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Last modified: March 09, 2001
XML Articles and Papers. October - December 2000.

XML General Articles and Papers: Surveys, Overviews, Presentations, Introductions, Announcements

References to general and technical publications on XML/XSL/XLink are also available in several other collections:

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.

December 2000

  • [December 29, 2000] "Scientific Data Integration: Wrapping Textual Documents with a Database View Mechanism and an XML Engine." By Zoé Lacroix. Presented at the IEEE International Symposium on Bio-Informatics and Biomedical Engineering (BIBE 2000), Washington DC, November 2000. Published in Proceedings of the IEEE International Symposium on Bio-Informatics and Biomedical Engineering [Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society, 2000] pages 71-76 (with 32 references). "Building a digital library for scientific data requires accessing and manipulating data extracted from flat files or from documents retrieved from the World Wide Web. We present an approach to querying flat files as well as Web data sources through an object database view based on a database system and a wrapper. Generally, a wrapper has two tasks: it first sends a query to the source to retrieve data and, secondly builds the expected output with respect to the virtual structure. Scientific data servers, and in particular the ones publicly available on the Web, usually provide information retrieval techniques to access data. Our wrappers are composed of a retrieval component, based on an intermediate object view mechanism called 'search views' mapping the source capabilities to attributes, and a XML engine to perform these two tasks. If the retrieval component is specific to each data source, this approach shows that the extraction component (the XML engine) can be common. We describe our system and focus on the retrieval component of the Object-Web Wrapper (OWW) for Web sources. The originality of our approach consists of (1) a common wrapper architecture for flat files and Web data sources sharing a XML engine for data extraction, (2) a generic view mechanism to access data sources with limited capabilities, and (3) the representation of hyperlinks as abstract attributes in the object view as well as their use in the search view. Our approach has been developed and demonstrated as part of a multidatabase system supporting queries via uniform Object Protocol Model (OPM) interfaces..." [cache]

  • [December 29, 2000] StarOffice XML File Format. Technical Reference Manual. Draft 9, December 2000. 393 pages. "This manual describes the StarOffice XML file format. XML is the new native file format for the StarOffice suite, replacing the old binary file format. Our goal is twofold: to have a complete specification encompassing all StarOffice components, and to provide an open standard for office documents. In our opinion, XML is ideal as an open standard because of the free availability of XML specifications and document type declarations (DTDs), and the XML support for XSL, XSLT, XLink, SVG, MathML, and many other important and emerging standards. One single XML format applies to different types of documents, for example, the same definition applies to tables in text documents and tables in spreadsheets. This working draft manual contains the current specification of the StarOffice XML file format. As the term 'working draft' implies, the StarOffice XML file format is work in progress. This fact has the following implications for this manual: (1) The specification contained in this working draft is not complete. The XML specification for many of the StarOffice features has not yet been decided or documented. (2) This working draft may contain specifications that are not currently implemented in the StarOffice XML import and export filters. This draft should also not omit specifications for any features that are already implemented in the StarOffice XML filters but there may be exceptions to this. (3) The specifications described in this working draft may change. This is especially true for specifications that are not currently implemented in the StarOffice XML filters, but may also be the case for specifications that are already implemented. The reasons for changing the specifications include changes to related working drafts like XSL-FO or SVG, suggestions from reviewers of the manual, errors or inconsistencies that are found, or problems with new specifications that can only be resolved by changing existing specifications. (4) This working draft may contain errors, missing information, or incomplete specifications. The StarOffice XML project "contains the support for the XML based file format. (1) The module sax contains an XML parser and an XML writer component, both based on the SAX interface. (2) The module xmloff contains the document type definitions (DTDs) for the XML based file format. It also contains most of the C++ code to read and write these files through the SAX interface. Some additional code exists within the application modules. (3) The module package contains the Zip file access API implementation + the 'generic' package API implementation. It will also contain the code to support the XML Manifest file." See also the XML DTD modules in the CVS repository. Update notice from Daniel Vogelheim 2000-12-29. See references in "StarOffice XML File Format." [cache]

  • [December 29, 2000] "The Integration of Information Retrieval Techniques Within a Software Reuse Environment." By Forbes Gibb, Colm McCartan, Ruairi O'Donnell, Niall Sweeney, and Ruben Leon (Department of Information Science, Strathclyde University, 26 Richmond St., Glasgow, G1 1XH, UK). In Journal of Information Science [ISSN: 0165-5515] Volume 26 Number 4 (2000), pages 211-226. With 46 references. "This paper describes the development of an information retrieval (IR) model for the indexing, storage and retrieval of documents created in extensible mark-up language (XML). The application area is the software reuse environment, which involves a broader class of documents than can be processed by conventional IR systems. This includes design and analysis documents in unified modelling language (UML) notation, as well as textual format, source code and textual and source code component interface definitions. XML was selected because it is emerging as the key standard for the representation of structured documents on the World Wide Web (WWW) and incorporated methods for the representation of metadata. A model is described that is easily customisable, since it is based upon an extensible object-oriented framework. This allows the development of an IR architecture that can easily be adapted to cope with the proliferation of XML document type definitions (DTSs) that is likely to be a characteristic of the WWW in the near future... FIRE is a robust model for IR applications and as such can be regarded as at least comparable with other models for a general IR system. Since this design has never been fully implemented, it is of interest to the authors to test and evaluate FIRE as part of its utilisation within the project. However, our reasons for selecting FIRE were also closely related to the requirements of the AUTOSOFT project and the other development strategies selected in the project. One of the requirements of the AUTOSOFT project is to develop a set of distributed, collaborating components. This component approach applies at the macro level of the project development and to individual parts of the indexing and retrieval engines. Specifically, the indexing engine needs to allow different algorithms to be used to construct entries in the textual document index. This corresponds, for the most part, to allowing different word stemmers to be written and slotted in to the system without too much effort. By this we mean that the rest of the system must remain unaffected by the change and should not need recompilation. A component approach fulfils this design criterion and the FIRE framework is ideally suited to this for two reasons. Firstly, being object oriented it allows interfaces between each part to be rigidly defined so that new parts can be added without fear of affecting the functioning of other parts as long as that new part conforms to the interface of the part it replaces. Of course, this can be true of all systems developed with OO technology. Secondly, FIRE forms links between functional parts by means of the indexing and retrieval modalities. These effectively create soft links between the parts of the FIRE framework concerned with: representing the document contents; storing those contents in an index; the method for transforming the contents to the form that is to be indexed; and the matching to be used to retrieve the document. By soft links, we mean that at application construction the exact method for indexing any given document feature or retrieving one of its features need not be defined. Depending on the programming method used, these soft links can just be functional or can extend to the run-time environment where the application is unaware of what parts (classes) it requires until they are specified with an indexing or retrieval modality. It is these soft links that allows a key requirement of AUTOSOFT to be fulfilled, namely allowing the behaviour of the feature indexing and matching to be changed after the system has been constructed without reference to any existing indexing or matching functionality in the system. Another requirement is created by the choice of XML as our document representation language. Because of this, a model is preferred that ties closely with the document structure of XML for ease of development and for a consistent modelling approach to be taken in the IR system. In examining FIRE one can see how XML elements and FIRE document features play a very similar role in the overall document structure. By allowing a user to specify the mapping between the XML entities and FIRE document features the system can index any XML document providing a FIRE document feature exists that can represent the information contained by that XML entity... avenues for future work include the development of a web-browser based interface to the retrieval engine and expansion of the functionality to incorporate different XML DTDs. As noted above the design of the system will allow most XML DTDs to be incorporated with out any programmatic changes to the system. Currently it is envisaged that the configuration of the system can be set using an XML file that describes the mapping between XML elements, documents features and indexing features." [cache]

  • [December 28, 2000] "The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative: Mission, Current Activities, and Future Directions." By Stuart L. Weibel (OCLC Office of Research) and Traugott Koch (NETLAB).. In D-Lib Magazine [ISSN: 1082-9873] Volume 6 Number 12 (December 2000). With 54 references. "Metadata is a keystone component for a broad spectrum of applications that are emerging on the Web to help stitch together content and services and make them more visible to users. The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) has led the development of structured metadata to support resource discovery. This international community has, over a period of 6 years and 8 workshops, brought forth: (1) A core standard that enhances cross-disciplinary discovery and has been translated into 25 languages to date; (2) A conceptual framework that supports the modular development of auxiliary metadata components; (3) An open consensus building process that has brought to fruition Australian, European and North American standards with promise as a global standard for resource discovery; (4) An open community of hundreds of practitioners and theorists who have found a common ground of principles, procedures, core semantics, and a framework to support interoperable metadata. The 8th Dublin Core Metadata Workshop capped an active year of progress that included standardization of the 15-element core foundation and approval of an initial array of Dublin Core Qualifiers... The DCMI Open Metadata Registry is a prototype for the DCMI registry, and was demonstrated at DC-8 by Eric Miller. This registry is built from the EOR Extensible Open RDF Toolkit, an open source toolkit designed to facilitate the design and implementation of applications based on the W3C's RDF and XML standards. EOR is also being used by the European Commission funded SCHEMAS project. DCMI or an initiative like the SCHEMAS project can use this Extensible Open RDF (EOR) Toolkit to build a registry that reflects policy and implementation decisions about a given application. The software will allow schema designers to discover, navigate and annotate semantics and to understand relationships to other semantics. The prototype supports the construction and management of a database for aggregation, querying, managing and displaying metadata in RDF format. User interfaces for human and machine usage and an improved annotation support are still under development. This software is also a cornerstone of the open source approach to software development in the DCMI, and is available for development (both for commercial and research adaptation) under a liberal open source license. It is hoped that this approach will promote significant community development that will be fed back into the software base for the benefit of all interested parties... The year 2000 marked the beginning of a transition in Dublin Core Metadata Initiative activities. The approval of DC qualifiers provides a finer granularity for resource description, and the work of the DCMI Education working group extends the scope of DCMI semantics to embrace domain specific needs. The emerging work on application profiles suggests the means to further expand into the uncharted territory of mixing namespaces and hybrid schemas that borrow elements from different communities. The DCMI workplan for the year 2001 will embrace a variety of ongoing activities, and some new ones, as well..." See: "Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI)."

  • [December 28, 2000] "Research Standards Buy- and Sell-Side Firms Come Together Around RIXML." By Anthony Guerra. In WebTech Wall Steet and Technology (WST) (December 14, 2000). "Representatives from buy- and sell-side firms have formed (research information exchange markup language) in order to establish that protocol-in-the-making as the standard for describing all types of financial research and analysis. By agreeing on one protocol to describe such information, which comes in many different forms including Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents and audio and video files, financial institutions are trying to create stores of research data described by a uniform protocol. Once that is achieved, research from all sources -- whether internal or from various financial institutions -- can be aggregated, co-mingled, filtered and searched. 'Ultimately, this will make the investment banks' research more valuable because right now a great piece we put out may get lost in the clutter -- the noise and confusion that our customers are cluttered with,' says Joseph Sommer, director of U.S. electronic trading and connectivity services with Credit Suisse First Boston and sell-side co-chair of the steering committee. 'If we can help sort out that clutter and we have quality content, it should stand out, so it's worth the effort.' Currently, buy-side institutions are bombarded with thousands of pieces of information from sell-side firms, communicated in dozens of different protocols. That means searches through such a body of data are highly inefficient and often fruitless. David Seibert, vice president of investment systems with T. Rowe Price and buy-side steering committee co-chair of, says that the formation of the group, which will be limited to 10 buy- and 10 sell-side institutions, was initiated by T. Rowe Price because of frustration it felt when attempting to co-mingle research from various sources. To really become involved, firms interested in participating in can contact the group using information provided on their Web site. Sommer says firms can join to become more involved and help fund the effort. Dues for a buy-side firm are $20,000, a sell-side firm $110,000. 'We didn't want to have buy-side firms that were able to devote people and could contribute to the protocol but decided not to because of the up-front costs,' he says, 'so the sell-side is in a sense subsidizing the work.' He further explains the dues by noting that it took a while for FIX to get off the ground because it was not a funded effort. The group will be working to develop a beta version of RIXML in January, which will be released to the public. A 30-day comment period will follow when the group will look at submitted concerns and suggestions, acting on those they deem legitimate. After the comment period, a recommendation will be released that will essentially constitute version 1.0 of the specification, according to Chris Betz, vice president of the institutional equity division at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and sell-side co-chair of" See: "Research Information Exchange Markup Language (RIXML)."

  • [December 28, 2000] "A New XML-based Standard for Weather Derivatives Transactions Proposed. WeatherML Aims to Simplify Trading of Weather Derivatives." By Crisitna McEachern. In WebTech Wall Steet and Technology (WST) (December 22, 2000). "XML has taken a strong foothold in the financial services industry, and the weather derivatives market is next in line for a standard trading protocol of its own. The Weather Risk Advisory, a software and consulting company focusing on weather derivatives, is leading an initiative to develop WeatherML, an XML-based data protocol that looks to be a standard for the electronic processing of weather derivatives. The development will be spearheaded on an international basis by the WeatherML Steering Committee, which will include representatives from various areas of the weather derivatives community such as trading organizations, banks, insurers, reinsurers and brokers. The tentative proposal calls for the first version of WeatherML to be released in the second quarter of next year. The WeatherML Steering Committee recently submitted its proposal to the Weather Risk Management Association (WRMA), the weather derivatives industry trade group for its opinion and possible endorsement. WeatherML will be used to tag data on weather derivatives transactions. 'WeatherML creates a standard so people can build an interface from their systems to WeatherML and then communicate with anyone in the market that is using WeatherML,' says Gautam Jain, director at Weather Risk Advisory. He adds that WeatherML would be useful in areas such as streamlining the electronic confirmation of trades and furthering the growth of the weather derivatives market as a whole with the spread of software development for the industry... The proposal and draft aspects of WeatherML are available for comment at . The steering committee is seeking advice and suggestions by interested weather derivatives industry parties before the initial version is released. 'The key thing is WeatherML needs to be used by active traders in the market so there has to be a process where by involved parties can contribute to the standard such that it is useful and practical on a day to day basis,' says Jain. Once the standard is released, users would be able to either build their own interfaces to the WeatherML standard, or they could opt for a 'conversion tool' which Jain says would be a mapping engine to allow users to map proprietary data base information to the standard and vice versa. Although the proposed WeatherML standard will initially only cover transaction information, Jain adds that if it catches on with market participants in the future WeatherML could also incorporate all weather derivatives market data into the standard protocol." See: "Weather Markup Language (WeatherML)."

  • [December 28, 2000] "Features: Staying in Synch." By Didier Martin. From (December 27, 2000). ['SyncML is a new standard aimed at keeping your data synchronized between devices both large and small. Didier Martin provides a whirlwhind tour of this new technology.'] "On December 7th, 2000, the SyncML consortium, founded by Ericsson, IBM, Lotus, Motorola, Nokia, Palm, Matsushita, Psion and Starfish, released the specifications for version 1.0 of a synchronization protocol based on HTTP and XML. In contrast to its cousin, the WebDAV protocol, the SyncML protocol does not add any new HTTP verbs, but uses the usual HTTP 1.1 verbs like GET and POST. And, similarly to an other cousin, the SOAP protocol, this XML-based protocol uses an XML format to carry its payload. SyncML's purpose is to allow the synchronization of data. For instance, to synchronize a contact list between local store resident on a palm computer and a network store resident on a corporate server; or to synchronize an event list between a calendar resident on a PC and a calendar resident on a smart mobile phone...SyncML servers exchange packages of information. To do so, SyncML provides a set of commands that each SyncML agent interprets. SyncML sits on top of several transport protocols, including HTTP and Bluetooth (note: Bluetooth may be used to transport TCP/IP - do you remember the Russian dolls?). The SyncML protocol itself is encoded in XML. The SyncML consortium provides a toolkit composed of open source modules. These modules, and the SyncML specifications, can be freely downloaded..." See "The SyncML Initiative."

  • [December 28, 2000] "XML-Deviant: The 12 Days of XML Christmas." By Leigh Dodds. From (December 27, 2000). ['A light-hearted review of XML developer community 2000 as seen through the watchful eye of the XML-Deviant.'] "As the year 2000 draws to a close, the XML-Deviant looks back at the year's events in the XML developer community, bringing you the 12 Days of XML Christmas. Twelve Contentious Topics: The great thing about the XML community is that it's not afraid to face up to the hard questions; XML-DEV being particularly vociferous. This year has been no different, and we've seen a number of contentious debates..."

  • [December 28, 2000] "XML standards draft near. MISMO expects 'dictionary' to be ready soon." By [Staff]. In Inman News Features (December 27, 2000). "The XML standards group of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America is expected to have a working draft for standards within a few weeks. The 'Mortgage Application Logical Data Dictionary' is expected to cover the origination aspects of the mortgage lending process. Previous standards have been set for credit, underwriting and service ordering. Those standards are expected to be meshed with origination standards by the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization and its Mortgage Application Workgroup. MISMO's goal is to create a XML-based document that could start at a consumer-based Web site, move along to an LOS system, be forwarded to a credit agency, be sent back with attached credit data, and then sent to an AUS system and later returned. 'MISMO and this workgroup are moving extremely fast and continue to make exceptional progress in industry standards,' said Todd Luhtanen, chair of the workgroup and technology director at Dynateck, which provides mortgage software... MISMO's members include Dynatek, MortgageFlex, Interlinq, Gallagher, Cybertek and Alltel, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and several other organizations. Some 100 industry leaders attended a recent five-day conference in Milwaukee, Wis., to discuss the latest developments concerning mortgage industry standards with XML, or Extensible Markup Language. XML will provide universal data standards for documents and make electronic transmission of documents easier and more efficient, in a universal format. At mid-November's National Association of Realtors annual convention in San Francisco, another XML standards group was announced, in response to the and NAR-driven Real Estate Transaction Standards XML group. Called Alliance for Advanced Real Estate Transaction Technology, it brought together nearly 20 companies in Web realty, that were concerned that standards were moving too slowly and that RETS members had agendas designed to protect self interests..." See "Mortgage Bankers Association of America MISMO Standard."

  • [December 28, 2000] "XML vs. HTTP." By Mike Brown. Date: 28-Dec-2000. ['I have written a little white paper to inform my fellow developers about the risks inherent in HTTP transmissions of XML, especially when processing an XML document as if it were (or as) an HTML form data submission...'] "XML documents, and to varying degrees SGML and HTML documents, can be thought of as having 4 main layers, in order of increasing abstraction: (1) a contiguous bit sequence (binary data) that represents; (2) a contiguous character sequence (textual data) that is divided into; (3) segments of markup and character data, that together represent; (4) a hierarchy of logical constructs: elements, attributes, character data, etc. Programmers may have to work with a document at any of these levels of abstraction. For example, the DOM API provides access to a document's logical constructs, while an HTTP transmission must work with a document as binary data. However, the abstractions in an SGML, HTML or XML document are somewhat more complex, because of the concept of entities. [...] The only way to reliably construct such a message is to have complete control over the sending end. This means not using HTML forms at all. It also means having complete control over the receiving end, not relying on anyone else's HTTP server or servlet implementations. Since common implementations cannot be trusted to avoid making silly assumptions about the nature of the POST data, the receiver must be a custom HTTP implementation. If this level of control over sender and receiver is guaranteed, then there is the added benefit of being able to transmit multiple entities in a single HTTP message, using the multipart/mixed media type, which works just like multipart/form-data but without the Content-Disposition: form-data; name='foo' headers on each body part. But if this control cannot be guaranteed, the best one can do is to use multipart/form-data and trust that the receiver can handle it properly. If the goal is to not have a general-purpose XML transmission system, then the best option is to configure the sender to never attempt to send XML consisting of anything other than pure ASCII. Then, any of the methods described above will work. This conclusion might beg the question: Doesn't having complete control over the sender and receiver defeat the main purpose of using XML? The answer is no, not really, because the receiver is not necessarily the application that will be using the data; it might just be a way-station on the XML entity's journey to an application that will actually process the file. The point of having control over both ends of the HTTP transmission is just to ensure that the entity is not corrupted before it gets to the application..."

  • [December 22, 2000] "XML Encryption Syntax and Processing." Version 1.0. 15-December-2000. By Blair Dillaway, Barbara Fox, Takeshi Imamura, Brian LaMacchia, Hiroshi Maruyama, Jim Schaad, and Ed Simon. ['We respectfully submit the attached specification as a suggested starting point for the XML Encryption Working Group effort. This work builds on earlier papers and on-going discussions. We look forward to comments and continuing discussions to resolve the open issues identified in this document.'] "This document specifies how to encrypt data in an XML-conformant manner. It describes how to perform fine-grained, element-based encryption of fragments within an XML Document as well as encrypt arbitrary binary data and include it an XML document. The technical requirements upon which this specification is based are summarized in Section 2. Subsequent Sections describe the XML Encryption syntax, processing rules, and XML Encryption schema along with selected examples of using this technology." See: (1) "XML and Encryption" and (2) the W3C XML Encryption Mailing List Archives.

  • [December 22, 2000] "Competing initiatives to vie for security standard." By Jeffrey Burt. In eWEEK (December 21, 2000). "The push to develop an XML-based standard for moving security information across disparate online trading systems is moving under the umbrella of the standards body OASIS. The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards earlier this month set up a technical committee to create a single standard for security information -- including authentication, authorization and user profiles. The first meeting of the group will be on Jan. 9. Included in the technical committee are backers of two competing programs announced in November whose aim is to develop a standard based on XML (Extensible Markup Language). Netegrity Inc., of Waltham, Mass., is heading a drive to make its Security Services Markup Language, or S2ML, the defacto standard in the security information field. Company officials said this week that more than 200 companies have put their support behind the initiative. San Francisco-based Securant Technologies Inc. is pushing its AuthXML program, which has the support of more than 70 companies, some of whom also were involved in the S2ML program. Both initiatives were announced within days of each other. Netegrity officials said they and their partners approached OASIS about creating a technical committee, which was unveiled December 6. Netegrity officials hope to have another meeting in February and a final specification developed by the middle of 2001. The committee initially will use the S2ML initiative as the basis for its work. Securant officials already have issued a third version of the AuthXML specification and will bring that to the technical committee..." See "Security Services Markup Language (S2ML)" and "AuthXML Standard for Web Security."

  • [December 22, 2000] "XML: It's the great peacemaker." By Wylie Wong. In eWEEK (December 21, 2000). ['Extensible Markup Language accomplished the seemingly impossible this year: It brought bitter software enemies together. to speak the same tongue.'] "Rivals such as Microsoft, Oracle and IBM flooded the wires and airwaves with praise for XML, a software standard that allows the exchange of information over the Internet. All these companies had the same dream--creating Web-based software and services--and XML was a core piece of their diverse strategies. XML is an early Web standard for information exchange that proponents say will reshape business-to-business communications. It not only allows customers to easily and cheaply conduct online transactions with their customers and partners, it also delivers sound, video and other data across the Web. In 2000, XML was the great peacemaker. Rival software companies put their competitive differences aside to pursue high-profile alliances and work on potential new Web standards. Those standards helped further their collective goal -- to make XML the preferred language for companies communicating online. These joint efforts have eased fears that companies would merely work XML into a form that suited only their purposes--a move that many analysts agree could irreversibly damage XML's appeal industrywide and stymie many technological innovations. Companies such as Microsoft are placing a lot of currency in XML. The technology is seen as the key to a new future, one in which customers won't have to buy and install software on a personal computer but will be able to download what they need over the Internet. Such a vision, companies say, could be revolutionary for the industry, eliminating installation problems, maintenance costs and other upgrade concerns. While the vision has long been touted by Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, IBM and others, Microsoft jumped on the bandwagon over the summer with a two-year plan to release new software products that link the Windows operating system closer to the Web. Oracle earlier this month announced its own plans to help companies deliver services over the Web..."

  • [December 22, 2000] "Developers back new XML specification." By Roberta Holland. In eWEEK (December 18, 2000). "With the time frame for delivering the ebXML standard pushed up two months, companies working on the initiative say they already have plans to support the specifications in their products and services. Last week, 16 vendors gathered in San Francisco to prove Electronic Business Extensible Markup Language is real and works. The group announced that three of the ebXML specifications are now stable enough for adoption: transport routing and packaging, also known as message service; trading partner agreements; and the registry and repository. Members also said the final delivery date for all of ebXML was moved up from May to March. The effort is sponsored by the United Nations and the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards. Because the specifications that make up ebXML can be implemented piecemeal, several companies are already fine-tuning products that support the standard. XMLSolutions Corp. supports early versions of the messaging and registry-and-repository specifications in its business integration platform. The product line will be enhanced to support ebXML interfaces as the standard evolves, said JP Morgenthal, chief technology officer of XMLSolutions, in McLean, Va. 'ebXML itself is still very embryonic at this point,' said John Ousterhoutcq, Interwoven Inc.'s chief scientist, adding that ebXML's transactional capabilities go hand in hand with Interwoven's bailiwick of content management. 'Some pieces are starting to take shape. Our support is going to evolve. We can adapt pretty quickly because there is such strong XML support in our products already.' Ousterhout added that once the XML infrastructure is in place, it's easy to handle different XML dialects. The TeamSite product already supports ebXML because of its open framework. Upcoming products will have more specific support for ebXML. Bob Sutor, IBM's director of e-business standards strategies, said his company is not yet announcing its product plans for ebXML support. But Sutor said in general he expects to see product announcements from vendors in the second quarter of 2001, with some products materializing in the third quarter. 'ebXML itself is a big collection of technologies, but you can pick and choose among them,' said Sutor, in Somers, N.Y. IBM is sorting through 'what pieces our customers will want first.' A spokeswoman for Sun Microsystems Inc. said the company likely will have news about its plans to support ebXML in a couple of months. However, the recently released Java API for Messaging, known as JAXM, does include early support for the transport routing and packaging specification. B2B integrator Viquity Corp also plans to add ebXML support once the standard is complete..."

  • [December 22, 2000] "OASIS Registry/Repository Technical Specification." Working Draft 1.1 December 20, 2000. 152 pages. ['The new version of the OASIS Registry/Repository Technical Specification resulting from the face-to-face meeting in Washington, DC on December 5, 2000, and the follow-on teleconference December 15, is now available.'] Abstract: "This specification represents the collective efforts of the Registry and Repository Technical Committee of OASIS, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards. It specifies a registry/repository information model and a registry services interface to a collection of registered objects, including but not limited to XML documents and schemas. The information model uses UML diagrams and written semantic rules to specify logical structures that serve as the basis of definition for an XML-based registry services interface. The information model is used for definitional purposes only; conformance to this specification depends solely on correct implementation of some designated subset of the registry services interface. The registry services interface consists of request services to create new registry information or to modify or supplement existing registry entries. It also consists of query and retrieval services to search registry content and retrieve selected registry information, or to retrieve registered objects via object references or locators. The registry services interface supports browsing by arbitrary electronic agents as well as interoperation among conforming implementations. This document deals primarily with the registry, although some scenarios and requirements for the repository are included. This document is a draft proposal under development by the Oasis Registry/Repository Technical Committee. Its purpose is to solicit additional input and to convey the current state of the Oasis Registry/Repository Information Model and Technical Specification...This document represents a work in progress upon which no reliance should be made. Its temporary accessibility, until more permanent accessibility is established at the OASIS web site, is via the following URL: See the announcement from Len Gallagher, "New Version 1.1 - OASIS Reg/Rep Technical Specification." The objective of the Registry and Repository Committee is to develop one or more specifications for interoperable registries and repositories for SGML- and XML-related entities, including but not limited to DTDs and schemas., an initiative of OASIS, intends to construct and maintain a registry and repository in accordance with these specifications, including an interface that enables searching and browsing of the contents of a repository of those entities. The registry and repository are to be designed to interoperate and cooperate with other similar registries and repositories..." [cache]

  • [December 22, 2000] "Secret project may be Microsoft's next big deal." By Mary Jo Foley. From CNET (December 22, 2000). "One of Microsoft's goals in the year 2001 will be to prove it hasn't lost its old development magic. Microsoft's new stealth service, known as Netdocs, is slated to be one of its showcase .Net building blocks, but company officials steadfastly refuse to discuss it publicly. .Net is Microsoft's shorthand for its corporate strategy to deliver software as a service. According to its .Net road map, applications and pieces of applications soon will be delivered as 'services' that can be rented over the Internet. Microsoft officials would not comment on when Netdocs will debut. The service is not yet thought to be in alpha or beta testing, however. According to sources, Netdocs is a single, integrated application that will include a full suite of functions, including email, personal information management, document-authoring tools, digital-media management, and instant messaging. Microsoft will make Netdocs available only as a hosted service over the Internet, not as a shrink-wrapped application or software that's preloaded on the PC. Netdocs will feature a new user interface that looks nothing like the company's Internet Explorer Web browser or Windows Explorer. Instead, Netdocs is expected to offer a workspace based on Extensible Markup Language (XML), where all applications are available simultaneously. This interface is based on .Net technology that Microsoft, in the past, has referred as the 'Universal Canvas.' Some people inside Microsoft describe Netdocs as a '.Net application/service for knowledge workers.' Others call it a next-generation productivity suite being designed for individuals to share personal information and collaborate. Whether Netdocs is targeted for individuals, small businesses, or corporate customers, the technology could change the way Microsoft customers handle many tasks--ranging from signing up for their online services, to building configurable home pages, to managing their own .Net billing, support, and administrative services... In many ways, the Netdocs-Office face-off epitomizes the challenges Microsoft, as a company, is facing as it attempts to move from offering packaged PC software to delivering software services over the Web. While some within the company continue to bank on the future of shrink-wrapped applications, others believe hosted applications that are 'rented' via a subscription model are poised gain acceptance soon."

  • [December 22, 2000] "Next-generation XHTML stripped down for handhelds." By Paul Festa. From CNET (December 19, 2000). "With a keen eye on small Web access devices, a major standards organization on Tuesday recommended a stripped-down version of its replacement for HTML. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) gave its seal of approval to Extensible Hypertext Markup Language (XHTML) Basic, a subset of XHTML that backers hope will impose some discipline on a proliferation of new Web lingos for small computing devices. Based on Extensible Markup Language (XML), the full XHTML version is ultimately meant to replace HTML, long known as the lingua franca of the Web. XML, also a W3C recommendation, allows for the creation of new Web languages and the tagging of digital documents to make them easier for computers to read and manipulate. First issued nearly a year ago, the full-featured XHTML recommendation so far has failed to make a significant mark on the Web. By supporting XML, new browsers can read XHTML pages, and some groups such as the W3C have begun writing their pages in the markup language. But backers say the markup language's biggest opportunity is to shape the way Web pages are written for non-PC Web browsing devices. "In terms of desktop browsers, little has changed since XHTML's recommendation," said David Raggett, senior architect of Openwave Systems and a W3C fellow. "Most public attention has been on the wireless stuff and television. As we start wanting to access the Web from other devices from anywhere at any time, we're using devices with limited memory and processing power. So it's important to distill HTML down." With the XHTML Basic subset, the W3C is in one sense returning to HTML's less complex roots. Early versions of the markup language were extremely simple. But as demand forced browser makers to add bells and whistles, the language and the browsers designed to render it became bigger and demanded more computing power..." See the announcement.

  • [December 22, 2000] "UDDI: An XML Web Service." By Chris Lovett. From MSDN 'Extreme XML' Column (December 18, 2000). ['Columnist Chris Lovett examines the ins and outs of the Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) Service.'] "The Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) Service is now up and running at Microsoft, IBM, and Ariba. This is an online Web Service that you can use from your applications to dynamically discover other online services, all neatly packaged in a simple XML interface. For Extreme XML readers, passing XML around between client application and middle tier servers is nothing new. We've been doing this since 1998. It is nice, however, to see ongoing industry momentum in this direction that results in useful services like this one. So let me just dive right in to the nitty-gritty. All you really need to know is the URL to post the XML to. It took some digging to find the following three URLs... Conclusion: If you're building applications that need to dynamically wire up to services provided by external business partners, then you definitely need to think about wiring your applications to the UDDI registry. Think of it as though it were DNS for the business application layer. The interesting thing is that you could add, change, and remove access points in real time and thereby work around the one week or more delay involved in DNS propagation. Many people are asking what to do after finding a company and its registered services in the UDDI directory. Well, UDDI does not claim to solve everything. Attempting to spec out the master business-to-business protocol that encompasses everything ever invented is a huge undertaking and probably will never happen. The UDDI theory is that your applications will know how to do business with some well-known kinds of business protocols, and these protocols will be described in a well-known way so that you can dynamically find other businesses that support that protocol. Alternatively, you may have a small number of well-known, trusted global business partners with whom you are simply using UDDI to find new services provided by those partners. In this case, you probably already have other trusted channels established for downloading the adapters needed to connect to each service. Bottom line: UDDI is definitely a big step in the right direction." See also the UDDI drill-down example. References: "Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI)."

  • [December 22, 2000] "Catalog Browsing Design." By Heidi Housten. From MSDN Duwamish Online (December 12, 2000). ['This article discusses the design considerations of using XML/XSL to create a generic, HTML-based catalog system for Duwamish Online.'] "The Duwamish Online application is designed for wide browser support and therefore does not rely on advanced browser features, such as client-side scripting or client-side XML support... The Duwamish Online catalog design optimizes usability by simplifying navigation and maximizing responsiveness. Navigation is simplified through previews of content that indicate what lies ahead along any navigation path, by making it easy to backtrack, and by good integration between catalog and shopping cart. Responsiveness is maximized through caching of static HTML and XML catalog data on the Web server. Caching helps the application scale by vastly reducing the work required to service up to 90 percent of application requests. Maintainability is enhanced by application services that return catalog data as XML and by generating HTML through XSL transformations in the presentation layer. Catalog characteristics, such as the data that is previewed and recursion depth of category lists, can be changed at the presentation layer by merely modifying the XSL style sheets. For a comparative catalog browsing implementation based on the XML features of SQL Server 2000, see 'Duwamish Online SQL Server XML Catalog Browsing'."

  • [December 22, 2000] "Solving the SAX Puzzle: Off-the-Shelf XML Processing." By Eldar A. Musayev, Ph.D. MSDN Web Workshop. December 14, 2000. ['This article shows how to capitalize on component-based design by considering a simple SAX program that utilizes this advantage.'] "SAX (Simple API for XML) is usually considered a low-level, high-performance XML parser. However, it offers another important advantage -- component-based design. This article shows how to capitalize on component-based design by considering a simple SAX program that utilizes this advantage... Though many components are not yet off-the-shelf, there are existing components that make implementation simpler. Furthermore, there are more components on the way. In the interim, using SAX allows you to obtain an object-oriented, component-based design for your eBusiness XML application.

  • [December 22, 2000] "Using W3C XML Schema. Part 2." By Eric van der Vlist. From December 15, 2000. ['The second half of a comprehensive introduction to the W3C's XML Schema Definition Language, including coverage of namespaces, object-oriented features and instance documents.'] "In the first part of this series we examined the default content type behavior, modeled after data-oriented documents, where complex type elements are element and attribute only, and simple type elements are character data without attributes. The W3C XML Schema Definition Language also supports the definition of empty content elements, and simple content elements (those that contain only character data) with attributes..." See related resources in "XML Schemas."

  • [December 22, 2000] "W3C XML Schema Tools Guide." ['A run-down of editors, validators and code libraries with support for XML Schema.'] By Eric van der Vlist. From December 15, 2000. "The list of tools supporting XML Schema is still short, reflecting the fact that the specification is not yet a W3C Recommendation. When using a tool, check that it supports the version of XML Schema you are expecting: we've listed the support available at the time of writing. The most recent version of XML Schema is the Candidate Recommendation, dated 2000/10/24."

  • [December 22, 2000] "Using XML and Relational Databases with Perl." By Kip Hampton. From December 15, 2000. ['This article explores how Perl can be used to transfer data between XML and relational databases, and how XML can bridge two disparate databases.'] "This month we're focusing on integrating XML with relational databases. There's not enough room in this column to give a comprehensive treatment of this topic, but we will explore a few of the options available for transferring data between XML documents and relational databases. I'll demonstrate how using Perl can make these types of transfers painless and straightforward. You may not want to try using XML to transfer terabytes of data over the wire, but having a basic understanding of how Perl can be used to help XML and databases work together is a useful skill to add to your bag of tricks. All the examples from this article are available from the download link... In this column, I've only scratched the surface of how you might use Perl to combine the power of relational databases with the portability of XML. I do hope, however, that the examples covered will give you enough confidence to begin experimenting on your own. And remember, new Perl XML modules are being released all the time, and many older ones are adding XML support, so be sure to check CPAN early and often." See related resources in: (1) the CPAN [Comprehensive Perl Archive Network] archives and (2) "XML and Perl."

  • [December 22, 2000] "XML Q&A: Will XML replace HTML?" By John E. Simpson. From December 15, 2000. ['The relationship between XML and HTML is often confusing for the Web developer coming to XML for the first time... The author addresses web developers new to XML, examining whether XML will indeed replace HTML on the web.'] Addresses (1) "Will XML ever replace HTML?" and (2) "Is it possible to change an HTML-based web page into XML?"

  • [December 20, 2001] "Axis Powers: Part One." By Bob DuCharme. From December 20, 2000. "XPath expressions play an important role in XSLT because they let stylesheet instructions flexibly identify the parts of the input document -- or, in XSLT terms, the nodes of the source tree -- to act on. Let's review the basics. An XPath expression consists of one or more location steps separated by slashes. Each step consists of an axis specifier, a node test, and an optional predicate. For example, the one-step XPath expression following-sibling::para[3] uses an axis of following-sibling, a node test of para, and a predicate of [3] to identify the third para element of the nodes in the context sibling's following-sibling axis. (The context node refers to the source tree node that the XSLT processor is currently dealing with -- usually because it's one of the nodes named by the xsl:template element's match condition or by an xsl:for-each instruction's select attribute.) The two-step XPath expression child::wine/child::prices contains the prices children of any wine children of the context node. In this two-part column, we'll examine the various axes you can use and their potential role in XSLT transformations. [...] In the next column, we'll look at the remaining axes: preceding, following, descendant, descendant-or-self, self, and namespace. Meanwhile, you can play with the examples shown in this column by downloading the zip file ." For related resources, see "Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL/XSLT)."

  • [December 15, 2000] "Deconstructing Babel: XML and application integration." By Henry Balen. In Application Development Trends Volume 7, Number 12 (December 2000), pages 19-23. Cover story. "XML may not yet be a true 'silver bullet,' but it can be used to great effect in integration projects if IT managers create a detailed plan that can overpower its weaknesses. No application is an island. In today's world of ever-increasing complexity, it is imperative that applications talk and cooperate. And to achieve business objectives in the world of the Internet, there is the additional need for a common vocabulary. Applications need to talk with one another -- both within the enterprise and between business entities -- as well as over local-area networks, the Internet and now wireless networks. This is a perennial problem in the technology industry. Every few years a new 'silver bullet' rises from the melee of products promising to solve all our integration problems. The latest 'silver bullet' is not a product, but technology that comes in the form of the eXtensible Markup Language (XML). And you would be hard-pressed to find a vendor that does not currently support XML or have a plan to support it. This article takes a look at the implications of XML when applied to application integration. I am sure after reading it you will know all there is to know about XML and application integration. Wait a minute, is that a pig flying past my window? On a more serious note, you may gather that I am somewhat skeptical of the prevailing attitude in our industry of 'one solution fits all.' Though all is not lost, there is an infrastructure of technologies under development that will go a long way toward providing a strong base for solving most integration problems. At the core of all of these technologies is XML. XML and the related technologies it has spawned can be used to help with the integration process. XML has been dubbed 'the new EDI' by some observers. It is used to define standards for exchanging information in various industries. Repositories of these document standards (schemas) can be found on the Internet at sites such as and XML-based communication protocols are also under development. One example is the work being done on XML RPC, the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and ebXML...There are three aspects of inter-application communication: (1) Transport -- how to get information across the wire; (2) Protocol -- how to package the information sent across the wire; and (3) Message -- the information itself. The transport is usually a lower level network standard such as TCP/IP. Inter-process communications standards, such as CORBA, DCE and DCOM, have their own protocols that sit on top of such transports. The protocol used depends on the communication mechanism. Standards may use different protocols to communicate: CORBA uses IIOP, while electronic mail uses SMTP. Each of these protocols allows you to package a message, specify a destination and get the message to the designated location. In protocols that support remote method invocation (RMI), the destination can consist of an object reference and method. With each of these protocols, the user defines the message that is sent across the wire. In the case of CORBA, DCE, DCOM and so on, the message is defined using an Interface Definition Language (IDL). In E-mail and message-oriented middleware (MOM) it can be more fluid. No matter what you use, there is an agreement between the sender and receiver about the meaning of the message. The meaning is not transferred with the message. So why use XML? In XML, documents contain meta-information about the information being transmitted, and can be extended easily. However, XML is less efficient than transmitting the information using a binary protocol. One advantage, though, is that humans and computers can both read the document..."

  • [December 15, 2000] "Tools Update: RSSApplet and Xparse-J." By Michael Classen. From Exploring XML Column (December 15, 2000). "Webmasters need tools for many technologies, and XML is no exception. The venerable RSSViewerApplet had a few problems and limitations that have been removed in the newly released version 1.2. First and foremost there is better compatibility with the RSS 0.91 version upgrade from 0.9: The top level element in the RSS file can now also be <rss version="0.91"> instead of <rdf:RDF rdf:xmlns="..." xmlns="..."> Optional elements are really optional now. A number of bugs were related to omitting optional elements in the RSS file. Improved error handling and more useful error messages... RSSApplet can be downloaded in both source and binary form." See "RDF Site Summary (RSS)."

  • [December 15, 2000] "XML rolls along. [Editorial.]" By Michael W. Bucken. In Application Development Trends (December 2000), page 4. "The Extensible Markup Language (XML) has been examined several times by Application Development Trends' stable of expert writers. Almost two years ago, an ADT Cover Story, 'XML: The last silver bullet' [April 1999, p. 24], concluded that the technology 'could just be' the latest silver bullet able to connect disparate technologies far more easily than ever before. The technology has yet to become a true 'silver bullet,' but nonetheless, XML has been almost universally embraced in the technology world. It has become harder to find a supplier whose products do not somehow incorporate XML technologies. Its backers span both sides in the Java wars as Microsoft Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and IBM have each touted XML as a key piece of their software strategy. The continual changes in the XML technology represent a significant issue to IT development managers..."

  • [December 15, 2000] "XML factions develop along familiar lines. Sun, Microsoft spearhead different initiatives." By Margret Johnston. In InfoWorld (December 14, 2000). "Anyone wondering what Microsoft and Sun Microsystems are thinking about each others' work on XML (extensible markup language) got some insight this week when the two companies made competing announcements about their latest activities to advance the use of the language to support Internet-based b-to-b (business-to business) transactions. Although neither side characterized the situation as war, they sniped at each other on Wednesday, a day after a faction led by Sun held a news conference in San Francisco to demonstrate business transactions over ebXML (electronic business XML). On the same day, and not by coincidence, ebXML faction officials said, Microsoft announced the release of BizTalk Server 2000, an XML product that allows businesses to integrate applications across differing platforms using the Internet. A Sun official complained that Microsoft was trying to steal ebXML's thunder by releasing its BizTalk news on the same day as the ebXML demonstration, but a Microsoft official said the company was only sticking to a previously announced schedule. 'I don't find it surprising that Microsoft would come out and make an announcement on top of us,' said Bill Smith, a member of the ebXML initiative's executive committee. 'They just pushed (BizTalk) on the same day, obviously, for competitive reasons.' Microsoft announced Tuesday that the 'gold' code for BizTalk Server 2000, in beta since August, has been sent to manufacturing. The CDs will ship in late January or early February in keeping with the road map Microsoft announced at the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas in November. BizTalk Server 2000 is one of the components of BizTalk Framework, a foundation of Microsoft's attempt to recast the Windows operating system and Windows applications as a platform for the Internet. Microsoft says the framework, not the server, is the more 'apples to apples' comparison with ebXML, and it said there was a parallel between the (ebXML) demonstration and its own framework. 'The results shown by the ebXML proof of concept are entirely consistent with what our partners and customers have demonstrated using SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and the BizTalk Framework over the last year,' said David Turner, Microsoft product manager and technical evangelist for XML technologies, in an e-mail response to a question about Microsoft's position on ebXML. At the XML 2000 conference in Washington on Dec. 6, Turner said the architecture Microsoft envisions for XML allows for the exchange of information on any platform, in any program language and across any network. He described Microsoft's investment in XML as 'substantial,' and said the company would continue its involvement in the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium). Dave Wascha, product manager for BizTalk Server 2000, said Sun, Oracle, and other companies have representatives in the W3C and the Internet Engineering Task Force, and those standards bodies are 'the right place to do this work,' Wascha said, who labeled the ebXML faction's announcement on Tuesday a defensive move to create confusion. 'We launched a cool product,' Wascha said. 'Everybody wants to talk about where there is conflict. There isn't any conflict because one of the two [products] exists and the other doesn't.' Wascha accused Palo Alto, Calif.-based Sun of hyping ebXML before it is final and said that Microsoft doesn't have a position on ebXML because 'the spec isn't even done.' He added that he and his colleagues at Microsoft refer to ebXML as 'slideware,' meaning they believe it exists only on presentation slides. Meanwhile, Wascha said that customers have been using BizTalk Framework for more than a year. At Tuesday's demonstration, Smith said the ebXML specification would be ready for vendors to implement after the next meeting of the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) in February, two months ahead of schedule. Taking his turn at Microsoft, Smith criticized the BizTalk Framework, saying that to claim that it is open just because it's based on XML is not sufficient..."

  • [December 15, 2000] "Extensible Markup Language Basics: An Overview of XML. Definitions and Discussions." By Lou Marco. In Enterprise Systems Journal (December 2000). ['Need an universal way to format data for presentation on the Web? It's as easy as XML. Learn the basics for Extensible Markup Language (XML) by taking a detailed look at a simple XML document. Learn the important terms, and how to format well-formed and valid documents.'] "This article provides an overview of XML, or Extensible Markup Language, a universal document format for structuring data for presentation on the Web. The article starts with an overview of XML features that overcome existing problems with HTML. Next, the article shows a simple XML document, followed by a discussion of XML document components. The important XML terms, well-formed documents and valid documents are described. XML Document Type Definitions (DTDs) are covered, and an example of a DTD is provided. The article closes with a brief description of related technologies...

  • [December 15, 2000] "Transforming a Word document using XML and HTML." By Juan Blanco. From ASPWire (December 15, 2000). Web Development for either a corporate Intranet or the Internet inevitably involves the need to represent our data in a Word Document format, especially for those working on Windows platforms. In ASPToday we have seen two approaches covered to achieve this, one via creating a Word object in the server, and the other via the use of the Response.ContentType in ASP. In this article I'm going to demonstrate how we can create an e-Bank statement in a Word Document format using HTML and XML -- first explaining the difference between a Word Document and a simple HTML page, how to create an ASP page to display in the client and finally how to create an XSL stylesheet that will transform XML data into a Word Document."

  • [December 13, 2000] "Business transactions over ebXML demonstrated." By Stephen Lawson. In InfoWorld (December 13, 2000). "Ten vendors Tuesday joined forces to demonstrate business transactions over ebXML (electronic business Extensible Markup Language), a specification designed to make electronic trading possible for small- and medium-sized businesses around the world. Sun Microsystems, Cisco Systems, IBM and other vendors participated in the demonstration, in which simulated buyers and sellers found each other, sealed a contract for supplies and exchanged information about materials being transported. The specification is intended to provide a framework for companies to exchange all information necessary for e-commerce without the need for relatively expensive and complicated EDI (electronic data interchange) software. A PC and an Internet connection may be all that is needed to participate in online commerce using ebXML, event organizers said. Sponsored by the Billerica, Mass.-based Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Systems (OASIS), ebXML also is backed by the United Nations Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Commerce (UN/CEFACT), the body that created the current international standard for EDI. Tuesday's demonstration here marked the completion of the core of ebXML's messaging (transport, routing and packaging) service, which OASIS officials said was finished ahead of schedule. That part of the specification has been agreed to by representatives of development groups worldwide and is unlikely to change significantly, so vendors can start to write it into products, said Bill Smith, president of OASIS and an employee of Sun's XML Technology Center. The overall specification has not yet received final approval. The other key parts of ebXML -- repository registration and CPA (collaborative partner agreement) -- will be essentially complete by a February meeting of OASIS in Vancouver, Canada, Smith said. At that date, ebXML will be ready for vendors to confidently implement it, two months earlier than had been projected. About 2,000 developers at 100 companies on six continents are working on ebXML, he said. OASIS also is working with the retail industry's Global Commerce Initiative and the Automobile Industry Action Group on developing the standard. The specification is not intended to compete against traditional EDI or against the UDDI (universal description, discovery and integration) standard, but to complement them, according to Sun's Bill Smith and other participants. Whereas UDDI acts simply as a Yellow Pages-type directory, ebXML will include strong provisions for reliability and security, Smith said. For example, UDDI might be adequate for finding a babysitter, ebXML meets the requirements of $100 million deals, he explained." See the ebXML announcement.

  • [December 13, 2000] "Tech firms, U.N. develop XML standard." By Wylie Wong. In CNET (December 12, 2000). "A consortium of technology companies and a United Nations organization say they will release a new e-commerce Web standard ahead of schedule, paving the way for a variety of businesses to conduct trades online. Oasis, which includes IBM, Sun Microsystems, BEA Systems and others, has spent the past year working with a U.N. technology group to develop a common way for businesses in various industries to use XML (Extensible Markup Language) to link to one another and conduct trades online. XML is a popular Web standard for businesses in markets such as finance, manufacturing and publishing to exchange information with each other via the Internet. Oasis and the U.N. group said Tuesday they will release a uniform model for XML usage in March, two months ahead of schedule. Their effort, called Electronic Business XML or ebXML, defines a common method for businesses to handle and route data to one another and offers a set of guidelines for specific industries to define their XML vocabularies. XML's popularity is being driven by two overriding trends. The growth in business-to-business e-commerce has required a common language for exchanging information in areas ranging from purchase orders to part descriptions. And in big corporations, the rush to make internal data locked in custom back-end systems available to new Web-based applications has heightened the need for a cross-platform development. Specific industries, such as insurance and health care providers, are building their own XML vocabularies to describe data. Some industries may have data that's specific to their own areas. The travel industry, for example, must define the data structure for travel, destination, restrictions and pricing models. Another advantage of ebXML, say proponents, is that it allows companies using an older data-exchange technology, called Electronic Data Interchange, or EDI, to start using more flexible and potentially cheaper XML-based software. While Oasis and the U.N. want the industries to continue to develop XML vocabularies specific to their markets, the two groups also want to hammer out cross-industry processes for message exchange..." See: "Electronic Business XML Initiative (ebXML)."

  • [December 13, 2000] "Microsoft releases BizTalk e-commerce software." By Mary Jo Foley. In CNET (December 12, 2000). "...On Tuesday, Sun and its partners announced a new milestone in the development of the Electronic Business XML (ebXML) infrastructure championed by the standards group Oasis and the United Nations. Also on Tuesday, Microsoft announced that it had released to manufacturing its long-awaited BizTalk Server 2000, Microsoft's XML server. Both technologies are intended to solve the same problem: linking dissimilar computers so companies can share information for e-commerce exchanges. BizTalk Server is one of Microsoft's growing stable of .Net Enterprise server products. The product allows customers to interconnect online marketplaces, XML-enable applications and integrate their back-end systems, according to Microsoft... The sailing has not been smooth for BizTalk Server and the underlying BizTalk Framework. Microsoft announced BizTalk Server in March, 1999, and the product was slated to go to beta in the latter half of that year. Instead, BizTalk Server didn't make it into beta until August 2000. The company in September said BizTalk Server's release date had been pushed into next year. Microsoft said Tuesday that the product will ship in January. Fifty customers are currently deploying the code, which was released on Monday, according to Microsoft. The BizTalk Framework specifies the way companies should exchange data, in Microsoft's view. On Tuesday, Microsoft published the final 2.0 release of the Framework, which specifies how businesses should implement XML and the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) backed by Microsoft, IBM and others." See "BizTalk Framework."

  • [December 13, 2000] "Industry Must Embrace Combination of Open Web Access Standards for True Interoperability. No Single Standard Can Do It All." By Nand Mulchandani. December, 2000. Oblix position paper. "The document 'Industry Must Embrace Combination of Open Web Access Standards for True Interoperability' explores the various standards currently available, as well as those in various stages of ratification. On behalf of Oblix, Nand Mulchandani is a member of the proposal committees for S2ML (Security Services Markup Language) and AuthXML (authentication and authorization). Both proposed XML standards have been recently submitted to the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), an international consortium that advances electronic business by promoting open, collaborative development of interoperability specifications.... Adapting one universally accepted open standard has been offered up as the panacea for Internet interoperability issues. While the idea is appealing, it is not realistic. no single standard will solve all interoperability issues. Instead, a combination of different standards is required to produce true interoperability. For instance, two companies may agree on implementing the same XML data exchange format but will still not be able to interoperate if their XML Remote Procedure Call (RPC) mechanisms do not match. By defining such standards, enterprises are able to deploy infrastructure solutions that seamlessly span multiple companies without requiring each individual company to run proprietary, vendor-specific software. Oblix envisions open standards that will encompass identity, authentication, authorization, sessions, and transactions in a combination of XML and other evolving industry standards." See (1) "AuthXML Standard for Web Security" and (2) "Security Services Markup Language (S2ML)."

  • [December 13, 2000] "E-provisioning specification started." By Tom Sullivan. In InfoWorld Volume 22, Number 49 (December 04, 2000), page 12. "Several companies, including Novell and Check Point Software Technologies, have begun work on an XML-based specification to ease the task of provisioning resources. The specification, known as ADPr (Active Digital Profile), is being driven by Business Layers, a Rochelle Park, N.J.-based e-provisioning company, along with industry players such as Novell, Check Point Software Technologies, ePresence and Netigy. ADPr is an XML-based schema designed to provide a vendor- and platform-independent exchange of provisioning information to allocate and deploy IT applications, devices, systems, and services to employees, business partners, and customers. In its early stages, the specification is based on Business Layers' software, but it will not be limited to that, according to Adrian Viego, CTO of Business Layers. The listed partners are supporting ADPr through technology as well as volunteering to contribute to the development of the specification. Viego added that if everything goes according to plan, Business Layers hopes to submit the specification early in the second half of next year to the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), an international standards body that creates interoperable specifications." See: "Active Digital Profile."

  • [December 13, 2000] "BizTalk Server To Speak Another Dialect." By Charles Babcock. In Interactive Week (December 13, 2000). "Microsoft on Tuesday, December 12, 2000 announced the release of its BizTalk Server 2000, and product manager David Wascha said it will speak the eXtensible Markup Language dialects of RosettaNet, which is sometimes viewed as a competing technology, in the near future. BizTalk Server 2000 comes in two versions: the $4,999 Standard or the $24,999 Enterprise edition. It is an eXtensible Markup Language parsing server meant to allow two businesses to exchange documents in 'a BizTalk Framework envelope,' Wascha said. The document file inside the envelope may be XML-based or any other flat file format, such as Electronic Data Interchange or word processing text, he said. BizTalk Framework makes use of the Simple Object Access Protocol, a draft XML standard submitted to the Internet Engineering Task Force by Microsoft and IBM and supported by Iona Technologies. Microsoft has sponsored a BizTalk forum site where third parties have collaborated on XML dialects using BizTalk Framework. Another XML business initiative, RosettaNet, has been the result of a consortium building XML dialects for specific vertical industry exchanges, starting with the electronics industry. RosettaNet demonstrated the implementation of its XML dialect on Oct. 10, as Compaq Computer, IBM, Intel and other users exchanged documents using the standard. Wascha said Microsoft does not believe its XML initiatives are at odds with RosettaNet. 'BizTalk will talk RosettaNet in the not-too-distant future,' he said, declining to set a date." See the announcement.

  • [December 12, 2000] "Remember EDI: Experts Advise Caution with XML and E-commerce." By Joseph McKendrick. In ent - The Independent Newspaper for Windows NT Enterprise Computing [Online] Volume 5, Number 19 (November 22, 2000), pages 24-26. "Business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce and XML may seem all the rage, but they currently only touch 4 percent of operations. A recent study by GE Global Exchange Services estimates that there are 120 billion transactions per year that take place between companies worldwide, but this 'mostly consists of fax or phone transactions,' said Otto Kumbar, vice president of B2B services at GE Global Exchange, at the recent Electronic Commerce World conference in Orlando, Fla. Only about 5 billion of these transactions have been truly automated, he estimates. Kumbar and other e-commerce industry experts speaking at the conference warn that e-commerce and XML may follow the same torturous path that Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) did early. More than a decade ago, EDI promised massive efficiencies and savings in supply chain transactions. Traditional EDI works well in companies that painstakingly deploy it, but the costs and efforts involved in building and organizing the system limits the reach and potential of the technology. The same could hold true in today's e-commerce and XML-based implementations. As with EDI, companies that deploy e-business technologies merely as a cost-saving strategy -- rather than as a strategic market imperative -- are doomed to fail, warns Paul Silverman, chairman and CEO of Ixata Group. While the value proposition of EDI was 'simple and seductive' -- cutting purchase order costs by 90 percent -- it was a losing proposition, Silverman says, who had been active in EDI deployments since the 1980s. 'Many ventures failed. Losers viewed EDI as paper displacement. Winners recognized that EDI created new commerce channels and changed processes, not just displaced paper. It's better to increase costs to speed up processing -- not try to cut costs. The folks building exchanges aren't thinking this way -- they're focusing on commoditizing products.' Kumbar warns that few B2B vendors are actually delivering true back-end B2B integration. In most cases, he says, they're floating press releases that 'promise that you can take a pile of B2B applications and simply combine then with XML'."

  • [December 12, 2000] "E-Biz Winners Wave Bye-Bye To EDI." By Sylvia Dennis. From Newsbytes (December 12, 2000). "Electronic data interchange (EDI), once held up as the Holy Grail of businesses in the 1990s, is being forsaken in favor of Internet transactions, a report out today says. The study, from Forrester Research, says that Europe's e-business winners are now migrating from EDI over to Internet-based processing, a move that helps keep costs down, as well as being more efficient. Because EDI is effectively a closed system, while the Net is an open systems environment, the report predicts that many European firms will soon start to review their EDI plans, especially as Extended Markup Language (XML) technology starts to arrive in the marketplace in earnest. Forrester says it expects EDI trade in Europe to peak at 1.5 trillion euros ($1.32 trillion) in 2002, then steadily decline as firms in sectors like computing, travel, and logistics migrate 400 billion euros ($352 billion) of EDI trade to the Net - using both eMarketplaces and extranets - by 2005. Interestingly. Forrester predicts that a large group of European firms face high EDI migration market pressure with low response capability, and unless they can rush to find help to build an Internet infrastructure, will end up facing a lean time. The research firm says that this group, in sectors like logistics, retail, and electronics, will collect only the scraps left behind by more aggressive competitors. Another group - mid-sized firms - the firm adds, with a strong specialization that deflects market pressure, will continue the status quo for lack of pressure and lack of alternatives. However, Forrester says, these firms will increasingly be isolated and ultimately outcast when, for example, organizations from related markets propose substitution services on the open Internet. For its research into EDI, Forrester spoke with 40 managers handling EDI activity at large European businesses."

  • "Batch Data Exchange Using XML." By David Emerson (Senior System Architect, Yokogawa Corporation of America). From December, 2000. "The ISA SP88 committee has been working to develop methods for the exchange of batch data such as master recipes, batch schedules and batch histories. To date the S88.02 drafts, for the lack of a better, widely accepted format, have focused on using relational database technology for the transfer of batch data. The wide acceptance of the Extensible Markup Language (XML) since its release by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in 1998 now provides an ideal candidate format that did not exist when the SP88 committee developed the S88.02 exchange table format. This paper examines the use of XML for the exchange of batch related data. Examples are provided to demonstrate XML's ability to handle loosely coupled systems and complex, hierarchical data... A set of XML schemas based on the S88.02 data model and exchange tables could be created for using XML to exchange batch control related data. A logical set of schemas would be: (1) master and control recipes, (2) batch schedules, (3) equipment definitions, and (4) production information. This grouping would match the data models and exchange table organization. Collectively this group of schemas could be called a Batch Control Markup Language (BatchML or BCML for short) and used as the basis for exchanging batch control related data in a variety of environments and applications. The work being done by the ISA SP88 committee provides a solid basis for the development of different interfaces for the exchange of batch control data. The emergence and wide acceptance of XML in the information technology industry represents a valuable and well suited technology that can be used with the work of the SP88 committee. As the OPC Foundation has done in the development of their batch custom specification, a new group could also use XML to create a Batch Markup Language. A Batch Markup Language coupled with new and existing tools and technology could be used to lower the cost of integration of batch control related, operational and business applications in the batch processing industry."

  • [December 11, 2000] "Let's Get in Sync Already. Group Aims To Sync Directories. Proposed standard translates user profiles into common format, but lacks widespread support." By John Webster. In InternetWeek #840 (December 04, 2000), page 13. "Keeping systems, network and application directories in sync has never been a picnic for IT managers. Adding, changing or removing an employee's access rights to a company's data can require changes to numerous network and application directories. In the latest effort to come up with a standard that simplifies that process, a group of vendors last week proposed a specification that provides a common method of formatting a user profile and synchronizing it with XML-based applications, databases and networks. The specification, called the Active Digital Profile, was developed by software vendor Business Layers with support from several directory management and security vendors, including Access360, Netigy, Novell and Oblix. But the group has yet to approach IBM, Microsoft and the Sun-Netscape Alliance-key suppliers of system directories. Their support would be critical for the ADPr spec to be broadly adopted, said International Data Corp. analyst Chris Christiansen. 'Vendors may be hesitant to open up their applications to competing products,' he said. Also, suppliers of directory software have been slow to complete another specification, the Lightweight Duplication/Replication Update Protocol, intended to provide a base method of synchronizing data with directories based on Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, the Internet standard which most directories now support. And there's yet another directory specification, the Directory Services Markup Language protocol, which defines how information is accessed from LDAP directories. Business Layers' officials argue that ADPr complements existing efforts, noting it will translate into common format directory attributes, such as a user's access control rights, an individual's status and whether the user is an employee, business partner or customer. It also tracks other information like an individual's system and connection type. The ADPr effort underscores a key problem many IT shops face. Every time a systems administrator changes information in one directory, it's essential that the same information gets changed in all the other directories. The appeal of ADPr is that it shares personal identification elements across resources, he said. That's important because a large company might have more than 100 directories that contain critical user and device profiles. This determines who has access to sensitive corporate data, including where an employee is located along with his or her computer and network configuration. That's becoming more critical as companies give outsiders access to specific applications and data, observers said. Directory management apps such as Business Layers' Day One and Oblix NetPoint centralize this process by automatically updating back-end data repositories, such as databases, when people get hired, fired or change positions within a company. In turn, ADPr will use XML to extend the reach of these apps directory management capabilities. Still, the group needs to convince other vendors to support the spec. In addition to IBM, Microsoft and Sun-Netscape, it needs support from application providers including Oracle, Peoplesoft and SAP, among others, Hoch said. The group plans to submit ADPr to the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards in mid-2001." See: "Active Digital Profile."

  • [December 08, 2000] Privacy Advocates Wary of Data-sharing Standard." By Patricia Jacobus. In CNET (December 07, 2000). "A new technology standard that smoothes the way for online businesses to easily share detailed customer profiles is sounding an alarm for privacy advocates. The Customer Profile Exchange (CPExchange) has developed a standard endorsed by about 90 companies that takes advantage of XML, a programming language that makes it as easy as tapping a computer key to exchange large amounts of information over the Web. Powerful data-sharing technologies in many ways represent the pinnacle of the Internet's potential to breaking down barriers that block the free flow of information and the improvement of business efficiencies. But privacy watchdogs say that's not always a good thing, especially when it comes to safeguarding confidential consumer data, where barriers are desirable. Backers of the CPExchange standard say rich data culled from customers--such as incomes, home addresses and shopping habits--will provide better customer service. As it is, company representatives have a hard time helping customers because information about who they are and what they buy is usually stored in various computer systems. But at least one member of Congress is skeptical. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-ALa., sent a letter Tuesday to the Federal Trade Commission, asking it to review the development of the CPExchange standard and consider its impact on the privacy of consumers... To quell privacy concerns, the CPExchange group, chaired by IBM, included in the standard a way to place tags on consumer profiles, flagging individuals who want to keep their data secret. It is unclear when the software to swap consumer profiles will be available or how it will work. Members of the CPExchange group represent a cross-section of the online business world. Among them are online advertisers 24/7 Media and Engage, brokerage Charles Schwab, and Siebel Systems, which makes software for managing customer service. The 127-page standard, released in October, doesn't limit the amount of information companies can include in the profiles, making it a potential danger zone, according to analysts." See "CPExchange Network."

  • [December 08, 2000] "Parsing XML. Your Own 'miniXML' Parser." By David Cox (Xerox). In Dr. Dobb's Journal #320 (January 2001), pages 96-100. The author presents a tree-based "miniXML" parser for XML that is written in C++ using the Standard Template Library for strings and various containers. The parser works with canonical XML, and is very fast, though limited to smaller XML documents. The author concludes from his parser development experience, narrated in the article, that canonical XML is useful, and that small XML parsers embedded in applications can get a lot of work done. The web site contains sample code listings and the complete and source code for the miniXML parser. For related tools, see "XML Parsers and Parsing Toolkits." [cache sources, cache listings]

  • [December 08, 2000] "SyncML open sources universal data sync system." By Tony Smith. In The Register (December 07, 2000). "Industry-sponsored standards development body SyncML unveiled version 1.0 of its platform-independent data synchronisation spec today. The organisation, founded back in February by the IBM, Motorola, Ericsson, Psion and Palm, among others, released the system's XML-based data transfer specification and the software behind it free to the public under an open source licence. SyncML's technology essentially allows multiple systems to synchronise data much as Palm's HotSync ensures copies of data on a host PC and a PDA are kept in harmony. SyncML, however, is platform-independent, so neither PIM, say, or PDA need to know how either works in order to communicate. SyncML initally operates over HTTP, WAP's WSP, Bluetooth and IrDA (infra-red) transport protocols, though it is transport-independent. The organisation expects the first SyncML-compliant devices to appear during the first quarter of 2001. SyncML chairman Douglas Heintzman said he expects the number of compliant devices and applications to ramp up significantly throughout the year. Incidentally, SyncML sponsor Palm is expected to ship the next major version of PalmOS during that period, so it's likely the technology will be incorporated into Palm's HotSync, ultimately ending the need for different Conduits for different applications. That said, SyncML's success depends on its acceptance by software and OS vendors. In addition to its eight founder members, the group cites some 500 supporting companies, but the vast majority are small developers and wireless firms..." For description and references, see "SyncML Initiative."

  • [December 08, 2000] "XML in .NET The .NET Framework XML Classes and C# Offer Simple, Scalable Data Manipulation." By Aaron Skonnard. From MSDN Online Magazine - January 2001 Issue. December 07, 2000. ['This new suite of XML APIs is modeled after MSXML 3.0 and includes better standards compliance, extensible APIs, and a simpler programming model.'] "Microsoft .NET introduces a new suite of XML APIs built on industry standards such as DOM, XPath, XSD, and XSLT. The .NET Framework XML classes also include innovations that offer convenience, better performance, and a more familiar programming model, tightly coupled with the new .NET data access APIs -- ADO.NET. XmlWriter, XmlReader, and XmlNavigator classes and classes that derive from them, including XMLTextReader and XMLTextWriter, encapsulate a number of functionalities that previously had to be accomplished manually. A discussion of the XMLDOM-Document is also included... In this article I'm going to introduce you to the new suite of .NET XML APIs, commonly referred to as the .NET Framework XML classes. I'll assume you have some knowledge of .NET fundamentals and C# (the language used for the sample code presented in this article). As a standard disclaimer, this article is based on .NET Beta 1 -- the final details are subject to change. Since most aspects of .NET take advantage of XML in one way or another, a significant amount of time and energy went into improving the fundamental suite of XML APIs. The .NET Framework XML classes are built on key industry standards, such as DOM Level 2 Core, XPath 1.0, XSLT 1.0, XML Schemas (XSD), and the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), but the classes also introduce several new enhancements to improve the overall programming model. In addition to the classic DOM model, the .NET Framework XML classes introduce an innovative stream-based API that offers a pull model interface (as opposed to the traditional SAX push model). Although this is probably the most significant change to the MSXML 3.0 model, several other enhancements were made to improve performance and ease-of-use. The .NET Framework XML classes represent the natural evolution -- not revolution -- of MSXML 3.0 tailored to the .NET architecture. The new framework was modelled after MSXML 3.0, but also adds several improvements -- including better standards compliance, extensible APIs, and a simpler programming model -- all of which were achieved without sacrificing performance. MSXML 3.0 is available today and will continue to be the cornerstone for native COM applications (such as Microsoft Internet Explorer, Dynamic HTML applications, Office, Visual Basic 6.0, and so on) that use XML and is the only viable choice for production code until .NET ships. Developers can even continue using MSXML 3.0 in the .NET world of managed code, using the COM Interop services provided in .NET. To use MSXML 3.0 in .NET, you must first create an assembly for the MSXML 3.0 types using the tlbimp utility that ships with the SDK. Then, you need to import the MSXML namespace and reference the generated assembly at compilation time (via/reference or /r for short)... I've covered the core types that make up the new .NET Framework XML classes, the most important of which are XmlReader and XmlWriter, but you've really only seen the tip of the iceberg. The .NET XML story includes several other meaty topics, including XML integration into ADO.NET, XML serialization, the XSD object model, security and XML digital signatures, ASP.NET native XML integration, Web Services, and more." The article source code is also available.

  • [December 08, 2000] "XML for SQL Server 2000 Web Release 1 Beta 2." From MSDN. December 07, 2000. "This beta release of XML for SQL Server 2000 is an update to the components, updategrams and bulk load, that were introduced in Beta 1... Microsoft SQL Server 2000 introduced several features for querying database tables and receiving the results as an XML document. However, as shipped, Microsoft SQL Server 2000 does not allow changes to an XML document as database inserts, updates, and deletes or the loading of large XML files into SQL Server tables. The Web Release 1 Beta 1 of XML for SQL Server 2000 included two major features called Updategrams and Bulk Load that address these needs. These components are updated in this Web Release 1 Beta 2 of XML for SQL Server 2000. What's New in XML for SQL Server 2000 Web Release 1 (WR1) Beta 2: Beta 2 is primarily a bug fix release. Only a few new features have been added: (1) The syntax for DBObject queries has been simplified and formalized. This results in a significant performance increase. (2) An IsXML attribute has been added to template queries to specify whether the parameter is a simple string or an XML fragment. (3) Bulk Load constraint handling has been improved."

  • [December 08, 2000] "Reviews: XML 2000 Show Floor Review." By Simon St. Laurent. From December 07, 2000. ['New and interesting technologies from the show floor at XML 2000, including Schemantix, Fourthought, Kinecta, Ontopia and Architag.'] "Schemantix was showing a set of open source tools, the Schemantix Development Platform, for building web interfaces on XML Schemas... The Fourthought booth was showing off 4Suite and 4SuiteServer, an open source (Apache license) Python-based set of tools for working with DOM, XSLT, XLink, RDF, XPointer; and, a web site architecture built on 4Suite... Kinecta is offering a free tool that organizations can use to syndicate content over ICE to as many as five customers. Syndicator Lite, distributed in a pre-release edition at XML 2000, should be available for download in the next few months... Architag International was showing off a final beta version of XRay, their free tool for editing XML. XRay validates documents against DTDs or schemas (currently XDR, including datatypes) continuously while authors type them, and it can show the results of XSLT transformations on the fly as well... Ontopia Demonstrates Topic Map Engine and Navigators: While stamping visitor 'passports,' Ontopia was demonstrating a beta version of their Ontopia Topic Map engine, walking visitors through a topic map describing opera -- operas, composers, cities, and more. 'Ontopia helps users get on top of their data,' said Steve Pepper, CTO of Ontopia. 'It's Intel Inside, but Ontopia on top.' While Ontopia may sound mythical, and acknowledged plenty of competition on the topic maps front..."

  • [December 08, 2000] "Talks: Berners-Lee and the Semantic Web Vision." By Edd Dumbill. From December 06, 2000. ['In a keynote session at XML 2000 Tim Berners-Lee, Director of the World Wide Web Consortium, outlined his vision for the Semantic Web.'] "In a keynote session at XML 2000 Tim Berners-Lee, Director of the Wide Web Consortium, outlined his vision for the Semantic Web. In one of his most complete public expositions of the vision to date, he explained the layered architecture that he foresees being developed in the next ten years. He kicked off by explaining what he means by the two words 'semantic' and 'web.' Underlying the Web was the philosophy of a navigable space, with a mapping from URI to resources. He stressed that a URI was an identifier for a resource, and not a recipe for its retrieval. Berners-Lee said that in the context of the Semantic Web, the word 'semantic' meant 'machine processable.' He explicitly ruled out the sense of natural language semantics. For data, the semantics convey what a machine can do with that data. In the future, Berners-Lee anticipated that they will also enable a machine to figure out how to convert that data, too. He described the 'semantic test,' which is passed if, when you give data to a machine, it will do the right thing with it. He also underlined that the Semantic Web is, like XML, a declarative environment, where you say what you mean by some data, and not what you want done with it... He explained the importance of RDF/RDF Schema as a language for the description of 'things' (resources) and their types. Above this, he described the ontology layer. An ontology is capable of describing relationships between types of things, such as 'this is a transitive property', but does not convey any information about how to use those relationships computationally. On top of the ontology layer sits the logic layer. This is the point at which assertions from around the Web can be used to derive new knowledge. The problem here is that deduction systems are not terribly interoperable. Rather than design one overarching reasoning system, Berners-Lee instead suggests a universal language for representing proofs. Systems can then digitally sign and export these proofs for other systems to use and possibly incorporate into the Semantic Web. Berners-Lee ended his presentation examining what could be done practically today. He observed that the higher layers of his architecture are likely to take around ten years yet to come to fruition -- most of the new work today is happening on ontologies. Practical solutions include the use of XSLT to derive RDF from XML sources, the work on topic maps and RDF convergence, the emergence of general-purpose RDF databases and engines, and general and specific GUIs for RDF data. Berners-Lee noted that a rearrangement of the metadata activity within the W3C would also have a bearing on Semantic Web work." See (1) the slide presentation and (2) "XML and 'The Semantic Web'."

  • [December 08, 2000] "Talks: XML 2000 Focuses on Schemas." By Eric van der Vlist. From December 06, 2000. ['Reports from the first afternoon of the "XML Leading Edge" track from XML 2000, which was dedicated to the W3C XML Schema Definition Language.'] "XML 2000 dedicated the first afternoon of its 'XML Leading Edge' track to W3C XML Schema. The sessions highlighted XML Schema's application for validating documents, showed its extensibility, and presented applications that separate logic and presentation from the structure of the document. The first presentation was a rapid overview of the specification, currently a Candidate Recommendation, by Michael C. Sperberg-McQueen, co-chair of the W3C XML Schema Working Group. Sperberg-McQueen began with an introduction in which he explained that error detection, even at a purely syntactic level, may be very beneficial by showing flaws in the expression of what a programmer writes... Matthew Fuchs, from Commerce One, in his presentation entitled 'The Role of an Extensible, Polymorphic Schema Language for Electronic Commerce Communities', talked about the possibilities created by the object-oriented features of W3C XML Schema for defining the extensible vocabularies needed in global marketplaces... Lee Buck, from TIBCO, presented the Schema Adjunct Framework, an initiative to define a common vocabulary to extend W3C XML Schema for different purposes, such as database mappings or business rules validation... Matthew Gertner, from Schemantix, went further down the extensibility path by showing how schema-based development might be 'A New Paradigm for Web Applications'. He begain by saying that rich data types and inheritance are the features that categorize modern computing, going so far as to present W3C XML Schema and its extensions as a 'Universal Data Model' that can be used to define database mappings and to generate the classes of an application." For schema description and references, see "XML Schemas."

  • [December 08, 2000] "Talks: Developers' Day at XML 2000." By Edd Dumbill. From December 05, 2000. ['The XML Developers' Day at XML 2000, chaired by Jon Bosak, was composed of "late-breaking" developments in XML, and provided many valuable insights into developing XML systems.'] "The session was opened by Simon St.Laurent, who presented Common XML, the first work product of the SML-DEV mailing list. The SML work grew out of a desire to rid XML of unnecessary and complicated constructions... One of the high points of the Developers' Day was that several presentations gave an insight into the implementation of XML processing tools, rather than focusing merely on their specification or usage. Murata Makoto gave one such talk on the computation models used by verifiers for his RELAX XML schema language... David Cleary presented the use of extension features in W3C XML Schema, assuring the audience that 'even though XML Schema looks as if it has everything in there, there are actually things we had to say no to.' He demonstrated how non-native attributes in schemas enabled them to be tied to implementations, e.g., by annotating with correspondences to Java classes or SQL columns... In a fascinating talk, Dongwook Shin of the National Library of Medicine, explained the inner-workings of XML query engines. He presented the different ways indices could be generated for XML corpora, and their relative merits... Truly on the bleeding-edge of development, Dave Carlson of Ontogenics presented work he was doing on modeling XML schemas with UML. By taking the XML serialization of UML, XMI, as an intermediate format, Carlson was able to generate XML Schemas straight from UML by the application of an XSLT stylesheet. He showed off a web application which demonstrated this functionality. [See]..."

  • [December 08, 2000] "Edifecs Offers XML Tools For B2B." By Charles Babcock. In eWEEK (November 22, 2000). "Edifecs, a little know software firm that is one of the powers behind the scenes in creating RosettaNet's initial business-to-business exchange formats, is offering a set of tools to make it easier to implement XML exchanges between trading partners. Edifecs has introduced CommerceDesk 4.0, which is built around a core server designed to manage the trading partner relationship, collaboration, testing and validation of links between the two companies and administration of those links. 'By the end of next year, we want to drive down the cost of B2B enablement by 55 to 65 percent,' said Sunny Singh, CEO. Today, despite all the talk about trading partner automation, it still takes 103 days of labor to ramp up an electronic process with a new trading partner, he said. Before electronic exchanges may begin, the trading partners must determine each others capabilities, identify the business processes involved, define the type of information to be exchanged, create standard formats for the exchange and then configure and test systems. The result is that 56 percent of companies conducting B2B processes do so with less than a fourth of their trading partner base, he said. The survey was conducted by Edifecs through survey forms and phone interviews and is available for review at The Java-based CommerceDesk Server 4.0 comes with tightly integrated tools, such as SpecBuilder, an XML schema authoring system, and Formsbuilder, a Web forms builder. It also includes a repository for centralizing and administering the guidelines and standards being used between two trading partners. The first client of CommerceDesk 4.0 is GE Global Exchange Services, a professional services organization for supplying business partner and business on the Web automation. CommerceDesk supports several existing XML standards, including RosettaNet Partner Interface Processes (PIPs), Ariba's CXML and Microsoft's BizTalk. Edifecs has contributed to the specification of RosettaNet PIPs for the electronics industry, which was implemented as a pilot project by Intel, IBM, Philips Electronics, Arrow Electronics and others on Oct. 10. The pilot project defined a set of vertical industry formats for the exchange of information between electronics component producers and buyers." Note the 'Schema Authoring and Management Tools' in CommerceDesk: "Since 1997 we have offered the best selling Edifecs SpecBuilder, a complete desktop solution for developing and managing XML schema and EDI guidelines. SpecBuilder is the richest tool in the category with the most comprehensive support available for industry standards (XML, EDI, and proprietary files such as SAP IDOC). SpecBuilder today is in use with more than 1000 companies worldwide. Part of the CommerceDesk product family, SpecBuilder is sold both as a stand alone product and as part of CommerceDesk 4.0..." See also the announcement: "Edifecs Ships CommerceDesk 4.0, Solution to No. 1 B2B E-commerce Bottleneck. Edifecs CommerceDesk 4.0 streamlines, automates process of bringing trading partners online."

  • [December 07, 2000] "Data-synchronizing Specification Released." By Matthew Woollacott. In InfoWorld (December 07, 2000). "Version 1.0 of the SyncML specification, which aims to provide an industry-standard way of synchronizing data between different devices, was released into the public domain Thursday. The announcement was made at a press conference here where members of the SyncML initiative simultaneously announced a SyncML reference tool kit designed to encourage uptake of the technology by vendors. As a result of the announcement, the first SyncML compliant products are expected to hit the market during the first quarter of 2001. The SyncML initiative was founded in February with the stated aim of providing a standardized means of data synchronization as a way of simplifying users' experience by improving upon current proprietary solutions. Initially, the group has targeted PIM-type applications such as calendaring and address books, but the group hopes to broaden its focus in the future. The technology is based on XML, and according to the companies, can be used over a range of transport mechanisms including wire line and wireless HTTP, the Wireless Session Protocol portion of WAP (Wireless Application Protocol), and the Bluetooth infrared standard. Similarly, the group said that the technology is platform-independent and compatible with client devices including EPOC, Java, Linux, PalmOS, Windows, and Windows CE According to O'Brien, SyncML is designed to be invisible to users in that it is meant to be layered onto existing synchronization applications. Starfish, for example, has incorporated it into its TrueSync application and will release the enhanced version early in the new year. O'Brien admitted, however, that some sort of branding effort may be necessary to make users aware they are not buying a proprietary solution. This will be up to individual companies to decide, he said. At the press conference, the companies gave a demonstration of the technology in action. First, a calendar entry was created on a Psion Revo personal organizer. This was then synchronized with a Lotus Domino server, and the entry was subsequently transmitted to a range of devices including a Palm V, Ericsson and Motorola phones, and a Nokia 9210 Communicator where it appeared a few moments later." For description and references, see "SyncML."

  • [December 07, 2000] "Backers to Demo Electronic Business XML Specification." By Roberta Holland. In eWEEK (December 07, 2000). "More than a dozen companies involved with the Electronic Business XML (ebXML) effort will gather next week to show a working demo of the specification. The so-called 'proof of concept' demonstration is slated to take place Tuesday in San Francisco. Vendors participating in the event and the drive for the new specification include IBM, Sun Microsystems Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., Extol, Fujitsu, Interwoven, IPNet, Netfish Technologies Inc., Savvion, Sterling Commerce Inc., Viquity, XML Global and XMLSolutions Corp. The demonstration will show that ebXML works and is interoperable. Participants also are expected to announce that the delivery date has been accelerated from May, as originally planned, to as soon as March, sources said. The standards effort was created jointly by OASIS (the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) and the United Nations' branch in charge of e-business. The goal of the initiative is to create a standard framework for businesses to exchange data over the Internet, without having to go through the expense of Electronic Data Interchange. However, officials involved with the effort say companies that have already invested in EDI won't have to dump their existing system but can instead leverage ebXML on top of what they already have in place. 'The major significance of ebXML is that, really within the last year, [the effort] has managed to focus and direct the EDI community and really get them to accept that XML and Internet technologies are their future,' said Bob Sutor, IBM's director of e-business standards strategies, in Somers, N.Y. Sutor estimated companies will start coming out with products that support ebXML in the third quarter of next year. The effort has six general specifications, which are modular in nature and can be implemented piecemeal. They are: requirements, business processes, core components, transport routing and packaging, registry and repository, and trading partners. The group is furthest along with transport routing and packaging, which is the low-level messaging layer. Bill Smith, manager of Sun's XML technology center and member of the ebXML executive committee, agreed that being able to demonstrate running code is an important milestone. The effort will usher in 'the next generation for global trade,' said Smith, who also serves as president of OASIS." See: "Electronic Business XML Initiative (ebXML)."

  • [December 07, 2000] "OASIS To Build On XML Specification for Security Solutions. Consortium to develop partner-backed S2ML standard." By Elizabeth Montalbano. In CRN News (December 06, 2000). "The Security Services Markup Language (S2ML) specification, a way to define user authentication, authorization, entitlement and profile information in XML documents, is a step closer to becoming an industry standard for using XML in security solutions. OASIS, the standards and interoperability consortium, said Wednesday it will begin developing a standard for e-business transaction and end-user security information based on the S2ML spec. Two weeks ago, security vendor Netegrity, along with Sun Microsystems, CommerceOne,, VeriSign, WebMethods, Art Technology Group and PricewaterhouseCoopers, unveiled S2ML and said the spec would be submitted to a standards body within 30 days. S2ML enables companies that have different infrastructures and are using one exchange to tell each other in a standard way that a user is authorized to conduct transactions on another site without the need for complex infrastructure. Netegrity is not the only company working on using XML to solve the problem of user authentication between B2B sites. Security vendor Securant Technologies is working on a similar standard, called authXML. Earlier this week, Securant announced that 45 organizations, including Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, Check Point Software, Novell, Deloitte & Touche and SilverStream Software, were working to finalize the authXML spec for submission to a standards body..." Similarly from CMP TechWeb. See: (1) the recent announcement "OASIS to Define XML Standard for Secure Electronic Business. Consortium Forms XML-Based Security Services Technical Committee"; (2) the TC's publicly archived mailing list, and (3) the the earlier announcement with the proposal.

  • [December 07, 2000] "Sun, Microsoft Stress Commitment to XML." By Margret Johnston. In InfoWorld (December 06, 2000). "Representatives of Sun Microsystems and Microsoft re-emphasized their companies' substantial investments in XML Wednesday here at the XML 2000 conference. Both vendors detailed strategies they say will further drive the development of the technology. Jon Bosak, distinguished engineer at Sun, and David Turner, Microsoft product manager and technical evangelist for XML technologies, presented their companies' XML visions at a panel discussion here. The panel preceded a keynote address by Tim Berners-Lee, director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Bosak said the open nature of XML fits Sun's devotion to open standards -- a cornerstone of the company's corporate culture. 'Sun believes XML is the center of the Internet,' Bosak said. 'Our strategy is to drive the development of [open] standards and implement in parallel. We support UDDI [universal description, discovery, and integration]; we support SOAP [Simple Object Access Protocol]. We are going to work to make sure they evolve into true standards outside the industrial consortium where they are now.' Bosak said Sun envisions four categories of XML-enabled Web services, each with its own demands. The categories are subscription services that send relatively short pieces of information, such as a weather report or a stock quote, platform services like e-mail, portal services for accessing information, and trading services for business-to-business transactions. Palo Alto, Calif.-based Sun believes XML, UDDI, SOAP and ebXML (electronic business XML initiative) all will be part of the infrastructure supporting these Web services. EbXML will be the way electronic trading services -- such as b-to-b commodity purchases -- are going to happen. Sun is concerned, however, that early implementation of SOAP might turn the technology into a standard by default. 'We want to make sure there is a forum that is open to everyone where that question gets decided, and we think that forum is going to be ebXML,' Bosak said. Sun's involvement with ebXML puts the company in a strong competitive position to support trading services as traditional EDI (electronic data interchange) makes the transition to the Internet. Bosak also noted that Sun products, including Solaris, iPlanet, and Star Office, 'are becoming very heavily XML-centric.' Sun believes Java and XML 'are natural partners,' he said. Sun Monday published details of two new APIs (application programming interfaces) to link its Java programming language to XML, and said work on the APIs will continue. Microsoft's Turner said the architecture his company envisions for XML allows for the exchange of information on any platform, in any program language, and across any network. He described Microsoft's investment in XML as 'substantial,' and said it includes integration into Microsoft tools such as VisualStudio.Net and into its enterprise servers. 'Microsoft is very committed to the concept of building systems based on open standards,' Turner said. 'We are going to continue our active involvement in W3C.' Turner also announced Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft's Wednesday release of a specification called XML for Analysis, which he said is a way of standardizing how data is accessed in data mining scenarios. Built on the Web protocol HTTP, XML, and SOAP, the new specification was developed at Microsoft over the last nine months along with several other companies. 'It also allows the opportunity for people to create Web services for analytic data,' Turner said. In his keynote address, W3C's Tim Berners-Lee explained his vision of the Web as a machine-to-machine communications system with XML as a foundation for what he calls 'the semantic Web.' This vision involves computers doing more of the boring tasks now done by humans, but still leaves decision-making up to people..."

  • [December 07, 2000] "Microsoft Unveils Protocol for Internet Data Mining." By Tom Sullivan. In InfoWorld (December 06, 2000). "A new XML-based data access protocol released Wednesday enables developers to provide data analysis to a variety of clients and development platforms. XML for Analysis, which is being spearheaded by Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, is a protocol that enables application developers to build BI (business intelligence) into .NET Web services, according to John Eng, lead product manager for SQL Server at Microsoft. As the evolution of OLE DB for OLAP (online analytical processing) and OLE DB for Data Mining, the protocol provides access to Microsoft data sources, Eng added, as well as supporting Web-based data mining. "What we've tried to do with .NET is extend sources to the Web, and this makes it easier to access information across the Web," Eng said. Although XML for Analysis can be used to access only Microsoft data sources, Eng said that developers can get at that information from any language that adheres to Internet standards, such as Visual Basic, C++, or Java. Analysts said that Web-based services are on the rise, and that will lead to the need for accessing analytic databases across the Internet." See 'Microsoft Releases XML for Analysis Specification'

  • [December 07, 2000] "XML Will Open Up Microsoft Databases." By Aaron Ricadela and Rick Whiting. In CMP TechWeb (December 07, 2000). "Microsoft is replacing proprietary database protocols with the XML standard to better position its SQL Server database for next-generation Internet applications. The company is adding new interfaces based on XML to its OLE DB for OLAP protocol from next spring, taking effect when Microsoft releases its XML for Analysis APIs. This will allow the SQL Server database to take advantage of emerging applications that let users pull and publish data over the Internet. Microsoft Corp. posted a beta version of the specification Wednesday at SQL Server 7 and the new SQL Server 2000 package together relational and multidimensional databases. Today, software developers employ OLE DB for OLAP, and its OLE DB for data-mining extension, to build analytical applications that query the multidimensional database and conduct analytical chores. But those sets of APIs require client-analysis software to pass messages to SQL Server in a format called Multidimensional Expression, a proprietary Microsoft protocol. Multidimensional Expression isn't an Internet protocol, and is, therefore, unsuited to apps that query servers outside a company's firewall, people familiar with the technology say. That's a hindrance for IT shops building business-to-business apps that require sharing market data or inventory information, without the headache of letting outsiders inside their firewalls. "The brass tacks on this is we're all going to run our analytical apps over the Internet, and the language these apps will use to communicate with their data sources will be XML," said Clay Young, vice president of marketing at OLAP software vendor Knosys Inc. "Although Microsoft certainly has a big influence, they don't own XML. It's an interesting shift'." See 'Microsoft Releases XML for Analysis Specification'

  • [December 07, 2000] "Microsoft releases XML for Analysis beta." By Jennifer DiSabatino. In ComputerWorld (December 07, 2000). "Hoping to create an industry standard governing the transfer of information between different databases for use in data-mining applications, Microsoft Corp. yesterday announced the release of the beta specification for XML for Analysis. 'It will certainly be one of the standards,' said Mike Schiff, an analyst at Current Analysis Inc. in Sterling, Va. 'Of course, the problem with standards is the 's' at the end.' XML for Analysis is an extension to Microsoft's OLE Database (OLE DB) for online analytical processing and OLE DB for data mining. Microsoft said developers from about 50 companies were involved in reviewing the specification before it was released. Details can be downloaded from Microsoft's Web site. The new protocol is also part of Microsoft's .Net initiative, a middleware layer that allows applications and services written in different development languages to run on a Common Language Runtime environment. XML for Analysis uses HTTP, XML and Simple Object Access Protocol Internet standards, according to yesterday's announcement. XML for Analysis involves defining tags embedded in files, so different types of programs can read information created by other programs. The tool is intended to help business partners share information over the Internet. This beta release isn't Microsoft-centric, Schiff said, but Microsoft competitors such like IBM, Sun Microsystems Inc. and Oracle Corp. may not necessarily buy into Microsoft's proposal. None of these companies was one of the partners announced in the release. While the standards still need to be ironed out, Schiff said, this is a start. 'A standard with one [company] is proprietary,' he said. 'A standard with 50 [companies] has some traction. They're preparing the industry for this'." See 'Microsoft Releases XML for Analysis Specification'

  • [December 06, 2000] "Agency [The Patent and Trademark Office] Broadens its Use of XML." By Patricia Daukantas. In Government Computer News (GCN) Volume 19, Number 33 (November 20, 2000), page 41. "The Patent and Trademark Office is replacing its longtime proprietary markup language with more current technology. Starting in January, the agency will use Standard Generalized Markup Language for publishing patents and then will switch to Extensible Markup Language in January 2002, said Bruce Cox, manager of PTO's Information Products Division. PTO in the 1970s started using computerized phototypesetting machines with a proprietary markup language informally known as BlueBook, Cox said. More recently it began accepting certain types of patent applications in XML, a subset of SGML. 'XML has more or less taken over the world,' Cox said. The agency wanted a format that would remain system-independent for a long time. The agency tried to make the SGML specification as close to XML as possible to smooth the transition, Cox said. 'We can't absolutely prevent people from filing on paper,' he said. He acknowledged that the transition to electronic patent publishing could be tough for people accustomed to paper searches. 'But physically there's hardly any alternative,' Cox said. PTO will move to new headquarters in 2003, and its new building won't have space for the paper files." For the SGML DTDs, see the Grant Red Book Specification for SGML Markup of United States Patent Grant Publications. This document also contains references for (1) the "Application Red Book: Specification for SGML Markup of United States Patent Application Publications" and for (2) "Electronic Filing System DTDs." See "US Patent and Trademark Office Electronic Filing System."

  • [December 06, 2000] "PTO Starts E-government Shift." By Patricia Daukantas. In Government Computer News (GCN) Volume 19, Number 33 (November 20, 2000), pages 1, 41. ['An agency whose first 100 years was defined by paper faces future without it.] "For the first time since 1790, the Patent and Trademark Office is forgoing paper documents from inventors applying for patents. Using custom-designed software that incorporates encryption technology and an Extensible Markup Language tool, inventors or their agents now can send documents to PTO via the Internet. The new Electronic Filing System (EFS) excludes several categories of patents, and only people who have the authority to file applications -- independent inventors, patent attorneys and patent agents -- can use it. PTO officials view EFS as a move toward reducing the amount of paper the agency handles, an effort that includes wider use of XML). EFS uses a public-key infrastructure to encrypt and digitally sign submissions, said Deron Burba, manager of PTO's Patent Re-engineering Systems Division. The e-filing system handles applications for utility patents, or general inventions, project manager Diane Lewis said. In addition, applicants who have submitted biotechnology patent applications on paper can submit the lengthy gene sequence data electronically. To help applicants prepare an electronic application without extensive tutoring in XML, PTO developed a downloadable program called the Patent Application Specification Authoring Tool. PASAT works with Microsoft Word 97 to export a document as an XML file. A template also is available for Corel WordPerfect 9, which has built-in XML capability. PASAT uses S4/Text, an XML editing tool from Infrastructures for Information Inc. of Toronto, Burba said. It lets the applicant embed .tif files such as drawings, diagrams, chemical formulas and mathematical equations into a document. Another EFS program, the Electronic Packaging and Validation Engine, bundles the patent application files with authorship and filing fee data, all in XML, for transmission. It also electronically signs the application. Lockheed Martin Corp. assisted the ePAVE development effort." See Patent Electronic Business Center. Nearly 7 million patents are online in the USPTO Web Patent Databases at http// See "US Patent and Trademark Office Electronic Filing System."

  • [December 06, 2000] "Publishing Requirements for Industry Standard Metadata (PRISM) Specification. Version 1.0 beta B." By the PRISM/IDEAlliance Group. November 20, 2000. "The Publishing Requirements for Industry Standard Metadata (PRISM) specification is a standard for content description, interchange, and reuse in both traditional and electronic publishing contexts. PRISM defines an extensible, RDF-compliant metadata framework, a rich set of descriptive elements, and vocabularies for the values of those elements. The PRISM working group, a joint effort of representatives from publishers and vendors in an initiative hosted by IDEAlliance, prepared this specification.... The Publishing Requirements for Industry Standard Metadata (PRISM) specification defines an XML metadata vocabulary for syndicating, aggregating, post-processing and multi-purposing magazine, news, catalog, book, and mainstream journal content. PRISM provides a framework for the interchange and preservation of content and metadata, a collection of elements to describe that content, and a set of controlled vocabularies listing the values for those elements. The working group focused on metadata for: (1) General-purpose description of resources as a whole; (2) Specification of a resource's relationships to other resources; (3) Definition of intellectual property rights and permissions; (4) Expressing inline metadata (that is, markup within the resource itself). Like the ICE protocol, PRISM is designed be straightforward to use over the Internet, support a wide variety of applications, not constrain data formats of the resources being described, conform to a specific XML syntax, and be constrained to practical and implementable mechanisms." See: "Publishing Requirements for Industry Standard Metadata (PRISM)." [cache]

  • [December 06, 2000] "Romance Language: RosettaNet Gains Traction for B2B Collaboration. RosettaNet, Hardly a Dead Language." By Jeanette Burriesci. In Intelligent Enterprise Volume 3, Number 18 (December 2000), pages 10-12. ['XML-based Partner Interface Processes are rolling out into the "real world".'] "It's a small step for each supply chain partner but a giant leap for supply chain management: RosettaNet announced in October that the majority of RosettaNet board members have put the organization's standards into practice. More than two years' efforts from big industry muscle -- such as Cisco, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM -- have been funneled into RosettaNet's goal to more easily enable transfer of meaningful business data among supply chain partners. Those efforts have begun to produce results, with several of RosettaNet's XML-based Partner Interface Processes (PIPs) now ready for prime time, and some in use. Other similar standards, namely OASIS and UN/CEFACT's ebXML and Microsoft's BizTalk, appear to be lagging far behind. Laura Walker, executive director of OASIS, characterizes her organization's ebXML as an 18-month program on track for release in May 2001. According to Hollis Bischoff, VP of e-business strategies at Meta Group, 'BizTalk is mostly vaporware.' 'Cisco Systems reached a production milestone a week ago on October 3 by sending a RosettaNet-based XML message to one of our key contract manufacturers,' said Mike Campi, VP of global supply management at Cisco. The PIP was a forecast notification. 'The next step will be to implement PIP 4A5, which is basically a forecast response coming back to us from our supply base, where we'll get the RosettaNet XML back into the Cisco environment,' he continued. The significance of that first transmission may be obscured by the mundane nature of its purpose, as well as the suggestion that receiving the response will take some time. 'The reality is that it's hard work. It was very sexy when the first announcements were made and it's not as sexy anymore,' says Bischoff. Nevertheless, the overall promise remains undiminished: RosettaNet PIPs will make connecting business processes among partners easier..." See "RosettaNet."

  • [December 04, 2000] "Sun Announces XML for Java Interface Specs." By Peter Sayer. In InfoWorld (December 04, 2000). "Sun Microsystems published details on Monday of two new interfaces to link its Java programming language to XML. The two new Java APIs -- JAXM (Java API for XML Messaging) and JAXP (Java API for XML Parsing) -- and a slew of supporting acronyms deal with the messaging and parsing of XML. Work on the APIs is still continuing, and Sun described the information released Monday as "early access" versions of the specifications. The APIs, along with the still incomplete JAXB (Java API for XML Data Binding), form the core of Sun's support for XML in the Java 2 platform, the company said in a statement. All three technologies are being developed through the Java Community Process (JCP), an organization set up by Sun to manage the evolution of Java. JAXM enables packaging, routing, and transport of XML and other messages using HTTP, SMTP, and FTP, and will be useful to programmers building robust, secure e-commerce applications, Sun said. Future versions of the API will support other messaging methods, including those being defined in the ebXML (electronic business XML) initiative framework by OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) and the UN/CEFACT (United Nations Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business). Sun said it expects the final version of JAXM to be ready in early 2001, and hopes to make the specification available through "a credible open-source organization, such as the Apache Software Foundation." The other API, JAXP, enables Java applications to read, manipulate, and generate XML documents. The draft version of the specification is available through JCP and supports XML standards including the recently released Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2, Sun said. It expects to ship the final version in the first quarter of next year. The third, as-yet unreleased API, is intended to help develop and maintain XML-enabled applications with a minimum of effort. JAXB maps XML documents to Java objects. It will include a compiler that can automatically generate Java classes from XML schemas without developers having to write any parsing code. The compiler will automatically check XML messages for errors and validity..." See additional information in: (1) "Java API for XML Parsing (JAXP)", (2) "M Project: Java XML-Based Messaging System", and (3) the Sun/Java development web site See also the announcement.

  • [December 04, 2000] "Sun links Java, XML languages for online business." By Wylie Wong. In CNET (December 04, 2000). "Sun Microsystems is linking two prominent Web development languages -- Java and XML -- to simplify e-commerce software development and to better position Java against rival technologies. Sun on Monday released application programming interfaces (APIs), or sets of instructions, that connect Java software with XML (Extensible Markup Language), a Web standard for exchanging data. Software programmers use the popular Java language to write business software and to build e-commerce Web sites. XML has become a popular way to exchange data, allowing companies to conduct online transactions with customers, suppliers and partners. The new interfaces that tie Java with XML will make it simpler and faster for software developers to create Web sites for e-business, said Anne Thomas Manes, director of market innovation at Sun Software, a division of the computing giant. The new XML technology helps Sun position Java as the preferred programming language in its vision of Web-based computing, where software and services are delivered over the Internet. Other Java supporters including Oracle and IBM have touted a future in which people don't have to install software on their PCs and other Internet access devices. Instead, the software could be accessed through the Web as a service. Sun rival Microsoft recently said it is following a similar technology path and announced a new business strategy to develop software that ties its Windows operating system to the Web. Core to Microsoft's strategy is XML and a new Java-like programming language called C# (pronounced C-sharp). As part of Sun's announcement, one common interface, called the Java API for XML messaging, will allow businesses to send and receive XML messages, Manes said. The interface will allow businesses to send messages using a new messaging standard, called WebXML, that is being created by an industrywide consortium called OASIS. Sun is also releasing an updated Java API for XML Processing, which now supports the latest XML standards, Manes said. The interface integrates Java software with XML parsers. Parsers dissect and read XML text, much as Web browsers read HTML to display Web pages on a computer. Previously, developers had to write their own software code to connect Java to the parser. The updated interface will support the XSL (Extensible Stylesheet Language) transformation standard. XSL technology lets people define how a document is presented, specifying color and font. XSL transformation lets developers easily map different documents together without having to write a lot of software code. Sun executives say they are releasing test versions of the two interfaces with the final versions available in early 2001. They are available free for download at Sun's software developer Web site..." See also the announcement.

  • [December 04, 2000] Sun To Outline XML Strategy At XML 2000." By Elizabeth Montalbano. From (December 04, 2000). "At the XML 2000 show here Wednesday, Sun Microsystems will outline the role of XML in its long-term Web services strategy, the vendor told CRN Monday. Related to the plan are announcements Sun made Monday about the availability of three new Java APIs for XML processing, which will make it easier for Java developers to use XML to create B2B applications, says Will Iverson, XML product manager at Sun. At a keynote Wednesday, Bill Smith, the head of Sun's XML Technology Center, is expected to discuss Sun's strategy to make it easier for integrators to create B2B solutions, and the use of standards such as SOAP, UDDI and, in particular, ebXML, for messaging and transport to achieve that goal. For future development of e-business applications, Sun's goal 'is to make XML a natural extension of Java,' says Anne Manes, Sun's director of business strategy. The introduction of three APIs -- the Java API for XML Processing (JAXP); the Java API for XML Binding (JAXB); and the Java API for XML Messaging (JAXM), which is based on the ebXML framework -- are a part of that plan to build XML into Java, Manes says. This, unlike Microsoft's strategy to use XML with programming languages such as C++, C# and Visual Basic to develop exclusively on the Windows platform, will enable cross-platform development of enterprise-scale Web applications for B2B, says Mane. Microsoft has told CRN in the past that it support standards-based development of XML to create a low-level XML-based infrastructure on which to build Web services, so vendors still can compete on what platforms are used to develop on that standard infrastructure. Another key point in Sun's long-term XML strategy is that it will make XML the default file format for creating documents within the next open-source version of the Star Office suite, Open Office 6.0, in the first quarter of next year, Manes says. Star Office is a suite of workplace productivity software that Sun open-sourced earlier this year..."

  • [December 04, 2000] "XML ends the year with a bang, not a whimper." By Roberta Holland and Jeffrey Burt. In eWEEK (December 04, 2000). "Another week, another XML specification proposed. Such has been the momentum for the Extensible Markup Language, with new coalitions of vendors materializing to hawk the latest extension to the standard, not to mention work going on at the various independent groups that oversee XML... VeriSign, Microsoft and webMethods have collaborated on a new XML-based framework called the XML Key Management Specification. XKMS represents a new way to interface applications to public-key infrastructure, aimed at making it cheaper and easier for software developers to use PKI, said Warwick Ford, VeriSign's chief technology officer in Wakefield, Mass. Another goal is to make PKI ubiquitous... Business Layers, of New Rochelle, N.J., is leading the initiative to create an XML standard to speed up the e-provisioning process within enterprises and between trading partners. The proposed standard, Active Digital Profile, or ADPr, would reduce the time and money spent by IT people inputting profile information whenever a change -- if a product changes or an employee is hired or fired -- occurs within a company. If a company that outsources its front-end Web presence changes a product, it currently is incumbent on IT people to ensure the changes are made on the Web site. With an XML standard for e-provisioning, much of that process can be automated... Scores of companies involved in XML will converge on Washington this week for the XML2000 conference, sponsored by the Graphic Communications Association. At the conference, Kinecta Corp. of San Francisco will deliver a pre-release version of its free content distribution tool, which utilizes the XML-based specification ICE (Information and Content Exchange) protocol. Kinecta's tool, Kinecta Syndicator Lite, is a scaled-down version of its Interact solution..."

  • [December 04, 2000] "JDOM, The Java DOM. Simplify working with XML files with this Java-oriented API." By Michael Classen. From (December 2000). "Using XML with Java is amazingly simple: All you need is a JDK, some free class libraries, a text editor and some data to process. The Document Object Model (DOM) is a popular, standardized way of manipulating XML data. Java developers might prefer JDOM in the future,a more Java-oriented API for reading and writing XML Documents. The [W3C] DOM was designed to be independent of any programming language; therefore it can be quite incovenient to use in a particular programming language, such as Java. JDOM is a convenient interface for Java programmers to have XML documents presented in a more Java-like fashion, reusing Java libraries and design patterns. Version beta 5 is out, have a look if you want to quit struggling with the comparatively awkward W3C DOM Java binding. [...] JDOM was created by Brett McLaughlin and Jason Hunter as an open source project, available from the JDOM web site.

  • [December 04, 2000] "A Comprehensive Architecture for Learning. Universal Learning Format, Version 1.0." From Saba Software Inc. Revised: October 23, 2000. "This document introduces the Universal Learning Format, a modular set of XML-based formats developed by Saba for capturing various types of e-learning data, including online learning content, catalogs of learning resources, certification libraries, competency libraries, and learner information. It includes the following sections: (1) E-learning Marketplace. (2) Universal Learning Format. The Universal Learning Format is a framework for enabling the cross-industry exchange of learning content such as education catalogs, course content, competency libraries, certification tracks, and learner profiles. It includes a set of XML-based formats for creating robust, reusable XML-based documents. Using this framework, learning providers can seamlessly exchange a variety of learning content as well as make their learning content universally available for search and discovery. The Universal Learning Format is based on the work done by standards bodies such as Instructional Management System (IMS), Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). It embraces and extends the existing online learning standards advanced by these organizations and is architected to take advantage of new standards as they emerge." See the ULF web site at

  • [December 02, 2000] "The SGML Standardization Framework and the Introduction of XML." By Walter Fierz (Institute for Clinical Microbiology and Immunology, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland) and Rolf Grütter (Institute for Media and Communications Management, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland). In Journal of Medical Internet Research 20/2 (2000). With 65 references. [Submitted 13.10.99, peer-reviewed by Vincenzo Della Mea, reviewers comments to author 13.3.00, revised version re-submitted 13.4.00, accepted 13.4.00, published 30.6.00.] "Extensible Markup Language (XML) is on its way to becoming a global standard for the representation, exchange, and presentation of information on the World Wide Web (WWW). More than that, XML is creating a standardization framework, in terms of an open network of meta-standards and mediators that allows for the definition of further conventions and agreements in specific business domains. Such an approach is particularly needed in the healthcare domain; XML promises to especially suit the particularities of patient records and their lifelong storage, retrieval, and exchange. At a time when change rather than steadiness is becoming the faithful feature of our society, standardization frameworks which support a diversified growth of specifications that are appropriate to the actual needs of the users are becoming more and more important; and efforts should be made to encourage this new attempt at standardization to grow in a fruitful direction. Thus, the introduction of XML reflects a standardization process which is neither exclusively based on an acknowledged standardization authority, nor a pure market standard. Instead, a consortium of companies, academic institutions, and public bodies has agreed on a common recommendation based on an existing standardization framework. The consortium's process of agreeing to a standardization framework will doubtlessly be successful in the case of XML, and it is suggested that it should be considered as a generic model for standardization processes in the future..."

  • [December 01, 2000] "US Bank Consortium Tests XML Standard." By John Geralds. From News. November 30, 2000. "A global consortium of financial services companies plans to build a prototype of an XML standard for investment research based on the ecommerce language. (Investment Research Markup Language), which is made up of banks and brokerages including ABN AMRO, AXA, Barings Asset Management, Bloomberg and Charles Schwab, will examine several proposals for the specifications. The group will also prototype a proof of concept, involving financial institutions publishing research content using XML, while a panel of banks that buy such reports will be set up to evaluate those feeds. 'We are currently in the process of fine-tuning a consensus schema which will be dubbed draft version 1 and be open for public comment,' said Warren Sample, the consortium's director of special projects development. Sample said the specification is being created by members worldwide. 'We would foresee that where regional issues or differences exist, they would be addressed locally. But for the most part we are looking to institute a global standard, as the financial research community is global in spec and client base,' he said. A strategy working group will look at the business requirements of the standard and the strategic aspects of the organisation, while the liaison group will examine the membership of interested companies and also work with other standards groups..." See further details in (1) the announcement, " Unveils Initial Working Groups and 'Proof of Concept' Prototype for XML Standards for Investment Research", and (2) "Investment Research Markup Language (IRML)."

  • [December 01, 2000] "CIO Council Readies XML Portal." By Colleen O'Hara. In Federal Computer Week (December 01, 2000). "A CIO Council working group plans to launch a portal in January to promote and coordinate the use of a technology that can help agencies share data more easily. The Council's Extensible Markup Language Working Group is putting the finishing touches on -- a portal that will serve as a resource and demonstration site for XML technology. A prototype of the portal exists now, and the group hopes to take the site live in January. 'We hope that will be the focal point for all government agencies to go to learn XML and to experience XML, and share XML experiences,' said Marion Royal, an agency expert at the General Services Administration and co-chairwoman of the XML Working Group. The XML specification makes it simpler for applications to exchange information by defining a common method of identifying and packaging data. However, interoperability is easier if agencies can agree on common definitions. The site eventually may host an online registry that contains XML definitions used by agencies, Royal said." See: "US Federal CIO Council XML Working Group."

  • [December 01, 2000] "Adaptive Knowledge Management: A Meta-Modeling Approach and its Binding to XML." By Christian Süss. In: H.-J. Klein (Ed.), 12. GI-Workshop Grundlagen von Datenbanken, Plön, TR 2005, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel, Germany, 2000. "In this paper we propose a meta-modeling approach to adaptive knowledge management. It extends previous work by introducing an application-specific layer which allows to specify meta-models for different types of application such as teachware or business information. These models focus on the conceptual content structure of knowledge modules and their modular composition. They facilitate their managing, exchanging and dynamical composition to personalized information spaces. We further introduce the concept of view specifications which allow the adaptation of knowledge modules to the individual user. As an instance of our generic framework we discuss a teachware-specific meta-model and its binding to the XML based Learning Material Markup Language LMML." See: "Learning Material Markup Language (LMML)." [cache]

  • [December 01, 2000] "Tutorials: Using XML Schemas. Part 1." By Eric van der Vlist. From (November 29, 2000). ['In the first half of this introduction to XML Schemas, a W3C XML language for describing and constraining the content of XML documents, we cover the basics of creating structured, readable schemas.'] "This is the first of a two-part introduction to the W3C's XML Schema technology. XML Schemas are an XML language for describing and constraining the content of XML documents. XML Schemas are currently in the Candidate Recommendation phase of the W3C development process... The second part of this tutorial will cover mixed-content types, identity constraints, building reusable schemas, using namespaces, and referencing schemas from instance documents." For related resources, see "XML Schemas."

  • [December 01, 2000] "Reference: W3C XML Schema Structures Reference." By Eric van der Vlist. From (November 29, 2000). ['A complete quick reference to the elements of the W3C XML Schemas Structures specification, including content models and links to the original definitions.'] "The quick reference below has been created using material from the W3C XML Schema Candidate Recommendation, 24-October-2000. Links to the original document are provided for each element (labeled as 'ref' after each element name)..." For related resources, see "XML Schemas."

  • [December 01, 2000] "Reference: W3C XML Schema Datatypes Reference." By Rick Jelliffe. From (November 29, 2000). ['A brief primer on the essential aspects of the W3C XML Schema Datatypes, including a diagrammatic reference to the XML Schemas Datatypes specification.'] "This quick reference helps you easily locate the definition of datatypes in the XML Schema specification. A 'What You Need To Know' section gives a brief introduction to the way datatypes work... W3C XML Schema specification defines many different built-in datatypes. These datatypes can be used to constrain the values of attributes or elements which contain only simple content. These datatypes are not available for constraining data in mixed content. All simple datatypes are derived from their base type by restricting the values allowed in their lexical spaces or their value spaces. Every datatype has a set of facets that characterize the properties of the datatype. For example, the length of a string or the encoding of a binary type (i.e., whether hex encoding or base64). By restricting some of the many facets, a new datatype can be derived. There are three varieties of datatypes that you can use when deriving your own datatypes: as well as atomic datatypes, where the data contains a single value, you can derive a list, where the data is treated as a whitespace-separated list of tokens, and a union type, where the lexical value of the data determines which of the base types is used... There is no [current] provision for (1) overriding facets in the instance document, (2) creating quantity/unit pairs, (3) declaring n>1 dimensional arrays of tokens, (4) specifying inheritance effects, (5) declaring complex constraints where the value of some other information item in the instance (e.g., an attribute) has an effect on the current datatype." For related resources, see "XML Schemas."

  • [December 01, 2000] "XML-Deviant: What's in a Name?" By Leigh Dodds. From (November 29, 2000). ['The XML-Deviant looks at best practices for identifying XML resources; then wonders why more developers aren't taking advantage of entity management systems.'] "Correctly naming resources and objects is widely regarded as one of the most difficult problems in computing (another being caching). As the saying goes, any problem in computing can be solved by adding another level of indirection. One step toward solving naming problems is to add indirection by separating the name of the resource from its address. This is a common pattern, which we see in a number of areas from pointers in C to Persistent URLs (PURLs) on the web. XML 1.0 offers a separation between the naming and addressing of resources or entities referred to in XML documents. Broadly speaking SYSTEM identifiers define an actual resource that is retrieved, or dereferenced to retrieve, the entity in question. A PUBLIC identifier simply gives a name for the required resource. It says nothing about where that resource may be dereferenced. Of course life isn't really that simple, and its likely that some readers are already objecting. The short but heated XML-URI debate earlier this year testifies to the disagreement on this issue. A SYSTEM identifier is specified as a URI, which can be easily be a Uniform Resource Name (URN) as well, instead of being the more commonly found URL. A URN is more like a PUBLIC identifier, as it simply names the resource in question. Yet there is still no widely deployed means of using URNs..." Note also: (1) the archives of the OASIS Entity Resolution TC Mailing List, and (2) "Catalogs, Formal Public Identifiers, Formal System Identifiers."

  • [December 01, 2000] "Microsoft, VeriSign Team on E-commerce Security." By Melanie Austria Farmer. In CNET (November 29, 2000). "Microsoft, VeriSign and WebMethods said Wednesday they have developed technology designed to make it easier to use digital signatures and other online security tools with e-commerce applications. The software trio is aiming to make the new technology, called the XML (Extensible Markup Language) key management specification (XKMS), a standard. The technology is intended to help programmers easily add digital signatures and data encryption to their e-commerce applications. Security software like digital signatures, online authentication and data encryption help secure contracts and transactions carried out on popular online marketplaces and other e-commerce sites. The companies said XKMS is available Wednesday and they intend to submit it to the appropriate Web standards bodies for consideration as an open Internet standard. Online security is becoming increasingly important to companies that intend to build their business over the Internet, especially with the sudden boom of online marketplaces. Both Fairfax, Va.-based WebMethods, which assists companies in setting up business-to-business online marketplaces, and Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., have been active in the growing industry. 'A new standard for the XML-based trust services architecture will enable trust through stronger authentication and will ultimately help deliver XML's promise of expanded e-commerce across the board,' Jeremy Epstein, principal security architect at WebMethods, said in a statement. With the XKMS specification, software developers will be able to combine some of these newer technologies, like digital signatures, into their Web-based applications, the companies said. Analysts say that by having a standard such as XKMS in place, companies will have the potential to speed the process of finalizing an online contract or completing a transaction by being able to accept a legitimate signature electronically, as opposed to sending a fax with a handwritten one. Meta Group analyst David Thompson said that for the most part, companies have put online security on the back burner, choosing first to iron out other concerns such as gaining marketplace participants and determining which sites to join." See: "XML Key Management Specification (XKMS)."

  • [December 01, 2000] "SOAP Toolkit for Visual Studio 6.0 November Release." By [Staff]. From MSDN (November 21, 2000). The November 2000 release of the SOAP Toolkit for Microsoft Visual Studio 6.0 is a available for download; see the documentation. "The November 2000 release of the SOAP Toolkit for Microsoft Visual Studio 6.0 offers improved security features through the use of the SSL protocol for message transmission over the Internet. This update includes added support for several authentication mechansims. The much-anticipated November 2000 release of the SOAP Toolkit for Visual Studio 6.0 has improved security features by making use of the commonly used protocol SSL (Secure Socket Layer) for message transmission over the Internet. This latest release of the SOAP Toolkit has added support for several authentication mechanisms, including: (1) Sending and receiving messages over SSL (2) Basic authentication (3) Basic over SSL (4) Integrated Windows authentication (5) Client and Server certificates (6) Authenticating a client to an HTTP proxy This is an exciting addition to the SOAP Toolkit because, in addition to authentication, the SSL protocol adds data integrity and data privacy to HTTP as well as brokering access to only those authorized to use internal business logic and data stores used to implement a Web Service. Sending SOAP messages with the SSL security features implemented assures that the messages cannot be read or modified while in transit. If you are using a protocol such as HTTP, the client credentials will be passed as plain text. By utilizing the new SSL features instead of HTTP, you can be sure that client credentials will be securely encrypted. Developers of Web Services can utilize the robust new security features of the SOAP Toolkit to balance their security and performance needs. SSL produces significantly slower performance than using a protocol such as HTTP, but it is possible to selectively use SSL for only those operations of a Web Service that have heavy security needs, thus minimizing performance overhead while maximizing Web Service integrity. Additional information is available in the release notes included in the download. Please note that the SOAP Toolkit requires Microsoft Windows 2000 or Windows NT 4.0 SP6, as well as Visual Studio 6.0 SP4 to be fully functional." See "Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)."

  • [December 01, 2000] "Oracle joins effort to build e-business directory [UDDI]." By Wylie Wong. In CNET (November 30, 2000). "Oracle on Thursday [2000-11-30] announced it has joined an effort led by Microsoft, IBM and Ariba to create a Web directory that will allow businesses to find each other online. Oracle was previously the largest software maker absent from the project, which now has about 130 supporters. Oracle executives said it joined the project after Ariba, IBM and Microsoft made the process to create the technology less proprietary. The trio of companies in September proposed a Web standard and a new initiative that lets businesses register in an online directory aimed at helping companies advertise their services in order to find each other to conduct Web transactions. The project, which began with three dozen supporters, has signed on 130 companies, including Dell Computer, Intel, Nortel Networks, Sun Microsystems, Andersen Consulting and Ford Motor. Before joining the effort last month, Hewlett-Packard executives said they also balked at joining the effort because Ariba, IBM and Microsoft had veto power over the process of creating the Web standard and the online directory. The three companies then opened up the decision-making process to include more companies, resulting in HP and now Oracle joining the effort. Oracle was originally skeptical of the project because Microsoft and IBM had veto power, Magee said, even though they didn't sell e-business applications, where the Web standard and online directory comes into play. The proposed standard will allow businesses to describe the services they offer and allow those services to be located by other businesses using the online directory..." See: "Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI)."

  • [December 01, 2000] "XML Discussion Forum: An XML-based Tool for Online Discussions." By Chris Lovett. From MSDN Online, Extreme XML. (November 29, 2000). ['Columnist Chris Lovett uses the built-in support for editing HTML in Internet Explorer 5.5 to build a discussion forum.'] "Did you know that Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 has built-in support for editing HTML? I've always wanted a nice, XML-based tool for online discussions, kind of like newsgroups, but more structured so that I can add new features easily. Some features that I've always wanted in such a tool include: (1) Easy maintenance -- The ability to delete my own postings, or the ability to have configured administrators who can easily delete postings. Xcopy deployment and management of these discussions. (2) User ratings -- The ability for end users to rate postings based on how useful they are, making it easy for other users to find valuable content. (3) Speed -- Newsgroups are always too slow for intranet brainstorming scenarios. I wanted a small, lightweight solution that a small team could use to brainstorm online and see each other's postings immediately. (4) Total control over UI -- XSL is the obvious solution here. (5) Rich text support -- So many Web-based forums are plain text only. The only problem was how to do nice, rich text editing. Well, once IE 5.5 solved this for me, I was able to put the following together, based on a great prototype my friend Jonathan Marsh developed... The first step (as with all XML-based Web Services) was to design a simple schema for the discussion forum that contains the index of message threads. In this case, I decided to use a traditional XML document type definition (DTD)..." Also with source code

  • [December 01, 2000] "XML Security Gets A Boost." By Charles Babcock. In Interactive Week (November 30, 2000). "VeriSign, the trusted supplier of digital signatures, has teamed up with webMethods, a B2B software integrator, and Microsoft to jointly prototype a way to bring digital signatures and encryption to XML-based e-commerce... Existing security systems rely on public key infrastructure (PKI) from proprietary vendors. These systems issue certificates accompanied by encrypted public and private keys that allow the certificate to be used as digital signature when it reaches its destination. 'Developers who want to use the digital keys for authentication and digital signatures have to wed themselves to a particular PKI vendor,' Zona analysts noted. 'XKMS neutralizes this... It rips the proprietary nature out of existing PKI-based key management solutions,' they said. By following the XKMS specification, developers could implement their own version of digital-certificate processing, checking the status of a certificate to make certain it hasn't been revoked, identifying the path of the transmitted document and other security functions, said Warwick. Still needed is full encryption for XML-based systems or partial encryption for disguising credit card information even when information on goods ordered may be transmitted over the Internet in the clear, the Zona analysts said." See: "XML Key Management Specification (XKMS)."

November 2000

  • [November 30, 2000] "Can We Use International Geospatial Standards as The Foundations of an XML Language For Geology?" By Simon Cox. Presented to the Geoscience Information Group of the Geological Society of London, London UK, 2000-11-29. "The expressive capabilities and widespread support for XML make it a good basis for initiatives concerning information representation and transfer in the earth sciences. Community acceptance of a standardised XML based language for geology would offer benefits in a variety of areas: in particular in web-based data transfer and the simplification of import/export procedures for specialised applications software. However, XML is a meta-language that only provides components for the construction of a language useful for data. The actual tag-set and structures must be defined for each particular application, such as geology. Various formal methods are available to control XML document content, starting with the XML 1.0 standard DTD for text documents, and now including several other schema languages designed for text and structured data. But a data schema is merely the representation of a data model for the chosen syntax or storage method. So the task of developing a schema or tag-set for a particular purpose will ideally focus on the design of the application data-model, followed by a mechanical conversion to the serialization definition. To develop a model for geology data we start by examining existing models. These come from two areas: geology data models developed for existing and specialised systems, and models that underpin more generic systems for the management and manipulation of geospatial information. Examples of geology specific models include: [1] observational data from the exploration sector, such as drill-hole and assay data, various geophysics formats (seismic, potential field, active EM, etc.) [2] models based on a higher level of inference, such as block-models and grade-control data from the mining sector [3] highly interpretative models such as maps, which rely on additional components like stratigraphic columns. In the geospatial area, an exercise to develop an abstract data-model to underpin the next generation of applications has taken place through ISO and the OpenGIS Consortium. The major achievement is the establishment of an object-oriented '"feature' model of geospatial entities, largely replacing the map-oriented 'coverage' approach. If we develop our geology specific models to conform to the feature model, we can build on the generic work (e.g., in geometry), and also expect to maximize our potential use of generic DBMS, GIS, CAD and graphics software." See: "Exploration and Mining Markup Language (XMML)."

  • [November 30, 2000] "Microsoft, Others Offer XML-Based Encryption Scheme." By Tom Sullivan and James Evans. In InfoWorld (November 29, 2000). Microsoft, Verisign, and webMethods on Wednesday introduced a security specification that works to simplify the integration of PKI (public key infrastructure) and digital certificates with XML applications. The three companies have released the specification, dubbed XKMS (XML Key Management Specification), and will submit it to the appropriate Web standards bodies for consideration as an open Internet standard, the companies said in a statement. Without XKMS, applications are required to understand the guts of the PKI architecture, which works fine if the applications are PKI-aware, according to John Pescatore, research director for Internet security at Gartner Group in Stamford, Conn. But for applications that are not PKI-aware, such as a variety of forms applications, databases, and transaction processing, XML is a way to avoid having to work with PKI. Pescatore maintains that XKMS won't chase away PKI-related standards such as PKIX, the combination of PKI and X.509 certificate standards, anytime soon, though. 'XKMS will still be an alternative to PKIX because with XML, users have to agree on schemas and different trading communities will use different schemas,' he said. Unlike PKI, XKMS is designed to let developers integrate authentication, digital signature, and encryption services -- such as certificate processing and revocation status-checking -- in Web-based applications. This will allow developers to avoid using proprietary software toolkits from PKI software vendors, according to the companies. The specification works with trust functions residing on servers, accessible via programmed XML transactions. XKMS is compatible with standards for WSDL (Web Services Description Language) and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol). Basing the specification on XML and SOAP inserts security at the language level..." See: "XML Key Management Specification (XKMS)."

  • [November 30, 2000] XML Key Management. XML Trust Services." VeriSign white paper. "XML Trust Services -- a four-component suite of open specifications for application developers developed in partnership with industry leaders including Microsoft, Ariba, webMethods, and Netegrity -- makes it easier than ever to integrate a broad range of trust services into B2B and B2C applications. XML complements Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and digital certificates, the standard method for securing Internet transactions... XKMS describes mechanisms that allow XML-aware applications to easily leverage public-key infrastructure in support of digitally signed and/or encrypted XML documents. The primary objective is to allow a user of a public key -- when used to verify a digital signature or encrypt data -- to locate the required key and to associate naming or attribute information with the holder of the corresponding private key. There are two major subparts of the XML Key Management Specification: (1) Central to the XML Trust Infrastructure is the XML Key Information Service Specification (X-KISS), which defines protocols to support the processing, by a relying party, of Key Information associated with a XML digital signature, XML encrypted data, or other public key usage in an XML-aware application. Functions supported include locating required public keys given identifier information, and binding of such keys to identifier information. (2) The XML Key Registration Service Specification (X-KRSS) defines protocols to support the registration of a key pair by a key pair holder, with the intent that the key pair subsequently be usable in conjunction with the XKMS..." [cache]

  • [November 30, 2000] "Extensible Provisioning Protocol." By Scott Hollenbeck (VeriSign Global Registry Services). Internet Engineering Task Force Internet Draft 'draft-hollenbeck-epp-00.txt'. November 10, 2000. 47 pages. Abstract: "This document describes a connection-oriented, application layer client-server protocol for the provisioning and management of objects stored in a shared central repository. Specified in XML, the protocol defines generic object management operations and an extensible framework that maps protocol operations to objects." Description: "This document describes specifications for the Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) version 1.0, an XML text protocol that permits multiple service providers to perform object provisioning operations using a shared central object repository. EPP is specified using the Extensible Markup Language (XML) 1.0 and XML Schema notation. EPP meets and exceeds the requirements for a generic registry registrar protocol as described in [S. Hollenbeck: 'Generic Registry-Registrar Protocol Requirements']. EPP is a connection-oriented protocol that can be layered over multiple transport protocols. Clients establish a secure connection with a server, exchange identification, authentication, and option information, and then engage in a series of client-initiated command- response exchanges. All EPP commands are atomic and idempotent. Specified in XML, EPP provides four basic service elements: a greeting, commands, responses, and an extension framework that supports future definition of managed objects and the relationship of protocol requests and responses to those objects. An EPP server MUST respond to a successful connection by returning a greeting to the client. The client MUST wait for the greeting before sending an EPP command to the server. EPP commands and responses are exchanged serially between the client and the server. The server MUST respond to each EPP command with a coordinated response that describes the results of processing the command. EPP commands fall into three categories: session management commands, query commands, and data transform commands. Session management commands are used to establish and end sessions with an EPP server. Query commands are used to perform read-only, object-based information retrieval operations. Transform commands are used to perform read- write object management operations. EPP uses XML namespaces to provide an extensible object management framework and to identify schemas required for XML instance parsing and validation. These namespaces and schema definitions are used to identify both the base protocol schema and the schemas for managed objects..." See "Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP)."

  • [November 29, 2000] "Ontology, Metadata, and Semiotics." By John F. Sowa. Presented at ICCS'2000 in Darmstadt, Germany, August 14, 2000. Published in B. Ganter and G. W. Mineau [eds.], Conceptual Structures: Logical, Linguistic, and Computational Issues, Lecture Notes in AI #1867, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 2000, pages. 55-81. "The Internet is a giant semiotic system. It is a massive collection of Peirce's three kinds of signs: icons, which show the form of something; indices, which point to something; and symbols, which represent something according to some convention. But current proposals for ontologies and metadata have overlooked some of the most important features of signs. A sign has three aspects: it is (1) an entity that represents (2) another entity to (3) an agent. By looking only at the signs themselves, some metadata proposals have lost sight of the entities they represent and the agents -- human, animal, or robot --which interpret them. With its three branches of syntax, semantics, and pragmatics, semiotics provides guidelines for organizing and using signs to represent something to someone for some purpose. Besides representation, semiotics also supports methods for translating patterns of signs intended for one purpose to other patterns intended for different but related purposes. This article shows how the fundamental semiotic primitives are represented in semantically equivalent notations for logic, including controlled natural languages and various computer languages. . . To address meaning, the markup languages in the SGML family were designed with a clean separation between formatting and meaning. When properly used, SGML and its successor XML use tags in the text to represent semantics and put the formatting in more easily manageable style sheets. That separation is important, but the semantic tags themselves must have a clearly defined semantics. Most XML manuals, however, provide no guidelines for representing semantics. . . There are already thousands, if not millions of competing vocabularies. The tables and fields of every database and the lists of items in every product catalog for every business in the world constitute incompatible vocabularies. When product catalogs were distributed on paper, any engineer or contractor could read the catalogs from different vendors and compare the specifications. But minor variations in the terminology of computerized catalogs can make it impossible for a computer system to compare components from different vendors. By standardizing the notations, XML and RDF take an important first step, but that step is insufficient for data sharing without some way of comparing, relating, and translating the vocabularies..."

  • [November 29, 2000] "A Layered Approach to Information Modeling and Interoperability on the Web." By Sergey Melnik and Stefan Decker (Stanford University). In Proceedings of the ECDL 2000 Workshop on the Semantic Web, Lisbon, Portugal, Sept 2000. "On the Semantic Web, the target audience is the machines rather than humans. To satisfy the demands of this audience, information needs to be available in machine-processable form rather than as unstructured text. A variety of information models like RDF or UML are available to fulfil this purpose, varying greatly in their capabilities. The advent of XML leveraged a promising consensus on the encoding syntax for machine-processable information. However, interoperating between different information models on a syntactic level proved to be a laborious task. In this paper, we suggest a layered approach to interoperability of information models that borrows from layered software structuring techniques used in today's internetworking. We identify the object layer that fills the gap between the syntax and semantic layers and examine it in detail. We suggest the key features of the object layer like identity and binary relationships, basic typing, reification, ordering, and n-ary relationships. Finally, we examine design issues and implementation alternatives involved in building the object layer... Although increasing use of XML has simplified data exchange, the problem of information interoperability remains largely unresolved. For the same kind of data, independent developers often design XML syntaxes that have very little in common... Enabling interoperation between say the [example] Noris ERP system used by LCS Inc. and an OAGIS-compliant system is a laborious task. Multiple strategies are used for enabling data interoperability. One possible solution is translating directly between two different kinds of XML schemas. Such translation can be done, for example, using a declarative language like XSLT. A serious obstacle for this approach is that a mapping between two XML representations needs to be carefully specified by a human expert. In the example, the expert needs to understand both the encoding of LCS Inc. and OAG schemas and the semantics of the schema elements. Since the representations can be very diverse, the mappings created by the expert are often complex. This complexity makes them hard to maintain when the original data schemas change and hinders efficient execution of mappings. An alternative strategy that is used for reconciling XML data is based on intermediate conceptual models [see 'The Semantic Web: the Roles of XML and RDF']. In this case, a human expert is needed to reverse-engineer the underlying conceptual model for every XML schema, and to specify formally how the original schema maps onto the corresponding conceptual model. After this step, the differences between conceptual models can typically be bridged with less effort. Although more elegant, this approach has, however, difficulties comparable to the first one. That is, intervention of a human expert is required, and the mappings need to be maintained. Today's information exchange resembles a group of people communicating by means of encrypted data without disclosing the keys needed to decipher it. A way of reducing the tremendous effort needed for data interoperation is to supply metadata needed to interpret the exchanged information. However, the semantics of XML elements used by Web applications is hard-coded into the applications and is typically not available in machine-processable form. In fact, explicit and comprehensive encoding of metadata is prohibitive for all but rare application scenarios. It is not even clear how much metadata is sufficient, and how it should be encoded. Thus, establishing interoperation is a complex task, with many special-case solutions. Solving the interoperability problem on a broad scale requires novel techniques..." Also available in PDF format. See also the Conversion Tool for DAML-O, RDF Schema, and UML/XMI under development 2000-11-29. [cache]

  • [November 29, 2000] "RDF: Extending and Querying RSS channels." By Dan Brickley. November 2000. "This document explores some examples based around the idea of extending RSS using RDF-based modularisation, and then querying the resulting data in ways that exploit those extensions. The examples explored here are based on the RSS 1.0 proposal, as refined in release candidate 1.0 on the RSS-DEV WG list. You are are looking at a preliminary draft -- in particular, we have not written schemas for the extension vocabulary used, nor polished the example(s)... RSS is often used to expose a structured view of data from web-sites whose content has some richer consistent structure. For example, RSS channels might represent items from a Job-listing service, online auctions, an aggregation of personal Weblog feeds, or descriptions of houses for sale. In these examples we explore ways of extending RSS to expose more of this structure to RSS aggregation and query services..." As noted in a posting of 2000-11-29, by Dan Brickley: "... a note to encourage implementors interested in the RSS channel/syndication data format to take a look at our release candidate ... While RSS is not a W3C or DCMI effort, it'd be great if folks from the RDF IG and DCMI Architecture lists could take a look. My implementation experience to date leads me to think we've got it just about right. DC-augmented RSS 1.0 can be scraped from XHTML using XSLT, so content producers can avoid the need to author RSS/RDF by hand -- i.e., it can be pretty simple to deploy. RSS 1.0 can nevertheless serve as a transport for richer application specific data structures (e.g., job descriptions, dublin core extensions etc) that can work with more sophisticated query and inference tools from the RDF / Semantic Web community..." See "RDF Site Summary (RSS)."

  • [November 29, 2000] "An introduction to RSS news feeds. Using open formats for content syndication." By James Lewin (President, The Lewin Group). From IBM developerWorks, Web architecture library. November 2000' ['RDF Site Summary (RSS) is catching on as one of the most widely used XML formats on the Web. Find out how to create and use RSS files and learn what they can do for you. See why companies like Netscape, Userland, and Moreover use RSS to distribute and syndicate article summaries and headlines. This article includes sample code that demonstrates elements of an RSS file, plus a Perl example using the module XML::RSS.'] "RDF Site Summary (RSS) files, based on XML, provide an open method of syndicating and aggregating Web content. Using RSS files, you can create a data feed that supplies headlines, links, and article summaries from your Web site. These files describe a channel of information that can include a logo, a site link, an input box, and multiple "news items." Other sites can incorporate your information into their pages automatically. You can also use RSS feeds from other sites to provide your site with current news headlines. These techniques let you draw more visitors to your site and also provide them with up-to-date information. The RSS format originated with the sites My Netscape and My UserLand, both of which aggregate content derived from XML news feeds. Because it's one of the simplest XML applications, RSS found favor with many developers who need to perform similar tasks. Users include Moreover, Meerkat, UserLand, and XML Tree. This article looks at the RSS format and examines some open source Perl modules that will allow you to work with RSS files easily." Also in PDF format. See "RDF Site Summary (RSS)." [cache]

  • [November 28, 2000] "UDDI b2b Project Gears Up for Beta." By Jeffrey Burt. In eWEEK (November 26, 2000). "The business-to-business directory framework initiative spearheaded by Ariba Inc., IBM and Microsoft Corp. has launched the public beta testing phase of its business registry. The UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration) project, which is based on XML (Extensible Markup Language), was announced in September. It is designed to create a single standard by which busi nesses can list e-commerce Web sites, contact information, payment options and B2B capabilities. The goal is to streamline online transactions and make it easier for businesses to find one another on the Web via a search engine. Initially backed by three dozen companies -- including American Express Co., Commerce One Inc., Compaq Computer Corp., i2 Technologies Inc., Loudcloud Inc., SAP AG and Sun Microsystems Inc. -- the coalition's membership has jumped to 130 companies. The list now includes Hewlett-Packard Co., which for more than a year had been working on a similar XML-based registry called eSpeak. The HP tools automate discovery and interaction among Web-based services. For its part, UDDI defines White Pages (general information), Yellow Pages (business categories) and Green Pages (for how business is conducted). Last month, the consortium unveiled WSDL, or Web Services Descrip tion Language, on which UDDI is based. WSDL, an XML format created by Microsoft and IBM developers, is expected to be submitted to a standards body within 18 months. WSDL describes network services as endpoints that exchange messages telling what services are available. The language is partially based on Microsoft's Simple Object Access Protocol Contract Language and IBM's NASSL, or Network Accessible Service Specification Language. Each of UDDI's three initial movers -- Ariba, IBM and Microsoft -- operates a registry server that can interoperate with servers of the other coalition members. That way, as information is entered onto a registry server, it is also shared by the servers of the other companies; future versions of the UDDI Business Registry will include other companies as operators..." See: (1) the announcement "UDDI Business Registry Goes Live. Momentum For UDDI Project Grows With Public Beta Launch, Participation Triples.", and (2) references in "Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI)."

  • [November 27, 2000] "Markup Languages for Functional-Logic Programming." By Harold Boley (Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH). Paper presented at WFLP'2000 - Ninth International Workshop on Functional and Logic Programming, Benicassim (Spain), September 28-30, 2000. "A ten-step strategy for sharing integrated functional-logic programs or knowledge bases as XML documents is given. Four well-known functional-logic design essentials are revisited for the Web. An XML-based 'vanilla' Prolog (XmlLog) is defined and developed into the Relational-Functional Markup Language (RFML). 'Content markup' in MathML is regarded as a (higher-order) sublanguage for Lisp-like notations in XML and is compared to RFML. XML assertion and query languages are unified in this functional-logic setting. XmlLog and subsets of RFML are specified by XML document type definitions. All notions are illustrated with examples, culminating in binary-tree relabeling... [Purely Relational Markup in XmlLog and RFML:] XmlLog is a 'vanilla' markup language for purely relational specifications in XML [Bol00], realizing the non-groundness/non-determinism essentials (R1) and (R2) from section 2 above. Here we discuss its (essentially, specialization) kinship with RFML. An individual (or variable or predicate) in XmlLog becomes an ind (or var or relator) element of the form <ind> . . . </ind> (or analogous). A relationship element applying a relator to ind/var arguments is usable as a query. In XmlLog a relationship becomes a Datalog (i.e., constructorless) fact through a superimposed hn (i.e., Horn-clause) element. Let us consider a fact corresponding to the tuple (eurostar,fred) from a carry(Carrier,Person) table of a relational database: carry(eurostar,fred). It is marked up in XmlLog as follows [...] More generally, a Datalog rule in XmlLog is asserted as an hn element that displays two or more subelements, namely, the head-relationship element followed by at least one body-relationship element... Our XmlLog markup for Datalog can be extended to full Prolog and formalized as follows. A Horn clause hn has one (fact) or more (rule) relationship subelements. A relationship element applies a relator to zero or more arguments that can now also be structures. A struc element applies a constructor to arguments identical to those of relator applications. The DTD for XmlLog, then, just consists of these ELEMENT declarations for a knowledge base kb of zero or more hn clauses... The first well-known language that has provided Horn-clause markup in the Web is SHOE (Simple HTML Ontology Extensions). XmlLog defines a 'vanilla' Horn language as an XML DTD, extended to RFML, a 'lightweight' FL-integration language. RFML has been implemented as a (Web-)output syntax for FL knowledge bases and for FL computations. This FL/XML kernel could be extended for further FL languages. It will be a problem, of course, to share programs between the large number of FL proposals [...] As one approach, we could develop a merely syntactic common markup language as done by the MathML community (who, however, have the advantage of the generally agreed upon semantics of mathematical expressions); experience with different semantics for the same markup might then encourage semantic convergence... Much of the knowledge on the Web constitutes definitions of relations and functions. Markup languages for FL programming will permit such 'Functional-Logic Knowledge on the Web'. Their development should take into account previous experience such as with the Knowledge Interchange Format (KIF), which can also be regarded as an FL language. KIF is a full rst-order logic language that has been proposed as an ANSI standard. However, full KIF currently seems still too big for practical knowledge sharing. For example, only a (Horn-like) subset of KIF has been employed in the recent Business Rules Markup Language (BRML). Thus, a complementary approach has been pursued with Relfun/RFML: gradually extending a minimal kernel towards a practical FL language." See "Relational-Functional Markup Language (RFML)" and "Business Rules Markup Language (BRML)." [cache]

  • [November 27, 2000] "Relationships Between Logic Programming and XML." By Harold Boley (Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH). Revised document, from Proceedings of the Fourteenth Workshop 'Logische Programmierung', Würzburg, January 2000. 17 pages, with 13 references. "Mutual relationships between logic programming and XML are examined. XML documents are introduced as linearized derivation trees and mapped to Prolog structures. Conversly, a representation of Herbrand terms and Horn clauses in XML leads to a pure XML-based Prolog (XmlLog). The XML elements employed for this are complemented by uses of XML attributes like id/idref for extended logics. XML's document type definitions are introduced on the basis of ELEMENT declarations for XmlLog and ATTLIST declarations for id/idref. Finally, queries in languages like XQL are treated functional-logically and inferences on the basis of XmlLog are presented. All concepts are explained via knowledge-representation examples... The simplicity of Web-based data exchange is beneficial for nonformal, semiformal and formal documents. For formal specifications and programs the Web permits a distributed development, usage and maintenance. Logic programming (LP) has the potential to serve as a standard language for this. However, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has enhanced HTML (for nonformal and semiformal documents) into the Extensible Markup Language (XML) for semiformal and formal documents. Thus the issue of the relationships between XML and LP arises. Will logic programming have the chance, despite, or perhaps, precisely because of XML, to become a 'Web technology' for formal documents? Could the HTML-like syntax of XML forthis be replaced by a Prolog-like syntax, or could it be edited or presented - over a standardized stylesheet - in such a Prolog syntax? Is SLD resolution a suitable starting point for the interpreter semantics of an XML query language like XQL? Or should an LP-oriented, inferential, query language be developed in the form of an XML-based Prolog? In the following text, such questions will be dealt with, and possible interplays between XML and LP, in both directions, will be discussed. The already foreseeable success of XML as a 'universal' interchange format for commercial practice (including E-commerce) can also be viewed as a success of the declarative representation technique; as it was proposed, in a somewhat different form by logic programming. Similarities and differences between these declarative paradigms will be later elaborated upon..." See also "XML and Query Languages." [cache]

  • [November 27, 2000] "The Smoking Gun. Although everyone had a motive, ASPs will ultimately be responsible for the death of the packaged application." By Stewart McKie. In Intelligent Enterprise Volume 3, Number 17 (November 10, 2000), pages 56-59. "Although packaged applications aren't obsolete yet, they are definitely on the endangered species list. Until all applications in every business are hosted, businesses will need Internet application collaboration (IAC) middleware. As businesses transition from the use of in-house managed packaged applications to a mix of in-house and hosted applications, IAC software and services will become a vital part of the IT management landscape. However, in order to succeed, IAC depends on some standard mechanisms being in place to facilitate application-to-application and server-to-server collaboration - which is where Extensible Markup Language (XML) comes in. XML, with its ability to describe data and its context, provides the ideal mechanism to make IAC a reality. XML stands a chance of becoming what EDI and Microsoft's COM initiative both failed to become - a pervasive, cross-platform standard for application-to-application data interchange. But before this paradigm shift can occur, a number of other events must happen first. First, every application needs to expose an XML interface for the purposes of sending and receiving data between applications. Specific applications need to support specific XML schema standards, such as the XML-based financial reporting standards proposed by the XBRL body to manage common types of information exchange that business-to-business (B2B) buying and selling activities require. Independent industry bodies should formulate these standards to ensure they remain open and not dependent on any one vendor's proprietary technology. Then, companies need a way to manage these XML-based IAC transactions securely and reliably. Market leaders such as IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle all recognize the importance of XML and have announced strategies and delivered tools to help accelerate the momentum of IAC. As usual, Microsoft's efforts in this area have achieved high visibility via its BizTalk Framework initiative and impending BizTalk Server product release. But many other best-of-breed vendors are also operating in this space, and which company will dominate this critical market is still unclear. What is clear is that you do not need to install new XML exchanges in-house to reap their benefits. An ASP can host the software to manage XML exchanges, which can act as a Web-based collaboration hub to connect businesses in a many-to-many fashion. Clearly, this business is an attractive model for Microsoft and others, because the potential for capturing tollbooth revenues from growing B2B application-to-application Internet traffic is enormous. The potential of an XML interface in every application will certainly enable a boost in B2B e-commerce, but it may also change the way that applications themselves are expected to function as they switch from a tightly coupled to a loosely coupled mode of operation..."

  • [November 27, 2000] "In the Books. Can yet another vendor consortium deliver on a cross-industry B2B e-commerce standard?" By Claudia Willen. In Intelligent Enterprise Volume 3, Number 17 (November 10, 2000), pages 10-12. "...UDDI advocates said the standard is based on extensible markup language (XML), and HTTP and Domain Name System (DNS) protocols, and that UDDI also addresses cross-platform programming issues through its adoption of the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) messaging specifications found at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web site. UDDI is promoting the standard as an 'open' one and invites any organization to participate by signing up in the forthcoming UDDI Business Registry. UDDI hopes to transfer the registry specifications to an independent industry standards group by late 2001 or 2002. IBM, Ariba, and Microsoft plan to launch interoperable beta versions of the registry in fall 2000. UDDI envisions the business registry as an XML Web directory containing standardized data and business rules posted by member companies to describe themselves and how they want to conduct e-commerce, including specifications about the type of transaction data and formats they can handle. The information will be structured in three sections: white pages containing company descriptions, contact information, and business ID numbers; yellow pages with companies organized into business categories, such as products, geographic regions, and industry sectors; and green pages, which will provide transaction requirements. Other companies will be able to look up this information for free. Because the registry is XML-based, theoretically the transacting companies could conduct e-business on a machine-to-machine or system-to-system level, according to UDDI members. The registry can also describe services implemented using HTML, Java, CORBA, Microsoft Windows DNA, and other programming models and languages. Online trading community provider VerticalNet Inc. recently joined UDDI and plans to move its network of more than 120,000 suppliers, of which 8,000 have VerticalNet-hosted storefronts or e-commerce centers, into a UDDI-compliant registry. Blair LaCorte, VerticalNet senior e-commerce VP, said that UDDI 'is the perfect complement to our supplier integration strategy which leverages internationally accepted standards to promote seamless trade between our members.' Industry observers said it's still too early to determine if this latest attempt to set e-commerce standards will be more successful than competing efforts from other vendors and organizations." See: "Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI)."

  • [November 27, 2000] "The Naked Truth. With XML, the metadata emperor still has no clothes." By Terry Moriarty. In Intelligent Enterprise Volume 3, Number 17 (November 10, 2000), pages 60-63. "Vendors have been rushing to incorporate support for XML into their products. With each new release, more products will be able to import and export their metadata through XML documents. Does this mean that our metadata integration issues have been resolved? Hardly! Each vendor is creating DTDs that describe their product's metadata schema. Most often, this schema is unique to their product line. If a product could not share its metadata with other tools prior to XML, it is unlikely that it will be able to share its metadata once formatted as an XML document. It is not enough to generate XML syntax. To share metadata, products must share DTDs. To share DTDs, vendors must agree on a common metadata model. Our industry has a dismal track record on agreeing on a common metadata model. And I see no relief in sight in this area. Currently, several standards groups are working with varying degrees of cooperation on metadata models: The Object Management Group's (OMG) Common Warehouse Metamodel, The Meta Data Coalition (MDC) and Microsoft with their Open Information Model, and the W3C's Resource Description Framework - to name just a few. It's difficult enough to get a vendor to support one standard, let alone multiple ones. Case in point: when IBM's user group GUIDE presented the company with a standard in 1986, not even IBM chose to use it as the basis of its repository metamodel. Nothing seems to have changed in the last 20 years. I'm certainly not holding my breath until the standards community delivers a model that any of my vendors will actually build to. What is becoming available, though, are mapping tools that read in disparate XML DTDs and let you do the mapping between them. Mapping tools let you transform the DTD generated by one product into one that another product can import. Unfortunately, the mappings are left as an exercise for us to do. I applaud any group that takes on the responsibility for developing an industry standard. And I think that XML is an essential component of the Internet infrastructure. But when it comes to integrating metadata across various vendors' products, XML is just a thread that eventually can be used to weave the fabric of an integrated environment. Without a pattern, in the form of a single industry standard metadata model, we're going to end up with a poorly conceived patchwork that meets no one's needs. I'm afraid the metadata emperor may be better off continuing to run around in his birthday suit."

  • [November 27, 2000] "The Odd Couple: Two Data Warehouse Standards Come Together." By Brian O'Connell. In ent - The Independent Newspaper for Windows NT Enterprise Computing [Online] Volume 5, Number 18 (November 08, 2000), pages 1, 40-41. Update on the merger of MDC and OMG/CWM metadata initiatives. See the announcement "Competing Data Warehousing Standards to Merge in the OMG." References: "MDC Open Information Model (OIM)" and "OMG Common Warehouse Metadata Interchange (CWMI) Specification."

  • [November 25, 2000] "A Model Theoretic Semantics for DAML-ONT." By Richard Fikes and Deborah L McGuinness (Knowledge Systems Laboratory Computer Science Department Stanford University). November 7, 2000. "This document specifies a model-theoretic semantics for the DAML-ONT language by providing a set of first-order logic axioms that can be assumed to hold in any logical theory that is considered to be logically equivalent translation of a DAML-ONT ontology. Our intent is to provide a precise, succinct, and formal description of the relations and constants in DAML-ONT (e.g., complementOf, intersectionOf, Nothing). The axioms provide that description by placing a set of restrictions on the possible interpretations of those relations and constants. The axioms are written in ANSI Knowledge Interchange Format (KIF) (, which is a proposed ANSI standard. This document is organized as an augmentation of the DAML-ONT specification ( Each set of axioms and their associated comments have been added to the specification document immediately following the portion of the specification for which they provide semantics. For example, the axioms providing semantics for the property complementOf immediately follow the XML property element that defines complementOf. We have maintained the ordering of the definitions from the original DAML-ONT specification, although that ordering is not optimal for understanding the axioms. In particular, the following terms are used in axioms before they are defined in the document: Class, Property, domain, range, type, List. Comments are welcome posted to the distribution list." See "DARPA Agent Mark Up Language (DAML)." [cache]

  • [November 25, 2000] "Relating Ontology Languages and Web Standards." By Dieter Fensel. In J. Ebert et al. [eds.], Modelle und Modellierungssprachen in Informatik und Wirtschaftsinformatik, Modellierung 2000, St. Goar, April 5-7, 2000, Foelbach Verlag, Koblenz, 2000. 18 pages, with 34 references. "Currently computers are changing from single isolated devices to entry points in a world wide network of information exchange and business transactions called the World Wide Web (WWW). Therefore support in data, information, and knowledge exchange becomes the key issue in current computer technology. Ontologies provide a shared and common understanding of a domain that can be communicated between people and application systems. Therefore, they may play a major role in supporting information exchange processes in various areas. However, in order to develope their full power, the representation languages for ontologies must be compartible with existing data exchange standards in the World Wide Web. In this paper we investigate protoypical examples of ontology languages and web languages. Finally we show how these web standards can be used as a representation languages for ontologies... Ontologies are formal theories about a certain domain of discourse and therefore require a formal logical language to express them. The paper will discuss languages for describing ontologies in Section 2. In Section 3 we will investigate how recent web standards such as XML and RDF can be used as languages for expressing Ontologies, or at least some of their aspects. Finally, in Section 4 we will discuss XOL, a proposal for an XML-based standard for expressing ontologies. Section 3: XML, RDF, and Ontology Languages In the following we will examine how XML and RDF can be used to express ontologies... More details and further aspects of ontology to DTD translations can be found in [references]. In a nutshell, DTDs are rather weak in regard to what can be expressed with them. Work on XML-schemes may well contribute to bridging the gap between DTDs and ontologies. Schemes will be introducing: mechanisms for constraining document structure and content, mechanisms to enable inheritance for element, attribute, and data type definitions, mechanisms for application-specific constraints and descriptions, mechanisms to enable the integration of structural schemes with primitive data types, primitive data typing, including byte, date, integer, sequence, etc., and they shall allow creation of user-defined data types. Up to now we have discussed the mapping from ontologies to DTDs. [WeId 1999] discuss a mapping from DTDs to an ontological representation. [They] want to provide the reasoning service of description logic to query and manipulate XML documents. DTDs are therefore translated automatically into a representation of an ontology in description logic. This ontology simply consists of each element in the DTD. The taxonomy can be derived by the classifier of the description logic CLASSIC based on the use of entities and the type attributes... XOL shows how many aspects of an ontology can be represented in XML. However, important aspects which are lacking are rules and constraints (i.e., class definitions). They are often a significant part of the knowledge provided by an ontology, and XOL does not provide support for their representation. Besides XOL, RDF provide a proposal for specifying ontologies. However, many design decisions in RDF are rather particular. Properties are defined globally, violating all modeling experiences from object-oriented and frame-based approaches that define attributes locally for classes. RDF provides powerful reification, i.e., expressions can become terms in meta-level expressions. This makes reasoning service for RDF rather tricky. Most description logics do not provide such a service. Finally, RDF also does not provide a means for defining constraints and rules which allow us to specify information intensionally. Currently, there are initiatives to define a proper Ontology Interchange Language (OIL) that overcomes these shortcomings..." See also: M. Klein, D. Fensel, F. van Harmelen, and I. Horrocks, "The relation between ontologies and schema-languages: Translating OIL-specifications in XML-Schema." In Proceedings of the Workshop on Applications of Ontologies and Problem-solving Methods, 14th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence ECAI'00, Berlin, Germany August 20-25, 2000. See also "XOL - XML-Based Ontology Exchange Language." [cache]

  • [November 25, 2000] "XML Standards for Ontology Exchange." By Marin Dimitrov. In Proceedings of OntoLex 2000: Ontologies and Lexical Knowledge Bases, Sozopol, Bulgaria. September 8-10, 2000. Revised 16 November 2000. 53 pages. Provides an overview of XML and several XML-related ontology projects (XOL, OML, RDFS, IFF). See also "Information Flow Framework Language (IFF)." [cache]

  • [November 25, 2000] "Java API for XML Processing. Version 1.1. Public Review Version 2." By Rajiv Mordani, James Duncan Davidson, and Scott Boag. November 18, 2000. Updated Java API for XML Processing 1.1, Public Review 2 - JSR-000063. 132 pages. "This document describes the Java API for XML Processing, Version 1.1. This version of the specification introduces basic support for parsing and manipulating XML documents through a standardized set of Java Platform APIs. When this specification is final there will be a Reference Implementation which will demonstrate the capabilities of this API and will provide an operational definition of the specification. A Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK) will also be available that will verify whether an implementation of this specification is compliant. These are required as per the Java Community Process 2.0 (JCP 2.0). This specification is intended for use by: (1) Parser Developers wishing to implement this version of the specification in their parser. (2) Application Developers who use the APIs described in this specification and wish to have a more complete understanding of the API..." Other references for the Sun Java API for XML Parsing (JAXP): (1) Version 1.1 specification; (2) download; (3) Java Technology and XML; (4) "Java API for XML Parsing (JAXP)."

  • [November 25, 2000] "A case study on the use of XML technologies for automotive standards development." By Iftikhar Ahmed. XML case study sponsored by Sun Microsystems. November 2000. [' This four-part series by Iftikhar Ahmed of Atlas Software Technologies provides a detailed tour through the SmartStandard content management system, built on XML and utilizing Java technology to handle standards specification development at the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).'] "[The author] presents the design of the SmartStandard content management system, built on XML and utilizing Java technology for standards specification development. The system has been developed for the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to automate their standards development process through the use of the Internet. The goals of the system are to provide: (1) Online browsing of the most updated document in HTML or PDF format; (2) Online change request authoring; (3) Online workflow support for change request approval, including an electronic ballot process; (4) Keyword searches on standards documents; (5) Browsing of a repository of old versions of standards. Through the use of this software, SAE expects to shorten their standard development process from its current 6 to 12 months to almost real time. Part I of this series describes the SmartStandard system architecture, and provides details on the design of Document Type Definitions (DTDs), using xmlspec.dtd, we developed for the SAE. The system consists of three subsystems, each corresponding to a different layer. XML works as the common link between each layer. The Presentation Layer assumes that standards documents and change request details will be in the form of XML tagged documents. Similarly, the Workflow engine works on the XML tagged sections of standards and uses workflow specifications tagged in XML to execute the change request process... [DTD Design:] Instead of creating a DTD from scratch, we looked for available open standards that could support the requirements for the SAE standards (or could be used as a base). Among the available DTDs were: (1) DocBook DTD; (2) XML Spec DTD; (3) Theological Markup Language (for theological content, written by Harry Plantinga); (4) MathML. The DocBook DTD is generic enough to support writing of simple articles to complex technical books, papers and standards. The DocBook DTD could have worked for the SAE standards, but because of its generality, it is not a perfect solution for standards development. XMLSpec is the DTD developed by the World-Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for development of World-Wide Web specifications. We chose XMLSpec as the perfect candidate for the SAE standards, although we had to work around one problem: The XMLSpec DTD works as a generic DTD for writing standards specifications in XML, but one of the requirements for SmartStandard had been keyword search capability that depends on the rich tag set defined in a DTD. This means that depending on a document's content, the DTD could differ from document to document. Because of this, we extended the XMLSpec DTD slightly and created another base DTD that could be used to either create standards content similar to what the W3C is writing, or can be extended to support richer documents..."

  • [November 25, 2000] "SOAP in the Microsoft .NET Framework and Visual Studio.NET." By Keith Ballinger, Jonathan Hawkins, and Pranish Kumar. From MSDN Online Library. November 2000. ['The article discusses the SOAP offerings in .NET Remoting, ASP.NET Web Services, and ATL Web Services. The primary goal of this article is to provide a broad perspective of the SOAP offerings in the .NET Frameworks and Visual Studio.NET. The secondary goal is to provide a roadmap for customers about which path to use when starting to build an application that uses SOAP.'] "The Microsoft .NET Framework and Microsoft Visual Studio.NET take advantage of XML and SOAP technologies to allow developers to create solutions with reach. SOAP is a simple and lightweight protocol with wide industry support. It is useful and usable for a wide variety of applications. SOAP and the .NET Frameworks are an easy and natural fit. SOAP was designed from the ground up to be an extremely simple protocol that can be implemented in a variety of ways for a variety of different needs. Many other companies have produced implementations, including IBM, Develop Mentor, and Userland, as well as Microsoft. There are several key technologies in the framework that use SOAP. Each of these features solves common problems that developers encounter when creating SOAP-based solutions. These areas are .NET Remoting, ASP.NET Web Services, and ATL Web Services. These features share a number of common technologies and characteristics: (1) XML for message generation and consumption. (2) SOAP 1.1 compliance, including Section 5 SOAP encoding. This enables strong SOAP interoperability with other SOAP implementations. (3) XML-fidelity (non-section 5 SOAP encoding) for a very disconnected model. (4) WSDL (a form of XML Schema) for Description. (5) Scaling out using a stateless programming model. (6) An excellent development environment with Visual Studio.NET..." See (1) the Microsoft SOAP web site and (2) "Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)."

  • [November 24, 2000] "Vendors jostling over XML security specs." By Ellen Messmer. In Network World Fusion Volume 17, Number 47 (November 20, 2000), page 85. "It's a bit like the presidential election, but only within the software industry: Two camps are promoting their own security specification for XML as a winner, while the public really just wants one that works when it's put to a real-world test. On one side, Netegrity last week joined with Sun, WebMethods, VeriSign, Art Technology Group, Commerce One and others to back a specification they call the Security Services Markup Language (S2ML). The specification, which is expected to be unveiled next month, is XML-based technology that's supposed to be used in software applications to capture and share authentication and authorization information. Its envisioned use is in complex supply-chain environments and trading exchanges to simplify user authorization. However, a second camp led by Securant is pushing a similar specification called AuthXML. Its supporters include Check Point Software Technologies, SilverStream and others. Entrust, iPlanet, Oracle, IBM and others are evaluating the specification, according to Securant... Companies interested in an XML-based security specification say they hope the two camps somehow manage to combine these nascent efforts into one winning technology that would provide the equivalent of single sign-on for e-commerce purchasing. Whether the two camps can get together remains up in the air, but like Netegrity with S2ML, Securant plans to make its technology publicly available. "Our goal is a single industry standard," Platt says. Backers of S2ML say they expect to submit their technology as a proposed standard to the World Wide Web Consortium and the organization called Oasis, which works on XML technical and business issues..." See: (1) "AuthXML Standard for Web Security" and (2) "Security Services Markup Language (S2ML)."

  • [November 24, 2000] "New DOM standard gives XML a boost." By Roberta Holland. In eWEEK (November 22, 2000). "Vendors planning to implement the new Document Object Model standard issued by the World Wide Web Consortium earlier this month say the new standard includes additional capabilities for what has become a key driver of the eXtensible Markup Language. DOM is used as a programming model within the browser as well as a primary interface for XML. Bob Sutor, director of e-business standards strategies for IBM, said DOM 2 is more powerful than the first iteration and provides developers with a standard programming model. 'It provides increased standardization of how people will manipulate XML documents in programs,' said Sutor, in Somers, N.Y. DOM level 2 includes a standard applications programming interface for manipulating data and documents through a programming language, like JavaScript. It allows users to dynamically update a document's content, structure and style. The new standard also adds support for namespaces, Cascading Style Sheets 1 and 2, a standard model for combining objects and a standard interface to manipulate those objects. Namespaces support key Key among the new features is the namespaces support, Sutor said. 'It allows you to mix and match XML content from different sources,' he said. 'Namespaces is very important in using XML for publishing and for e-business.' The style sheets allow users to dynamically control the way a document is formatted and how it looks..." See: "W3C Document Object Model (DOM)."

  • [November 24, 2000] "The IANA XML Registry." By Michael Mealling (Network Solutions, Inc.). IETF Internet-Draft. Network Working Group. Reference: 'draft-mealling-iana-xmlns-registry-00.txt'. "This documenet describes an IANA maintained registry for IETF standards which use XML related items such as Namespaces, DTD, Schemas, and RDF Schemas. Over the past few years XML has become a widely used method for data markup. There have already been several IETF Working Groups that have produced standards that define XML DTDs, XML Namespaces and XML Schemas. Each one of these technologies uses URIs to identify their respective versions. For example, a given XML document defines its DTD using the DOCTYPE element. This element, like SGML, has a PUBLIC and a SYSTEM identifier. It is standard practice within W3C standards to forego the use of the PUBLIC identifier in favor of 'well known' SYSTEM identifiers. There have been several IETF standards that have simply created non-existent URIs in order to simply identify but not resolve the SYSTEM identifier for some given XML document. This document seeks to standardize this practice by creating an IANA maintained registry of XML elements so that document authors and implementors have a well maintained and authoritative location for their XML elements. As part of this standard, the IANA will both house the public representation of the document and assign it a Uniform Resource Name that can be used as the URI in any URI based identification components of XML." See (1) "Catalogs, Formal Public Identifiers, Formal System Identifiers" and "Proposed OASIS Technical Committee on Entity Resolution." [cache]

  • [November 24, 2000] "Talking in XLANG." By Eric Binary Anderson. In ent - The Independent Newspaper for Windows NT Enterprise Computing [Online] Volume 5, Number 19 (November 22, 2000), pages 24-26. "Despite the bevy of features for manipulating messages, the most interesting feature for developers is BizTalk's ability to create long-running business processes. Microsoft created a new language called XLANG -- pronounced slang -- for describing any business process. XLANG is a complete language that uses XML as the written format for the definition. Interestingly, Microsoft claims it chose XML so businesses can share process definitions across multiple platforms, presumably even non-Microsoft platforms. Although you can read and edit XLANG code in any editor, you'll most likely work with it using the BizTalk Application Designer. The designer is a graphical business process flow-charting tool that produces executable XLANG schedules. It is refreshing to finally see analysis, design, and coding converge into a simple process. While most complex desktop applications still defy efforts to use modeling tools in place of manual coding, I found that integrating business processes works naturally in the BizTalk environment. The added bonus of using a visual designer to create a business process is that the resulting design is self-documenting. XLANG schedules execute inside the BizTalk Orchestration engine. The orchestration engine is a finite-state machine that can process the various operations coded in XLANG. These operations include decisions, loops, forks, joins, actions, and transactions. BizTalk has an interesting concept of a transaction. Transactions are typically groups of all-or-nothing events. Many of us have been trained that executing transactions across enterprises requires a two-stage commit, requiring all involved applications to ensure that they can commit individually before the overarching transaction can commit. However, a two-stage commit can cause performance bottlenecks and force applications to stop functioning if any dependent process is unavailable... BizTalk has the potential to rewrite the rules of business process automation. However, as mentioned in our review of BizTalk last issue, it is not a simple product to install or manage. You won't necessarily want to choose BizTalk to simply replace a handful of .BAT files. However, if you have a need to automate both internal and external processes, primarily on Windows and Internet platforms, BizTalk will soon have you talking in XLANG." See "BizTalk Framework."

  • [November 24, 2000] "Tutorials: Validating XML with Schematron." By Chimezie Ogbuji. From November 22, 2000. Schematron is an XSLT-based language for validating XML documents. This article explains why schema languages are required and introduces the principles behind Schematron. Nov. 22, 2000 "Schematron is an XML schema language, and it can be used to validate XML. In this article I show how to do the latter and assume the reader is at least familiar with XML 1.0, DTDs, XSLT, and XPath... DTDs were the first standard mechanism for XML validation, and for all practical purposes still are. They define the roles and structure of XML elements. DTDs are written in a syntax other than XMLs' and rely upon post-processing for validation. For simple XML schemas, DTDs are sufficient. However, DTDs are a step behind the direction XML technologies are evolving: they don't support namespaces, and they use a non-XML syntax. The most serious problem with DTDs is that they do not support namespaces, a critical flaw since namespaces are a very powerful aspect of XML. The inability to validate DTD-declared XML documents with namespaces prevents XML application developers from taking advantage of namespaces in their business logic. Most XML technologies (RDF, XSLT, and XLink) and schema languages (RELAX, XML Schema, SOX) are represented as XML. This uniformity helps make these technologies easy to learn, and it means developers are able to leverage existing XML tools. This places DTDs at a disadvantage because developers must learn an additional syntax in order to define their XML schemas--but DTDs also have more severe restrictions. DTDs are somewhat limited in their range of expression; therefore, they cannot be used to validate some XML document structures... Schematron, created by Rick Jelliffe, defines a set of rules and checks that are applied to an XML instance. Schematron takes a unique approach to schemas in that it focuses on validating document instances instead of declaring a schema (as the other schema languages do). Schematron relies almost entirely on XPath query patterns for defining these rules and checks. With just a subset of XPath, powerful XSLT stylesheets can be created to process very complex XML instances..."

  • [November 24, 2000] "XML-Deviant: Profiling and Parsers." By Leigh Dodds. From November 22, 2000. ['Can XML be meaningfully split up to facilitate partial implementation of the specification? XML developers debate the issues.'] "... XML-DEV has recently discussed the development of subsets of the XML 1.0 Recommendation, the impact that these may have on interoperability, and related issues. . .It's the specific requirements of a particular application domain that will drive parser selection. Not all domains are created equal, and in some cases (on PDA platforms, for example) speed, footprint, and optimization are critical requirements. For developers working on those platforms, a profiled parser might be the optimal choice. The same applies in situations where the XML being exchanged is rigorously controlled and regulated. In all other domains the "be generous in what you accept..." rule applies, and this requires a fully-conformant parser."

  • [November 24, 2000] "Two E-Businesses Solve the Puzzle of XML. [Web & E-Publishing.]" By Dan Bolita. In Imaging and Document Solutions Volume 9, Number 12 (December 2000), pages 35-38. [' and Lehman Brothers deploy extensible markup language to ease online transactions.'] "To explore how XML helps businesses in the real world, we looked at two businesses that use the technology: the retail Web-portal company and the investment bank Lehman Brothers. develops customized on-line shopping malls that rely on personalized presentation of structured content. To drive its e-commerce engine, the company selected Total-e-Business, from Bluestone Software, Philadelphia. The site operates more than 15,000 brand-name online catalogs. brings traditional mail-order catalogs to the Web, including such brands as The Sharper Image, Talbots, Neiman Marcus, Bombay and Hammacher Schlemmer. "Our biggest concern is always providing the consumer with a unique and consistent personal shopping experience across all of our online shopping malls," says Vince Hunt, executive vice president of Web operations for Predictions that XML will be the death of EDI seem premature. More likely is the development of systems that incorporate both or that offer a transition. Partnership agreements among e-business vendors with XML and EDI expertise are already under way. Bluestone Software, Philadelphia, and XMLSolutions, McLean, VA, is one such pairing. By integrating their technologies, the companies expect their clients to readily exchange real-time data between EDI and XML-based systems. The companies are integrating Bluestone's e-business server component Total-e-B2B with XMLSolutions' XEDI Translator (EDI/XML translation) and Schema Central (schema management) software products. The combination offers bidirectional XML-to-XML and EDI-to-XML translation, which allows enterprises with EDI systems that previously only communicated with other EDI systems to more easily conduct business with partners using XML..."

  • [November 24, 2000] "Unleash the Power of XML. [Web & E-Publishing.]" By Gautam Desai And Joe Fenner. In Imaging and Document Solutions Volume 9, Number 12 (December 2000), pages 29-32. ['How will XML impact your organization's e-business initiatives? Doculabs explores the areas of interoperability and syndication.'] "Acceptance of new XML-based standards is required to help drive adoption. For example, the Internet Content Exchange (ICE) standard is an XML-based standard designed specifically for the sharing and syndication of Web content. Simple object access protocol (SOAP) is an XML-based protocol for passing messages between systems over the Internet, which is great for application-to-application communications across different platforms. The problem is that multiple standards are emerging simultaneously, and organizations may find themselves supporting several standards just to be able to deal with different partners in their supply chains. While XML is easier than alternatives such as EDI, it is by no means simple. Many different tools are needed to facilitate XML implementations, including XML editors, XSL tools, XML schema/DTD editors, XML viewers and XML servers (see sidebar). While some XML utilities are inexpensive or even free, the challenge is picking the right tools from among the myriad products available, not to mention configuring them in a cohesive system. While XML is great as a data-sharing language, it is not suited for every type of application. Because XML technology is based on parsers, it is not good for applications that require very fast response times. There are some data exchange applications in which XML will be too slow, creating performance bottlenecks or unacceptable response times. Therefore, it is imperative that you test performance before you put your applications into production..."

  • [November 22, 2000] "The XML Files: SAX, the Simple API for XML." By Aaron Skonnard. From MSDN Magazine (November 2000). ['Columnist Aaron Skonnard provides an overview of the Simple API for XML (SAX) and shows how it compares to the Document Object Model (DOM).'] "Today there are two widely accepted APIs for working with XML: the Simple API for XML (SAX) and the Document Object Model (DOM). Both APIs define a set of abstract programmatic interfaces that model the XML Information Set (Infoset). The DOM models the Infoset through a hierarchy of generic nodes that support well-defined interfaces. Due to the DOM's tree-based model, most implementations demand that the entire XML document be contained in memory while processing. SAX, on the other hand, models the Infoset through a linear sequence of well-known method calls. Because SAX doesn't demand resources for an in-memory representation of the document, it's a lightweight alternative to the DOM. The distinction between SAX and DOM is best illustrated by comparing them to database cursors. SAX is similar to firehose-mode cursors (read-only and forward-only) while DOM is closer to a static cursor that allows full traversal and updates. There are obvious trade-offs when choosing one cursor type over the other, although everyone agrees that both cursor types are valuable. The same holds true when choosing one XML API over the other. At first glance DOM and SAX may seem wildly different, but each is simply a different projection of the Infoset onto programmatic types. This promotes a synergy between SAX and DOM that creates a mountain of possibilities. SAX can be used to build DOM trees (or more interestingly, portions of DOM trees). Conversely, developers can traverse DOM trees and emit SAX streams. The DOM has been sanctioned by the W3C, while SAX hasn't even touched a standards body yet. SAX was created by a group of developers coordinated by David Megginson on the XML-DEV mailing list. Despite its humble beginnings, virtually all XML tool vendors, including Microsoft, have adopted SAX.... Conclusion SAX offers a lightweight alternative to DOM. It facilitates searching through a huge XML document to extract small pieces of information -- and it allows premature aborting when the desired piece of information is found. SAX was designed for any task where the overhead of the DOM is too expensive. However, the performance benefits of SAX come at a price. In many situations such as advanced queries, SAX becomes quite burdensome because of the complexities involved in managing context while processing. When this is the case, most developers either turn back to the DOM or some combination of SAX and DOM together." See also the article source code.

  • [November 22, 2000] "Beyond ASP: XML and XSL-based Solutions Simplify Your Data Presentation Layer." By Scott Howlett and Jeff Dunmall. From MSDN Magazine. November 17, 2000. ['Learn how XML and XSL-based solutions simplify your data presentation layer.'] "The combination of XML and XSL can provide a powerful alternative to ASP development. This article presents arguments for building even small-scale Internet applications on the XML model. An example written with traditional ASP programming is compared to the same example written with XML and XSL in order to show the benefits of this approach. The example is followed by nine good reasons to make the switch. These reasons include separation of presentation and data, reusability, extensibility, division of labor, enhanced testing, and legacy integration. The XML/XSL solutions described hold the promise of greater simplicity, flexibility, and durability than ASP solutions built the traditional way. . . [Conclusion:] ASP can be used for all three tiers, but it is not a technology dedicated to the transformation of data into presentation code. Hence, XML and XSL are a superior choice for several reasons. We've talked about nine reasons to start using XML right now, even in some of the simplest Internet applications. The separation of data from presentation code allows you to divide development tasks and build reusable, extensible, and maintainable code. Since XML can store each transaction in a single place, you'll have the opportunity to accelerate testing, simplify data models, and integrate your new and future with existing legacy systems. Finally, you'll be preparing yourself for the explosion in XML-based technologies, services, and products that has only just begun. So the next time you're faced with unending lines of ASP and you sit there wondering if there is a better way, remember, there is." See also: the article source code.

  • [November 22, 2000] "Expressive Power of XSLT." By Geert Jan Bex, Sebastian Maneth, and Frank Neven. Submitted for publication 2000. 24 pages, with 26 references. A preliminary version of this paper was presented at the 1st International Conference on Computational Logic, London, July, 2000. "The recent extension of XSL by variables and passing of data values between template rules has generated a powerful XML query language: XSLT (eXtensible Style sheet Language Transformations). Indeed, the expressive power of XSLT is beyond that of most other XML query languages. This is shown by first defining a powerful fragment of XSLT (together with formal syntax and semantics) and then investigating the expressive power of this language. Furthermore, important properties such as termination and closure under composition are considered for this fragment of XSLT... XSL is a current W3C proposal for an XML extensible stylesheet language. Its original primary role was to allow users to write transformations of XML to HTML, thus describing the presentation of XML documents. Nowadays, many people use XSL as their basic tool for XML to XML transformations which renders XSL into an XML query language. It has been noted by the database community, though, that the transformations XSL can express are rather limited. For instance, XSL does not have joins or skolem-functions (and, hence cannot do sophisticated grouping of output data). In other words, XSL lacks the most basic property any query language should have: it is not relationally complete. However, as the language is still under development, some features have changed over time. Recently various extensions were added to the language [Cla99]. The most apparent ones being the addition of variables and parameter passing between template rules. We show that these additions, together with the use of modes (which are actually states as used in finite state machines and which were already defined in earlier versions of XSL) render XSL into a powerful query language. Indeed, XSL not only becomes relationally complete, but it can do explicit grouping (with or without skolem functions), it can simulate regular path expressions, and it can simulate most other current XML query languages..." For related resources, see "Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL/XSLT)." [cache]

  • [November 22, 2000] "A formal model for an expressive fragment of XSLT." By Geert Jan Bex, Sebastian Maneth, and Frank Neven. Pages 1137-1151 in [J. Lloyd et. al., eds.], Proceedings of Computational Logic -- CL 2000, First International Conference, LNCS 1861, Springer-Verlag, 2000. 16 pages, with 26 references. "The aim of this paper is two-fold. First, we want to show that the recent extension of XSL with variables and passing of data values between template rules has increased its expressiveness beyond that of most other current XML query languages. Second, in an attempt to increase the understanding of this already wide-spread but not so transparent language, we provide an essential and powerful fragment with a formal syntax and a precise semantics... XSL is a current W3C proposal for an XML extensible stylesheet language. Its original primary role was to allow users to write transformations of XML to HTML, thus describing the presentation of XML documents. Nowadays, many people use XSL as their basic tool for XML to XML transformations which renders XSL into an XML query language. It has been noted by the database community, though, that the transformations XSL can express are rather limited. For instance, XSL does not have joins or skolem-functions (and, hence cannot do sophisticated grouping of output data). In other words, XSL lacks the most basic property any query language should have: it is not relationally complete. However, as the language is still under development, some features have changed over time. Recently various extensions were added to the language. The most apparent ones being the addition of variables and parameter passing between template rules. We show that these additions, together with the use of modes (which are actually states as used in finite state machines and which were already defined in earlier versions of XSL) render XSL into a powerful query language. Indeed, XSL not only becomes relationally complete, but it can do explicit grouping (with or without skolem functions), it can simulate regular path expressions, and it can simulate all other current XML query languages. . . Actually together with the addition of the new features, XSL was split into two parts: XSL Transformations (XSLT) and XPath. The latter contains the description of XSL's associated pattern language, while the former defines the real transformation language. To emphasize that we are focusing on the transformation part, with the new features, we refer to XSL by XSLT in the rest of this paper. The main source for the definition of XSLT is its specification which is a bit difficult to read, especially when one only wants an impression of how the language works or what it is capable of. To remedy this, we define an abstract formal model of XSLT incorporating most of its features, but all of those which are necessary to simulate, say, XML-QL. The purpose of this model is two-fold: (i) the clean and formal semantics provides the necessary mathematical model for studying properties of XSLT; (ii) our formal model abstracts away from the actual syntax of XSLT and emphasizes on its features in such a way that the interested reader can get a feeling of the language and what it is capable of. Next, we use this model to gain some insight in XSLT. First, we obtain that XSLT can compute all unary monadic second-order (MSO) structural properties. In brief, MSO is first-order logic (FO) extended with set quantification and is an expressive and versatile logic: on trees, for instance, it captures many robust formalisms, like regular tree languages], query automata, finite- valued attribute grammars .... Moreover, MSO can take the inherent order of children of vertices into account, a desirable property for XML pattern languages. By structural patterns we mean MSO without joins, that is, we cannot check whether the values of two attributes are the same. In fact, Neven and Schwentick showed that, already w.r.t. structural patterns, MSO is more expressive than FO extended with various kinds of regular path expressions. Thus, as most current XML query languages are based on FO extended with regular path expressions, this already indicates that XSLT cannot be simulated by, say, XML-QL. Next, we show that XSLT can simulate most existing XML query languages. To study decidability of type checking, Milo, Suciu, and Vianu defined the k-pebble tree-transducer as a formalism capturing the expressiveness of all existing XML query languages, including XML-QL, XQL, Lorel, StruQL, UnQL and the previous version of XSL. Their model does not take value equation into account (needed for joins, for instance) but can easily be modified to do so. We obtain that XSLT can simulate this model, thereby establishing XSLT to be more expressive than all of the above. For more concrete simulations, we refer the interested reader to [3], were we show how the XML-QL queries in can be expressed in actual XSLT. We want to emphasize that we do not provide a model for all of XSLT. For instance, we excluded for-loops and variables can only be instantiated by data values (not by result tree fragments). The idea is that we want to use variables as a look-ahead or to fetch data values occurring 'far' from the current node. The resulting language is, hence, not Turing complete and, hopefully, more efficient to evaluate. The study of the properties of our formal model, however, is beyond the scope of the present paper. The most important fact is that the defined language is more expressive than, say, XML-QL, as opposed to the previous version of XSL..." For related resources, see "Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL/XSLT)." [cache]

  • [November 22, 2000] "Protocol versus Document Points of View." IETF Network Working Group, Internet Draft. Reference: 'draft-eastlake-proto-doc-pov-00.txt'. November 2000. By Donald E. Eastlake (Motorola, W3C). "Two points of view are contrasted: the "document" point of view, where objects of interest are like pieces of paper, and the 'protocol' point of view where objects of interest are like composite protocol messages. While each point of view has its place, inappropriate adherence to a purely document point of view is detrimental to protocol design.' [...] Much of the IETF's traditional work has concerned low level binary protocol constructs. These are almost always viewed from the protocol point of view as defined below. But as higher level application constructs and syntaxes are involved in the standards process, difficulties can arise due to participants who are fixated on the document point of view. An example of something designed, to a significant extent, from the document point of view is the X.509v3 Certificate [X509v3]. An example of something that can easily be viewed both ways and where the best results frequently attention to not only the document but also the protocol point of view is the eXtensible Markup Language (XML). The following subsections contrast the document and protocol points of view. Each view is exaggerated for effect...[Example:] The Question of Meaning DOCUM: The 'meaning' of a document is a deep and interesting human question. It is probably necessary for the document to include or reference human language policy and/or warranty/disclaimer information. It is reasonable to consult attorneys and require some minimal human readable statements to be 'within the four corners' of the document (i.e., actually embedded in the digital structure). PROTO: The 'meaning' of a protocol message is clear from the protocol specification and is frequently defined in terms of the state machines of the sender and recipient. Protocol messages are only truly meaningful to the processes producing and consuming them, which processes have additional context. Adding human readable text that is not functionally required is silly. Consulting attorneys may needlessly complicate the protocol and in the worst case tie any design effort in knots..."

  • [November 22, 2000] "Data Modeling with Markup Languages: A Logic Programming Perspective." By François Bry and Norbert Eisinger (Institut für Informatik, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany). TR Reference: PMS-FB-2000-9. In Proceedings of the 15th Workshop on Logic Programming and Constraint Systems (WLP 2000, Berlin). "This paper consists of three parts. In a first part, it is argued that generic markup languages such as SGML and XML, which have been developed primarily for modeling documents, are also convenient for modeling general data. In a second part, XML and concepts related to XML are introduced. A third part presents a logic programming perspective to data modeling with generic markup languages..."

  • [November 22, 2000] "Attribute Grammars and XML." By Harold Boley (DFKI Kaiserslautern - German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence), WWW. Invited paper delivered at the "Workshop on Attribute Grammars, XML, and RDF," Institute for Media and Communications Management, University of St. Gallen, 20-21 September 2000. Both [XML and AGs] are extensions of context-free grammars: Attribute grammars via semantic (evaluation) rules over attributes; XML via (document-markup) tags, attribute DTDs, stylesheets, etc. [Conclusions:] (1) Attribute Grammars and XML use the same parse and element trees (2) There are various possible XML markups for AG's semantic rules (cf. RFML/MathML) (3) In future work an AG-markup language could be developed and applied for grammar sharing (4) Further levels of the XML/AG relationships should be studied, e.g., attribute dependencies, rule-evaluation methods, and DOM-level rules." See: "XML and Attribute Grammars."

  • [November 22, 2000] "Adding Semantics to XML." By G. Psaila and S. Crespi-Reghizzi. Pages 113-132 in D. Parigot and M. Mernik [editors], Proceedings of the Second Workshop on Attribute Grammars and their Applications (WAGA '99), Amsterdam, The Netherlands, March 1999. INRIA Rocquencourt. "Starting form the analogy between a document tagged by a mark-up language (XML, SGML) and a source string generated by a BNF grammar, we argue that XML parsers should benefit from the addition of semantic attributes and functions. Currently XML only includes initialized lexical attributes. By our approach a XML parser would be extended into a syntax-directed translator. Deep transformations of a document could be specified, sent over the network, and executed within the XML system. For the specification of the semantic attributes and functions we propose a XML Document Type Definition, that is conceptually similar to the metalanguage of a compiler-compiler. By this approach the additions to the XML standard are kept to a minimum.The differences between attribute grammars and attributed XML specifications are discussed, and the system architecture of a semantic evaluator generator is presented." Also in Postscript format. See: "XML and Attribute Grammars." [cache]

  • [November 22, 2000] "Extensions of Attribute Grammars for Structured Document Queries." By Frank Neven (Limburgs Universitair Centrum, Universitaire Campus, Dept. WNI, Infolab, B-3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium). Presented at DBPL99 - The Eighth International Workshop on Database Programming Languages (Kinloch Rannoch, Scotland, September 1st - 3rd, 1999). 18 pages (with 46 references). "Widely-used document specification languages like, e.g., SGML and XML, model documents using extended context-free grammars. These differ from standard context-free grammars in that they allow arbitrary regular expressions on the right-hand side of productions. To query such documents, we introduce a new form of attribute grammars (extended AGs) that work directly over extended context-free grammars rather than over standard context-free grammars. Viewed as a query language, extended AGs are particularly relevant as they can take into account the inherent order of the children of a node in a document. We show that two key properties of standard attribute grammars carry over to extended AGs: efficiency of evaluation and decidability of well-definedness. We further characterize the expressiveness of extended AGs in terms of monadic second-order logic, establish the complexity of their non-emptiness and equivalence problem to be complete for EXPTIME, and consider several extensions of extended AGs. As an application we show that the Region Algebra expressions introduced by Consens and Milo can be efficiently translated into extended AGs. This translation drastically improves the known upper bound on the complexity of the emptiness and equivalence test for Region Algebra expressions... Structured document databases can be seen as derivation trees of some grammar which functions as the 'schema' of the database'. Document specification languages like, e.g., SGML and XML, model documents using extended context-free grammars. Extended context-free grammars (ECFG) are context-free gram- mars (CFG) having regular expressions over grammar symbols on the right-hand side of productions. It is known that ECFGs generate the same class of string languages as CFGs. Hence, from a formal language point of view, ECFGs are nothing but shorthands for CFGs. However, when grammars are used to model documents, i.e., when also the derivation trees are taken into consideration, the difference between CFGs and ECFGs becomes apparent... The classical formalism of attribute grammars, introduced by Knuth, has always been a prominent framework for expressing computations on derivation trees. Therefore, in previous work, we investigated attribute grammars as a query language for derivation trees of CFGs. Attribute grammars provide a mechanism for annotating the nodes of a tree with so-called 'attributes', by means of so-called 'semantic rules' which can work either bottom-up (for so-called 'synthesized' attribute values) or top-down (for so-called 'inherited' attribute values). Attribute grammars are applied in such diverse fields of computer science as compiler construction and software engineering. Inspired by the idea of representing transition functions for automata on unranked trees as regular string languages, we introduce extended attribute grammars (extended AGs) that work directly over ECFGs rather than over standard CFGs... By carefully tailoring the semantics of inherited attributes, extended AGs can take into account the inherent order of the children of a node in a document. [Related work:] Schwentick and the present author defined query automata to query structured documents. Query automata are two-way automata over (un)ranked trees that can select nodes depending on the current state and on the label at these nodes. Query automata can express precisely the unary MSO definable queries and have an EXPTIME- complete equivalence problem. This makes them look rather similar to extended AGs. The two formalisms are, however, very different in nature. Indeed, query automata constitute a procedural formalism that has only local memory (in the state of the automaton), but which can visit each node more than a constant number of times. Attribute grammars, on the other hand, are a declarative formalism, whose evaluation visits each node of the input tree only a constant number of times (once for each attribute). In addition, they have a distributed memory (in the attributes at each node). It is precisely this distributed memory which makes extended AGs particularly well-suited for an efficient simulation of Region Algebra expressions. It is, hence, not clear whether there exists an efficient translation from Region Algebra expressions into query automata. Extended AGs can only express queries that retrieve subtrees from a document. It would be interesting to see whether the present formalism can be extended to also take re-structuring of documents into account. A related paper in this respect is that of Crescenzi and Mecca. They define an interesting formalism for the definition of wrappers that map derivation trees of regular grammars to relational databases. Their formalism, however, is only defined for regular grammars and the correspondence between actions (i.e., semantic rules) and grammar symbols occurring in regular expressions is not so flexible as for extended AGs. Other work that uses attribute grammars in the context of databases includes work of Abiteboul, Cluet, and Milo and Kilpeläinen et al. Finally, we compare extended AGs with the selective power of two query languages for XML. XML-QL is an SQL like query language for XML defined by Deutsch et al. that allows to define general tree to tree transformations. The selective power of XML- QL, however, is restricted to regular path expressions. Consequently, it can only take the structure of paths into account, not of whole subtrees. E.g., queries like the one in 'Example 13: retrieve every poem that has the words king or lord in every other verse' cannot be expressed. As another example we mention that XML-QL cannot select nodes whose children match a certain regular expressions. The latter functionality is obtained by Papakonstantinou and Vianu by introducing a form of horizontal navigation into their selection patterns. These patterns can easily be simulated by extended AGs, but still cannot express the query of 'example 13'." See (1) "XML and Query Languages" and (2) "XML and Attribute Grammars." [cache]

  • [November 22, 2000] "Generating XML From HTML Forms. Building XML Editors Using a Browser." By Matt Sergeant. Online slides (30) from the XML DevCon conference presentation.

  • [November 22, 2000] "Building an XML Based Web Site Using Open Source Tools." By Matt Sergeant. Online slides from the XML DevCon conference.

  • [November 22, 2000] "An XML father maps the Web in 3D." By John K. Waters. In News (November 20, 2000). "Tim Bray is among a handful of individuals who played a role in birthing XML. Long a voice of common sense in the closely knit XML community, Bray's influence on XML standard evolution is considerable. His current project is interesting, though it has no clear immediate impact on enterprise software developers. Bray has seen the next step in the Internet's evolution, and it's a 3-D experience. Bray has actually taken that next step with this week's official launch of the Website [requires IE 5.X]. Using the continent of Antarctica as a visual reference, Bray's company, Systems, has constructed a three-dimensional map of the World Wide Web. Built with the company's Visual Net software, the site presents users with a 3-D landscape; the relationships between network elements are represented geographically. Users hover above, moving like a low-flying helicopter through neighborhoods of Websites. The experience has been described as 'virtual-reality-like,' but the interface feels more like a sophisticated computer game. Users are able to see the sites in detail without downloading any Webpages. Visual Net has an open API based on Web standards, chiefly HTTP and XML. The software uses XML on the desktop to avoid the network congestion associated with server-based rendering techniques. Visual Net plots and diagrams hundreds of thousands of subject categories and millions of Websites on 2-D and 3-D maps that communicate not only the categories, but also the size, quality of service, and popularity of the sites...

  • [November 22, 2000] "Should XML Become a 'Real' Standard? By Edd Dumbill. From November 14, 2000. ['XML standards developers gathered Monday night at XML DevCon Fall 2000 in San Jose to discuss the future of XML as a standard.'] "In an evening meeting at XML DevCon Fall 2000 in San Jose, some 60 people representing XML specification developer groups gathered to discuss the future development of XML standards. The issue: should XML be submitted to a more formal standards body, such as the International Organization of Standards (ISO) or some other body. Ken North, chair of the conference, convened a meeting of what he called the 'XML community process.' According to North, several people recommended to him taking XML to the ISO and proposed this meeting as a forum to discuss the idea. Arnaud LeHors of IBM, a former World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) staff member, noted that the W3C, which developed the base XML recommendations, does not consider itself a full-fledged standards organization. The W3C calls its documents 'recommendations' instead of standards -- however, W3C worked with ISO to get HTML accepted as an official standard. Steve Carlson of the Web3D Consortium discussed his group's efforts to get the Virtual Reality Markup Language and other specifications through the ISO process. Carlson said Web3D had to work out serious questions of intellectual property rights with ISO, as well as putting price tags on the standards documents. Web3D, like many business consortia writing XML specifications, make their documents freely available, while ISO charges as much as several hundred dollars a copy for standards documents. In the end, Web3D and ISO agreed that Web3D could continue its practice, but ISO would charge for the same document. Paul Cotton, who served for 10 years developing the Standard Query Language (SQL) as an ISO standard, pointed out that ISO standards are often cited by governmental authorities in procurement specifications, especially in Europe. He also said that ISO has a fast-track capability to move the work of other standards groups through the process. The Object Management Group, for example, has submitted the Unified Modeling Language to ISO under this arrangement..."

  • [November 22, 2000] "XMLDevCon2000 Showfloor highlights." By Simon St. Laurent. From November 18, 2000. ['Simon St. Laurent uncovers a few gems on the XMLDevCon 2000 trade floor and explains their relevance to developers. The show floor at XMLDevCon 2000 was focused on improving existing technology, rather than creating entirely new concepts. A few old tools improved their interfaces and schema support, and some common older practices received new and friendlier faces which may expose them to more and larger-scaled projects. Discoveries include XML Spy 3.5, XML Authority 2.0, and <xml>Transport and <xsl>Composer.']

  • [November 22, 2000] "Talks: Embracing Web Services." By Edd Dumbill. From November 14, 2000. ['Delivering a talk entitled "Web Services: Requirements, Challenges and Opportunities," Greg Hope laid down the future of web business as Microsoft sees it, and especially the role of XML technologies.'] "Greg Hope laid out the future of web business as Microsoft sees it, and especially the role of XML technologies, in a talk entitled, 'Web Services: Requirements, Challenges and Opportunities' at XML DevCon in San Jose on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2000. Hope, an architect of the .NET enterprise server team, has worked on both the COM and XML teams in Microsoft. This experience allowed him to contrast the adoption of those two technologies within Microsoft. While COM took eight years to fully integrate across the product range, XML had permeated Microsoft within fourteen months! This deep adoption of XML can be seen in Microsoft's plans for integration with .NET: SOAP, XML Schemas, UDDI -- laying down the foundation for cross-platform interoperability. Hope identified what he saw as the key challenges for the new web services oriented architectures [...] Hope referred to the progress Microsoft has made with its XML technologies, highlighting the recently shipped MSXML 3.0. He said that other product teams within Microsoft are now dependent on that component, which has made sure that its quality and performance have had a lot of work. He also said that MSXML 4.0 could be expected in 2001, with support for XML Schemas and also XML Query as and when it is delivered by the W3C Query working group.... The employment of XML at Microsoft certainly looks very encouraging. They have now brought XML pervasively through their product range, and are making more noises about cross-platform integration. As their .NET strategy unfolds we'll see how they deliver on that promise."

  • [November 22, 2000] "Talks: A Uniform Interface for Authoring." By Edd Dumbill. From November 13, 2000. ['In the first session of the XML DevCon Fall 2000 conference, Greg Stein delivered an introduction to WebDAV, Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning protocol.'] "In the first session of the XML DevCon Fall 2000 conference, Greg Stein delivered an introduction to WebDAV, the Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning protocol. Stein is an open source developer working with WebDAV and Python -- he is the author of the mod_dav Apache DAV support, soon to be an integral part of Apache 2.0. WebDAV is an open protocol, standardized through the IETF, which uses XML and HTTP 1.1 to provide an interoperable layer for distributed web authoring. Essentially, it provides a uniform layer over filesystems, data repositories, etc. that supports more or less filesystem-like semantics: collections (like directories), resources (like files), properties (resource metadata), and locking... The benefits of this technology, according to Stein, are available for all concerned in the authoring process: (1) The reader of a document gets the ability to retrieve metadata about a document, and to retrieve this information from client tools. (2) The author of a document gets a standard way to place content on a server, and can use any authoring tools that support WebDAV. They also get the ability to tag documents with metadata and employ locking to ensure documents aren't overwritten by others while they're being worked on. (3) The administrator of a server gets a lot of flexibility from running DAV. The URL-space of the server doesn't have to match up with the filesystem, avoiding ugly dependencies on physical media, and authorization is performed by HTTP authentication, meaning users who want to place content on the server don't need to have system accounts, with the concomitant security risks. Because it's based on top of HTTP 1.1, WebDAV reaps all the pre-existent advantages of HTTP, such as through-firewall operation, security, and authentication features. By adding new verbs to HTTP like PROPFIND, PROPPATCH, etc., WebDAV provides facilities for metadata and locking..." See "WEBDAV (Extensions for Distributed Authoring and Versioning on the World Wide Web."

  • [November 22, 2000] "Transforming DocBook documents using XSLT. [XML Matters #5.]" By David Mertz, Ph.D. (Archivist, Gnosis Software, Inc.). From IBM DeveloperWorks. November 2000. ['Using a DocBook example, David Mertz shows how to convert an XML document to HTML through XSLT (Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformation). Along the way, your intrepid columnist discusses four alternative approaches for transforming XML documents and shares what he experienced in experimenting with some open source tools. Sample code includes fragments of XSLT documents, valid HTML outputter code in XSLT for a simple DocBook chapter, and a brief XSLT looping example.'] " There are at least four possible approaches for transforming a DocBook document -- or most any XML document -- into end-user formats. I seriously considered all four approaches for my own little project. This column discusses only the last option in detail, but all are worth keeping in mind as you plan a project that involves repeated transformations: (1) Write custom transformation code. It would be nice to start with a programming language that has some libraries for basic XML methods like SAX and DOM. But even assuming the basic parsing is a black box, custom code can do whatever you want with the parsed elements. Ultimately, this is the most flexible and powerful approach, but it is also likely to take more work, both up front and in maintenance. (2) Use Cascading Stylesheets with our DocBook document. It's a thought.... (3) Use Document Style Semantics and Specification Language (DSSSL) to specify transformations into target formats. On the plus side, a number of DSSSL style sheets already exist for DocBook (and for other formats). DSSSL is basically a whole new programming language to learn, and it's a functional Lisp-like language to boot... (4) Use eXtensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT). In one sense, XSLT is actually a specification for a class of XML documents. That is, an XSLT style sheet is itself a well-formed XML document with some specialized contents that let you "templatize" the output format you are looking for (stay tuned for what this means). A large number of tools at least nominally support XSLT: My hunch is that this really is the direction technologies are going in for XML transforms -- either because of, or in spite of, its "official" status with the W3C. XSLT can specify transforms to any target format. But the general feeling I've picked up is that most developers find it easiest to work with XSLT when the target format is another XML format, such as XHTML... Also in PDF. See: "DocBook XML DTD."

  • [November 22, 2000] "Subsumption Semantics for XML Tags." By Harold Boley (DFKI GmbH). Version: April 12, 2000. First Version Prepared for: Dagstuhl Seminar 00121, Semantics for the Web, March 19-24, 2000. Excerpts: [Problem of Semantics on the Web]: "Incorporate Subsumption Semantics Right Into the Web's XML x.0 Tags (x>1)... Build Taxonomy Into DTDs, Leave Axioms To Schemas!... (Ontology = Taxonomy + Axioms) ... Main building blocks of XML DTDs are chaining (whole-part; inversely, part-of) relations between a parent element and an (ordered) sequence of child elements ... XML DTDs cannot specify subsumption (inversely, isa or kind-of) relations between a tag and an (unordered) set of subtags, as needed for the taxonomy backbone of ontologies ... Subsumption of element tags is thus handled ad hoc or in non-DTD schema languages..." Source in XML format.

  • [November 21, 2000] "Meerkat: The XML-RPC Interface." By Rael Dornfest ("Meerkat's creator"). From O'Reilly Network. ['Meerkat, O'Reilly Network's Open Wire Service, extends its open API with XML-RPC, affording a more standardized XML-based interface to its aggregated RSS database.'] "Meerkat is an open service. Its API (Application Programming Interface) is open and well-documented. For HTML jockeys, adding syndicated stories to a web site is only one line of cut-and-paste JavaScript away. Application developers with a little know-how and a sense of adventure may use Meerkat's rich XML feeds and powerful 'recipes' (read: queries) as a framework upon which to build their own applications. Meerkat's API is 'URL-line'; similar in concept to the Unix command-line, Meerkat's engine may be queried over the Web using combinations of various arguments... The RPC in XML-RPC stands for 'Remote Procedure Call,' a fancy way of saying that you're calling procedures (functions, subroutines, or methods) on another, remote, server. Just like a URL-line CGI script, arguments are passed and results returned; the difference is only in the serialization (the way it's written), which here, as the name suggests, is XML. XML allows for richer message-passing between client and server. For more information on XML-RPC, pointers to language implementations, and a quick read of the specification, visit Meerkat's XML-RPC API is a direct port of its straightforward URL-line recipes to an RPC environment. Written (as with the rest of Meerkat) in PHP, it uses Edd Dumbill's PHP XML-RPC modules... Here's a little sample code to get you on your way. There are implementations for various programming languages available at I've chosen PHP, Perl, and Python for my examples... Hopefully I've succeeded in providing an API that will be useful to you in building your application -- or just to fiddle with or learn from. As usual, I welcome any constructive criticism you might offer."

  • [November 20, 2001] "Syndication, Actionable Content, and the Supply Chain." By Bill Trippe and David R. Guenette. In The Gilbane Report on Open Information & Document Systems Volume 8, Number 7 (August/September 2000). "It has been well over a year since we have had anything to say about syndication beyond reporting a few news items. Like Digital Rights Management (DRM - our topic last month), syndication over the Internet has had trouble getting any serious traction in the market. But, while significant technical and user-interface challenges have hindered the adoption of DRM, the problem with syndication has had more to do with either a lack of imagination (in many cases) or with a more pressing need to get basic content management capabilities in place (in most cases). It is also true that 'syndication' still suggests newspaper columns more than the Internet, Java Beans, or metadata to most people. This is changing. More and more we are seeing business managers thinking of all kinds of enhanced business models or new business opportunities that are, in fact, straightforward syndication applications, although they might not think of them that way. We think 'syndication' is a useful term -- it refers to a well known model, and has a simple clarity all too often lacking in marketing or IT-speak (equally exasperating languages!). This month Bill and David team up to provide a simple introduction to syndication and to explain why it is central to a wide variety of applications in both B2B and B2C environments. Syndication is surely a topic we will be coming back to. There are many questions about proposed syndication standards and where syndication functionality best fits in architectures. For example, should syndication be considered a content management function? Or is that too limiting? [...] Both ICE and RSS use XML, so the syndicated content is at least well-formed, self-describing data. As such, both formats give implementers a clear target. They know what's coming in, how much is there, and what it will look like. Even with the recent extensions to ICE, and despite some complaints that ICE is complex, parsing ICE data is not a massive undertaking. (The ICE authoring group recently developed an ICE 'cookbook' breaking down the tasks, and they will soon be providing an open source reference implementation.) And RSS is even simpler, easily handled with tools like perl or JavaScript. This leaves implementers free to spend their time on other problems, opening up the possibilities to bring streaming media, business logic, and application integration into the mix. One of ICE's oft-cited weaknesses, interestingly, may end up being its strength in this regard. As specified, the ICE container can include any kind of data -- a perceived problem for some. But this also means implementers can put just about anything into the ICE container. In addition to the syndicated content, the container could include messages for other receiving systems, such as back office applications, ERP systems, and more... Syndication is clearly something to pay attention to. Whether you completely buy Werbach's assessment, syndication is indeed a compelling new model for business. It applies to companies in all markets, making all kinds of products. And if it doesn't apply to all of your business, it applies to a good percentage of it. Business managers and IT should collaborate on infrastructure and application requirements. Collaboration is especially critical when 'content' includes code and application services. ICE, RSS or other industry XML DTDs should be used if they work for your needs, otherwise build your own. But keep it a simple XML application -- this is not an overly complex project. The ICE Cookbook could be a good starting point for your IT organization. They can prototype applications quickly, and begin working with deployed XML shortly thereafter. Use your imagination about possible new ways to improve supply chain service and efficiency and new business models for B2B and B2C environments. Imagine the idea five years ago of for ordering airplane parts. It would have sounded preposterous, and now here it is. Expect to see 'syndication' mature to buzzword status, but don't let that blind you to the possibilities. The idea of syndication as the creation and distribution of distinct products may simply reflect an incomplete conceptual transition from print to digital. Yes, electronic content may be easily searched, accessed across networks, updated as needed, controlled for security and access, and otherwise be more efficient and useful and less costly than older print models of supplying information. But efforts to deliver actionable content from its various sources to partner enterprises within the supply chain holds greater promise yet for syndication."

  • [November 20, 2000] "Bootstrapping the Two-Way-Web." By Dave Winer. 'White paper.' 11/20/00. "Doug Engelbart, who envisioned almost all that we're doing now, emphasizes the importance of bootstrapping, and I agree. When engineers build a suspension bridge, first they draw a thin cable across the body of water. Then they use that cable to hoist a larger one. Then they use both cables to hoist a third, and eventually get a thick cable of intertwined wires that you can drive a truck across (actually hundreds of trucks). That's a bootstrap. [...] As you may know, I participated in the design of XML-RPC and SOAP, along with some great engineers at Microsoft, Developmentor, IBM and the open source community. I love both protocols, for a lot of reasons, but mostly because they are vendor-neutral, and provide an excellent foundation for building scriptable applications that run over the Internet. Most of the other companies interested in these technologies want to build a network of money, goods and services. I applaud this, but this is not my goal. I want to turn the Web into a powerful and easy to use writing environment. [...] While many people use Word, quite a few prefer Emacs or BBEdit. I like writing in an outliner. We can create a network of compatible content systems and text editors, figure out how it must work (bootstrapping), and even if Microsoft won't bring Word into the fold, there's probably enough openness in the newest versions of Word to make it part of the network without direct investment by Microsoft. Manila and SOAP Now we come to SOAP and XML-RPC and the role they play in bootstrapping a new style of text editor, one that's wired into the Web as thoroughly as previous text editors were wired into the local file system and printers. Two steps must take place at the same time, following the bootstrap philosophy, we need a thin cable to lift a bigger one. We needed a content management server that allows text editors to hook in, and we must have a text editor that can connect to the content management server. At UserLand we have taken both these steps, that's today's news. Previously we only supported XML-RPC interfaces. Now we support both XML-RPC and SOAP. The interface is documented here. Instructions for Manila sysadmins is here. Further, our Internet outliner, Radio UserLand, supports the workstation side of the same protocol. Here's a screen shot showing this page being edited in Radio. The net result is that I can edit Web documents in my favorite editing tool because I have wired it up to the Web through SOAP and XML-RPC. When I save the document in the normal way, it automatically pushes it through templates and macros, it's linked into a calendar and is immediately indexed by a search engine. The Web is starting to become the ideal networked writing environment..."

  • [November 16, 2000] "Semantic Tagging of a Corpus using the Topic Navigation Map Standard." By Helka Folch (Electricité de France [Division Recherche et Dévelopement] 92141 Clamart, France; also Ecole Normale Supérieure de Fontenay/Saint-Cloud UMR8503: Analyses de corpus linguistiques, usages et traitements, 92211 Saint-Cloud, France). Presented at the LREC Workshop "Data Architectures and Software Support for Large Corpora," 30-May-2000, in conjunction with The Second International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC-2000, Athens, Greece). "Our work carried out as part of the Scriptorium project has confronted us with a variety of problems which shed light on important issues related to corpus architectural design, such as the definition of fine-grained textual units, extraction of relevant subsections of the corpus, and in particular linking techniques enabling , text annotation with arbitrary and at times conflicting meta-data. The need for greater flexibility and expressive power for our annotation schemes has led us to apply linking techniques as defined in HyTime (ISO 10744:1992) and Topic Maps (ISO13250). We have used these techniques in particular to construct a semantic map of the corpus which enables hypertext navigation in terms of the topics inductively acquired through text-mining software. Navigation is aided by a 3D geometric representation of the semantic space of the corpus. . . Scriptorium is a project developed in the Research & Development Division of EDF (Electricité de France) in collaboration with ENS (Ecole Normale Supérieure). The aim of this project is to identify prominent and emerging topics from the automatic analysis of the discourse of the company's (EDF) different social players (managers, trade-unions, employees, etc. by way of textual data analysis methods. The corpus under study in this project has 8 million words and is very heterogeneous (it contains book extracts, corporate press, union press, summaries of corporate meetings, transcriptions of taped trade union messages, etc. All documents are SGML tagged following the TEI recommendations. Each document is provided with a descriptive header and is segmented into minimal textual units or chunks (which correspond to paragraphs). Scriptorium is a modular architecture which provides an open framework where different text-mining software can be plugged in. At present the following software has been used: ALCESTE (Reinert, 1987) and ZELLIG (Habert et al. 1999). The results of these text mining tools are integrated into the architecture as structured annotation layers pointing at the relevant locations in the corpus... It is essential for text mining software to run on homogeneous corpora in order to yield relevant results. As we have pointed out above, our document collection is extremely heterogeneous. The concepts underlying the documents cannot be represented in one single semantic space. Therefore we do not attempt to build a semantic representation of the entire corpus through one only analysis. Our approach therefore consists in building sub-corpora of exploitable size which are homogeneous with respect to a given parameter. To this aim, we use an extractor developed using the XML Python libraries which dynamically assembles subsets of text chunks in response to a query. This extractor runs queries concerning the descriptive parameters stored in each document's header as well as fulltext searching constraints. These sub-corpora are then analyzed by the text mining tools, which at present include ALCESTE and ZELLIG. In the following two sections we show how we construct semantic classes with ALCESTE and exploit them to construct a navigable topic map overlaid on the corpus." See also the EAGLES/ISLE Workshop description and references. On Topic Maps, see "(XML) Topic Maps." [cache]

  • [November 16, 2000] "CELLAR: A Data Modeling System for Linguistic Annotation." By Gary F. Simons (SIL International). Presented at the LREC Workshop "Data Architectures and Software Support for Large Corpora," 30-May-2000, in conjunction with The Second International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC-2000, Athens, Greece). "The paper illustrates how an annotation schema is expressed as an XML document that defines classes of objects, their properties, and the relationships between objects. The schema is then implemented via automatic conversion to a relational database schema and an XML DTD for data import and export. CELLAR ('Computing Environment for Linguistic, Literary, and Anthropological Research') is a data modeling system that was built specifically for the purpose of linguistic annotation. It was designed to model the following five fundamental aspects of the nature of linguistic data [...] CELLAR is not a particular annotation schema, but is a system for expressing and building annotation schemas. A particular annotation schema is called a conceptual model and is expressed as an XML document which defines classes of objects, their properties, and constraints on the values of properties and the relationships between objects. A simplified version of the DTD for expressing conceptual models is given [on page 3]. Modeling begins by identifying the classes of things in the world being modeled (i.e., the objects of object-oriented modeling or the entities of entity-relationship modeling). A class definition consists of documentation and a set of property definitions (which implement the third requirement above). Each class has a base class from which it also inherits properties; the ultimate base class is CmObject, for 'conceptually modeled object.' There are three kinds of properties: (1) Owning properties implement the part-whole relationships entailed by the second requirement that data are hierarchically structured. The cardinality attribute can specify that the owned objects form a sequence, thus supporting the first requirement. (2) Relationship properties implement the fourth requirement, that the model must support associative links between related data objects. The signature attribute constrains what classes of objects can be the targets of a link. (3) Basic properties store primitive data values like numbers, strings, Booleans, dates, and binary images (such as for graphics or sound). The fifth requirement that data are multilingual is supported by the fact that the primitive type String allows spans of characters to be identified as to language, and MultiString and MultiUnicode support alternate renditions of the same string in multiple languages. As a conceptual model is developed in XML, descriptions of the classes and properties are included right inside the definitions. As a result, an XSL stylesheet is able to render the conceptual model source code as hyperlinked documentation in a browser..." See: "Computing Environment for Linguistic, Literary, and Anthropological Research (CELLAR)." [cache]

  • [November 16, 2000] "Kweelt: the Making-of Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned." By Arnaud Sahuguet (University of Pennsylvania). November, 2000. 26 pages (with 32 references). ['We have just released a technical report that describes our experiment in implementing the Quilt XML query language.'] "In this paper we report our experience in building Kweelt, an open source Java framework for querying XML based on the recent Quilt proposal. Kweelt is intended to provide a reference implementation for the Quilt language but also to offer a framework for all kinds of experiments related to XML including storage, optimization, query language features, etc. And we report in this paper on the differences entailed by the use of two different storage managers, based respectively on character files and relational databases. An important design decision was to do a 'direct' implementation of Quilt. Instead of relying on preconceptions (and misconceptions!) inherited from our database query processing background, we wanted this reference implementation to expose exactly what is easy and what is hard both in terms of expressiveness and of efficiency. The process has lead naturally to what may in hindsight be called mistakes, and to formulate lessons that will hopefully be used in future implementations to mix-and-match pieces of existing technology in databases and programming languages for optimal results." See further: (1) "XML and Query Languages," and (2) PENN Database Research Group publications.

  • [November 16, 2000] "Transcribing with Annotation Graphs." By Edouard Geoffrois, Claude Barras, Steven Bird, and Zhibiao Wu. Presented at The Second International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC-2000, May 31 - June 2, 2000, Athens, Greece). "Transcriber is a tool for manual annotation of large speech files. It was originally designed for the broadcast news transcription task. The annotation file format was derived from previous formats used for this task, and many related features were hard-coded. In this paper we present a generalization of the tool based on the annotation graph formalism, and on a more modular design. This will allow us to address new tasks, while retaining Transcriber's simple, crisp user-interface which is critical for user acceptance. Transcriber is described more extensively in other articles and in its reference manual (available on the web site and in the tool itself in the online help). [The interface] consists mainly in two windows, one for displaying and editing the transcription, and one for the displaying the signal waveform and the segmentation. The annotations include various information: orthographic transcription, speech turns, topic sections, background conditions, and various events. The data format is XML, and a DTD controls the validity of the data. This format used for file input/output is also used directly as the internal data structure. Therefore, no conversion is needed for input/output. But the major drawback is the strong dependency of the code on the file format, so that modifications in the format need to be propagated in the code. The annotation graph model provides a general-purpose abstraction layer between physical annotation formats and graphical user interfaces. As a consequence, the connections between this logical model and various physical and graphical representations can be fully modularized. New annotation formats and new user-interfaces to an annotation task can thus be implemented as pluggable components. The annotation graph data model is composed of two low-level structures -- nodes and arcs -- and two high-level structures -- graphs and subgraphs. A graph object is a collection of zero or more arcs, each specifying an identifier, a type, and some content consisting of domain-specific attributes and values. An arc also references a start and end node, and each node provides an optional temporal offset. This temporal offset may be qualified with a 'timeline', which is a symbolic name for a collection of signal files which are temporally co-extensive and whose times can be meaningfully compared. Node and arc identifiers may also be qualified with a user-specific namespace, to avoid collisions when multiple independent annotations are combined..." For references, see "Transcriber - Speech Segmentation and Annotation DTD."

  • [November 16, 2000] "Secure XML standard defined for e-commerce." By Brian Fonseca. In InfoWorld (November 15, 2000). "Backed behind some very diverse names, Netegrity announced plans on Wednesday to develop an XML-based standard to secure e-commerce transactions. Called Security Services Markup Language (S2ML), the standard seeks to build a common vocabulary for sharing us er information and transactions -- and encourage single-sign-on -- across multiple platform b-to-b (business-to-business) portal and b-to-c (business-to-consumer) environments, Bill Bartow, vice-president of marketing at Waltham, Mass.-based Netegrity, said. S2ML will be submitted to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) for examination by December 15, 2000 Bartow said. Authors engaged in the S2ML specification include Bowstreet, Commerce One, Jamcracker, Sun Microsystems, VeriSign and webMethods. Reviewers of the definition are Art Technology Group, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Tibco Software. By recruiting representatives of the Java platform space, security, b-to-b, and managed services arena to collaborate on the new standard's design, S2ML will pay wide-reaching open standard dividends by being built directly into products, said John Pescatore, vice-president and research director at Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner. [Many clients] have a set of totally different rules, security rules, and business rules, trying to do the same thing in two different languages with no connection between them,' Pescatore said. 'XML seems a likely way to make a bridge between these two languages.' Pescatore said S2ML will be highly visible in 'hub and spoke' distributor type sites, citing Exxon Mobil or General Electric as examples of managing internal and distribution sites without needing proprietary language to share privileges and access rights information between disparate systems. He said it bears watching how some of the bigger guns on the market react to the new standard. 'There will be many competing approaches. The big guys ... haven't weighed in yet. They can really torpedo things and freeze anybody from moving on to this.' S2ML defines standard XML schemas and XML request/response protocol for authentication and authorization through XML documents, according to Bartow. The standard will support HTTP and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and b-to-b messaging frameworks including ebXML." See "Security Services Markup Language (S2ML)."

  • [November 16, 2000] "Group seeks standard for secure online trading." By Jeffrey Burt. In eWEEK (November 16, 2000). "A group of high-tech software companies, led by B2B security software vendor Netegrity Inc., this week announced an initiative to develop an XML-based standard for ensuring security in online trading. The focus of Security Services Markup Language, or S2ML, is to create a single open standard for security data -- particularly customer authentication, authorization and entitlement, or privileges -- through XML documents. It's the second time in less than a week that an e-commerce security application vendor has proposed developing such a standard. Last Friday, Securant Technologies Inc. of San Francisco announced an industry working group to create AuthXML, another XML-based standard for Web security. The objectives of both initiatives are the same: to develop a standard way of identifying and authenticating customers as they move across trading partner Web sites and online exchanges. It would be good for businesses, which would be able to keep track of key customers and trading partners as they move through various Web sites. For customers, it would mean having secure access to multiple e-marketplaces and Web sites through a single sign-on. Concierge or armed escort? 'It allows a business to act as a personal concierge -- or, in a more dangerous world, an armed escort,' said Peter Lindstrom, senior analyst at the Hurwitz Group in Philadelphia. 'It creates a singular user experience through a single Web site.' Joining Netegrity, of Waltham, Mass., in its announcement were several heavy hitters in the B2B arena, including Commerce One Inc., Sun Microsystems Inc., Oracle Corp. and webMethods Inc. Others signing up included Bowstreet Inc., Jamcracker Inc. and VeriSign Inc...Other companies also are being invited to join the S2ML initiative. Although Netegrity executives said a key difference between their project and that of Securant was the presence of other companies, Lindstrom, the Hurwitz analyst, said he expects companies to quickly join Securant's effort as well." See: "Security Services Markup Language (S2ML)" and "AuthXML Standard for Web Security."

  • [November 16, 2000] "Will UDDI Make B2B Connections Universal?" By Paul Korzeniowski. In Server/Workstation Expert Volume 11, Number 11 (November 2000), pages 8-10. "The widespread interest in B2B connections has lead to an array of standards designed to ease the integration of backend applications, such as accounts payable, billing, order entry and fulfillment. Ariba Inc., Sunnyvale, CA; IBM Corp., Armonk, NY; and Microsoft Corp., Redmond, WA, have spearheaded an initiative to develop a broad suite of specifications that will act as an online phone book, not only helping a company contact its trading partners, but also providing the data needed to integrate their e-business applications. The troika convinced 33 other companies, including American Express, Andersen Consulting, Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp., Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., SAP AG, and Sun Microsystems Inc., to support their Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) project. The members plan to create standard formats so businesses can describe their operations and indicate how they want to receive e-commerce transactions. 'The UDDI supporters are launching a D-Day type invasion and trying to establish a beachhead for B2B ecommerce exchanges...' UDDI aims to make B2B connections universal by providing businesses with a common mechanism to publish Web service information on the Internet. Similar to the impact HTML had on consumers, the specifications attempt to outline a common Web site publishing format so firms can more easily exchange B2B data. The members have begun this process by taking standards that already exist -- TCP/IP, XML, and industry-specific schemas such as RosettaNet -- and building a common Web services stack that can be shared on top of them. Although based on XML, the specification can describe services implemented using other languages, such as HTML, Java and Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA). The key is the construction of an online business registry, so companies that have never done business with one another will be able to download a set of standard data attributes about each other and use it to build B2B connections. The UDDI Business Registry will be divided into three sections: (1) The White Pages section will include a description of each company, contact information and business identifier numbers. (2) The Yellow Pages section will outline the categories of business served by each listed company. Initially, the categories will focus on geography, industry and product. (3) The Green Pages section will contain information on how to do ecommerce with each listed company, including business processes and data format information. UDDI members have signed contracts to complete the specifications, build the registry, and enter their own data. The process has been divided into three stages. Version 1, which has been completed, encompasses business units, three taxonomies and service descriptions. In March of next year, a second release expects to cover corporations, more taxonomies and layered services. In December of 2001, UDDI is expected to be enhanced with associations, custom taxonomies and workflow features. The group plans to develop these specifications through an open, inclusive process. After managing the design process through the third version, they expect to transition it all to a standards body and then turn license control and intellectual property over to a third party. Even though the consortium still lacks support from established vendors Hewlett-Packard Co., Cupertino, CA, and Oracle Corp., Redwood Shores, CA, Zona's Staff thinks its future is bright. 'None of the other B2B standards initiatives have tried to address as broad a set of interoperability issues as Ariba, IBM and Microsoft have done with UDDI,' he concludes. 'The architecture seems well thought out so now the question becomes whether or not they can deliver it and I think they will'." See: "Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI)."

  • [November 16, 2000] "Namespaces in XML: Best Practices, Risky Business." By Simon St.Laurent. Presentation at XMLDevCon 2000 (November 2000). "... Best Practices: (1) Change prefixes as rarely as possible. Although Namespaces in XML makes it clear that prefixes are just placeholders, using prefixes consistently can both enhance the readability of your documents and make it easier for processors without namespace support to deal with your documents - including XML 1.0 validating parsers. (2) Choose URIs carefully. Relative URIs were one problematic choice among the URI possibilities, but there are others. Many XML gurus argue that developers should use URNs rather than URLs for namespace identifiers, since they have fewer connotations. Always make sure your organization controls the URIs you use as namespace identifiers. (3) Identify the default namespace even if you aren't using namespaces. Even die-hard namespace haters would probably do well to provide namespace identifiers in their root elements. Documents have a way of moving beyond their original maintainers, and having a namespace makes document management easier. (4) Make no assumptions about URI resolution. Don't build processors which expect to resolve namespace URIs. You may not always find something there, if you can even retrieve the resource. (5) Include all namespace declarations directly in the document. Never rely on a DTD or a Schema to supply a defaulted attribute. This processing is not always available..."

  • [November 16, 2000] "Cross-Browser XML." By Simon St.Laurent. Presentation at XMLDevCon 2000 (November 2000).

  • [November 15, 2000] "Object-Oriented Mediator Queries to XML Data." By Hui Lin, Tore Risch, and Timour Katchaounov (Uppsala DataBase Laboratory [UDBL], Department of Information Science, Uppsala University). Pages 38-45 (with 20 references) in Proceedings of the First International Conference on Web Information Systems Engineering [Proceedings of WISE 2000, Hong Kong, China, 19-21 June 2000.] Abstract: "The mediator/wrapper approach is used to integrate data from different databases and other data sources by introducing a middleware virtual database that provides high level abstractions of the integrated data. A framework is presented for querying XML data through such an Object-Oriented (OO) mediator system using an OO query language. The mediator architecture provides the possibility to specify OO queries and views over combinations of data from XML documents, relational databases, and other data sources. In this way interoperability of XML documents and other data sources is provided. The mediator provides OO views of the XML data by inferring the schema of imported XML data from the DTD of the XML documents, if available, using a set of translation rules. A strategy is used for minimizing the number of types (classes) generated in order to simplify the querying. If XML documents not having DTDs are read, or if the DTD is incomplete, the system incrementally infers the OO schema from the XML structure while reading XML data. This requires that the mediator database is capable of dynamically extending and modifying the OO schema. The paper overviews the architecture of the system and describes incremental rules for translating XML documents to OO database structures. [Conclusion:] We described the architecture of a wrapper called AmosXML that allows parsing and querying XML documents from an object-oriented mediator system. Furthermore, incremental translation rules were described that infer OO schema elements while reading DTD definitions or XML documents. Some rules infer the OO schema from the DTD, when available. For XML documents without DTDs, or when the DTD is incomplete, other rules incrementally infer the OO schema from the contents of the accessed XML documents. The discovery of OO schema structures combined with other OO mediation facilities in AMOS II allow the specification OO queries and views over data from XML documents combined with data from other data sources. The incremental nature of the translation rules allow them to be applied in a streamed fashion, which is important for large data files and when the network communication is slow or bursty. There are several possible directions for our future work: (1) The current rules do not infer any inheritance, but a flat type hierarchy is generated. Rules should be added to infer inheritance hierarchies, e.g., by using behavioral definitions of types where a type is defined by its behavior (i.e., its attributes and methods). In our case this means that a type T is defined as a subtype of another type U if the set of functions on U is a subset of the set of functions on T. (2) Integrating XML data involves efficient processing of queries over many relatively small XML data files described by several layers of metadata descriptions and links. For example, there can be 'master' XML documents having links to other XML documents and DTDs. Therefore the query language needs to be able to transparently express queries referencing both XML data and the metadata in the master documents. New techniques are needed to be able to specify and efficiently process queries over such multi-layered metadata. (3) The conventional exhaustive cost-based query processing techniques do not scale over large numbers of distributed XML documents. New distributed heuristic techniques need to be developed for this." See also: (1) AMOS II - Active Mediators for Information Integration; (2) the UDBL publications page; (3) "XML and Query Languages." [cache]

  • [November 15, 2000] "Distributed Object-Oriented Schema to Share XML-based Catalogs Among Businesses." By Kimio Kuramitsu (Department of Information Science, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo) and Ken Sakamura (Digital Museum Laboratory, The University Museum, The University of Tokyo). Pages 87-96 (with 20 references) in volume 1, Proceedings of the First International Conference on Web Information Systems Engineering [Proceedings of WISE 2000, Hong Kong, China, 19-21 June 2000.] "Internet commerce is increasing the demands of service integrations by sharing XML-based catalogs. We propose the PCO (Portable Compound Object) data model supporting semantic inheritance to ensure the synonymy of heterogeneous semantics among distributed schemas that different authors define independently. Also, the PCO model makes semantic relationships independent of an initial class hierarchy, and it enables rapid schema evolution across the entire Internet business. This preserves semantic interoperability without changing pre-defined classes. We have also encoded the PCO model into two XML-based languages: the PCO Specification Language (PSL) and the Portable Composite Language (PCL). This paper demonstrates that intermediaries defining service semantics in PSL can automatically integrate multiple suppliers' PCL catalogs for their agent-mediated services... The main contribution of the PCO model is to propose an approach to semantic interoperability without ontology. The PCO originally supports various object-oriented features such as controlled overriding, multi-typed overloading, and partial inheritance to ensure the synonymy of inherited semantics among schemas/classes that different authors define independently. Moreover, schema coordination in the instance layer makes semantic relationships independent of an initial class hierarchy, and also enables rapid schema evolution across the Internet with keeping semantic interoperability but without changing predefined classes. This paper demonstrates that agent-mediators that define service semantics in PSL can automatically integrate multi-suppliers' PCL catalogs for their cross-site services. This paper mainly focuses on the PCO model and its semantic integrations. The PCO language also supports other commerce modeling facilities, including content supply-chain of compounded PCL objects and authorized modifications of PCO schema and instances. We would like to continue discussions for establishing PCO-based electronic marketplace on the Internet." [cache]

  • [November 14, 2000] "Automated Software Development with XML and the Java Language." By Glenn R. Bruns, Alan E. Frey, Peter A. Mataga, and Susan J. Tripp. In Bell Labs Technical Journal, Volume 5, Number 2 (April-June 2000), pages 32-43 (with 17 references). "In software development with domain-specific languages (DSLs), one defines a requirements language for an application domain and then develops a compiler to generate an implementation from a requirements document. Because DSLs and DSL compilers are expensive to develop, DSLs are seen as cost effective only when many products of the same domain will be developed. In this paper, we show how the cost of DSL design and DSL compiler development can be reduced by defining DSLs as Extensible Markup Language (XML) dialects and by developing DSL compilers using commercial XML tools and the Java language. This approach is illustrated through the Call View Data Language (CDL), a new DSL that generates provisioning support code and database table definitions for Lucent Technologies' 7R/E Network Feature Server... The important issue for DSLs and code generation is not whether they work, but how they can be developed cheaply and without specialized expertise in domain analysis, language design, and compiler development. In our work on CDL, the compiler development was by far the most costly part... The relative advantages of XML and the Java language versus InfoWiz depend heavily on circumstances. In our application, a simple, single DSL was used but the generated code was intricate, and code generation used intermediate structures. In other applications, in which the code generation is reasonably simple and multiple DSLs are used together, InfoWiz may be a better choice. A drawback of InfoWiz is that it does not follow some important technology trends. XML does roughly the same job as WizTalk, but only XML has a large and growing body of tool support. The Java language and FIT are also similar, but only the Java language is widely known, standardized, and supported. These technology trends affect not only short-term project costs -- they also matter because developers and their managers see value in building expertise in emerging technologies. We have argued here that XML and the Java language work together well in the lightweight development of DSLs and DSL compilers. Interestingly, the claim that XML and the Java language work together well in general is based on a different argument. The argument for the general case is about portability: XML supports portable data, while the Java language supports portable programs. The argument for our case is about rapid development: XML supports the rapid development of simple, familiar languages, while the Java language supports rapid compiler development through its modern programming constructs. We also cite the availability of XML tools based on the Java language as a factor for rapid compiler development; these tools exist perhaps because of the general synergy between the languages..." [cache]

  • [November 13, 2000] "Platform Independent UI Objects. Bringing 'XSL Beans' to the world." By Gavin Thomas Nicol (Chief Scientist, eBusiness Technologies). '10/21/2000.' "XSL Beans are a unique technology for developing UIs that exploits XML and XSL, and that provides a number of benefits, chief of which are: (1) Media independence -- XSL Beans are media independent, meaning that they can be used in Java, Dynamic HTML, or even standard GUI environments. (2) Standards-based -- XSL Beans rely upon, and exploit, XML and related standards, providing an open UI framework. (3) Intelligent data -- XSL Beans rely upon, and take advantage of, intelligent data. In particular, well-designed XML instances make it easy to bring sophisticated application behavior to documents in a transparent manner. (4) Documents as applications -- using XSL Beans, any document can be brought to life as an application, bringing new dimensions of reuse to ostensibly static data. (5) Reusability -- a direct effect of the above two points is that XSL Beans can be reused easily, in new ways. XSL Beans could lead to entirely new ways of approaching old problems, such as forms handling. (6) Instance syntax independent -- a number of different XML instances can result in ostensibly the same UI, resulting in maximum flexibility in data representation. (7) Human legible, human editable -- a direct result of the above is that XSL Bean instance data can be understood, and edited by people with little skill beyond that required for authoring XML documents. This brings application development within the realm of document authors (programming for the masses). (8) Ease of use -- in combination with a UI builder, XSL Beans can be easy to use. More importantly, they can be easy to use even without a UI builder. (9) Flexibility -- XSL Beans are entirely data-driven, meaning that components can change the data format, or the way the data format is interpreted, easily, at any time. XML Beans could play a significant role in many areas, and could revolutionize the document-centric application arena. This paper describes the thoughts leading to the XSL Bean concept, and the XSL Bean concept in detail. The primary purpose of this document is to provide a background to development groups that might be producing cross-platform UIs (in particular, WWW-based UIs) or UI builder applications that could benefit from XSL Bean technology. The paper explains the XSL Bean concept at a fairly high level. There is a companion paper discussing development environments using XSL Beans, which also discusses some parts of XSL Beans in more detail. Also in PDF format. See also the web site: "The basic idea of XSL beans is to use XML/XSL for instantiating objects. The idea in itself is based upon work I did back in the early 1990's on distributed hypermedia. The papers here were written as internal whitepapers, and with permission, I have been able to make them public." For related resources, see "Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL/XSLT)." [cache]

  • [November 13, 2000] "UI Development Using XSL Beans. Discussion of Application Development Environments With A Focus On XSL Beans." By Gavin Thomas Nicol (Chief Scientist, eBusiness Technologies). '11/10/1998.' "In a companion paper 'Platform Independent UI Objects' [see above], the author introduced XSL Beans, a technology that allows UI's to be instantiated using different display technologies, and different object systems. It is assumed that the reader is familiar with the XSL Bean concept. The following is a summary of the advantages of the approach outlined in that paper: (1) XSL Beans are platform independent. (2) XSL Beans are standards based. (3) XSL Beans allow documents to be brought to life as applications. (4) XSL Beans exploit intelligent data, bringing new dimensions of reuse. (5) XSL Beans are flexible. (6) XSL Bean instances can be authored and understood by authors. (7) XSL Bean are easy to use. This paper discusses application development environments, and the background issues associated with them. The intent of this paper is to provide a basis for discussion and development of an application development environment and in particular, one that is compatible with the XSL Bean approach to UI instantiation. Some possible deployment strategies are also discussed in later sections... Summary This paper has looked at WWW applications and development environments for them. The main points can be summarized as follows: (1) Development environments should provide a comfortable and productive environment for the majority of users, and provide some escape hatches for 'power users' so that they do not feel constrained by the environment. (2) The basic paradigm for a development environment should be something akin to Visual Basic: basically the drag and drop, property editing paradigm. (3) A convenient and powerful GUI layout paradigm for the WWW is that of boxes and glue, as found in TeX. (4) Application behavior can be edited directly within a development environment, but doing this well depends on a functional scripting language. (5) XML can be used as the syntax for defining a functional language. (6) The notion of closure, and environments, is crucial to application development environments, and provides a good conceptual framework for managing WWW Application State (7) The most likely development strategy is to develop the environment internally, though purchasing the rights to one is obviously preferable..." Also in PDF format. For related resources, see "Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL/XSLT)." [cache]

  • [November 13, 2000] "New XML group forms. Frustration builds over lack of communication with other groups." By Carl D. Holcombe. In Inman News Features (November 13, 2000). "Worries over a lack of cooperation and potentially restrictive controls have spurred the creation of a new XML standards group for online real estate. Announced Sunday at the National Association of Realtors' convention, the six-week-old Alliance for Advanced Real Estate Transaction Technology brings together nearly 20 companies in Web realty. The alliance hopes to set up XML standards for data and documents, and act as a bridge to other XML groups and companies. XML, essentially a common ground for data exchange, is generally considered as a way to create easily transferable documents and information between branches of online realty, such as title and mortgage companies, and real estate agents and multiple listing services. 'Certain people have been adding friction to the process hoping that will allow (their role and business) to stay around longer,' said Ari Vidali, chief technology officer for iProperty. 'So the question is how can we create a frictionless proposition.' He said AART hoped to make significant progress to establishing better communication on XML standards. Vidali said XML standards, despite the NAR- and Homestore-driven Real Estate Transaction Standards (RETS), have been slow to fruition. The group does not oppose RETS, although there is an undercurrent of concern over NAR and Homestore control over such valuable defining standards, which could create barriers to rival businesses, some AART members said. NAR and are not members of the new alliance. Some members are concerned that other players in online realty are more focused on maintaining control within their niche. Such an environment, they said, could delay XML standards integration by many months or even years. Besides RETS and the Mortgage Industry Standards Organization, other XML groups exist for areas such as legal contract data, classified advertising, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and insurance, said Vidali. AART is expected to grow to between 75 and 100 companies and groups by first-quarter 2001. The group is also open to for-sale-by-owner companies..." See: "Comprehensive Real Estate Transaction Markup Language (CRTML)."

  • [November 13, 2000] "Gates At Comdex: More Power To PCs." By Charles Babcock. In Interactive Week (November 13, 2000). "Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates argued in a keynote speech to Comdex Sunday night that end-user PCs need to be more, not less powerful for Internet computing. He showed how upcoming versions of Windows, Office and a future PC form, the Tablet PC, will augment what users currently do. Future Microsoft technology will go beyond providing information in browser windows to allow richer exchanges based on software talking to software, Gates predicted. Early in his speech, Gates emphasized the role that XML will play in making data portable between software on different computers. He cited Microsoft's co-sponsorship of Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) with IBM as an example of how XML will broaden what can be done between powerful PCs and servers and PCs to PCs. SOAP supplies a definition of how to share data between companies with business processes attached to the data. XML standards such as SOAP and UDB 'are the equivalent of what HTTP and HTML were a few years ago,' he predicted. Gates, with the help of demonstrator Bert Keely, showed off a prototype of a 'rich ink' three-pound tablet PC. Keely holds patents to elements of Microsoft's ClearType user typeface that makes computer-generated text easier to read. The one-inch thick unit could be picked up from a desk and carried into meetings while maintaining wireless connections with Internet servers. It also recognized handwriting executed with a stylus on its screen and allowed an existing document to have space inserted between lines of text so that a handwritten note could be added..."

  • [November 13, 2000] "Gates Shows Off Microsoft's New Tablet PC." By Peter Galli. In eWEEK (November 13, 2000). "Bill Gates, Microsoft Corp.'s chairman and chief software architect, on Sunday night unveiled the prototype of the Tablet PC, which he described as the ultimate .Net client. Not only is the Tablet PC a great window onto Microsoft's .Net services on the Web, but it has all the heritage of the PC's functionality and can be used in many additional situations as well, he said. In a 90-minute keynote address to a mostly enthusiastic audience of some 12,000 here at Comdex, Gates pushed Microsoft's .Net vision strongly. He said there would be a shift away from the current passive publishing model of the Internet to a future where powerful new software would connect servers, PCs and personal devices so that people could personalize the Internet. His vision was of a new software model, which he described as software-to-software. It is based on XML and would take the 'tired' traditional browser model to a new level, using development tools and standards. The software-to-software model would allow information to be customized and accessed wherever customers need it. It would be based on products that provide rich user interfaces, with speech, ink and multimedia-handling capabilities... Gates used the Tablet PC as an example. The prototype was running the Whistler operating system, which is the next generation of Windows. It had a USB keyboard, a mouse, audio and 10GB of disk space -- in short, a fully fledged PC... 'We are moving away from the browser into a new era, an era where the software-to-software model built around XML will prevail,' he concluded."

  • [November 13, 2000] "DSML gives you the power to access your LDAP information as XML. The Directory Service Markup Language adds XML functionality to your directory services. [Directory Services and XML.]" By Lanette Poe and Michael Ball. In JavaWorld (November 2000). ['These days, directory services and XML form the backbone of good data management. With Directory Service Markup Language (DSML) -- a new standard for representing directory information as XML -- directory services can take advantage of XML's most powerful features. In this article, Michael Ball and Lanette Poe discuss the many uses of DSML and provide examples illustrating some of those uses'] "In today's e-business environment, effective and efficient data management is crucial. As such, two technologies prove vital to proper data management: directory services and XML. Directory services allow you to store and manage data, and are thus a necessary prerequisite for conducting online business. XML provides an effective way to present and transfer data. With that in mind, there's a clear need to bridge the two technologies. The solution may be the new Directory Service Markup Language (DSML) standard, designed to make directory services more dynamic by employing XML. DSML, in conjunction with technologies like XSL and EJB, provides a unique way to solve many business problems, such as supply chain management and customer support. The technology was developed out of work done by Bowstreet and completed by the DSML Working Group; the latter submitted the technology to the W3C and OASIS standards groups in December 1999. Numerous products now support DSML, including Sun's recently released DSML Service Provider 1.2 technology, released for use with J2EE 1.2, and Exolab's Castor API, which provides services to extract information from LDAP as DSML, as well as . With the DSML Service Provider, which implements the interface, you can access a DSML document, manipulate and update its contents by using the JNDI APIs, and then re-export the contents in DSML format. In this article, we will discuss how to create dynamic content and manipulate a directory server with DSML. We will do this using Exolab's Castor, servlets, and XSL... Directory services are powerful tools common in most of today's architectures. They store information about people, hardware, and even objects. But as directory-service use becomes more pervasive, a standard way to manipulate the information inside of them and transfer data between them becomes necessary. By taking advantage of the power of XML, DSML provides a powerful interface into directory servers. As XML tools become more and more common, using them to access DSML will become easier, and your directory servers will become more useful and dynamic." See references in "Directory Services Markup Language (DSML)."

  • [November 13, 2000] " Eliminate tedious programming: Recover data with XML and Reflection. Automate ResultSet parsing using XML and Reflection. [Data Retrieval.] By Abhilash Koneri. In JavaWorld (November 2000). ['The parsing of ResultSets forms one of the most significant tasks involved in retrieving data from a database. But, as a repetitious and uninteresting assignment, it is not a favorite among developers. In this article, Abhilash Koneri demonstrates how to supplant ResultSet parsing in the data access objects. Attention lazy programmers or managers who supervise a lackadaisical bunch: this article is for you!'] "Enterprise data consists of various types of functional information, such as product specifications, vendor details, invoices, and sales orders. Whether this data is critical or not, its persistence should not be compromised in any enterprise application. Because of their robustness and proven history tackling persistence, relational databases often persist enterprise data. Thus, data retrieval from a relational database is an integral task for any middleware application. Java's Enterprise JavaBeans architecture is fast becoming the most obvious choice for developing robust middleware applications. The JDBC API facilitates an application layer that performs the data retrieval. This data-access layer translates, or maps, the data in the database entities -- rows, columns, and tables -- into instances of Java classes. In this article, I will demonstrate how to establish the mapping between the database entities and Java classes through XML. I will also use XML to show you how you can rid yourself of certain mundane steps involved in data retrieval... This article has demonstrated how to map the relational entities to the value classes in Java with XML. We then used mapping to automate ResultSet parsing to obtain a collection of value classes. The article also showed how the methodology can be extended to remove the JDBC calls from DataAccess objects, and also avoid any rouge code that might originate from neglectful usage of JDBC objects like Connections, Statements, and ResultSets." Also: the article's source code.

  • [November 10, 2000] "Registration of Charset and Languages Media Features Tags." By Paul Hoffman (Internet Mail Consortium, 127 Segre Place Santa Cruz, CA 95060 USA). IETF Network Working Group, Request for Comments: 2987. "This document contains the registration for two media feature tags: 'charset' and 'language'. These media features allow specification of character sets and human languages that can be understood by devices and the devices' users. The templates in this document are derived from RFC 2506." Languages per RFC 1766 "Tags for the Identification of Languages." ['This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for improvements.']

  • [November 08, 2000] "Understanding ebXML, UDDI and XML/edi." By David Webber and Anthony Dutton. From November 06, 2000. "The past six months have seen an extensive and accelerating amount of work on providing practical implementations and technical specifications to enable the development of open interoperable eBusiness interactions. This work is focused around utilizing the W3C XML syntax and the Internet as the underpinning technologies. In this context, the focus of the ebXML initiative is to develop a single global electronic market based on an open public XML-based infrastructure enabling the global use of electronic business information in an interoperable, secure and consistent manner by all parties. A primary objective of ebXML is to lower the barrier of entry to electronic business in order to facilitate trade, particularly with respect to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME's) and developing nations. The ebXML initiative is sponsored by UN/CEFACT and OASIS and is an open public initiative with now over one thousand participants. The Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) initiative by contrast was started by IBM, Ariba and Microsoft about five months ago as a means to create an implementation of their technologies that deliver the underpinning for the interoperation of netmarket places and integrating business services using the Internet. UDDI is based around the concept of standard registry services that provide Yellow, White and Green Page business functionality. The UDDI focus is on providing large organizations the means to reach out to and manage their network of smaller business customers. The biggest issues facing UDDI are ones of acceptance and buy-in from businesses themselves, and implementation issues of scalability and physical implementation. By contrast the XML/edi Initiative was start three years ago as a grass-roots initiative to promote the use of XML for eBusiness. The XML/edi Vision includes the concept of the Fusion-of-Five: XML, EDI, Repositories, Templates and Agents to create next generation eBusiness. The ebXML and UDDI work represent embodiments of the XML/edi vision and as such we need to understand how far this work has come, and how much further is needed to fully deliver on the promise of XML and eBusiness... Within the software industry itself countries such as India and the Eastern European countries are already making significant in-roads into this domination as the labour pool for cost-effective development resources are stretched to the limit worldwide. Consequently over the next five years we can foresee that the industry is moving to an open global economy where new and profoundly different metrics will emerge. The measure of ebXML, UDDI and XML/edi will be how well they are able to provide and satisfy these needs."

  • [November 08, 2000] "A New Groove." By Steve Gillmor and Ray Ozzie. In XML Magazine Volume 1, Number 4 (Fall 2000). ['Lotus Notes creator Ray Ozzie develops a powerful new peer-to-peer collaboration platform After three years of secret development, Ray Ozzie, the creator of Lotus Notes, has resurfaced with a powerful new peer-to-peer collaboration platform, called Groove. XML Magazine Editor-in-Chief Steve Gillmor spoke with Ozzie about Groove and its underlying XML object store and communications technologies... Groove is Internet software for making direct connections with the people who are important to you. With Groove you can talk, chat, instant message, draw pictures, swap photos and files, play games and browse the Web together with friends, family and co-workers -- at the same time or whenever one of you has a moment. In Groove, having conversations with context is as easy as sending an email or accessing the Web. Groove runs on Windows' PCs and uses the Internet for transporting communication among PCs.'] "There are many common things that you can do in all shared spaces. You can chat, sketch, and talk to each other. We default to the push-to-talk paradigm -- which works very well in the variable latency of the Internet environment -- or go into conference mode. These are just a few of many tools that we provide, and solution developers will build more as time goes on... There are several levels of development. The simplest is a page of XML where you describe what components are in a tool. For example, in the sketch tool, there's a component for each of the elements -- the sketch, the text, the buttons. You declare where the components come from, then write a little JavaScript to weave the events coming from one component sending into another. One script says "When I press this button, tell this component to instantiate a new sketch and these little navigators between them." To the extent that you can build an app out of the rich set of components that we provide, you don't have to write anything beyond that JavaScript and that little XML page. If you want to build or use other people's custom controls, you can go deeper in the APIs and write a COM component. Fundamentally, this is an asynchronous product. It's got a very robust XML-object store underneath it that represents the persistent state of a given tool and set of tools -- a given shared space. It uses this little XML element fragment-routing protocol on the wire to move things back and forth between the parties. Everything that goes on the wire between these points, and everything that goes to disk is WBXML [Wireless Binary XML] compressed and encrypted. If you look at what's going over the wire -- including the voice -- you can't see what's going on. If you lose your laptop, you can't see what's in the store; it's a fairly robust system that's designed for building business apps. At the platform level, we didn't want to constrain it to a certain model. We wanted it to work for both real-time apps and persistent, longer-term apps." See (1) the web site and (2) Introducing Groove for more details.

  • [November 08, 2000] "IIAA 2000: tech demo shows versatility of XML, SEMCI standards." [Edited by] Dave Willis. From Property and Casualty. 11/7/2000. "Insurance companies and technology providers illustrated how they are providing real-life applications of industry communications standards at the Independent Insurance Agents of America's (IIAA) 105th Annual Convention & InfoXchange held last week in Orlando. The presentation, which was hosted by IIAA and its Agents Council for Technology (ACT), included AMS/TowerStreet, Applied Systems, Channelpoint,, Mynd, Lotus/ITM, IVANS, JCRS, MetLife Auto & Home, Nekema, SAFECO, Symmetry, Travelers and The Hartford. The demonstration verified how ACORD XML Standards for Insurance could be implemented to enable practical, everyday, real-time transactions and single-entry, multiple-company interface (SEMCI) for the independent agency system. 'Agents are now beginning to reap the benefits of the new technologies available to them that use the ACORD XML Standards,' said David Findley, senior vice president of commercial lines operations for Travelers Insurance. 'The demonstrations clearly underscored this.' John Carmody, assistant vice president of marketing information systems at SAFECO, said the industry, 'has made a significant leap forward with XML technology -- and the best is yet to come. I think the wide variety of applications from the large number of conversion vendors shows the true power of XML.' 'The demonstration showed how far XML has come, and that the industry is supporting multiple systems interacting with the standards. It doesn't matter whether it's a quote, claim or insurance transaction,' said Jim Rogers, product development manager for TowerStreet, an AMS company delivering point-of-sale products and insurance information via the Internet. Doug Johnston, executive vice president with Applied Systems, said: 'The Internet and XML are really going to help establish the independent agent as the primary distributor and servicer of insurance. I think the agent has to emerge as the principle distribution channel and XML is going to make that happen'." See "ACORD - XML for the Insurance Industry."

  • [November 07, 2000] "Representing Music Using XML." By Michael Good (Recordare). Abstract for a Poster Session presented at the International Symposium on Music Information Retrieval October 23-25, 2000, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA. "MusicXML is an XML-based music interchange language. It represents common western musical notation from the 17th century onwards, including both classical and popular music. The language is designed to be extensible to future coverage of early music and less standard 20th and 21st century scores. Non-western musical notations would use a separate XML language. As an interchange language, it is designed to be sufficient, not optimal, for diverse musical applications. MusicXML is not intended to supersede other languages that are optimized for specific musical applications, but to support sharing of musical data between applications. The current MusicXML software runs on Windows. As of September 2000, it reads 100% of the MuseData format plus portions of NIFF and Finale's Enigma Transportable Files (ETF). It writes to Standard MIDI Files in Format 1, MuseData files, and Sibelius. The NIFF, ETF, and MIDI converters use XML versions of these languages as intermediate structures. MusicXML is defined using an XML Document Type Definition (DTD) at XML Schemas address some shortcomings of DTDs, but are not yet a W3C recommendation. MusicXML adapts the MuseData and Humdrum languages to XML, adding features needed to cover more of 19th-21st century musical usage. These were chosen as starting points because they are two of the most powerful languages currently available for musical analysis and interchange. One of Humdrum's important features is its explicitly two-dimensional representation of music by part and by time. A hierarchical representation like XML cannot directly support this type of lattice structure, but programs written in XSLT (Extensible Style Language Transformations) support automatic conversion between these two orderings. MusicXML score files do not represent presentation concepts such as pages and systems. The details of formatting will change based on different paper and display sizes. In the XML environment, formatting is handled separately from structure and semantics. The same applies for detailed interpretive performance information. One limitation to computer-based musical analysis and retrieval has been the tight coupling of representations to development tools (e.g., Humdrum requires Unix familiarity; MuseData tools require TenX). In contrast, XML programming tools are available for all major industry programming languages and platforms. This lets the user rather than the representation language choose the programming environment, making for simpler development of musical applications. Say we want to investigate whether Bach's pieces really have 90% of its notes in one of two durations -- e.g., quarters and eighths, or eighths and sixteenths. We can do this by plotting a distribution of note durations on a bar chart, displayed together with a simple spreadsheet. Writing this program in Visual Basic took only half a day, including learning to use the display controls. In the 2nd movement of Bach's Cantata No. 6, for example, the top two note durations make up nearly 87% of the notes, a more uneven distribution than often seen with other composers. For retrieval purposes, an extended program could then look for the works in a given corpus with the most uneven distribution of note durations..." See similarly: "Using XML for Musical Representation." By Michael Good (Recordare). Guest Lecture for Music Representation class (Music 254) Stanford University May 17, 2000. For the MusicXML markup language, see "XML and Music."

  • [November 07, 2000] "XML Encryption and Access Control. A comparison and a 2nd encryption model. Draft 29.10.2000. From Christian Geuer-Pollmann (Institute for Data Communications Systems, University of Siegen). Prepared for the W3C XML Encryption Workshop. "...ideas about how XML Encryption and the rich functionality of server-based XML Access Control could be brought together within a single model." See: "XML and Encryption." [cache]

  • [November 07, 2000] "Requirements and Goals for the Design of an 'XML Encryption Standard'." From Gerald Huck and Arne Priewe. "The following tries to identify some major requirements and also non-requirements for the definition of an XML Encryption Standard (XES), and XML Encryption Language (XEL) for representing encrypted data..." See: "XML and Encryption."

  • [November 07, 2000] "UDDI standard: A ticket to global B2B?" By Cameron Sturdevant. In eWEEK (November 05, 2000). "Unlikely collaborators microsoft Corp. and IBM, along with Arriba Inc., have created UDDI, an ambitious core specification for business-to-business integration. After examining the new specification, eWeek Labs believes the Universal Description, Discovery and Integration standard should be on the IT agenda of any organization that wants to conduct business over the Internet. Introduced in August, UDDI is intended to be an Internet standard for creating an online business registry. At the high level, the standard defines White Pages (general information), Yellow Pages (business categories) and Green Pages (how business is conducted)... Last month, the three companies announced the WSDL (Web Services Description Language) -- the cornerstone of UDDI -- which allows businesses to describe their offerings in a standard way. Microsoft and IBM employees authored WSDL and the XML (Extensible Markup Language) format for describing network services will be developed cooperatively -- at least for the near future. WSDL is partially based on Microsoft's SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) Contract Language and IBM's NASSL (Network Accessible Service Specification Language). WSDL attempts to do something similar to Hewlett-Packard Co.'s eSpeak initiative, which is an open, standards-based group of tools that automates discovery and interaction among Web-based services. It's too soon to say which specification is likely to prevail. Further, our examination of the actual working products from both initiatives shows that solid guidelines are still months -- or even a year or more -- in the future. WSDL describes network services as endpoints that exchange messages telling what services are available. The language is limited to message formats or network protocols that conform to SOAP 1.1, HTTP get/post and MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions). The specification leaves open-ended the other message formats that will be supported..." See: "Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI)" and "Web Services Description Language (WSDL)."

  • [November 06, 2000] "Querying Community Web Portals." By Greg Karvounarakis, Vassilis Christophides, Dimitris Plexousakis, and Sofia Alexaki. ICS-FORTH Institute of Computer Science. November, 2000. 28 pages. "Information systems such as organizational memories, vertical aggregators, infomediaries, etc. are expected to play a central role in the 21st-century economy by enabling the development and maintenance of specific communities of interest (e.g., enterprise, professional, trading) on corporate intranets or the Web. Such Community Web Portals essentially provide the means to select, classify and access, in a semantically meaningful and ubiquitous way various information resources (e.g., sites, documents, data) for diverse target audiences (corporate, inter-enterprise, e-marketplace, etc.). Yet, in commercial software for deploying Community Portals, querying is still limited to full-text (or attribute-value) retrieval and more advanced information-seeking needs require navigational access. Furthermore, recent Web standards for describing resources [W3C Metadata Activity: RDF/ RDF Schema] are completely ignored. Moreover, standard (relational or object) databases are too rigid for capturing the peculiarities of RDF descriptions and schemas. Motivated by the above issues, we propose a new data model and a query language for RDF descriptions and schemas. Our language, called $RQL$, relies on a formal graph model, that captures the RDF modeling primitives, also providing a richer type system, and permits the interpretation of RDF descriptions by means of one or more schemas. In this context, $RQL$ adapts the functionality of semistructured query languages to the peculiarities of RDF but also extends this functionality in order to query RDF schemas. The novelty of $RQL$ lies in its ability to smoothly switch between schema and data querying while exploiting - in a transparent way - the taxonomies of labels and multiple classification of resources." See "Resource Description Framework (RDF)." [cache]

  • [November 06, 2000] "Adobe's Network Publishing Initiative." By Stephen Beale. In MacWeek (October 31, 2000). [The company said it will use industry standards, alliances and a new online collaboration service to enable a third wave of publishing in which visually rich information is delivered to 'anyone, anywhere, on any device.'] "Adobe Systems on Tuesday announced a broad-ranging initiative to foster what it describes as 'Network Publishing,' enabling 'visually rich, reliable information that's delivered to anyone, anytime, on any device, with context in mind.' The initiative includes alliances with RealNetworks, Nokia and other companies; a new online collaboration service; and a commitment to support such standards as XML, PDF and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) in Adobe products. In Adobe's vision, customers will use its products and those of allied companies to cost-effectively produce content for print, video, Web browsers and wireless devices. A video shown during the press conference depicted a scenario where a businessman receives news of a corporate merger on a cell phone and prints the article at a Web-enabled Adobe imaging kiosk. Chizen described another scenario where an ISP, knowing your preference for Italian food, delivers information about local Italian restaurants to your PDA, which includes a GPS receiver that tracks your location. Adobe will launch a Web site called Adobe Studio that includes free design-related content and a subscription-based collaboration service called Work @ Adobe Studio. Jim Stephens, Adobe's senior vice president for E-Business, said the latter is essentially an online version of the company's InScope workgroup software (once known by its code-name, Stilton), which provides facilities for uploading and downloading files as well as tracking the status of each element in a publishing project. InScope, Stephens said, is targeted at large enterprises, whereas Work @ Adobe Studio will be geared toward smaller design workgroups of 10 to 50 people. Adobe applications will have the ability to directly upload files to the system. Several of the company's programs can already upload files to InScope using the WebDAV protocol. Adobe will continue to support industry standards, including Extensible Markup Language (XML), Portable Document Format (PDF), Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), Synchronized Multimedia Integrated Language (SMIL), Wireless Markup Language (WML) for handheld devices that use the Wireless Access Protocol (WAP); and Compact HyperText Markup Language for i-mode devices. Eventually, Warnock and Chizen said, Adobe applications will use XML to produce graphics that incorporate metadata describing their content. This is necessary to enable the flexible exchange and display of information on various devices, the executives said." See the text of the announcement.

  • [November 06, 2000] "XML Enters the DBMS Arena." By Edmund X. DeJesus. In ComputerWorld (October 30, 2000). "XML is emerging as the format of choice for a variety of types of data, especially documents. With its ability to tag different fields, XML makes searching simpler and more dynamic, turning enterprise documents from recycling fodder into data mining gold. Because XML content is liberated from presentation format which independent style sheets specify - XML enables the extensive reuse of material. This allows enterprises to turn the same content into press releases, white papers, brochures, presentations and Web pages. For enterprises trying to meld incompatible systems, XML can serve as a common transport technology for moving data around in a system-neutral format. In addition, XML can handle all kinds of data, including text, images and sound - and is user-extensible to handle anything special. Clearly, XML is coming into its own and seems destined to become the lingua franca of data online and off-line. The problem until now has been how to manage the XML-tagged data. One promising solution is to use databases to store, retrieve and manipulate XML. The idea is to place the XML -- tagged data in a framework where searching, analysis, updating and output can proceed in a more manageable, systematic and well-understood environment. Databases have the merit that users are familiar with them and their behavior, so taming XML with a database context seems natural. However, there are XML databases and there are XML databases. Purists would contend that only databases that store XML in its native format deserve the label 'XML database.' Others contend that if you can store and retrieve XML from it, and it's a database, then it's an XML database, regardless of how the data is stored. We'll sidestep these religious battles and consider both types. If the XML isn't stored internally as XML, we'll call that an 'XML-enabled database.' If the XML is actually stored as XML internally, we'll call it a 'native XML database.' There are a number of reasons to use existing database types, and existing database products, to store XML even if it isn't in its native form. First, ordinary relational and object-oriented databases are well known, while native XML databases are new. Second, as a result of familiarity with relational and object-oriented databases, users understand their behavior, especially with regard to performance. There is a reluctance to move to a native XML database whose characteristics - especially scalability - haven't been tested. Finally, relational and objectoriented databases are safe choices in the corporate mind. It's the old 'nobody ever got fired for buying X' rationale. You don't necessarily want to bet the enterprise on a native XML database when you don't have to. Luckily, you don't have to. There are XML-enabled databases that handle XML fine and that are based on triedand-true relational or object-oriented models. These databases typically accept XML, parse it into chunks that fit the database schema and store it as usual. To retrieve XML, the chunks are pieced back together again..." See related references in "XML and Databases."

  • [November 06, 2000] "IBM Preps XML-Based Content Management Tool." By Ed Scannell. In InfoWorld (November 03, 2000). "IBM's next generation Internet division is putting the finishing touches on a prototype of what could be the first content management system based purely on XML. Referred to internally as the Franklin Content Management Project, the system allows users to separate content from style and to break down that content into components. This capability would make it significantly easier and faster for users, for instance, to update or create Web sites without having to change or migrate content, according to company officials. Few flexible content management systems have been delivered, despite what appears to be a shining opportunity for them in the market. Some say the reason for this lack is that such systems tend to be an afterthought for many users. Also, many IT shops are not yet up to speed on XML. The only competition for Franklin now are products from Vignette, in partnership with Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM, and Interwoven. But Vignette's product is based on Tcl code -- older technology that some contend is more expensive to maintain than XML. [IBM's Maria] Hernandez does not see the Vignette deal, which is largely a marketing one, conflicting with Franklin. IBM will likely offer a choice to users, depending on their application needs. What IBM has tried to accomplish with Franklin, according to Hernandez, is to create an infrastructure, tools, and set of APIs to manage content in a consistent and controlled manner, Hernandez said. Franklin will serve as a key piece of technology during the next few years for what IBM officials have been referring to as the Next Generation Internet."

  • [November 06, 2000] "Microsoft to announce e-commerce initiative for suppliers." By Tom Sullivan. In InfoWorld (November 03, 2000). "Microsoft, Commerce One, Ariba, and Clarus on Monday will announce the initial phase of an initiative intended to make it easier for companies to establish an e-commerce presence, according to a source close to the companies. The program, dubbed SupplierExpress, enables companies to build catalogs to display their product or service offerings, accept orders, and help enable shipment, according to the source. SupplierExpress is designed to help suppliers improve time to market and adapt and change e-marketplaces more easily. The initiative is based on Microsoft's Commerce Server and BizTalk Server as well as products from the other member companies. The companies also announced a pilot program, in which a core set of vendors that want to move in this direction will participate and provide feedback. To make the most of this feedback, the companies are building an advisory committee that will help steer the development of Commerce Server and BizTalk Server. After installing the SupplierExpress and configuring a site for business, a logical next step would be to register with the Universal Description Discovery and Integration (UDDI) directory, according the source familiar with the announcement. UDDI is an XML-based standard that enables vendors to register their businesses in a Web-based database that will help them match up with partners to carry out e-commerce transactions. Microsoft, Ariba, and IBM announced UDDI in September. A business would build its online presence with SupplierExpress, then register with the directory to gain exposure to more customers..."

  • [November 06, 2000] "XML: The Core of the Skotos StoryBuilder Server." From Skotos Technologies ['online storytelling community']. November 2000. ['Discover the power of XML and how integral it is to the Skotos StoryBuilder Server.'] "There's a new buzz word going around the Internet community right now. It's XML, which is short for the eXtensible Markup Language. It's a close cousin to HTML, the markup language at the heart of most Internet web pages. The Skotos StoryBuilder Server is built upon XML. Whenever a StoryBuilder creates anything -- be it an object, like a person, place or thing, or a part of speech, like a verb or an adverb, or even a help file -- an XML file is created. StoryBuilders can choose to edit the raw XML files or they can choose to use slightly prettier web-based interfaces -- but in either case, it's always there. There are a number of documents available on XML -- from books to websites. [Yahoo] offers a good starting point. Rather than trying to explain the format, this article talks about our reasons for adopting it and how we've modified the basic ideas, and also give an example of our usage. Skotos Tech isn't using XML because it's sexy, nor because it will allow us to communicate with other companies running XML, nor because it might help us getting funding. These factors aren't particularly relevent to the online gaming industry. Instead, we are using XML because it precisely meets our goals as a company. We want to make the creation of online games very accessible to game designers who aren't programmers. By the end of 2001, we want to become a GeoCities or an EditThisPage, but for online games. We want to empower users who couldn't otherwise create massively multiplayer online games by providing them with a simple method to do so -- and XML allows that. With our XML-backed StoryBuilder Server, game designers will be able to create very complex objects and add additional behaviors to objects without engineering assistance...Our first online game, Castle Marrach, had its beta launch on September 21, 2000. It includes over 10,000 XML-described objects and ultimately may handle 100,000 or more objects. Below is the XML of a fairly simple item in Castle Marrach -- a sword. Other objects, especially rooms and players, can be much more complex. This sword is a fairly accessible example. Note that the sword contains descriptions for a number of different "details" that the players can investigate. Besides the prime detail (the sword), there's a blade, a grip, a guard, and a pommel. In addition, a number of names and adjectives are supported for each detail. There's also information on allowable prepositions (other objects may be put "near" the sword, but not "under" it), weight, combat stats, and much more. And the whole thing is readable to a non-programmer, especially if parsed into web forms, which was the whole point of the exercise."

  • [November 06, 2000] "Microsoft Targets Suppliers With XML-Based Solution. E-Business Acceleration Initiative enables quick, easy access to exchanges." By Elizabeth Montalbano. In Computer Reseller News (November 06, 2000). "Microsoft today announced a two-part initiative aimed at giving suppliers of any size the ability to conduct transactions on e-business exchanges quickly and easily. The E-Business Acceleration Initiative relies heavily on XML to allow suppliers to interconnect with various electronic exchanges through Microsoft's BizTalk Server, an XML-based integration technology that only runs on Windows 2000. To help facilitate the initiative, Microsoft signed up exchange partners such as Clarus, CommerceOne and VerticalNet; integrator partners such as Andersen Consulting, KPMG and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young; and hardware partners such as Dell and Compaq. At a press conference, Chris Atkinson, vice president of Microsoft's .Net E-business Development Group, said the new E-Business Acceleration Initiative will tackle specific challenges that suppliers of any size face when conducting business through Internet exchanges and will scale according to business size. BCentral is a point-and-click technology that uses authoring tools such as Microsoft FrontPage to help small suppliers build and manage e-commerce activity such as catalogs and order and payment processing without a complex back-end system. The second solution, Supplier Accelerator, which is aimed at midtier and large-tier suppliers, is in a pilot phase and will be available for wide-scale deployment next quarter, Microsoft said. Primarily through the use of BizTalk Server and Commerce Server, Supplier Accelerator enables more complex business-process transactions so large suppliers can conduct multiple-party e-business transactions and interact with multiple B2B exchanges, said Robert Hylton, manager of e-commerce partnerships at Microsoft." See: "Clarus Corp. and Microsoft Promote E-Business Acceleration Initiative. Joint Initiative to Drive Greater B2B Marketplace Adoption And Seamless Development for Suppliers."

  • [November 06, 2000] "XML Parser Comparison." By Michael Classen. From November, 2000. "In order to process XML data every program or server process needs an XML parser. The parser extracts the actual data out of the textual representation and creates either events or new data structures from them. Parsers also check whether documents conform to the XML standard and have a correct structure. This is essential for the automatic processing of XML documents. Correct structure comes in two flavors: XML-conforming and DTD/Schema-conforming. XML-conforming, so-called 'well-formed' documents fulfill the XML standard, most importantly by having properly nested tags. Document structure can be defined in the traditional way using Document Type Definitions (DTDs) or the new XML Schema proposal as outlined in my previous column. A so-called 'validating' parser checks a document not only for conformance to the general XML rules but also enforces a certain DTD or Schema, checking whether all necesary elements are present and if their order is as specified in the DTD or Schema. Not all parsers on the market are validating, although most of the more recent implementations are. Support for XML Schema is naturally less prevalent as the specification is not yet a final recommendation and some software manufacturers got burnt by early implementations. With the growing number of existing XML vocabularies, tag names in different DTDs are more and more likely to clash, so a facility for using multiple DTDs for an XML document was needed. XML Namespaces is such a facility that enables the direct association of tag names with a certain DTD and therefore the combination of multiple DTDs. Ambiguities are eliminated by distinguishing between say <person:name> and <product:name>. This also eases the reuse of DTDs... An XML parser is the key building block for every XML application. Sun's parser and XP currently support the XML standard best. IBM's product is at the forefront of implementing new APIs. All of the above-mentioned parsers are good candidates to build your XML applications on, and when you use standard APIs such as SAX or DOM you should be able to swap different implementations in and out without changing a single line of code anyway." For other parser listings, see: (1) Parsers and engines (Lars M. Garshol) and (2) "XML Parsers and Parsing Toolkits."

  • [November 06, 2000] "Roll Your Own XML Editor." [XML@Large.] By Michael Floyd. In WebTechniques (November, 2000), pages 71-75. ['Michael Floyd rolls his own XML editor with a client-side interface and a server-side script.]' "When Tim Berners-Lee developed the concepts behind the World Wide Web, he never envisioned that HTML authors would work directly with the markup language. Instead, he theorized that they would use tools to generate the markup automatically. That, of course, was before the introduction of complex tags, scripting languages, applets, dynamic HTML, and the like. The complexity of these technologies and the control that authors prefer to exercise over their documents has kept them knee deep in code. With XML, it's possible to revisit Berners-Lee's vision. XML simplifies documents by separating presentation and programming logic from content, and that allows authors to focus solely on their data. The data can be marked up with a tool that lets authors retain control over their documents without requiring them to deal with the underlying code. To take the tool concept one step further, I created a Web-based editor that generates and saves fully validated XML documents based on text supplied by authors. While the editor doesn't completely eliminate the need for markup, it greatly simplifies the process. That means content authors can spend more time creating and less time coding."

  • [November 06, 2000] "Waiting on WAP." By Ray Valdés. In WebTechniques (November, 2000), pages 84-87. ['Ray Valdés debunks the false promise of first-mover advantage.'] "WAP features a bunch of design oddities. The WAP protocols try to limit memory consumption on the WAP device by using techniques such as tokenized byte streams, but then burden the WAP device with a proprietary variant of JavaScript. The WTLS security component is tasked with TCP-style segment reassembly. The WTP transport component adds end-user confirmation into data acknowledgement; it also adds a mechanism that resembles RPC-style message invocation/result. The WSP protocol adds state dependency across requests (compared with the stateless HTTP protocol). Some have dismissed these criticisms as "whining" on the part of Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) veterans who are needlessly nitpicking. Nevertheless, there certainly are some aspects to WAP that fall into the what-were-they-thinking category. For example, every WAP phone has its own limit on the amount of WML it will accept (the Nokia 7110 limits a deck to 1397 bytes). However, this size limit applies not to the source text (the WML file on the originating HTTP server), but to the tokenized byte stream sent by the WAP gateway (which is pretty much opaque to the originator of the WML source). Different gateways will produce different results. This variation, combined with variations on WAP devices, ungraceful error recovery, and lack of error messages, will make site designers long for the days when all they had to worry about was cross-browser compatibility. Also, WAP's initial design goal was to enable phone users to browse Internet sites -- in other words, undirected surfing, as opposed to task-oriented services or contextual m-commerce. If you've used these small-screen devices, you'll find the goal seems worthy but impractical. This set of problems can be called the user-experience issue. With the current generation of WAP devices, using a WAP phone to accomplish a common task like making a restaurant reservation is so slow and cumbersome it seems absurd to think that any user would go through the hassle more than once, especially if they realize they can use the phone already in hand to simply call the restaurant and speak with the maitre d'. Creating an effective design that conveys useful information in a minimal device is harder than doing it for an unconstrained device. Even harder is writing a program that will automatically convert or distill information from a traditional rich design on a full-size Web page over to a sparse rendering that's useful on a WAP device. Those optimists who think that XML and XSL can resolve this issue may be in for a shock. Lastly, there's another surprise: The sticker shock really hits you when the first mobile phone bill arrives. Joel Spolsky notes that, when a user's location results in a bad cell phone connection, the phone may end up disconnecting and reconnecting several times in the course of a minute. The user may be billed for the same minute more than once because the phone company rounds each call up to the full minute..." See: "WAP Wireless Markup Language Specification (WML)."

  • [November 06, 2000] "Efficient Business-to-Business Relationships. How Analytics and XML Can Help." By Tim Sloane, Seema Phull, and Ketan Patel. In WebTechniques (November, 2000), pages 51-53. ['As B2B relationships grow exponentially, keeping an eye on your sales process can be difficult. Tim, Seema, and Ketan explain how In-the-Net software can improve your outlook.'] "When the business community adopted the Internet en masse, many believed that there would soon be an infrastructure in place to help facilitate the timely communication of critical information among trading partners. Although it has taken time, we are now beginning to see the initial rollout of that infrastructure in the form of new business-to-business (B2B) commerce chains. This is due in large part to the widespread availability of new XML-based B2B systems. With many of these initial deployments, however, companies are simply 'getting into the game.' They're implementing the basic functions required to share transaction information among their disparate systems. While minimal capability is important for improving efficiency and broadening the field of potential trading partners, it doesn't provide companies with the ability to analyze the effectiveness of their commerce chains. Therefore, they don't have access to the information required to optimize those chains. To make up for lack of access, a new kind of XML analytic capability actually sits in the network, providing trading partners with on-demand visibility into commerce chains. This new type of In-the-Net analytics provides companies with the price, availability, supplier, and product transparency that businesses dreamed would arrive with B2B commerce... Ironically, the very features that make XML ideal as a B2B data standard also make it somewhat problematic for metrics and analytics. The initial rollout of XML B2B systems facilitates the universal exchange of information, but doesn't provide the transparency and on-demand metrics that companies need to make business decisions. XML's flexibility and extensibility actually make it difficult to generate the analytics necessary for measuring the performance of trading partners. While XML facilitates individual transactions between business entities, the analysis across similar transactions, multiple partners, or multiple transactions becomes quite difficult unless a common business language is in place. Recognizing the need for standardization, several organizations -- such as the OAGI, OASIS, RosettaNet, and ebXML -- are defining industry or process-specific versions (or DTDs) of XML. The focus is to define the business 'payload' that's carried by the XML delivery mechanism. One might think that with so many different (and sometimes competing) standards organizations, the future of XML is in jeopardy, because each industry will want to adopt its own DTDs for business documents. However, XML is actually a family of standards. One family member, XSLT, is a transformation language that enables systems to morph one DTD (say, for an invoice for the insurance industry) into another (the standard invoice for the automobile industry). Consequently, even if each industry adopts a different set of DTDs, XSLT ensures that these standards will work together. As different standards are more broadly adopted, the process of mapping transactions to their standardized definitions, and building analytics based on these definitions, makes aggregate analytics possible. In other words, greater standardization makes it increasingly possible for companies to understand their B2B commerce chains..."

  • [November 06, 2000] "The Semantic Web: A Primer." By Edd Dumbill. From (November 01, 2000). ['The question "What is the Semantic Web?" is being asked with increasing frequency. While mainstream media is content with a high level view, XML developers want to know more, and discover the substance behind the vision.'] "The Semantic Web lies at the heart of Tim Berners-Lee's vision for the future of the World Wide Web. Along with others at the W3C Berners-Lee is working on the infrastructure for this next stage of the Web's life. But the question 'What is the Semantic Web?' is being asked with increasing frequency. While mainstream media is content with a high level view, XML developers want to know more, and they want to discover the substance behind the vision. Accusations of fuzziness about the Semantic Web (SW) have been levelled at Berners-Lee, and it is certainly true that he has yet to deliver the long-awaited 'Semantic Web Whitepaper.' However, there are interesting suggestions in his Semantic Web Roadmap text which give details about the direction he wants to go. Furthermore, SW activity at the W3C and MIT/LCS has been increasing in intensity, and community involvement with RDF, a key SW technology, has increased markedly over recent months. In his Roadmap document, Berners-Lee contrasts the Semantic Web with the existing, merely human-readable Web: 'the Semantic Web approach instead develops languages for expressing information in a machine processable form.' This is perhaps the best way of summing up the Semantic Web -- technologies for enabling machines to make more sense of the Web, with the result of making the Web more useful for humans. Given that goal, it's unsurprising that the scope of the Semantic Web vision is somewhat broad and ill-defined. There are many ways to solve the problem and many technologies that can be employed...' For references, see "XML and 'The Semantic Web'."

  • [November 06, 2000] "XML Protocol Technology Reference." By Edd Dumbill. From (November 01, 2000). ['A quick reference to the most important technologies and initiatives in the XML protocols area, with links to specifications, white papers, and developer communities.'] "The use of XML for loosely-coupled application integration has become a high profile topic, crucial as it is for the future conduct of electronic business transactions. This area has seen a proliferation of activity from both consortia and individual vendors. This article gives an overview and essential information about the most important technologies and initiatives in the XML protocol area. Most of these technologies are being developed under the auspices of either a multi-vendor consortium or standards body."

  • [November 06, 2000] "Transforming XML: Combining Stylesheets with Include and Import." By Bob DuCharme. From (November 01, 2000). '[XSLT provides two means of combining multiple stylesheets into one, include and import. This article explores the use of these instructions and shows how they can be used to customize the DocBook XSLT stylesheets.'] "The xsl:include and xsl:import instructions give you ways to incorporate XSLT stylesheets programmatically. There are two situations where this is useful. (1) Large, complex stylesheets, like large complex programs, are easier to maintain when you break them into modules with specific roles to play. In XSLT, the xsl:include and xsl:import instructions let you assemble the pieces. This modular approach also makes it possible to share parts of a stylesheet with other stylesheets that only want certain features and not the whole thing; they can just include or import the parts they need. (2) Customizing an existing stylesheet without actually editing that stylesheet is easy, because you incorporate it, and then separately override any template rules that don't do exactly what you want..." For related resources, see "Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL/XSLT)."

  • [November 06, 2000] "Beyond Middleware and Application Servers. A native XML integration approach accelerates e-business." White paper. From Planet 7 Technologies Corporation. November 06, 2000. "Today's IT departments must do more than ever to keep their organizations competitive: compress business processes, slash transaction costs, and respond nimbly to new threats and opportunities. XML can help achieve these goals. However, underlying enterprise middleware and HTTP-based application server integration technology, even when 'supporting' XML, often limits companies' flexibility and responsiveness. This paper introduces an alternative: native XML internetworking using a software-based, hub-and-router model to provide an integration platform that better meets e-business demands. Native XML integration works equally well as a foundation for new systems, and as an incremental measure to bring existing infrastructure into the growing universe of XML-based data and services."

  • [November 03, 2000] "Using Formatting Objects with the Slides DTD." By Paul Sandoz (Sun Microsystems XML Technology Center, Dublin). From Sun XML Developer Connection. November, 2000. "This article presents the features of Formatting Objects (FO) as they are applied when transforming slide XML files (validated using the Slides DTD) to FO. The features correspond to the features supported by the current version of the Apache FO-to-PDF project (FOP). With the XSLT stylesheet applied to the slide XML files, the generation of FO is transformed into PDF using FOP. A slide presentation can then be printed or displayed using a PDF viewer, such as Adobe Acrobat. The FO stylesheet may be used in conjunction with the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) stylesheet such that presentations are displayed using SVG and printed using FO. They complement each other because SVG is visually more detailed, for example background styles, where as FO is less so, which makes it suitable for printing. Both stylesheets follow similar transformation logic. This article presents a practical introduction to using FO and FOP. The details of XSL transformations (XSLT) will be kept to a minimum... Formatting Objects (FO) are part of the Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) specification, which also includes the language to transform XML documents (XSLT). FO may consist of inline-level objects such as characters that are grouped into lines that are grouped into block-level objects such as paragraphs. In Western writing systems, the block-level progression of the objects is from top to bottom and the inline-level is from left to right. Some properties applied to objects are defined in relative spatial terms which do not assume a particular locale layout... FOP is a print formatter driven by formatting objects which transforms formatted objects, collectively known as a formatting object tree, into a PDF document. FOP is part of Apache's XML project and is written in Java[tm]. The current FOP version is 0.14, as of writing, and is in its early stages of development. However, many formatting object features have been implemented and it has proved a very effective and reliable tool for generating PDF documents for slide presentations. The FO slide kit makes use of the majority of the FOP supported FO features, and on the whole, when used within the documented limitations, provides good and consistent PDF output. One very important feature not directly related to formatted objects is support for Scalar Vector Graphics (SVG). Formatted objects allow for the inclusion of in-stream foreign objects. SVG may be embedded in the formatted object tree and FOP will transform the SVG into PDF. The FO slide kit makes use of this feature such that presentations can incorporate SVG graphics in the same manner as the SVG slide kit..."

  • [November 03, 2000] "Online Polling with XML." By Chris Eastwood. From EarthWeb (October 21, 2000). ['Want to add polling to your Web site? Eastwood shows how to develop an extendible online poll application using XML, XSL, and Active Server Pages.'] "In a previous article, I demonstrated how to create a simple guest book application using XML and XSL. This time I'll be showing how you can develop an extendible online poll application for a Web site using the same technologies, but this time with increased use of XSL processing. Most large Web sites have a poll of some kind. It is a way of gathering information from the viewer on subjects relevant to the site. Usually, online polls adhere to the following rules: (1) They consist of a single question; (2) They offer several answers -- only one of which can be chosen; (3) They allow only one vote per user; (4) They provide a means of viewing the results. By analysing these rules, we can start to see an XML document structure appear. A poll always consists of a single question and a set of possible answers. This can easily be represented in XML by a simple XML fragment...

  • [November 02, 2000] "Customer Profile Exchange (CPExchange) Specification." Edited by Kathy Bohrer and Bobby Holland. October 20, 2000. Version 1.0. 127 pages. 'APPENDIX B' supplies the XML DTDS. "This document presents the Customer Profile Exchange (CPExchange) specification for the privacy-enabled global exchange of customer profile information. It uses the Extensible Markup Language (XML) to format messages transmitted under standard Internet protocols. This specification includes a Customer Information model and a Privacy Information model. Future versions of this specification will include an Operations Information model. The information models contained in this specification facilitate customer profile transport. The models include the metadata that associates data protection (privacy) to customer profiles. A future version will define operations for query, delivery and update of the customer profile information. The specification builds on the W3C XML Schema and the W3C P3P specifications. . . P3P supports a limited set of characteristics defining a Web visitor, with an extensibility mechanism. P3P uses Resource Description Framework (RDF) XML as its interchange format. CPExchange will provide a mapping between its information elements and P3P's data schema. A subset of P3P's specification of privacy levels and policies is used to specify the desired privacy handling of CPExchange data being transferred. The objects and attributes of a CPExchange message payload are described informally in this document with Unified Modeling Language (UML) object model diagrams. The UML object diagrams capture the information and relationships that are then represented in XML format according to the CPEXML DTDs. UML class diagrams capture the object types (classes), their attributes, the attribute types, and relationships between classes. The Customer Profile Exchange (CPExchange) specification is a new standard that takes into account the traditional customer-facing facets of an enterprise, such as customer support, call centers, sales tracking, marketing campaigns and order tracking. This standard builds common ground with emerging web-based Internet Relationship Management (IRM) and Enterprise Relationship Management (ERM) approaches to online business, decision support, and personalisation. The CPExchange specification is a standard that will facilitate the privacy-enabled exchange of customer profile information. The CPExchange specification defines a data model for profile information that relates a customer or other business partner, to an enterprise. The CPExchange specification also defines metadata for associating privacy controls with various subsets of the profile information, as well as operations for query, delivery, and update of this information. This information is represented in Extensible Markup Language (XML), which can be exchanged through messages. The CPExchange specification is intended to support enterprise-wide architectures in which many applications use and update information relating to a customer. This specification differs from enterprise frameworks such as Active Directory Services Interface (ADSI), Java Naming and Directory Interface (JNDI), and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)." See "CPExchange Network." See "CPExchange Network." [cache]

  • [November 02, 2000] "More than 20 B2B vendors show support for open XML standards." By [Staff]. In eCOMMERCE BUSINESS (November 02, 2000). ['More than 20 B2B vendors show support for open XML standards In a largely cooperative demonstration, but mixed with some bias chest-pounding, more than 20 technology providers today showed how their best real-time business-to-business technologies can work together. The joint effort was in response to a challenge by Ford Motor Co., Lucent and Lockheed Martin.'] "In a largely cooperative demonstration, but mixed with some bias chest-pounding, more than 20 technology providers today showed how their best real-time business-to-business technologies can work together. The joint effort was in response to a challenge by Ford Motor Co., Lucent and Lockheed Martin. The Cambridge, Mass. event -- sponsored by Open Applications Group, Inc. (OAGI) and hosted by Canopy International Inc. -- involved three e-business scenarios demonstrating how new, non-proprietary, XML-based standards can facilitate complex, extensive, multi-party e-business relationships. The scenarios focused primarily on e-procurement, but also involved interfaces with legacy systems and functions, including ERP and PDM systems, supply-chain monitoring and control systems, and warehouse management systems. All used OAGI's open standards-based XML Business Object Documents (BODs) for all communication throughout each process, making them virtually 'hands free.' OAGI is a non-profit consortium focusing on best practices and process based XML content for e-business and application integration. It is believed to be the largest publisher of XML based content for business software interoperability in the world. In the first scenario, a Ford engine plant was able to manage routine and emergency, alternative non-production MRO purchasing in a highly automated environment that involves a warehouse management system deployed in a facility operated by a third-party logistics provider. In the second scenario, a customer order triggered fulfillment activity within Lucent's manufactured stock system and automatically creates a new purchase order to suppliers further up in the supply chain as a direct response to the original customer order. The third scenario, presented by Lockheed Martin, illustrated conceptually how a manufacturer might use BOD-enabled communication to support PDM and ERP interoperability and institute flexible pricing on the fly. The demonstrations were built around 12 Business Object Documents and a set of standardized XML schema, both issued by OAGI. A BOD defines a given business process, which may include multiple transactions between various companies. Issuing a purchase order is an example of such a process." See "Open Applications Group."

  • [November 02, 2000] "XML Moving Beyond Geekdom." In iT News (November 02, 2000). ['As the seventh annual Asia Pacific XML conference draws to a close, organisers are hailing it a roaring success with record numbers of punters trying to understand what the language can do for them.'] "Billed as the next frontier in digital publishing, interest in the complex eXtensible Markup Language has grown rapidly over the past two years as major tool vendors like Adobe and Quark start to implement the kind of cross media publishing capabilities that XML affords users. Essentially XML allows users to share and syndicate data between publishing properties like Web and print. This year's Asia Pacific XML conference drew 370 registered attendees -- more than double the previous year, with conference sessions at Sydney's Hilton Hotel spilling out the doors. 'The timing of the event has been perfect in capitalising on the buzz surrounding XML,' said conference organiser Nick Carr, who also heads up Allette Systems, a company responsible for the majority of XML work in Government and legal publishing in Australia..."

  • [November 02, 2000] "XML Gains Momentum in Financial Services Industry. Standards continue to proliferate." By Maria Trombly. In ComputerWorld (October 30, 2000). "Yet another XML-based standard has been added to the library of protocols being developed for financial services. Research Information Exchange Markup Language (RIXML) promises to make it easier for investors to share data about companies. A draft of the specification is expected within the next four months. RIXML is backed by a number of industry powerhouses, meaning it will be an open standard rather than one that draws upon a particular vendor's technology. RIXML's supporters include Goldman, Sachs & Co., J.P. Morgan & Co., Merrill Lynch & Co., Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. and PaineWebber Inc. 'We would expect people to be doing pilots in the first half of next year,' said RIXML steering committee co-chairman Joseph Sommer, who is also director of U.S. electronic trading and connectivity services at Jersey City, N.J.-based DLJdirect Inc. A comment period will follow the draft release. Sharing Research RIXML would allow companies to share data by ensuring that their research reports all use the same electronic format so they can be easily published on the Web, on wireless devices or in paper formats. RIXML is the latest of a large number of XML-based standards that promises to revolutionize the way Wall Street firms and investors make trades and exchange information. RIXML is a research-oriented standard. Other standards, such as Financial Information Exchange Markup Language, deal with processing trades. RIXML steering committee members said they don't think other upcoming information technology initiatives, such as the switch to next-day processing of trades (T+1) from the current third-day standard and the decimalization of stock prices, will hinder RIXML implementation..." See: "Research Information Exchange Markup Language (RIXML)."

  • [November 01, 2000] "The Open Hyperdocument System. An Open System for Collaborative Knowledge Work." By Principal Investigator Douglas C. Engelbart; Co-Investigators: Lee A. Iverson, Eugene Eric Kim, Patrick D. Lincoln. Submitted to NASA Ames: July 13, 2000. "We propose an open evolutionary approach to increasing the collective ability of groups of people to address complex urgent problems, through the construction of an Open Hyperdocument System. The most important aspect of any collaboration is the sharing and management of knowledge. There are two opportunities for enhancing knowledge management in an enterprise such as NASA. First is improving operations. At a minimum, this entails managing the highly iterative and dynamic flow of specifications and design information between an organization and its many suppliers and clients. Second is the enhancement of NASA's main mission, which is scientific exploration and discovery. Innovations in these areas require the ability to manage enormous amounts of data, make it available to others, and generate knowledge while maintaining the associations with that data... The Open Hyperdocument System will provide hyperlinking capabilities that enable sophisticated and desirable features such as annotations and granular addressability. These capabilities will be built on top of existing and evolving open standards, such as the W3C's XLink and XPointer specifications. Standards such as XLink and XPointer apply only to documents constructed in eXtensible Markup Language (XML). However, the vast majority of documents are not constructed in XML, but in a wide variety of formats, such as plain text, Microsoft Word, and PDF. For a knowledge management system to be truly useful, it must extend the capability of legacy document formats to support hyperlinking and addressability. By automatically translating documents into an intermediate XML format without modifying the original document, the Open Hyperdocument System will support linking to and from legacy document formats. For example, editors will be able to annotate an article by linking their comments to Microsoft Word documents submitted by the author. Product managers will be able to link software requirements documents to related e-mail discussion threads, use cases, class diagrams, and even source code. An extremely flexible and usable user interface is a crucial component to the system. Not only will it improve users' abilities to access information, it will help compel people to record their knowledge, one of the most significant problems in knowledge management. The Open Hyperdocument System will support customizable views for documents. For example, when viewing an article, you can have the system show the entire document or only the first sentence of each paragraph. Comments and responses to the article can be viewed as links to separate documents, or they can be displayed within the article itself. Views can be generated for different types of devices, from large CRT monitors to braille machines for the sight impaired. In addition, the Open Hyperdocument System offers an integrated editing and viewing system." Note: a project XML DTD for email. [cache]

  • [November 01, 2000] "Getting Comfortable with the DocBook XML Dialect. [XML Matters #4.]" By David Mertz, Ph.D. (Archivist, Gnosis Software, Inc.). From IBM DeveloperWorks. October 2000. ['This column continues the discussion of the benefits of using DocBook to convert documents in heterogeneous formats to a single, standard XML format. It also looks at some DocBook tags in greater detail and discusses how to compose a basic DocBook document.'] "If your document archives are like mine, they contain files in every format from Microsoft Word 3.3 to HTML to Word Perfect 7 to ASCII text. Often, you can't even obtain the software you used to create the original documents. Fortunately DocBook, an SGML dialect for creating all-purpose technical documents, can help you move your files into a single, standard XML format. In this column, I'll explain how to use the XML version of the DocBook DTD to convert an existing document. DocBook is a rather complex DTD with hundreds of elements. Fortunately you don't need to know all of DocBook to work with it. As you'll see, the basic elements are arranged logically, and most elements follow similar patterns for nesting child elements..." See "DocBook XML DTD."

  • [November 01, 2000] "The Tao of e-business services. The evolution of Web applications into service-oriented components with Web services." By Steve Burbeck, Ph.D. (Emerging Technologies, IBM Software Group). From IBM DeveloperWorks. October 2000. "The concept of Web services is the beginning of a new service-oriented architecture in building better software applications. The change from an object-oriented system to a service-oriented one is an evolutionary idea that sublimated from the global Internet and Web system. To understand how to build Web Services into your computing architecture, you need to carefully understand the role they play. This artcle details the software engineering concepts behind the Web Services architecture, how it has evolved, how it is structured, and how it can be brought into your existing computing infrastructure e-business services are loosely-coupled computing tasks communicating over the Internet that play a growing part in business-to-business (B2B) interactions. Companies are enclosing traditional computing tasks, such as database access or commercial transaction systems, in wrappers as software services to connect them to the Internet at a rapid pace. At the same time, companies are also introducing new tasks, such as computerized auctions and e-marketplaces, as business services. Simply put, e-business will be based on a service-oriented model. We argue that to work easily, flexibly, and well together, services must be based on shared organizing principles that constitute a service-oriented architecture (SOA), the architectural concept behind Web services. We reserve the term service-oriented for architectures that focus on how services are described and organized to support their dynamic, automated discovery and use. We do not address systems based on manually hardwired interactions, such as those used in EDI systems. For dynamic automated discovery of appropriate services to be practical, the collection of available services must be organized into computer-accessible, hierarchical categories, or taxonomies, based upon what the services in each category do and how they can be invoked. We believe that these taxonomies will be maintained and made available by categorization services, or brokers, analogous to Yahoo! or Netscape Open Directory. If the growth of Yahoo is an example, the provision of category servers will be a business opportunity in itself. Thus we expect B2B entrepreneurs to provide categorization services for various types of B2B services and other various industries. Each component in a service-oriented architecture can play one (or more) of three roles..." Also in PDF format.

  • [November 01, 2000] "Dublin Core: Building Blocks for the Semantic Web. Simplicity and Utility are Keys to the Future of the Web. [An Introduction to Dublin Core.]" By Eric Miller and Stuart Weibel. From (October 25, 2000). ['You may have heard of the Dublin Core metadata element set before, but who is behind it, and what do they want to achieve? The leaders of the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative explain what they do and where they're headed.'] "The Dublin Core Metadata Element Set (DCMES) can be viewed as the common semantic building block of Web metadata. Its 15 broad categories (elements) are useful for creating simple, easy-to-understand descriptions for most information resources. Most communities need additional semantics to fully describe their resources, however. So, just as simple Lego blocks can be combined to form complex structures, various modules of metadata can be combined to form more complex descriptions. The DCMES is the basic block, but other chunks of metadata can be combined with it to form richer descriptions. The basic element set is intended to capture most of the fundamental descriptive categories necessary to promote effective search and retrieval. Additional building blocks can be created to provide modular chunks of metadata that can be built into richer descriptions for information resources. So, just as Lego blocks of various shapes can be snapped together to form undersea exploration themes, or recombined to create spaceships or medieval castles, chunks of metadata can be combined and recombined to meet the functional requirements of different applications. The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative provides a forum for the definition of semantics, both for a general description core and for subject-specific extensions. How can these vocabularies be integrated into a functional architecture? Dublin Core metadata can be carried in HTML, XML, and RDF. The latter, the Resource Description Framework, builds on the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) effort to design an architecture for metadata on the Web. RDF supports many different metadata needs of vendors and information providers. If Dublin Core Metadata Element Set can be thought of as a Lego that is common to many sets, RDF is the engineering standard that enables that satisfying click when the blocks are snapped together. RDF is part of an infrastructure that will support the combination of Dublin Core modules into larger, more expressive metadata structures that will work with one another. Further, applications should be able to mix metadata from other semantic standards expressed in RDF as well. Just as different Lego sets express undersea, outer space or medieval castle themes, RDF can enable snapping together modules that support metadata themes for education, government, or commercial purposes, all working together in the same architecture..." See: "Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI)."

  • [November 01, 2000] "Dublin Core in the Wild." By Rael Dornfest and Dale Dougherty. From (October 25, 2000). ['The recent Dublin Core Metadata Initiative meeting provided an opportunity for O'Reilly Network to discover more about Dublin Core and to explore its relationship with RSS.'] "The eighth meeting of the The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) was held October 4-6 at the National Library of Canada in Ottawa, Canada. Bringing together about 150 participants from 20 countries, DC8 was as much about focusing the future work of this group as it was an opportunity to educate newcomers like us on the work that had already been accomplished. We were there to explore the relationship between RSS and Dublin Core. The Director of DCMI, Stu Weibel of Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), got things started. Weibel was not the only one to mention that the DCMI are a passionate group -- stemming from their conviction that metadata is the key to improving the state of the Web as an information resource. Weibel explained that DCMI started in 1994 at the 2nd World Wide Web Conference, held in Chicago. Its name comes from Dublin, Ohio, home of OCLC, a library computing consortium. The original mission of DCMI was to improve resource discovery on the Web by establishing a minimal set of metadata constructs, and Weibel reaffirmed that mission in his opening talk. He said that DCMI has become an "open consensus-building initiative" dedicated to improving the ways users find things on the Web. While recognizing that DCMI is not the only group working on metadata standardization, Weibel noted that DCMI's approach has always been interdisciplinary, and its focus remains fixed on the Web..." See: "Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI)."

  • [November 01, 2000] "XML Q&A: Displaying XML in Internet Explorer." By John E. Simpson. From (October 25, 2000). ['One of the most common questions we get asked is how to display XML in Internet Explorer 5. John E Simpson delivers the definitive answer.'] Before considering some ideas to unravel your confusion, you need to understand one very important thing about Internet Explorer 5.0. The "XSL processor" built into it is not compliant with the final XSLT Recommendation. To bring it up to speed, you need to install the very latest of a series of so-called preview releases of a component, msxml.dll, available from the Microsoft site at By common consensus on the XSL-List mailing list, the very best source of information on how to install this correctly is Joshua Allen's Unofficial MSXML XSLT FAQ

  • [November 01, 2000] "XML-Deviant: Of Standards and Standard Makers." By Leigh Dodds. From (October 25, 2000). ['The debate over who makes XML standards and how they are made rumbles on. This week the XML-Deviant examines the W3C and asks whether its Semantic Web initiative informs or hinders comprehension of their mission.'] "...So what has this latest debate achieved? Pessimists might argue that it has achieved very little -- the same debates have been rehashed, and there is not much sign that anyone at the W3C has taken notice. Criticism of the W3C aside, many of the suggestions highlight activities which could be taken on by other organizations. The development of test suites is taking place already under the auspices of OASIS. Conformance testing and assigning a seal of approval could be managed by an open, community-driven organization..." On 'Semantic Web', see "XML and 'The Semantic Web'."

  • [November 01, 2000] "A Lingua Franca for Net Data?" By Michael Molinski. In BusinessWeek Online (October 31, 2000). "Some big players are betting that XML will be the key language for Web info and that DataChannel will have the edge in that arena General Motors, AT&T, MetLife, and Bank of America are loyal customers. The list of investors reads like a Who's Who of global capitalism: Cisco, IBM, Deloitte Consulting, and Deutsche Bank. The company? DataChannel Inc. Data who? DataChannel may not be a household name in the world of high tech, but thanks to the Bellevue company and others like it, people don't have to know how to code XML when sending information over the Web. They don't even have to know that XML, or extensible markup language, is fast becoming the new language of the Internet -- allowing for an easy exchange of data, as HTML allows for the fixed display of info on the Web. Both languages use pointed brackets around codes that identify data so the computer knows what it's reading. By coding data this way, an XML-based site allows anyone who logs on to not only access and read data but also change it. 'So many portals just bring you information,' says Kate Fessenden, a research analyst at Boston-based Aberdeen Group. 'Yahoo!, Mindspring, Northern Light -- you send in a query to any of them and you get an answer, but you can't do anything with it but read it or print it. If you go in through a DataChannel portal and get information on, say, a purchase order, you can adjust it and respond to it and put it back in the system in a changed way.' A production manager, for example, might call up a list of widgets that are ready for shipping and send it to a sales manager, who could then alter the list based on demand from clients and forward it to the distribution manager. It all happens without the usual problems that crop up when transferring data from one computing program to another. For example, since different programs read different data formats, when sending info to a co-worker, you might have to copy and paste it into another program to allow him or her to open it. XML bypasses that difficulty, making the same data available to everyone in the same format...'

  • [November 01, 2000] "Transforming XML. XSLT makes working with XML even easier." By Danielle Anthony and Bryan Formidoni. [Webmaster column.] In SunWorld Online (October 27, 2000). "XML is a cakewalk, and, to anyone who's comfortable with HTML and just has a tad of recursive programming experience, XSLT is just as approachable. The problem is that there are three types of developers, and a successful technology has to be accepted by all three. The first type of developer is the early adopter with the computers-can-do-anything attitude. Second is the reluctant adopter, the one with the well-if-they-did-it-I-guess-I-could-do-it-too attitude. The third is the future manager with the I'm-leaving-at-5-and-don't-care-what-needs-to-be-completed attitude. We're somewhere between the first and the second type, depending on if we've had enough coffee. But we're here to tell you that we've seen the light, that it can be represented in XML, and that it can be transformed into knowledge using XSLT..."

October 2000

  • [October 31, 2000] "Microsoft Polishes XML Parser." By Tom Sullivan. In InfoWorld (October 31, 2000). "Microsoft finished off the third incarnation of its XML parser, now known as MSXML3 on Tuesday. The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant is calling this version 'fully-supported,' citing the company's changed development process and the product's availability for download as reasons not to label it as RTM (released to manufacturing) or a final version. MSXML3, a programming component that implements core XML standards and provides XML services to applications, is currently available for download from Microsoft's Web site. This latest version supports new standards, including XSLT (Extensible Style Language Transformations), XML Path Language (XPath) and Simple API for XML (SAX2). During development, Microsoft looked at the most common ways people are expected to use the parser, and added new features to meet those needs, according to David Turner, product manager and technical evangelist for XML technologies at Microsoft. As a result, Microsoft added an HTTP service that enables server-to-server communication, and caching for XDR (External Data Representations) schemas, XSLT Style sheets, and XPath queries. Turner said that caching improves the parser's performance between 75 percent and 200 percent, depending on the way it is used. Microsoft first released an XML parser in 1997 with Internet Explorer (IE) 4.0, then updated it with the 1999 release of IE 5.0. The company also added minor updates upon completing Windows 2000." See the announcement" "Companies Adopt New Microsoft XML Parser For Mission-Critical Applications. Microsoft's Latest XML Parser Enables Customers to Create Solutions That Embrace XML for Open Data Exchange and Communication."

  • [October 30, 2000] "From Bits to Brackets. Data binding from XML to Java, Part 4." By Brett McLaughlin (Enhydra Strategist, Lutris Technologies). October 2000. From IBM DevelopweWorks. ['The final installment of this four-part data-binding series completes the set of binding classes with a look at the process of marshalling Java objects into an XML representation using the in-progress JSR-031, also known as Adelard. This installment examines the code needed to perform this action, and considers how this code relates to the Java classes that were examined in previous installments. Finally, this latest portion of data-binding code is put into action using a practical example.'] " In the most recent installment of this series, I showed how to take an XML document and convert it to a Java representation. The key to this transformation is the XML schema that the XML document conforms to. The schema does more than ensure that constraints are enforced. It allows the SchemaMapper to be used to generate Java classes; then our XML document can be unmarshalled to an instance of one of those classes. In other words, this system didn't need only an XML document; the Java class that the document would become an instance of not only had to exist already but had to be in the system's class path. When marshalling Java instances, the situation is a bit different. First, the Unmarshaller class didn't store information about the XML schema we used in the Java instance we created. So, an instance of a Java class created from an XML document has no distinguishing qualities from any other Java class. At first this would seem to be a problem. Won't the classes have to do more work to get the instance back into XML? The answer is yes. The result is a good one, however: The classes that are unmarshalled from XML are totally independent of that XML document. This gives you several advantages: (1) The Java instance can be marshalled back into a different XML document. (2) The marshalling code doesn't depend on locating an XML schema or XML document. (3) Using reflection and other Java methods on this Java instance does not result in unexpected fields or methods. While the first two points are probably pretty obvious, the third may not be. [...] The next time you write a configuration file, parse an XML document, or convert from Java to persistent storage, consider whether data binding may make your job easier or more effective. One final note: While the series has come to an end, you should not think that the code's evolution has. This code, as mentioned in the text, is going into the Enhydra application server framework. By the time you read this article, the Enhydra site should have links to the company's FTP server for contributions, where this code will reside. It will be maintained, enhanced, and generally poked and prodded until it is ready to go into the actual Enhydra application server." See also: [1] - how data binding works to convert XML to Java; [2] - generate interfaces and implementations from the XML schema; [3] - from text to byte code: Data binding from XML to Java.

  • [October 30, 2000] "XML-Encryption Requirements." By Joseph Reagle (W3C). Draft 2000-October-06. "This is rough draft intended to start discussion in preparation of the XML Encryption Workshop. This document has no standing whatsoever. [Represents] the author's attempt to show requirements and alternatives within the scope already out-line in the XML-Encryption Call for Proposal. Furthermore, it may include things that are not well stated, as well as provocative or contrary positions (or alternative wordings) in order to elicit review and discussion. It's roughly based on the authors understanding of Imamura, SL [strawman], C2000 [Crypto 2000 XML Encryption BoF] and other discussion and proposals, though my characterizations may be in error. Positions which are potentially in conflict are specified as a list of lettered points..." See: "XML and Encryption." [cache]

  • [October 30, 2000] "CSS 2 Tutorial." By Miloslav Nic. "In this tutorial CSS 2 stylesheets are applied on XML documents. The text is written in pure HTML and can be therefore displayed in any browser. Each example contains one or more xml sources which can be displayed (and formatted) with CSS when the link View output is clicked on. You can start from the Example 1, from the Contents, which contains descriptions of individual examples, or from Index which lists all used properties in the stylesheets with links to individual examples. You can find complete CSS 1 reference as a useful companion to this tutorial. We plan to produce CSS 2 reference in the future. This reference has been developed for Zvon, where you can find other not only XML related materials (both basic and advanced tutorials about XSLT, XML, DTD, Mozilla, CSS, regular expressions, ...)" With an index to all CSS2 properties used in the tutorial. For related references, see "W3C Cascading Style Sheets."

  • [October 30, 2000] XSL Spec of 18-Oct-2000 self-formatted. "This page presents XSL Working Draft of October 18, 2000, formatted as an XSL Formatting Objects document conformant to this same draft. The document has been prepared by the RenderX development team as a contribution to XSL Formatting Objects community." And the related message from Nikolai Grigoriev: We at RenderX have prepared an early XSL FO version of the last XSL Working Draft, (presumably) conformant to this same draft. It can be found at, with an example of its formatting by XEP. Please excuse defects in the PDF version - this version of XEP is still under testing. We hope that the XSL Spec may be useful as a maxi-testcase for XSL FO formatters. Any comments/suggestions are welcome. I would be particularly glad to hear opinions about the conformance; I have had nothing but a homegrown DTD to control it..." FO [cache]; PDF [cache]. See "Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL/XSLT)."

  • [October 27, 2000] Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL). Version 0.7. 2000-10-13. 27 pages. Edited by Renato Iannella. ['ODRL will be standardised via an appropriate, open, and non-competitive organisation with an open process for the future maintenance of the standard.'] "Digital Rights Management (DRM) involves the description, layering, analysis, valuation, trading and monitoring of the rights over an enterprise's assets; both in physical and digital form; and of tangible and intangible value. DRM covers the digital management of rights -- be they rights in a physical manifestation of a work (e.g., a book), or be they rights in a digital manifestation of a work (e.g., an ebook). Current methods of managing, trading and protecting such assets are inefficient, proprietary, or else often require the information to be wrapped or embedded in a physical format. Current Rights management technologies include languages for describing the terms and conditions, tracking asset usages by enforcing controlled environments or encoded asset manifestations, and closed architectures for the overall management of rights. The Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL) provides the semantics for DRM in open and trusted environments whilst being agnostic to mechanisms to achieve the secure architectures... The ODRL model is based on an analysis and survey of sector specific requirements (models and semantics), and as such, aims to be compatible with a broad community base. ODRL aims to meet the common requirements for many sectors and has been influenced by the ongoing work and specifications/models of the following groups: (1) <indecs>, (2) Electronic Book Exchange, (3) IFLA, (4) DOI Foundation, (5) ONIX, (6) MPEG, (7) IMS, (8) Dublin Core Metadata Initiative. ODRL proposes to be compatible with the above groups by defining an independent and extensible set of semantics. . . ODRL is based on a simple, yet extensible, model for rights management which involves the clear separation of Parties, Assets, and Rights descriptions. ODRL can be expressed in XML; see the XML DTD in Appendix A and XML Schema [placeholder] in Appendix B for formal definitions. However, it is also conceivable that ODRL could be expressed in other syntaxes. ODRL is XML Namespace aware as its primary target is use with other content description and management systems. The ODRL XML Namespace URI for this version (0.7) is: The final Version 1.0 ODRL XML Namespace URI will be ODRL uses XML XLink to refer from XML fragments to other fragments. This is used to express the relationship between the core ODRL entities such as Asset, Reward, and Usage. Such elements can be identified with the standard ID attribute then referred to via XLink's href attribute." XML (pseudo-syntax) instances are provided to illustrate several key models in the architecture, including the ODRL Foundation Model, the ODRL Usage Model, the ODRL Constraint Model, the ODRL Narrow Model, the ODRL Rewards Model, the ODRL Administration Model, etc. See the extracted XML DTD. See "Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL)." [cache]

  • [October 27, 2000] "Mad Scramble for Mindshare In Digital Rights Management. [Digital Rights Management: Peacekeepers Needed.]" By Mark Walter and Mike Letts. In The Seybold Report on Internet Publishing Volume 5, Number 2 (October 2000), pages 9-15. Feature article, Special Report: SSF 2000. ['DRM vendors are scrambling for market share even as standards are developed. Why does DRM matter? Hoping that DRM exhibitors at Seybold San Francisco 2000 would offer some answers on how to protect their digital content, it's likely that many publishers walked away more confused than ever. Although DRM was a hot topic at this year's West Coast event, attendees found themselves in the midst of a bazaar of incompatible choices made worse by the confusing number of multi-faceted vendors eager to establish their names. As one vendor put it: "The action on the show floor isn't really between vendor and customer, it's between vendor and vendor." For those seeking answers, we offer our latest status report.]' "These are complicated but exciting times for the book publishing industry. Traditionally the laggards of technology adoption, book publishers find themselves at the nexis of an important development in the evolution of digital media: color the rise of e-books and other offline digital media players. The current generation of DRM tools are being tested for e-books, but many of them can be easily adapted to other digital media, including music and video. Essential ingredients. For those still unsure as to exactly what DRM technologies do, here's a quick summary of the basic components: (1) Encryption: encryption is based on algorithms that are published and not patentable; (2) Authentication: a DRM system will verify that a document is an authentic, unaltered copy of the original work; (3) Enforcement of rights [...] Some progress has been made. The Association of American Publishers has set up three subcommittees that are defining common vocabulary and metadata, as well as painting some typical scenarios. This summer the Open E-Book Forum formed a DRM committee [Digital Rights Management Strategy Working Group], which issued a draft 'Framework for the Epublishing Ecology' to foster discussion. At the same time, the EBX working group, which is writing a protocol for digital exchange of e-books, is considering its options for how rights are expressed. By late September, the OEB Forum and the EBX Working Group were discussing how they might cooperate and minimize duplicating efforts. . . The most promising candidate thus far to define such standards is the Electronic Book Exchange (EBX) Working Group. Founded by Glassbook but now operating under the auspices of the Book Industry Study Group, the EBX committee is developing a protocol for transmitting secure, copy-protected e-books among publishers, distributors, retailers, libraries and consumers. The hope is that a single, open standard that is independent of data format and viewing software will help grow the e-book business by laying the groundwork for communication among disparate software systems. One of the knottier issues still facing the group is how far to extend the scope of licensing rights that are defined within EBX. The current draft covers a variety of usage terms and conditions, but it is by no means exhaustive. As it strives to nail down the language and syntax of its rights-definition component, the EBX group is considering two rights-definition languages that have more depth than the current EBX draft. The first is XrML (Extensible Rights Management Language), owned by ContentGuard, the rights-management software company spun off from Xerox earlier this year. The second is the Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL), developed by IPR Systems of Australia. The third option the group will consider is writing its own rights specification, which would likely be a subset of what XrML and ODRL handle." For DRM references, see (1) Extensible Rights Markup Language (XrML); (2) Digital Property Rights Language (DPRL); (3) "Electronic Book Exchange (EBX) Working Group."; (4) Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL); (5) Open eBook Initiative.

  • [October 27, 2000] "Digital Rights Management: It's Time to Pay Attention." By David R. Guenette. In The Gilbane Report on Open Information & Document Systems Volume 8, Number 5 (July 2000), pages 1-11. "Whether or not a DRM solution exercises control by way of ongoing server-client connection or in a network independent way has significant consequences for the user environment. At one end of this axis is DRM that requires a constant connection between the client (e.g., the PC through which the content is being used) and the server that monitors the use of the content and enforces the rules (e.g., display but do not copy) associated with the content. Authentica's PageVault, for example, requires a specific server to present and control what happens to the documents. . . A variant of the persistent server connection for some DRM solutions is the serving of content from a specific site from 'online library' services, such as netLibrary ( and Ebrary ( These services offer electronic publishers DRM-enabled vending of their content. The sophistication of the DRM itself is low in these services, offering not much more than copy protection at a gross document granularity level for purchase options due to the reliance on PDF as the content format. . . There's a huge difference between a DRM solution that manages PDF Merchant transactions and a DRM solution that can be applied to any kind and any part of digital content. If a publisher only intends to market individually priced PDF documents these differences aren't going to be important, but PDF can easily prove too clumsy if the documents are complex and composed of elements that can carry their own distinct value to different customers...There are other unresolved issues, including the importance of standards. ContentGuard has fired its salvo with XrML, with InterTrust answering back with OpenRights. If ContentGuard's XrML does what it sets out to do, which is to serve as the open basis for DRM interoperability, then InterTrust should easily enough be able to interoperate with it. With the advent of XML as the general tagging scheme for content fed into databases that support content management, the issues of DRM standards may be largely moot. There is relatively little additional work to perform to map XML elements to associated business rules (such as access, price, and usage) to make XML-based DRM solutions work with content management systems. Syndication and DRM seem a natural fit, too, although standards would presumably play a central role. Initiatives like ICE, which serve content 'payloads' in a conforming manner into content management systems don't define the content itself, and DRM-enabled content could be as easily sent as any other. The biggest problem with syndication has always been on the serving end, and the question to pursue is whether applications like Vignette's StoryServer or Kinecta's Interact will avail themselves of DRM components to strengthen their business model offerings. Unfortunately, with DRM solutions based on proprietary and persistent server-client relationships, the challenges of executing syndication for the subscribers get more complicated, not simpler, especially without a DRM interchange standard in place. As for now, only DRM solutions that support the concept of peer-to-peer superdistribution can play a role in syndication, but without ties to syndication-specific applications this capability remains more theoretical than practical. Still, it seems only a matter of time, especially given the raison d'jtre of syndication to maintain control over the distribution and use of digital assets, while simplifying and streamlining the receipt and deployment of those digital assets. DRM helps and expands on syndication, just as it helps and expands access and control and tracking for content management."

  • [October 27, 2000] Requirements for Digital-Right Trading By Ko Fujimura (NTT Corporation). IETF Internet Draft. 'draft-ietf-trade-drt-requirements-00.txt'. "In purchase and other trading transactions, it is often required to credit loyalty points, collect digital coupons or gift certificates, and so on. The IETF Trade Working Group is investigating how these activities can be generalized using the concept of a 'digital-right', which is a digital representation of the right to claim goods or services. This document contains the requirements in the following areas: (1) The digital rights trading model; (2) The language to describe diverse types of digital rights. This document presents the terminology, digital-right trading model, general requirements on Digital Right Trading System (DRTS), and the detail requirements of the Digital-Right Definition Language (DRDL), in which diverse types of rights can be described. Along with the Digital-Right Trading Protocol (DRTP), it enables companies or individuals to freely issue, transfer, and redeem various types of digital rights via the Internet using a specification- compliant DRTS. This document does not include protocol-related requirements, which will be presented in a separate document. To achieve consistency with other related standards shown below, the syntax of the language [DRDL] MUST be based on XML..." Details: "There are three types of participants in the digital-right trading model: issuer, holder, and collector. Their roles are as follows: (1) Issuer: Creates and issues a digital-right (2) Holder: Transfers and redeems the digital-right (3) Collector (or examiner): Collects the digital-right. The IOTP model includes merchant, deliverer, consumer and other participants. They take various roles in the settlement because a merchant, for example, can be considered as an issuer, or holder depending on whether the merchant creates the digital-right her/himself or purchases it from a wholesaler or manufacturer. A shop can also be a collector if the merchant collects gift certificate or coupons." See "Internet Open Trading Protocol (IOTP)." [cache]

  • [October 27, 2000] "Building Dynamic Web Sites with Topic Maps and XSLT." By Nikita Ogievetsky. Presentation slides from the presentation in Montréal are now available in HTML format. Abstract: "ISO/IEC 13250 Topic Maps cannot be expressed in HTML, but HTML offers an excellent way to deliver browsable information via the Web. The use of a Topic Map as the maintained "source code" or "sitemap" of a website, for example, is one of the applications of Topic Maps that offer convenience, power, reliability, and rapid reconfigurability to the maintainers of large, complex websites. There are many ways in which Topic Maps can be used to create and maintain commercial websites: XSLT transformations can be used to generate richly-linked HTML pages from Topic Maps, and Topic Maps constructs (occurrence roles, topic names, association roles, etc.) can play specific roles in the process of automatically creating the delivered HTML." Conclusions: "Building dynamic Web Sites with Topic Maps and XSLT framework offers convenience, power, reliability, and rapid reconfigurability to web architects, developers and integrators. (1) There is only one Topic Map document whatsoever that contains and controls content and structure of the whole website. (2)Facilitated management of the sitemap and metadata. (3) Easily merge-able with other topic map based web sites. (4) HTML offers an excellent way to browse Topic Maps via the Web. (5) Expedited maintenance of graphics, html fragments and other external resources. (6) Elegant solutions for Natural Language Generation. (7) Facilitated presentation and style maintenance : stylesheets can be shared by different web sites. (8) XSLT rendering and thus: write once render anywhere." See: "(XML) Topic Maps."

  • [October 26, 2000] "Knowledge Management in the Perseus Digital Library." By Jeffrey A. Rydberg-Cox, Robert F. Chavez, David A. Smith, Anne Mahoney, and Gregory R. Crane. In Ariadne [ISSN: 1361-3200] Issue 25 (September 2000). "The Perseus digital library is a heterogeneous collection of texts and images pertaining to the Archaic and Classical Greek world, late Republican and early Imperial Rome, the English Renaissance, and 19th Century London. The texts are integrated with morphological analysis tools, student and advanced lexica, and sophisticated searching tools that allow users to find all of the inflected instantiations of a particular lexical form. The current corpus of Greek texts contains approximately four million words by thirty-three different authors. Most of the texts were written in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C.E., with some written as late as the second century C.E. The corpus of Latin texts contains approximately one million five hundred thousand words mostly written by authors from the republican and early imperial periods. The digital library also contains more than 30,000 images, 1000 maps, and a comprehensive catalog of sculpture. Collections of English language literature from the Renaissance and the 19th century will be added in the fall of 2000. In developing this collection of SGML and now XML documents, we have benefited from the generality and abstraction of structured markup which has allowed us to deliver our content smoothly on a variety of platforms. The vast majority of our documents are tagged according to the guidelines established by the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI). While we have had a great deal of success with these guidelines, other digitization projects have found other DTDs more useful for their purposes. As XML becomes more widely used, more and more specifications for different subject fields and application domains are being created by various industries and user communities; a well known and extensive list of XML applications includes a wide variety of markup standards for different domains ranging from genealogy to astronomy. Customized DTDs ease the encoding of individual documents and often allow scholars to align their tags with the intellectual conventions of their field. At the same time, they can raise barriers to both basic and advanced applications within a digital library. . . One of the challenges in building this type of [digital library] system is the ability to apply these sorts of tools in a scalable manner to a large number of documents tagged according to different levels of specificity, tagging conventions, and document type definitions (DTDs). To address this challenge, we have developed a generalizable toolset to manage XML and SGML documents of varying DTDs for the Perseus Digital Library. These tools extract structural and descriptive metadata from these documents, deliver well formed document fragments on demand to a text display system, and can be extended with other modules that support the sort of advanced applications required to unlock the potential of a digital library." See description and references in "Perseus Project." [cache]

  • [October 26, 2000] "Management of XML documents in an integrated digital library." By David Smith, Anne Mahoney, and Jeffrey A. Rydberg-Cox (Perseus Project). Presented at Extreme Markup Languages 2000, Friday, August 18, 2000. Published in the proceedings volume, pages 219-224. "Using a variety of DTDs and markup practices eases the coding of individual documents and often achieves a better fit with their intellectual structures, but it can raise barriers to resource discovery within a digital library. We describe a generalized toolset developed by the Perseus Project to manage XML documents in the context of a large, heterogeneous digital library. The system manages multiple DTDs by creating a partial mapping between elements in a DTD and abstract structural elements. The tools then extract and index structural metadata from these documents in order to deliver document fragments on demand, manage document layout, and support linguistic and conceptual analysis such as feature extraction..." See "Perseus Project."

  • [October 26, 2000] What comes after XML? SVG might be the application everyone's been waiting for." By Uche Ogbuji. In SunWorld Online (October 2000). ['Are Powerpoint's days numbered? Author Uche Ogbuji introduces Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) and demonstrates how to use Sun's new presentation toolkit for sharper slide presentations.]' "With the huge success of XML, a lot of speculation has arisen as to which XML-related technology was the real killer app waiting in the wings. As many experts will point out, XML is just syntax. Tim Bray, one of the fathers of XML, loves to note that XML is boring. The true magic of XML lies not in the basic syntax but in the many attendant standards that emerge as syntactical issues become effectively commoditized. So what's the XML killer app? I'd say there have been four major contenders for that title, each of which has received a lot of hype: XSLT, RDF, XLink, and SVG. Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is probably the least known of those technologies, but it may be the one most likely to make a splash in the world beyond data geeks. SVG is a 2-D vector graphics format entirely encoded in XML. It's a candidate recommendation of the W3C, which means it's pretty close to final, or recommendation, status. Some readers might be violently wagging their heads. In a previous Sunworld article, I gave an example of how bloated a sample purchase order became when converted from EDI to XML (over 10 times). XML formats tend to be more verbose. Why on earth would anyone use XML in such a typically byte-frugal area as graphical format? ... SVG's feature set includes nested transformations, clipping paths, alpha masks, raster filter effects, template objects and extensibility (it's XML, right?). SVG also supports animation, zooming and panning views, a wide variety of graphic primitives, grouping, scripting, hyperlinks, structured metadata, a specialized Document Object Model (DOM), and easy embedding in other XML documents. SVG supersedes PGML and VML, two earlier XML-based vector formats that spawned the political battles that fueled SVG's development... SVG is a marvelous technology. It must be mentioned that its proponents (myself included) should be careful not to turn it into the overhyped technology of the week. Its main revolutionary claim is to take a well-trodden problem space (vector graphics) and craft a solution that works with the rest of the XML universe. That sounds simple, but many sharks lurk in those waters, and the SVG WG did a tremendous job. Sun's SVG Slide Toolkit is a neat application of SVG's XML integration. It uses XML, SVG, XSLT, CSS, and XLink to turn very simple slide specifications into slick-looking slides that gain potential extensibility and power from SVG. Potential is the key word. The toolkit is a usable solution, but glitches and complex use and deployment mean that the user experience is much less friendly than the standard established by traditional presentation programs. That is not in itself a bad thing: the toolkit is definitely aimed at power users. But to make power users happy, it will have to make customization a straightforward task. Because SVG viewers are still emerging, even the modest goal of providing sophisticated slides to Unix users isn't met because only Adobe's SVG viewer for Windows can handle the output..." See: "W3C Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)."

  • [October 26, 2000] "Opening the E-Book." By Didier Martin. From October 18, 2000. ['Use XML and save the planet! Didier Martin opens up the e-book specification and finds out that it's easy to save paper by creating electronic books. Didier Martin has been busy experimenting with e-book technology, building books for the Microsoft reader, and for palmtop computers. Didier gives an overview of the Open E-Book specifications, and some starting points for your own experiments.'] "On September 16th 1999, the Open e-Book authoring Group published a document named 'Open e-Book Publication Structure 1.0'. This document can be downloaded at It is also available as an e-book. However, although the content specification is a standard, each reader only accepts its own file format -- an OEB (Open E-Book) package needs to be processed by a publishing tool in order to be consumed by a particular reader. Some readers, such as Microsoft's, run on multiple platforms, from desktops to palmtops. The Microsoft reader is freely available. Microsoft says they will be publishing the Microsoft Reader Content SDK. This is necessary to package e-books as 'lit' files, understood by Microsoft's reader. E-books can also be read on PalmOS computers like the Palm Pilot or Handspring Visor. Another free e-book reader is available from Mobipocket. You can also find an e-book publishing kit, which helps you create an OPF file, the e-book package file. It's the glue that ties all the elements in the book together. To my knowledge, Mobipocket is the only kit publicly available that can process an OEB 1.0 package document. Naturally, the OEB package document is XML. We'll examine its internal structure below. An OEB document should be an XML 1.0 document, conforming to the following requirements: (1) well-formed XML document, (2) conforms fully to the OEB document DTD, (3) conforms to XHTML 1.0 when that specification is issued, and, (4) viewable in version 4 HTML browsers. The EOB specification defines two XML DTDs: the package DTD and the basic OEB document DTD. Basic OEB documents are used to encode the book's contents. In the current 1.0 specification, although the OEB elements are not given a namespace, the dc: namespace prefix is required for all Dublin Core metadata. A minimal e-book involves at least two documents, a package document and a content document... Most of the useful features of HTML 4 can be used in e-book content: CSS stylesheets, <div>, etc. An e-book reader may even execute scripts. This implies that e-books can be interactive and offer a richer experience to the user. Most of the HTML 4 vocabulary is re-used in e-books but not all of it. It is better to check your document with a validating XML parser (simply include the DOCTYPE declaration and get the document validated against the DTD)."

  • [October 26, 2000] "E-Book Platforms: Battles on the Viewer Front. [E-books: Small Devices, Big Opportunities?]" By Mike Letts. In The Seybold Report on Internet Publishing Volume 5, Number 2 (October 2000), pages 16-19. Special Report: SSF 2000. ['Adobe and Microsoft have raised the stakes, but advancing viewers for PDAs shows that there's much more to come. With the leading suppliers of PC-based e-book viewers squaring off in public, the rest of the field scrambles for a piece of publishers' attention. Of particular note this fall are a host of new dedicated e-book readers and PDA viewers.'] "Though early e-book platforms tended to marry the viewer and copyright-protection technologies, a recent trend is to split the two. The current landscape includes several heavyweight viewer vendors (Adobe, Microsoft), around which are buzzing a horde of DRM players. Based on activity in September, things are heating up in the handheld arena. We'll report here on two new viewers for the Palm. Later this fall we expect to see other viewers as well, including dedicated readers, as well as software for wireless devices. (1) [Adobe] Glassbook unveiled beta versions of the 2.0 releases of its Reader, Reader Plus and Content Server applications on the show floor. It was also not lost on those in attendance that Adobe gave full demonstrations of the new Glassbook Reader in a remarkably similar fashion to Microsoft, which was demonstrating its own PC-based Reader application just down the aisle. The power struggle is certainly on. (2) Microsoft countered Adobe by announcing that Amazon's first foray into e-books will be done in tandem with Microsoft. Amazon, which only two months ago was saying the market wasn't ready for e-books, will launch its e-book area this fall, featuring Microsoft's .LIT as its preferred format. (3) Bellevue, WA-based Ansyr has been developing PDF viewers for Windows CE devices since its inception last fall. At this year's show, Ansyr, along with three other companies, showcased its Primer PDF Viewer for the Palm operating system. According to Jerry Metcalf, the senior vice president of engineering at Ansyr, an XML-viewable version of Primer is scheduled for release this month. RTF- and SVG-supportable versions were also mentioned. (4) Aportis Technologies, which also exhibited in the Adobe partner pavilion, released its PDF viewing application for Palm operating systems in San Francisco..."

  • [October 26, 2000] "Taxonomic Markup Language: Applying XML to Systematic Data." By Ron Gilmour. In Bioinformatics 16/4 (2000), pages 406-407. See the related version, source. "Systematists make use of biopolymer data and codified morphological data to reconstruct the branching phylogenies of groups of organisms. The hierarchical structure of these phylogenies lends itself readily to being description by XML. These phylogenies are created by algorithms that seek to minimize unnecessary assumptions (the rule of parsimony) or maximize the probability of a particular phylogeny occurring (the rule of maximum likelihood). A phylogenetic tree is therefor not a simple statement, but must be qualified by a wide variety of statistics which describe the degree to which the original data is explained by the tree and the statistical strength of particular configurations (Kitching et al., 1998). In addition to generating 'raw' phylogenies (the visual representations of which are variously known as dendrograms or cladograms), systematists also attempt to provide a nomenclatural system which, at least to some degree, reflects the patterns of relationship in the phylogeny. The document type definition (DTD) proposed here seeks to accomplish three things: (1) The description of the structure (topology) of a biological phylogeny. (2) The presentation of statistical metadata about the phylogeny. (3) The option of superimposing a Linnean taxonomy upon the phylogenetic structure. Note that while the DTD allows taxonomic units to be tagged in a Linnean manner, this is optional, since many practicing systematists do not routinely apply this type of classification or do so only at a very late stage in their research. This is especially true of situations in which species boundaries are not clear or in which the nature of sub-specific taxa is open to interpretation. ... An XML document type definition (DTD) is provided for the description of taxonomic relationships between organisms. Two XSL stylesheets for the graphical presentation of simple taxonomic trees are also provided..." See "Taxonomic Markup Language."

  • [October 26, 2000] CobWeb: Constrained XML for the Web." By Timothy D. McKernan and Bharat Jayaraman (Department of Computer Science and Engineering, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260-2000). Email: {tdm4,bharat}; Phone: (716) 645-3180 x 111; Fax: (716) 645-3464. Technical Report 2000-06, Department of Computer Science and Engineering. 28 pages. Abstract: "We present a constraint-based extension of XML for specifying the structure and semantic coherence of web-sites and their data. This extension is motivated by the fact that many websites, especially organizational websites and corporate intranets, largely contain structured information. Such websites can be regarded as databases. XML can help view, store, manipulate, and transfer semi-structured data that exists in files -- often webpages -- and facilitates a less ad hoc method of handling data than HTML allows. In support of the view that a website is a database, we introduce CobWeb, a constraint-based extension of XML. CobWeb allows developers to express the concept of the semantic integrity of a database. Constraints may be used in a document type definition (DTD) in order to place restrictions on the values of both elements and attributes in the DTD. These constraints can effectively govern the contents of otherwise disparate webpages in a website, thereby ensuring the both the structured and the semantic integrity of the site as a whole. We provide unary (or domain) constraints, binary constraints (including various comparison operations), as well as aggregation constraints (sum, average, etc.). We also define data types not included in the XML 1.0 specification, so that declaring constraints can be more easily facilitated. By taking advantage of XML's modular design, we can create a parser that works in conjunction with and extends existing XML parsers. This will allow developers to continue using their own parsers and while taking advantage of CobWeb's constraint features." Also in Postscript.

  • [October 26, 2000] "Learning to RELAX." [Tutorial] By J. David Eisenberg. From October 16, 2000. ['The RELAX schema language is a simpler alternative to W3C XML Schemas. This easy-to-read tutorial shows you just how easy it can be to RELAX.'] "In this article, we'll explore some of the more advanced features of the RELAX schema language by using it to create a schema for the XMLNews-Story Markup Language. Although the XMLNews-Story markup language has been superseded by the News Industry Text Format, I've chosen it because it's simple, quite widely used, looks a great deal like HTML, and its RELAX specification will use most of the features we want to focus on. . . [Summary:] RELAX is a powerful markup language that permits you to specify how other XML documents are to be validated. You may, as with other specification methods (1) specify an element with an ordered sequence of sub-elements; (2) specify an element with a choice of sub-elements; (3) permit mixed content (text outside of tags); and (4) specify attributes for tags. Additionally, RELAX gives you the power to (1) specify in great detail the type and range of data that an element may contain; (2) specify the type and range of values that an attribute may have; (3) permit a single tag to have different content depending upon the context in which it is used; and (3) permit a tag to have different content depending upon the value of that tag's attributes." See also in this connection the RELAX Quick Reference (a quick reference to RELAX schema definition language, covering all its major features). For schema description and references, see "XML Schemas."

  • [October 26, 2000] "XML-Deviant: The Rush to Standardize." By Leigh Dodds. From October 18, 2000. ['Keeping track of the number of consortia in the XML space is rapidly requiring the effort needed to track the burgeoning number of specifications. These days, consortia and working groups seem to be appearing with increasing rapidity -- but to what end? Is all this "standardization" too premature? XML-Deviant covers the recent debate.'] "It seems that hardly a week goes by without the the formation of another vendor consortium or partnership tasked with standardizing some aspect of our business or technical environment. But there's been a marked increase in standardization efforts over the past few years, largely centered around XML. XML-DEV has been debating several aspects of the standards process this week. Discussion has covered the relative merits of different standards organizations and the openness of their processes -- a favorite point of debate for XML-DEV. This week we look at two aspects to this discussion: the merits of rushing to standardize, and the importance of clear technical documentation.

  • [October 26, 2000] NewsML Version 1.0 Functional Specification. International Press Telecommunications Council. 24-October-2000. 61 pages. David Allen wrote: "The version 1.0 Functional Specification is now available as a PDF document. I hope to be able to add more examples to the web site very soon. The DTD has also had its comments updated to bring both the dtd and the specification fully in line. The DTD has not changed from the any other point of view. It is expected that we will also update the TopicSets to reflect a correction in the Scheme attribute values. All these changes will be reflected in new NewsItem versions to be posted shortly." From the new Functional Specification: "NewsML is a compact, extensible and flexible structural framework for news, based on XML and other appropriate standards and specifications. It supports the representation of electronic news items, collections of such items, the relationships between them, and their associated metadata. It allows for the provision of multiple representations of the same information, and handles arbitrary mixtures of media types, formats, languages and encodings. It supports all stages of the news lifecycle and allows the evolution of news items over time. Though media-independent, NewsML provides specific mechanisms for handling text. It allows the provenance of both metadata and news content to be asserted. . . This Specification describes and amplifies the NewsML version 1.0 Document Type Definition. The NewsML Requirements document set out the capabilities that NewsML is required to deliver. The current specification describes the technical means that have been employed to meet those requirements. The requirements can be briefly summarised as follows: NewsML is to be a compact, extensible and flexible structural framework for news, based on XML and other appropriate standards and specifications . It must support the representation of electronic news items, collections of such items, the relationships between them, and their associated metadata. It must allow for the provision of multiple representations of the same information, and handle arbitrary mixtures of media types, formats, languages and encodings. It must support all stages of the news lifecycle and allow the evolution of news items over time. Though media-independent, NewsML will provide specific mechanisms for handling text. It will allow for the authentication and signature of both metadata and news content." See "NewsML and IPTC2000."

  • [October 26, 2000] "XML as the API." By Columnist Chris Lovett. In MDSN Extreme XML. (October 19, 2000). With source code. "Have you ever used Office Web Components? I recently had a very interesting experience -- and I want to make a big deal about it, because I think it perfectly illustrates the difference between XML and object-oriented APIs. I was writing some Active Server Pages (ASP) code to chart our team's bug-fix progress. We have a SQL Server database that contains all the bugs, to whom they are assigned, when they were opened, resolved, or closed, and their current status. Our SQL Server database doesn't retain enough history to generate this exact graph, so I also had to create an XML file that could act as a cache for storing the results of a daily query made against the database. From the XML file, I generated the graph. This XML file is also a ListEditor file so that it can be directly edited with other information that does not come from the database, such as the target bug fix goal numbers ... [see chart] ... Fortunately, the application exposed the loosely coupled, low-tech XML format. This XML format rips all the API stuff out of the way and gives you raw access to every piece of data that makes up the real chart. It enables you to reach into the guts of the chart and tweak whatever you need to. The tradeoff is that the granularity is now much coarser. You cannot make the line colors animate in different colors every millisecond. You cannot make the line width pulse to the rhythm of a heartbeat. It turns out, however, that this coarser granularity is just perfect for most Web-based applications of the Office Web Chart component. This is a perfect example of how a loosely coupled, coarse-grained XML API can also result in a deeper integration between components (in this case, the Office Web Chart Component and my ASP application), because the object-oriented interfaces that could get in the way have been bypassed. This assumes that your component's XML format is well designed, and that all the capabilities are exposed in that XML format. The XML interface to your component should also be a lot cheaper to build, because it doesn't have the call sequence test matrix explosion. It simply accepts the XML in one specific schema -- and if the XML doesn't validate against that schema, it is rejected. You have to test lots of different XML inputs, but that is still less work than testing all the possible call sequences through a rich API. Don't get me wrong. I love objects and I love rich APIs -- because I'm a programmer, after all. But there is now a paradigm shift in which, for many cases, a rich API is overkill -- and customers are demanding simplicity paired with deeper integration between components. XML is the answer to this problem."

  • [October 26, 2000] XUpdate: XML database Update Language." By Andreas Laux and Lars Martin. Working Draft, Reference 2000-09-14. "This is an XML:DB Working Draft for review by all interested parties. It is a draft document and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to use Working Drafts as reference material or to cite them as other than 'work in progress'. . . This specification defines the syntax and semantics of XUpdate, which is a language for updating XML documents. XUpdate is designed to be used independently of any kind of implementation. An update in the XUpdate language is expressed as a well-formed XML document. XUpdate makes extensively use of the expression language defined by XPath for selecting elements for updating and for conditional processing. XUpdate is a pure descriptive language which is designed with references to the definition of XSL Transformations." The XML DTD for XUpdate is provided in the text of the specification. XUpdate is a project of 'XML:DB the Standards Initiative for XML Databases'. For related references, see "XML and Databases."

  • [October 26, 2000] "Introduction to Structured Markup." By Anne Mahoney. A two-part reference on markup, with examples from the Perseus Project. From 'The Stoa: A Consortium for Electronic Publication in the Humanities'. See (1) Marking Up a Text and (2) Markup for Philoctetes. Note Stoa's support for SGML/XML: "the Extensible Markup Language is designed 'to make it easy and straightforward to use SGML on the Web: easy to define document types, easy to author and manage SGML-defined documents, and easy to transmit and share them across the Web.' Stoa expects that XML will prove to be extremely important over time and we want to be engaged in its specific application to humanities publications."

  • [October 26, 2000] "The Confessions of Augustine: An Electronic Edition." By James J. O'Donnell. "The text and commentary were encoded in SGML by the Stoa Consortium in co-operation with the Perseus Project; the HTML files were generated from the archival SGML version."

  • [October 20, 2000] "Character Mapping Tables." By Mark Davis. Version 2.1, 2000-08-31. Draft Unicode Technical Report #22. Reviewed by Kent Karlsson, Ken Borgendale, Bertrand Damiba, Mark Leisher, Tony Graham, and Ken Whistler. From the Unicode Technical Reports series. "Summary: This document specifies an XML format for the interchange of mapping data for character encodings. It provides a complete description for such mappings in terms of a defined mapping to and from Unicode." Background: "The ability to seamlessly handle multiple character encodings is crucial in today's world, where a server may need to handle many different client character encodings covering many different markets. No matter how characters are represented, servers need to be able to process them appropriately. Unicode provides a common model and representation of characters for all the languages of the world. Because of this, Unicode is being adopted by more and more systems as the internal storage processing code. Rather than trying to maintain data in literally hundreds of different encodings, a program can translate the source data into Unicode on entry, process it as required, and translate it into a target character set on request. Even where Unicode is not used as a process code, it is often used as a pivot encoding. Rather than requiring ten thousand tables to map each of a hundred character encodings to one another, data can be converted first to Unicode and then into the eventual target encoding. This requires only a hundred tables, rather than ten thousand. Whether or not Unicode is used, it is ever more vital to maintain the consistency of data across conversions between different character encodings. Because of the fluidity of data in a networked world, it is easy for it to be converted from, say, CP930 on a Windows platform, sent to a UNIX server as UTF-8, processed, and converted back to CP930 for representation on another client machine. This requires implementations to have identical mappings for different character encodings, no matter what platform they are working on. It also requires them to use the same name for the same encoding, and different names for different encodings. This is difficult to do unless there is a standard specification for the mappings so that it can be precisely determined what the encoding maps actually to. This technical report provides such a standard specification for the interchange of mapping data for character encodings. By using this specification, implementations can be assured of providing precisely the same mappings as other implementations on different platforms." Example of XML Formats: "A character mapping specification file starts with the following lines [...] There is a difference between the encoding of the XML file, and the encoding of the mapping data. The encoding of the file can be any valid XML encoding. Only the ASCII repertoire of characters is required in the specification of the mapping data, but comments may be in other character encodings. The example below happens to use UTF-8... The mapping names table is a separate XML file that provides an index of names for character mapping tables. For each character mapping table, they provide display names, aliases, and fallbacks... the main part of the table provides the assignments of mappings between byte sequences and Unicode characters." See the example XML DTD from the exposition. See related references in "XML and Unicode." [cache]

  • [October 20, 2000] "Contexts for RDF Information Modelling." By Graham Klyne (Content Technologies Ltd). Revised: 18 October 2000. "This memo describes some experimental work that is being undertaken with the goal of simplifying the application of RDF to a number of information modelling problems, particularly involving relationships between physical-world objects and trust modelling. It is our goal that, by using contexts, a degree of modularity can be introduced that will ease the construction of RDF information models. . . As a mechanism for representing information, RDF is very general, but very primitive. It might be viewed as a kind of 'assembly language' for knowledge and metadata representation. There are some metadata applications, such as adding properties to web pages, for which basic RDF is well suited. But there are others, particularly describing detailed relationships between physical-world objects, where one soon becomes lost in a tangle of graph nodes and edges, loosing sight of the overall structure of the information. The above conclusion was reached when trying to model configuration and interworking options between a number of computer system components. Despite repeated simplifications of the problem, we kept on running out of whiteboard space to contain the RDF graph of our chosen problem. Assembly language programmers soon adopted the notion of subroutine -- grouping instructions into separate, understandable, interacting pieces -- to construct programs consisting of very many primitive instructions. It is a thesis of this proposal that the idea of 'contexts' can perform a similar function for information modelling in RDF. What are the kinds of problem we hope to address using contexts? Some are: (1) Representing the relationship between statements and documents that contain them; e.g., what is the effect of signing a document on the statements that it may contain? (2) Trust modelling; again, modelling the effect of signature, originator, etc. Applying heuristics for establishing levels of trust based on the origin of and/or uses made of information. (3) Nested resources; e.g., web pages are resources that may be made up from other resources. (4) Modelling the full complexities of real-world relationships; e.g., selecting the right power supply for an electrical device will depend upon many inter-related factors: supply voltage, supply quality, device voltage required, device current required, supply quality required, type of connector, physical space available, noise suppression requirements, etc., etc. (5) Providing a framework for expressing statements about which one might reason non-monotonically; e.g., birds can fly, unless the bird in question is a penguin..." See "Resource Description Framework (RDF)."

  • [October 20, 2000] "Towards the Intelligent Museum. By Alice Grant and Paul Miller. In Ariadne [ISSN: 1361-3200] Issue 25 (September 2000). ['With JISC joining the Consortium for the Computer Interchange of Museum Information (CIMI), Alice Grant and Paul Miller outline some of the information management issues facing the cultural heritage sector, and illustrate the ways in which CIMI is progressing work in this area.'] "For ten years now, the international Consortium for the Computer Interchange of Museum Information (CIMI) has been at the forefront of work to bring the information revolution to museums. Past work has included important conceptual modelling of museum collections, the creation of an early Z39.50 Profile and a rich SGML DTD, as well as extensive testing of the Dublin Core. In 2000, this work continues with examination of diverse issues from the role of WAP phones and Personal Digital Assistants in the museum world through to examination of distributed metadata harvesting. Ten years on, the work of CIMI remains important, and its relevance to the related agendas of the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) has been recognised by the JISC's becoming a CIMI member, and taking a seat on its Executive Committee. This paper illustrates some of the past and future work of CIMI, and hopefully goes some way towards demonstrating the clear relevance of this work to many areas of the JISC's activity. . . CIMI plans for the next two years are equally ambitious and plan to deliver a wide range of benefits to a growing membership. They include working with the mda (formerly the Museum Documentation Association) to establish an XML DTD for SPECTRUM, the UK Museum Documentation Standard. Once completed in Autumn 2000, the DTD will be evaluated by CIMI members in a further test bed. Benefits of this work will include the elimination of costly and time-consuming bottlenecks experienced by museums and vendors alike when migrating data between systems. An XML DTD for museum information would also permit easier integration of information across diverse systems in use within single organisations; e.g., between specialist collections management applications and back-end web management databases." See also (1) a report on CIMI's development of an XML DTD for the Dublin Core Metadata Element set, by testbed participant Bert Degenhart Drenth, and (2) "Consortium for Interchange of Museum Information (CIMI)."

  • [October 20, 2000] "Text Encoding for Interchange: A New Consortium." By Lou Burnard (Manager of the Humanities Computing Unit at Oxford University; European Editor of the Text Encoding Initiative since 1990, University of Oxford). In Ariadne [ISSN: 1361-3200] Issue 24 (June 2000). ['Lou Burnard on the creation of the TEI Consortium which has been created to take the TEI Guidelines into the XML world.'] ". . . The goal of the new TEI Consortium is to establish a permanent home for the TEI as a democratically constituted, academically and economically independent, self-sustaining, non-profit organization. This will involve putting the Consortium on solid legal and organizational footing, developing training and consulting services that will attract paying members, and providing the administrative support that will allow it to continue to exist while income from membership grows. In the immediate future, the Consortium will launch a membership and publicity campaign the goal of which is to bring the new Consortium and the opportunity to participate in it to the attention of libraries, publishers, and text-encoding projects worldwide. Its key message is that the TEI Guidelines have a major role to play in the application of new XML-based standards that are now driving the development of text-processing software, search engines, Web-browsers, and indeed the Web in general. . . The future usefulness of vast collections of electronic textual information now being created and to be created over the coming decades will continue to depend on the thoughtful and well-advised application of non-proprietary markup schemes, of which the TEI is a leading example. We may expect that in the future some of the more trivial forms of markup will be done by increasingly sophisticated software, or even implied from non-marked-up documents during processing. As XML and related technologies become ever more pervasive in the wired world, we may also expect to see a growing demand for interchangeable markup standards. What is needed to facilitate all of these processes is a sound, viable, and up-to-date conceptual model like that of the TEI. In this way, the TEI can help the digital library, scholar's bookshelf, and humanities textbooks survive into a future in which they can respond intelligently to our queries, can combine effectively with conceptually related materials, and can adequately represent what we know about their structure, content, and provenance." See "Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) - XML for TEI Lite."

  • [October 18, 2000] "A Grammar of Dublin Core." By Thomas Baker (GMD -- German National Research Center for Information Technology Scientific Library and Publication Services Schloss Birlinghoven D-53754 Sankt Augustin, Germany). In D-Lib Magazine [ISSN: 1082-9873] Volume 6 Number 10 (October 2000). "Dublin Core is often presented as a modern form of catalog card -- a set of elements (and now qualifiers) that describe resources in a complete package. Sometimes it is proposed as an exchange format for sharing records among multiple collections. The founding principle that 'every element is optional and repeatable' reinforces the notion that a Dublin Core description is to be taken as a whole. This paper, in contrast, is based on a much different premise: Dublin Core is a language. More precisely, it is a small language for making a particular class of statements about resources. Like natural languages, it has a vocabulary of word-like terms, the two classes of which -- elements and qualifiers -- function within statements like nouns and adjectives; and it has a syntax for arranging elements and qualifiers into statements according to a simple pattern. A Pidgin for Digital Tourists. Whenever tourists order a meal or ask directions in an unfamiliar language, considerate native speakers will spontaneously limit themselves to basic words and simple sentence patterns along the lines of 'I am so-and-so' or 'This is such-and-such'. Linguists call this pidginization. In such situations, a small phrase book or translated menu can be most helpful. By analogy, today's Web has been called an Internet Commons where users and information providers from a wide range of scientific, commercial, and social domains present their information in a variety of incompatible data models and description languages. In this context, Dublin Core presents itself as a metadata pidgin for digital tourists who must find their way in this linguistically diverse landscape. Its vocabulary is small enough to learn quickly, and its basic pattern is easily grasped. It is well-suited to serve as an auxiliary language for digital libraries. This grammar starts by defining terms. It then follows a 200-year-old tradition of English grammar teaching by focusing on the structure of single statements. It concludes by looking at the growing dictionary of Dublin Core vocabulary terms -- its registry, and at how statements can be used to build the metadata equivalent of paragraphs and compositions -- the application profile... With an Appendix: Dublin Core and RDF grammar compared. The Resource Description Framework (RDF), a relatively new standard of the World Wide Web Consortium, is emerging as an information model and encoding format of choice for metadata and application profiles that use Dublin Core [W3C 1999, W3C 2000]. RDF is a grammar for expressing relationships among resources located or represented somewhere on the Internet. These relationships are depicted graphically with Directed Labelled Graphs (DLGs), which use arcs (predicates expressing properties) to establish a relationship between multiple nodes (resources). Nodes are seen as subjects or objects depending on the direction of the arrow..." See: "Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI)."

  • [October 16, 2000] XML Schema: A W3C Recommendation?" By Michael Classen. From October 16, 2000. "Now that the XML Schema specification is one step away from becoming a W3C Recommendation, it is a good time to take a closer look at the new improved way to declare document type definitions. As mentioned in [XML] column10, DTDs have a number of limitations: (1) The syntax of a DTD is different from XML, requiring the document writer to learn yet another notation, and the software to have yet another parser; (2) There is no way to specify datatypes and data formats that could be used to automatically map from and to programming languages; (3) There is not a set of well-known basic elements to choose from. DTDs were inherited by XML from its predecessor SGML, and were a good way to get XML started off quickly and give SGML people something familiar to work with. Nevertheless it became soon apparent that a more expressive solution that itself uses XML was needed... XML Schema offers a rich and flexible mechanism for defining XML vocabularies. It promises the next level of interoperability by describing meta-information about XML in XML. Various tools for validating and editing schemas are available from the Apache Project and IBM alphaworks." For schema description and references, see "XML Schemas."

  • [October 14, 2000] StarOffice XML File Format. Working Draft. Technical Reference Manual. Draft 7, October 2000. 318 pages. "This manual describes the StarOffice XML file format. We adopted XML as the new native file format for the StarOffice suite, replacing the old binary file format. Our goal is twofold: to have a complete specification encompassing all StarOffice components, and to provide an open standard for office documents. In our opinion, XML is ideal as an open standard because of the free availability of XML specifications and document type declarations (DTDs), and the XML support for XSL, XSLT, XLink, SVG, MathML, and many other important and emerging standards. One single XML format applies to different types of documents, for example, the same definition applies to tables in text documents and tables in spreadsheets. This working draft manual contains the current specification of the StarOffice XML file format. Each structural component in a StarOffice XML document is represented by an element, with associated attributes. The structure of XML documents applies to all StarOffice applications. There is no difference between a text document, a spreadsheet or a drawing, apart from the content. Also, all document types may contain different styles. You can exchange document content that is common to all document types from one type of document to another. . . As the term 'working draft' implies, the StarOffice XML file format is work in progress. This fact has the following implications for this manual: (1) The specification contained in this working draft is not complete. The XML specification for many of the StarOffice features has not yet been decided or documented. (2) This working draft may contain specifications that are not currently implemented in the StarOffice XML import and export filters. This draft should also not omit specifications for any features that are already implemented in the StarOffice XML filters but there may be exceptions to this. (3) The specifications described in this working draft may change. This is especially true for specifications that are not currently implemented in the StarOffice XML filters, but may also be the case for specifications that are already implemented. The reasons for changing the specifications include changes to related working drafts like XSL-FO or SVG, suggestions from reviewers of the manual, errors or inconsistencies that are found, or problems with new specifications that can only be resolved by changing existing specifications..." See "StarOffice and XML." [cache]

  • [October 14, 2000] "Sun puts StarOffice into open source." By Mary Jo Foley. In eWEEK (October 13, 2000). "Sun Microsystems Inc. is billing it as the biggest project in open source history. On Friday the 13th -- a target fatalistically selected by Sun back in July and achieved on time -- Sun placed all 9 million lines of StarOffice 6 alpha code into open source. As of today, developers interested in viewing, tinkering with, and/or licensing the StarOffice desktop office suite or its component parts are free to download the code from 'This will be programming in the large made public for the first time,' said Bill Roth, Sun group product manager. 'This is nine times the size of Mozilla.' The fine print With, Sun is attempting to duplicate the strategy that was adopted by AOL's Netscape division with its Mozilla open-source spinoff., like, is the keeper of the open-source version of the technology. Individual licensors -- including Sun -- will take "commercial forks" of the Openoffice technology and turn them into commercialized products, while giving back any and all code changes to With Netscape 6, Netscape is engaging in a similar practice with Roth said he didn't know when Sun might ship a commercial version of StarOffice 6 but promised a full road map some time down the road... The caveatsAs with just about every commercially backed open-source project these days, there are some caveats for those interested in the code on Not only do interested parties have to agree to the GNU Public License terms, they also must agree to adhere to the Sun Industry Standard Source License (SISSL). Under the terms of SISSL, licensors must agree to adhere to Sun-specified application programming interfaces and compatibility tests. As part of Friday's announcement, Sun announced that it is making Extensible Markup Language, or XML, the default file format for StarOffice, replacing the suite's former proprietary binary file format. Sun will continue to support filters that support Microsoft Corp.'s Office file formats, among others." See "StarOffice and XML."

  • [October 14, 2000] "A Gnu Star May Be Rising On Friday The Thirteenth." By Alan Winston. From ScreamingMedia, (October 04, 2000). "Sun Microsystems is putting StarOffice under the GNU Public License. What does this mean for freeware users? At the recent Open Source conference in Monterey, CA, Sun Microsystems Inc. of Palo Alto, CA, reportedly announced that it would make the StarOffice source code available under the GNU Public License, with a release due Oct. 13. I'm not sure why Sun chose Friday the 13th for the release date. Sun plans to make StarOffice available under the GNU Public License (GPL), the Lesser GNU Public License (LGPL) and the Sun Industry Standards Source License (SISSL). Not only will the actual applications be available, but file format specifications, application programming interfaces (APIs) and multiple language bindings (or libraries) also will be accessible to the public. Sun will be an equal member of the Foundation, a nonprofit modeled on the Apache Foundation to guide open source development of the software; is already up with mailing lists, forums and plans for a CVS source code repository. What difference does this make to the ordinary Linux user? None, at least, right away. If you have the free, personal-use version of StarOffice with your Linux distribution, you already have a reasonably good office suite. This doesn't change that, for now. But it could have a broad and sweeping effect, potentially rippling through large parts of the software industry -- and it could affect vendors who don't do UNIX at all. WHAT IT MEANS Why does Microsoft Corp. own the office suite market now? Basically, once you have a large-enough market share -- attained in whatever way, whether it's because everybody loves your software and rushes out and buys it, you make deals to sell it cheaply bundled with computers for home and office or you have really good advertising -- everybody else has to deal with your stuff. . ." See "StarOffice and XML."

  • [October 13, 2000] The Semantic Web: The Roles of XML and RDF." By Stefan Decker, Sergey Melnik, Frank Van Harmelen, Dieter Fensel, Michel Klein, Jeen Broekstra, Michael Erdmann, and Ian Horrocks. In IEEE Internet Computing Volume 4, Number 5 (September/October 2000), pages 63-74. ['XML and RDF are the current standards for establishing semantic interoperability on the Web, but XML addresses only document structure. RDF better facilitates interoperation because it provides a data model that can be extended to address sophisticated ontology representation techniques.'] "The World Wide Web is possible because a set of widely established standards guarantees interoperability at various levels. Until now, the Web has been designed for direct human processing, but the next-generation Web, which Tim Berners-Lee and others call the 'Semantic Web,' aims at machine-processible information. The Semantic Web will enable intelligent services -- such as information brokers, search agents, and information filters -- which offer greater functionality and interoperability than current stand-alone services. The Semantic Web will only be possible once further levels of interoperability have been established. Standards must be defined not only for the syntactic form of documents, but also for their semantic content. Notable among recent W3C standardization efforts are XML/XML schema and RDF/RDF schema, which facilitate semantic interoperability. In this article, we explain the role of ontologies in the architecture of the Semantic Web. We then briefly summarize key elements of XML and RDF, showing why using XML as a tool for semantic interoperability will be ineffective in the long run. We argue that a further representation and inference layer is needed on top of the Web's current layers, and to establish such a layer, we propose a general method for encoding ontology representation languages into RDF/RDF schema. We illustrate the extension method by applying it to Ontology Interchange Language (OIL), an ontology representation and inference language. . .The Web community currently regards XML as the most important step toward semantic integration, but we argue that this is not true in the long run. Semantic interoperability will be a sine qua non for the Semantic Web, but it must be achieved by exploiting the current RDF proposals, rather than XML labeling. The RDF data model is sound, and approaches from artificial intelligence and knowledge engineering for establishing semantic interoperability are directly applicable to extending it. Our experience with OIL shows that this proposal is feasible, and a similar strategy should apply to any knowledge-modeling language. The challenge is now for the Web and AI communities to expand this generic method for creating Web-enabled, special-purpose knowledge representation languages." See "Resource Description Framework (RDF)" and "XML and 'The Semantic Web'."

  • [October 13, 2000] "The Semantic Web: The roles of XML and RDF." IEEE 2000 presentation. By Stefan Decker, Sergey Melnik, Frank Van Harmelen, Dieter Fensel, Michel Klein, Jeen Broekstra, Michael Erdmann, Ian Horrocks ['XML won't suffice for semantic interoperability. We propose a general method for encoding ontology representation languages into RDF/RDF Schema and illustrate the extension method by applying it to OIL.]' Apparently related version of the preceding to appear [?] in IEEE Expert Volume 15, Number 3 (October 2000). Also PDF. Abstract: "Until now, the Web has been designed for direct human processing, but the next-generation Web, which Tim Berners-Lee and others call the 'Semantic Web', aims at machine-processable information, enabling intelligent services such as information brokers, search agents, and information filters, which offers greater functionality and interoperability than the current stand-alone services. The Semantic will only be possible once further levels of interoperability have been established. Standards must be defined not only for the syntactic form of documents, but also for their semantic content. Notable among recent W3C standardization efforts are XML/XML Schema and RDF/RDF Schema, which facilitate semantic interoperability. In this article, we explain the role of ontologies in the architecture of the Semantic Web. We then briefly summarise key elements of XML and RDF, showing why using XML as a tool for semantic interoperability will be ineffective in the long run. We argue that a further representation and inference layer is needed on top of the Web's current layers, and to establish such a layer, we propose a general method for encoding ontology representation languages into RDF/RDF Schema. We illustrate the extension method by applying it to OIL, an ontology representation and inference language." See "Resource Description Framework (RDF)." [cache]

  • [October 13, 2000] "Using XML to Build Consistency Rules for Distributed Specifications." By Andrea Zisman, Wolfgang Emmerich, and Anthony Finkelstein (City University University College London, Department of Computing Department of Computer Science, Northampton Square Gower Street, London EC1V 0HB London WC1E 6BT; Email:; {w.emmerich | a.finkelstein} In Proceedings of the 10th International Workshop on Software Specification and Design. San Diego, November 2000. With 30 references. IEEE Computer Society Press. "The work presented in this paper is part of a large programme of research aimed at supporting consistency management of distributed documents on the World Wide Web. We describe an approach for specifying consistency rules for distributed partial specifications with overlapping contents. The approach is based on expressing consistency rules using XML and XPointer. We present a classification for different types of consistency rules, related to various types of inconsistencies and show how to express these consistency rules using our approach. We also briefly describe a rule editor to support the specification of the consistency rules. . ." Problem: "The size and complexity of industrial software systems require collaboration and co-ordination of physically distributed teams of people during systems development. Each person or group of people has their own perspective and understanding of the system. These different perspectives are based on the skills, responsibilities, knowledge and expertise of the people concerned. The result is multiple distributed partial specifications in a variety of forms produced using heterogeneous applications, word processors, specialised applications, software engineering tools, and similar. Inevitably, the heterogeneity of the specifications and the diversity of stakeholders and development participants results in inconsistencies among the distributed partial specifications. However as development proceeds there is a requirement for consistency. Consistency management is a multifaceted and complex activity that is fundamental to the success of software development. Different approaches have been proposed to manage consistency. This research has identified a strong need for mechanisms, techniques and tools that aid in detecting, identifying and handling inconsistencies among distributed partial specifications. The work presented in this paper complements the work proposed in ['Consistency Management of Distributed Documents using XML and Related Technologies,' by E.Ellmer, W. Emmerich, A. Finkelstein, D. Smolko, and A. Zisman]. It describes a way of expressing the consistency rules by using a consistency rule syntax, based on XML and XPointer. We present a classification for the different types of consistency rules that we can represent with our syntax. In addition, we analyse the expressiveness of the consistency rule syntax and describe how to apply this syntax to complex software engineering notations. We also present a consistency rule editor to support the specification of consistency rules based on the syntax. Note that the notion of consistency used here does not correspond to the logical concept of consistency..." cache]

  • [October 13, 2000] "XML based interfaces to TelORB." By Olle Johannesson and Sasan Tajallaei. Uppsala Master's Theses in Computing Science #173. Examensarbete EIP. Information Technology, Computing Science Department, Uppsala University, Box 311, S-751 05 Uppsala, Sweden. 2000-09-06. ISSN: 1100-1836. 52 pages. "The requirements on future telecommunication platforms include high performance, fault tolerant, open architectures and scalability. TelORB, which is a distributed operating system for large-scale, embedded, real-time applications, fulfills these requirements. This thesis consists of an evaluation of how XML (Extensible MarkUp Language) can be used together with TelORB and implementation of a working prototype. The main task is to design an XML-based interface for analysing, populating and updating a TelORB database. XML has been enthusiastically embraced in many application domains because there are a lot of applications that need to store data intended for human use as well as computerised manipulation. An Application is presented that generates XML documents from a TelORB database backup file. The application uses an available program (Backupformatter) that translates the original backup file to the DBN external format, which is further translated in to XML code by means of a Java-parser." Description: "TelORB is a distributed operating system for real-time applications that require a robust platform with 100% availability. It consists of a modern OS kernel, an Object-Oriented real-time database management system, and flexible mechanisms for controlling the software configuration with support for online software upgrade without compromising the system availability. To support flexible application development and open interfaces TelORB also includes a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and a CORBA-compliant Object Request Broker. . . This thesis consists of an evaluation of how XML can be used together with TelORB and also implementation of a working prototype. The main work is to design an XML-based interface for analysing and populating a TelORB database. To support browsing and generating databases through XML a DTD has to be defined for the TelORB database meta-data. This DTD can then be used for browsing a populated database and to support generating XML-files that are translated into the export format that can be imported into TelORB. The prototype is implemented in Java where XML, DTD and CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) files are generated from the database content by reading data in the export format and displaying it in an XML-browser. . . As we have seen it is possible to search after a certain class and even a certain class with a specific key in TelORBs database backup files. With the application we have developed, it is possible to generate XML-documents with corresponding DTD- and CSS-files. This means that we can export a database object from the flat structure in the backup-file to a more structured and understandable format that could be presented in a browser as an XML-document. Now when we become familiar with TelORB we think that it should be very interesting from TelORBs point of view to import an object to the TelORB database from an XML-document The idea is that a questionnaire is implemented where the user fills in the information that should be imported. By clicking on the 'send button' the application will take care of the rest. With this tool it should be easy to add new objects to the database or edit existing objects. We have examined how this can be preformed. It is a reverse process of the export process with some small changes. XML Schemas should be used instead for a DTD to control the data-types of the input, so it would not be possible to enter a telephone-number in the field earmarked for the name. Just like in the export process where we wrote our own parser to check the input-file for faults, a parser could be used for import as well. There is no reason to develop this parser because there are several parsers with this function on the market to choose from. A problem is that currently a reverse version of the Backup-formatter does not exist. This limits the import-process so that an object can not be imported all the way into the database. However, there are plans to develop a 'reverse-backup-formatter' in the near future, and ones it is available our application can be developed further and used with TelORB." [cache]

  • [October 13, 2000] "Metadata Representation in XML for Internet-Based Electronic XML Application from Business to Government." By Makoto Imamura, Ryuuji Nagahama, Katsushi Suzuki, Akehiro Watabe, and Hidekazu Tsuji (Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, 5-1-1 Ofuna, Kamakura-City, Kanagawa, 247-8501, Japan; Email: imamura In Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Parallel and Distributed Systems, Workshops (ICPADS '00 Workshops). "In government-to-business Internet application as in business-to-business Internet commerce, XML (eXtensible Markup Language) is attracting attention as a format to encode information and services with meaningful structure and semantics that computers can readily understand. In this paper, first we propose a model to represent metadata about a set of application documents in Resource Description Framework (RDF). Secondly, we newly introduce Document Rules Description Language (DRDL) in order to describe the document rules of metadata. Thirdly we propose a DRDL processor, which validate whether a set of application documents satisfy the document rules or not. We have used a DRDL processor to support applicants to apply export license to government in JETRAS (Japan Electronic open network TRAde control System). The effects of a DRDL processor are as follows. (i) To improve development efficiency by unified management of document rules for XML processing software. (ii) To support applicants for making electronic application documents by document content validation of a set of application documents. . . Representation of document rules in DRDL: Document rules described in DRDL are classified into data-items/data-type, constraints among data contents (in multiple documents), and additional information for document content validation and document content setting. (1) data-items/data-type: In terms of data-items, DRDL enables us to define document structure corresponding to DTD in the syntax of XML schema. In terms of data-type, DRDL follows the data-typing facility in XML Schema. Examples of defining data-items/data-type are lexical representation of receipt date and request codes in applying procedures. (2) constraints among data contents: DRDL enlarges representation facility of model groups in XML Schema to represent constraints among element contents in XML...

  • [October 13, 2000] "Non-Repudiation Evidence Generation for CORBA Using XML." By Michael Wichert (GMD - German National Research Center for Information Technology), David Ingham, and Steve Caughey (Department of Computing Science, Newcastle University). In Proceedings of the 15th Annual Computer Security Applications Conference. With 13 references. "Electronic business transactions commonly cross organizational boundaries where there is only a limited degree of trust. In order to compensate for this lack of trust, digital signatures and encryption can be used to provide support for non-repudiation. This is achieved by generating unforgettable evidence of transactions that can be use for dispute resolution after the fact. This paper focuses on the provision of a non-repudiation service for CORBA, the industry standard middleware for distributed applications. The current OMG specification of a CORBA non-repudiation service forces the programmer to augment the application with calls to functions for generating or validating evidence. Furthermore, the application itself has to manage the exchange of this evidence between parties and its storage. The paper describes our design for a generic CORBA non-repudiation service implementation. Our approach provides a separation between the application business logic and the generation of evidence allowing non-repudiation support to be incorporated into applications with the minimum of programmer effort. The paper begins with an overview of the CORBA non-repudiation security service specification, illustrating its importance for electronic commerce. Our design is then described using the example of ordering goods over the Internet. The non-repudiation service provides the parties with evidence proving that the transaction has taken place. This proof is a XML document based on the proposed IETF Internet standard Digital Signatures for XML." Detail: "Non-repudiation itself can be split in different types, the main types being: (1) non-repudiation with proof of origin; (2) non-repudiation with proof of delivery. The non-repudiation with proof of origin service provides the recipient of the data with evidence proving that the sender has sent the referenced data at a certain time. The non-repudiation with proof of delivery service is also often called non-repudiation of receipt. It provides the sender of the data with evidence that proves that the recipient has received the referenced data at a certain time but it does not prove that the recipient has also processed the data. Usually the evidence is generated using asymmetric cryptography where the data is digitally signed with the private key. The proof is sent to the communication partner where the digital signature is verified with a public key digital certificate issued by a trusted third party. It is important for the recipient to store the evidence to resolve later disputes. It is also possible to use symmetric cryptographic algorithms for creating a proof. But then an online trusted third party is needed to digitally sign the data with its secret key (notary service). For a trading system both non-repudiation with proof of origin and proof of receipt are necessary. The non-repudiation service is required to provide the following functions: evidence generation, evidence delivery, evidence verification, evidence storage, evidence retrieval, and evidence re-verification... [Conclusion:] The specification of the CORBA non-repudiation service describes the functionality of such a security service but lacks interface details and interoperability. This paper describes an implementation of a non-repudiation service for CORBA that has minimum impact on application programmers. Evidence management is performed automatically, relieving programmer burden in creating, transporting, validating and storing evidence. Non-repudiation tokens are digitally signed and contain date, time, non-repudiation type, method name and method parameter information. Our approach uses the same data for both non-repudiation evidence and application processing improving system integrity. It is proposed to encode the non-repudiation tokens using digitally signed XML documents specified by the proposed Internet standard Digital Signatures for XML. It is believed that this approach could form the basis for a proposal for interoperable non-repudiation tokens. In the EU funded project MultiPLECX we are implementing the generic non-repudiation service described in this paper. The service will be used to provide security for the created infrastructure required to support multi-party Electronic Commerce. The project will run pilots of commercial applications which will demonstrably enable multi-party business-to-business e-commerce transactions over the Internet in a fashion which is secure, robust and scaleable."

  • [October 13, 2000] "Data Modeling with Markup Languages (DM²L)." By by François Bry and Norbert Eisinger. Institut für Informatik der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. 23 March 2000, revised 3 July 2000. "Modern markup languages, such as SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) and XML (eXtensible Markup Language), which were initially conceived for modeling texts, are now receiving an increasing attention as formalisms for data and knowledge modeling. XML is currently establishing itself as a successor of HTML (HyperText Markup Language) for a better modeling of texts as well as of other kinds of data. There are several reasons for this evolution..." Note the related project which deals with XLink/XPointer: "A Toolkit for Advanced XML Browsing Functionalities." [cache]

  • [October 13, 2000] "Managing Trading Partners." By John K. Ousterhout. In EAI Journal (October 2000), pages 89-92. ['Anyone thinking about B2B applications should be aware of trading partner management issues - even under the best conditions they will probably dominate the costs of implementation. To reduce costs and complexity, you need to strive for reusability and keep to a minimum the different aspects required for each partner.'] "By now, the high expectations for business-to-business (B2B) applications have become familiar. Analysts have projected trillions of dollars of B2B transactions within a few years. Companies have begun to deploy B2B integration servers, which connect to existing back-end applications, and send and receive Extensible Markup Language (XML) documents over the Internet to automate business relationships. In doing so, companies hope to reduce costs, create new revenue opportunities, and improve customer retention. . . Implementing a B2B application such as supply-chain automation or electronic bill presentment typically proceeds in three phases: business process modeling, back-end integration, and partner integration. In the first phase, the Internet-based business process is defined. This requires you to reach agreement with your partners on a set of XML document types to carry information between you and your partners, along with protocols that specify how the documents are transmitted, relationships between documents, and so on. Several XML-based business processes have already been defined by companies and standards organizations, such as RosettaNet for supply-chain automation and IFX for electronic bill presentment. So, often a company can simply select an existing standard rather than define a new business process. The second stage in implementing B2B is back-end integration. This is typically done by deploying a B2B integration server. The server contains adapters for communicating with existing enterprise applications, such as databases and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. It also contains facilities for sending and receiving XML documents over the Internet. The B2B integration server must be programmed with business rules that connect a company's particular enterprise applications with the XML-based business process. For example, the arrival of a price-quote-request XML document might trigger business rules that invoke an ERP application to compute pricing information and then return a price-quote-response XML document to the sender..." Note: Ajuba2 from Ajuba Solutions is a B2B integration server that integrates enterprise applications with XML and the Internet, automating B2B relationships. See the description of the Ajuba2 Architecture. Ajuba2 assumes that the structure and content of an XML document is described by a DTD, as described in the XML specification; it will support XML Schema as soon as it becomes a W3C Recommendation. Tcl is used in development; see Ousterhout's Tcl article.

  • [October 13, 2000] "The B2B Standards War: Connect or Die!" By Bill Harrelson. In EAI Journal (October 2000), pages 42-48. Feature story. ['Standards set you free. Nowhere is this more apparent than for B2B integration where universal connectivity is the Holy Grail. This article looks at the standards initiatives and industry consortia across four levels of communications -- metadata, content, transport, and process -- and concludes that convergence will soon be achieved.'] "There are four levels to the communications standards now under discussion for B2B. Note that some standards initiatives focus on only one of the four levels; others span multiple levels. Some are proprietary; some represent neutral industry consortia. The four levels are: (1) Metadata: the abstract format for representing data. Metadata defines the record structures to be used, the fields those records will contain, and the character set to be used in transmission. (2) Content: defines the series of tags used in a specific Business Object Document (BOD). Thus, content would define what types of information (or fields) exist in a Purchase Order (PO), including item, vendor name, date of purchase request, and so on. (3) Transport framework: defines the 'envelope'(also called 'header' or 'wrapper') that contains message routing instructions. The transport framework is a protocol for sending data from one business to another over the Internet. (4) Business process: A business process contains several transactions. It dictates, for example, how businesses have agreed to negotiate a PO between them or how a Request for Proposal (RFP) bid process occurs... The impossibility of predicting the future has seldom stopped technologists from trying to do it anyway. So here are some predictions: (1) ebXML will garner considerable support and will be the de facto standard for the transport framework definition, as well as a metastandard for trading partner agreements. (2) ebXML will seek to harmonize content definitions with other standards efforts, notably EDI (X.12 and EDIFACT), OAGI, and RosettaNet. (3) OAGI will continue to aggressively develop horizontal content and will continue its early beginnings of providing vertical specialization of that horizontal content. It will continue its leadership in content creation. The adoption of OAGI by major Internet players will reach critical mass late in 2000, driven by major aerospace and automotive exchanges and their 100,000 suppliers adopting this standard. (4) OAGI will adopt ebXML transport frameworks and make BizTalk an alternative. It already supports both the RosettaNet and BizTalk transport frameworks. (5) RosettaNet will concentrate on process definitions for supply-chain trading partners, which will be consistent with their expressed goals, charter, and membership. They'll harmonize content standards with OAGI's; their framework will migrate to ebXML (both of these frameworks are based on OBI). (6) Proprietary frameworks will begin to migrate to open standards. This will not be difficult because the distance between them is small to begin with. New features will be added based on an existing body of work, rather than attempting to create something new for no reason. In short, convergence will happen -- probably within the next year. These bets are beginning to look safe." [cache]

  • [October 13, 2000] "4RDF: A Library for Web Metadata." By Uche Ogbuji. From (October 11, 2000). ['One of the jewels in the crown of Python's XML support is the 4Suite collection of libraries, the most recent addition to which is 4RDF, a library for the parsing, querying, and storage of RDF.'] 4Suite is a library and collection of tools for XML and object database development using Python, with support for most UNIX flavors and Win32. Fourthought, Inc. develops 4Suite as open source software, and the package (this article discusses the 0.9.1 release) includes a set of sub-components: (1) 4DOM: an XML/HTML library based on DOM Level 2; (2) 4XPath: a complete XPath 1.0 engine; (3) 4XSLT: a complete XSLT 1.0 processor; (4) 4XPointer: a (so far) partial implementation of XPointer; (5) 4ODS: an object persistence library based on ODMG 3.0, including a persistent DOM engine; (6) 4RDF: a library based on the W3C RDF specifications. There are other technologies supported in 4Suite, such as SAX and UUID generation, but the focus of this article is 4RDF. I shall assume familiarity with RDF. There are many resources providing introduction and discussion at the W3C's RDF page. 4RDF is a full-featured library based on the abstract models defined by W3C in their RDF Model and Syntax Recommendation 1.0 (RDF M&S) and RDF Schema Candidate Recommendation 1.0. (RDF Schemas). It provides several features beyond the RDF core, including multiple persistence mechanisms and an experimental inference layer for RDF data. Note that Fourthought is currently alpha-testing a 4Suite Server, a distribution of 4Suite with a built-in CORBA interface to allow use as a black box from other platforms and programming languages..." See also part 2, RIL: A Taste of Knowledge"; an innovative part of 4RDF is the RDF Inference Language (RIL), which provides a way of viewing an RDF model as an Expert System knowledge base. See "Resource Description Framework (RDF)."

  • [October 13, 2000] "What's Wrong with Perl and XML?" By Michel Rodriguez. From (October 11, 2000). ['Perl, the choice of many for programming on the Web, lags behind Java and C++ in the XML popularity contest. Michel Rodriguez shares his opinions on what's wrong, and what could be done about it.'] "The idea for this column came from a talk Nathan Torkington gave at YAPC, in which he described areas where Perl was weak, one of which is XML. Although there are many excellent Perl modules dealing with many aspects of XML (among which a good dozen offer various ways of transforming XML documents), the languages that seem to be favored by XML developers are Java, C/C++, and maybe even Python. For example, questions on the XML-DEV list mostly involve Java, C++, and XSLT. Sun, IBM, and Microsoft all push Java or C++ implementations. . . I think that even though the XML world is in some ways the antithesis of the Perl Way, there are still plenty of ways for Perl to be used effectively for XML processing. Sun, Microsoft, and IBM, probably the main forces pushing XML and driving W3C at the moment, are big Java supporters. Nevertheless I think they should realize that Perl appeals to a different audience than Java. So supporting and promoting Perl XML development, even bringing in Perl people in the standards working groups, would most likely increase XML's overall usage, converting Perl HTML/CGI developers to XML more easily than if they have to learn a new language. To conclude on a more optimistic note, the situation is not beyond remedy. I conducted keyword searches for XML and various programming languages over the W3C's site, the XML Cover Pages, XML-DEV, and Though behind Java and XSLT, Perl did give quite a strong showing, usually above Python."

  • [October 13, 2000] "XML-Deviant: XML Reduced." By Leigh Dodds. From (October 11, 2000). ['Is the incessant multiplication of XML standards leading to confusion, and what is the real minimum a developer needs to know about XML in order to do useful work?'] "Perhaps reeling from the hype associated with the XML family of standards, members of the XML-DEV list this week have been getting back to the basics to discover what's necessary for a first-time XML developer. The boom, and the possible subsequent bust, and, through it all, the hype surrounding new technologies is a fact of life in the IT industry. It provides a rich source of material for the technology media. Unsurprisingly, XML has received its share of criticism, including recent claims that it's killing the Web. Rarely tolerant of this kind of reporting, XML-DEV has reacted to some of these claims. Observing that much good work has been done in the area of server-side XML, David Megginson noted that these efforts rarely make for good press..."

  • [October 13, 2000] "RosettaNet companies go live with business process interface." By Ephraim Schwartz. In InfoWorld (October 10, 2000). "RosettaNet, a high-tech consortium formed to develop a global standard supply-chain interface, paraded its marquee industry members on Tuesday with each company explaining how it is deploying RosettaNet to tightly link supply-chain business processes. Member companies such as Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard were represented. The justification for the event was to announce that member companies were meeting the Oct. 10, 2000 goal put forth last year to have production system deployment of RosettaNet's Partner Interface Processes (PIP) technology. Although the event was mainly focused on touting the benefits of using the RosettaNet technology, there was an underlying message that went beyond a single solution and that supply-chain integration overshadows any additional benefits that might be offered by an online exchange. The words exchange and marketplace were barely mentioned. 'It's about better connections. XML and TCP/IP is not going to integrate to anyone's supply chain,' said Colin Evans, director of e-business strategy at Intel, in Santa Clara, Calif." See also the announcement: "Leaders in the IT and EC Industries Announce RosettaNet Standards Implementation Success. Supply Chain Partners Implement Business-to-Business Process Standards in Production Environment." On RosettaNet, see references in "RosettaNet."

  • [October 13, 2000] "PCX: A Framework, Not A Specification." By John Parsons. In Seybold Bulletin - News and Views on Electronic Publishing Volume 6, Number 2 (October 11, 2000). ['John Parsons examines printcafe's PCX initiative. Started as a specification for interface integration, has it grown into something else?'] "Originally promoted as an interface integration specification, PrintCafe's eProduction eCommerce eXchange (PCX) is now being described primarily as 'a framework for integrating industry standards.' While the phrase 'specification' is still used in the official white paper and FAQ documents, the emphasis is now on encouraging participants to use existing standards, rather than publishing specific implementation requirements. The distinction is not a subtle one. Online print auction sites, such as, which demonstrated integration with PrintCafe management systems at GraphExpo, are given substantial, and presumably consistent guidance in the use of appropriate standards, such as JDF and cXML, among others. There even will be a certification process by a neutral party (RIT) that will be fully operational within the next 3-4 months. However, at this time, there are no published 'objects' or sample implementation components--no code for developers to evaluate and try on their own. There are also no published APIs for the various print management systems within the PrintCafe stable. (Company co-CEO Marc Olin maintains that demands for open APIs have come primarily from competing E-commerce companies, not customers.) Under the PCX framework, integration with PrintCafe applications only will happen through the PrintCafe web site. This is essential, Olin asserts, because of the large number of applications involved (17) and the amount of custom development time required by a typical PrintCafe customer. According to PrintCafe, the reason for this approach is to avoid creating yet another standard, and to implement existing ones--including those in the document creation and supply chain environments. Olin emphasized that PrintCafe is actively involved in standards organizations, including GCA, which is actively involved in XML applications for the industry, and CIP4, which controls the JDF standard..." [Note the characterization from Paul M. Gaboury: "The purpose of printCafe PCX is to facilitate integration by enhancing the printing and publishing supply chain. The goals are to provide customers with fully integrated access to third party systems and services, provide those in the marketplace with the ability to flow their precertified data to printCafe management systems, provide the marketplace with a blueprint for the process of integrating third party systems to the printCafe suite of systems, and support existing industry standards and maximize their use in integration projects...The PCX process is designed to communicate needs and opportunities; coordinate with and participate in standards groups; review with an advisory council and set priorities; establish partner agreements and schedules; develop supplements and enhancements to industry standards; implement, demonstrate and pilot test new interfaces; provide third party certification of PCX partner implementation; and comarket and deploy new interfaces. PCX is standards implementation, not the creation of competing industry standards. Industry standards support criteria for PCX involve vision, scope, base of support/funding, relevant market value, willingness to cooperate with overlapping standards ventures, commitment to the GCA industry rchitecture program, use of an industry standard XML version, and existence as part of an industry group rather than an interest group." For XML specifications in the print industry, see references in "Job Definition Format (JDF)."

  • [October 13, 2000] "Misunderstanding XML." By Matthew Gertner (Praxis s.r.o.). October 2000. ". . . Efforts like XML Linking and Schemas are delayed for the same reason; they're universally acknowledged to be vital pieces of the XML puzzle, and have therefore been bogged down simply by the burning level of interest that has been focused on them. The bad news is that most of the core standards currently underway are essential to the long-term success of XML. If XML is to be the universal format for data interchange, and XML schemas the universal contract for policing this interchange, then further standards like XML Query (which is still in the requirements phase) will also be indispensable. Some of the essential standards haven't even been conceived of yet. For example, standard programming interfaces for working with XML are limited to SAX, which is almost always useful but almost never sufficient, and DOM, which is powerful but inefficient (and inconvenient to use for many applications). Nevertheless, XML moving in the right direction. The release of the XML Schema Recommendation (still just beyond the horizon) will be a major milestone. Next year, we can expect to see this and other essential standards reach a point where they can be used in real-world implementations. The proof of any new technology is in the tasting, so to speak, and 2001 will give rise to a smorgasbord of innovative XML software. In the meantime, heed the immortal words of rap group Public Enemy, and 'Don't Believe the Hype'."

  • [October 11, 2000] "Leverage legacy systems with a blend of XML, XSL, and Java. Combine XML, XSL, and Java to interface with mainframe systems." By Michael Koch. In JavaWorld (October 2000). ['As e-commerce becomes a focal point for companies scrambling to have a presence on the electronic frontier, incorporating those new ventures into the existing infrastructure becomes crucial. While a compendium of middleware applications can assist in that endeavor, a few creative applications using XML and Java can give you the same customizable and maintainable solution, and provide a few additional benefits as well.'] "While many may only think of XML in terms of marking up structured documents, you can use XML to describe anything that has a particular structure. For the purposes of this article, we shall assume that our legacy system stores data in a hierarchical database that may be accessed through COBOL programs residing on the system. Why not access the database directly to retrieve the information? While the hierarchical database offers some advantages for the mainframe system, directly accessing it requires extensive knowledge of the database. Usually, the underlying database features significant complexity, which makes traversing it exceedingly difficult, if not downright impossible. Since the COBOL programs are already available for that purpose, there remains no reason to undertake such a complicated task. You must know the structure of the transaction you will interface in order to invoke the COBOL program. To obtain that knowledge, refer to the program copybook, which contains the directions for use. Those directions include information about the length of the field, name, left or right justification, etc. Think of those descriptors as a set of fields that are described by attributes. Those descriptors provide directions on how to format the request and how to parse the returning data from the subsequent call. Using XML, you can now implement that copybook metadata to generate your copybook markup language. Below, this short, simplistic example of an XML document containing our COBOL program's metadata retrieves a name when given a social security number... XML, XSL, and Java work hand in hand to solve the complex problem of mainframe transaction access. Implementing XSL styling creates supplementary layers in the framework that allow the solution to configure changes from the application server or the mainframe programs without recompiling the Java code that performs the mapping. XML allows us to describe the structure of the COBOL transactions, providing directions to the Java engine on how to build the request or parse the response. I used this framework successfully in the last two e-commerce projects I participated in, and I will not hesitate to implement it again in the future." See also source code for the article.

  • [October 11, 2000] "XML goes to the hoop. Software for digital asset management helps the NBA deliver personal video streams." By Jack Vaughan. In (October 10, 2000). Audio interview with Dan Agan, ExcaliburTechnologies. "As the volume of streaming media grows, finding specific content can take a lot of time. For IT shops recently drawn into a world resembling the TV business, the need to index and manage such Web-borne multimedia presents new problems. Last month, Intel, Excalibur, and the NBA launched an effort to develop and distribute sports content that includes enhanced broadband programming and interactive broadcasts. The NBA hopes to provide access to some 50 years of NBA footage, said Dan Agan, Excalibur's vice president of corporate marketing. Eventually, the NBA will offer personalized, on-demand views of favorite players in action. Enhancements to Screening Room Capture, Excalibur's flagship software program, are intended to meet the NBA and others' evolving requirements. Screening Room allows organizations to 'get their arms around their video content' and then easily push that out to an online environment, Agan said. Moreover, Screening Room Capture will soon allow index information to encapsulate as metadata in an XML format. A common shorthand definition of metadata holds that it is information about information. Thus, information that tells a developer, a programmer, a machine, or a user about video content is metadata. The usefulness of the emerging XML standard in that regard is that it may someday provide a standard way of interchanging, for example, indexing information on a recording of Michael Jordan moving to the hoop, Bill Russell blocking a shot, or Dennis Rodman chest-thumping a referee. If client or server computers can extract such data quickly, then highly interactive online events will become a reality..."

  • [October 11, 2000] "J.D. Edwards fights back with supply-chain management suite. Company now talks about 'collaborative commerce' rather than ERP." By Ellen Messmer. In (October 10, 2000). "In a do-or-die comeback bid, J.D. Edwards & Sons Inc. last week released Web-based, supply-chain collaboration software called OneWorld Xe for online purchasing and data sharing between trading partners. A suite of 300 applications for financial planning, purchasing, fulfillment, warehouse and customer relationship management (CRM), OneWorld Xe represents J.D. Edwards' bid to transform its older enterprise resource planning (ERP) software into a fully Web-enabled application suite that can be extended for supply-chain management. According to analysts, OneWorld Xe admirably succeeds at doing that, giving the 23-year-old firm a good shot at fending off its main competitors in this arena -- Oracle Corp., SAP AG and i2 Technologies Inc. At its core, OneWorld Xe is a well-structured composite that combines software licensed from e-commerce vendors Siebel Systems Inc. (the CRM piece), Ariba Inc. (the e-procurement capabilities) and Netfish Technologies Inc. (XML business-to-business data sharing), plus others. J.D. Edwards bought Numetrics for the supply-chain piece..."

  • [October 10, 2000] "Simkin: A Scripting Language for XML." By Benoît Marchal. From EarthWeb (October 06, 2000). "October is XML Month at EarthWeb This month you'll see an increased number of XML tutorials, articles, and case studies, as well as insights into the newest languages based on XML." ['Simkin mixes XML with a scripting language. Use it to create more flexible applications that can be reconfigured, or extended, through XML files.'] It's fun to write for EarthWeb. Occasionally, I receive e-mail from developers pointing me to a new or interesting application. Recently, the creator of a new scripting language called Simkin asked me whether I'd like to examine his creation. Simkin is an intriguing idea that mixes XML with a scripting language. Scripts and XML: There are already scripting languages for XML, most notably XSLT -- the transformation language developed by the W3C. What sets Simkin apart from other offerings is that it embeds scripts within an XML document. What for? I found that the mixture of XML tags and scripts is ideal as an intelligent configuration file format. In fact, that was the genesis of Simkin. Simon Whiteside, its developer, explains: "The language grew out of configuration files for an adventure game. The parameters in the file were getting so complicated, I started by adding an expression syntax and moved onto a fully blown language syntax." Simkin has also been used as an API for plug-ins. Sibelius, a music processor, is an example of the latter. As we will see, a Java developer can expose functions and variables to Simkin. Plug-in developers can call functions from Simkin. . . Simkin is an attractive idea: It combines a simple scripting language with XML. Use it to create more flexible applications that can be reconfigured, or extended, through XML files. I do wish the developer would clean up the API. Defining new Simkin methods or variables requires a long list of if statements which are so readable. The documentation also needs some work. However, even as it stands, Simkin is useful. Adding a scripting language to an application opens the door to user enhancements. The combination of scripting and XML is an attractive one."

  • [October 09, 2000] "Tim Berners-Lee, XML." By Ross Owens and Tim Berners-Lee. In InfoWorld (October 06, 2000). "Although he labored in relative obscurity at the time, soft-spoken, fast-talking Tim Berners-Lee has become globally recognized for his work on XML. But rather than rest on his laurels, the director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is pushing forward, leveraging what he learned in developing the Web to usher in XML and make the next leap to what he calls the Semantic Web. Once the Web had gained a firm footing, the W3C took the complex and powerful SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) and simplified it in such a way that it would retain much of its potency and yet still work well on the Web. 'It's not often in standardization that you can actually simplify something,' Berners-Lee says. The resulting slimmed-down meta language, initially called SGML and ultimately named XML, shifted the focus away from formatting and onto content. The rapid adoption of XML has created the potential for machine-readable code that enables programs to derive real meaning from Web pages. This newfound conceptual capacity is what will drive the Semantic Web. From an economic standpoint, the Semantic Web could signal the next revolution in commerce. As Berners-Lee likes to explain it, before he developed the Web, business transactions often took place on the golf course. With the arrival of the Web, they're done on a browser. With the Semantic Web, transactions will be handled by programs that buy and sell on your behalf, but leave the thinking to you. 'My vision of the Semantic Web is definitely not artificial intelligence,' Berners-Lee says emphatically. 'That's awful!' On the contrary, the Semantic Web will deal in data and save the decision-making for human beings. 'It will only cover the rather boring side of our existence,' Berners-Lee explains. Nonetheless, for those who fear a world where machines run amok, Berners-Lee says that many of the hot-button issues, particularly privacy-related ones, didn't begin with the Web. 'They existed long before that.' Rather than dwell on the Semantic Web as a threat, perceived or otherwise, Berners-Lee prefers to focus on its potential to enhance more benevolent information gathering. 'On the positive side, look what it does to scientific data,' he says..." See related references in "XML and 'The Semantic Web'."

  • [October 07, 2000] "XML and Industrial Standards for Electronic Commerce." By Haifei Li. In Knowledge and Information Systems Volume 2, Number 4 (November 2000). "With the rapid adoption of XML as the meta data format for electronic commerce applications, many XML-based industrial standards for electronic commerce have been proposed. Since XML only defines a standardized syntax that introduces new tags used to represent data semantics, the task of defining a common set of tags and organizing tags into DTDs is left to developers of XML applications. XML applications do not interact with each other if their tags and DTDs are different. In this paper, we discuss and compare seven industrial standards for electronic commerce based on XML. They are BizTalk, CBL, cXML, IOTP, OAGIS, OCF and RETML. Each standard is categorized according to its coverage of business activities. The following observations are made after examining industrial standards from different perspectives. Firstly, XML has a big impact on industrial standards for electronic commerce. Secondly, most industrial standards are not quite mature at the current stage, and there are no apparent leaders among the competitors. Thirdly, the complexity of their DTDs varies quantitatively and qualitatively. Fourthly, the integration of industrial standards is imperative if applications based on different standards intend to exchange XML documents smoothly."

  • [October 07, 2000] "A Framework for the Epublishing Ecology." From the Open Ebook Initiative, Digital Rights Management Strategy Working Group. 'A systematic foundation for critical thinking, discussion, standards development and decision making in the world of electronic publishing.' Public Comment Draft Version 0.78. September 25, 2000. 25 pages. "In the spring of 2000, the OEBF formed a working group to begin developing a Digital Rights Management strategy for the OEBF and chartered that group to produce various deliverables (glossary, reference models, stakeholder profiles, etc.) This document embodies those deliverables. The Framework is currently under development by the OEBF's Digital Rights Management Strategy working group. A draft (version 0.78) is being made available simultaneously to the full membership of the Open eBook Forum and to other interested parties for a 30-day review and comment period beginning September 25th, 2000. [...] The Framework is a first step toward the creation of open standards for the epublishing market across all of the relevant stakeholders. We can use it to analyze the requirements of a specific stakeholder and determine how those requirements might be harmonized with those of other stakeholders. We can use it to exert a common vocabulary for epublishing to facilitate discussions among standards-making initiatives, some within the publishing industry (e.g., the DOI system, the ONIX metadata system, and the EBX proposal) and some without (e.g., MPEG21 and W3C). The Open eBook Forum (OEBF) is an international, non-profit trade organization whose mission is to promote the development of a thriving epublishing market. To do this, it creates, maintains and promotes adoption of epublishing standards and brings together stakeholders in the epublishing world by providing an inclusive forum for discussion of epublishing-related social, legal and technical issues." Also available as a Microsoft Word Document. See "Open Ebook Initiative." On DRM and XML, see (1) "Digital Property Rights Language (DPRL)" and (2) "Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL)." [cache]

  • [October 06, 2000] "Java Applications. The Return Of The Java Client." By Lenny Liebmann. In InternetWeek #831 (September 26, 2000), pages 63-66. "When Java was first introduced, people thought in terms of applets -- especially if the topic was e-business. Then disenchantment set in. Inconsistencies in applet behavior, immature development tools and the inherent limitations of ultra-thin clients turned many IT managers off to applets. Server-side Java became all the rage, and many proclaimed the death of the Java client. Now, client-side Java is back with a vengeance -- and not always in the form of applets. The need to build robust B2B apps drives many IT managers to create full-featured client-side Java applications for their e-business partners. And many of these client apps are so healthy in size that they have to be stored on a CD, rather than over the Web...Norman Gearhart, chief technology officer for the Ohio State Legislature, also values Java's platform independence, but says its appeal goes beyond that. 'Java is just a very powerful platform for building distributed applications,' he says. 'You can have multiple processes going on in several different places at once, which is often what you need to make a complex application work.' For example, Gearhart points out that sometimes a particular process -- such as a text search -- will get too CPU-intensive for a particular machine. With the flexible distribution that Java allows, such processes can simply be moved to a larger server. That's especially important to the state legislature, since its showcase client-side Java application is an XML content management system that Gearhart and his team developed to support the intensive document-centric business processes of government, such as developing amendments for proposed legislation. As Gearhart explains it, the main document in the worklife of the legislature is its 'journal,' which like the Congressional Record, documents every motion, bill proposal and vote. The journal is an extremely complex document, but its only real structure used to be simple line numbering, which made it extremely difficult for legislators and their staffs to pinpoint the information they needed. To get an idea of what a challenge this is, the state's budget this past year was 2,100 pages. Locating a specific appropriation within such a document would obviously be a very problematic task. Gearhart and his team solved this problem by transforming the journal into an XML document -- a fairly radical move considering that XML has been primarily applied to relatively small and highly structured units of transactional data. But with the new XML document management application that Gearhart's team built, the journal content and other government documents can now be searched, shared and utilized in other applications with unprecedented ease. While there's no hardwired link between XML and Java, Gearhart says there's plenty of synergy between the two technologies. For one thing, many of the best third-party XML tools, such as editors and parsers, are written in Java. This makes it easier for Java programmers to integrate such prefabricated tools into their custom apps. Java also makes it easy for programmers to treat XML documents as static objects within applications, simplifying the creation of code that can move and manipulate the data those documents contain. In the legislature's case, CORBA was also used to ease communications between various processes running on different machines. So, Gearhart used XML to allow flexible manipulation of the journal's text, Java to bring flexibility to the applications that perform those manipulations and CORBA to more easily communicate between any and all of the applications. 'The architecture of Java, XML and CORBA has really been the key to our success,' says Gearhart. 'It has given us the flexibility we need to meet our immediate requirements while building something that's going to serve our purposes over the long-term.' That's important to someone in Gearhart's position, because unlike private-sector companies, governments don't develop applications like this very frequently. 'This is something we're going to have to use for 15 years,' he says. The legislature is also a prime example of an organization that's very much in need of Java's platform independence. The operational independence of individual legislators, various executive and judicial offices, and other interested parties such as lawyers, political groups and the media, means that Gearhart's IT team has no control over user platforms. In fact, there are many differences between the various groups that work with the journal and the legislature's XML document management tools. One is the client platform or platforms they may be using. Another is the amount of horsepower they may or may not have on those machines. Yet another is whether they're storing documents locally or not. So the application is designed to run in several configurations, depending on the particular needs and resources of the user. For example, as with BCI and NMDP, the full Java application can run on a client machine against a local XML data store. The client Java component can also be run locally, while the server component runs somewhere else on the network against XML data in still another location. Or there may be no local Java component at all, just a browser connecting with a Java Server Page on a Web server, which acts as a remote client and in turn connects with Java apps and XML stores elsewhere on the network..."

  • [October 06, 2000] "Perspective On Technology: Java Servlet API and XML." By Madhu Siddalingaiah. From (August 2000). ['In the ongoing "Perpsective on Technology" series at, Madhu Siddalingaiah discusses techniques to generate and present dynamic, database-driven web content using XML and Java Servlets.'] "Dynamic, database-driven web content has become critical to improving efficiency and productivity. Although there are many techniques to generate and present dynamic web content, the most flexible and promising combines eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and Java Servlets. XML is an easy to understand, human and computer readable document format that can represent any kind of information. The Java Servlet API is the preferred method of delivering dynamic content over the Internet. Together, XML and servlets combine the 'what' and the 'how' of business on the web. Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) introduced a simple markup language with hyperlinks, forms, and some page formatting constructs. The power and simplicity of HTML will be exploited for many years to come. Unfortunately, with the rapid growth of the Web and Web standards, the underlying focus of what the web represents was lost. Web designers and developers focussed on delivering visually appealing content but lost sight of their primary goal: delivering useful information. XML helps in developing robust web applications. More importantly, it gives the industry a reason to stop and think about what their organizations can gain from IT and how information exchange can improve productivity... There is little doubt that future web sites will be XML-based. The advantages are clear, although greater design time and planning may be required. This is not uncommon in any large software project, so it should be expected with large web applications. Working together, XML and the Java Servlet API will be the enabling technologies of the information age." On Sun's Java API, see "Java API for XML Parsing (JAXP)."

  • [October 06, 2000] PRISM Profile of the Resource Description Framework." Posting to '' by Ron Daniel. 2000-10-06. "The Resource Description Framework (RDF) has been standardized by the W3C to provide a general framework for metadata. As such, its capabilities exceed those required by PRISM. Therefore, this document specifies a 'profile' - a restricted subset - of RDF that all PRISM-compliant software must support. This profile excludes certain capabilities of RDF that are not needed in PRISM applications, thus simplifying the development of PRISM applications that cannot, for one reason or another, make use of an existing RDF parsing frontend. Applications conforming to the PRISM specification MUST produce correct RDF documents that can be read by any RDF-compliant software. PRISM-compliant software does not have to be capable of processing any arbitrary RDF documents. There are three general classes of simplification this document makes in its profile of RDF. First, there are certain capabilities of RDF that are excluded. Second, there are some syntactic abbreviations allowed in RDF that are excluded from PRISM documents. Third, there are conventions adopted for the syntax used to express information where RDF allows multiple ways of saying the same thing... [The post said: "In response to Gabe Beged-Dov's request, the PRISM Working Group has authorized me to send out our suggested profile of RDF for wider review. Please send any comments this list. I will take care of feeding the comments back to the PRISM working group, and notifying this list of the results of deliberations about the comments. Be aware that this profile may get more restrictive over time as we examine more and more sample data from our publishing members. PRISM's goal is to be implementable, so the less opportunity for ambiguity the better."] See: "Publishing Requirements for Industry Standard Metadata (PRISM)" and "Resource Description Framework (RDF)."

  • [October 06, 2000] "Voice-activated Web access. A new flavor of XML redefines mobile communication." By Jeff Jurvis (Principal consultant, Rainier Technology, Inc.). From IBM developerWorks [Collaboration library], September 2000. ['There's more than one way to connect to the Internet on a mobile phone. WAP and WML are among the more common technologies used in North America. Now a new XML schema is providing another way for users to link up to the Web over their mobile phones.]' "People are talking about extending the Web to mobile phones, and most of the talk is about transplanting something like the traditional Web browser into the phone's smaller footprint. The Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and its Wireless Markup Language (WML) are -- along with WML's antecedent: Handheld Device Markup Language (HDML) -- the most common technologies used to extend the Web to mobile phones in North America. WAP is nearly ubiquitous in Europe, and iMode (with Compact HTML) is huge in Japan. Each approach delivers text and limited graphics to a small phone display. But we tend to overlook another channel for providing Web content over the phone: the phone's microphone and speaker. Voice XML Voice XML is a new XML schema intended to standardize the delivery of audio dialogs for voice access and interactive voice response linked to Web-based content and applications. IBM, Motorola, Lucent, and AT&T founded the Voice XML Forum in early 1999 to leverage existing speech technologies to make the Internet accessible by voice and phone. Not only do speech technologies open the Web to those unable to use visual browsers due to circumstance or physical limitations, they also make Web access more convenient for all users. New speech technologies can create dialog-driven applications such as speech recognition, speech synthesis, and recording and playback of digitized speech on PCs and servers for distribution to client devices. Voice XML provides a technology-neutral language that can be used to deliver speech applications. These applications separate the front-end presentation layer in Voice XML from the back-end services that handle speech and the mechanics of processing. For example, a well-designed Web site could easily support a voice-driven browser (such as one you might use on a mobile phone) in the same way the site would support another browser (such as a WAP browser or an HTML browser). When the initial request comes in from the browser, the server sniffs the browser type. If the browser is identified as a voice browser, the server will return the appropriate Voice XML pages..." Also in PDF format. See "VoiceXML Forum."

  • [October 06, 2000] "VoiceXML 1.0 Comes to Call." By Joshua Piven. In Computer Technology Review Volume 20, Number 9 (September 2000), pages 1, 16-19. Cover story. See "VoiceXML Forum."

  • [October 06, 2000] "Thoughts on the relationship between ontologies and philosophies." By Martin Bryan (The SGML Centre). ". . . Ontologies are used to define the relationships between concepts. They record agreed sets of relationships that are relevant to a particular community. They do not generally concern themselves with perceptions or events, but are designed principally to record the results of events. Other knowledge engineering techniques are more concerned with the events ('edges') that link concepts ('nodes'). There are a number of techniques based on graph theory that can be used to record these relationships, including the Unified Modelling Language (UML) . Other related techniques include Stanford University's Complex Event Processor (CEP). ISO 13250 Topic Maps are another mechanism that allows you to record both concepts (called 'topics') and their relationships (called 'associations'). It also includes facilities for assigning characteristics to "occurrences" of topics. One thing that differentiates Topic Maps from some of the other techniques is that they recognize that there is a need to record the relationship between concepts and perceptions. Each topic can be associated with a record of the set of occurrences in which the topic is known to have been perceived... Topic Maps have no mechanism for identifying structured scopes. In Topic Maps scopes reference topics (concepts), so it is possible to have a Ticket scope. But there is no way of showing that a Ticket is relevant to both the Transportation topic, and its sub-classifications, and to the Leisure topic, and its sub-classifications. One could develop a set of hierarchically structures public subject classifications that could be applied to this task, based on something similar to the extensible Universal Decimal Classification scheme (but hopefully not numerically based). But to date this work has not been started." See "(XML) Topic Maps." [cache]

  • [October 06, 2000] "Use of a Semantics Register with WebDAV Properties." By Eliot Christian (U.S. Geological Survey, 802 National Center, Reston, VA 20192). WEBDAV Working Group, Internet Draft. Reference: 'christian-prop-semantics-00.txt', April 24, 2000. This document specifies a mechanism to associate a WebDAV (WEBDAV) property with an entry in a Semantics Register. A Semantics Register documents the meaning of properties in a formal manner and may be implemented with schema technologies such as Extensible Markup Language (XML) Schema or Resource Description Framework (RDF) Schema . Schema technologies expose the derivation of complex properties from simpler concepts, as demonstrated in the Basic Semantics Register for data elements used in Electronic Data Interchange. Registering the meanings of properties in this manner can enhance interoperability across systems and throughout the long-term information life cycle." Background: "It is often important to associate with a property some assertions in addition to its name and contents: assertions such as alternate labels or the property's semantic or syntactic relationship to other properties in the same or other systems. In organizing these assertions, a Semantics Register serves as an important tool for documenting a system and enabling interoperability among systems. When implemented with schema technologies, a Semantics Register can expose how complex properties are derived from simpler concepts. This use is demonstrated in the Basic Semantics Register (BSR), wherein thousands of complex data elements used in Electronic Data Interchange are constructed from commonly understood concepts. A Semantics Register can be referenced within WebDAV through the XML Namespace attribute. For example, assume there is a Semantics Register for Open Document Management (ODMA) properties at the URI '', and one of the ODM properties has an attribute ID 'ODM_CHECKEDOUTBY'. This hypothetical Semantics Register can be referenced in the value of an 'xmlns' attribute on the 'prop' element of a WebDAV 'propfind'..." See: "WEBDAV (Extensions for Distributed Authoring and Versioning on the World Wide Web." [cache]

  • [October 06, 2000] "WevDav, IIS, and ISAPI Filters." [INTERNET PROGRAMMING.] By Martin Hallerdal. In Dr. Dobbs Journal (November 2000), pages 114-119. "The web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) specification defines a set of extensions to the HTTP protocol that let you collaboratively edit and manage files on remote web servers. Additional resources include webdav.txt (listings) and (source code)." See: "WEBDAV (Extensions for Distributed Authoring and Versioning on the World Wide Web."

  • [October 06, 2000] "codebytes: XLink with David Orchard." An overview of XLink with David Orchard, Jamcracker, co-editor, W3C XLink Specification. [2000-07-25] Audio/Video. Time: 50:00. See "XML Linking Language."

  • [October 06, 2000] "XML Linking Technologies." By Eric van der Vlist. From (October 04, 2000). ['XML's flexibility provides many ways of approaching the problem of creating links between nodes. Using practical examples, this article surveys linking in XML from containment through to RDF and XLink.'] "Defining relationships between nodes of a tree is always an involved topic. During the 1990s we saw the success of relational databases, tabular data being an extreme solution to defining these relationships. In bringing hierarchical structures back to center stage, XML has revived the linking problem and presents multiple ways to solve it. In this article, we explore some of the ways to express links. We'll focus on linking nodes in a single document. Using the example of book cataloging, for each technology we will show how the example can be represented, explain how this representation can be expanded using XSLT into the most simple model, see how the document could be validated using XML Schemas, and weigh the benefits of each approach against its complexity. We take XSLT transformation as the typical XML processing scenario, using it to gauge the complexity of each linking scenario. Please note that the XML Schemas and XPointer technologies used below are still works in progress and lack production-quality implementations. [...] The ability to define links between nodes without modifying these nodes is key for defining links between resources you don't own on the Web. This is one of the reasons why extended XLinks is the technology of choice for topic maps. This ability can be shared by RDF though, and we could have designed our RDF example to achieve this separation between objects and relations -- we could even have used XPointers in RDF. The difference between the extended links and RDF appears to be mostly a subtle difference of focus. RDF focuses on assertions about links; XLink on links carrying assertions." See "XML Linking Language."

  • [October 06, 2000] "Transforming XML: Finding Relatives." By Bob DuCharme. From (October 04, 2000). ['XML nodes have many friends and relations. In XSLT, the key to finding them is XPath. In this article Bob DuCharme shows you how.'] "When your XSLT processor is processing one node of your source tree, and you want to get something from another node, you can use an XPath expression and an xsl:value-of instruction. I'm going to hurry through the general structure of an XPath expression to get to the really useful stuff: using XPath abbreviations to get at the different 'relatives' a node can have on a source tree -- siblings, a parent, grandparents and so on. This brief review of the full XPath syntax will put the abbreviations in context. An XPath expression consists of one or more location steps separated by slashes. Each location step consists of an axis specifier, a node test, and an optional predicate. You don't have to include an axis specifier, either; if you leave it out, a default of child is assumed. This makes a node test name like 'product' a perfectly valid one-step XPath location step -- in fact, it's a perfectly valid XPath expression. When you include an axis specifier, it's separated from the node test with two colons, and a predicate goes inside of square brackets, so a location step of preceding-sibling::item means "of all the nodes in the preceding-sibling axis, I want the ones named 'item'." A location step that includes a predicate, like preceding-sibling::item[1], means "of all the nodes in the preceding-sibling axis, I want the first one named 'item'." XPath offers abbreviations that let you use much of its power without spelling out full location path steps every time you want to use them. For example, @ means the same thing as attribute:: and .. means the same thing as parent::node(). Let's see how useful these abbreviations can be and how much more flexibility you have when you use axes that have no abbreviations..." For related resources, see "Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL/XSLT)."

  • [October 06, 2000] "XML-Deviant: The Benevolent Dictator of SAX." By Leigh Dodds. From (October 04, 2000). Title is also presented as 'The Benign Dictator of SAX'. ['As David Megginson gets ready to hand over the reins of SAX, the community-developed Simple API for XML, a successor must be found.'] "A significant chapter in the history of XML is about to close. The current maintainer of SAX [The Simple API for XML], David Megginson, will shortly be relinquishing his responsibilities... Members of XML-DEV have taken notice and, with a flurry of email, have begun discussing the future of its most successful project... A range of organizations have been mentioned in the continuing debate. So far the complete list includes Apache, W3C, OASIS, IETF, ISO, the Open Group, and, of course, XML-DEV itself. Among this list some organizations seem like a better home for a markup-oriented API than others, though there are are benefits and costs associated with each. Those costs can be very real, with almost all of these organizations charging membership fees of some kind, which is a big departure from the open model of SAX development so far...Megginson has invested enormous effort to make SAX the ubiquitous tool it is today. He deserves the thanks and appreciation of the entire XML community." [See now the proposal of Jon Bosak in light of a new OASIS Technical Committee Process.]

  • [October 06, 2000] "OpenWorld: Oracle tackles wireless apps." By John Cox. In Network World (October 03, 2000). "With an eye on the exploding wireless market, Oracle this week announced a set of products and programs that let enterprise users access database applications via wireless connections. The linchpin of the effort is Oracle9i Application Server Wireless Edition, which will ship in December. Formerly called Portal to Go, this server software intercepts a wireless client request, uses XML to retrieve the desired information, and then converts it into a format that the wireless device can use, whether on a microbrowser, a small pager screen, or a larger PDA display. Wireless Edition supports an array of standard or widely used display and network protocols, such as Wireless Markup Language over the Wireless Access Protocol, XML, HTML, CDMA, TDMA, GSM and other wireless transports...Business unit OracleMobile this week unveiled a beta version of OracleMobile Online Studio, a group of software tools for building, testing and deploying wireless applications in a hosted environment, such as that offered by OracleMobile. The Studio tool set is based on XML and lets developers create hosted, wireless versions of existing applications. The tools are on General release of the tool set is planned for this month." [Note from the application guidelines: "The Portal-to-Go XML DTD defines the abstract markup language used in the OracleMobile application framework. The goal of the definitions is to be a superset of the markup languages for a variety of devices. Elements in the DTD represent elements of an abstract user interface which translate to device-specific formats. The following is a summary of elements in the DTD. Click on each element to see more details..."]

  • [October 06, 2000] "Web agent technology addresses privacy needs Start-up OneName's extensible name service safeguards exchange of XML documents between end users and Web sites." By Carolyn Duffy Marsan. In Network World (October 02, 2000). "Start-up OneName announces today an Internet data exchange technology that lets Web sites offer their customers an array of features including privacy protection, one-click registration and automatic form filling. Called the extensible name service (XNS), the technology creates Web agents to exchange personal profile information between end users and Web sites. XNS processes, links and synchronizes documents written in XML. With XNS, an end user can create an XML document that includes the person's name, e-mail address and other personal information. This digital profile is managed by an XNS personal Web agent, which distributes the information according to the end user's privacy and security preferences. When the end user visits an XNS-compliant Web site, his Web agent selectively releases information to negotiate privacy contracts, enter passwords and fill out forms. If the end user changes his digital profile, his Web agent automatically updates the information on every compatible Web site..." See: "Extensible Name Service (XNS)."

  • [October 06, 2000] "B2B is ideal test bed for XML Digital Signatures." By James Kobielus. In Network World (October 02, 2000). "We can now take for granted the notion that electronic signatures, under U.S. law, may be as legal and binding as the pen-and-paper variety. The new Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act has removed legal impediments to potential acceptance of various electronic techniques for signing commercial contracts and other agreements...Digital signatures deliver critical authentication, tamperproofing and nonrepudiation services for legally enforceable transactions, so it's only a matter of time before they're adopted everywhere in the business-to-business arena. But it's doubtful that many business-to-business trading communities will rush to implement digital signatures without a flexible, general-purpose standards framework for applying and validating signatures on electronic documents. Fortunately, the standards community is well along in defining such a framework: XML Digital Signatures (XML-DSig). XML-DSig is a set of draft specifications that has considerable industry support where it counts: early vendor implementation and ongoing interoperability testing. What's most important, the XML-DSig framework is application-independent and supports signing of any content type, XML or non-XML, as long as that content can be addressed across the Internet, extranet or intranet via uniform resource identifiers (URI). XML-DSig defines procedures for binding cryptographic signatures to one or more URI-addressable local or network resource and for validating those signatures. XML-DSig also specifies an XML syntax for defining signature blocks that can be embedded in all content types. We will start to see commercial implementations of XML-DSig early next year. During this time frame, the World Wide Web Consortium and Internet Engineering Task Force, which are jointly shepherding the XML-DSig initiative, are expected to finalize and then ratify the standards." See "XML Digital Signature (Signed XML - IETF/W3C)."

  • [October 06, 2000] "From The Lab: Introduction to XSLT, Part Two." By James Pearce. From October 05, 2000. "This two-part series discusses how to use XSLT stylesheets to transform a single source of data into different formats, such as HTML and WML. The first part of the article introduced XSL and demonstrated it being used to transform XML into HTML. In the conclusion, we'll produce an application that can generate WML and HTML. The same data can be accessed regardless of whether the user is viewing the site using a WAP phone or a web browser." With source.

  • [October 06, 2000] "WAP: The Promise and the Reality." From October 02, 2000. "Although Internet usage is rapidly growing, mobile phones usage is soaring, and far faster in Europe and the Far East than in the United States. According to IC Insights, cellular phone shipments reached 258 million in 1999 and are projected to hit 356 million units in 2000. In the United States, service providers such as AT&T and Sprint, already offer WAP access to their cellular customers. Overseas, South Korea estimated that as of April 2000, 58.2 percent of its population were mobile phone subscribers. In Finland, the number is estimated at over 70 percent, and the number of cell phones is projected to outnumber the country's 5 million people by 2004. . . Since WML is a different mark-up language than HTML, and because a designer must think of a WAP device screen significantly differently than a Web browser screen, a content generation issue arises. Most applications generate the original content in HTML and then translate the HTML at request time into WML. For very complex applications or specialized functions, both HTML and WML may be generated and stored. In a few cases, the application is never meant to be viewed on a regular Web browser and only WML needs to be generated. In the latter two cases, application-generation software that is capable of simultaneous generation of multiple outputs from the same input (usually based on rules such as checking the account number to see if the user has registered for Web access, WAP access or both) has come into favor. In the future, XML generation will simplify the content generation issue. Once the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C, has completed the eXtensible Style Language (XSL) recommendation, it will be possible to use a style (written in XSL) to translate XML source files into either HTML for Web display or into WML for cell display." See also eGroups 'wmlprogramming' mailing list. Also "WAP Wireless Markup Language Specification."

  • [October 05, 2000] "Note on XML Encryption." By Takeshi Imamura and Hiroshi Maruyama (IBM Research, Tokyo Research Laboratory; Email: {imamu, maruyama} With 14 references. "Hiroshi "Maruyama and I tried roughly designing the <'EncryptionInfo> element for algorithm and keying information, based on "Specification of Element-wise XML Encryption.". This note illustrates how the element works. We welcome any ideas or comments. Thanks in advance." Posted by Takeshi Imamura (Tokyo Research Laboratory IBM Japan, Ltd.) See further references in "XML and Encryption."

  • [October 05, 2000] "VoiceXML - Taking IVR to the Next Level. A bottom up look at XML and VoiceXML." By Chris 'Dr. CT' Bajorek (Co-founder, CT Labs). In Computer Telephony (October 2000). "... So why should you create IVR applications based on voiceXML when existing IVR products work just fine? One significant reason: VoiceXML provides an intrinsic ability to access information stored on or accessed through a corporate web server. Since IVR systems generically require access to one or more corporate databases, any such database connectivity already implemented via a company web server is directly usable in a voiceXML script. This saves development time and money and can greatly reduce maintenance costs. Another clear benefit is that existing web application development tools become mature tools for development of voiceXML-based IVR applications. Using such tools and development methodologies also frees up IVR application developers from low-level IVR platform or database access details. VoiceXML applications by their very nature have excellent portability across web server and IVR platforms that properly support the standard. This means you are free to change to other voiceXML-compliant IVR platform vendors without losing your development work... Here's a little about how voiceXML works under the covers: a document server (usually a web server) processes requests from a client application, the voiceXML interpreter, through the voiceXML interpreter context. The server replies with voiceXML documents that contain actual voiceXML commands that are processed by the voiceXML interpreter. The voiceXML interpreter context may monitor caller inputs in parallel with the voiceXML interpreter. For example, one voiceXML interpreter context may always listen for a special touch tone command that takes the caller to a special menu, while another may listen for a command that changes the playback volume during the call. The implementation platform contains the telephone hardware and related CT resources and is controlled by the voiceXML interpreter context and voiceXML interpreter. For instance, an IVR application may have the voiceXML interpreter context detecting an incoming call, reading the first voiceXML document, and answering the call while the voiceXML interpreter executes the first touch tone menu process after the call is answered. The implementation platform generates events in response to caller actions (e.g., touch tone or spoken commands) and system events (e.g., timers expiring). Some of these events are acted upon by the voiceXML interpreter itself, as specified by the voiceXML document, while others are acted upon by the voiceXML interpreter context. What does a voiceXML application look like? Here is a voiceXML page fragment generated by a web application that implements a classical dtmf-based IVR menu..." See: "VoiceXML Forum."

  • [October 05, 2000] Java API for XML Processing Version 1.1. Public Review. By James Duncan Davidson and Rajiv Mordani (Sun Microsystems). Reference: JSR-000063, Java API for XML Processing (JAXP) Specification. October 2, 2000; 52 pages. Sun Microsystems has announced the availability of JSR-000063 Java API for XML Processing 1.1, accessible online and presented for 'Public Review' until November 6, 2000. The proposed JAXP specification, as presented in the project summary, "will define a set of implementation independent portable APIs supporting XML Processing. This specification will be a follow-on specification to the Java API for XML Parsing (JAXP) 1.0 which was produced under JSR-000005. This specification will update the JAXP 1.0 specification support for SAX and DOM by endorsing SAX2 and DOM Level 2 respectively. In addition, it will define a set of implementation independent APIs for supporting XML Stylesheet Language / Transformation (XSLT) processors as well as possibly utilizing the XML utility standards of XBase, XLink, XPath, and XPointer. This draft is available for Public Review as per Section 3.1 of the Java Community Process Program." Excerpts: "In many ways, XML and the Java Platform are a partnership made in heaven. XML defines a cross platform data format and Java provides a standard cross platform programming platform. Together, XML and Java technologies allow programmers to apply 'Write Once, Run Anywhere' fundamentals to the processing of data and documents generated by both Java based programs and non-Java based programs. . . This document describes the Java API for XML Processing, Version 1.1. This version of the specification introduces basic support for parsing and manipulating XML documents through a standardized set of Java Platform APIs. When this specification is final there will be a Reference Implementation which will demonstrate the capabilities of this API and will provide an operational definition of the specification. A Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK) will also be available that will verify whether an implementation of this specification is compliant. These are required as per the Java Community Process 2.0 (JCP 2.0). The specification is intended for use by: (1) Parser Developers wishing to implement this version of the specification in their parser, and (2) Application Developers who use the APIs described in this specification and wish to have a more complete understanding of the API." The JAXP specification builds upon several others, including the W3C XML 1.0 Recommendation, the W3C XML Namespaces 1.0 Recommendation, Simple API for XML Parsing (SAX) 2.0, W3C Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2, and XSLT 1.0. "This [JSR-000063] version of the Java API for XML Processing includes the basic facilities for working with XML documents using either the SAX, DOM and XSLT APIs; however, there is always more to be done. [Plans for future versions include:] (1) As future versions of SAX and DOM evolve it will be incorporated into the future version of this API; (2) In a future version of the specification, we would like to provide a plugability API to allow an application programmer to provide an XML document and an XSLT document to a wrapped XSLT processor and obtain a transformed result." See "Java API for XML Parsing (JAXP)."

  • [October 04, 2000] "XML and Scheme." By Oleg Kiselyov. A micro-talk presentation at a Workshop on Scheme and Functional Programming 2000, Montréal, 17 September 2000. "This talk will propose consistent or conformant Scheme implementations of W3C Recommendations: XML Infoset, XPath query language and a small subset of XSL Transformations. At the top of the [W3C XML semantics] hierarchy is an XML information set, Infoset: an abstract data set that describes information available in a well-formed XML document. Infoset's goal is to present in some form all relevant pieces of data and their abstract, container-slot relationships to each other. The implementation of this nest of containers as well as means of accessing items and properties are beyond the scope of the Infoset specification. XML document, with tags in familiar angular brackets is one of the concrete instances of an XML Infoset. Conversion is through parsing/unparsing. The XML Path Language, XPath, makes the tree structure of XML Infoset explicit, and more practical. For example, XPath groups character information items into strings. Still the tree model of XPath is conceptual only, and does not mandate any particular implementation. XPath is a query language over an XPath tree. A Document Object Model (DOM) is another specialization of Infoset. It not only describes a tree view of a document but also makes the tree real to an application, via a set of interfaces to navigate the tree and query or update its nodes. XML Stylesheet Language Transformations, XSLT, build upon the XPath tree to describe transformations from branches and leaves of one tree onto another. This talk will show a conformant instance of this mostly abstract hierarchy with Scheme as an implementation language. Scheme represents the XML Infoset and the XPath tree -- which are data structures. Scheme is also used to express XPath queries and tree transformations... We have shown an s-expression-style for XML, XPath and XSLT. SXML, SXPath and SXSLT however are not merely s-expressions: they can denote executable Scheme code and can be evaluated by an eval function as they are. Thus an XML document and operations on it can be expressed in Scheme -- and regarded either as data structures or as code." Note in this connection also (1) 'An XML parsing/lexing framework' - "This framework is a collection of low- to high-level parsers for various productions defined in the XML Recommendation. The package is intended to be a set of 'Lego blocks' you can use to build a SAX or a DOM parser -- or a specialized lightweight parser for a particular document type. The framework also contains its own high-level XML parser: a procedure that turns an XML document or a well-formed part of it into the corresponding SXML form. The latter is an S-expression-based model of an XML Information Set. SXML is a 'relative' of DOM, whose data model is another instance of the XML Infoset. SXML is particularly suitable for Scheme-based XML/HTML authoring, SXPath queries, and tree transformations. The comments to a function SSAX:element -> SXML formally define SXML and give more details. The present XML parsing framework has a 'sequential' feel of SAX yet a 'functional style' of DOM. It parses XML in a pure functional style, with the input port being a monad (a linear, read-once parameter)." and (2) 'Evaluating SXML: XSL Transformations in Scheme'. [cache]

  • [October 04, 2000] "Killing the Web." By John C. Dvorak [PC Magazine]. In PC Magazine (October 03, 2000). "The elegant simplicity of plain HTML is being shoved aside in favor of the increasingly complex XML scene. Already the XML scene is deteriorating into a mess. XML began as a simple and much-needed concept. The idea was to find a way to make data and text elements variable in such a way that information could be presented in a more controlled yet dynamic fashion. I have seen XML in action, and it can be quite powerful. XML is, in many ways, a vague standard insofar as definitions of XML elements are concerned. Already the XML scene is deteriorating into a mess that requires full-time attention. By this I mean that the average PC Magazine reader, who is generally no slouch, will not be able to work with XML casually unless it is a full-time job. This does not bode well for the Web as a populist mechanism. Just look at the recent recommendations by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), which dominates Web standards. The W3C has recently added XSLT and XPath to the mix of XML-related standards to watch. XPath is a FAT (file allocation table) applied to an XML document. Great, now we need this kind of thing to keep track of a page. XSLT means Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations. This amounts to a conversion mechanism that is predefined so that various media can adapt the XML Web page and view it exactly as it was created on competing browsers. So instead of some universal way to handle XML on different devices, you can define your own custom ways to handle it. This is all just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to new Web developments surrounding XML. The biggest problem, and everyone is fretting about it and doing nothing, is the vocabulary problem. An XML element can be defined any way a programmer wants to define it. The list of definitions is called the vocabulary. There are no universal vocabularies, so each XML promoter just does things its own way. "Our way is the best!" The next company over, of course, is doing XML differently. For a large company that subscribed to the methodology of company A and spent millions of dollars to do so, it will be frustrating when, for some unknown reason, the company B approach becomes universal and a true standard. Nobody knows what to do about this... It will be prettier when it works. But with increased complexity comes increased inefficiency and lots of bugginess. A slow, buggy, complex, daunting Web awaits. I'm not looking forward to it..."

  • [October 04, 2000] "Adding Relevance to XML." By Anja Theobald and Gerhard Weikum (Department of Computer Science, University of the Saarland, Germany; WWW:; Email: {theobald, weikum} Presented at [Session 3: Querying XML] WebDB 2000, May 18-19, 2000, Adam's Mark Hotel, Dallas, TX. 13 references. "XML query languages proposed so far are limited to Boolean retrieval in the sense that query results are sets of qualifying XML elements or subgraphs. This search paradigm is intriguing for 'closed' collections of XML documents such as e-commerce catalogs, but we argue that it is inadequate for searching the Web where we would prefer ranked lists of results based on relevance estimation. IR-style Web search engines, on the other hand, are incapable of exploiting the additional information made explicit in the structure, element names, and attributes of XML documents. In this paper we present a compact query language that reconciles both search paradigms by combining XML graph pattern matching with relevance estimations and producing ranked lists of XML subgraphs as search results. The paper describes the language design and sketches implementation issues. . . XML is the main driving force in the ongoing endeavour for data integration across the entire spectrum from largely unstructured to highly schematic data. In an abstract sense, all data is uniformly captured by a graph with nodes representing XML elements along with their attributes. A variety of query languages have been proposed for searching XML data [...] These languages essentially combine SQL-style logical conditions over element names, contents, and attributes with regular- expression pattern matching along entire paths of elements. The result of a query is a set of paths or subgraphs from a given graph that represents an XML document or document collection. Although originally motivated by Web searching, the key target of XML query languages has shifted to searching over a single or a small number of federated XML repositories such as electronic shopping catalogs. In this setting, the focus on Boolean retrieval, where an XML path is either a query match or does not qualify at all, is adequate. In the Web, however, where the graph for an XML document is conceptually extended by following outgoing links to other sites, ranked retrieval remains the preferred search paradigm as it is practically impossible to compute exhaustive answers for Boolean-search queries. Thus, traditional Web search engines, typically based on variations of the vector space model, remain the only viable choice for large-scale information retrieval on the Web. This well established technology, on the other hand, disregards the opportunities for more effective retrieval that arise from the fact that XML-based data makes more structure and semantic annotations (i.e., element and attribute names) explicit. In this paper, we argue that XML query languages should be extended by information-retrieval-style similarity conditions, so that a query returns a ranked list sorted by descending relevance. We propose a concrete, simple language along these lines, which we have coined XXL for "flexible XML search language". To this end, we have adopted core concepts of XML-QL, and have extended them with similarity conditions on elements and their attributes. The relevance assessments, also known as 'scores', for all elementary conditions in a query, are combined into an overall relevance of an XML path, and the result ranking is based on these overall relevance measures. . . The biggest challenge in our future work lies in making the approach scalable and perform well on distributed Web data. In this broader context, Oracle8i interMedia as a thesaurus-backed text search engine would have to be replaced by a Web search engine, which is relatively easy with our modular architecture. In addition and more importantly, the presented traversal procedure has to be extended for this purpose. For more efficient traversal we consider prefetching techniques, and we are looking into approximative index structures as a search accelerator. Both techniques may exploit the fact that we are heuristically computing a relevance ranking, so that a faster but less complete result is usually tolerable." [cache, alt URL]

  • [October 02, 2000] "The Next Bang: The Explosive Combination of Embedded Linux, XML and Instant Messaging." By Doc Searls (Senior Editor, Linux Journal). In Linux Journal (September 2000). "IM is a familiar concept to the tens of millions of AOL customers who use AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) or ICQ, which AOL also owns. Neither is open and deployable like Sendmail and Apache for the obvious reason that AOL owns the services and enjoys keeping them to itself - AOL's breed of IM is limited by its business model, which is all about selling captured eyeballs to advertisers... [So Jeremie Miller and] a cadre of developers quickly gathered around the project ( and built instant messaging that any geek can deploy in the familiar manner of Sendmail and Apache. Here is a description of Jabber's architecture, condensed from the Jabber Technical White Paper: (1) Every user interacts through a local server that transfers messages to and through any number of other servers, each with its own domain; (2) Jabber Identifiers are also expressed like email:; (3)Clients and servers converse among themselves through XML streams. In client/server conversations, the XML stream is always initiated by the client to the server; (4) The architecture can also support simple clients (e.g., a direct telnet connection) as well as AIM, ICQ and other proprietary clients; (5) Since it is built on XML, Jabber is extensible and able to express just about any kind of structured data; (6) Jabber's own protocol consists of XML fragments passed over XML streams between clients and servers. There are three primary protocols that define the basic types of XML fragments used in Jabber: Messages, Presence and Info/Query; (7) Server-to-server communication involves routing these protocol elements over an XML stream from one server to another (there are no special server-to-server protocols or features); (8) A Module API lets the server use external modules to handle message filtering, storage facilities (off-line messages, rosters, user info), user authentication and other functions; (9) A Service API allows integration of security, special connections for alternate clients and message logging; (10) Transport servers are used to bridge the Jabber protocol to other services, such as IRC, ICQ and AIM... XML is designed to carry 'structured' data. But that data can change constantly and--by design--define the terms by which it is understood. In essence, this creates a standards-based framework for dynamic relationships between communicating entities on the Net. When those communications become 'instant', there is nothing to stop relationships from being defined and changed whenever necessary. When communications become 'instant' (which in practical terms means near real-time), there is nothing to stop relationships from being defined and changed whenever necessary by agreement between the communicating parties, even if those parties are intelligent devices. With Jabber, any two identities, whether human or machine, can send and receive real-time messages that contain pretty much anything, and do so in a structured way, independent, if necessary, of intermediating protocols. Although Jabber was originally envisioned as a distributed, XML aware instant messaging platform, its uncomplicated methods of combining presence with XML document routing puts it in an ideal position to become much more than just another instant messaging system. Instead, it could become infrastructure for messaging enabled, embedded applications. It becomes the way they communicate through the Net -- whether with each other or with applications on the PC (which are already talking to each other). Jabber is an instant messaging platform with the ability to packetize messages in XML documents--in effect as data transport. Any PC or Net-native device can instantly communicate with all of the infrastructure on the Internet that can parse and act on XML. This puts new XML databases -- which are designed to parse XML and store structured data or documents -- in a powerful context. Anywhere XML is the preferred way to receive and send information, we have infrastructure already conformed to instant messaging. . ." See: "Jabber XML Protocol."

  • [October 03, 2000] "Jabber Works Both Sides of the .com, .org Street." By Michelle Head. In (October 02, 2000). ['Jabber works both sides of the .com, .org street, makers of the instant-messaging platform based on XML and the technology of its open source project ( has been riding the crest lately of a major growth spurt, announcing several business partnerships that should ensure that the company's expansion into new environments continues.'] " is an instant messaging (IM) platform based on XML and the technology of its open source project, Of late, Jabber has been riding the crest of a major growth spurt, and has announced a number of business partnerships that should ensure that the company's expansion into new environments continues. [Comments from Andre Durand, founder of] Jabber's appeal seems to be increasingly universal, Durand said. "We're the only open source movement in this space. There are Jabber clients running in every known [programming]language on every operating system (OS). As far as programming languages, we have C, C++, Delphi, Visual Basic, Java, Mozilla, PHP, Perl, Python, HTTP, every conceivable language. The server runs on Windows NT, Solaris, FreeBSD, every flavor of UNIX and every flavor of Linux," Durand said. This universality could send the IM system's popularity through the roof, Durand said. "It's the only platform based on XML. It's the only platform that's a distributed client server system that looks like e-mail. Everybody can run their own system--they all talk. It's just got the right ingredients to blow this space open." That simplicity and openness is enabling Jabber to partner easily with other companies, technologies and developers. "What we're doing with WorkSpot and IQ3G, is that we're all three funding the development of a Jabber client for the Palm. On top of that Jabber client library, we're going to do a simple instant messaging application as an example of how the client works. But then we're going to offer that client to every Palm developer that wants to send or receive XML to a Palm," Durand explained. "So really, Jabber is infrastructure for real-time XML messaging, and what we're doing is taking that XML messaging infrastructure to the Palm." "We're not per se building an instant messaging client for the Palm. That's less interesting to us," Durand continued. "We're taking the Jabber infrastructure to the Palm so a whole slew of new applications that have nothing to do with instant messaging but have everything to do with real-time XML can be delivered to the Palm." Jabber's appeal seems to be increasingly universal, Durand said. "We're the only open source movement in this space. There are Jabber clients running in every known [programming]language on every operating system (OS). As far as programming languages, we have C, C++, Delphi, Visual Basic, Java, Mozilla, PHP, Perl, Python, HTTP, every conceivable language. The server runs on Windows NT, Solaris, FreeBSD, every flavor of UNIX and every flavor of Linux," Durand said. Durand believes Jabber's appealingly simple focus will enable the IM platform to sidestep these roadblocks--and progress into new areas and partnerships. "We just make it easy to write embedded Jabber apps. At this stage, that's all it boils down to," he said. "Anybody who writes an embedded Linux application and has a need to move XML off that application to someplace else can use Jabber as the infrastructure to route that XML. That's how Jabber is a real-time XML messaging infrastructure platform. Instant Messaging doesn't have to be the application," Durand said, mentioning that other uses entail "device to device communication or device to device messaging, like the Palm." See: "Jabber XML Protocol."

  • [October 03, 2000] "An Extensible Approach for Modeling Ontologies in RDF(S)." By Steffen Staab, Michael Erdmann, Alexander Mädche, and Stefan Decker. 10 pages, with 16 references. Presented at the First Workshop on the Semantic Web at the Fourth European Conference International Workshop on Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries, Lisbon, Portugal 18-20 September 2000. "RDF(S) constitutes a newly emerging standard for metadata that is about to turn the World Wide Web into a machine-understandable knowledge base. It is an XML application that allows for the denotation of facts and schemata in a web-compatible format, building on an elaborate object-model for describing concepts and relations. Thus, it might turn up as a natural choice for a widely-useable ontology description language. However, its lack of capabilities for describing the semantics of concepts and relations beyond those provided by inheritance mechanisms makes it a rather weak language for even the most austere knowledge-based system. This paper presents an approach for modeling ontologies in RDF(S) that also considers axioms as objects that are describable in RDF(S). Thus, we provide flexible, extensible, and adequate means for accessing and exchanging axioms in RDF(S). Our approach follows the spirit of the World Wide Web, as we do not assume a global axiom specification language that is too intractable for one purpose and too weak for the next, but rather a methodology that allows (communities of) users to specify what axioms are interesting in their domain. . . The proposal described in this paper is based on several related approaches, viz., we have built on considerations made for the RDF inference service SiLRi, the ontology engineering environments ODE and Protégé, the ontology interchange language OIL, considerations made by Gruber, and our own earlier work on general ontology engineering. SiLRi was one of the first approaches to propose inferencing facilities for RDF. It provides most of the basic inferencing functions one wants to have in RDF and, hence, has provided a good start for many RDF applications. In fact, it even allows to use axioms, but these axioms may not be denoted in RDF, but only directly in F-Logic. It lacks capabilities for axiom representation in RDF(S) that our proposal provides. In our earlier proposals we have discussed how to push the engineering of ontological axioms from the symbol level onto the knowledge level -- following and extending the general arguments made for ODE and Ontolingua. This strategy has helped us here in providing an RDF(S) object representation for a number of different axiom types. Nearest to our actual RDF(S)-based ontology engineering tool is Protégé, which provides comprehensive support for editing RDFS and RDF. Nevertheless, Protégé currently lacks any support for axiom modeling and inferencing -- though our approach may be very easy to transfer to Protégé. A purpose similar to our general goal of representing ontologies in RDF(S) is pursued with OIL. Actually, OIL constitutes an instantiation of our methodological approach, as the definition of concepts and relations in description logics is equivalent to the instantiation of a small number of axiom schemata in a particular logical framework. The axiom categorisation we presented in this paper can be effortlessly combined with the ontological meta-layer proposed in OIL. Thus, applications can utilize two vocabularies that complement each other to model classes in a DL-style while at the same time defining axioms on the conceptual level. Finally, there are other approaches for ontology exchange and representation in XML formats that we do not want to elaborate here, as they fail our litmus test for supporting the RDF(S) metadata standard. We have presented a new approach towards engineering ontologies extending the general arguments made for ODE and Ontolingua in the web formats, RDF and RDFS. Our objectives aim at the usage of existing inferencing services such as provided by deductive database mechanisms or description logics systems. We reach these objectives through a methodology that classifies axioms into axiom types according to their semantic meaning. Each type receives an object representation that abstracts from scoping issues and is easily representable in RDF(S). Axiom descriptions only keep references to concepts and relations necessary to distinguish one particular axiom of one type from another one of the same type. When the limits of object representations in RDF(S) are reached, we fall back onto target system-specific representations. These may be formulated in RDF versions of languages like OIL or MetaLog -- but since they are commonly very specific for particular applications, they may also be expressed by strings (CDATA), the particular semantics of which is only defined in the corresponding application. Our proposed extension of RDF(S) has been made with a clear goal in mind -- the complete retention of the expressibility and semantics of RDF(S) for the representation of ontologies. This includes the relationship between ontologies and instances, both represented in RDF(S). Especially, the notion of consistency between an RDF model and a schema also holds for ontologies expressed in RDF(S). The integration of the newly defined resources has been carried out in a such a way that all RDF processors capable of processing RDF schemas can correctly interpret RDF models following the ontology schema, even if they do not understand the semantics of the resources in the o-namespace. Special applications like OntoEdit can interpret the o-namespace correctly and thus fully benefit from the richer modelling primitives, if the RDF model is valid according to the defined ontology schema. Our approach has been partially implemented in our ontology engineering environment, OntoEdit. The object-model engineering capabilities for RDF(S) are ready to use, while different views for axiom representations are currently under construction." Document also in PostScript format. See the research projects in the The Researchgroup Knowledge Management, Institute for Applied Computer Science and Formal Description Methods (AIFB), University of Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany. See especially the Publications of the Researchgroup Knowledge Management and the OntoBroker Project. See "Resource Description Framework (RDF)." [cache]

  • [October 03, 2000] "How to Structure and Access XML Documents With Ontologies." By Michael Erdmann and Rudi Studer (Institut für Angewandte Informatik und Formale Beschreibungsverfahren (AIFB) University of Karlsruhe, D-76128 Karlsruhe, Germany; Email: {erdmann|studer} Date: 11-April-2000. 21 pages, 24 references. To appear in: Data and Knowledge Engineering, Special Issue on Intelligent Information Integration. "Currently dozens of XML-based applications exist or are under development. Many of them offer DTDs that define the structure of actual XML documents. Access to these documents relies on special purpose applications or on query languages that are closely tied to the document structures. Our approach uses ontologies to derive a canonical structure, i.e., a DTD, to access sets of distributed XML documents on a conceptual level. We will show how the combination of conceptual modeling, inheritance, and inference mechanisms on the one hand with the popularity, simplicity, and flexibility of XML on the other hand leads to applications providing a broad range of high quality information. [...] In this paper we showed that ontologies provide a compact, formal, and conceptually adequate way of describing the semantics of XML documents. By deriving DTDs from an ontology the document structure is grounded on a true semantic basis and thus, XML documents become adequate input for semantics-based processing. By providing a conceptual foundation for XML we achieve at the same time a way to access sets of differently structured XML documents rather independently of their actual linear representation. The ontology provides a shared vocabulary that integrates the different XML sources, that makes the information uniformly accessible, and thus mediates between the conceptual terms used by an information seeker and the actual markup used in XML documents. Our approach relates to work from the areas of semi-structured data models, query languages, and metadata. We do not claim that semi-structured data models or query languages are not relevant for XML, instead we claim that they need to be complemented by ontology-based approaches like ours (or, under certain circumstances, that pursued by ["Ontology-aware XML queries"]). They are powerful tools to retrieve the contents of documents based on the document structure. The data models of all these approaches (among others XML-QL, Lorel for XML, XSL, and XQL) directly reflect the document structure, i.e., its syntax. ONTOBROKER+XML abstracts from this structure and refers to the contents as concepts and relationships, instead. The relationship between our approach and RDF/RDFS is manifold. Both define an ontology (or schema) that is used to structure the contents of XML documents. We use Frame Logic and automatically derive a DTD that constrains the possible document structures. In the RDF/RDFS context the schema is encoded in XML itself using the primitives provided by RDFS. In both cases the ontology is seen as a semantic complement to the DTD describing syntactic properties, only. Both approaches encode the factual knowledge in XML. Differences lie in the expressible ontological primitives. Frame Logic comes from an object oriented and logic-based tradition where each class has its own local set of attributes, whereas in RDF attributes are global and not uniquely associated with a class. The expressibility of Frame Logic is richer than of RDF/RDFS, since in Frame Logic arbitrary axioms can be formulated to derive new information. This is currently not possible in RDF/RDFS. Since, it cannot be expected that application development always starts with modeling an ontology we must take care of existing XML document structures or XML Schemas, how they can be related to an ontology, or how they can be used to derive an ontology. This reverse direction allows us (i) to keep and use the existing XML documents and structures, (ii) to use all existing applications that create, access, manipulate, filter, render, and query these documents, and (iii) at the same time to benefit from the domain knowledge modeled in the ontology by utilizing smarter applications that can complement (or even replace) the existing applications in some areas, especially query answering." See "XML and Query Languages" and "XML and 'The Semantic Web'." Also available in PostScript format. [cache]

  • [October 03, 2000] "Ontology-aware XML-Queries." By Michael Erdmann (Institut für Angewandte Informatik und Formale Beschreibungsverfahren [AIFB] University of Karlsruhe, D-76128 Karlsruhe, Germany) and Stefan Decker (Department of Computer Science, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305). Paper presented at WebDB 2000, Dallas, Texas, May 2000. "The Extensible Markup Language is accepted as the emerging standard for data interchance on the Web. XML allows authors to create their own markup (e.g. <Student>), which seems to carry some semantics. However, from a computational perspective tags like <Student> carries as much semantics as a tag like <H1>. A query answering facility simply does not know, what an author is and how the concept author is related to e.g., a concept person. We investigate technologies to enrich query-answering with XML documents using background knowledge about concept-structures. ... Several query-approaches for XML and XML-based languages are reported in the literature. We have already discussed XQL and XML-QL, and will now focus on other approaches. LORE (Lightweight Object Repository) is a DBMS designed specifically for querying data expressed in OEM (Object Exchange Model) and XML. It does not support ontology-aware queries, but is extensible using the sketched framework in our paper. RQL (RDF Query Language) does not support general XML, but RDF. It does support retrieval based on the subclass structure, but the subclass structure is given through an RDF schema, which defines subclassOf facts between terms. Our approach enables to use reasoning instead of a fix encoded subclass structure. Bar-Yossef queries documents based on the semantic tagging, but does not consider a specific ontology, and especially not a subclass structure and does not support XML. Because the relationship between XML structure and ontologies may be manifold, it is necessary to define several rewriting algorithms, and thus extend the applicability of our approach. As a next step in our work we plan to parameterize the XML/ontology mapping in a way that the rewriting algorithm can be easily adopted in different application scenarios." See "XML and Query Languages" and "XML and 'The Semantic Web'." [cache]

  • [October 02, 2000] "Electronic Court Filing: Past, Present, and Future." By Robert Plotkin. In Boston Bar Journal (May/June 2000). With 21 references. "Despite the growing use of computers in the legal profession, authoring and filing legal pleadings remains a labor-intensive process that has yet to fully benefit from the potential for automation offered by recent advances in computer technology. Efforts are underway, however, to computerize virtually every aspect of court filing and case management. Several courts and government agencies have already begun to supplement or replace their paper-based filing systems with electronic filing systems that allow pleadings to be filed over the Internet. Some systems also allow parties to access their case files and the court's docket over the Internet. These early systems, although rudimentary, are already facilitating interactions with the courts and are allowing attorneys and courts to recognize significant cost savings. The electronic filing systems of tomorrow will further automate the filing process and integrate computer systems for filing, case management, docketing, storage, and security. Electronic filing systems have the potential to: (1) simplify and standardize the process of filing court documents; (2) greatly reduce the amount of resources devoted to paper file generation, manipulation, storage, and retrieval; (3) reduce errors in copying and transcription; and (4) facilitate access to and sharing of court documents. A large and growing number of legal and computer professionals have recognized the potential benefits that would result from the widespread adoption of electronic court filing systems, and are actively working on developing nationwide open technological standards for electronic court filing. Although current efforts to develop standards must still overcome several technological, legal, and cultural hurdles, significant progress has already been made toward the goal of developing the foundation for the next generation of electronic filing systems. The success of such efforts will require the continued and growing involvement of all segments of the legal profession. [...] A number of efforts are already underway to develop XML-based standards and systems for electronic filing. For example, Rich Himes of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico has developed the XML Court Interface (XCI), an XML-based electronic filing system. The National Center for State Courts, in conjunction with Lexis-Nexis, has published a draft paper entitled "Concepts for a Judicial XML Namespace & Data Tag Dictionary" that outlines the beginnings of an XML-based legal document format. The Washington State Bar has an XML Study Group that is promoting the development of XML-based standards. The Joint Technology Committee (JTC) of the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) and the National Association of Court Managers (NACM) is working on developing a Joint Federal and State Court XML Standard for electronic court case filing. Last year the JTC partnered with Legal XML to jointly develop XML court filing standards. Legal XML, which is currently the primary locus of XML-based standards activity, is a non-profit organization founded in 1998 and comprised of volunteer members from private industry, non-profit organizations, government, and academia. Legal XML's mission is to develop open, non-proprietary technical standards for legal documents and related applications. Although the standards proposed by Legal XML have no binding force, the organization is working to establish its credibility through the breadth and depth of its membership and the quality of the standards it will promulgate. Membership in the organization is open to anyone, but active participation in the development of proposed standards requires agreement to the organization's Operating Rules which, in relevant part, require that participants relinquish any intellectual property claims to subject matter that is contributed to and included in proposed standards..." See: "Legal XML Working Group."

  • [October 02, 2000] "RSLP Collection Description." By Andy Powell (UKOLN, University of Bath), Michael Heaney (University Library Services Directorate, University of Oxford), and Lorcan Dempsey (DNER Director, Joint Information Systems Committee, King's College London). In D-Lib Magazine Volume 6 Number 9 (September 2000). ISSN: 1082-9873. "This article describes work undertaken as part of the RSLP Collection Description Project, a project funded by the UK Research Support Libraries Programme (RSLP) with the aim of enabling all projects funded through the programme to describe collections in a consistent and machine readable way. With additional funding from OCLC, the project has developed a model of collections and their catalogues. We have used this work to form the basis of a collection description metadata schema, implemented using the Resource Description Framework (RDF). A Web-based tool has been developed that allows the construction of RDF descriptions by filling in a Web form. Associated with this tool there is a detailed set of data entry guidelines and an enumerated list of collection types. Future work will see the development of a Web robot that will harvest collection descriptions from project Web sites and make them available through a central search service. Although it has its origin in the Research Support Libraries Programme, many of whose results will be digital resources of one kind or another, our work is not restricted to the description of digital collections. It is intended that the results of the project should be applicable to physical and digital collections of all kinds, including library, art and museum materials. It is by no means applicable only to the resources of large research libraries. . . The Resource Description Framework (RDF) is the W3C recommended architecture for metadata on the Web. RDF provides a mechanism for making simple metadata statements about resources (including both digital and physical resources) of the form - resource X has property Y with value Z. By grouping sets of these simple statements together, and by using the same mechanism to make statements about the sets of statements, it is possible to build up complex RDF descriptions of multiple resources and the relationships between them. Currently, the exchange of RDF descriptions on the Web is achieved by encoding them using the Extensible Markup Language (XML). The RSLP Collection Description project chose to encode collection descriptions using the XML encoding of RDF, based on the attributes listed in the schema above. Full collection descriptions are partitioned into separate RDF descriptions of Collections, Locations, Collectors, Owners and Administrators. These separate descriptions are linked together to form a full description..." See "Resource Description Framework (RDF)."

  • [October 02, 2000] "XTM Data Model Proposal." By Lars Marius Garshol (Ontopia AS). Version: 2000-10-02. 10 pages. ['I've put together an EXPRESS data model for topic maps that reflects my understanding of the data model of the ISO Topic Maps standard, and posted it on the egroups site as input for the data model group.'] "This proposal is meant as design input to the XTM [XML Topic Maps] Data model group, and uses an EXPRESS schema with accompanying EXPRESS-G diagrams to define the data model. It follows the ISO syntax very closely, and is perhaps best seen as an interpretation of the ISO syntax, with some added opinions. . . Brief explanations of EXPRESS-G constructs: (1) boxes are entities (that is, class definitions); (2) rounded boxes with names are proxies for entities defined on other pages; (3) rounded boxes without names indicate references from other pages; (4) dotted lines represent optional properties; (5) S[0:?] means 'a set of zero or more members'; (6) thick lines indicate inheritance relationships; (7) stars in front of property names indicate a uniqueness requirement. I recommend starting with the diagrams and only afterwards moving on to the textual schema. Note that the textual schema contains some important comments..." See: "(XML) Topic Maps."

  • [October 02, 2000] "XNS: Where Everybody Knows Your Name." By Spencer F. Katt. In eWEEK (October 01, 2000). "The furry one cut short his web search for pics of geena Davis in her revealing Emmy night attire when he stumbled onto The brainchild of a Seattle-based outfit called OneName, XNS, or Extensible Name Service, is an open-source platform for universal addressing, automated data exchange and privacy control. In fact, privacy is the main factor OneName hopes will draw attention to its spin on the idea of universal addressing. El Gato has heard many arguments, pro and con, over the concept of using a single name, or universal Web address, but this one may have some legs. XNS enables individuals and e-commerce sites to inter act, create links and establish privacy boundaries. XNS agents allow users to control personal data by including an XML document that specifies privacy and security terms granted by the owner. OneName has licensed XNS to, which will be the nonprofit governing body of the technology. An XNS name is intended to be a personal name for life. OneName is offering one personal XNS name for free to the first million applicants. If e-biz sites and individuals buy into XNS naming, the Kitty envisions a domain-name-like stampede down the line. 'Hey, the current price works for me,' chuckled the Frugal Feline." See: "Extensible Name Service (XNS)."

  • [October 02, 2000] "Total DOMination." By Michael Floyd. In WebTechniques (October, 2000). [XML@Large.] ['Walking the DOM was never this easy. Michael Floyd takes a look at the Microsoft MSXML parser.'] "Without question, the DOM is well documented in the W3C specification, in the documentation of various parser tools, and in the growing collection of XML books on the market. To that effect, the DOM is probably the best-documented component of XML (outside of XML itself), largely because the specification is stable and it's been available for roughly two years. For all of the information about the DOM and its workings, however, there still seems to be little solid information on how you can use various components of XML. This month, I'd like to take a look at the DOM and show how you can perform actual tasks using it. Of course, the DOM encompasses far more than can be covered in a single article. Instead, I'll provide a brief overview of the DOM, then focus on the Core DOM that's the portion of the API applicable to XML. In particular, it's important to understand the Node, NodeList, and NamedNodeMap interfaces. It's also useful to be able to predict and compensate for the DOM's pitfalls. When an XML parser loads a document, it essentially scans the document, looks for elements, attributes, text, and so on and constructs a hierarchical tree based on those items. When the parser encounters, say, an element in the source document, it creates a new node in the tree containing a representation of that element. (This is somewhat of an oversimplification, but it's sufficient for this discussion.) Then the DOM's purpose is to provide a standard set of programming interfaces for accessing the nodes in this document tree, and for reading, writing, and modifying individual nodes or entire fragments of the tree. It's important to note that at the time of this writing, the DOM Level 1 specification is the current standard. However, DOM Level 2 is near completion and the W3C has already begun work on a Level 3 specification. Because few tools fully implement DOM Level 2, let's focus on DOM Level 1. In DOM Level 1, the API can be organized into four objects: Document, Node, Nodelist, and NamedNodeMap..." See: "W3C Document Object Model (DOM)."

  • [October 02, 2000] "The Enterprise: XML Is Not a Silver Bullet." By Clive Finkelstein. In DM Review (October 2000). "Here we go again. Whenever new technology becomes available, people expect it to magically fix all of the problems of the past -- without any effort on their part. But it just doesn't happen! New technology builds on the experience of the past, but it rarely says we should forget that past. There are really no new problems (we have encountered most of them already), but new technology often offers new and innovative solutions to old problems. So it is with XML. XML is not a silver bullet. It will not magically integrate the many redundant data versions that exist throughout most enterprises. It will not replace them with a single, common shared version of integrated data. But it will enable us to achieve the effect and many of the benefits of this Holy Grail if we use it correctly. XML makes it even more imperative than ever that an enterprise understand and resolve the different words and meanings that it uses to refer to things important to it. To illustrate, people may variously be called customers or clients or debtors -- all terms used to refer to people or organizations that buy from the enterprise. These different terms indicate semantic differences. An organization must know the different meanings of its data (as meta data) that are used throughout the business. It must then define standard terminology -- and establish agreed meaning -- as integrated meta data to be used by the enterprise. Only then can these terminology differences be resolved so that semantic integrity is maintained. As data administrators and consultants, we were fooling ourselves if we thought that enterprises would throw away their many (dis)integrated legacy systems to improve semantic integrity. Pragmatically, legacy systems and databases will never be replaced for semantic purity alone. However, once we understand the semantic differences and agree on the integrated meta data, XML can achieve dramatic cost savings...XML is not a silver bullet. But when used well -- based on agreed terminology and meta data that is defined using data modeling methods and modeling tools -- it can deliver great cost savings and improved operational efficiency."

  • [October 02, 2000] "Exploring XML: Client-side XML Processing. The crux of client-side XML Processing (IE5)." By Michael Classen. From (September 26, 2000). "Had you tried to use the RSS2HTML stylesheet of Column 16 in Internet Explorer, you would have quickly noticed that it does not work in most versions of this browser... MSXML 2.0 was released before the W3C made XSLT a recommendation, so before it was finalized. While most W3C developments went rather smoothly from first inception to finalization, this was not the case for XSL. Different requirements for browser display and print finally resulted in the split between XSLT and XSL-FO. The syntax for navigating an XML tree changed from XSL patterns to XPath, which looks only slightly different but is incompatible. While this was not foreseeable, Microsoft (and all its customers) is now stuck with non-standard XML implementations as their least common denominator across all current Windows machines... This little excercise only illustrates the tip of the iceberg that could turn your next project using client-side XML into 'codename Titanic.' Be careful not to underestimate the effort involved in getting XML to work in browsers even in a tightly controlled environment. Microsoft's component-based update mechanism can also create problems as the XML processor is a Windows component, not part of the browser..."

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