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Last modified: January 31, 2003
XML Articles and Papers January 2003

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

Other collections with references to general and technical publications on XML:

January 2003

  • [January 31, 2003] "XML Pipelining with Ant." By Michael Fitzgerald. From January 29, 2003. ['Mike Fitzgerald on using the Ant build tool for pipelined XML processing.'] "Ant is an extensible, open-source build tool written in Java and sponsored by Apache's Jakarta project. Ant has developed into something more than a just a build tool, however. It has gone beyond its predecessor make (and make's kin) to become a framework for performing an even larger variety of operations in a single step, not just compiling code or cleaning up after a build. Ant's build files are written in XML, and Ant takes advantage of XML in a variety of ways. In my opinion, Ant is a suitable if not ideal framework for XML pipelining -- that is, a framework for performing a variety of XML processing, in the desired order and in one fell swoop. The reason why I say ideal is because Ant is open, somewhat mature, reasonably stable, readily available, widely known and used, easily extensible, and already amenable to XML processing. What else could you ask for? In this article, I'll discuss the XML structures in an Ant build file, named build.xml by default, talk about some common XML-related tasks that Ant can perform, and then finish up with an example of XML pipelining... I realize that Ant was not intended to be a an XML pipeline tool, but it turns out to be a pretty good one anyway. Other tools exist and may eventually do a better job, such as Sean McGrath's XPipes or Eric van der Vlist's XML Validation Interoperability Framework (XVIF). For now, though, Ant remains an attractive option. Like XML, Ant can do things that perhaps it was not originally intended to do..."

  • [January 31, 2003] "Databases and Element Names." By John E. Simpson. From January 29, 2003. ['John focuses on answering a question concerning the use of XML and databases; that is, how to map table names containing characters with "special" meaning in XML. John also investigates the relationships between numerical types in W3C XML Schema.'] "... '[my] field names do not meet the requirements for element names, so I am forced to run them through a sanitizing function before naming the element nodes. The function replaces or removes the characters offensive to XML...Unfortunately, this sanitizing process introduces the possibility that I could end up with elements with the same name, although in the database they are named differently.' A: [you might forget] about a literal mapping of database field or column names to element names. That is, you could push the database field or column names into attribute values, assigning corresponding element names either arbitrarily or according to some more or less intelligible scheme... It would then be pretty straightforward to transform this document via XSLT into either a comma-separated values text file or even an SQL statement..." Also on 'Numeric datatypes in XML Schema' - a question about the numerical datatypes long, unsignedLong, int, unsignedInt, short, unsignedShort, byte and unsignedByte. Which of these datatypes are subsets of the datatypes float and double?... In short, although WXS is the product of logical, rational minds, don't assume -- especially when considering datatypes, primitive and otherwise -- that all its principles will necessarily follow the logic of everyday common sense..."

  • [January 31, 2003] "XML Forms, Web Services and Apache Cocoon." By Ivelin Ivanov. From January 29, 2003. ['Ivelin Ivanov introduces Cocoon's XMLForms features, which allow a model-view-controller paradigm for web applications, helping to separate the user interface from the business logic.'] "Server side business logic is often invariant with regard to client devices. An email client supports the same basic operations whether it's used from a cellular phone, PDA, or a PC. To address the needs of web developers who build applications for a variety of devices, the W3C has formed the XForms working group. In this article we discuss the Cocoon XMLForm framework's separation of the purpose from the presentation of a form, maximizing its reusability for a variety of client devices. We also explain how this technology allows us to extend web applications to Web Services. Apache Cocoon XMLForm is aligned to a large extent with the W3C XForms standard. While XForms requires that client devices understand the XForms markup, XMLForm can be used with any browser for any client device. The trade-off for this convenience is that XMLForm lacks some of the client side features of XForms, such as events and actions... XMLForm is a middle-tier framework based on the MVC (Model-View-Controller) design, which combines the best from Jakarta Struts, W3C XForms, and Schematron... XMLForm allows developers to build and edit an XML document, called the form model or instance -- subject to constraints from some schema: WXS, Schematron, and so on -- by interacting with a series of form pages... [The article] introduces a new perspective on form handling in web applications, a technique for connecting the business logic and the UI layer, while preserving a thin line which cleanly separates them. Programmers can now focus on the implementation of the application workflow without the burden of tedious HTML coding. Web page authors on the other hand can work on the presentational aspects of the application without knowing how to code in Java or even run the application server. Usability experts can sketch UML activity diagrams and write the initial XML form documents. And quality assurance professionals can write regression tests against the web pages in their XML stage, rather than manually testing poorly structured HTML..." See: "XML and Forms."

  • [January 31, 2003] "IBM WebSphere Upgrade Looks Beyond J2EE. Big Blue Exec Cites Shortcomings in Java." By James Niccolai. In InfoWorld (January 30, 2003). "IBM is developing an upgrade to its WebSphere application server that aims to make it easier for companies to orchestrate transactions among groups of business applications, and to expose applications as Web services that can be used by other companies, an official said this week. The WebSphere upgrade draws on a technology being developed by vendors including IBM and Microsoft called BPEL4WS (Business Process Execution Language for Web Services), as well as capabilities being prepared for the next iteration of Sun Microsystems 's J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) specification, version 1.4, said Scott Hebner, IBM's director of marketing for WebSphere. The upgrade aims in part to make it easier for developers to build and deploy applications that can be offered as services to other businesses by integrating workflow, business rules, and transaction capabilities into WebSphere. A company that has built its own retirement plan application, for example, could expose it as a Web service and make it available for use by other companies, Hebner said... Hebner acknowledged that the standards for creating Web services have yet to be finalized. Indeed, BEA is backing two technologies for choreographing Web services, BPEL4WS and WSCI (Web Service Choreography Interface), which are competing for the attention of standards bodies. IBM's decision to include J2EE features that are not yet standards marks a shift for the company that brings it more into line with other Java vendors, said Mike Gilpin, an analyst with Giga Information Group. In the past IBM has tended to wait until specifications are complete before including them, he said... Competition among software vendors is increasingly shifting towards tools, Gilpin said, as features in application servers become standardized. BEA, for example, has already implemented much of J2EE 1.4 in its WebLogic application server, although it hasn't disclosed plans for including WSCI or BPEL4WS . While the vendors compete to expand their middleware offerings, some customers have become disillusioned with the promise of XML and with the whole idea of Web services..."

  • [January 31, 2003] "WS-I Modifies Its Basic Profile." By Darryl Taft. In eWEEK (January 31, 2003). "The Web Services Interoperability Organization Thursday announced the availability of documents to support the organization's Basic Profile 1.0, which is expected to be released in the second quarter of this year. Meanwhile, the WS-I recently voted to amend the Basic Profile to include Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) attachments in Version 1.1 of the profile, which the organization will release shortly after the release of the Basic Profile 1.0, WS-I officials said. In addition, WS-I officials said nominations for WS-I board membership continue to come in and that Web services security remains a key concern for enterprises. The WS-I Thursday released its Sample Application Technical Architecture, use cases and usage scenarios for the Basic Profile. The WS-I Basic Profile is a set of implementation guidelines for how a set of Web services specifications should work together to develop interoperable Web services... The documents released Thursday feature a model of a supply chain management system, said Rob Cheng, a Web services evangelist for Oracle Corp. and chairman of a WS-I committee. Cheng said the new documents will help to establish best practices for using the profile and deploying Web services in production environments. The Sample Application Technical Architecture provides a way to check SOAP messages, schema naming conventions, SOAP message styles and issues involving the Web Services Definition Language (WSDL). The use cases and usage scenarios are key in that 'they drive the other work,' Cheng said. The usage scenarios translate the use cases into technical requirements, he said. Essentially, the new documents will be used to help prove the viability and reliability of the Basic Profile 1.0. Meanwhile, WS-I officials said nominations for board seats continue to arrive. Earlier this week, webMethods Inc. and Cape Clear Software Inc. announced they had nominated company executives to the WS-I board..." See: (1) "WS-I Publishes Supply Chain Management Candidate Review Drafts"; (2) ""Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I)."

  • [January 31, 2003] "An XML Format for Mail and Other Messages." By Graham Klyne (Nine by Nine). IETF Network Working Group, Internet Draft. Reference: 'draft-klyne-message-xml-00.txt'. 20-January-2003, expires July 2003. Appendix A: Message/Email+XML content-type registration; Appendix B: DTD for Email+XML message format; Appendix C: XML schema for Email+XML message format; Appendix D: RDF representation of Email+XML message; Appendix E: RDF schema for Email+XML message format. "This document describes a coding of email and other messages in XML. This coding is intended for use by XML applications that exchange information about such messages... The XML coding is designed to address the following goals: (1) to fully capture the semantics of Internet email messages, per RFC822. However it is not intended to provide a loss-less coding of RFC822 syntax. (2) to extend the scope of address information that can be conveyed to arbitrary URIs. (3) to take account of 8-bit clean transfer environments. (4) to fully support, where applicable, international character sets and languages within the message header and content. (5) to be usable in MIME and pure XML transfer environments. (6) to be fully compliant with the XML and XML namespace specifications. (7) to allow header information to be compatible with RDF format , for use by generalized metadata processing applications. [The document represents] a reissue of a previous expired draft with a name change and minimal other changes. It is expected that a number of significant changes may be made in light of more recent considerations, and the document re-issued as soon as such changes have been crystalized..."

  • [January 31, 2003] "WS-I Publishes Draft Guidance Documentation." By Stacy Cowley. In Network World (January 30, 2003). "The Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I), a year-old industry group that offers application development guidance, released Thursday draft versions of a series of documents intended to describe the design and deployment of a sample, standards-compliant Web services application. The drafts include a sample technical architecture, use cases and usage scenarios documentation illustrating material covered in WS-I's Basic Profile 1.0. The Basic Profile, the first project the group undertook, is an implementation guide on using a set of core standards in developing interoperable Web services. A draft version was released in October, and a final version of the Basic Profile is scheduled for release during the second quarter. The new documents released Thursday are intended to define best practices for using the Basic Profile, and to offer real-world implementation information for customers building applications for Web services, the WS-I said. Web services technology aims at creating a common infrastructure for connecting via the Internet's diverse applications, allowing heterogeneous IT systems to interact with each other. While other groups oversee the standards involved, WS-I focuses on assisting developers with the practical work of creating interoperable software..." See details in the 2003-01-31 news item "WS-I Publishes Supply Chain Management Candidate Review Drafts" and general references in "Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I)."

  • [January 30, 2003] "X+V 1.1 -- XHTML+Voice. A Multimodal Markup Language." By Jonny Axelsson (Opera Software), Chris Cross (IBM), Håkon W. Lie (Opera Software), Gerald McCobb (IBM), T. V. Raman (IBM), and Les Wilson (IBM). From IBM developerWorks, XML zone. January 2003. XHTML+Voice Profile 1.1 referenced is 49 pages (PDF). ['Look at the XHTML + Voice specification. X+V brings spoken interaction to standard WWW content by integrating a set of mature WWW technologies such as XHTML and XML Events with XML vocabularies developed as part of the W3C Speech Interface Framework. X+V brings together voice modules that support speech synthesis, speech dialogs, command and control, speech grammars, and the ability to attach Voice handlers for responding to specific DOM events, thereby re-using the event model familiar to web developers. Voice interaction features are integrated directly with XHTML and CSS, and can consequently be used directly within XHTML content.'] "X+V is designed for Web clients that support visual and spoken interaction. To this end, this document first re-formulates VoiceXML 2.0 as a collection of modules. These modules, along with Speech Synthesis Markup Language and Speech Recognition Grammar Specification are then integrated with XHTML using XHTML modularization. Finally, we integrate the result with module XML-Events so that voice handlers can be invoked through a standard DOM2 EventListener interface to create an X+V multimodal framework. You can download the full document of the X+V 1.1 -- XHTML+Voice [28-January-2003] specification from developerWorks..." Note: an earlier version of the document is "XHTML+Voice Profile 1.0," W3C Note 21-December-2001. [cache]

  • [January 30, 2003] "Human-Facing Web Services, Part 3. Build Portals with WSRP." By Judith M. Myerson (Systems Architect and Engineer). From IBM developerWorks, Web services. January 2003. ['In the first two articles in this series, Judith Myerson examined business users' collective viewpoints on how Web pages and remote portals should be presented, and looked at how the WSIA specifications can be used to build human-facing applications. In this third installment, you'll learn how you can use Web Services for Remote Portals (WSRP) to extend the functionalities of the WSXL component services. You'll see sample code that demonstrates how to aggregate interactive applications into a single portal using one standard adapter for different interfaces and protocols.'] "Web Services for Remote Portals (WSRP) is a standard for XML and Web services that allows the interactive, human-facing Web services to be plugged into portals with a minimum of fuss. These services can be published, found, and bound in a standard way. In the days before the advent of WSRP, vendors often wrote special adapters to accommodate different interfaces and protocols and integrate applications into a single portal, which created a confusing environment for developers. In January 2002, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) formed the WSRP Technical Committee as an effort to standardize an adapter for these vendors. In that same month, OASIS also formed the Web Services Component Model Technical Committee; it aimed to create a standard component model under which developers could put together visual presentation and portal components. In May 2002, OASIS changed the name of this group to the Web Services for Interactive Applications Technical Committee (WSIA TC) to better describe the purpose of its work. The renamed committee has broadened its focus from the appearance of applications to the applications' complete interactive, human-facing experience. On September 30, 2002, the WSIA and WSRP technical committees jointly announced the WSIA-WSRP Core Specification, Working Draft 0.7. This document proposed a standard adapter that vendors can employ to mix, match, and reuse human-facing interactive Web service applications from different sources... WSRP lets you use an adapter code you can plug in to applications from any Remote Portlet Web Service. With this standard, you can implement a Remote Portlet Web service as a Java/J2EE-based Web service, a Web service implemented on the Microsoft .Net platform, or as a portlet published by a portal. To help applications, clients, and vendors to discover and display your Remote Portlet Web Services, you can publish them into public or corporate service directories (that is, UDDI). Remote Portlet Web Services are the key to portals, since they can be consumed by intermediary applications across platforms. With these remote Web services, during an operation a portal can: (1) Get information from data sources; (2) Aggregate information into composite pages; (3) Provide personalized information to users in an interactive fashion... WSRP provides a single adapter for different interfaces and protocols for human-facing Web services. The recent WSIA-WSRP Core Specification is indicative of the trend toward user control standards for human-facing interactive Web services. These standards, for example, could aim at the behaviors (such as color or font size) that users might want to control in a standardized way..." Also in PDF format. See: "Web Services for Remote Portals (WSRP)."

  • [January 30, 2003] "The MIME application/vnd.cip4-jdf+xml Content-Type." By Tom Hastings (Xerox Corporation) and Ira McDonald (High North Inc). IETF Internet Draft. Reference: 'draft-mcdonald-cip4-jdf-mime-00.txt'. 25-January-2003, expires 25-July-2003. "The International Cooperation for the Integration of Processes in Prepress, Press, and Postpress (CIP4) is an international worldwide standards body located in Switzerland. The purpose of CIP4 is to encourage computer based integration of all processes that have to be considered in the graphic arts industry. CIP4 has defined two document formats that are encoded in W3C Extensible Markup Language (XML): (1) CIP4 Job Definition Format (JDF) -- an open standard for integration of all computer aided business and production processes around print media; (2) CIP4 Job Messaging Format (JMF) - an open standard for job messaging using Hyper Text Transport Protocol/1.1 (HTTP/1.1, RFC2616) that defines Query, Command, Response, Acknowledge, and Signal message families. This document defines two new MIME sub-types for IANA registration: (1) application/vnd.cip4-jdf+xml for CIP4 Job Definition Format; (2) application/vnd.cip4-jmf+xml for CIP4 Job Messaging Format..." [JDF: "JDF is simply an exchange format for instructions and job parameters. You can use PDF, or its standard variant (PDF/X), to relay production files from one platform to another. You can do the same with JDF to relay job parameters and instructions. JDF can be used to describe a printing job logically, as you would in exchanging a job description with a client within an estimate. It can also be used to describe a job in terms of individual production processes and the materials or other process inputs required to complete a job."] See: (1) JDF Specification Release 1.1, Revision A; (2) general references in "Job Definition Format (JDF)." [cache]

  • [January 30, 2003] "XML Watch: Have Data, Will Travel. Using SyncML to Mobilize Your Data." By Edd Dumbill (Editor and publisher, From IBM developerWorks, XML zone. January 2003. ['In his continuing quest to make his data available wherever and whenever he wants it, XML developer Edd Dumbill sets out on a journey to investigate and deploy SyncML.'] "The arrival of XML, along with the acknowledgement of the usefulness of open standards, has begun to liberate data from the confines of single applications... There's already solid agreement on standards for certain common data items like calendars and contact lists, but an unfortunate lack of convenient ways to transmit such data. This is where SyncML comes into the equation. SyncML, an XML-based protocol for synchronizing data, is enjoying a surge in popularity in the latest batch of mobile devices. Even with current synchronization technology, it's hard to keep contacts and schedules synchronized across my Palm Pilot, desktop PC, laptop, and mobile phone. So hard, in fact, that I've given up trying -- much to my frustration. I'm desperately tired of trying to remember to carry my PDA around with me as well as my cell phone just to have my contact lists available. SyncML seems like a great opportunity to solve this problem, and as it will work over Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), I can synchronize with a remote server wherever I am. Unfortunately there don't really seem to be any consumer-facing SyncML products, and only a small amount of supporting open source code available. So I set out to see what was involved in implementing SyncML, with the intentions of integrating my cell phone and my personal information management software, then releasing the code. These next few installments of this column will follow my efforts, focusing particularly on where XML technologies enter into the picture The goal of this exploration is to create a basic SyncML server component that can be deployed either on a Web server or on an OBEX server (for instance, on a Bluetooth-enabled computer). We've already learned that in addition to implementing the semantics of the SyncML language, we'll need to be able to handle WBXML as well as XML... The name SyncML is somewhat misleading. While it is indeed an XML-based markup language, it's not just a data format. It's really a protocol that provides the structure for agents to synchronize data with each other, by defining the permissible exchanges and determining how they are to be interpreted. ... Because mobile devices have limited memory and processing capacity, their manufacturers created an XML-like binary meta language called Wireless Binary XML (WBXML). The basic idea behind WBXML is that by taking advantage of foreknowledge of the DTDs, you can minimize the tags to one byte. The tradeoff, as you can see, is it loses some of its readability. I was surprised to find out that many XML developers had not come across the WBXML specification before. This is all the more peculiar as there are often questions in developer forums asking about binary encodings for XML. WBXML is most commonly deployed as the encoding for WML pages, as delivered to the WAP browsers on mobile phones. In fact, the SyncML specifications deal with both XML and WBXML encodings of the protocol. SyncML is intended for use over any device, but to support mobile phone class devices, a SyncML server must be able to send and receive WBXML in addition to XML... See also "SyncML intensive, A beginner's look at the SyncML protocol and procedures," by Chandandeep Pabla..." See references in "The SyncML Initiative."

  • [January 30, 2003] "XML in Java Data binding, Part 2: Performance. After kicking the tires in Part 1, take data binding frameworks out for a test drive." By Dennis M. Sosnoski (President, Sosnoski Software Solutions, Inc). From IBM developerWorks, XML zone. January 2003. ['Enterprise Java expert Dennis Sosnoski checks out the speed and memory usage of several frameworks for XML data binding in Java. These include all the code generation approaches discussed in Part 1, the Castor mapped binding approach discussed in an earlier article, and a surprise new entry in the race. If you're working with XML in your Java applications you'll want to learn how these data binding approaches stack up!'] "Part 1 provides background on why you'd want to use data binding for XML, along with an overview of the available Java frameworks for data binding. If you haven't already read Part 1, you'll probably want to at least glance over it now. In this part I'm going straight to the issue of performance without further discussion of the whys and hows... This look at data binding performance shows some interesting results, but doesn't fundamentally change the recommendations from Part 1. Castor provides the best current support for data binding using code generation from W3C XML Schema definitions. Its unmarshalling performance is weak compared to other alternatives, but it does give good memory utilization and a fairly fast startup time. The Castor developers say that they plan to focus on performance issues prior to their 1.0 release, so you may also see some improvement in the unmarshalling performance by then. JAXB still looks like a good choice for the code generation approach in the future (the beta license only allows evaluation use). The current reference implementation beta is both bulky in terms of jar size and somewhat inefficient in terms of memory usage, but here again you may see better performance in the future. As of this writing, the current version is still a beta, and even after it's released commercial or open source projects may improve performance over the reference implementation. Since it will be a standard part of the J2EE platform, JAXB is definitely going to play an important role in working with XML in Java. The performance results also confirm the use of JBind, Quick, and Zeus as most appropriate for applications with special requirements rather than for general usage. JBind's XML Code approach can provide a great basis for an application built around processing of an XML document, but the performance of the current implementation is liable to be a problem. Quick and Zeus offer code generation from DTDs, but as I mentioned in Part 1, it's generally pretty easy to convert DTDs to Schemas. On the downside, Quick seems overly complex to use and Zeus supports only Strings for bound data values (no primitives or object references using ID-IDREF or an equivalent). For mapped approaches to data binding, Castor has the advantage of a fairly stable implementation and substantial real-world usage. Quick can be used for this type of binding as well, but again seems complex to set up. JiBX is new and not yet in full usage, but offers excellent performance along with a high degree of flexibility..." See also "XML in Java. Data Binding, Part 1: Code Generation Approaches -- JAXB and More. Generating Data Classes from DTDs or Schemas."

  • [January 30, 2003] "Tip: SAX and document order. Tracking parent-child relationships. Indices help in building applications that need to navigate through XML trees." By Howard Katz (Proprietor, Fatdog Software). From IBM developerWorks, XML zone. January 2003. ['The tips in this series explore the concept of document order and the use of so-called document order indices in SAX. This tip looks at the use of DOIs in modeling parent-child relationships in XML documents. Such DOI representations of document hierarchy are useful in building applications, such as DOMs and query engines, that need to navigate through XML trees.'] "The previous tip in this series introduced the concept of document order indices, or DOIs. DOIs are simply integers that represent the document ordering of nodes in an XML document in a convenient and compact form... While this tip doesn't go into the internals of any particular search-engine implementation, it does show how to provide the engine and other clients with sufficient information on parent-child relationships between elements and other nodes to enable it to resolve, for example, XPath location path queries. That resolution, in turn, requires the engine to be able to navigate its way around an XML tree. Parent and child pointers provide the highways and traffic signs, if you'll allow the poetic license... See also 'SAX and document order,' which explains what document order is and why it's useful, and presents some simple SAX code that shows a practical implementation of DOIs in a search engine application.

  • [January 29, 2003] "WS-I Members Take Stand Against 'Big-Name Bias'." By Gavin Clarke [ComputerWire]. In The Register (January 29, 2003). "Small and medium sized ISVs are vying to lead an IBM and Microsoft Corp-backed web services organization, amid sentiment the group's direction is being misdirected by big-name vendors, Gavin Clarke writes... webMethods Inc and Cape Clear Software Inc told ComputerWire yesterday they will stand for election to the board of the Web Services Interoperability (WS-I) organization, in the hope of making the board more representative of common members' interests. The vendors are the first companies to be named as candidates as the WS-I has refused to release details, saying its constitution does not require disclosure. To date only Sun Microsystems Inc has been named as a potential candidate for elections, due in March. webMethods Inc and Cape Clear spoke as it emerged yesterday that WS-I has agreed to add support for Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) attachments to its first major piece of published work, the Basic Profile 1.0 currently in public draft. Support for SOAP attachments would ensure a standards-based approach is taken in the Basic Profile for adding binary attachments, such as JPEG files, to SOAP messages. Failure to include SOAP attachments means files must, instead, be encoded in the main SOAP message by a sender and then de-coded by the recipient in a process that reduces the potential efficiency of web service-based communications... Prasad Yendluri, co-editor of WS-I's Basic Profile and webMethods' principle architect, said, though, the WS-I yesterday approved inclusion of SOAP attachments in an incremental release of Basic Profile, version 1.1, to avoid impacting delivery of 1.0. Yendluri said version 1.1 would be published 'soon after' version 1.0. He added SOAP attachments were the subject of early debate but confirmed these were initially discarded from version 1.0. 'There has been a recent re-consideration,' he said citing member feedback and evolution of version 1.2 of the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C's) underlying SOAP specification. The issue, though, is far-from resolved for small- and medium-size companies who constitute the bulk of WS-I's membership and clearly feel that their interests are not being properly represented by the board. The WS-I's nine-member board comprises Accenture, BEA Systems Inc, Fujitsu-Siemens, Hewlett-Packard Co, Intel Corp, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle Corp and SAP AG..." General references in "Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I)."

  • [January 29, 2003] "Dispute Could Silence VoiceXML." By Paul Festa. In ZDNet News (January 29, 2003). "The Web's leading standards group called on developers to implement its nearly finished specification for bringing voice interaction to Web sites and applications. But the intellectual property claims of a handful of contributors, including Philips Electronics and Rutgers University, threaten to keep the specification tied up in negotiations, the standards body warned. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) on Tuesday issued VoiceXML 2.0 as a candidate recommendation, the penultimate stage in the consortium's approval process. The job of VoiceXML -- part of the W3C's Voice Browser Activity -- is to let people interact with Web content and applications using natural and synthetic speech, other kinds of prerecorded audio, and touch-tone keypads. In addition to adding speech as a mode of interaction for everyday Web surfing, the W3C has its eye on other applications. These include the use of speech for the visually impaired and for people accessing the Web while driving. The group called VoiceXML a central part of its work on voice-computer interaction. 'The VoiceXML language is the cornerstone of what we call the W3C speech interface framework -- a collection of interrelated languages that are used to create speech applications,' said Jim Larson, co-chair of the W3C's voice browser working group and manager of advanced human I/O (input/output) at Intel. 'Using these types of applications, the computer can ask questions and the user can respond using words and phrases or by touching the buttons on their touch-tone phone'... Other W3C specifications control individual pieces of the voice-browsing puzzle. The Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML), for example, describes how the computer pronounces words, with attention to voice inflection, volume and speed. The Speech Recognition Grammar Specification (SRGS), establishes what a user must say in response to a computer prompt. And the Semantic Interpretation for Speech Recognition (Semantic Interpretation) strips down text and translates it to a form that the computer can understand..." See "VoiceXML Forum" and the 2003-01-29 news item "W3C Advances VoiceXML Version 2.0 to Candidate Recommendation Status."

  • [January 29, 2003] "KaVaDo Secures Web Services. Security Software Bundle Protects at the Application Layer." By Logan G. Harbaugh. In InfoWorld (January 24, 2003). ['Any organization providing any sort of interactive Web services is vulnerable to application-layer exploits and hacks. KaVaDo's suite of applications can find and protect against these vulnerabilities. Given the potential costs associated with not only down time, but loss of proprietary data, customer data, site defacement, or malicious alteration of data, any organization should be investigating application-layer protection... InterDo intercepts HTTP, SOAP, WSDL, and WebDAV traffic and looks for unauthorized attempts to attack the applications using the data. ScanDo finds existing vulnerabilities in your Web site, making it simpler to set up InterDo.'] "... Most managers may think malicious hackers penetrate a system by exploiting a weakness in the operating system to gain a password. But it is equally feasible for that hacker to use a standard HTTP, SOAP, or XML request, or an intentionally altered HTML document, to retrieve private data, to add or delete files on the server, or to take other equally unwanted actions by attacking via a published Web service. Protecting servers at the application layer is the only way to address these security issues. KaVaDo has three products that operate to protect any Web application, be it a site, service, or server: InterDo, ScanDo, and AutoPolicy. InterDo functions as a firewall, with either two NICs routing traffic between a trusted and a public network or with one NIC operating as a proxy server. The application parses HTTP, WebDAV, WSDL, SOAP, and XML requests, looking for and denying requests that are malformed or that ask for data that shouldn't be accessed. InterDo comes in two flavors: Enterprise Edition, which protects any number of servers or applications in an enterprise, and Business Edition, which protects one Web server or application server... ScanDo finds and InterDo protects against numerous threats including: unauthorized SQL commands; invalid application parameters; invalid or altered cookies; exploits of known vulnerabilities in Web servers, database products, or operating systems; altered SOAP or Web services messages; invalid characters in messages; HTTP exploits; unauthorized file uploads; modified application or network protocols; buffer overflow attacks; and requests that use unauthorized data encoding..." See the KaVaDo website.

  • [January 29, 2003] "Adobe Ramps Up Documents." By John Taschek. In eWEEK (January 27, 2003). ['Document Server takes electronic publishing to the next level -- as long as customers use a bevy of Adobe products and can pay for integrating the product with back-end systems.'] "...Adobe Systems Inc.'s Document Server, which shipped last month, will further blur that definition while making the document a more powerful medium. Document Server is a $20,000-per-CPU server that dynamically creates documents that can be signed, filled out as a form or simply read. In short, the things that Document Server can do almost instantly might take weeks or months to do without it. On the downside, however, organizations that use Document Server have a steep (but quick) learning curve to overcome, and they'll be facing unfamiliar territory with new standards, such as XSL-FO (Extensible Style Sheets-Formatting Objects). They'll also likely be integrating Document Server by themselves, because the product is new, and very few of their peers have practical experience with it. With Document Server, Adobe is leveraging the popularity of its PDF file type. Adobe officials claim more than 300 million copies of Acrobat Reader have been downloaded or distributed, and hundreds of millions of documents are stored as PDFs. At its core, Document Server is a superset of Adobe's Graphic Server, formerly named Altercast. Graphic Server concentrates on distributing and assembling graphics, but Document Server digests most Adobe formats as well as some standard files, assembles the documents and spits out PDFs. Document Server works equally well with forms and regular documents. It also works well with SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), a Worldwide Web Consortium standard for defining electronic documents through XML. The advantage of SVG over graphics stored in JPEG and PNG formats is that the graphics are scalable and readable by any device with an appropriate reader. Regardless, most electronic forms will be based on XSL-FO. Document Server, however, works best when used with Adobe's product line, including FrameMaker, Photoshop and Illustrator. Organizations that haven't standardized on Adobe products may not find Document Server as compelling. We tested Document Server on a single-processor Windows XP system. We created Illustrator files, borrowed Photoshop graphics and created a set of FrameMaker templates... Smaller organizations may be able to get by using Adobe Acrobat, which requires the document creator to include an interactive form with the full version of Acrobat. There are also open-source initiatives that are just beginning to emerge. Because the standards are being set for the format and structure of documents, it might be only a matter of time before there are multiple competitors to Adobe, including the OpenJade project. For now, however, Adobe is at least two years ahead of its competitors..." See "Enhanced Adobe Document Servers Support XML-Based Workflow and Digital Signature Facilities."

  • [January 28, 2003] "Setting a Standard. [eWEEK Labs.]" By Cameron Sturdevant. In eWEEK (January 27, 2003). "Standards play a huge role in enterprise applications -- as well as the decision companies make to use a product or not -- and that role will only get bigger as Web services gain momentum. However, as vendor-led consortia increasingly define the standards that shape enterprise products, it's getting tougher to separate standards from vendor politics, posturing and power. But the worst thing enterprise IT managers could do is to simply sit by and watch it all happen. Indeed, there are a couple of reasons why the time is right to band together with suppliers, customers -- even competitor -- and dive into the standards process. First, XML has reached the "recommendation" stage, the highest level of approval from the World Wide Web Consortium. This means that XML -- arguably one of the most important standards to come along in the past five years -- has stabilized to the point that industry-specific schemas can be developed without fear that drastic changes will convulse the foundation of the W3C's work. Second, IT managers still have a chance to make a significant impact on the groups that are trying to wrestle Web services to the ground. During discussions with industry leaders such as Tim Bray, co-inventor of XML and founder and chief technology officer at Antarctica Systems Inc., eWEEK Labs was pleased to find a desire for feedback from potential customers... Inviting as some groups may be, however, the standards world is small and populated with its fair share of technocrats and sharp operators. But participation can be extremely beneficial for IT managers who judiciously allocate staff members to participate in the groups. Engineers from the biggest IT vendors routinely participate in standards groups, and face-to-face networking with these people can yield blunt and sometimes priceless answers and advice on strategic IT projects... the barriers to participation are significant with most standards groups. These include a commitment of several hours per week just to read and respond to e-mail, not to mention attending as many as six face-to-face meetings a year. Finally, most standards groups support themselves on membership dues that range from nothing at the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) to $50,000 or more per year... Understanding how standards bodies work is one of the keys to determining which standards to follow. We chose for this report the IEEE, IETF, W3C and OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) organizations because they cover the gamut -- from open membership to exclusive vendor groups, from long-standing names familiar to everyone in IT to relatively new formations..."

  • [January 28, 2003] "Berners-Lee: Keeping Faith. [eWEEK Labs.]" By Anne Chen and Tim Berners-Lee. In eWEEK (January 27, 2003). ['The World Wide Web Consortium is a driving force behind the Web's interoperability and evolution. Founded in 1994 by Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, the group has 450 member organizations worldwide. Since its inception, the W3C has developed standards such as XML and P3P. eWEEK Labs Senior Writer Anne Chen recently spoke with Berners-Lee, in Cambridge, Mass., about the changing role of standards bodies and how enterprise IT organizations should participate in the process.'] "eWEEK: What are the biggest issues facing standards bodies today? TBL: Intellectual property rights are a much bigger issue [today]. There's a fear of patents... Companies are realizing they have to formally tackle the issues of making standards royalty-free... There's a general global shift toward the realization that royalty-free standards are the only standards that can support Internet technology. There is a lot of fussing around... in general, though, the shift over the last two years is definitely toward royalty-free standards... eWEEK: What advice can you offer enterprise IT organizations that want to get involved in standards work? TBL: I'd say beware of organizations that might look like a standards body but are controlled by a vendor. Very often, they're more or less set up as a marketing and branding exercise produced by a group of companies... Look at how a [standards] organization manages the idea of being open, of being fair, and look for speed but also coordination... Something we've had to agree on as a consortium group is that we're not just working with our own groups but also with those from other standards bodies. You want to make sure people are collaborating, that there are people working together. Are members coming to the table and wishing to share and to build a new market? Are they excited about what's happening, or are they trying to exclude other people? [...] eWEEK: In the W3C, what's to keep vendors from pushing their own technologies through as standards? TBL: We have a review before we start an activity so that a company can't start a standard around their own product. You can't even have three members decide there's going to be a W3C activity. Three of five self-selected people might be able to do work together, but all [450] members have to have a look at proposed work. ... There's no secret in how that work gets done. All of the members have an equal opportunity to speak up when it comes time to say the W3C may assign resources to this new work..."

  • [January 28, 2003] "Enterprises Seek Role in Standards. [eWEEK Labs.]" By Anne Chen. In eWEEK (January 27, 2003). "As standards -- and standards organizations -- proliferate, IT managers such as Robert Kozak say they must pick and choose carefully where and how much they will participate. Kozak, director of Internet development at W.W. Grainger Inc., and his colleagues decided to focus most of their company's standards attention on the World Wide Web Consortium because that group's open, inclusive procedures gave Grainger its best chance to influence future technologies. 'We looked at where we could really maximize our impact,' said Kozak, in Lake Forest, Ill. 'Other organizations are just as important, but it's difficult to proportion the amount of standards work we can do. We need to ensure we can contribute in a way that provides the greatest impact for our customers, for Grainger and for the organizations we're involved with.' IT managers from companies such as Grainger and General Motors Corp. say participating in standards bodies gives them a competitive advantage by ensuring that they have a say in how technology such as XML will work and will be implemented in future products they are likely to purchase. Participating also gives enterprise IT a chance to play a role in the struggle to develop technologies that are not only interoperable but also lower the cost of doing business. Choosing which standards bodies to participate in, however, can be as complex as the technologies being worked on. IT managers making that choice should, first, look at their long-term IT goals and decide which technologies -- and therefore which groups -- will be most important to them, experts say. IT managers should also evaluate the quality of work being produced by each group. In addition, experts say, IT managers should be leery of standards-focused groups that are vendor-dominated... IT managers should also look at the work being produced by an organization for quality and acceptance by other standards organizations. Interoperability, openness, implementation and testing are all issues the standards body should be focused on, said John Parkinson, chief technology officer at Cap Gemini Ernst and Young U.S. LLC, in Chicago. At Grainger, one of the largest distributors of facilities maintenance products in the United States, the decision to join the W3C was based not only on the organization's openness and its insistence on royalty-free standards but also on the success of standards such as XML and HTTP, said Carl Turza, vice president of e-Business at Grainger. Vendor-driven standards bodies were not considered..."

  • [January 28, 2003] "E-Commerce Standard Plans Made Public." By Thor Olavsrud. In (January 28, 2003). "E-business interoperability consortium OASIS Tuesday said the first draft of a royalty-free data method for international electronic commerce has been released by one of its technical groups. The new OASIS schemas encompass the Universal Business Language (UBL). UBL is a standard for XML (define) document formats that encode business messages, such as purchase orders and invoices. UBL treats business-to-business (B2B) communication across all industry sectors and domains for all types of organizations, including small- and medium-sized enterprises... Eventually, OASIS hopes to make UBL a legal standard for international trade, and therefore the technical committee grounded the UBL Library in the Core Component semantics developed for ebXML (define), a modular suite of specifications for standardizing XML globally in order to facilitate trade between organizations regardless of size. ebXML was jointly developed by OASIS and the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT). While UBL is not a deliverable of the ebXML initiative, ebXML's Core Component specification is a system for creating idealized, business-context-free models for business information that can be mapped to traditional EDI syntax, XML syntax, or other syntaxes. With UBL, OASIS is trying to take a concrete next-step by mapping the Core Components to XML as an XML Schema (define) representation, thereby allowing for the contextualization of information in an XSD environment..." See other references in the 2003-01-27 news item "UBL Technical Committee Releases First Draft of XML Schemas for Electronic Trade."

  • [January 27, 2003] "BEA Seeks to Ease XML Development on Java. Hosted Service to Feature XMLBeans Technology." By Paul Krill. In InfoWorld (January 27, 2003). "BEA Systems on Monday is introducing a technology called XMLBeans, which is designed to improve developer productivity by eliminating challenges to incorporating XML data into Java To debut initially as a free, hosted service, XMLBeans aims to enable developers to focus time on value-added development for Web services and enterprise applications. The hosted service eventually will be part of BEA's WebLogic for Java application development and deployment. Version 8.1 of WebLogic, due in beta release at the BEA eWorld conference in March, will feature XMLBeans... XMLBeans provides a Java object-based view of XML data. Unlike other Java 'binding' solutions, XMLBeans enables programmers to maintain the fidelity of raw XML data while gaining the productivity and flexibility benefits of Java, according to BEA. It features a core set of Java classes that provide a common XML store... A BEA representative said the company wants to make XMLBeans a standard but has not yet decided which specific route it will take toward that end. BEA's XMLBeans provides direct access to XML using a conventional set of interfaces such as XQuery, [BEA's Carl Sjogreen] said. 'It makes it very easy for [developers] to access that XML information,' without losing any information in the XML Schema, he said. XMLBeans differs from other approaches to incorporating XML data into Java, such as DOM and SAX, in that it does not result in loss of data due to fundamental differences between the two languages, requiring recoding of information and development of custom linkages. DOM and SAX present low-level API approaches to using XML that are tedious to work with and make applications brittle, while other technologies, such as JAX-B or Castor, force developers to fit XML into Java classes, Sjogreen said... BEA hopes to get feedback from developers via launching XMLBeans as a hosted service. Developers can log onto the site and upload a schema that describes documents they want to use, and in return will get back XMLBeans classes needed to process that document in their application, according to Sjogreen..." See: (1) the XMLBeans overview; the text of the announcement "BEA Systems Drives Convergence of Application Integration and Application Development with BEA XMLBeans. Technology Innovation Revolutionizes Java and XML Interoperability and Increases Productivity for Java Developers."

  • [January 24, 2003] "Web Consortium Captures Captioning." By Paul Festa. In CNET (January 24, 2003). "... The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has chartered the Timed Text Working Group (TTWG) to come up with a streaming text specification, based on XML (Extensible Markup Language), that will synchronize text with video or audio streamed over the Internet. 'Simply put, this is to have a broad standard for captioning on the Web,' said W3C representative Janet Daly. 'There's a lot of industry interest in this. The potential for entertainment is clear.' The W3C's timed text effort is not its first attempt to synchronize elements in multimedia presentations. One standard that has already reached the consortium's final recommendation status is the Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL, pronounced 'smile'). But SMIL describes how to coordinate diverse media types in general terms. Without a specification for text, proprietary methods have cropped up, leading to text captioning that is specific to a certain browser or device. Daly said the application would prove useful both for people who want to play multimedia content silently, in a restrictive environment like an office, and for people who are hard-of-hearing. 'This is not just for the slacker in the office, but for people with disabilities to capture the information in the audio stream,' Daly said..." See details and references in the 2003-01-24 news item "W3C Charters Timed-Text Working Group (TTWG)."

  • [January 24, 2003] "Communication Interception Goes Global." By James Pearce. In ZDNet News (January 24, 2003). "OASIS has set up a committee to develop a technical framework that enables security agencies to share information easily around the world Security agencies around the world will soon be able to share intercepted information on criminal and 'terrorist' activities far more easily after a new technical framework is introduced, a committee claims. The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) has created the LegalXML Lawful Intercept XML (LI-XML) technical committee to develop a global framework to support the "rapid discovery and sharing of suspected criminal and terrorist evidence by law enforcement agencies'... The initial meetings of the committee have already been held, and the committee hopes to identify all XML schemas relating to lawful interception by 10 February. By January 2004 the committee plans to publish information on the interoperability test results of the different schemes. According to the committee, the most common activity related to lawful interception is the simple act of looking up basic information about a communications identifier (such as an email address or phone number), and one objective of the committee is to develop a Global User Identifier Lookup schema. The second most common activity is requesting the records of a specific user from a communications services operator. There are currently no means to do this electronically, and the committee plans to develop a Global Communications Record Lookup schema. The technical committee also plans to develop specifications for interoperable Lawful Intercept Global Identifier Registries and associated verification and authentication schemes, after noting that there is no global mechanism to verify the authenticity of the tens of thousands of parties worldwide involved in the lawful interception of communications..." See details and references in the 2003-01-23 news story: "OASIS LegalXML Member Section Forms Lawful Intercept XML Technical Committee."

  • [January 23, 2003] "Mobile P2P Messaging, Part 2: Develop Mobile Extensions to Generic P2P Networks. Turn Mobile Devices Into JXTA and Jabber Clients." By Michael Juntao Yuan (Research Associate, Center for Electronic Commerce, University of Texas at Austin). From IBM developerWorks, Wireless. January 2003. ['Generic peer-to-peer computing networks such as JXTA and Jabber are often too complex for mobile devices. Thus, lightweight mobile clients or special architectures that work through relays are needed to extend those P2P communities to mobile users.'] "In this second part of our series on mobile peer-to-peer messaging, Michael Yuan discusses JXME, a J2ME JXTA client project. We'll examine the examples bundled in the JXME distribution to show you how to use the JXME APIs. In addition, we will also briefly discuss options to develop mobile Jabber applications. As we discussed in Part 1 of this series ['Access SMS Using the Wireless Messaging API and Other Packages'], SMS-based messaging is very convenient for wireless phone users. However, it is not a suitable messaging platform for non-phone mobile devices such as PDAs and WAN-connected handhelds. SMS messaging across different cell networks (such as international calls) can also be expensive or even in some cases impossible. In this second and final installment of our series on mobile P2P messaging, we will introduce you to two general-purpose peer-to-peer networks -- the JXTA P2P and Jabber instant messaging networks -- that you might use in situations that don't lend themselves to SMS... JXTA defines a set of open protocols for peer-to-peer networks. These XML-based protocols describe complex operations such as peer discovery, endpoint routing, connection binding, basic query/response message exchange, and network propagation through rendezvous peers... JXTA is a generic P2P framework that goes far beyond simple messaging. It addresses issues like P2P file sharing, P2P application services, and collaborative distributed computing. While the JXTA protocols are designed to be independent of any implementation technology, JXTA's reference implementation is built on the Java platform. This reference implementation uses Java APIs to wrap JXTA protocol messages and provide a programmatic way to access the JXTA network from Java applications... The power and flexibility of JXTA come at a price: complexity. A JXTA peer needs to take care of a lot of tasks and process messages at the XML-over-socket level. Such a peer would be too complex to run on most mobile devices. In addition, neither XML nor raw socket support are part of the standard J2ME/MIDP specification. To make JXTA networks available to mobile P2P users, we need a set of lightweight JXTA APIs for mobile devices. The JXME project aims to provide JXTA APIs for the CLDC and MIDP platforms. It can also be used in higher-end J2ME profiles, such as the Personal Profile... Ultimately, the success of any P2P system depends on its ability to attract users. Although JXTA is a very powerful and technically advanced framework, its technical complexity hinders its adoption. Jabber is a much simpler P2P system than JXTA; it is primarily designed for instant messaging. Jabber has a much larger peer network than JXTA. Jabber was originally designed to provide interoperability among popular Internet instant messaging systems (AOL, MSN, Yahoo!, ICQ, and so on). It is a powerful and flexible yet simple protocol that can wrap around all existing IM protocols. With powerful features and completely open XML protocols, Jabber is by far the most advanced IM system available today. Jabber can also support many advanced P2P applications, such as calendar groupware and file sharing. Jabber peers communicate with each other through Jabber servers. Jabber servers can also talk with each other to form large domains of peers that are not directly connected to the same server. All communication among Jabber peers and servers takes the form of open XML-formatted messages sent over raw socket connections..." See: (1) JXTA Project website; (2) "XML Encoding for SMS (Short Message Service) Messages"; (3) "Jabber XML Protocol."

  • [January 23, 2003] "OASIS Enlists XML in War Against Terror." By Darryl K. Taft. In eWEEK (January 23, 2003). "The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) Thursday announced the formation of a new technical committee to develop a universal global framework aimed at helping law enforcement agencies share criminal and terrorist evidence. In a move targeted at helping those agencies involved in the homeland defense effort, OASIS is putting its XML expertise to use for the cause of national security. The new technical committee is called the OASIS LegalXML Lawful Intercept XML (LI-XML) Technical Committee. OASIS officials said the consortium formed the new committee in response to mandates both in the United States and Europe. Anthony Rutkowski, an executive with VeriSign Inc., has been named chair of the LI-XML technical committee. He said governments and Internet access providers alike would benefit from the LI-XML effort to generate a standard XML schema for sharing information about terrorists..." See details and references in the 2003-01-23 news story: "OASIS LegalXML Member Section Forms Lawful Intercept XML Technical Committee."

  • [January 23, 2003] "VorteXML Turns Data Into XML." By Timothy Dyck. In eWEEK (January 20, 2003). Review of VorteXML Server 1.0. ['VorteXML makes what can be a difficult job -- turning text data into XML -- straightforward. The tool is easy to use and will do the hoped-for job in many situations. However, the 1.0 release has a significant number of functional gaps that make it difficult for administrators to detect when input text files contain formatting errors.'] "Datawatch Corp.'s new VorteXML Server 1.0, which started shipping last month, provides a flexible template-based system to extract data from the straw of undifferentiated text files and turn it into XML gold. The server's sweet spot is with organizations that have collections of plain-text or HTML files (such as invoices, reports, confirmation e-mail messages or log files) that they want to turn into the more usable XML data format. However, eWeek Labs' tests also found a number of important limitations that make this product more difficult to deploy than it should be and could point users toward products from close rivals Whitehill Technologies Inc. and ItemField Inc... Converting nonstructured formats such as text files into a structured format such as XML is inherently a hard problem to solve. VorteXML Server's strongest feature is its VorteXML desktop tool, which uses an intuitive, flexible "painting" system to highlight data fields in input text files. (VorteXML can do the XML conversion itself but only on a single input file.) VorteXML provides a mechanism to identify data fields through a combination of nearby text field labels, delimiters and absolute line position. It also has an expression language (although not a full programming language) to perform variable manipulation. [VorteXML Server description: "VorteXML Server is a scalable, high-volume server that enables users to easily automate the often arduous and lengthy process of transforming legacy data into valid XML. It is expressly designed to empower business users to quickly and easily transform their operational data into XML for popular e-business applications including bill and statement presentment, B2B interactions, legacy transformation and Web Services. VorteXML Server offers users the ability to: Convert high-volumes of text data to XML; Automate complex conversions and transformations; Invoke conversion remotely through a web service via Java, .NET or any other SOAP-enabled client; Run conversions on a recurring basis; Trigger XML conversions based on file creation."]

  • [January 23, 2003] "IBM's Long-Awaited Software Taps Data Integration Research." By Lisa Vaas. In eWEEK (January 20, 2003). "IBM is gearing up to release the first product from its years-long Xperanto data integration research project for beta testing next quarter. The as-yet-unnamed software will enable, for example, call center representatives to access and change customer information in real time from multiple sources, an IBM spokeswoman confirmed last week. The application will tap different data types, such as e-mail messages, enterprise application data, purchase orders and photos. Delivery dates of this first Xperanto product won't be determined before next quarter, the spokeswoman said, but it is expected to be generally available by the end of the year. Xperanto is a data integration technology that relies on XML and XQuery searching technologies to tie together any type of data from any source, leaving that data in whatever database or application it natively resides. It will allow users of IBM software to move from storing all data in a single, consolidated database to accessing data in a kind of virtual database that federates data from multiple sources. The Xperanto product follows in line with IBM's On Demand computing initiative, a concept of IT infrastructure that has four characteristics: integrated systems, open- standards software, virtualized software that allows more efficient use of IT resources, and autonomic or self-managing systems..." See IBM Research's Xperanto project and references in "IBM: Xperanto Rollout To Start In Early 2003. Long-Promised Information Integrator on the Horizon." General references in "XML and Databases."

  • [January 23, 2003] "Introduction to XFML." By Peter Van Dijck. From January 22, 2003. ['Peter van Dijck introduces XFML, a lightweight language for faceted metadata.'] "XFML is a simple XML format for exchanging metadata in the form of faceted hierarchies, sometimes called taxonomies. Its basic building blocks are topics, also called categories. XFML won't solve all your metadata needs. It's focused on interchanging faceted classification and indexing data. XFML addresses the following problems with basic hierarchical classification: (1) Creating and maintaining a good topic hierarchy is a lot of work, ask any librarian. (2) Indexing (categorizing) large amounts of content consistently is even harder; see Cory Doctorow's 'Metacrap'. (3) Creating a centralized hierarchy to organize a large amount of information doesn't scale. -- if you think Yahoo's hierarchy scales, ask yourself why you keep turning to Google. [So] XFML provides a simple format to share classification and indexing data. It also provides two ways to build connections between topics, information that lets you write clever tools to automate the sharing of indexing efforts. It's based on the principles of faceted classification, addressing many of the scaling issues with simple hierarchies... Facets sound scary and librarian-like, but they are really just a common sense approach to classifying things. Instead of building one huge tree of topics, a faceted classification uses multiple smaller trees (each tree is called a facet) that can then be combined by the user to find things more easily... The XFML core spec gives an introduction, defines the concepts, and specifies the XML format. The spec is stable and frozen, which means you can safely build applications that use it... The building blocks of a faceted hierarchy in XFML are facets and topics. A facet is the top node of each tree. The nodes in the tree are called topics. XFML can define multiple hierarchies, and each hierarchy is a facet... Once you have some facets and topics defined, you will want to classify or index some web pages and add them to your XFML document so your indexing efforts can be shared. You can only classify things that have a URI. Each URI (we call them pages but you can use other filetypes as well) can be classified under multiple topics... XFML is a simple standard to exchange faceted, hierarchical metadata. What makes it different is the way it addresses specific problems with metadata authoring by allowing for distributed metadata through the <connect> and <psi> elements. It is designed to be easy to code for and is already supported by a number of tools. To get started with XFML, I recommend writing an XFML file by hand and uploading it to Facetmap..." See the XFML website for other details; compare "(XML) Topic Maps."

  • [January 23, 2003] "Excel Reports with Apache Cocoon and POI." By Steve Punte. From January 22, 2003. ['Steve Punte on generating Excel reports dynamically with Apache Cocoon.'] "We describe a simple, low-cost, modular, XML component oriented solution for generating and rendering real-time Excel reports. Future enhancements will probably include support for formulas, multiple sheets, and so on. Portions of this solution were developed for, which has donated this solution to open-source... Generating professional reports within a web application can be a difficult problem to solve. However, by combining two Apache projects (Cocoon and POI) you can produce Excel reports from a pure Java server application. The key to this solution is to embrace Excel on the client and deploy a Java solution on the server. Why Use Microsoft Excel? Excel is the business world's spreadsheet of choice. While most readers of this article are software technologists, many of the projects and solutions you're developing are meant for use by non-technologists in a corporate environment, in which Microsoft Office is the dominant software suite. Your end user is probably already familiar and skilled with Office. Providing reports as Excel spreadsheets allows the data to be manipulated to meet the end user's needs. As long as a sufficiently similar report and associated data are available, most end users can manipulate the report to obtain the desired results. Although Excel is a Microsoft Windows application, its binary file format is well known and may be manipulated by many low cost solutions, including the pure Java Apache POI project. Rendering reports in Excel does not require that the web application runs Windows, only that the client runs Windows..." [POI: "POI stands for Poor Obfuscation Implementation. Why would we name our project such a derogatory name? Well, Microsoft's OLE 2 Compound Document Format is a poorly conceived thing. It is essentially an archive structured much like the old DOS FAT filesystem. Redmond chose, instead of using tar, gzip, zip or arc, to invent their own archive format that does not provide any standard encryption or compression, is not very appendable and is prone to fragmentation."]

  • [January 23, 2003] "Parsing RSS At All Costs." By Mark Pilgrim. From January 22, 2003. ['Mark Pilgrim explains how to handle even ill-formed RSS feeds. He provides a sample parse-at-all-costs RSS parser.'] "RSS is an XML-based format for syndicating news and news-like sites. XML was chosen, among other reasons, to make it easier to parse with off-the-shelf XML tools. Unfortunately in the past few years, as RSS has gained popularity, the quality of RSS feeds has dropped. There are now dozens of versions of hundreds of tools producing RSS feeds. Many have bugs. Few build RSS feeds using XML libraries; most treat it as text, by piecing the feed together with string concatenation, maybe (or maybe not) applying a few manually coded escaping rules, and hoping for the best. On average, at any given time, about 10% of all RSS feeds are not well-formed XML. Some errors are systemic, due to bugs in publishing software. It took Movable Type a year to properly escape ampersands and entities, and most users are still using old versions or new versions with old buggy templates. Other errors are transient, due to rough edges in authored content that the publishing tools are unable or unwilling to fix on the fly. As I write this, the Scripting News site's RSS has an illegal high-bit character, a curly apostrophe. Probably just a cut-and-paste error -- I've done the same thing myself many times -- but I don't know of any publishing tool that corrects it on the fly, and that one bad character is enough to trip up any XML parser... In next month's column I'll examine some other RSS validity issues. Valid RSS is more than just well-formed XML. Just because there's no DTD or schema doesn't mean it can't be validated in other ways. We'll discuss the inner workings of one such RSS validator..." General references in "RDF Site Summary (RSS)."

  • [January 23, 2003] "The Return of XML Hypertext." By Kendall Grant Clark. From January 22, 2003. ['Kendall Clark reports on the creation of a new mailing list focused on the use of XML for hypertext.'] "... What is XML, and what is it best for, if you've spent long hours popping and pushing HyperCard stacks? Among the places one might go for an answer to these questions, consider the newly minted xml-hypertext mailing list. The first thing one might say about xml-hypertext is that its credentials suggest that it is a trustworthy source. A brief glance through its archive is like a glance through the Who's Who of the XML community. Not only is the roster of participants a good indication of the quality of conversation, but it also suggests that the list's motivating idea is not the product of a single person, but reflects broader community interests. In announcing the xml-hypertext list, Simon St. Laurent suggested a basic agenda for the conversation; 'appropriate subjects include,' St. Laurent said, 'technologies for linking and pointing, hypertext-oriented transformations, and interactions between XML and Web infrastructure'. Among the technologies which fit that bill, St. Laurent mentioned XLink, XPointer, HLink, SkunkLink, VELLUM (one of St. Laurent's own proposed linking technologies), XHTML, RDF and Topic Maps, SMIL. It makes sense that a mailing list about XML and hypertext will focus on linking technologies, since linking is essential to every robust hypertext proposal -- computing technology has long tempted very smart people as a way to overcome what is seen to be the static nature of old-fashioned, that is, printed books While it's still early, the xml-hypertext list may turn out to be an important new chorus of voices for XML technologists to pay attention to. Going forward, its two primary technical subjects of interest are likely to be new ways of rejuvenating linking in XML applications, including the end-user Web, and (though this is more a prediction than a promise) the issue of linkbases, that is, collections of out-of-band links or relations between resources..." See the information page for xml-hypertext -- Discussion of hypertext using XML and the mail archives. Related item: Bob DuCharme has posted references for a (demo) prototype implementation for "1-to-many" links using HTML. General references in "XML Linking Language."

  • [January 23, 2003] "XML Technical Specification for Higher Education." Edited by Mike Rawlins. With contributions from IMS Global Learning Consortium, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Miami-Dade Community College, Brown University, and the US Department of Education. For the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council [Washington, DC, USA]. Working Draft Version 2.1. August 2002. 54 pages. "The purpose of this document is to provide guidance in the development and maintenance of a data dictionary and XML sschemas. The scope of this specification includes the data which institutions and their partner's exchange in support of the existing business processes within Higher Education like administrative applications for student financial aid, admissions, and registrar functions. The internal audience of this document is the members of the XML Forum for Education as well as the technical members of the education community at large wishing to use XML in their data exchanges... This specification is an ongoing output of the Technology Work Group of the XML Forum for Education. First organized in August 2000 on the recommendation of a PESC study group, the XML Forum has as its mission the establishment of Extensible Markup Language (XML) standards for the education community through collaboration. The Technology Work Group was charged with performing research on existing XML specifications and best practices and providing technical guidance to XML developers in the education space. This document is the result of its efforts over the past eighteen months. It will be updated periodically as national and international XML standards are established.." [About: "The XML Forum for Education serves as an industry group focused on XML standards in the education space. In addition to monitoring global XML specification initiatives and developing standards appropriate to education, the Forum provides the community with information on XML applications and their potential."] See: (1) Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council XML Forum website; (2) XML Schemas, incluuding the PESC XML Forum College Transcript Schema Version 0.01 [diagram]; (3) "PostSecondary Electronic Standards Council XML Forum for Education." [source .DOC, cache]

  • [January 22, 2003] "XML Developer Tool is Upgraded." By Paul Krill. In InfoWorld (January 22, 2003). "Altova on Wednesday announced availability of XMLSPY 5 Release 3, an XML development environment that adds support for C# code generation and a WSDL documenting utility in the new release. XMLSPY is specifically tuned for XML development and has 1 million registered users, said Larry Kim, Altova marketing director, in Beverly, Mass. Version 5 Release 3 offers key new features including a WSDL documentation utility, C# support, PDF publishing, and the ability to edit XML documents stored within Oracle XML DB, the XML repository within the Oracle9i Release 2 database. The WSDL Documentation generation utility is intended to enable Web services developers to document and publish a Web service interface to business partners, developers, or to the public. WSDL files can be annotated then published into a Word or HTML output file... Oracle XML DB functionality in XMLSPY enables developers to perform common operations on data managed by XML DB, such as listing XML Schemas, loading a Schema, and saving or deleting an XML Schema. XMLSPY's stylesheet designer now supports visual editing and generation of a PDF file from an XML document. Developers can preview output in either PDF or HTML formats..." See details in the 2003-01-22 announcement: "Altova Simplifies XML Development Through Enhanced Support for Microsoft .NET, Oracle XML DB, Web Services and Document Publishing in XMLSPY 5 Release. New features further demonstrate XMLSPY 5 is the most comprehensive XML development environment for any XML-enabled software project." Related news: "Altova and Oracle Announce Tighter Integration with Oracle XML DB in XMLSPY 5 Release 3" General references in "XML Schemas."

  • [January 22, 2003] "OASIS Offers XML Standards Clearinghouse." By Darryl K. Taft. In eWEEK (January 22, 2003). "The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) standards body Wednesday announced the first in a series of Focus Areas to enable users to deliver and access domain-specific content on XML standards. The first three areas in the series focus on insurance, human resources and printing and publishing. These Focus Areas are now available, with partners and experts available to provide assistance with content and other assistance to users, the organization said... OASIS officials said these are the first in a series of Focus Areas the organization will release for other horizontal and vertical markets. The Focus Areas include information on standards, news, movements among implementers of the specifications and other domain-specific material..." Note: The word "clearinghouse" which appears in the title of the announcement is probably not intended to describe the role of the Focus Areas as prescriptive or regulatory; it's a descriptive term referring to the "portal" as a whole, and in particular, it refers to functionality intended to be provided by XML.ORG Registry, 'an open clearinghouse for the exchange of XML schemas and vocabularies'. Focus Areas are not committees; they are not charged with creating new standards or issuing official OASIS guidelines. The principal strategy in the formation of "Focus Areas" is to draw upon the domain expertise of OASIS member companies in several key industry sectors -- to collect and maintain domain-specific information. According to the announcement: "Through, OASIS partners with experts in each Focus Area to provide content and editorial guidance [for website collection development and organization]. The Focus Area on Insurance has been developed in conjunction with ACORD, a nonprofit association that facilitates the development and use of standards for the insurance, reinsurance and related financial services industries. The Focus Area on Human Resources has been developed in cooperation with the HR-XML Consortium, a non-profit organization that develops and promotes XML specifications to enable e-business and the automation of human resources-related data exchanges. The Focus Area on Printing & Publishing has been developed in cooperation with IDEAlliance (founded as Graphic Communications Association), a membership organization that advances user-driven, cross-industry solutions for all publishing and content-related processes... Future Focus Areas will include Financial Services, Defense Logistics, Education, Tax/Accounting, E-Government, Security, Retail, Localization & Globalization, E-Marketplaces, and others. is sponsored by BEA Systems, Global Exchange Services (GXS), ISOGEN International, and SAP." See the complete text of the press release.

  • [January 22, 2003] "Requirements for the Ink Markup Language." Edited by Yi-Min Chee (IBM) and Sai Prasad (Intel). W3C Note 22-January-2003. First public version. Version URL: Latest version URL: "This document describes requirements for the Ink Markup Language that will be used in the multimodal interaction framework as proposed by the W3C Multimodal Interaction Working Group. The Ink Markup Language will serve as the data format for representing ink entered with an electronic pen or stylus in a multimodal system. The markup will allow for the input and processing of handwriting, gestures, sketches, music and other notational languages in web-based multimodal applications. In the context of the W3C Multimodal Interaction Framework, the markup provides a common format for the exchange of ink data between components such as handwriting and gesture recognizers, signature verifiers, and other ink-aware modules... W3C's Multimodal Interaction Activity is developing specifications for extending the Web to support multiple modes of interaction. One mode of interaction that is expected to play a role in many multimodal use cases is pen input. The requirements described in this document will be used to guide the development of a markup language for representing ink data captured by a pen-enabled multimodal system... The Ink Markup will consist of primitive elements that represent low-level ink data information and application-specific elements that characterize meta information about the ink. Examples of primitive elements are device and screen context characteristics, and pen traces. Application-specific elements provide a higher level description of the ink data. For example, a segment tag could represent a group of ink traces that belong to a field in a form. Consequently, the requirements for the Ink Markup Language could fall in either of the two categories. This document does not attempt to classify requirements based on whether they are low-level or application specific..."

  • [January 22, 2003] "OpenGIS Catalog Services Specification." Edited by Douglas Nebert. From Open GIS Consortium Inc. Version: 1.1.1. Date: 2002-12-13. OpenGIS project document reference: OGC 02-087r3. Category: OpenGIS Implementation Specification. 239 pages. Section 9.4 'Interface Definition' (pages 88-94) supplies the XML encoding rules. "OpenGIS Catalog Service Implementation Specification: The OpenGIS Catalog Service Specification version 1.1.1 documents industry consensus regarding an open, standard interface to online catalogs for geographic information and web-accessible geoprocessing services. Industry agreement on a common interface for publishing metadata and supporting discovery of geospatial data and services is an important step toward giving Web users and applications access to all types of "where" information. Version 1.1.1 is more comprehensive than earlier OpenGIS Catalog Service Specification versions and proposals. It addresses the controlled enterprise environment where a-priori knowledge exists about the client and server, and it also addresses the global Internet case where no a-priori knowledge exists between client and server. It is consistent with existing and pending geomatics and metadata standards under the ISO Technical Committee 211, and it is consistent with XML data discovery and processing and with the emerging Web Services infrastructure. The [specification] document provides guidance on the deployment of catalog services through the presentation of abstract and implementation-specific models. Catalog services support the ability to publish and search collections of descriptive information (metadata) for data, services, and related information objects. Metadata in catalogs represent resource characteristics that can be queried and presented for evaluation and further processing by both humans and software. Catalog services are required to support the discovery of registered information resources within a collaborating community... For HTTP transport the XML messages are defined by the XML encoding rules. The specification for the XML encoding rules can be found at . This specification derives the encoding of the Application Protocol Data Units (APDUs) from the ASN.1 specification of Z39.50 available from . For information a DTD for Z39.50 encoded using XER is given below [...]" See other XML-based OpenGIS Implementation Specifications and the text of the 2003-01-22 announcement "OGC Approves Important Spatial Catalog Specification." Related references: (1) "Geography Markup Language (GML)"; (2) "OGC Announces Critical Infrastructure Protection Initiative Phase 2 Kickoff" (3) Open GIS Consortium Issues RFC for Web Coverage Service Implementation Specification. [cache]

  • [January 22, 2003] "SBC Tries to Enforce Patent on Frame-Like Browsing." By Grant Gross. In InfoWorld (January 22, 2003). "SBC Intellectual Property owns two U.S. patents on a Web site navigation tool called a 'structured document browser' and it is asking and other sites to pony up licensing fees. The structured document browser's definition sounds like the technique of using frames to link to other documents on a Web site, which would be used by hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of sites. SBC Intellectual Property President Harlie Frost said the patent claims are 'related to frames' before referring more questions to SBC's public relations representatives... Several Internet activists, including members of the free software movement, have for years blamed the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for granting patents on technologies that were already widely used. The most publicized case was in September 1999, when was granted a patent for its one-click shopping service. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos later called for patent reform..." Abstract for 'Structured document browser' [6,442,574]: "A structured document browser includes a constant user interface for displaying and viewing sections of a document that is organized according to a pre-defined structure. The structured document browser displays documents that have been marked with embedded codes that specify the structure of the document. The tags are mapped to correspond to a set of icons. When the icon is selected while browsing a document, the browser will display the section of the structure corresponding to the icon selected, while preserving the constant user interface." On this theme [patents being granted for very unremarkable "new ideas" that would occur naturally to eleven out of any twelve researchers working in the same timeframe with the same common knowledge and experience], see "Patents and Open Standards."

  • [January 22, 2003] "SBC Enforcing All-Encompassing Web Patent. You've been Framed." By Kevin Murphy [ComputerWire]. In The Register (January 23, 2003). "SBC Communications Inc is enforcing a patent it owns that, it claims, covers the use of frame-like user interfaces in web sites, it emerged this week Kevin Murphy writes. If your web site uses a frames or a persistent user interface, then you could be in infringement. Using SBC's interpretation of its patent, hundreds of thousands of web sites, including those of many SBC's own hosting customers, many of the web's biggest sites, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office itself, could be in infringement... According to an SBC letter published by, which was the first to disclose SBC was demanding license fees, simply using an interface that remains on-screen while a user navigates the site could constitute infringement of US patents 5,933,841 and 6,442,574, both entitled 'Structured Document Browser'. 'Your site includes several selectors or tabs that correspond to specific locations in your site document. These selectors are not lost when a different part of the document is displayed to the user,' the SBC letter reads. '[These features] appear to infringe several issued claims in the '841 and '574 patents'... After the news broke, SBC's actions were immediately condemned by many in the internet-using community, their criticisms echoing those made during controversies over the enforcement of patents on arguably obvious inventions by the likes of Inc and BT Group Plc. SBC's now defunct Prodigy brand consumer ISP unit was on the receiving end of one of the last major 'obvious' patent suit to hit the headlines. BT Group Plc sued Prodigy, claiming a decades-old patent on Videotext systems covered hypertext. The suit was ultimately unsuccessful... Support for the HTML Frames method, which SBC's letter to MuseumTour alludes to as a way to build the persistent user interfaces SBC says it owns, was introduced in the first beta release of the old Netscape Navigator 2.0 browser, which became available to developers in October 1995..." Note the Len Bullard comment 2003-01-23: "Another one sillier than the last one... A patent on frame-based navigation... This is becoming an issue for the US at the national electorate level. It is time for organizations to begin to talk to candidates for high office about real patent reform, what is required and what it will take to get it."

  • [January 21, 2003] "What's New with Smart Tags in Office 11." By Chris Kunicki. From Microsoft MSDN Library. January 20, 2003. ['This article looks at a handful of new smart tag enhancements introduced with Microsoft "Office 11" Beta 1 that are designed to make smart tags easier to develop and also addresses a few limitations of smart tags in Microsoft Office XP.'] "Smart tags first appeared in Microsoft Office XP with a great deal of fanfare, as they represented an innovative new way to make the data in Microsoft Office documents more meaningful and actionable. How often have you found yourself typing in the name of a customer contact, an invoice number, a tracking number, or some other form of relevant information with meaning to you or your company? In the old world without smart tags, that information just sat in the document as static text. Smart tag technology makes it possible to link that relevant information to other resources that might provide you with additional information that is useful in creating a document, or better yet, it might bring that relevant information right back into your document. In Microsoft Office 11, Microsoft is adding numerous enhancements based on customer feedback to broaden the potentional for smart tag technology... In addition to new application support, the smart tag application programming interface (API) library has been extended to support a number of new interfaces that enable new functionality. This library is named Microsoft Smart Tags 2.0 Type Library... . When Office 11 ships, we can expect to see some interesting goodies. For example: (1) The ability to control which Microsoft Office Smart Tag List (MOSTL) XML-based smart tags are enabled or disabled. (2) MOSTL XML adds support for regular expression and context-free grammar recognition. This should simplify recognizing simple and complex patterns of text. (3) Smart documents, which complement smart tags, include a new technology that simplifies securely installing smart tag DLLs, Component Object Model (COM) add-ins, and other files that extend Office. This will simplify deploying smart tags to the desktop and keeping them up to date. (4) Some smart tags should only be valid for a certain period of time, and with Office 11, smart tags can be marked to expire on a certain date. (5) Temporary smart tags are smart tags that are not saved with the document but are active when the document is open. This ensures that private information is not forwarded with a document. (6) The smart tag Recognize method now has a new parameter that passes in the application name. There are times when you want to change the behavior of recognition depending on the application in use. This new parameter makes the recognition more reliable. (7) Most developers new to smart tags have found it challenging to figure out how to efficiently parse text in documents to identify recognized terms. The Recognize2 method now sports an ISmartTagTokenList object. This object breaks down the text sent to the Recognize2 method into individual words. This object will greatly simplify text-parsing code for new developers. Even so, experienced smart tag developers will find this a welcome enhancement. (8) The Word smart tag object model is extended to improve compatibility with the Excel smart tag object model. These extensions allow for firing a smart tag action and enabling and disabling recognizers..."

  • [January 21, 2003] "IBM Brings Domino and WebSphere Closer Together." By Dennis Callaghan. In eWEEK (January 20, 2003). "IBM's Lotus Software division will unveil two initiatives at its Lotusphere conference next week that enable developers to embed Domino components as Web services in other applications. Lotus' Contextual Collaboration initiative will integrate Domino and WebSphere development environments, according to sources close to the Cambridge, Mass., company. The first initiative, code-named Project Montreal, will add Domino classes to IBM's WSAD (WebSphere Studio Application Developer) tool kit, which is based on the Eclipse 2 open-source Java integrated development environment. This will allow non-Domino developers to create collaborative applications as Web services. It will also provide integration between WebSphere and Domino applications while allowing WebSphere developers to remain in the coding environment they're familiar with. The second, and thought to be the more ambitious, initiative is code-named Project Seoul. It will allow Domino developers to work within the Domino development environment but output code as Java 2 Enterprise Edition components, which can be embedded in other non-Domino J2EE-based applications..." [IBM's Websphere Studio Application Developer is a "core development environment from IBM which helps you to to optimize and simplify Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) and Web services development by offering best practices, templates, code generation, and the most comprehensive development environment in its class. Use WSAD to (1) create J2EE and Web services applications with integrated support for Java components, EJB, servlet, JSP, HTML, XML, and Web services all in one development environment; (2) uild new applications or enable existing assets quickly with Web services using open standards such as UDDI, SOAP, and WSDL via Web services Client Wizard; (3) transform data using a comprehensive XML development environment that offers wizards and mapping tools for creating DTDs, XML Schemas, XSL style sheets and other data transformation..."]

  • [January 21, 2003] "Real Releases Digital Media Source Code." From Reuters. January 21, 2003. RealNetworks has made available "the source code for sending video and audio over the Internet to other software and hardware makers. The release of the code, called the Helix DNA Server, is part of RealNetworks' push to create a universal technology for sending and receiving digital media in order to fend off crosstown rival Microsoft. Late in 2002, Seattle-based RealNetworks had already announced two other components of its Helix technology: the software player used to receive digital streams, and encoding software used to convert raw content into digital format. With all three components, developers such as mobile phone manufacturers can create systems that can send and receive digital content in any format, said Dan Sheeran, vice president of media systems at RealNetworks. More than 10,000 developers have already joined RealNetworks' Helix development community, Sheeran said... RealNetworks, best known for its Real series of players for video and audio sent over the Internet, released last July the Helix Universal Server for sending media over the Web for Windows and Unix-based server operating systems as well as for open-source Linux..." According to the announcement: "the third source code component of the Helix platform, the Helix DNA Server, is now available to software developers through the Helix Community at With Helix DNA Server, developers for the first time have source code access to a major end-to-end media delivery platform, consisting of producer, server and client components. Helix DNA Server is the core source code of RealNetworks' Helix Universal Server, the 9th generation, multi-format digital media server that thousands of webcasters already use to deliver content on the Internet. The Helix DNA Server offers a robust source code base for developing digital media delivery products including: 9th generation media server; Industry standard streaming media protocol and transports including -- RTSP, RTP, SAP and SDP; Live and on-demand broadcasting; Native MP3 support; RealVideo and RealAudio codec/file format support; Administration, monitoring and logging; Full client authentication support, such as for pay per view services. It is available for free under the RPSL, included in the RCSL royalty for commercial distribution... The Helix DNA Server will be licensed under both a public source license and a commercial community source license. Both licenses are free of charge for research and development use." See previously "RealNetworks Eases Rights Management."

  • [January 21, 2003] "Thinking XML: The Open Office File Format. An XML Format for Front Office Documents." By Uche Ogbuji (Principal Consultant, Fourthought, Inc). From IBM developerWorks, XML zone. January 2003. [' is a mature, open source, front office applications suite with the advantage of a saved file format based on an open XML DTD. This gives users and developers an extraordinary amount of flexibility and power in dealing with work produced in In this article, Uche Ogbuji introduces the OpenOffice file format and explains its advantages.'] "The project, which produces a complete, open-source office suite derived from StarOffice, uses XML for its core file formats, rather than as a separate export option. OpenOffice includes a word processor, spreadsheet, a presentation tool, and a graphics/diagramming tool... The stake-holders in -- the contributors and users on the Web site -- have all committed to making its file format as open and general as possible, in the hopes of fostering greater interoperability and flexibility among office file formats. To further this goal, they have contributed the file formats to a new technical committee of the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS)... In this article, I introduce the OpenOffice file formats. This is an interesting time for the intersection of XML and office software. There has been a lot of discussion of the recent Microsoft XDocs technology and how it may or may not compete with or complement XForms, the OpenOffice formats, and other such projects. I shall not cover any such connections here -- in part because of lack of space, and in part because details of XDocs are just emerging... I provide a sketch of the OpenOffice text file format, but the project does not just toss out a text format and leave it at that. OpenOffice provides a rich toolkit for integrating XML tools, and there is a growing body of third-party tools as well. These include SAX filters, XSLT plug-ins, and even low-level Java APIs. Developers from the community have already used these facilities to augment OpenOffice with the ability to load and save Docbook, HTML, TeX, plain text, and the document formats used by PalmOS and PocketPC. XMerge is a project for working with OpenOffice content on small devices such as PDAs and cell phones. Work on XMerge is proceeding at a remarkable pace, and vendors such as Nokia have seen fit to chip into the project. This underlines another huge benefit of the openness embraced by OpenOffice. It encourages contributions from a wide variety of sources, even commercial interests, who understand that this openness brings about a level playing field, as opposed to the use of a proprietary format. XMerge uses XSLT plug-ins for document conversion, which also ensures cross-platform support. In the OASIS Open Office XML Format TC we will continue to improve these file formats, with a sharp eye on enhancing interoperability even further. This is an open process with an open mailing list, and any OASIS member can join formally. I encourage all who are interested in managing front-office documents to participate..." See: (1) " XML File Format"; (2) "XML File Formats for Office Documents."

  • [January 21, 2003] "Requirements for XML Schema 1.1." Edited by Charles Campbell, Ashok Malhotra (Microsoft), and Priscilla Walmsley. W3C Working Draft 21-January-2003. Version URL: Latest version URL: "This document contains a list of requirements and desiderata for version 1.1 of XML Schema... Since the XML Schema Recommendation (Part 0: Primer, Part 1: Structures, and Part 2: Datatypes) was first published in May, 2001, it has gained acceptance as the primary technology for specifying and constraining the structure of XML documents. Users have employed XML Schema for a wide variety of purposes in many, many different situations. In doing so, they have uncovered some errors and requested some clarifications. They have also requested additional functionality. Most of the errors and clarifications are addressed in the published errata and will be integrated into XML Schema 1.0 Second Edition, to be published shortly. Additional functionality and any remaining errors and clarifications will be addressed in XML Schema 1.1 and XML Schema 2.0. This document discusses the requirements for version 1.1 of XML Schema. These issues have been collected from e-mail lists and minutes of telcons and meetings, as well as from the various issues lists that the XML Schema Working Group has created during its lifetime. Links are provided for further information. The items in this document are divided into three categories: (1) A requirement must be met in XML Schema 1.1; (2) A desideratum should be met in XML Schema 1.1; (3) An opportunistic desideratum may be met in XML Schema 1.1..." General references in "XML Schemas."

  • [January 21, 2003] "IBM Aims to Get Smart About AI." By Michael Kanellos. In CNET (January 21, 2003). "In the coming months, IBM will unveil technology that it believes will vastly improve the way computers access and use data by unifying the different schools of thought surrounding artificial intelligence. The Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA) is an XML-based data retrieval architecture under development at IBM. UIMA will greatly expand and enhance the retrieval techniques underlying databases, said Alfred Spector, vice president of services and software at IBM's Research division. UIMA 'is something that becomes part of a database, or, more likely, something that databases access,' he said. 'You can sense things almost all the time. You can effect change in automated or human systems much more.' Once incorporated into systems, UIMA could allow cars to obtain and display real-time data on traffic conditions and on average auto speeds on freeways, or it could let factories regulate their own fuel consumption and optimally schedule activities. Automated language translation and natural language processing also would become feasible... The theory underlying UIMA is the Combination Hypothesis, which states that statistical machine learning -- the sort of data-ranking intelligence behind search site Google -- syntactical artificial intelligence, and other techniques can be married in the relatively near future... The results of current, major UIMA experiments will be disclosed to analysts around March, with public disclosures to follow, sources at IBM said..."

  • [January 21, 2003] "Architecting Knowledge Middleware." By Alfred Z. Spector (Vice President, Services and Software, IBM Research Division). Keynote Address delivered May 9, 2002 at WWW 2002, The Eleventh International World Wide Web Conference (Sheraton Waikiki Hotel, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, 7-11 May 2002). Abstract. 40 pages, with discussion of Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA) on pages 32-38. "IBM Research's Knowledge Middleware Architecture (UIMA): Traditional approaches to building UIM [Unstructured Information Management] applications are 'algorithmic centric', resulting in tightly integrated vertical applications, whose design is dominated by concerns of computational load. A new approach for providing NLP functionality is evolving which recognizes the inherent need for flexibility and exploits todays extrodinary MIPS, storage, and networking capacity... The KM Architecture of IBM's UIMA Project provides a common framework for the integration of UIM technologies, using a Common Annotation System (Abstract Data Structure). It provides a flexible and adaptable Service Oriented Architecture) which uses XML standards to support dynamic binding of services and distributed (multiagent) implementations (RDF, WSDL, WSFL, etc.). The arthitecture supports 'persistent binding' to avoid dynamic binding overhead for batch, single agent processes; it provides both tightly- and loosely-coupled variants. As a 'toolkit / library' (not a monolithic system) it accommodates variety of applications, and separates programming tasks that require distinct skills. It supports a seamless integration of: (1) structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data, with (2) human agents and computer agents... High-Level Services in the architecture include search, query processing, result reordering, hyperlinking, collaboration, navigation, collaborative filtering, pub/sub, knowledge agents, personal taxonomies and relationships. Analyzers and Indexers provide for indexing, ranking, categorization, clustering, summarization topic detection, semantic relationships, and incremental updates. Core Services support tokenization, parsing, stemming, part of speech, translation, access control, authentication, profile management, workflow, speech, transcoding for mobile use, crawling, caching, data access, and format normalization... Maintenance Tools include grammars, dictionaries, dialogues, taxonomies, and ontologies... The Text Analysis Application applied document- and word-level annotation to provide semantic enrichment (tools support language identification, detagger, tokenizer, part-of-speech identification, location identification). The downside: any standardization imposes some constraints..." See the diagram of the Top-Level Architecture on page 35. Several IBM Research centers are contributing to the design and devemopment: Almaden (web indexing, classification, text mining); Watson (NPL textual search); Haifa (search technology); India (Hindi language applications, machine translation); China (Chinese language applications, taxonomies); Tokyo (Japanese language applications, text mining). [cache]

  • [January 21, 2003] "Web Spec Searches For Small Businesses." By Alorie Gilbert. In ZDNet News (January 15, 2003). "Small businesses could gain a larger online presence through a new Internet specification now under development. The move to establish the specification, called the SMBmeta initiative, is being led by Dan Bricklin, who helped popularize PC software in the late 1970s as co-inventor of the first spreadsheet program... SMBmeta, which stands for small and medium-sized business metadata, defines a standardized way to describe businesses in an electronic format. The specification details how businesses could create files, written in Extensible Markup Language (XML), to describe the goods and services they sell, where they are located, hours of operation and other information. The files, in essence, help to create an online business directory. They would be attached to a company's domain name so that Web search engines such as Google, and online business directories such as Yahoo Yellow Pages, could list the business in search results. For instance, a search for a company in Phoenix that sells Titleist golf balls would turn up in searches using the keywords Phoenix and golf balls, for instance, along with listings for other small businesses that fit the bill... There are several obstacles standing between SMBmeta and wide-scale acceptance, however. Google and other leading search engines would have to modify their software to work with the SMBmeta specification, said Bricklin. In addition, the potential millions of small businesses wanting to participate in the plan would have to create SMBmeta files, he said. The latter would be the easy part. For small businesses, creating an SMBmeta file should take only five minutes and cost next to nothing, according to Bricklin. The more difficult task would be getting the major search engines to cooperate. Experts in the field of 'search engine optimization,' a cottage industry dedicated to helping businesses manipulate search results in their favor, were skeptical that search engines would adopt the SMBmeta technology or any kind of search system that relies on the honesty of Web masters to describe the content of their own sites..."

  • [January 21, 2003] "SMBmeta Specification Version 0.1 Proposal. [SMBmeta Specification.]" By [Dan Bricklin]. Posted on the website. Version 0.1. January 8, 2003. By Interland, Inc., licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License. "SMBmeta is a small business directory entry format. It describes a language -- a set of tags -- intended to be found in a file at the top level of an Internet domain. The name SMBmeta stands for 'Small and Medium-sized Business metadata'. Metadata is computer jargon that means literally 'data about data'. Here, the idea is that SMBmeta entries describe the business or businesses behind the website on which the SMBMeta file appears. SMBmeta is dialect of XML. All SMBmeta files must conform to the XML 1.0 specification, as published on the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) website... An SMBmeta file is stored in the top level of a domain with the filename smbmeta.xml. For example: The file is in XML format. It consists of one <smbmeta> element. That element contains one <business> element describing the business. In addition to some required and some optional elements within the <business> element, there must be one or more <location> elements..." Other description is given in About the SMBmeta Initiative and SMBmeta Introduction: "The SMBmeta Initiative is an open, distributed way for small and medium-sized businesses to communicate information such as the physical location of the business and the area it serves, as well at the type of business, to search engines and other services..." See also previous bibliographic reference.

  • [January 21, 2003] "Internet X.509 Public Key Infrastructure Plug-and-Play PKI for Web Services." By Anders Rundgren (X-OBI AB, Sweden). IETF PKIX Working Group, Internet Draft. Reference: 'draft-rundgren-pkix-pnppki4ws-00.txt'. January 2003, expires July 2003. ['This specification covers an X.509 certificate extension, designed to enable PnP-support for the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) part of a Web Service. In addition to supporting Web Services, the extension is also intended to be useable for general-purpose PKI-enabled applications.'] "To combine PKI with 'Web Services' on a global scale presents a challenge, as it requires Relying Parties (RPs) to process signed messages possibly emanating from many different PKIs, while preferably using 'shrink-wrapped' PKI software and generic, easy-to- manage PKI trust-administration procedures. In the web-browser environment, global interoperability is only achieved due to the fact that web-server certificates supporting HTTPS, are based on a static ('hard-coded') profile, which is a prerequisite by browsers to correctly interpret such certificates. To further simplify usage, most commercial CAs' root-certificates are already pre-installed in leading browsers. However, 'Web Services' can unlike web-browsers, not depend on static PKI-schemes and pre-installed root-certificates, as this would severely limit the kind of entity-types and certificate- profiles that would be possible for RPs to accept. This specification introduces a CA-certificate-based, non-critical X.509 v3 extension, from now on referred to as a 'PnP-descriptor', that works like an additional 'specification' for associated End Entity (EE)-certificates. The following introductory sections describe how this extension can support a more dynamic PKI-based ecosystem, by removing some major hurdles to wide-scale PKI usage. After the introduction, a formal definition of the extension is featured..." See reference following with the IEEE PKIX Working Group Charter and IEEE PKIX Working Group website. Also: the OASIS PKI Member Section.

  • [January 21, 2003] "Plug-and-Play-Enabled PKI for Web Services. A Rationale for an IETF-PKIX Draft Effort." By Anders Rundgren (X-OBI). Version 0.47. 10-January-2003. "The following PowerPoint slide-show, describes a possible extension for introducing support for a separate naming-domain descriptor in X509.v3 CA-certificates. In addition to holding a globally unique namingdomain, the descriptor also holds an entity type-indicator, as well as an optional part describing how to extract a permanent identifier from associated EE-certificates. This arrangement, which in effect is an enhanced PKI 'data-model', has many implications, one is that existing EE-certificates as well as existing subject can continue to be utilized, as CA-certificates can often be regenerated (using old keys and validity data) with the new descriptor added. I.e., this is a migration solution which is an important factor for general acceptance. The result using specifically adapted certificate processing software, is enabling a considerable simpler way of setting up trust anchors (accepting CAs), as well as introducing robust and simple schemes for associating certificates with client-accounts using current relational database technology and tools. The latter is also known as 'business system compatible'. In a somewhat market-oriented fashion the proposed extension has been coined PnP-descriptor, where PnP is a commonly used short form for 'Plug-and-Play'..." See the preceding reference and the source .PPT, posted 2003-01-16 by Robert Zuccherato to the OASIS DSS TC mailing list.

  • [January 21, 2003] "XMPP Core." By Jeremie Miller and Peter Saint-Andre (Jabber Software Foundation). IETF Network Working Group, Internet-Draft. Reference: 'draft-ietf-xmpp-core-01'. January 17, 2003, expires July 18, 2003. Formal definitions (namespaces, DTDs, Schemas) in Appendix B. 23 references. "This document describes the core features of the eXtensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP), which is used by the servers, clients, and other applications that comprise the Jabber network... The eXtensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) is an open XML protocol for near-real-time messaging and presence. The protocol was developed originally within the Jabber community starting in 1998, and since 2001 has continued to evolve under the auspices of the Jabber Software Foundation and now the XMPP WG. Currently, there exist multiple implementations of the protocol, mostly offered under the name of Jabber. In addition, there are countless deployments of these implementations, which provide instant messaging (IM) and presence services at and among thousands of domains to a user base that is estimated at over one million end users. The current document defines the core constituents of XMPP; XMPP IM [XMPP Instant Messaging] defines the extensions necessary to provide basic instant messaging and presence functionality that addresses the requirements defined in RFC 2779..." See: "Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP)." [cache]

  • [January 21, 2003] "Carrying TCAP in SIP Messages (SIP-TCAP)." By Frank W. Miller, Shan Lu, Priya Gupta, and Akif Arsoy (sentitO Networks). Internet Engineering Task Force, Internet Draft. Reference: 'draft-miller-sip-tcap-00'. January 8, 2003. "SIP-TCAP is a mechanism by which an XML representation of TCAP messages can be transported in the body of SIP INFO messages. This mechanism can be used to allow SIP elements to access features implemented by PSTN equipment without having to implement the binary TCAP protocol... The document specifies a mechanism by which a network element that has the ability to utilize SIP signaling can make use of PSTN features using SS7 TCAP signaling. The basic approach is to provide an XML representation of TCAP messages that can be encapsulated in the body of SIP INFO messages... If a SIP element needs to utilize services available on an SS7 signaling network, e.g., SCP, SIP signaling information must traverse the IP network to a Signaling Gateway to get access to the SS7 signaling network. There are two parts to this problem. First, the SIP endpoint can format a binary TCAP message or it can use an intermediate representation that is then converted to a binary TCAP message by the Signaling Gateway. Second, the SIP element can use SIP itself for the transport or some other transport mechanism to deliver the TCAP message to the Signaling Gateway. The proposal in this document uses SIP INFO messages to transport an intermediate representation (an XML encoding) of a TCAP message from the SIP endpoint to the Signaling Gateway..." See: (1) IEFT Session Initiation Protocol Working Group; (2) IETF Multiparty Multimedia Session Control Working Group; (3) Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) resources.

  • [January 21, 2003] "Microsoft: The Power of High-Fidelity XML." By Steve Gillmor and Mark Lucovsky (Miscoroft). In InfoWorld (January 17, 2003). ['Distinguished engineer Mark Lucovsky was chief architect of Microsoft's HailStorm project and has now turned his attention to the server group. But his interests remain wide-ranging, as evidenced by his recent conversation with InfoWorld Test Center Director Steve Gillmor. Lucovsky initiated a discussion around the ideas about XDocs expressed in a recent Ahead of the Curve column, and went on to discuss his enthusiasms for the power of schematized data to guarantee high-fidelity XML.'] XDocs more importantly is "a thing for generating correct XML content. Word is really good at building free-form text, right? So you write reports and things that don't have a lot of externally visible structure. If you associate an XML schema with them, they can start having some externally visible structure. XML is really good at creating tabular content that's primarily numbers and analysis of the tabular content. So it's really good at building portions of budgets and rolling out information and stuff. What's the tool that people are going to use to create semi-structured content, like you would find in XML trees? You could look at XDocs and say 'forms are one way of capturing those semi-structured trees,' but with XDocs you can essentially insert a node in the tree and then populate it. You can bind the node of the tree to an external data source like a Web service. I'm not sure all that will be realized in the first go-around, but as a tool for creating this XML content and manipulating it, I think it fits in great... As soon as you have the ability to associate a schema with the documents that you're creating with those tools, it doesn't matter if the design palette is an Outlook pane or if it's Word, as long as you can say 'this content that I'm creating conforms to the schema, and I can verify at design time that the data is conformant,' it really doesn't matter whether I'm typing in Word and producing compliant content or I'm typing in an XDocs form that might offer different capabilities; the end result is still correct content. We do this with Web forms today. It's really the ability to schematize chunks of the design surface that you're working with that's the key thing... I think that our first generation DOMs are OK for that, but you still see in code today a lot of different ways of doing these same basic operations. And there's a lot of room for error in the code... There's nothing wrong with string concatenation, I'm just pointing out that it is brittle and people do make mistakes with it. I think that [with] the next generation of tools and techniques, we just have to keep getting better and better. Our validating the XML support in .Net is incredibly good. It has validating readers so you can throw a parser, associate a schema with a document, and say 'Validate it. Let me know if it's good or bad,' and it'll raise an exception if it's bad XML in the DOM. Three years ago, you didn't have that capability. So we've gone a long way. We didn't even have the schemas until a few years ago, and yet XML was flowing all over the place. So it's an interesting time..." See: "Microsoft Office 11 and XDocs."

  • [January 17, 2003] "First Look at Office 11: XML Hits the Mainstream Desktop. [Is Word Your Next XML Editor?]" By Mark Walter. In The Seybold Report Volume 2, Number 19 (January 13, 2003). ISSN: 1533-9211. In-depth review of Word 11. In the same TSR issue: "XML Authoring Vendors Face New Challenger in Word 11." ['Last month at the annual XML conference, Microsoft gave its first in-depth public demonstrations of Office 11, due out in mid-2003. The timing was not coincidental -- native XML support represents a radical change for Office, and Microsoft wanted the opportunity to demonstrate to an XML-savvy audience the extent of its work. The depth of the XML features is surprising.'] "Of all of the issues discussed and technology developments considered during the [XML 2002] conference, one dominated the week-long event: Microsoft's public display of Office 11. One reason, of course, is Microsoft's influence on the software market. Because Microsoft holds a near-monopolistic lock on the desktop productivity software market, any changes that it makes to the core tools that make up the Office suite -- Access, Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook -- wind up affecting millions of workers across the globe. Another reason for the interest was the timing. Ever since quietly releasing a few thousand advance beta copies of Office 11 in October, Microsoft had declined to show it in public and kept mum about its details... Microsoft arrived ready to not only talk details, but to showcase them as well. Demos ran for all three days of the exhibits, and technical people were on hand to field questions from the knowledgeable audience. Microsoft XML architect Jean Paoli overshot his keynote time slot by an hour, confessing that 'he had so much to show and talk about,' and then surprised the audience by passing out 100 copies of the advance beta release that he had pulled aside for conference attendees... Microsoft has decided that in 2003, XML is ready for the mainstream desktop. Because of our focus on publishing, in this article we'll zero in on the Word component of Office 11. But based on what we have seen of the Office 11 beta, the changes are just as radical in Excel and FrontPage... Word 11 has its own XML schema that encapsulates all of the document, including its formatting, into a single file. This new, XML-based representation of Word files complements RTF as the basic format for passing formatted Word documents to other systems... The new Word XML native format serves the same purpose as RTF, but it is much more easily parsed and converted. We predict that it will be warmly welcomed by people who write RTF converters. Use your own schemas. The real breakthrough in Word 11 is that it can accept and honor the structure of user-defined XML schemas. That means that it will read, edit and write out documents using XML markup of your own choosing, and do so without any filtering required... The XML features of Office 11 have potential for a publisher's back office as much as their editorial processing. That's because the staff most comfortable with schemas will likely be IT departments looking to integrate transactional documents (purchase orders, forms, invoices) and general business information (sales reports, budgets, personnel applications) with database applications and Web publishing. For this to succeed, Microsoft will have to court an army of VARs. It has done a good job of creating a platform for editing networked information, but creating the architecture and code that turns concept into productive scenario still requires multidisciplinary technical expertise and training of end users to adopt new ways of working with information..." See: (1) "Microsoft Office 11 and XDocs"; (2) "XML File Formats for Office Documents."

  • [January 17, 2003] "XML Conversion Software Gathers Momentum. New Tools Tackle Old Problem." By George Alexander. In The Seybold Report Volume 2, Number 19 (January 13, 2003). ISSN: 1533-9211. Review of Exegenix Conversion System (ECS), NAPS Translation System (NTS), Infinity-Loop upCast package, CambridgeDocs. ['Looking for help converting content to XML? We review four new products that take different approaches to automating the job.'] "Several new conversion software companies appeared at XML 2002 in December, perhaps an indication that growing corporate commitments to XML are driving an increasing volume of conversion work. In the packages we've seen, conversion is based on exploiting typographic clues to the underlying document structure. There is no need to discipline the document creators to use specific styles or to impose other restrictions on them... A lot of innovation is going on in the XML conversion world, as evidenced by the arrival of new approaches, as well as continued improvement by established vendors, such as Data Conversion Labs, PCS, Texterity and Easypress. We're especially impressed with the elegance of Exegenix's software. But how do its results compare with more mundane conversion approaches? We were not able to get any sense of this from our initial contact with the product. If it works, it represents significant progress in XML conversion. But the other players in this space have much to offer as well. Each takes a somewhat different approach, and each fits a different slice of the market. By selecting among them, anyone with a backlog of documents needing conversion to XML should be able to find an appropriate tool..."

  • [January 17, 2003] "From Model to Markup: XML Representation of Product Data." By Joshua Lubell (US National Institute of Standards and Technology, Manufacturing Systems Integration Division). Paper presented December 2002 at the XML 2002 Conference, Baltimore, MD, USA. With Appendix (Complete PDM Example with EXPRESS Schema, RELAX NG Schema [Compact Syntax], RELAX NG Schema [XML Syntax], W3C XML Schema, Flat XML Data, Hierarchical XML Data). "Business-to-consumer and business-to-business applications based on the Extensible Markup Language (XML) tend to lack a rigorous description of product data, the information generated about a product during its design, manufacture, use, maintenance, and disposal. ISO 10303 defines a robust and time-tested methodology for describing product data throughout the lifecycle of the product. I discuss some of the issues that arise in designing an XML exchange mechanism for product data and compare different XML implementation methods currently being developed for STEP... ISO 10303, also informally known as the Standard for the Exchange of Product model data (STEP), is a family of standards defining a robust and time-tested methodology for describing product data throughout the lifecycle of the product. STEP is widely used in Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Product Data Management (PDM) systems. Major aerospace and automotive companies have proven the value of STEP through production implementations. But STEP is not an XML vocabulary. Product data models in STEP are specified in EXPRESS (ISO 10303-11), a modeling language combining ideas from the entity-attribute-relationship family of modeling languages with object modeling concepts. To take advantage of XML's popularity and flexibility, and to accelerate STEP's adoption and deployment, the ISO group responsible for STEP is developing methods for mapping EXPRESS schemas and data to XML. The rest of this paper discusses some of the issues that arise in designing an XML exchange mechanism for product data. It also compares two implementation approaches: a direct mapping from EXPRESS to XML syntax rules, and an indirect mapping by way of the Unified Modeling Language (UML)... Observations: Developers of mappings from product data models to XML have learned some valuable lessons. The most important lesson is that, although XML makes for an excellent data exchange syntax, XML is not well suited for information modeling. After all, if XML were a good modeling language, it would be much easier to develop a robust mapping from EXPRESS to XML. UML, on the other hand, is a good modeling language and, therefore, it should be easier to map EXPRESS to UML than to XML. Although mapping EXPRESS to UML does not make the difficulties of representing product models in XML go away, it offloads a significant part of the effort from the small and resource-strapped STEP developer community to the much larger and resource-rich UML developer community. Another lesson learned is that the choice of XML schema language used in the mapping is not very important, as long as the schema language supports context-sensitive element types and provides a library of simple data types for items such as real numbers, integers, Booleans, enumeration types, and so on. Therefore, both the W3C XML Schema definition language and RELAX NG are good XML schema language choices. The DTD is a poor schema language choice for the reasons discussed earlier..." See Lubell's RELAX NG List Note of 2003-01-17: "Although David Carlson's "Modeling XML Applications with UML" (Addison Wesley) mentions WXS but not RELAX NG, his hyperModel tool can generate both WXS and RELAX NG schemas from XMI. Carlson used to have a web-accessible form where you could upload an XMI file and process it using hyperModel, but the website wasn't working the last time I tried to use it. He has also implemented hyperModel as a plug-in to Eclipse and is selling this as a commercial product. I haven't come across any documentation for Carlson's UML-to-RELAX NG mapping. The RELAX NG in my XML 2002 paper "From Model to Markup" was created using the web-accessible hyperModel tool, although I had to tweak the output in order to handle bidirectional UML associations and to use interleave properly..." See: "Conceptual Modeling and Markup Languages."

  • [January 17, 2003] "Beefing Up the Meaning Of XML." By Tony Kontzer. In InformationWeek (January 16, 2003). ['XML conversion tool from CambridgeDocs promises to increase value of unstructured business content.'] "Companies are busily converting unstructured data into XML so it can be placed in content-management systems and enterprise applications, published on portals, or incorporated into Web services. But there are a number of problems that can make the results less than effective. Not only is it difficult to get different software vendors' XML formats to understand each other, but many XML conversions involve moving whole documents rather than breaking them into their individual elements. A new XML conversion vendor, CambridgeDocs Inc., launched this week with that in mind. It introduces a conversion tool called xDoc XML Converter that it says will create "meaningful XML," which it defines as XML schema that are compatible with any application and that let employees access and use the separate elements of a piece of content. Rizwan Virk, co-founder and chief technology officer, says the technology also will let customers plug content directly into a Web service without having to write any custom code..." See the announcement "CambridgeDocs Announces xDoc XML Converter. Interactive Tool Allows For Delivery of Content Into Multiple XML Formats and Enables Web Services."

  • [January 17, 2003] "Transforming XML Schemas." By Eric Gropp. From January 15, 2003. ['Eric Gropp shows how XSLT can be used to transform W3C XML Schemas to create, among other things, HTML input forms, generate query interfaces, and documentation of data structures and interfaces.] A W3C XML Schema (WXS) document contains valuable information that can be used throughout a system or application, but the complexity that WXS allows can make this difficult in practice. XSLT, however, can concisely and efficiently manipulate WXS documents in order to perform a number of tasks, including creating HTML input forms, generating query interfaces, documenting data structures and interfaces, and controlling a variety of user interface elements. As an example, this article describes an XSLT document which creates an XHTML form based on the WXS definition of a complex element. For brevity and clarity, the article omits several WXS and XHTML form aspects, including attribute definitions, keys, imported/included schemas, and qualified name issues. How these additional features are implemented can depend greatly on your use of WXS and on your application. However, building a stylesheet that handles every possible WXS feature can be quite an effort and may often be unnecessary. Much of the information -- occurrence constraints, data types, special restrictions, and enumerations -- needed to build an XHTML form is already contained in a WXS document. Missing bits such as label text and write restrictions can be added into WXS's <annotation> element. The stylesheet will perform four distinct tasks: (1) Find the definition of the target complex element that we want; (2) Build a form element for the target element; (3) Find the definitions of the target element's valid children; (4) Build an input element for each of the simple child elements. In order to do this, the stylesheet will apply different template rules to similar WXS elements depending on the task at hand. To make this possible, the stylesheet will use a separate mode for each task... This article will preface the description of a set of template rules with a model that is based on UML Activity Diagrams. In these diagrams template rules are shown as states; modes are shown as composite states... Using WXS as the common resource for data typing in your application can have big payoffs. By allowing components and interfaces to automatically reflect changes to an application's data model, you can greatly increase the reusability and flexibility of a system. XSLT is a useful, largely platform-independent, and highly portable tool for making this possible. See also: (1) XML Schema: The W3C's Object-Oriented Descriptions for XML, by Eric van der Vlist; (2) general references in "XML Schemas."

  • [January 17, 2003] "Creative Comments: On the Uses and Abuses of Markup." By Kendall Grant Clark. From January 15, 2003. ['Creative Commons is a project that provides a new set of licenses for web content, and is gaining considerable adoption. This week Kendall Clark examines not the licenses themselves, but the mechanism by which their machine-readable versions are intended to be linked into HTML content, and finds it makes little sense. Kendall proposes some alternatives more suitable for the future machine-readable web.'] " Whether you think of the Semantic Web as a new and exciting promise or as a fantastic and impractical threat, it will not be a separate web but, rather, overlay the existing one. The Semantic Web isn't a replacement, it's a supplement... As every programmer who's tried to screen scrape someone else's web site knows, HTML isn't a very good way to express information to a machine. When it works, it does so only because of considerable, daily care and feeding. The Machine Web's dominant agent is a computer process, a machine. The information contained in the Machine Web is intended for machine consumption. RDF, the Machine Web's primary language, at least for now, is best suited to describing information for machine agents... In the remainder of this article I want to draw your attention to the transitional period -- the period during which the Machine and Human Webs will begin to inhabit the same conceptual space and technical infrastructure. We are now living in the early days of this transitional period and there are some issues specific to it which may be worth considering... The issue I want to raise here is the increasingly widespread practice of embedding information -- mainly using, but not limited to, RDF -- intended for machine consumption in a format, HTML comments, which is intended for human consumption. When I realized people were embedding RDF in HTML comments, claiming that the resulting document is part of the Semantic Web, I was confused. Surely, I wondered, they know that putting RDF into HTML comments is an inelegant way of relating human and machine-consumable resources? Creative Commons, which has taken on the laudable task of creating RDF descriptions of common licensing terms for intellectual property, suggests its users associate machine-consumable licensing terms [...] with the web resources to which they apply by embedding RDF directly in HTML comments... For what it's worth, Movable Type's TrackBack system also works by embedding RDF descriptions of web resources into (X)HTML comments; most of what I say about the Creative Commons case applies to TrackBack, too... The point of HTML comments is to allow humans to include information which is solely intended for human-consumption in a resource. In short, markup language comments are for communicating with humans, not with machines. The problem with incoherent strategies is that it's not always possible to predict all the ways in which they will fail or go bad..." See: "Creative Commons Project."

  • [January 17, 2003] "Securing Web Services." By Rich Salz. From January 15, 2003. ['This week we have our monthly installment of Rich Salz's web services column, XML Endpoints. The field of web services excels in sheer volume of specifications: this week Rich is our guide through the important world of web services security and its associated specs.'] "According to the conventional wisdom, web services will not be successful until they're "secure." Without discussing the accuracy of the claim, let's look at what it means. In the web services context security means that a message recipient will be able to do some or all of the following: (1) Verify the integrity of a message, i.e., that it is unmodified; (2) Receive a message confidentially, so that unauthorized parties can't see it; (3) Determine the identity of the sender -- authenticating them; (4) Determine if the sender is authorized to perform the operation requested (explicitly or implicitly) by the message. In a distributed environment -- really, any time you have more than a single program running under a local operating system -- these requirements are met by using cryptography. Two of the most fundamental operations, signing and encrypting, can directly meet the first two needs. The other two requirements, and all the supporting infrastructure that they need, are built on top of those operations. There are a lot of security-related activities occurring at the various standards organizations... the Web Services Interoperability Organization is defining a security profile to ensure basic interoperability among vendors. IBM and Microsoft, along with various partners, have issued a Security Roadmap that includes six -- SIX! -- new specifications. All of that is almost enough to make you long for the days of ISO and X.400 specifications. Fortunately, we don't have to wait for the full suite; we can get real work done and solve real problems right now... Let's look at the work involved in protecting a SOAP message... Since SSL/TLS isn't appropriate, we need other mechanisms. We need something that sits at the same layer as the message, something that's part of the SOAP message itself. Lucky for us, SOAP headers fit nicely with detached signatures to make this possible... [in this article we've] looked at a lot of complicated XML. All we've done is guaranteed that the SOAP message that we have in hand is exactly the same message that someone sent. We haven't even started trying to answer any of the other important questions, such as who that entity is, whether we should trust them, and whether their claimed identity is still valid. Perhaps all those standards groups are really necessary after all?" See also "XML Security."

  • [January 17, 2003] "IBM Preparing Xperanto Deliverables." By Paul Krill. In InfoWorld (January 16, 2003). "IBM in the first half of this year is pledging to offer the first products based on its Xperanto technology for integrating multiple data points, as part of IBM's OnDemand initiative for leveraging existing technology assets. Xperanto represents a significant extension of IBM's DB2 database technology, allowing for federated access to data, regardless of whether the data resides in DB2 or in data management systems from vendors such as Oracle, Sybase, and Microsoft, said Nelson Mattos... IBM believes there is 'a major shift happening in the data management industry, which is moving away from the notion of a data management system that is only managing information that is physically stored in the repository toward a data management infrastructure that is managing, integrating, accessing, and analyzing all the information in the enterprise,' he added. IBM differs from Oracle in that Oracle favors a centralized approach to data management, Mattos contended. 'Oracle encourages customers to solve the integration problem by centralizing or moving all the data into the Oracle system, and that does not allow customers to obtain information on demand because if I'm going to centralize, I need to know what information I need to move into the Oracle system,' which is not always doable these days, Mattos said. Oracle officials, however, said IBM with Xperanto is not offering anything new as far as data federation because both IBM and Oracle already have federated data management capabilities..." See IBM Research's Xperanto project and references in "IBM: Xperanto Rollout To Start In Early 2003. Long-Promised Information Integrator on the Horizon." General references in "XML and Databases."

  • [January 17, 2003] "Driving ODBC, JDBC Drivers to XML Web Services." By Vance McCarthy. In Enterprise Developer News (January 13, 2003). "It will get much easier in 2003 for developers using ODBC and JDBC to upgrade to XML-based web services, at least according to DataDirect Technologies, one of the leading providers of database driver technologies to software providers and end users. DataDirect, a long-time provider of OEM and end-user driver tools for both the ODBC and JDBC worlds, is now bearing down on the idea using XML technologies to bring its driver-based technologies into web services. [Said] Brian Reed, DataDirect's vice president of market intelligence: 'SQL is for data at rest. XML is for data in motion. There is nothing more optimized than a relational database, if you're talking about stored data. But XML makes data easier to share... XML and SOA [Service-Oriented Architecture] are bringing the ability to standardize middleware, and allow the application to more easily move into the infrastructure -- and not just be inside a silo. This creates a dynamic infrastructure that will make it easier to change new things and still keep data interoperable'... Based on this picture, Reed said DataDirect is aggressively working with leading web services providers -- including Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Sybase and others -- to migrate the ODBC/JDBC world into a new world of XML-driven loosely-coupled connectivity... DataDirect Connect for .NET 1.1 adds support for distributed transactions on Oracle and Sybase databases is based on Microsoft's Distributed Transaction Coordinator (MS DTC) as the transaction manager. Using MS DTC enables developers to implement 'serviced components' that require distributed transaction support and use ADO.NET data providers... In addition, MS DTC can be used to (1) update multiple databases and files from a single application, (2) update geographically distributed databases, and (3) update databases that have been partitioned for scalability. MS DTC uses a two-phase commit protocol to ensure that all the resource managers commit the transaction or all abort it, to ensure data integrity... DataDirect's jXTransformer is DataDirect's XML software component for transforming data between relational and XML formats in Java programs. Rather than require developers and database professionals to learn database-specific tools, jXTransformer uses a language that is very similar to XQuery, the new draft SQL/XML standard, to enable developers to create XML from relational data or updating relational data from XML input. The goal, Reed said, is to let developers code once using a simple component, and reuse it across multiple databases without learning complex database-specific XML extensions. jXTransformer provides a Java API and a simple language, and a GUI tool for writing queries that will map and transform data between relational and XML formats. jXTransformer uses an API for data access and does not require any database changes, letting developers use existing stored procedures, reports, and queries without changing anything in the database. The tool reads data from relational databases and transforms data into any desired XML structure, and creates simple or complex hierarchical XML documents and XML document fragments..." General references in "XML and Databases."

  • [January 17, 2003] "Sun Readying J2EE 1.4." By Paul Krill. In InfoWorld (January 15, 2003). "Sun Microsystems officials on Wednesday presented a laundry list of technology and promotional efforts planned for the Java language, including the February release of Version 1.4 of J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition), featuring integrated Web services support... J2EE 1.4 officially integrates Web services support, including SOAP and WSDL functionality that many developers already have tacked on to Java, according to Mark Hapner, distinguished engineer for Java software at Sun, in Palo Alto, Calif. Web services backing is being added to J2EE via Sun's JAX RPC (Java API for XML-based RPC), Hapner said... Tools and application servers supporting J2EE 1.4 are anticipated for release from vendors throughout the year, said John Fowler, Sun CTO for software, in Santa Clara, Calif. 'It behooves the product teams to have these available relatively soon,' Fowler said... Officials at Sun also expressed intentions to collaborate with developers on open source. Currently, Sun has five open-source 'communities' focused on Jxta, Jini, NetBeans, grid, and OpenOffice technologies, said Mike Bellissimo, Sun senior director for Sun Software Developer, Marketing, and Management, in Santa Clara, Calif. These efforts are supported through a relationship with Collabnet, he said. Sun is looking to invest more in these communities and possibly add more open-source resources in the tools area, and other areas as well, Bellissimo said..."

  • [January 17, 2003] "Dancing Around Web Services." By Paul Festa. In CNET (January 16, 2003). "Disagreement over intellectual property issues could derail efforts to create new Web services standards. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) this week established a working group to define and establish rules for Web services choreography, which seeks to map out how Web services interact to form business transactions. Web services is an increasingly popular way to build and link business software. The W3C hopes that by establishing a standardized language for choreography, businesses will be able to more quickly build complex applications that involve interlinking several Web services. Without a common language for choreography, the world of Web services risks balkanization, the W3C warns. 'There's this division of labor that's emerging between those who can develop (Web) services and those that can put them together to make an application,' said Eric Newcomer, chief technology officer at Iona Technologies and a member of the W3C's Web Services Architecture committee. 'Choreography (is) about getting business analysts to put Web services together to build an application.' But questions about the intentions of some high-profile W3C members -- Microsoft, IBM and BEA Systems -- threaten to derail the possibility of an industrywide standard, said analysts and other observers. Specifically, some W3C members, notably Microsoft, favor a plan that allows the collection of royalties for the use of intellectual property. 'The W3C is trying to take a hard stand on royalties and patents,' Newcomer said. 'Microsoft is trying to move to a royalty-based model for the specification. This stalemate between Microsoft and the W3C is about the patent and royalties question'... The newly chartered Web Services Choreography Working Group has its work cut out for it. While standards organizations, including the W3C and the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), have defined standard specifications for various components of Web services architecture, the means for combining and ordering those processes have yet to be ironed out... Among the many technologies considered relevant to Web services choreography, two have been embraced by the W3C: Hewlett-Packard's Web Services Conversation Language (WSCL, pronounced 'whiskle'), and Web Service Choreography Interface (WSCI, pronounced 'whiskey'), submitted by BEA, Intalio, SAP and Sun Microsystems. Other choreography languages potentially vying for inclusion under the W3C's imprimatur include the Business Process Modeling Language (BPML), ebXML's Business Process Specification Schema (BPSS), IBM's Web Services Flow Language (WSFL), and Microsoft's XLANG. Together with BEA, both IBM and Microsoft jointly drafted the Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL4WS) and two correlative specifications, Web Services Coordination (WS-Coordination) and Web Services Transaction (WS-Transaction). The sheer number of variously complementary and conflicting specifications that have cropped up in the past six months indicate 'a great deal of interest within the industry in addressing this problem area,' the W3C's new working group said in its charter..." See: (1) details and references in "W3C Creates Web Services Choreography Working Group."; (2) "W3C Acknowledges Receipt of Web Service Choreography Interface (WSCI) Submission"; (3) chronicle of Web-related IPR issues: "Patents and Open Standards."

  • [January 14, 2003] "Sun Keeps Heat On Microsoft With Sun One Identity Server 6.0. New Version Adds Support for Liberty Alliance Specification that Authenticates Users to Multiple Web Sites and Apps with One Password and User Name." By Gregg Keizer. In InformationWeek (January 14, 2003). "Sun Microsystems on Monday shipped version 6.0 of its Sun One Identity Server, the first identity server to add support for the Liberty Alliance specification that authenticates users to multiple Web sites and applications with a single user name and password. The Liberty Alliance Project, a competitor to Microsoft's Passport authentication technology, is composed of more than 150 companies, including American Express, AOL, Hewlett-Packard, MasterCard, and Visa. Liberty released its first specs for its single sign-on standard in July and updated it in November. Based on Security Assertion Markup Language, the standard lets users log on just once and be authenticated by all sites, applications, and Web services using the technology. Sun is a founding member of the project. The single sign-on feature will be used initially by customers trying to consolidate identity authentication within a company, often because mergers or belt-tightening have created disparate IT infrastructures that need a return to sanity, says John Barco, the senior product marketing manager for Sun One. 'Once they know they can solve this internal [authentication] issue, they'll look at how to implement this outside the company with partners,' he says. Identity Server 6.0 applies the specifications of the Liberty 1.0 standard. The most recent version, 1.1, will be supported in a service pack that Barco expects will be available in the next two months. Out of the box, Identity Server provides a Web access manager, an identity manager to centralize management of IDs and policies, the single sign-on features, and delegated administration tools so departments can off-load identification chores from time-pressed IT staffs... Sun One Identity Server 6.0 runs with a variety of Web, directory, and application servers, including Sun's own One Directory Server and One Meta-Directory Server. For now, it works only in Solaris and Windows 2000 environments, but a port to Linux will ship in the next two quarters, Barco says. Linux candidates include Red Hat Inc.'s 7.2 and Sun's Linux 5.0..." See details in the announcement: "Sun Microsystems Delivers Industry's First Liberty-Enabled Web Single Sign-On Product. Sun ONE Identity Server 6.0 Delivers Easy Access to Applications and Services Through Single User-Login, Reduces Administration Overhead and Provides Increased Revenue Opportunities."

  • [January 14, 2003] "Sun Takes Liberty with Identity Server 6.0." By [ComputerWire Staff]. In The Register (January 13, 2003). "Santa Clara, California-based Sun has begun shipping version 6.0 of its Identity Server, which uses version 1.0 of the Liberty specification, announced last July. It's the first step in Sun's product support for Liberty's specifications. Sun told ComputerWire it would also add support for version 1.1 of Liberty's specifications, currently in draft, with a patch release for its server once the specification is finalized. The company believes this latest version of its identity server will drive enterprise-wide secure, single sign-in to applications and web services with its support for Liberty. Version 1.0 of Liberty enables users to link accounts held by different service providers and provides global log-out, all without the exchange of a user's personal information. Liberty uses Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) to identify a user. Both Liberty and SAML offer the chance of large-scale up-take of federated identity simply because of the groundswell of support both have attracted. Liberty's backers include major IT vendors and customers while SAML was developed as a standard via the Organization for the Advancement for Structured Information Standards (OASIS)... Liberty aside, Identity Server 6.0 includes simplified development and deployment and centralized auditing. The server uses Java Authentication and Authorization Service (JAAS) framework, based on JAAS 1.0, to define user access polices. Deployment is via a server-based agent and centralized auditing helps organizations track who is trying to access a web site or service..." See details in the announcement: "Sun Microsystems Delivers Industry's First Liberty-Enabled Web Single Sign-On Product. Sun ONE Identity Server 6.0 Delivers Easy Access to Applications and Services Through Single User-Login, Reduces Administration Overhead and Provides Increased Revenue Opportunities." Related references in (1) "Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML)"; (2) "Liberty Alliance Specifications for Federated Network Identification and Authorization."

  • [January 14, 2003] "Intalio, Fuego Tap XML to Extend Business Processes." By Renee Boucher Ferguson. In eWEEK (January 13, 2003). "Intalio Inc. and Fuego Inc. are leveraging XML in forthcoming upgrades to their respective BPM software that ease not only the creation of business process models but also the execution of those models. Intalio, of San Mateo, Calif., late this month will announce Version 2.0 of its Intalio n3 Business Process Management System. The upgrade boasts a new XML-based programming language called XPage, which company officials said will speed development of user interfaces. XPage, which is part of n3's Director module, replaces the use of up to seven languages that are required for the development of interactive, Web-based user interfaces, Intalio officials said. Also new are enhanced load balancing and failover capabilities in n3's Server component that enable users to deploy more than one server. The Designer module was enhanced in Version 2.0 with an Integrated Process Development Environment, which enables users to create graphical process flows without writing additional code for messaging, data transformations, distributed transactions or business rules. Designer also dynamically looks within those systems and exposes the back end as a graphical XML Schema. Designer also enables developers to reuse processes through a Web Services Choreography Interface. Meanwhile, Fuego is readying Version 4.5 of its namesake BPM platform, which will model and automate processes for banking, health care and manufacturing companies with pre-configured process templates and integration components. Fuego uses XML in its architecture, particularly on the process modeling side of the house, where the company uses XPDL (XML Process Definition Language) as the underlying XML schema. Version 4.5 of Fuego for banks will be available January 29, [2003] while a health care edition is due Feb. 10. Upgrades include new functionality that lets users orchestrate Web services against the process model through the internal and external invocation of services..." See: (1) "Web Service Choreography Interface (WSCI)"; (2) XML-Based Workflow and Process Management Standards: XPDL, Wf-XML."

  • [January 14, 2003] "W3C to Ponder Web Services Choreography." By Paul Krill. In InfoWorld (January 14, 2003). "The World Wide Web Consortium on Tuesday agreed to form a working group to draft an industry-wide recommendation on implementing Web services choreography, to enable Web services to better interact with each other for more automated transactions. The Web Services Choreography Working Group, which will be co-chaired by Oracle's Martin Chapman and Enigmatec's Steven Ross-Talbot, at this juncture will consider two choreography proposals submitted to W3C, including Hewlett-Packard's Web Services Conversation Language (WSCL) and Sun Microsystems' Web Services Choreography Interface (WSCI). The WC3 effort is to be built on WSDL 1.2, according to W3C spokeswoman Janet Daly... a rival choreography proposal by Microsoft, IBM, and BEA Systems, called Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL4WS), is not now being considered by W3C because it has not been submitted to W3C and lacks a royalty-free condition of its use, Daly said... "It's questionable whether we could even use [BPEL4WS]," Daly said. "We're hoping that the owners of the document will make it available." She noted that the three companies that authored the document all are active in the W3C. IBM and BEA have pledged a royalty-free stance on BPEL4WS, but Microsoft has not made any public statement. IBM's Bob Sutor, director of Web services technology at the company, said last week that BPEL4WS would be submitted to a standards body within one to two months... Deliverables of the working group include a requirements document for choreography, usage scenarios, specifications of choreography languages, and an XML Schema as well as a test suite. The multitude of choreography specifications for Web services prompted Oracle last year to ask the W3C to consider forming a committee to ponder choreography..." See details in the 2003-01-14 news item "W3C Creates Web Services Choreography Working Group."

  • [January 14, 2003] "W3C Finalizes Graphics Standard." By Paul Festa. In CNET (January 14, 2003). "The Web's leading standards group put its seal of approval on a new specification for graphics technology tailored for use by cell phones and other small networked devices. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) on Tuesday recommended Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.1 and two subsets of the recommendation for cell phones and handheld computers. Vector graphics are more flexible than the common bitmaps that form many of the graphics on the Web. In contrast to bitmaps, which travel over the Internet fully rendered and defined pixel by pixel, vector graphics are merely mathematical descriptions of curves and forms. That results in a smaller and more flexible file... Microsoft has increasingly accepted SVG, and the recent release of Office 11 included some support for the recommendation. Once it approved the original specification, the W3C immediately set about the task of revising it so that it could be separated into modules that would work better with Web access devices smaller than the traditional PCs and laptops for which SVG was originally designed... SVG Tiny is designed for cell phones, including those using 3G technology. SVG Basic is for handheld computers. While Macromedia competitor Adobe Systems stands to gain from any wide-scale adoption of SVG, some of the most enthusiastic endorsement of SVG 1.1 came from cell phone manufacturers. In a statement posted to the W3C Web site, Ericsson called Mobile SVG 'a new cornerstone for enriching the graphical appearance of mobile multimedia applications.' Ericsson competitor Nokia, whose W3C representative Tolga Capin edited the Mobile Profiles, said SVG 1.1 would be a key ingredient in new application development for Web-enabled cell phones..." See details in the 2003-01-14 news item "W3C Publishes Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.1 and Mobile SVG as Recommendations." General references in "W3C Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)."

  • [January 14, 2003] "The New GIS Landscape." By Michael L. Gonzales (The Focus Group Ltd). In Intelligent Enterprise (February 1, 2003). Cover story. ['With GIS Web services, now even small companies can benefit from analytically rich geospatial information.'] "GIS Web services, such as Microsoft MapPoint .Net and ESRI's ArcWeb Services, provide commercially hosted spatial data and GIS functionality via the Internet to packaged and custom Web applications. In essence, ArcWeb Services let developers include GIS content and capabilities in their applications without having to host the data or develop the necessary tools themselves. The result is significant savings of development time, expense, and computer resources. GIS Web services use data and related functionality to perform basic geoprocessing tasks such as address matching, map image display, and routing. Application developers can use GIS Web services to perform real-time processing on the computers hosting the Web services and return the results to their local applications -- all over the Internet. You don't have to maintain GIS application tools or the associated geographical data on your local system to use them in your custom application... As you might expect, GIS Web services depend heavily on Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) infrastructure. SOAP standardizes the way a Web service communicates with a client and allows programs written in different languages and on different platforms to communicate. SOAP works with standard Web protocols including XML, HTTP, and TCP/IP, as well as emerging Web services protocols such as Web Services Description Language (WSDL). GIS Web services are published on the UDDI registry, a universal database of Web services. Developers can search any UDDI site to discover services on the registry, making UDDI a powerful resource for publishers and consumers alike... As the GIS Web services architecture evolves, we'll see new and interesting partnerships emerge in both the government and the private sector. We'll witness new kinds of cooperative and collaborative communities that share and leverage their respective geographical information. Moreover, we'll see widespread support for more integrated applications such as location-based services..." See also the GIS WWW Resource List maintained by the University of Edinburgh.

  • [January 14, 2003] "Lack Of A Viable Business Model Is Stifling Software Innovation." By Mitch Wagner. In Internet Week (January 14, 2003). "Innovation in software development is being stifled by a broken business model, and Dave Winer is trying to figure out how to get things going again... Winer has been influential in developing key Web services standards: SOAP and XML-RPC. Winer developed the RSS standard for syndicating content -- an XML-based means of breaking text-based web sites, such as weblogs, online newspapers and webzines, into their component articles, and allowing other Web servers and clients to easily make copies of those articles. One of the problems with innovation today is that people look to the big companies -- which Winer dismisses derisively in his online writings as BigCos -- for innovation. BigCos, says Winer, do not, as a rule, innovate... Open source is not a source of innovation, Winer said. It's great for infrastructure technology, development tools and low-level Web servers. Likewise, when companies are trying to create a standard, it pays to put out open-source implementations of that standard, as has happened with XML-RPC, SOAP, RSS... But the open source community is not so good for creating good desktop software, for the simple reason that good desktop software requires hard work in user interface design and usability testing -- watching actual users interact with your product. That kind of work is painstaking and often humiliating for developers, Winer said. Developers doing usability testing will find that test users can't figure out how to work what the developer thought was brilliantly intuitive software. Developers demand to get paid for that kind of thing. Winer sees Weblogs as part of the answer to a lot of these problems. Weblogs will allow developers to communicate with each other, customers and other people who can provide funding and ideas, and help isolated people in organizations to communicate with each other..."

  • [January 14, 2003] "XML in Java. Data Binding, Part 1: Code Generation Approaches -- JAXB and More. Generating Data Classes from DTDs or Schemas." By Dennis M. Sosnoski (President, Sosnoski Software Solutions, Inc). From IBM developerWorks, XML zone. January 2003. ['Explore your XML data binding options as Enterprise Java technology expert Dennis Sosnoski shows you several approaches -- JAXB, Castor, JBind, Quick, and Zeus. Enterprise Java expert Dennis Sosnoski looks at several XML data binding approaches using code generation from W3C XML Schema or DTD grammars for XML documents. He starts out with the long-awaited JAXB standard now nearing release through the Java Community Process (JCP), then summarizes some of the other frameworks that are currently available. Finally, he discusses how and when you can best apply code generation from a grammar in your applications.'] "Data binding provides a simple and direct way to use XML in your Java Platform applications. With data binding your application can largely ignore the actual structure of XML documents, instead working directly with the data content of those documents. This isn't suitable for all applications, but it is ideal for the common case of applications that use XML for data exchange. Data binding can also provide other benefits beyond programming simplicity. Since it abstracts away many of the document details, data binding usually requires less memory than a document model approach (such as DOM or JDOM) for working with documents in memory. You'll also find that the data binding approach gives you faster access to data within your program than you would get with a document model, since you don't need to go through the structure of the document to get at the data. Finally, special types of data such as numbers and dates can be converted to internal representations on input, rather than being left as text; this allows your application to work with the data values much more efficiently... In Part 2 I'll show the performance results from testing these data binding frameworks on some sample documents. These results cover both generated code and mapped binding approaches, with document models included for comparison..." See: "Java Architecture for XML Binding (JAXB)."

  • [January 14, 2003] "Requirements for EMMA [Extensible MultiModal Annotation language specification]." Edited by Stéphane H. Maes Oracle Corporation) and Stephen Potter (Microsoft). W3C Note 13-January-2003. First public version. Version URL: Latest version URL: "This document describes requirements for the Extensible MultiModal Annotation language (EMMA) specification under development in the W3C Multimodal Interaction Activity. EMMA is intended as a data format for the interface between input processors and interaction management systems. It will define the means for recognizers to annotate application specific data with information such as confidence scores, time stamps, input mode (e.g., key strokes, speech or pen), alternative recognition hypotheses, and partial recognition results, etc. EMMA is a target data format for the semantic interpretation specification being developed in the W3C Voice Browser Activity, and which describes annotations to speech grammars for extracting application specific data as a result of speech recognition. EMMA supercedes earlier work on the natural language semantics markup language in the Voice Browser Activity. W3C's Multimodal Interaction Activity is developing specifications for extending the Web to support multiple modes of interaction. This document provides the basis for guiding and evaluating subsequent work on a specification for a data format (EMMA) that acts as an exchange mechanism between input processors and interaction management components in a multimodal application. These components are introduced in the W3C Multimodal Interaction Framework. This document is a NOTE made available by the W3C for archival purposes, and is not expected to undergo frequent changes..." See also: (1) W3C Multimodal Interaction Activity; (2) W3C Multimodal Interaction Framework.

  • [January 14, 2003] "Sun Adds Liberty Spec Support to Network ID Server." By Paul Krill. In InfoWorld (January 13, 2003). Sun Microsystems "will ship Sun ONE Identity Server 6.0, an upgrade to its network identity software that adds support for the Liberty Alliance specification, enabling users to authenticate to multiple Web sites outside a firewall. The federated network identity functionality Sun is offering holds the promise of making it easier to access Web and non-Web applications by providing for a single authentication to multiple applications, according to Sun. Built on top of Sun ONE Directory Server, Sun ONE Identity Server integrates access management, delegated administration, directory, and federation services into a single product. Sun's offering appears to be the first shipping product to support the Liberty specification, said analyst James Kobelius, senior analyst at the Burton Group, in Alexandria, VA... Centralized administration is provided in Version 6.0 for identities, policies, and services. Administrators can delegate administration to enable users to manage their own profile attributes. Also featured in the product is continued support of SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language), enabling for unification of log-ins within the corporate firewall, according to Sun. Version 6.0 also leverages Java and XML to provide for federated identity management and increased security and privacy, the company said. Single sign-on is provided for Web-based resources and centrally controlled access services. Authentication mechanisms supported include LDAP, RADIUS, X509v3 certificates, SafeWord token cards, and Unix platform authentication services, according to Sun. APIs in C, Java, and XML enable customization and integration for policy, authentication, auditing/reporting, and client interfaces. Sun ONE Identity Server 6.0 runs on Sun SPARC-Solaris systems. The company plans to port it to Linux systems, enabling it to run on various hardware platforms..." See the announcement: "Sun Microsystems Delivers Industry's First Liberty-Enabled Web Single Sign-On Product. Sun ONE Identity Server 6.0 Delivers Easy Access to Applications and Services Through Single User-Login, Reduces Administration Overhead and Provides Increased Revenue Opportunities." Also: Sun ONE Identity Server 6.0 and Sun ONE Directory Server. Related references in: (1) "Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML)"; (2) "Liberty Alliance Specifications for Federated Network Identification and Authorization."

  • [January 14, 2003] "Technology and Record Company Policy Principles." Issued Jointly by Business Software Alliance (BSA), Computer Systems Policy Project (CSPP), and Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). January 14, 2003. "The undersigned organizations have therefore agreed upon a core set of principles that will govern our activities in the public and policy arenas during the 108th Congress. These principles are: [...] Technology and record companies support technical measures to limit illegal distribution of copyrighted works, subject to requirements that the measures be designed to be reasonable, are not destructive to networks, individual users' data or equipment, and do not violate individuals' legal rights to privacy or similar legally protected interests of individuals... Technology and record companies believe that technical protection measures dictated by the government (legislation or regulations mandating how these technologies should be designed, function and deployed, and what devices must do to respond to them) are not practical. The imposition of technical mandates is not the best way to serve the long-term interests of record companies, technology companies, and consumers. Technology can play an important role in providing safeguards against theft and piracy. The role of government, if needed at all, should be limited to enforcing compliance with voluntarily developed functional specifications reflecting consensus among affected interests. If government pursues the imposition of technical mandates, technology and record companies may act to ensure such rules neither prejudice nor ignore their interests..." According to an analysis of Bill Rosenblatt in DRM Watch: "... the music industry (through the RIAA) has agreed to lobby against legislation that would require copy protection technology in all digital media devices, such as Sen. Ernest Hollings's (D-SC) Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act (CBDTPA). In exchange, leading technology vendors (including Adobe, Apple, HP, Intel, and Microsoft) will lobby against legislation, such as Rep. Rick Boucher's (D-VA) Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act, that affirms the rights of consumers to space-shift digital content to different devices and to make backup copies of content... This agreement is primarily a victory for the technology vendors... Thus, like almost all previous offline machinations around the copyright law, this agreement does not proactively take consumers' interests into account..." See also the announcement "Recording, Technology Industries Reach Groundbreaking Agreement on Approach to Digital Content Issues." General references in: (1) "XML and Digital Rights Management (DRM)"; (2) "Patents and Open Standards."

  • [January 13, 2003] "Push for UBL Protocol Gathers Momentum." By Darryl K. Taft. In eWEEK (January 13, 2003). "The goal of a universal language for business messaging will move closer to reality this month when key elements of a proposed standard are released. The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards will release the first schemas for UBL (Universal Business Language), which seeks to standardize XML versions of purchase order, invoice, shipping notice and other business forms. Jon Bosak, a distinguished engineer at Sun Microsystems Inc. and the lead editor of the original XML specification, has been the force behind UBL. Bosak came up with the idea for a universal business language that draws from existing e-commerce dialects and builds on work started with ebXML (electronic business XML). Bosak also marshaled a UBL grass-roots initiative into an OASIS technical committee. The roster of UBL documents to be released include Order, Order Response, Simple Order Response, Order Cancellation, Despatch Advice (shipping notice), Receipt Advice and Invoice. Bosak, based in Santa Clara, Calif., said these seven documents represent only about 5 percent of the documents used in e-commerce but handle up to 80 percent of the world's supply chain commerce. Bosak said UBL has a source library of about 500 reusable elements. UBL brings the best of electronic data interchange to the Web -- a feat that many have attempted to accomplish, Bosak said. It does this by establishing a standard XML language for business messages that spans industries and supports a standard protocol for business-quality messaging. According to Bosak, UBL and ebXML could do for business-to- business e-commerce what HTML and HTTP did for hypertext publishing..." See: "Universal Business Language (UBL)."

  • [January 13, 2003] "GXS Aligns with UCCnet." By Scarlet Pruitt. In InfoWorld (January 13, 2003). "Business-to-business e-commerce network operator Global eXchange Services (GXS) is joining with UCCnet to provide its trading partners with the ability to synchronize product data, which it says will save its partners money and speed their time to market. GXS's alliance with UCCnet, a nonprofit organization providing standards-based item registration and data synchronization, is set to be announced Monday at the 2003 National Retail Federation Annual Convention & Expo, being held in New York from January 12 to January 15, 2003. Through the alliance, GXS trading partners will be able to register data in the UCCnet registry via GXS's Global Product Catalogue service, ensuring that their product information remains accurate and timely, GXS said... GXS Retail Industry Manager Carol Elliot added that being able to track product information as it flows through the supply chain can become extremely complex... The GXS catalogue contains more than 60 million line items, or pieces of information about products. These line items tell retailers not only the cost of a product, but also its size, color and position on a display, for example. Such information is stored in various electronic information pools, but by accessing GXS's Global Product Catalogue, trading partners can better locate in what pool the product information is stored, and they can then trade that information using industry standards such as XML. And although UCCnet requires the exchange of documents in XML, according to Elliot, GXS partners do not have to employ XML technology to take advantage of the UCCnet alliance. GXS said that it will translate documents from the EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) standard into XML so that partners can move at their own technological pace without being left behind... As part of the deal, GXS will also be offering a UCCnet adapter for its Enterprise System integration broker and Application Integrator data transformation and mapping software, which will help companies configure their systems, the company said... Gaithersburg, Maryland-based GXS provides transaction management services to over 60,000 retail partners throughout the world. UCCnet, a subsidiary of global standards organization Uniform Code Council, offers an open platform for collaborative commerce services, including registry, synchronization of product information..." See: UCCnet website, GXS website, and the announcement: "Global eXchange Services Signs 'Preferred Partners in Sync' Agreement with UCCnet. GXS and UCCnet Will Enable Suppliers and Retailers to Save Costs and Speed Time to Market by Synchronizing Product Data in Accordance With UCC.EAN Guidelines." General references also in "Uniform Code Council (UCC) XML Program."

  • [January 10, 2003] "WS-Reliability: Adoption May Be Low, but Impact Will Be Great." By Uttam Narsu. From Giga Information Group, Inc. January 10, 2003. 2 pages. Cited at ['Giga Information Group analyst Uttam Narsu looks behind the specification and discusses whether it is viable -- given that neither Microsoft nor IBM have given their support.'] The WS-Reliability working draft specification by Fujitsu, Hitachi, NEC, Oracle, Sonic Software and Sun Microsystems "is best viewed as a table-setter for a final specification yet to come. The reliability of Web Services messaging has been one of the issues preventing more rapid adoption of Web Services... WS-Reliability hopes to settle this issue by providing a decidedly minimalist (and royalty-free) specification that uses Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) 1.1's extensibility mechanism to address guaranteed delivery, elimination of duplicates and ordered message delivery. There is no question that WS-Reliability solves a real problem. One strong point in the design is that the specification is at the SOAP protocol level (rather than at the HTTP level like IBM's HTTPR spec), which allows reliability to be guaranteed no matter what the SOAP messages are ultimately being transmitted over. The ordered message delivery uses the concept of a group ID, which could then be used by a higher level spec to more easily create conversations/choreography. Minimalism is good but WS-Reliability might be too minimalist, for example, it's easy to imagine that reliability could be rolled into choreography/conversations, especially if doing so helps manage messaging to quality of service objectives. That's exactly the approach taken by ebXML's ebMS messaging service (from which WS-Reliability heavily borrows), which provides reliability. While anyone can create a spec, getting traction is another issue... The likely effect of the WS-Reliability spec will be to exert strong pressure on whatever final spec gets adopted by a standards body and users to ensure that it will be royalty free... Using the spec will require implementation support [so] a better choice would be to send SOAP over a reliable transport where possible; some vendors who provide support for this are IBM, Sonic, TIBCO and Microsoft..." See details in the 2003-01-09 news item "Web Services Vendors Publish Royalty-Free WS-Reliability Specification." [cache]

  • [January 10, 2003] "Multimodal Interaction Requirements." Edited by Stéphane H. Maes (Oracle Corporation) and Vijay Saraswat (Penn State University). W3C NOTE 8-January-2003. First public release. Version URL: Latest version URL: Produced for the W3C Multimodal Interaction Working Group as part of the Multimodal Interaction Activity. W3C's Multimodal Interaction Activity is developing specifications for extending the Web to support multiple modes of interaction. This document describes fundamental requirements for multimodal interaction Derived from use case studies, the this Note covers cover general issues, inputs, outputs, architecture, integration, synchronization points, runtimes and deployments, but the document does not address application or deployment conformance rules... Multimodal interactions extend the Web user interface to allow multiple modes of interaction, offering users the choice of using their voice, or an input device such as a key pad, keyboard, mouse or stylus. For output, users will be able to listen to spoken prompts and audio, and to view information on graphical displays. This capability for the user to specify the mode or device for a particular interaction in a particular situation is expected to significantly improve the user interface, its accessibility and reliability, especially for mobile applications. The W3C Multimodal Interaction Working Group (WG) is developing markup specifications for authoring applications synchronized across multiple modalities or devices with a wide range of capabilities..."

  • [January 10, 2003] "W3C Releases Scripting Standard, Caveat." By Paul Festa. In CNET (January 10, 2003). "The Web's leading standards body released a long-delayed recommendation for using scripts in Web pages but urged coders not to rely too heavily on scripting. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recommended on Thursday its Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2 HTML, a module of the group's set of application programming interfaces (APIs) for letting computer languages like JavaScript, Java or ECMAScript manipulate elements in an HTML or XHTML document. In practical terms, the DOM makes it easier to create Web pages with features that are more animated and functional. With scripts, authors can make Web pages process forms, launch pop-up menus and windows, and execute style changes on the fly. Without the DOM, authors would have to code separately for each scripting language to interact with each different browser. The DOM is meant to create a 'write once, run everywhere' standard for Web page scripting. However, W3C staff urged developers to use scripts sparingly, criticizing the development technique as less efficient and accessible than alternative W3C-recommended methods of creating dynamic Web pages. 'The W3C is working on other specifications, including SVG, SMIL, and XForms, to move some commonly desired behaviors out of scripts,' said Ian Jacobs, a W3C editor. 'Scripting has its limitations'... The W3C 'strongly suggests that developers and authors conform to DOM Level 2 HTML,' the consortium wrote in its release. The group, in concert with the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), also updated its free test suite that developers can use to check their adherence to the standard." See "Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2 HTML Specification Version 1.0 [W3C Recommendation 09-January-2003]

  • [January 09, 2003] "Web Services Reliability (WS-Reliability)." From Fujitsu Limited, Hitachi, Ltd., NEC Corporation, Oracle Corporation, Sonic Software Corporation, and Sun Microsystems, Inc. Version 1.0. January 8, 2003. 45 pages. "Web Services Reliability (WS-Reliability) is a SOAP-based protocol for exchanging SOAP messages with guaranteed delivery, no duplicate s, and guaranteed message ordering. WS-Reliability is defined as SOAP header extensions, and is independent of the underlying protocol. This specification contains a binding to HTTP. This model enables a sender (i.e., a SOAP node with reliable messaging functions for sending) to send a message to a receiver (i.e., a SOAP node with reliable messaging functions for receiving) that can accept an incoming connection. Functions to accommodate a receiver that cannot accept an incoming connection (e.g., because of a firewall) are intended for further study, and are not included in this version of the specification... The purpose of WS-Reliability is to address reliable messaging requirements, which become critical, for example, when using Web Services in B2B applications. SOAP over HTTP is not sufficient when an application-level messaging protocol must also address reliability and security. While security is getting traction in the development of Web Services standards, reliability is not. This specification is intended as an initial proposal for defining reliability in the context of current Web Services standards. The specification borrows from previous work in messaging and transport protocols, e.g. SOAP, and the ebXML Message Service [ebXML Message Service Specification Version 2.0]. It proposes appropriate modifications to apply this work to Web Services... The goal of this specification is to define: (1) A mechanism to guarantee message delivery and its e xpression in SOAP messages; (2) A mechanism to eliminate duplicate messages and its expression in SOAP messages; (3) A mechanism to guarantee received message order (within a context) and its expression in SOAP messages..." See also the XML Schema. See details in the 2003-01-09 news item "Web Services Vendors Publish Royalty-Free WS-Reliability Specification." General references in "Reliable Messaging." [source]

  • [January 09, 2003] "Sun, Oracle, Fujitsu to Push Web Services Reliability Specification." By Paul Krill. In InfoWorld (January 09, 2003). "Setting the stage for another potential battle over Web services standardization, Sun Microsystems, Fujitsu, and Oracle on Tuesday plan to announce a specification for Web services reliability without participation from rivals IBM and Microsoft. The Web Services Reliability (WS-Reliability) specification is intended to help accelerate adoption of Web services by promoting linking of applications via standard interfaces. WS-Reliability features extensions of SOAP that are intended to provide for guaranteed Web services delivery, eliminate message duplication, and provide for message ordering. 'We believe that this specification removes one of the two major adoption barriers that exist today for Web services, those barriers being a lack of security and the lack of a reliable messaging model,' said Ed Julson, group marketing manager for Java and Web services at Sun, in Santa Clara, Calif. WS-Reliability provides for quality of service for Web services at the application level rather than at the transport level, said Tom Rutt, a Fujitsu consulting engineer based in Asbury Park, N.J. An analyst applauded WS-Reliability but added it may compete with an alternate proposal by IBM, dubbed HTTPR. IBM and Microsoft have not been invited to participate in WS-Reliability development thus far, but will be able to do so when the proposal is submitted to a standards body shortly, according to Julson and Rutt... WS-Reliability will be submitted to a standards body on a royalty-free basis, Rutt said. He and Julson would not say which one but did say it would be one that has been involved in Web services standards development. That would make the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) the likely candidates. IBM, Microsoft, and BEA Systems have not been invited to participate in WS-Reliability thus far because of what Julson and Rutt termed differences of philosophies on royalty-free specifications and commitment to open standards. They cited the current IBM-Microsoft-BEA proposal for choreographing interactions between Web services, dubbed Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL4WS), which has yet to be submitted to a standards body. IBM and BEA have committed to a royalty-free stance on BPEL4WS, however. The BPEL4WS proposal was announced in August 2002, shortly after the unveiling of Sun's own choreography proposal, Web Services Choreography Interface (WSCI), which has been submitted to the W3C... Other participants in the WS-Reliability effort include Hitachi, NEC, and Sonic Software." See details in the 2003-01-09 news item "Web Services Vendors Publish Royalty-Free WS-Reliability Specification." General references in "Reliable Messaging."

  • [January 09, 2003] "Oracle and Sun Lead WS-Reliability Charge, Exclude IBM." By [CBR Staff]. In CBR (January 09, 2003). "Vendors led by Oracle Corp and Sun Microsystems Inc are today expected to announce a draft web services specification for reliable messaging, without input from messaging heavyweight IBM. Oracle and Sun will announce WS-Reliability for guaranteed delivery of messages, ordering of messages, and for the elimination of duplicated messages. WS-Reliability uses a set of extensions written in Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). Joining Oracle and Sun are Fujitsu Ltd, Hitachi Ltd, NEC Corp and Sonic Software Corp... Ed Julson, Sun group marketing manager for industry initiatives and standards, said IBM would be invited to join if it supports RF. 'The philosophy of the six companies [involved] leans towards open specifications and IP that is submitted on an RF basis. Both are positions that... IBM has not embraced,' Julson said. IBM was unavailable for comment. An Oracle spokesperson said IBM is welcome to participate in WS-Reliability development, once the specification is submitted to a standards body. Oracle, Sun and others are in talks to decide which standards body WS-Reliability should be submitted to. Jeff Mischkinsky, director of web services standards, said the companies had focussed on reliable messaging with WS-Reliability because this was an area that has been largely overlooked in much of the current web services standards work. 'Security and reliability are the two biggest barriers [to web services use] right now. There's on-going work on security standards, but not on reliability,' Mischkinsky said..." See "Web Services Vendors Publish Royalty-Free WS-Reliability Specification." General references in "Reliable Messaging."

  • [January 09, 2003] "The JAXB API." By Kohsuke Kawaguchi. From January 08, 2003. ['Kohsuke Kawaguchi explores the API of Sun's Java Architecture for XML Binding.'] "Sun has recently released version 0.75 of the Java Architecture for XML Binding (JAXB), as well as its reference implementation. JAXB consists of two parts. First, JAXB contains a compiler that reads a schema and produces the equivalent Java object model. This generated object model captures the structure of XML better than general-purpose APIs like DOM or SAX, making it a lot easier to manipulate XML content. The second part is an API, through which applications communicate with generated code. This API hides provider-specific implementation code from applications and also provides a uniform way to do basic operations, such as marshalling or unmarshalling... in this article, I'll introduce the JAXB API. We'll examine the design of the API and discuss its shortcomings; consider JAXB in the context of the Java-XML universe; and, finally, we'll learn if JAXB can evolve to meet expected future needs. While you can use JAXB without knowing how a schema is mapped to Java or how to use customizations, you cannot use JAXB if you don't know the API. Further, the API is here to stay. The way a JAXB binding compiler maps W3C XML Schema to Java can be changed more drastically and easily by utilizing the version attribute and through the extensibility framework. Thanks to this extensibility framework, vendors are free to go beyond the baseline functionality in the specification. Similarly, the JAXB specification can extend the supported subset of W3C XML Schema in the future or even support other schema languages. But to do this, the API needs to be sufficiently solid and flexible now. For these reasons, the API deserves thorough consideration... One of the concerns raised in the community is that JAXB can't be used to bind existing code to XML, since it can only produce Java classes from a schema, not the other way around. While this is indeed true for the current version of JAXB, we have seen that the API itself doesn't have this constraint. Nothing prevents tools from using this API to map existing Java classes to XML. In fact, the interface used by Castor to do this Java-centric mapping is very close to JAXB API, so it won't be hard to change it to use this API. Similarly, the current version of JAXB only deals with W3C XML Schema. But, again, the API has virtually no dependency on any particular schema language. Therefore, a tool can hijack the JAXB API for its choice of schema language. It would be good to see a RELAX NG-aware databinding tool (like Relaxer) use the JAXB API..." For other references, see "Java Architecture for XML Binding (JAXB)."

  • [January 09, 2003] "Business at XML 2002." By Alan Kotok. From January 08, 2003. ['Alan Kotok reports on business and government matters from XML 2002.'] "The XML 2002 conference and expo (8-13 December 2002), this year's IDEAlliance showcase, reflected the impact of the technology recession on XML business applications. With many business customers cutting back on new technology investments, XML vendors now take a greater interest in government clients and offer their tools to help organizations integrate current applications as well as build new ones. This focus on government and integration came through repeatedly during the conference... In the opening keynote, Robert Haycock, who serves as acting manager of e-government in the OMB (Office of Management and Budget, the central budget and policy agency in the executive branch) laid out the proposed Federal Enterprise Architecture and the role of XML in that architecture. Haycock said that the current e-government initiatives, arrayed in a series of 24 projects, represent functions matching citizen needs and services, and that cut across the traditional agency boundaries. Haycock said XML will play a key part of the architecture, due to its ability to provide a neutral medium for information sharing and to develop a common framework for delivery of services, independent of platform or vendors... A general session earlier in the program showed that for some organizations, even internal integration needs an open architecture. Stephen Katz of the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and John Chelsom of CSW Group in the U.K., a consultant to FAO, talked about the FAO's need to pull together the work of its disparate programs under a single World Agricultural Information Centre (WAICENT). The project team started with an application that FAO calls its Country Profiles. The application draws on several different internal FAO databases, as well as external data sources (e.g. World Bank and BBC) to provide country-specific information on agriculture and development. With this first application, the project team hoped to create a model for quickly and easily developing further web applications and an integration infrastructure that encourages interoperability among FAO systems and information sources. Katz and Chelsom described the solution as one built on the legacy applications ("solutions that work" as they reminded the audience) using web services. The architects also chose XML as the common vernacular to cut across the various metadata and spoken languages in FAO. They called their solution an information bus that wrapped the various applications in web services and connected them with common XML vocabularies..."

  • [January 09, 2003] "Generating DOM Magic." By Uche Ogbuji. From January 08, 2003. ['Uche Ogbuji explains how to use Python generators with the DOM.'] "Python 2.2 introduced generators, a special type of function which has more flexible flow-of-control than ordinary, procedural functions. Standard procedural functions start at the top and execute until returning to the caller, maintaining all along a local state for the subroutine (which comprises local variables and passed-in parameters). The function can have multiple return points, but for each invocation, it runs until a single return, and its local state then becomes unavailable. Generators, by contrast, can send control back to the caller and yet remain in a sort of suspended animation, maintaining local state. Such a temporary return is called 'yielding'. The caller can then revive the generator at any time, at which point operation continues until the next yield or until a final return. Generators, as they appeared in Python 2.2, were born in Christian Tismer's Stackless Python as a feature made practical by continuations, the core construct of Stackless. Generators are especially suited to efficient operation on tree structures, which are, of course, the natural structure for XML processing. In this article I present examples and techniques for using generators for XML processing... Many common DOM operations can be developed using the basic techniques presented in this article. The whole module,, with the routines I've presented is available on my web site. In a future article I'll present generator idioms for SAX and other XML-processing tools. Please don't hesitate to comment with any generator-based tricks you've used for XML processing... Python has added a great deal of new goodies lately. I think the aggregate effect has been to make the language better, but some people have complained about the changes. Though I've seen defenders and detractors for almost every language change, generators seem to be one of those changes that are universally acclaimed. Guido van Rossum showed his extremely sharp judgment by selecting the most practical and useful aspect of Stackless Python and making it available in Python..." See also Python & XML, by Christopher A. Jones and Fred L. Drake, Jr.

  • [January 08, 2003] "Innovators Set Up Shop On AlphaAve." By Lee Bruno. In Red Herring (January 08, 2003). ['A site jointly operated by Xerox and the Rochester Institute of Technology seeks to move research innovations out of the lab faster.'] " "... Typically, software goes through alpha testing, where programmers and internal researchers tinker with it, and beta testing, where the institution releases essentially finished software to early adopters for real-world testing. That's how Xerox and the Rochester Institute of Technology named the year-old AlphaAve site, which the two institutions co-manage. 'This is intended to be a very early look at emerging technologies, ... searching for direction in some cases,' says Bob Campbell, manager of AlphaAve. 'It uses the same kind of concept as an open source; you use the collective brain power for the open bazaar used in open source.' The site is partly modeled after IBM's AlphaWorks download site. Among the new inventions released by Xerox researchers is a new programming language called Circus-DTE, designed to unify the vexing variety of data formats that various devices and machines generate. The researchers expect it to be used for re-engineering documents--a big problem for Web services. It is also expected to be used for collecting, filtering, and reorganizing various pieces of content in a document to create new documents that conform to the Circus-DTE data structure. Moving data around networks and displaying the information on all types of systems is an inherently difficult proposition. The programming language XML allows textual information to be tagged and indexed so that its content is more easily searched and accessed. Circus-DTE uses an XML data model to ensure that its documents conform to worldwide standards. The Xerox researchers started development work on Circus-DTE about seven years ago. It was only in the past two years that the team began the implementation work. Other projects on the co-hosted Web site includes Xerox's Automatic Image Enhancement tool, which works with any type of image in any type of format. The tool is designed to intelligently correct images for color balance, exposure, and sharpness, allowing the image to be displayed at the best possible quality for the particular display device or printer..." See details in the 2003-01-08 news item "Xerox Announces Circus-DTE Programming Language for Document Transformation."

  • [January 08, 2003] "Migrating Unstructured Data to XML." By Renee Boucher Ferguson. In eWEEK (January 08, 2003). "CambridgeDocs, which facilitates XML-based content integration, announced Wednesday a new tool for migrating unstructured content from legacy sources. The xDoc Converter migrates unstructured data from the likes of Microsoft Word, HTML and Adobe PDF documents into any XML schema or DTD for improved search and indexing, officials said. The resulting XML can be used for content management, multi-channel publishing and syndication via Web services. Traditional approaches to XML require either the manual retyping of thousands of documents or developers to write custom code, CambridgeDocs officials said. The xDoc Converter differs in that it enables programmers or IT staff to create a set of generic conversion rules through the use of a point-and-click interface. In addition, the converter has a set of reference manuals, product tutorials and example rules for converting documents into DocBook XML. A Java 2 Platform with a .Net interface, the xDoc Converter works on Windows 2000 and Windows XP. It can import and convert content to any DTD or XML schema..."

  • [January 08, 2003] "Tool Kit Combines Grid Technology, Web Services." By Darryl K. Taft. In eWEEK (January 08, 2003). "The next generation of the open-source tool kit for grid technology, which will bring support for Web services, will be released in an alpha version next week. The alpha version of Globus Toolkit 3.0 (GT3) is slated for release January 13 [2003] at the GlobusWorld conference in San Diego, said officials of the Globus Project, the organization behind GT3 and the open-source grid computing efforts. Grid computing enables enterprises and users to share computing power, databases and other tools across enterprise boundaries without sacrificing local autonomy, Globus Project officials said. The Globus Toolkit includes software services and libraries for resource monitoring, discovery and management, as well as security and file management. GT3 combines grid technology with Web services and includes a focus on e-business, as well as the scientific and engineering focus that grid technology has traditionally had. GT3 will implement Open Grid Services Architecture (OGSA) as the base for combining grid computing and Web services... New features [in GT3 alpha] include not only tight integration with Web services technologies such as the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and the Web Services Definition Language (WSDL), but improvements to key protocols, database support and integration with Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE)... GT3 will deliver a stable implementation of the Grid Service Specification in Java, which delivers SOAP message security, a Java software development kit, four Java hosting environments and several new grid services, Globus officials said..." See the November 16, 2002 description "Status and Plans for Globus Toolkit 3.0."

  • [January 08, 2003] "Converting RELAX NG to W3C XML Schema." By James J. Clark (Director, Thai Open Source Software Center Ltd, Thailand). Presentation given at the XML 2002 Conference, Baltimore, MD, USA. December 11, 2002. ['These are the slides for a talk given at the XML 2002 conference in Baltimore. They have been combined into a single HTML file. The talk was designed to assess how well RELAX NG can be made to work as a mechanism for creating W3C XML Schemas.'] See also the prepared abstract for the presentation (in part): "RELAX NG, especially in its compact syntax, provides a very easy to learn and easy to use schema language for XML. On the other hand, W3C XML Schemas currently enjoys much more widespread industry support. Automatic conversion of RELAX NG to W3C XML Schema allows users to have the best of both worlds. RELAX NG is more expressive than W3C XML Schema. Thus there are RELAX NG schemas that it is impossible to exactly translate into W3C XML Schemas. However, such schemas can be 'approximated' by generating a W3C XML Schema that allows a superset of what the RELAX NG schema allows. When generating W3C XML Schema, the goal is not simply to produce a schema that validates the same documents as the original schema. It is also desirable to preserve the way that the original RELAX NG schema used defines and includes, so that the resulting W3C XML Schema is as human-understandable as possible. Ideally, the resulting schema should be similar to something that might be produced by somebody authoring directly in W3C XML Schema. Some examples of the challenges to be confronted in performing the conversion are: (1) Handling multi-namespace documents: RELAX NG allows elements and attributes from multiple namespaces to be freely mixed, whereas W3C requires a rigid segmentation of the schema into separate namespaces. (2) Wildcards: RELAX NG handles elements whose names are specified by wildcards in a way that is relatively uniform with other elements, whereas in W3C XML Schema wildcards are handled quite differently. (3) Attribute constraints: RELAX NG integrates attributes into content models allowing very expressive constraints, whereas W3C XML Schema supports only optional/required attributes; this requires approximation. (4) Definitions: RELAX NG provides one kind of top-level definition (using the <define> element), whereas W3C XML Schema provides many kinds of top-level definitions/declarations (element, attribute, group, attributeGroup, complexType, simpleType); the conversion has to intelligently select the appropriate kind to use..." Trang is a tool developed by Clark for translating schemas written in RELAX NG into different formats; for example, it will translate a RELAX NG schema in either the XML or compact syntax into a DTD, and translate a RELAX NG schema in either the XML or compact syntax into a W3C XML Schema. See "Update of Jing and Trang from James Clark." General references in "RELAX NG."

  • [January 08, 2003] "The Identity Web. An Overview of XNS and the OASIS XRI TC XML Working Group." By Marc LeMaitre (VP Technology Strategy, OneName Corporation). December 17, 2002. Presented to the XML Working Group. PDF generated from the presentation slides; see also the HTML format. The presentation: introduces the idea of the 'Identity Web'; provides an explanation of the motivating forces; compares and contrasts it to the WWW; introduces the eXtensible Name Service (XNS); offers an update on XNS in standards... What if every digital identity on the Internet could be (1) Rendered in a common format, (2) Exchanged using a common protocol, (3) Addressed and linked using a common syntax -- the result would be 'an Identity Web'..." See other notes in the meeting minutes: "What is Web identity if it is different from Enterprise identity? XNS is neutral. It is an open protocol based on XML. The protocol will be managed by XNS org. When you talk about security, you are also talking about trust and privacy. Twelve Web services are specified in WSDL 1.1 and XML Schemas 1.0. XNS creates a Web identity architecture. P3P user agent profile -- an agent being the way we have implemented and are publishing the DNS infrastructure. IP-> DNS -> XNS Internet standards-> Web standards -> Web services standards. This is the assumption that you want identity rather than anonymity. Web identity is evolving just as Web content evolved in the last decade. There is a need to be able to harmonize across your different identities, for example, the same person can hold two vastly different identities, one as a father and one as an employee. There is a need to be able to represent me as an individual to a bank and also to the HMO." See: (1) the 2003-01-08 news item "OASIS Forms Extensible Resource Identifier (XRI) Technical Committee"; (2) "Extensible Name Service (XNS)."

  • [January 08, 2003] "Circus-DTE Programming Language Coming to Town." By Paul Krill. In InfoWorld (January 06, 2003). "Xerox on Tuesday will herald the availability of an experimental programming language intended to make it easy to transform documents and data between specific formats, enabling documents to be read regardless of what application or device is used... Circus-DTE is intended for environments in which document portals abound and documents and data must move on the Web or in business processes, according to Xerox. The language is intended to provide a middle ground between a general-purpose, low-level language that needed lengthy development of complex algorithms and a high-level, but inflexible, approach... The company believes Circus-DTE could be especially useful when there are multiple document transformations, such as document content processing, Internet publishing, publishing on handheld devices, and database-to-XML conversions... Circus-DTE is available for free 90-day trials, after which users can contact Xerox to discuss licensing opportunities or suggest enhancements to the language... Among other technologies available on are Automatic Image Enhancement, which is a tool to boost visual quality of images, and STITCH-CLF, a middleware tool for harnessing heterogeneous and distributed resources such as databases, services, legacy systems, printers, and PDAs..." See details in the 2003-01-08 news item "Xerox Announces Circus-DTE Programming Language for Document Transformation."

  • [January 08, 2003] "IBM To Ship Xperanto Technology For Linking Enterprise Data." By Mitch Wagner. In Internet Week (January 08, 2003). "IBM plans by June to ship technology for linking information enterprise-wide from SQL databases, e-mail, XML documents, and other data sources. IBM is positioning the technology, code-named Xperanto, as a competitor to approaches from companies such as Oracle and Microsoft, who want enterprises to import data from multiple data sources into a single, monolithic data store. IBM says that process is too much work. Instead, IBM favors achieving the same results by synchronizing data between multiple sources, known in computer science circles as 'federation'... BEA Systems introduced technology called Liquid Data in November, designed to connect data from applications across the enterprise and structure the data using XML. The data can be queried using the XML XQuery standard. The process of integrating data across an enterprise complements application integration, said Nelson Mattos, distinguished engineer and director of information integration for IBM... The Xperanto approach is to leave data in place in distributed data stores, and then query data either in XML or SQL. But Xperanto does not solve one of the main problems of centralization: Data still needs to be cleansed to resolve inconsistencies and redundancies. Automated technologies from IBM and other partners can help streamline the data cleansing process, but it's still time-consuming and expensive..." See references in following entry.

  • [January 07, 2003] "IBM: Xperanto Rollout To Start In Early 2003. Long-Promised Information Integrator on the Horizon." By Michael Vizard and Barbara Darrow. In CRN (January 03, 2003). "IBM has begun testing its next-generation Xperanto database management system, which the company plans to begin rolling out in phases in the first half of this year. Xperanto is the code name for a project to create a future version of DB2 that can work with SQL data, native XML data and legacy code data in a federated model regardless of where the data is located, said Nelson Mattos, an IBM Distinguished Engineer and Director, Information Integration. IBM has been talking about this 'information integrator' for a year, and many had expected the first iteration to debut in late 2002. Others say the time frame for phase one is actually somewhat accelerated from what IBM had planned. Phase one is now due to ship in this quarter, according to a company source. IBM started testing the product internally a few months ago. Full support for Xquery, a new query language for accessing native XML data, has to wait until the Xquery standard is hammered out, so that product is not expected till 2004... In terms of both architecture and philosophy, Mattos said IBM's approach to building a federated database system contrasts sharply with the existing centralized database architectures being pursued by Oracle and Microsoft. Oracle executives have long said that the company's database is the best repository for all sorts of structured and unstructured data. Microsoft preaches a more federated approach but one that is still accused of being Windows- and SQL Server-centric... Microsoft and Oracle are pursuing a database strategy that reflects their application strategies, which require a centralized database for integration, said Mattos. In contrast, IBM has deliberately decided to not pursue an applications business, which means it is free to develop a more distributed approach to data management, he said... Competitors will likely slam Xperanto as a rehash of IBM's existing Data Joiner product, which is nearly 15 years old, but IBM has done significant work to boost performance and capabilities..." References: (1) "XPERANTO: Bridging Relational Technology and XML"; (2) "IBM Xperanto Demo"; (3) "Xperanto Brings XML Queries to DB2. IBM Takes A Hybrid Approach to Management of Enterprise Data."; (4) Xperanto: Making Data Access Easier (diagram).

  • [January 07, 2003] "Liberty Alliance Foreshadows Products, Services." By Paul Roberts. In InfoWorld (January 07, 2003). "On Tuesday [2003-01-07] the Liberty Alliance released the survey results along with examples of projects that are currently under way using the 1.1 specifications and information on new Alliance members. According to the Alliance, a poll of its members found that: (1) Fifty-nine percent of those members who responded planned to implement the Alliance's 1.1 standards in IT projects or products released this year. (2) Seventy percent of those who responded planned to implement the Alliance's standards, though not necessarily in 2003. (3) Fifty-two percent said that they would be deploying the Liberty Alliance specifications in services that benefit their own employees. A number of ongoing projects that apply the 1.1 specifications were identified in the statement. Those projects included a plan by General Motors to use the Liberty 1.1 specifications on its employee intranet, MySocrates, and a project involving the Financial Services Technology Consortium (FSTC) to create a multibank network to securely exchange customer account, transaction and credential information. In the product arena, the Liberty Alliance announced that Communicator will deliver a version of its Hub ID product line that uses the Liberty 1.1 specifications by the end of January and that SourceID, an open source development community, will release a Java toolkit for implementing Liberty-standard single sign-on features..." See details in the announcement: "Liberty Alliance Reports Majority of Sponsor Members Polled Plan to Implement Liberty Specifications in 2003, Adoption Plans Span Industries. Alliance Also Introduces 22 New Members, Bringing Total Membership to 150." General references in "Liberty Alliance Specifications for Federated Network Identification and Authorization."

  • [January 07, 2003] "OASIS Ponders PKI Security for Web Services." By Paul Krill. In InfoWorld (January 07, 2003). "OASIS announced that it has formed a technical committee to advance PKI (public key infrastructure) adoption for Web services and other applications. The OASIS PKI Technical Committee, formed within the OASIS PKI Member Section, will serve as a global PKI information resource and increase awareness of digital certificates as an important component for managing access to network resources, delivering secured electronic messages, and conducting electronic transactions, according to OASIS. Deliverables are to include white papers, implementation guidelines, and conformance tests to promote PKI adoption. The committee will address issues behind deploying digital certificates to meet business and security requirements, focusing on overcoming technical and integration challenges, said Terry Leahy of Wells Fargo, chairman of the new committee, in a prepared statement. The committee will serve as a forum for exchanging information on using PKI and digital certificates in application-focused standards and projects and as mechanisms for creating documents related to PKI internationally, according to Leahy..." See: (1)the text of the announcement: "OASIS Members Form Technical Committee to Advance PKI Adoption for Secure Transactions. Baltimore Technologies, Computer Associates, Entrust, KPMG, Neucom, RSA Security, Sun Microsystems, VeriSign, Wells Fargo, and Others Work to Facilitate Interoperability of Foundational Security Standard."; (2) the PKI TC website; (3) the OASIS PKI Member Section. General references: XML and Security.

  • [January 07, 2003] "Common Presence and Instant Messaging (CPIM) Presence Information Data Format." By Hiroyasu Sugano (Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd), Shingo Fujimoto (Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd), Graham Klyne (Clearswift Corporation), Adrian Bateman (VisionTech Limited), Wayne Carr (Intel Corporation), and Jon Peterson (NeuStar, Inc). IETF Network Working Group, Internet-Draft. Reference: 'draft-ietf-impp-cpim-pidf-07.txt'. December 2002, expires June 2003. XML Schema Definitions in Section 4; XML DTD in Appendix A. "This memo specifies the Common Presence and Instant Messaging (CPIM) Presence Information Data Format (PIDF) as a common presence data format for CPIM-compliant Instant Messaging and Presence protocols, and also defines a new media type application/cpim-pidf+xml to represent the XML MIME entity for PIDF... The Common Profile for Instant Messaging (CPIM) specifications define a set of common operations and various formats to achieve interoperability between different Instant Messaging and Presence protocols which meet RFC 2779. The CPIM core specification defines a set of common operations and their parameters to be supported by interworking Presence and IM protocols in order to allow straightforward gatewaying between them. The CPIM Message Format defines a common format for instant messages, which enables secure end-to-end IM exchange through the gateways. This memo further defines the CPIM Presence Information Data Format (PIDF) as a common presence data format for CPIM-compliant presence protocols. The significance of the common presence format primarily resides in the fact that it alleviates the load of gatewaying of messages with presence data payloads. Without such a common presence data format, a gateway must process and transform the presence data payload from one format to another every time it gateways the protocol messages. Such payload processing also disables the validity of digitally signed presence data. Utilizing the common presence data format allows secure transfer of the presence payloads across the boundary of different protocol domains... The CPIM Presence Information Data Format encodes presence information in XML... " See: (1) Instant Messaging and Presence Protocol Working Group; (2) "Common Profile for Instant Messaging (CPIM)."

  • [January 06, 2003] "Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA). XML and Web Services Across the Federal Government: An Overview of Vision and Progress." By Bob Haycock, Program Manager, FEA-PMO (Federal Enterprise Architecture - Program Management Office). Presentation slides (in PDF format) from the XML 2002 Conference, Baltimore, MD, USA. December 2002. 31 pages. Covers:Introduction to E-Government; Overview of the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA); XML and Web Services in the Federal Government. See the published abstract from the presentation (in part): "To facilitate efforts to transform the Federal Government into one that is citizen-centered, results-oriented, and market-based, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is developing the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA), a business-based framework for Government-wide improvement. The FEA is being constructed through a collection of interrelated "reference models" designed to facilitate cross-agency analysis and the identification of duplicative investments, gaps, and opportunities for collaboration within and across Federal Agencies. These include: (1) Performance Reference Model (PRM), (2) Business Reference Model (BRM), (3) Service Component Reference Model (SRM), (4) Technology Reference Model (TRM), and (5) Data and Information Reference Model (DRM)... While several technologies can assist in this "game-changing" transformation, only a few can be considered as the enabling cornerstones. Extensible Markup Language (XML) and Web Services provide a foundation to assist in Horizontal and Vertical Information Sharing, while providing an underlying framework to support the delivery of services. XML provides the Federal Government with a standard and consistent means to classify/describe information that may be shared, exchanged, or delivered to stakeholder in, and across, the business value-chain. Web Services, in the broadest context, provide stakeholders with the ability to leverage existing (and proven) business services, data warehouses, knowledge repositories, and intellectual capital - independent of technology platform and geographical boundary. Both XML and Web Service create a foundation to support the horizontal and vertical integration of federal, state, local, and municipal government services. This level of interoperability, an integrated U.S. Government, will provide citizens with an avenue of approach, to engage the services of an integrated U.S. Government..." See also the source .PPT. [cache].

  • [January 06, 2003] "Taking a Balanced Look at Standards. [Above the Noise.]" Editorial by Ephraim Schwartz. In InfoWorld (January 06, 2003), page 8. "... Only four standards bodies are sanctioned by governmental agencies that have the force of law: the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC); International Telecommunications Union (ITU); International Standards Organization (ISO); and United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT). "Everybody else is just a shade of gray," says Michael Barrett, chair of the Liberty Alliance, one of those gray organizations. So if the government didn't ask these groups to form, who did? And why did they form? If organizations as varied as the IETF, W3C, WS-I, OMG, OMA, Wi-Fi Alliance, SNIA, and the hundreds of others are all producing specifications of one kind or another, you have to ask yourself to what end? To help your company survive? Certainly this might be a byproduct. But if William Golding is right, it is doubtful that survival of your company is at the core of their being. Think of all those gray standards organizations as military alliances used to increase a company's sphere of influence and/or to keep a rival group's influence in check. I only have to cite some of the current battles taking place in IT to prove the point. In Web services, the Liberty Alliance includes everyone but Microsoft. In wireless, the WC3 and the OMA are at each other's throats. In voice technology there's SALT vs. VXML, with IBM and Microsoft spearheading rival standards... Some of the [disruptive technologies] technologies are well along and have even been put in neat little standards boxes. Others, such as Microsoft Office 11, leverage a standard process, XML. I think it is fair to say Microsoft is not an altruistic organization, but users receive the benefits of combining XML and Office nevertheless. Standards bodies are fine when they serve your needs, but remember that the high-tech industry moves forward by disruption. Handhelds coming in the back door, wireless rogue access points, open source, and Weblogs are just a continuation of the brief disruptive history of the PC industry..."

  • [January 06, 2003] "Thomson Financial Invests in Web Services." By Mark Jones and Mark Barbagallo. In InfoWorld (December 20, 2002). "The financial industry is a traditional early adopter of new technologies, and Thomson Financial, a global provider of integrated information solutions, has been an early investor in the area of Web services. At a recent VeriSign news event, Mark Barbagallo, vice president of Distributive Technologies at Thomson Financial, met with InfoWorld News Editor Mark Jones to discuss his company's commitment to Web services, the importance of building a business-client trust relationship, and the role of vendors such as VeriSign and Grand Central in helping Thomson deliver Web services to its clients... The Thomson Corp. is a large global provider of information for a lot of different industries. Thomson Financial, in particular, provides information for investment banking, investment management, and brokerage businesses and corporate investor relations. Our commitment to Web services is evident in some of our internal practices and initiatives. [For example], the Thomson XML architecture is a corporatewide agreement across all of our companies to standardize on SOAP, XML, WSDL, HTTP, and so on. If you look at what we've done, 20 of our more popular data sets are already available through Web services. Most of these customers are already taking these data sets. They have nothing more to do than call us up and say, 'We don't want to take it through an FTP feed anymore or through a leased line. We want to do this through a Web service. Can you do it?' And we say yes. There are other products that we're not quite there on yet. Some of it is because of legacy issues where they're not easy to enable. Others are because there just really isn't a demand for it, but we would expect to see a demand. I made a trip to Seattle to talk to a financial strategy consultant recently, and I was actually surprised because we went to talk about a new delivery alternative for a particular set of data that they're getting, and they were very aggressive about talking about Web services vs. our traditional delivery mechanism. They wanted somebody to talk to them about potentials and possibilities in our Web services. InfoWorld: Aren't e-commerce enterprises, such as, looking to the financial community to start a more pervasive use of these types of services? Barbagallo: Yes, the financial community is the traditional early adopter of these things. We delivered our first commercial Web service a year ago, so we're actually making money doing this. And we expect to continue making money doing it... lots."

  • [January 06, 2003] "Microsoft Boosts Focus on XML-Based Services." By Darryl K. Taft. In eWEEK (January 06, 2003), page 11. "Microsoft Corp. is seeking to make XML-based Web services easier to develop with the delivery of several new tools and, ultimately, a new XML-based language optimized to handle data rather than objects. The Redmond, Wash., company last month delivered three tools to help users develop around XML. Perhaps holding more promise for developers, however, particularly those in the Microsoft world, is a vision for a new XML 'language' that company insiders are calling X# (pronounced X sharp), a .Net language based on the company's C#... According to sources close to the company, Microsoft officials, citing the increasing importance of XML and XSD (XML Schema Definition) in application development, are looking at adding intrinsic XML and data support in the new language... Don Box, a Microsoft .Net software architect, hinted at the development of a new XML-based language at the XML conference in Baltimore last month. During his keynote address at the conference, Box dropped hints that Microsoft was beginning to look at a 'data-oriented language. XML and Web services push data manipulation into mainstream programming,' Box said. 'But current substrates are optimized for objects, not data.' Sources could not say when, or even whether, X# will be delivered as a product or part of a product. Microsoft officials would not comment for this story..."

  • [January 06, 2003] "Returning Creativity to the Commons." By Richard Koman. From The O'Reilly Network. January 03, 2003. "It was Eldred reunion night December 16 [2002] at the SomArts performance space in San Francisco's South of Market district to celebrate the rollout of Lawrence Lessig's Creative Commons organization... Creative Commons is trying to build, or rebuild, the enabling of the public domain. It starts with two efforts, both of which allow creators to say, 'I want to be compensated (perhaps financially or perhaps just with credit) for my work, and I want to enrich the public domain with my works.' These two efforts are: [1] The Creative Commons license, which includes 'legal code' (assuring creators that the rights they assert will be legally protected), a 'commons deed,' (a simple statement of which rights are asserted and which are ceded, which anyone can understand), and 'machine-readable code,' (some metadata in the form of RDF, so that computer programs can understand the terms of the work.) [2] The Founders Copyright, under which publishers and creators agree to limit their copyright protections to 14 years, renewable to 28 years. O'Reilly & Associates has pledged to convert some 200 works to Founders Copyright within the next month..." In Spring 2003 the Creative Commons Conservancy "will take donations of content and make it available to others under the terms of the donation. The project will function like a 'land trust,' holding and defending copyright or patent rights donated to the Conservancy." See: (1) 2002-12-16 news item "Creative Commons Project Offers RDF-Based Licenses for Rights Expression"; (2) "Creative Commons Project."

  • [January 06, 2003] "XML Meets the Data Warehouse." By Jack Vaughan and Mike Bucken. In Application Development Trends Volume 10, Number 1 (January 2003), pages 27-30. Cover Story, Data Management. ['At first glance, Web services and data warehousing look like a very odd couple; but some experts say there could be key long-term benefits to converting warehouse data to XML.'] "... power users want a robust client and a tight connection to data. If Web services in analytics succeed, new types of user interfaces may be needed. Deeper, more specific standards must be built, beyond SOAP, for Web services to flourish. Underway are data analysis-oriented initiatives like XMLA and JOLAP, as well as many others, including vertical industry-specific formats. The challenges to applying Web services within firewalls to data integration problems are one thing. Creating chains of services across the Web are another, say industry players close to this issue. UDDI, the 'yellow pages'-style directory for finding services, is still in its infancy. The special requirements of data warehouses must be met before XML and business intelligence truly becomes a marriage. Assuring the safe transmission of services and creating acceptable mechanisms for paying for services will take time. These challenges are likely to temper unbridled enthusiasm for Web services in warehousing, not to dash it. This year should be significant. XMLA proponents are preparing to engage in public 'bake-offs' that show interoperability of this protocol. What is the purpose of data warehousing today? 'To provide a unified view of something like customer information,' said Aaron Zornes, executive VP, app delivery strategies at Meta Group. 'Today, it is mostly internal. And they use fixed tools going against a subset of a data warehouse. 'At some point, we have to decouple those tools,' added Zornes. 'People don't want to hard-code proprietary tools to networks that hook into information from all over the world, or even internally. They want to hook in flexibly on the fly.' Issues to overcome include XML throughput. 'Some say there's too much overhead for some 'real-time' data transformations... It is still early, and views on how to constitute Web services vary. Vendors preceding or following Ascential with Web service-related data integration, data warehouse or BI announcements are many -- Actuate, Brio, Business Objects, ClearForest, Cognos, Crystal Decisions, Dimensional Insight, Hummingbird, Hyperion, IBI, IBM, Informatica, Microsoft, MicroStrategy, NCR, Oracle, Sagent, SAS Institute and Sybase among others... Ragnar Edholm [Director of Essbase tools at Hyperion] pointed to the OMG's Common Warehouse Metamodel (CWM) as a useful XML-oriented standard for data integration. In fact, the JOLAP API criticized by MicroStrategy's Bansal and others relies on CWM to some extent for OLAP service interfacing. JOLAP is a significant continuation in the definition of industry standards for software interoperability, according to John Kopcke, CTO at Hyperion, which has taken a leading role in creating JOLAP. Hyperion has also been active in the effort to create XMLA, which was recently published as an updated spec and API standard for vendors to access multidimensional databases as a Web service. Other council members are Microsoft, Crystal Decisions, SAP AG and Silvon Software..."

  • [January 06, 2003] "Open for Business." By Tom Yager. In InfoWorld (January 06, 2003), pages 17-21. ['Open technology has altered the business models of Microsoft, Apple, IBM, and Sun and will put a fresh spin on IT's approach to technology selection and integration in 2003. Office 11 and Mac OS X are prime examples of the enormous positive disruption caused by open technology... It's remarkable that Microsoft and Apple, two champions of the locked-down approach, have embraced an open approach. Office 11's XML is real standard XML, complete with schema validation, and OS X is a real OS with free GNU development tools.'] "... The disruptive influence of the next major release of Office may not be felt by many of its users. People accustomed to using Office as a basic productivity suite may not care how their documents are encoded, stored, and retrieved. In many business, academic, and technical settings, however, Office is seen as a set of extensions to Windows. It has become a platform for software developers who create vertical and in-house applications. Office brought scripting and OLE (the precursor to COM) to desktop PCs. Office 11's XML features are similarly advanced stuff. Then again, if something as advanced as the ability to drop a spreadsheet graph into a word-processor document is now taken for granted, perhaps Microsoft can push XML into the mainstream, too... The disruptive impact of OS X as a client environment is overwhelming and undeniable for any who give it a fair shake. OS X put Apple on the map as a player in the general IT market, enlivened the slumbering notebook market, rescued the PowerPC processor from obscurity (if not extinction) and gave developers of all stripes a compelling showcase for their talents. OS X Server's disruptive power is not yet as apparent, but Apple has staked out flat-rate pricing, low hardware operating costs, and simplified management as differentiators. It will take another year or two for Apple to turn its server products into the kind of hands-down category winners that its notebooks and client OS are. ... OSS (open-source software) has traditionally been a playground for geeks. Stereotypical free software is technically rich, poorly documented, completely unsupported, and despised (or laughed at) by commercial vendors. OSS has always disrupted the market by supplying zero-cost alternatives to expensive applications and shining a harsh light on vendor licenses. But the knowledge required to participate in open source -- as a basic consumer, not as a developer or an expert -- created a barrier to its use in IT. OSS developers have shown little interest in making their work accessible to less-knowledgeable users. That was before the recession. IT's interest in OSS has spiked of late, driven by companies' need to trim costs and to push back against rising fees from vendors such as Microsoft and IBM. As IT jobs became scarce, OSS developers turned their projects into portfolios for their skills, raising the quality and completeness of their work dramatically. Vendors started looking to the OSS community as a distributed think tank. It's the best place to shop for sharp talent and to road-test new concepts..."

  • [January 02, 2003] "Here's What's Wrong With XML-Defined Standards." By Rita Knox. Gartner Research Note. 30-December-2002. Reference: COM-18-7987. 4 pages. [See figure #2 - priceless] "It is relatively easy to construct XML standards for vertical domains. This has led to thousands of redundant and conflicting specifications. This chaos is the direct result of how these standards are developed... Extensible Markup Language (XML)-defined standards began with a number of vertically focused standards in 1999 but grew to an overwhelming number by 2001... The number of XML-defined standards is still growing and today is in the thousands of often-closelyrelated, redundant and often-conflicting standards. This problematic situation is the direct result of how these standards are developed and of at least four different problems... Wasn't XML supposed to make data shareable? No. XML provides the tools to define shareable data models, but it does not make them shareable any more than the alphabet makes every word in the English language understood by anyone who speaks English. Aren't the problems with XML standards development true of all standards efforts? Yes, but no other standards efforts have or are generating specifications at the rate XML is (in the hundreds). XML is a metalanguage for creating standards specifications. So, it's the efforts XML supports in so many vertical domains that are both its forte and the source of the problem. The simultaneous efforts that create redundant models are the problem... Without some revolutionary change to the way in which XML-defined standards are developed, the maze of standards will continue to proliferate, and there will be no way to discover redundancies or identify conflicts and reconcile them. At the least, the proliferation of standards will result in millions of dollars of lost effort. At worst, it will corrupt data and compromise business-critical transactions and operations because different parts of the same company will process conflicting XML messages without knowing it. From 2001 through 2004, enterprises worldwide will spend more than $3 billion on XML modeling activities with no return on investment on $2 billion of it..." Reference posted to the OASIS Tax XML TC mailing list.

  • [January 03, 2002] "Incident Object Description and Exchange Format Data Model and Extensible Markup Language (XML) Document Type Definition." By Jan Meijer (SURFnet), Roman Danyliw (CERT Coordination Center), and Yuri Demchenko (Terena). IETF INCH Working Group, Internet-Draft. Reference: 'draft-ietf-inch-iodef-00.txt'. October 29, 2002, expires April 29, 2003. 114 pages, with 19 references. Document built on the work done by the Incident Object Description and Exchange Format Working-Group of the Terena task-force TF-CSIRT. "The purpose of the Incident Object Description and Exchange Format is to define a common data format for describing and exchanging incident information between collaborating Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs). The specific goals and requirements of the IODEF are described in ['TERENA's Incident Object Description and Exchange Format Requirements,' RFC 3067, February 2001]. One of the design principles in the IODEF is compatibility with the Intrusion Detection Message Exchange Format (IDMEF) developed for intrusion detection systems. For this reason, IODEF is heavily based on the IDMEF and provides upward compatibility with it. This document describes a data model for representing information produced by incident handling systems managing security incident data, and explains the rationale for using this model. An implementation of the data model in the Extensible Markup Language (XML) is presented, an XML Document Type Definition is developed, and examples are provided..." See: "Incident Object Description and Exchange Format (IODEF)." [cache]

  • [January 03, 2002] "Intrusion Detection Message Exchange Format Data Model and Extensible Markup Language (XML) Document Type Definition." By David A. Curry (Merrill Lynch & Co.) and Herve Debar (France Telecom R & D). IETF Intrusion Detection Working Group. Reference: draft-ietf-idwg-idmef-xml-09.txt. November 8, 2002, expires May 7, 2003. "The purpose of the Intrusion Detection Message Exchange Format (IDMEF) is to define data formats and exchange procedures for sharing information of interest to intrusion detection and response systems, and to the management systems which may need to interact with them. This Internet-Draft describes a data model to represent information exported by intrusion detection systems, and explains the rationale for using this model. An implementation of the data model in the Extensible Markup Language (XML) is presented, an XML Document Type Definition is developed, and examples are provided." See: "Intrusion Detection Message Exchange Format." [cache]

  • [January 02, 2003] "Named Character Elements for XML." By Anthony Coates and Zarella Rendon. From January 02, 2003. "HTML users are used to having a lot of named character entities available. They can use &nbsp; to insert a non-breaking space, &copy; to insert a copyright symbol, and &euro; to insert the symbol for the new European currency, the Euro. However, most symbols are not automatically defined in XML. To make them available, you have to use a DTD that defines them or you have to define them in the internal DTD subset of your document. Either way, you need to have a DOCTYPE declaration in your XML documents, which is not appropriate for documents which only need to be well-formed, and for which a DTD would only add more work without creating more value. In particular, XML validation tools often use the presence of a DOCTYPE declaration as an indication that DTD validation should be used. This is a problem if you are using W3C XML Schemas for your validation and only need a DOCTYPE for the purposes of enabling named characters in your XML documents. It means that you will not get the validation results you expect. This is the kind of problem that can lead to a lot of wasted time for inexperienced XML users. In a recent thread on the xml-dev mailing list, the W3C XML Core Working Group expressed its opinion that XML does not need a new mechanism for providing named character entities. The XML Core WG stated that, if you want to use named entities, you simply have to define them in a DTD or in the internal DTD subset. However, Tim Bray offered an alternative suggestion: the right way to give human readable names to special characters was to define XML elements for them. You can then process these elements at the last moment and replace them with the appropriate numeric character entities. The disadvantage to this approach is that it only works with element content, not with attribute values. However, it does allow you to work with purely well-formed XML, without any DTD or DOCTYPE required... Named character elements provide a natural way to use named special characters in XML documents, although they only work for element content and not for attribute values. The xmlchar XSLT library provides element equivalents for all of the special characters from HTML 4."

  • [January 02, 2003] "Never Mind the Namespaces: An XSLT RSS Client." By Bob DuCharme. From January 02, 2003. "RSS is an XML-based format for summarizing and providing links to news stories. If you collect RSS feed URIs from your favorite news sites, you can easily build dynamic, customized collections of news stories. In a recent article Mark Pilgrim explained the history and formats used for RSS. He also showed a simple Python program that can read RSS files conforming to the three RSS formats still in popular use: 0.91, 1.0, and 2.0. While reading Mark's article I couldn't help but think that it would be really easy to do in XSLT. Easy, that is, if you're familiar with the XPath local-name() function. In a past column I showed how this function retrieves the part of an element name that identifies it within its namespace... I rather take the stylesheet a few steps further to create a standalone news aggregator that requires no special software other than a web browser and an XSLT processor. Three basic XSLT techniques make this possible: (1) Most XSLT processors can read remote documents using XSLT's document() function; our stylesheet will use it to retrieve the news feeds from their servers; (2) Converting the RSS elements and attributes to HTML for display by the browser; (3) Using the local-name()function to create template rules that don't care about the namespace of RSS elements such as channel, item, and link. There are plenty of RSS-based news aggregating clients around: Amphetadesk, NewzCrawler, NetNewsWire, among many others. The advantage of using one written in XSLT means that you don't have to install new software on your machine or login to a server-based aggregator that needs to look up a list of your favorite feeds. You can also more easily integrate the XSLT-based one into other applications -- for example, to add customized news feeds to your company's intranet site without relying on any software more expensive or exotic than an XSLT processor... On December 31st [2002] I used Saxon to apply this stylesheet to the RSSChannels document shown above and created an HTML result version; don't forget to try the mouseOvers... If I applied the same stylesheet to the same XML document at a later date, the result would be different, with more up-to-date news. That's the beauty of RSS..." See "RDF Site Summary (RSS)."

  • [January 02, 2003] "'Displaying' XLinks?" By John E. Simpson. From January 02, 2003. Q: "How can I get my stylesheet to display XLinks? It displays text without the linking..." A: "Despite XLink's history to date, I think it has real potential for changing the hypertext landscape. See Tim Berners-Lee's brief note on the subject, 'When Should I use XLink?' Another good, brief introduction to XLink's advantages is Thomas Erl's 'XLink - Inside and Out.' In this light, experimenting with XLink is no waste of time at all. So let's look at your question through the filter, first, of the XLink Recommendation itself... One of the first things that should jump out at you is that your schema says absolutely nothing about the 'xlinkability' of your document. An XLink-aware application will examine the document (perhaps, yes, with information -- such as attribute defaults -- provided by a schema or DTD) not just for href and type attributes, not even for an XLink namespace declaration... The key is that the href and type attributes must be placed in the XLink namespace, as identified by the XLink namespace declaration and corresponding namespace prefixes... the next question is What XLink-aware application will be processing (i.e., 'displaying') this document? If it's truly XLink-aware, you won't need a stylesheet at all; the application will see the xmlns:xlink namespace declaration and the two XLinking attributes (xlink:href and xlink:type), say 'Aha! the who element is an XLinking element!', and establish the link from your document to the remote resource..."

  • [January 02, 2003] "Web Services Security in 2003." By Ray Wagner (Research Director, Gartner). In CSO Online (January 02, 2003). "Concerns over Web services security will persist in 2003 even as basic standards for security emerge. Gartner says enterprises should take a cautious approach to Web services over the next year and continue internal education and development efforts to increase their expertise and familiarity with Web services standards and technologies before moving into high-value deployments that extend beyond the perimeter... To date, the major players and competitors in the Web services market have shown a willingness to cooperate in developing security standards because they recognize that Web services will not gain broad acceptance without adequate mechanisms to protect the privacy, confidentiality and integrity of transactions. However, we expect that the standards battles will get significantly more contentious as the industry's attention turns to federated identity... Several key standards likely will reach release status in the near future, including: (1) Web Services Security (encompassing XML-Encryption and XML-Digital Signature); (2) XML Key Management Specification for key management; (3) Extensible Access Control Markup Language for authorization; However, complex, high-value Web services deployments will be rare. The high-level trust issues that have plagued the public-key infrastructure (PKI) industry also obscure the path to full realization of Web services benefits. Enterprises that could not justify the expense of deploying PKI in 1999 likely will not be able to justify similar expenditures for security for complex Web services deployments in 2003, especially in current market conditions. Enterprises will consider only internal or low-value, external Web services deployments (the Web services equivalent of early-stage, 'brochureware' Web sites) in the near term. Higher-value transactions based on connections with known business partners are unlikely for most enterprises in 2003. By 2004, Web Services Security and XML Key Management Specification will provide a relatively complete standards foundation for security; however, trust issues and the cost and complexity of the supporting infrastructure will constrain most Web services deployments to early adopters and low-value transactions... Enterprises should begin strategic planning for future Web services architectures, which will touch every area of the enterprise infrastructure. Most Web services security mechanisms can be perimeter-based. Therefore, enterprises should investigate tools such as security gateways, SSL concentrators and accelerators, and wire-speed SOAP/XML inspection hardware. Strategic planning will enable enterprises to determine the Web services architecture classes that are most appropriate for their needs..." See also Gartner Research on Security & Privacy.

  • [January 02, 2003] "Java Standard 170: New Era Looms for Content Management Industry." By Dave Cadoff. In Serverworld Magazine Volume 17, Number 1 (January 02, 2003), pages 18, 21. "June 2003 will see a reshuffling in the content management industry with final adoption of the Java Specification Request 170 (JSR 170) standard, which defines a uniform API for access to content repositories. Content management (CM) players who want to demonstrate conformance to Java must support this new API with their repositories... Although the industry has a whole host of specifications dealing with content exchange at the protocol level (e.g., ICE, WebDAV, etc.), the special requirements of content repositories at the API level have yet to be addressed by a single standard. Recent evaluations by the Gartner Group, Forrester Research and Meta Group make clear the radical changes confronting the CM industry. And with more than 150 active manufacturers, those changes are proliferating at a rapid rate. Content management systems, many of which were only designed to maintain or create Web sites, are undergoing a paradigm shift. In as early as 2003, analysts are predicting the increasing fusion of CM tools and portals with legacy and application content. Technologically, JSR 170 works on two levels. Level 1 primarily governs access to content repositories at the content element level (contains fundamental features for read/write access and hierarchical operations). With comprehensive repository functionality, Level 2 forms the basis for a content management system. Level 2 also permits complex applications to exchange data with the Standard API and provides definitions for future, mature repository developments. Level 2 emphasizes (1) Read/write access -- bi-directional interaction of content elements; procedure is not only checked at the document level, but also at the 'properties' level, where the exchange of contents is always regarded as an operation or service, alternately taking place between the system and content repository; (2) Versioning; (3) Full text search and filtering; (4) Object classes -- by defining document types and profiles, limitations can be set forth within which an applications developer can concentrate on specific content object types by means of the programming; (5) Ability to handle transactions. Standardization of the methods for handling binary and text-based, as well as structured, semi-structured and unstructured data, is being examined, in addition to event monitoring, namespaces and standard properties, linking, locking and concurrency..." See "JSR 170: Content Repository for Java technology API."

  • [January 02, 2003] "Process Power: The Latest Process Management Tools Put Business Users in Control." By Martin Lamonica. In CIO Magazine (January 01, 2003). Emerging Technology. "... Ideally, companies should be able to quickly automate their business processes while also being nimble enough to optimize those processes over time. In practice, companies often find themselves bound to the business rules hard-wired into their enterprise applications because modifying the software is so difficult... the convergence of many vendors around BPM is creating a hotly competitive market. A flurry of pureplay BPM startups have cropped up, such as Fuego, Intalio, Lombardi Software, Q-Link Technologies and Savvion. Workflow products from companies such as FileNET and Staffware, originally oriented toward document management and end user workflow, are now beefing up their wares with better connectors to enterprise applications. Meanwhile, integration middleware vendors, such as Tibco Software and WebMethods plus Java application server vendors IBM and BEA Systems, are eyeing BPM as a growth area. Even enterprise application vendors, including SAP and Siebel Systems, are introducing workflow engines into their suites. The crowded playing field makes vendor choice tricky for CIOs. A supplier's pedigree -- end-user-oriented workflow or back-office application-to-application integration -- will help determine how appropriate a technology is for a given application, analysts say. Often, IT executives need to choose between a best-of-breed product that connects well to third-party software or go with a BPM product from an incumbent vendor that integrates tightly with a company's existing architecture, says David McCoy, vice president and research area director at Gartner in Stamford, Conn. 'The problem is you have these vendors who think it's their God-given right to have process management inside their products, but they're not doing anything in a standardized way,' says McCoy, who predicts that many companies will have as many as eight different tools that support process management within two years. To help the situation, numerous BPM and workflow standards have been proposed by various industry groups during the past year. In July [2002], Microsoft, IBM and BEA threw their weight behind BPEL4WS, or Business Process Execution Language for Web Services, an XML-based language for modeling a business process. Other standards include the business process modeling language (BPML) and ebXML (electronic business using extensible markup language). Analysts say that it will take some time for one dominant standard to emerge, and that in the near term it's unlikely that a single specification will address all business process standards scenarios, such as internal automation versus business-to-business..."

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