outlines Microsoft's Commitment to Help Government Information Technology Fulfill Its Mission to Better Deliver Services to Citizens."
[April 18, 2000] "Ballmer Touts XML." By Jennifer Jones. In PC World (April 18, 2000). ['Speaking at federal agency trade show, Microsoft CEO says XML is center of digital revolution.'] "Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer today put XML squarely at the center of the digital revolution now sweeping both the government and corporate America. 'XML has the ability to wrap together, to embody information, and make it available through a universal medium over a Web site,' he said. As keynote speaker here at FOSE -- a trade show for federal agency technology buyers -- Ballmer said that XML, not Java or Corba, will make possible the next steps of e-government emerging around e-commerce applications. To stress the possibilities of XML, Ballmer pointed to a mammoth application at the Government Printing Office. The GPO uses XML to shift data in various media between all federal agencies and the 5000 vendors that help the government print its abundance of reports. Ballmer and another Microsoft executive then ran through a demonstration of an application Microsoft developed for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Dubbed Health EVet, the application uses XML, Windows 2000, and Active Directory to maintain health information on 25 million American veterans..."
[April 18, 2000] "SOAP, BizTalk, and Super Scalability. Microsoft's leading man on XML talks about the company's "embrace and extend" strategy -- and speculates on Sun's reaction." [John Montgomery] Interview by Sean Gallagher and Steve Gillmor. From DevX.com (April 17, 2000). "Microsoft's strategy to 'embrace and extend' XML, the Extensible Markup Language, includes two key technologies: SOAP, a protocol proposal for simple object access; and BizTalk, the company's schema standard for XML-based e- commerce and enterprise application integration. Lately, it seems the functions of SOAP and BizTalk are moving closer together. XML Magazine editorial director Sean Gallagher and editor Steve Gillmor spoke with John Montgomery, product manager for Web services in Microsoft's developer division, about the convergence... [Montgomery:] 'We see XML as being kind of the next level of technology that's going to come along and provide a universal description format for data on the Web, and what this is going to enable, from our perspective, is Web programmability. Once data is in a common format, it makes it that much easier for you to link together disparate things -- services in the sense of a telephone service or a cable-TV service -- using a minimal amount of consultant resources, a minimal amount of architect time. Basically, turning browsing the Web into programming the Web in a very simple way'." See "Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)."
[April 18, 2000] "XSLT as a Query Language for XML." By Arnaud Sahuguet (University of Pennsylvania Database Research Group). "There is a lot of discussions about which query language should be used for XML. An excellent survey is XML Query Languages: Experiences and Examplars, by Mary Fernandez, Jerome Simeon and Phil Wadler. Unfortunately, their paper does not examine XSL-T as a candidate. This Web page ["XSLT as a Query Language for XML"] revisits the 10 queries described in the paper and offer one way to answer them using XSL-T. We do not claim that this is the unique or best way to do it. Comments and suggestions are welcome. All queries have been tested using either XT or Xalan. Query 6 requires Xalan, because XT does not support the document() construct..." For related research, see "XML and Query Languages."
[April 17, 2000] "Microsoft XML: The Cup Is Half Full. W2K Does XML, Sort Of." By Jon Udell. In Byte Magazine (April 10, 2000). "Some people find this interesting mixture of HTML and XML to be yet another example of Microsoft trying to hijack the Internet. Angus Glashier cited a story by David Strom, on XML.com, which takes a dim view of Microsoft's XML intentions. [...] But Angus doesn't buy that argument, nor do I... Nevertheless, I'm saddened that MS Word, which so dominates the realm of textual data entry, is not yet able to support well-formed, valid writing, even though the infrastructure (e.g., XML parsing, CSS-driven XML viewing) is widely deployed and (on Windows) almost universally deployable. But as Angus says, the new Word format is more tractable than the old, and doesn't -- after all -- claim to be XML. That said, I'd use Word 2000 in a heartbeat if it did what SoftQuad's XMetaL does, namely: support the writing of valid and well-formed XML (or XHTML)."
[April 17, 2000] "Opening an E-Book." By Dale Dougherty. In WebTechniques (April, 2000). "Most discussions about electronic books begin by describing how important it is to have reading matter available while on the toilet. This might just be a guy thing. And then there's the endless argument about whether a person wants to read online. The fact is I do, and you do, and we both do it a lot more today than we did a year ago. Which is to say that e-books will make more and more sense to us, despite a number of plausible objections. . . Candidates for electronic document formats hold positions at different ends of a graphics-text spectrum. At one end are PostScript and Portable Document Format (PDF), both of which describe a page as a set of graphic components. This format achieves a high level of fidelity between a printed page and its electronic equivalent. At the other end are structured markup, such as SGML and XML. This text-oriented format provides for a broad range of uses for an electronic document, such as indexing, but is not always an ideal solution for rendering pages. The battle between PDF and HTML has already been played out on the Web. HTML won, because it's simple and flexible. . . In an effort to come up with a standard, open format, the Open E-book Initiative was organized. In September 1999, the group published the Open E-Book 1.0 Publication Structure Specification, which is published at www.openebook.org. According to Brown University's Steven DeRose, a founder of DynaText/EBT, this group had been thinking it would define a minimum HTML subset but was persuaded to add XML support in a very interesting way. The Open E-book standard is essentially XHTML -- that is, a clean version of HTML 4.0 along with support for CSS. However, this group had the foresight to allow extensions of the tag set as long as there is a style defined for each element. That is, within an XHTML document, you can use specialized tags for application-specific semantics. This is a pragmatic and powerful compromise that strikes a balance between the limits of HTML and the extensibility of XML. Note that if you were defining a document format today, you'd be foolish not to build upon existing HTML semantics, which are well known by so many people. The spec also defines a packaging mechanism to bundle files. It is a manifest that lists the filenames of documents and images that make up an e-book. This is actually a very obvious capability that's been missing, but really helps to make HTML pages portable." For references, see "Open eBook Initiative."
[April 17, 2000] "Content Publishers Push for Metadata Standard." By Paula Jacobs. In InternetWeek Issue 808 (April 10, 2000). "It's been more than a year since the formal introduction of the Information & Content Exchange specification, a collaborative effort of more than 80 companies to define an XML syntax for content syndication across the Web. ICE lets publishers determine the content sent to Web sites, set a schedule for transmissions, customize content selection for each site and automatically reformat the content according to customer requirements, such as adding company logos and changing links. The ICE 1.0 specification was written by Adobe Systems, CNET, Microsoft, National Semiconductor, News Internet Services, Sun Microsystems, Tribune Media Services and Vignette. Still, the lack of a standard metadata vocabulary is hindering efforts to move forward with content syndication, say industry experts. The industry needs a standard because content that formerly remained with a single publisher now must be aggregated and syndicated so it can be reused. . . To accelerate the standardization effort and create a standard metadata vocabulary, content providers and tool vendors have joined the Publishing Requirements for Industry Standard Metadata (PRISM) working group, which hopes to make a draft specification available in June. PRISM is also working with the International Press and Telegraph Group to develop an interoperable collaborative on metadata for content, such as magazines, catalogs and books." For references, see "Information and Content Exchange (ICE) Protocol."
[April 17, 2000] "XML Search Engine to Ship." By Carolyn Duffy Marsan. In InfoWorld (April 17, 2000). "Web surfers can conduct detailed searches and find information with pinpoint accuracy -- at least that is the promise of Xdex, an indexing engine for Web information written in XML. Sequoia Software will ship Xdex on Tuesday. Officials at Sequoia Software, a Columbia, Md.-based XML software provider, claim Xdex is the first off-the-shelf indexing engine for XML. Priced at $1,995, Xdex runs on Windows NT servers and plugs directly into the Microsoft Management Console for administration. Xdex takes advantage of XML's tagging system to deliver high-performance, context-sensitive searches. It uses smart spiders to search for information under different XML tags, and it automatically indexes that content. Administrators can schedule the spiders to scan file systems, Web sites, and databases to look for XML data. The goal of Xdex is to provide Web-site developers with the ability to offer highly targeted search results. For example, if a Web surfer were searching for information about the city of Columbia, Md., he would not receive information about the Columbia River or Columbia University if he were using a portal that employed XML tagging and indexing. . ."
[April 17, 2000] "BizTalk to Ease B2B Commerce." By Jim Rapoza. In PC Week Volume 17, Number 16 (April 17, 2000), pages 1, 22. "More than a year after the announcement of BizTalk, Microsoft Corp. has revealed little about concrete application support for the technology -- until now. PC Week Labs' tests of a preview version of BizTalk Server 2000 show that the BizTalk platform will pave the way for easy XML (Extensible Markup Language)-based business-to-business commerce but only if support for standards improves. Although it's early in the game -- BizTalk Server isn't slated to be released until the fall -- we were impressed with the sophistication of the management and development tools included with BizTalk Server 2000. (The technology preview we looked at was released last week and is available at www.microsoft. com/biztalkserver.) Not all its components are unique, but BizTalk Server 2000 provides complete line-to-line capabilities for implementing XML-based data integration: tools to create and design XML specifications; mapping data from one specification to another; and managing process flow, document verification, and data exchange and processing. A big drawback to BizTalk Server 2000, however, is its lack of support for the World Wide Web Consortium's upcoming XML schema standards. BizTalk uses a different, older XML standard. In tests, the BizTalk Server tools worked well with schemata and documents downloaded from www.biztalk.org -- a community site and repository for BizTalk Framework. But the server could not handle files that were W3C-compliant. This lack of support could fragment B2B e-commerce, with companies using BizTalk Framework unable to easily integrate with those using W3C-standard schemata. There have been indications from Microsoft that BizTalk will eventually include support for the W3C's standard schemata. If Microsoft fails to do this, organizations looking for true standards support will go with competing products, such as IBM's MQSeries Integrator 2, due this summer. . . "
[April 17, 2000] "New XML Tools Enhance B2B. Pair translates legacy data to XML." By Scot Petersen. In PC Week Volume 17, Number 16 (April 17, 2000), page 20. "XML can do a lot for online B2B relationships, but unless a company is prepared to deal with the multiple flavors of Extensible Markup Language, deployment of XML-based systems may be more trouble than they're worth. To help matters, third-party vendors, notably Data Junction Corp. and XMLSolutions Corp., have released tools that can handle such tasks as translating legacy data to XML quickly and easily. . . AMA provides IT management services to the public sector, particularly government and legal agencies. It uses Data Junction Version 7.0 tools to extract cases out of legacy court systems and transform and translate the data into XML. The Data Junction product doesn't just translate XML, it also supports dozens of legacy formats in any combination of sources and targets. This week, Data Junction, of Austin, Texas, is announcing Data Junction 7.5, an upgrade that adds a streaming data software development kit to handle real-time processes, such as electronic data interchange-to-XML translation; Java Native Interface and Component Object Model interfaces to the company's Data Junction server to ease incorporation with other enterprise application integration products; and multithreading capabilities. . . For XML management, XMLSolutions shipped this month Schema Central 1.0. The product, which provides a centralized management interface for XML, enables users to dynamically access XML schemata and Document Type Definitions and speed development of XML-based systems. Pricing starts at $25,000."
[April 14, 2000] "XSLT, THE XML BABELFISH. De-Balkanizing the most important standard on the Web." [David Weinberger's Intranet Buzz] By David Weinberger (Editor, Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization). "XML is the most fabulous standard since the Universal Flavor System expanded Pantone's trademark empire from all the known colors to most of the major flavors including licorice, chicken, the aftertaste of spoiled pistachios and Type O human blood. But there's just one small problem: XML is a standard for writing standards and if those standards don't agree, then we've balkanized data rather than united it. XML allows authors and data designers to create their own set of tags, so we're not stuck with the set recognized by HTML browsers. To do so, you create a document type definition (DTD) that lays out the acceptable tags (and their structure) for a particular type of document or other data container. So, an aircraft maintenance manual may have one set of tags while a record of an electronic commerce transaction may have a different one. The problem occurs when two aircraft manufacturers create different DTDs for the same type of object, or when a merchant and its suppliers have different tag sets for encoding transaction data that they're trying to share. There are only two ways to handle this problem, unless you count killing everyone who disagrees with you..."
[April 13, 2000] "Minimal XML 1.0." Edited by Don Park (Docuverse). Version: 2000-04-11. "Minimal XML is a subset of XML 1.0; including features essential for data interchange applications, and excluding non-essential features that are arcane, legacy-related, problematic for data interchange applications, or redundant. [The goals are to provide:] (1) A subset that allows easily implemented parsers that are much faster and smaller than full XML parsers. (2) A subset with simpler information model that can easily be mapped to other information models. (3) A subset that is much easier to learn, teach, and use." See: "Minimal XML."
[April 13, 2000] "W3C and the Web Community." By Ian Jacobs. From XML.com. April 10, 2000. ['The World Wide Web Consortium ushered XML into the world, and is at the center of the development of core XML technologies. Ian Jacobs explains how ideas get to become W3C Recommendations, and how you can contribute to the process.'] "The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was founded in 1994 so that organizations and individuals interested in developing the Web would have a place to promote and listen to ideas, hammer out consensus on interoperable solutions, and create high-quality technical specifications as a stable foundation for the Web. W3C's process has been designed so that developers, content providers and users, W3C Members and the public, and industry and government can all contribute to and benefit from the W3C forum. Only by serving the entire Web community can W3C claim to lead the Web to its full potential. 'I devote my career to the XML development community,' says Dan Connolly, the XML Activity Lead at W3C. 'I occasionally get recruited to join this or that start-up as CTO, but it's more important to me today to work directly with the open standards XML community.' W3C's growth in just over five years (over 400 Members, 22 Recommendations, 60 full-time staff, over 20 Activities) shows that the international community considers W3C the place to go to develop fundamental Web technologies. Demand for the W3C forum is high today, but as soon as W3C stops meeting expectations, or the Web itself makes the need for this forum obsolete, we can all go home. Like everyone in the industry, W3C struggles to keep pace with rapid changes to Web markets, technology, and society. W3C must take these factors into account while building a sturdy and flexible foundation for the Web at the same time. Our success in this project depends largely on community trust and participation, including review of specifications, implementations, translations, and promotion. We invite you participate in W3C's mission and explain below how you can." ['Dan Connolly and Janet Daly provided essential direction to this article. The author would also like to recognize the efforts made by Simon St. Laurent to communicate information about W3C in his Outsider's Guide to W3C - FAQ.']
[April 13, 2000] "The OASIS Process for Structured Information Standards." By Jon Bosak. From XML.com. April 10, 2000. ['The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards is a nonprofit corporation whose aim is to promote and maintain interoperability in XML applications. Jon Bosak outlines the process by which OASIS operates.'] " OASIS, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1993 under the name SGML Open. Originally a consortium of small software vendors and large customers devoted to developing guidelines for interoperability among SGML products, OASIS changed its name in 1998 to reflect the inclusion of CGM Open and the growing popularity of the XML subset of SGML. In 1999 OASIS began two important projects -- the XML registry/repository at XML.org and, in cooperation with UN/CEFACT, the Electronic Business XML (ebXML) initiative. It also changed its membership rules to include individual members as well as corporate sponsors. Today OASIS is an organization in transition, whose future direction depends largely on the extent to which interested individuals decide to participate. The process by which OASIS develops information standards is also in transition. The overall structure of OASIS is that of an ordinary nonprofit corporation with an elected board of directors. The board is responsible for business and policy decisions, while the membership itself is responsible for deciding substantive technical issues such as the approval of interoperability guidelines. As would be expected in what was historically an industrial consortium, 'membership' for purposes of electing the board and voting on technical resolutions includes just the organizational members, with one vote going to each organization. More will be said about the relationship of organizational and individual members below."
[April 13, 2000] "XML-Deviant: Filling in the Gaps." By Leigh Dodds. From XML.com. April 12, 2000. ['The XML-DEV mailing list has long been a place for thorough examination of the XML specification, and suggestions for areas where new activity is required. Recent discussion has centered around the problems of describing parser capabilities and external resources required by a document.'] On Catalogs and Feature Manifests (rather like the SGML Declaration: 'A number of features in the specification are optional, some additional leeway being granted to non-validating parsers...'), XML 1.1
[April 13, 2000] "Grassroots Enforcers: The Web Standards Project." By Edd Dumbill. From XML.com. April 10, 2000. ['Users are frequently the ultimate losers when standards aren't respected. The Web Standards Project is a coalition of web users and developers who got together to campaign for adherence to standards on the Web.'] "The W3C recommends standards. It cannot enforce them, and it certainly is not about to throw public tantrums over non-compliance. So we do that job."
[April 13, 2000] "Overview of XML-related Standards." By Pim van der Eijk. [An older document, valuable for the FM references] "XML (Extensible Markup Language), an SGML application designed to enable the use of generic markup in the context of Internet applications, is currently gaining significant momentum. Apart from being a standard specified by the World Wide Web consortium (W3C), the term XML is also informally used to refer to a number of related initiatives that augment and supplement XML in the areas of resource description, document schemas and data typing, linking and addressing, and style sheets. This document aims to provide current and prospective users of SGML and XML with a high-level, technically oriented overview of proposals emerging from these activities, which, together, offer improved facilities for organizing and publishing structured Web documents." See the TEILite version and the HTML version. Note in this connection "Editing TEI documents using Framemaker+SGML."
[April 13, 2000] "Companies Back XML Business Specification." By Steven Bonisteel. In ComputerCurrents.com (April 10, 2000). "A host of high-profile companies from the worlds of finance, publishing and computer software are adding some momentum for an extensible markup language (XML) specification they say will make it easier to exchange business information electronically. The specification, called extensible business reporting language (XBRL), is a newly named incarnation of what had been called extensible financial reporting markup language (XFRML). The XBRL Project Committee that is steering the specification's development says the new name reflects the fact that it will be used for a variety of business information other than financial statements. More than 30 companies and organizations have joined the XBRL Project Committee, including accounting firms such as Arthur Andersen and Ernst & Young, professional associations for accountants in North America and Europe, software companies such as Microsoft and Oracle, and electronic publishers such as Reuters Group, Standard & Poor's, and EDGAR Online."
[April 11, 2000] "Computer Telephony will be XML-ated!" By Robert L. Pritchett. January 2000. "This report focuses attention on the current state (January 2000) of affairs regarding Extensible Markup Languages (XML) that affect telephony today and their impact on future business applications within the constantly changing computer telephony industry. The 'prevailing winds' point increasingly towards the Extensible Service Policy Architecture (ESP) and Unified Communications (UC)." Also available in MS-Word 97 format. On WAP/WML: "WAP Wireless Markup Language Specification (WML)."
[April 2000] Norm Walsh on system identifiers: Norm Walsh has provided a tutorial background to the problem of XML system and public identifiers in "If You Can Name It, You Can Claim It!" [Column 'Standard Deviations from Norm', Issue 3, 04-April-2000]. "The fact that XML requires me to supply system identifiers for external references, and the fact that these identifiers are required to be Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) is a frequent source of considerable irritation. In this column, we'll explore how you can use OASIS Catalog files (or their XML equivalent) to avoid these difficulties. Using Catalog files became a lot easier earlier this month when Arbortext released its Java Catalog classes to the XML community. Using these classes, it's simple to add Catalog support to your favorite Java parser. (Equivalent support for parsers in other languages should be fairly easy to construct from the free and Open Source of the Java classes, although Arbortext has no immediate plans to undertake this effort.) You can download the classes or view the JavaDoc API Documentation online." Previous URL now broken: http://www.arbortext.com/Think_Tank/Norm_s_Column/issue_three/issue_three.html. [cache, new URL]
[April 04, 2000] "Sun to ship new e-commerce integration software." By Wylie Wong. In CNet News.com (March 31, 2000). "Sun Microsystems is giving its software integration technology a new look. Sun will soon ship updated e-commerce software that allows businesses to connect their different computing systems, so they can exchange information and conduct business over the Web. The revised product, called Forte Fusion, is Sun's first foray into the hot software integration market, which is expected to jump from $400 million in 1999 to $1.8 billion in 2002, according to research firm Gartner Group. Sun acquired the software last August when it purchased Forte Software for $540 million. . . . Sun and software giants IBM, Oracle and Microsoft are just entering a market pioneered by the likes of Neon Software and Mercator. Sun plans to release its updated software in April or May. It will feature increased support for Extensible Markup Language (XML), a Web standard for exchanging information. With the XML support, the product allows a single company to integrate its own applications and conduct and manage transactions with their partners on the Internet, a Sun executive said. The new version of Forte Fusion will run about 40 percent faster and support a new standard called Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) Transformation, which will let developers easily use XML to tie their software together, the Sun executive said. XSL technology lets users define how a document is presented, specifying color and font, for example. XSL Transformation lets programmers easily map different documents together without having to write a lot of additional software code. Forte Fusion includes messaging software designed to ensure information sent from a business application is delivered to its intended target. For example, an e-commerce Web site can build a system that automatically routes purchasing orders directly to the warehouse." See also "XML/XSL:The Lifeblood of E-Commerce. A Forte [Fusion] Technical Brief."
[April 04, 2000] "XML/XSL:The Lifeblood of E-Commerce. A Forte [Fusion] Technical Brief." Sun Microsystems. March 2000. "Organizations today are looking to move beyond their initial e-commerce implementations, which typically focused on simply providing Web-based product information, together with a secure order-entry module. While these early efforts may have allowed companies to gain a toehold in e-commerce, they were inefficient and ineffective since they were disconnected from the operational systems of the business. Thus at best they provided only a Band-Aid solution. Creating a well-differentiated e-commerce strategy requires the ability to provide unified information to a range of users: employees, customers, suppliers and partners. Organizations must integrate customer-facing components with front- and back-office applications as well as with legacy systems. Furthermore, they need to create and deploy integrated business processes that differentiate the business and add real value for the customer. To do this effectively, organizations need an enterprise application integration (EAI) infrastructure to provide integration of both data and applications across multiple functions and increasingly multiple companies. [...] to deliver integration across independent applications, the integration technology must support some form of canonical data representation as an interchange between the varied data structures and semantics of the applications. XML (eXtensible Markup Language), in conjunction with XSL (eXtensible Style Language), is rapidly emerging as a powerful yet standard mechanism for dealing with disparate application data formats, providing a sound and flexible underpinning for EAI solutions..."
[April 03, 2000] "The What, Why, and How of XML." By Anthony B. Coates (Equity Systems/Reuters, and AJUG National Secretary). March 21, 2000. Overview, with references. From a slideset presentation. See also the intro page.
[April 03, 2000] "Hands-on XSL: XSL for Fun and Diversion." By Don R. Day (Advisory Software Engineer, IBM). March 2000. "This article presents a simple, hands-on exercise that demonstrates the principles of the Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT). It takes about an hour to complete the concept exercises and about 15 minutes at a computer to try out the results with a real XSLT processor."
[April 18, 2000] "Ballmer: It's the Tags, Stupid." By Jennifer Jones. In InfoWorld (April 18, 2000). "Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on Tuesday put XML squarely at the center of the digital revolution now sweeping both the government and corporate America. As keynote speaker here at FOSE -- a trade show for federal agency technology buyers -- Ballmer said that XML, not Java nor Corba, will make possible the next steps of e-government emerging around e-commerce applications. But he was quick to note that businesses' use of technology is now no different than that of the federal government, Microsoft's largest customer..."