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Last modified: November 26, 2003
XML Articles and Papers November 2003

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

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

November 2003

  • [November 26, 2003] "Do IT Patents Work?" By Andrew Updegrove. In Consortium Standards Bulletin Volume 2, Number 10 (November 2003). ['Editorial. From the days of VisiCalc until today, software -- and software patents -- have come a long way. The patent system itself, on the other hand, is still where it was before the PC was invented. It's time for a change.'] "Ask anyone whether they are satisfied with the current state of patents in the American IT world, and you are not likely to find many fans of the status quo. In our November News Cluster, we focus on two current events: the well-publicized Eolas victory over Microsoft, followed by the W3C's successful quest for a review by the PTO, and the barely noticed release by the Federal Trade Commission of a comprehensive report suggesting meaningful reforms to the patent system. Whether the combination of the outcry over the Eolas patent and the FTC's good work will be sufficient to spark a change remains to be seen. But those that have a serious stake in the game would be wise to seize upon this opportunity to speak out in favor of a serious effort to bring the patent system up to date. Perhaps the Founding Fathers would be proud of us if we do..." See: (1) "US Federal Trade Commission Report Calls for Patent Law and Policy Reform"; (2) "W3C Presents Prior Art Filing to USPTO and Urges Removal of Eolas Patent"; (3) "Patents and Open Standards."

  • [November 25, 2003] "Developing a X-KRSS Web Service." By Rich Salz. From O'Reilly (November 25, 2003). "In a previous column the author sketched out an alternative to WSDL. In an ongoing attempts to suggest useful ideas for others to implement, Salz now discusses an implementation of service for XKMS (XML Key Management Service). XKMS is W3C Last Call Working Draft that specifies protocols for distributing and registering public keys, suitable for use in conjunction with the proposed standard for XML Signature and XML Encryption. The XML Key Management Specification comprises two parts: the XML Key Information Service Specification (X-KISS) and the XML Key Registration Service Specification (X-KRSS). Web services need end-to-end message integrity and privacy, which means that they need XML Digital Signature and XML Encryption. Those technologies, in turn, scale best when they use public key cryptography. Public key crypto needs a supporting infrastructure, PKI, to handle distribution and certification of keys, etc. PKI has historically been very expensive and unwieldy, and XKMS seems to be the last best chance to get a reasonable infrastructure so that we can sign and encrypt our web service messages. The XKMS spec isn't very big, and it covers a great deal and can really be seen as an enabling technology for general web services deployment..." General references in "XML Key Management Specification (XKMS)."

  • [November 24, 2003] "An Introduction to Schematron." By Eddie Robertsson. From (November 12, 2003). "The Schematron schema language differs from most other XML schema languages in that it is a rule-based language that uses path expressions instead of grammars. This means that instead of creating a grammar for an XML document, a Schematron schema makes assertions applied to a specific context within the document. If the assertion fails, a diagnostic message that is supplied by the author of the schema can be displayed. One advantages of a rule-based approach is that in many cases modifying the wanted constraint written in plain English can easily create the Schematron rules. In order to implement the path expressions used in the rules in Schematron, XPath is used with various extensions provided by XSLT. Since the path expressions are built on top of XPath and XSLT, it is also trivial to implement Schematron using XSLT, which is shown later in the section Schematron processing. Schematron makes various assertions based on a specific context in a document. Both the assertions and the context make up two of the four layers in Schematron's fixed four-layer hierarchy: phases (top-level), patterns, rules (defines the context), and assertions... This introduction covers only three of these layers (patterns, rules and assertions); these are most important for using embedded Schematron rules in RELAX NG... Version 1.5 of Schematron was released in early 2001 and the next version is currently being developed as an ISO standard. The new version, ISO Schematron, will also be used as one of the validation engines in the DSDL (Document Schema Definition Languages) initiative..." See: (1) "Schematron: XML Structure Validation Language Using Patterns in Trees"; (2) "Document Schema Definition Languages (DSDL)"; (3) "XML Schemas."

  • [November 21, 2003] "An Introductory Tour of Mozilla's XUL." By Nigel McFarlane. From InformIT (November 21, 2003). "XUL is an XML-based technology for expressing the GUI part of a software application. It has been used to express GUIs for applications as diverse as web browsers, email clients, calendars, calculators, spreadsheet editors, HTML editors, debuggers, and whole desktop environments. The free Mozilla platform -- that is, the executable engine and libraries that accompany every Mozilla-based product -- provides a fully-featured implementation of XUL. This article is a quick look at the main tags that Mozilla's XUL provides... XUL is a language for expressing forms away from the hypertext environment. Stripped of the underlying hypertext requirement, XUL is able to offer more flexible form-construction options, as well as everything that HTML offers the form builder... Just like XHTML-based applications, XUL applications are part of a multi-technology environment. The features of CSS2, JavaScript, and the DOM standards are all available to a XUL programmer. Some standards components aren't there, such as the HTML part of the DOM 1 standard, because it's XUL and not XHTML. In general terms, however, the environment is the same..." See: (1) "Extensible User Interface Language (XUL)"; (2) "XML Markup Languages for User Interface Definition."

  • [November 12, 2003] "Take It to the Bank: Implementing FpML." By Andrew Parry (Deutsche Bank). In Web Services Journal (November 12, 2003). "The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) is the global trade association representing participants in the privately negotiated derivatives industry, a business covering swaps and options across all asset classes. One of its most notable achievements has been the formation of a standardized document architecture that has greatly facilitated market evolution. As a natural next step in market evolution, ISDA is working with market participants to express the hardcopy document architecture in softcopy form to allow increasing volumes in the derivatives markets to be handled with greater accuracy and lower cost, through extensive use of automation. As part of this process, ISDA formally adopted, the organization that developed Financial products Mark-Up Language, a business information exchange standard for electronic dealing and processing of financial derivatives instruments. Based on XML, FpML establishes the industry protocol for sharing information and dealing in, financial swaps, derivatives, and structured products. FpML 4.0 provides XML Schema objects to describe the majority of derivative contracts by volume, derived directly from the legal framework established by ISDA, and is made freely available by them under public license... ISDA does not provide 'off-theshelf' support in the public standard; it is straightforward to create private extensions, for product description or workflow reasons. These XML Schema objects are composed to form different distinct document prototypes, such as a Trade Confirmation. This document-centric approach allows us to form document instances that represent both the full economics of the deal (or optionally, a reference to it) and the workflow state the document instance is currently in. Web services provide an ideal interface to services that operate on document instances given the support provided for structure, data typing, and platform neutrality. Support can be provided at all stages of process flow..." See general references in "Financial Products Markup Language (FpML)."

  • [November 11, 2003] "PTO Director Orders Re-Exam for '906 Patent." By Dale Dougherty. From O'Reilly Developer Weblogs (November 11, 2003). "In what could be good news for the Web, the Director of the US Patent and Trademark Office has ordered a re-examination of the '906 patent, which was the subject of a patent infringement lawsuit this summer brought by Eolas against Microsoft. Apparently, the PTO responded to the W3C's request for re-examination, saying 'a substantial outcry from a widespread segment of the affected industry has essentially raised a question of patentability.' This order, issued on October 30, 2003 reviewed the claims and declared that the prior art introduced by Berners-Lee and Raggett raised 'a substantial new question of patentabity.' The order, signed by Steve Kunin, Deputy Commissioner of the US PTO, called for a reexamination of all claims relating to the '906 patent. A patent lawyer that I spoke to said that the quick response by the PTO was unusual, and he thought it was a good sign. He said that the order seemed to give a clear indication of support for the claims against the patent. We'll now have to wait for a patent examiner to examine the evidence in more detail and rule on the patent..." Background: In October 2003, Tim Berners-Lee (Director, World Wide Web Consortium) sent a letter to the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (James E. Rogan, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property) appealing for a "reexamination of the '906 patent in order to prevent substantial economic and technical damage to the operation of World Wide Web." The '906 patent granted by the USPTO to the University of California is described as applicable to Java applets, browser plug-ins, ActiveX components, Macromedia Flash, Windows Media Player, and related "embedded program objects." See: (1) "W3C Presents Prior Art Filing to USPTO and Urges Removal of Eolas Patent" and (2) "W3C Opens Public Discussion Forum on US Patent 5,838,906 and Eolas v. Microsoft." Also: "US Federal Trade Commission Report Calls for Patent Law and Policy Reform."

  • [November 11, 2003] "Patent Office to Re-Examine Eolas Patent." By Paul Festa. In CNET (November 11, 2003). "The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has stepped squarely into a fight roiling the Web by agreeing to re-examine the Eolas patent for a browser plug-in, a development likely to bring cheer to Microsoft and software patent foes alike. The 906 patent, owned by the University of California and licensed exclusively to one-man software company Eolas, describes how a Web browser can use external applications. The patent also earned that school and company a $521 million judgment after a federal jury found that Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser infringed on it. After Microsoft made public planned changes to IE that held the potential to break millions of Web sites, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) last month urged the USPTO to re-examine the so-called 906 patent in light of W3C technologies that it said predated Eolas' patent. Specifically, the consortium pointed out early HTML drafts by W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee and W3C staff member Dave Raggett that it said qualified as prior art in the case. The W3C's public call came as part of a larger campaign to identify prior art relevant to the Eolas case. Prior art is a similar invention that predates a patent, therefore invalidating it. The USPTO responded quickly to the W3C's request, and on Oct. 30 the office initiated an order for re-examination. On Monday that order was docketed to the patent examiner. 'A substantial outcry from a widespread segment of the affected industry has essentially raised a question of patentability with respect to the 906 patent claims,' Stephen Kunin, the USPTO's deputy commissioner for patent examination policy, wrote in his order for re-examination. 'This creates an extraordinary situation for which a director-ordered examination is an appropriate remedy'..." See "W3C Presents Prior Art Filing to USPTO and Urges Removal of Eolas Patent"

  • [November 10, 2003] "Demystifying Service-Oriented Architecture." By Jim Webber (Arjuna Technologies) and Savas Parastatidis (North-East Regional e-Science Center - NEReSC). In Web Services Journal Volume 3, Issue 11 (November 2003). "Service orientation requires us to adapt to a new approach to system integration and application development. However, at the moment most of us are still learning about this new technology and so we tend to apply familiar patterns when building Web services-based applications. Applying object-oriented patterns to service-based systems is generally a poor idea since the scale of a typical object-oriented application is dwarfed by the scale of a Web services-based application, which may span many enterprises and departments. It is crucial to remember that the use of SOAP and WSDL in our applications does not constitute service orientation. This article outlines the basics of (Web) service-oriented architectures and looks at the distinguishing features of SOA that make it the right approach to take when developing Web services-based applications. We define the concept of a service, compare the emerging service-oriented programming to object-oriented programming, and outline how to advance to SOA. Finally, we explore these concepts in the context of an example banking system... There are two possible approaches rising to prominence in the Web services community: (1) Correlation based on message content. This is best exemplified by the correlation-set mechanism in BPEL, where parts of messages incident on a Web service can be used to form a unique identifier, implicitly linking related messages together on such 'keys' as account number, date, or suchlike. (2) WS-Coordination or WS-Context [part of the WS-CAF suite of specifications] Assumes a context identifying related messages is embedded in a SOAP header block on each related message. Which approach we choose is determined by our deployment scenario since both broadly achieve the same goal. Where the simplicity and potential interoperability benefits of a standard, explicit context-based approach are appealing, we need additional infrastructure to deal with context generation and lifetime management. Conversely, with the implicit correlation-based approach, we need no external infrastructure, though we run the risk of altering message content solely to be able to generate uniqueness... Whichever context form is selected, the upshot is the same: context allows consumers to have 'stateful' interactions with Web services, but does not require back-end objects to be exposed. This means the Web service has a free hand in deciding how to manage its back-end resources, since they remain encapsulated away from the consumer. This is in contrast to the object-based approach, where invocation context is set by references to objects and the invocation history of referenced objects. The big drawback with this scheme is that object references between enterprises are likely to be brittle and impose too tight a level of coupling between the client and the serving object..."

  • [November 10, 2003] "Portal Vendors Unite Behind Standards. Plumtree, Sun, BEA, Documentum Create Open Source Site for Portlet Sharing." By Cathleen Moore. In InfoWorld (November 10, 2003). "Attempting to drive real-world deployments of standardized portlets, several competing enterprise portal vendors this week kicked off an open source site designed to let customers share portlets developed according to new standards. Plumtree, Sun Microsystems, BEA Systems, and Documentum joined forces to launch the POST (Portlet Open-Source Trading) site, an open source Web site where customers can share portlets and submit components for community development. Available at, the site is hosted by SourceForge, an independent organization that hosts a variety of Java and Linux-based initiatives. JSR 168 and WSRP (Web Services for Remote Portlets), two portlet standards developed by the Java Community Process and OASIS standards bodies, respectively, aim to let portal components be deployed across a variety of platforms. JSR 168 was approved in early October, while WSRP was finalized in mid-September. The idea of POST is to create a way for portal customers to share and leverage standardized portal components, according to Glenn Kelman, vice president of product marketing and management at Plumtree... Any registered organization can contribute portlets to POST, which then become available to all other members of the open source effort. POST lets participants see lists of newly available portlets, post requests to the community for the development of new portlets, search for portlets, upload or download new portlets, submit modified or enhanced versions of portlets, and discuss portlet development best practices, issues, and solutions. Plumtree, BEA, Sun, and Documentum each will provide an initial library of standards-based portlets, and will offer ongoing feedback, suggestions, and best practices for portlet development. One incentive for customers to share portlets is the capability to improve their code, Kelman said..." See details and references in the news story: "Portlet Open Source Trading (POST) Site for JSR 168 and WSRP Portlets."

  • [November 10, 2003] "XML in Unexpected Places." By Eugene Kuznetsov (Chairman & CTO, DataPower Technology, Inc). In XML Journal Volume 4, Issue 11 (November 2003). "SOAP is 'firewall friendly' [...] and so there's a need to secure it. To secure it intelligently, a firewall or gateway must be XML-aware. This plays into a larger trend of shifting from transport-layer to message-level security. People dynamics, security hygiene, and organizational politics drive separation of concerns and moving this security into dedicated devices. The whole trend is an opportunity to finally create a universal application security layer... In a departure from its document publishing and invoice-schema roots, XML is also used in IM. The most prominent is probably Jabber and its XML-based protocol that is now beginning to be adopted for other, non-IM uses. XML, sometimes in its binary-encoded forms, has long been present in cellphones and PDAs, and it is starting to gather momentum as a control and configuration protocol in telephone networks... XML is also appearing inside government agencies in both the U.S. and the rest of the world. However, the use of XML should not be surprising given that government agencies have been longtime users of SGML. Several of the U.S. initiatives are worth highlighting. As part of the eGov initiative, the XML Working Group has been doing great work in promoting XML and unified schema registries. The ability to publish both electronically and in print from the same source is important to civilian agencies seeking to move online without leaving those reliant on paper behind. Law enforcement and military agencies are using XML to integrate intelligence data ... The use of XML in networks is not limited to XML-aware actions on application data to route, transform, or filter them. Today, network and systems management is primarily done using a menagerie of technologies: SNMP MIBs, CLI (such as Cisco's commandline interface), product-specific GUIs, syslog logs, and proprietary agent plugins. Of these, product-specific GUIs and CLIs tend to provide the most detailed and up-to-date information, but are the most difficult to integrate into an overall network or security management framework. Finding XML in all of these unexpected places is a great sign for adoption, but can be a little disorienting and saddening for pioneers. For them, it's not unlike the day when the rest of the world discovered the Internet, and it suddenly became something very different from what it was. Seeing the reasons for the emergence of XML outside software systems requires an understanding of the bigger picture and organizational dynamics, such as the need to control company-wide security policy outside application code. Beware of combining all XML projects into one corporate initiative -- the presence of XML today is becoming so broad that such a combination may prevent all of them from making progress rather than conserve resources..."

  • [November 10, 2003] "Adobe Buys XML Software Maker." By David Becker. In CNET (November 10, 2003). "Publishing software giant Adobe Systems announced Monday that it has acquired Yellow Dragon Software, a small company that specializes in XML tools that will support Adobe's electronic document strategy. Vancouver, British Columbia-based Yellow Dragon makes two products that help business use XML (Extensible Markup Language), the widely spreading standard for exchanging corporate data among disparate computing systems. Terms of the deal for privately held Yellow Dragon were not disclosed. Adobe will initially focus on the company's XML registry software, which keeps track of the metadata behind XML-based files. Adobe will incorporate the registry software in future server products, said Chris Ethier, senior product manager for Adobe, to provide an integrated way for customers to track XML-enabled documents created in Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF) and other formats... XML is a key part of Adobe's strategy to expand PDF, already widely used for electronic distribution of documents that are later printed. XML functionality is particularly important as Adobe tries to expand PDF as a format for creating and distributing electronic forms. Yellow Dragon's other product is a server application for securely exchanging instant messages based on Electronic Business Extensible Markup Language (ebXML)..." See details in the announcement: "Adobe Extends Commitment to XML Standards with Acquisition of Yellow Dragon Software. Acquired Technology Assets Enable Native ebXML Support in Adobe's Intelligent Document Platform and Streamline Collaboration Across the Extended Enterprise."

  • [November 05, 2003] "SMI-S: Storage Management Interface Spec." By Elizabeth Clark and Andy Dornan. In Network Magazine (November 05, 2003). "The promise of SMI-S is a common, standards-based management interface that network managers can use to enable storage devices from different vendors to work and play well with each other... SMI-S is intended to improve compatibility among different storage vendors' equipment (note that the term 'interoperability' isn't used here, for reasons we'll discuss later). During its formative years, SMI-S was known as Bluefin, but lost its seaworthy sobriquet in favor of a moniker more suitable for landlubbers. The spec is currently being formatted for submission to the American National Standards Institute's (ANSI) International Committee for IT Standards (INCITS). One of SMI-S's primary components is the Distributed Management Task Force's (DMTF) Common Information Model (CIM), an object-oriented framework that defines the physical and logical structure of system components. CIM is in turn part of the broader Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) specification. Under WBEM's covers lies an Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based encoding specification, as well as a mechanism for accessing modeled objects using the HTTP protocol. This CIM/WBEM combination is what packs a great deal of SMI-S's punch. The promise of SMI-S is a common, standards-based management interface that network managers can use to enable storage devices from different vendors to work and play well with each other... SMI-S 1.0 focuses primarily on basic device discovery and enumeration, including the ability to obtain information on logical elements such as data paths, mappings, Logical Unit Numbers (LUNs), and storage pools. According to the SNIA's roadmap, version 1.0-compliant products will include capabilities such as LUN masking, volume creation, and zoning for switched Fibre Channel fabrics. For version 1.1 of the spec, the SNIA is targeting the inclusion of capabilities such as low-level device discovery for Host Bus Adapters (HBAs) and support for multipathing, more detailed performance statistics, and some elements of policy-based management. It's also expected to contain some command and control functions, such as those pertaining to making snapshot copies, remote mirroring, and data migration. Also on the agenda is support for Network-Attached Storage (NAS) and storage over IP..." See "SNIA Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S)."

Earlier Articles October 2003

  • [October 29, 2003] "W3C Seeks Re-examination of Eolas Browser Patent." By Matt Hicks. In eWEEK (October 29, 2003). "The World Wide Web Consortium is seeking a reexamination of a Web browser patent that it says threatens to undermine the smooth operation of the Web. On Tuesday [2003-10-28], W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee sent a letter to the United States Patent and Trademark Office formally requesting a reexamination of the patent, U.S. Patent No. 5,838,906. The Web standards group claims that the patent is invalid because 'prior art' (a legal term in patent law referring to whether an invention existed prior to the filing of a patent) was not considered at the time the patent was granted in 1998 or during the trial. 'A patent whose validity is demonstrably in doubt ought not be allowed to undo years of work that have gone into building the Web,' Berners-Lee wrote in his letter to James E. Rogan, undersecretary of commerce for intellectual property in the patent office In a separate filing with the patent office, the W3C last week outlined examples of prior art, including two publications from a Hewlett Packard Laboratories researcher, Dave Raggett, about a proposed HTML+ specification that it says were published a year before the patent filing. The W3C claims that the publications describe the EMBED tag in HTML+ in an identical way to the EMBED tag in the patent. Beyond the claims of prior art, the W3C also cited the far-flung impact of the patent as a reason for it to be re-examined. As well as Web and software developers being forced to modify Web pages and applications at a considerable expense, millions of Web pages that are no longer being actively maintained but that have historical significance could be broken because no one is responsible for covering the cost of changing them, Berners-Lee wrote..." See details in the news story: "W3C Presents Prior Art Filing to USPTO and Urges Removal of Eolas Patent."

  • [October 28, 2003] "Web Group Backs Microsoft in Patent Suit." By Steve Lohr. In New York Times (October 29, 2003). W3C, a "leading Internet standards-setting organization took the unusual step yesterday of urging the director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office to invalidate a software patent that the group says threatens the development of the World Wide Web. The move by the World Wide Web Consortium puts the group squarely behind Microsoft in a patent-infringement lawsuit that the company is losing so far. A federal jury ruled against Microsoft in August and awarded $521 million to a former University of California researcher who holds the patent the Web consortium now wants revoked. The Web group contends that the patent based on work done by Michael Doyle, founder of Eolas Technologies in Chicago, while he was an adjunct professor at the University of California at San Francisco, was improperly granted. In a filing with the patent office, the Web consortium asserts that the ideas in the Eolas patent had previously been published as prior art, a legal term. That prior art was not considered when the patent was granted, or in the Microsoft trial, and thus the patent claims should be invalidated, the consortium contends. In a long letter yesterday, Tim Berners-Lee, the consortium director, who created the basic software standards for the Web, said the patent office should begin a review of the patent 'to prevent substantial economic and technical damage to the operation of the World Wide Web.' In his letter to James E. Rogan, director of the patent office, Mr. Berners-Lee repeatedly emphasized the wider public interest in a review of the patent. If the claims in the patent are upheld and enforced, Mr. Berners-Lee warned, 'the cycle of innovation on the Web would be substantially retarded.' Later, he wrote that the patent, if unchallenged, represented 'a substantial setback for global interoperability and the success of the open Web.' The technology in question lets a Web browser summon programs automatically over the Internet. The programs that use this technology include those for playing music, videos and animations and exchanging documents over the Internet. The technology has become a standard feature in the software for coding Web pages, called hypertext markup language. To comply with the court ruling, Microsoft has told several software companies and the Web consortium that it plans to make changes in its Internet Explorer browser, the on-ramp to the Web for 90 percent of computer users. That, the Web consortium warned, could force changes in other Internet media software including the Real Networks music player, Apple's QuickTime video program, Macromedia Flash, Adobe's document reader, and Web scripting languages like Sun Microsystems' Java. In addition, the standards group said, Web pages across the Internet might have to be modified to adjust to changes made by Microsoft to comply with the court ruling..." See references in "W3C Presents Prior Art Filing to USPTO and Urges Removal of Eolas Patent."

  • [October 27, 2003] "Code Name Avalon: Create Real Apps Using New Code and Markup Model." By Charles Petzold. In Microsoft MSDN Magazine Volume 19 Number 1 (January 2004). "The new presentation subsystem in the next version of Windows, code-named 'Longhorn,' offers powerful new capabilities to developers. This new subsystem, code-named 'Avalon,' allows developers to take advantage of its capabilities through a language -- Extensible Application Markup Language (code-named 'XAML'), as well as through modern object-oriented programming languages such as C#. Because most applications written to Avalon will probably be a mix of XAML and programming code, this article discusses XAML tags used to control page layout along with the procedural code written to respond to events. Avalon consists mostly of a new collection of classes added to the .NET Framework... In addition, Avalon also defines a new markup language you can use in Longhorn that's code-named 'XAML.' You use XAML much like HTML to define a layout of text, images, and controls. Being based on XML, XAML has stricter and much less ambiguous syntax than HTML. It is expected that most XAML will be machine-generated by visual design programs, but it may be a good learning experience to hand-write your own XAML (initially). Most applications written to Avalon will probably contain both program code and XAML. You'll use the XAML for defining the initial visual interface of your application, and write code for doing everything else. You can embed the program code directly in XAML or keep it in a separate file. Everything you can do in XAML you can also do in program code, so it's possible to write a program without using any XAML at all. The reverse is not true, however; there are many tasks that can only be done in program code, so only the simplest applications will consist entirely of XAML. Here's a little snippet of some XAML: <Button Background='LightSeaGreen' FontSize='24pt'>Calculate</Button>... XAML has very intimate ties with the Avalon class library: every element type you can use in XAML is actually a class and, specifically, a descendent of the UIElement or ContentElement classes declared in the MSAvalon.Windows namespace. Among the descendents of UIElement is Control, from which are descended all the common user-interface controls such as buttons, scroll bars, list boxes, edit fields, and so forth. Classes derived from ContentElement include Bold and Italic. Of course, the modern programmer wants to know: can I use my own classes as XAML elements? And the answer is: of course you can. XAML is called the Extensible Application Markup Language for a reason. Any class that has a public parameterless constructor and settable properties can be used in XAML... The hierarchical nature of XAML is one reason why a markup language makes more sense than programming code for defining a visual interface. The markup can mimic the hierarchy with nesting and indentation. In fact, when Windows 1.0 was first introduced in 1985, programmers used a text resource script to define the hierarchical structure of their menus and dialog boxes. At the time, the hierarchy only went one level deep, but it was a start. An XAML file is just the resource script... Avalon and XAML represent a departure from Windows-based application programming of the past. In many ways, designing your application's UI will be easier than it used to be and deploying it will be a snap. With a lightweight XAML markup for UI definition, Longhorn-based applications are the obvious next step in the convergence of the Web and desktop programming models, combining the best of both approaches..." See also: (1) "XML Markup Languages for User Interface Definition."; (2) "Microsoft Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML)."

  • [October 27, 2003] "Web Services, XML Touted for Longhorn. Microsoft Again Beats Drum for Planned Operating System." By Paul Krill. In InfoWorld (October 27, 2003). "Microsoft Senior Vice President Jim Allchin at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference here on Monday touted the upcoming Longhorn release of Windows for its XML, Web services, collaboration, and storage capabilities... Developers, who are receiving early code from Longhorn at the conference, will have to wait a while for the finished Longhorn product. A first beta release is not planned until the second half of 2004, with general availability expected in 2006. For Web services and collaboration, the Indigo technology in Longhorn enables access to multiple elements of the system, including security and trust. Peer-to-peer communications also is supported... Applications can be run as a service, according to Allchin. Synchronization also is provided in Indigo, as is collaboration, providing for unification of contact lists among systems such as real-time messaging and e-mail, he said. The XAML (XML Application Markup Language) functionality in Longhorn provides a markup language enabling development in a declarative programming fashion, according to Allchin. The declarative concept involves separating coding from content. 'XAML allows collaboration between designers and developers,' he said... Also featured in Longhorn is Next Generation Secure Computing Base (NGSCB), formerly called Palladium, for secure booting in hardware and creation of shadowed memory. 'The idea is it's a curtained memory, so it would be very, very hard to penetrate that,' Allchin said..."

  • [October 27, 2003] "XMPP Instant Messaging." By Peter Saint-Andre and Jeremie Miller (Jabber Software Foundation). IETF Network Working Group, Internet-Draft. Reference: 'draft-ietf-xmpp-im-18'. October 26, 2003. 109 pages. "The Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) is a protocol for streaming XML elements in order to exchange messages and presence information in close to real time. The core features of XMPP are defined in XMPP Core. These features -- specifically XML streams, stream authentication and encryption, and the <message/>, <presence/>, and <iq/> children of the stream root -- provide the building blocks for many types of near-real-time applications, which may be layered on top of the core by sending application-specific data qualified by particular XML namespaces. This memo describes extensions to and applications of the core features of XMPP that provide the basic functionality expected of an instant messaging (IM) and presence application as defined in RFC 2779 ['Instant Messaging / Presence Protocol Requirements']... For the purposes of this memo, the requirements of a basic instant messaging and presence application are defined by RFC 2779. At a high level, RFC 2779 stipulates that a user must be able to complete the following use cases: (1) Exchange messages with other users (2) Exchange presence information with other users (3) Manage subscriptions to and from other users (4) Manage items in a contact list (in XMPP this is called a "roster") (5) Block communications to or from specific other users Detailed definitions of these functionality areas are contained in RFC 2779... While XMPP-based instant messaging and presence meets the requirements of RFC 2779, it was not designed explicitly with RFC 2779 in mind, since the base protocol evolved through an open development process within the Jabber open-source community before RFC 2779 was written. Note also that although protocols addressing many other functionality areas have been defined in the Jabber community, such protocols are not included in this memo because they are not required by RFC 2779..." See following entry, and general references in "Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP)."

  • [October 27, 2003] "XMPP Core." By Peter Saint-Andre and Jeremie Miller (Jabber Software Foundation). IETF Network Working Group, Internet-Draft. Reference: 'draft-ietf-xmpp-core-19'. October 26, 2003. 94 pages. "The Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) is an open XML protocol for near-real-time messaging, presence, and request-response services. The basic syntax and semantics were developed originally within the Jabber open-source community, mainly in 1999. In 2002, the XMPP WG was chartered with developing an adaptation of the Jabber protocol that would be suitable as an IETF instant messaging (IM) and presence technology. As a result of work by the XMPP WG, the current memo defines the core features of XMPP; XMPP IM defines the extensions required to provide the instant messaging and presence functionality defined in RFC 2779 ['Instant Messaging / Presence Protocol Requirements']... Although XMPP is not wedded to any specific network architecture, to date it usually has been implemented via a typical client-server architecture, wherein a client utilizing XMPP accesses a server over a TCP socket.. A server acts as an intelligent abstraction layer for XMPP communications. Its primary responsibilities are to manage connections from or sessions for other entities (in the form of XML streams (Section 4) to and from authorized clients, servers, and other entities) and to route appropriately-addressed XML stanzas (Section 9) among such entities over XML streams. Most XMPP-compliant servers also assume responsibility for the storage of data that is used by clients (e.g., contact lists for users of XMPP-based instant messaging and presence applications); in this case, the XML data is processed directly by the server itself on behalf of the client and is not routed to another entity. Compliant server implementations MUST ensure in-order processing of XML stanzas between any two entities... Most clients connect directly to a server over a TCP socket and use XMPP to take full advantage of the functionality provided by a server and any associated services. Although there is no necessary coupling of an XML stream to a TCP socket (e.g., a client could connect via HTTP polling or some other mechanism), this specification defines a binding of XMPP to TCP only. Multiple resources (e.g., devices or locations) may connect simultaneously to a server on behalf of each authorized client, with each resource differentiated by the resource identifier of a JID (e.g., <node@domain/home> vs. <node@domain/work>) as defined under Addressing Scheme (Section 3). The RECOMMENDED port for connections between a client and a server is 5222, as registered with the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)... A gateway is a special-purpose server-side service whose primary function is to translate XMPP into the protocol used by a foreign (non-XMPP) messaging system, as well as to translate the return data back into XMPP. Examples are gateways to Internet Relay Chat (IRC), Short Message Service (SMS), SIMPLE, SMTP, and legacy instant messaging networks such as AIM, ICQ, MSN Messenger, and Yahoo! Instant Messenger. Communications between gateways and servers, and between gateways and the foreign messaging system, are not defined in this document..." See preceding entry, and general references in "Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP)."

  • [October 24, 2003] "Industry Commentary: Think Async." By Edwin Khodabakchian (Collaxa). In Web Services Journal Volume 3, Issue 10 (October 2003). "Within the IT industry, we're seeing a steady shift from an RPC (remote procedure call) integration style to asynchronous, document-based integration. More and more developers are realizing that asynchronous services are core to a new, loosely coupled and message-driven architecture. The main benefits that are enabled by asynchronous services and the associated loosely coupled, message-based architecture are: (1) Reliability: A synchronous integration style results in brittle applications where the weakest link in a chain impacts an entire application or business process. Reliable integration requires asynchronous interactions. (2) Scalability: Message-oriented middleware vendors and developers have shown that queues provide for maximum throughput and efficiency when connecting systems with different processing and availability capacities. The same approach can be taken with all integration projects by leveraging asynchronous services. (3) Long-running services: Integration projects frequently bring the greatest value when automating business processes that involve both manual processes and automated systems. Any service that supports or requires manual intervention must have an asynchronous interface due to the time it will likely need to complete... there are many standards (BPEL4WS, SOAP, WSDL, WS-Addressing, WS-Transaction, etc.) that assist in implementing asynchronous architectures. These standards provide a framework for an asynchronous architecture and bring significant value in both the design and implementation phases of an integration project by supporting asynchronous interactions as first-class citizens. But all of these standards and technology are the second step - the first step is for developers and architects to learn to be more comfortable designing asynchronous, loosely coupled services and systems..." General references in "Asynchronous Transactions and Web Services."

  • [October 24, 2003] "W3C to Broaden Footstep in China." By Bob Liu. In (October 24, 2003). "The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced it will broaden its footsteps in mainland China with the group's first-ever event to be organized in November. The China International Forum on WWW's Development 2003 will be held on 12-13 November 2003 in Beijing. The event is co-organized by the China Computer Federation and the W3C Office in Hong Kong. China has more than 45 million Internet users and the number is still growing. Chinese is the second most widely used language (behind English) on the Web. Cultural and language differences increase the necessity to pay attention to how the Web grows so that more people can access the Web easily, and so that user agents can render and search Chinese Web pages correctly with a variety of devices. 'The differences in knowledge levels, languages, consumers and producers, etc., have created information asymmetry which hinders international information exchange,' said Professor Shi Zhongzhi. Many international companies have set up research and development laboratories in China to work on Web-related technologies. However, the Web community at large needs more input from Chinese public users, academia and local industry, who depend on the Web in their daily activities..." See China International Forum on WWW's Development 2003, to be held November 12-13, 2003. Related W3C news: "El Consorcio World Wide Web inaugura la Oficina Española en Oviedo, España."

  • [October 24, 2003] "Navy Deploying Its Battle Plan: SAML." By Anne Chen. In eWEEK (October 20, 2003). "At the U.S. Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, the battle plans to gain control of an it environment with an estimated 200,000 applications center on single-sign-on capabilities and the use of SAML... In 2001, Adm. William Fallon, vice chief of naval operations, created Task Force Web, an initiative to winnow the Navy's thousands of legacy applications. The program called for all Navy applications to be Web-enabled by next year and available to some 720,000 Navy users via the Navy Enterprise Portal. The task proved to be much larger than anyone thought. At the time, the Navy had about 200,000 applications in use, many of which were deployed at the department level and overlapped with those in other Navy units. To control that environment, the Navy decided to deploy a portal based on a Web services architecture. It was decided the portal would be based on open standards, so the Navy chose to build its Web services architecture using the J2EE (Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition) environment. The Navy spent about $1 million to develop internally a middleware layer that enables the agency to substitute standards or data definitions without forcing changes to user services or underlying databases. This portal connector links the Navy's disparate legacy applications and Web services... SPAWAR -- which acquires and deploys the technology used in ships and airplanes, as well as in network operating centers in the continental United States and overseas -- decided single sign-on would be the most effective way to handle identity management for users to access the Navy Enterprise Portal... Because of the Navy's need to support personnel and contractors stationed around the globe, SPAWAR chose to support single-sign-on capabilities that are managed as a reusable Web service. For identity management authorization, SPAWAR decided to use open standards, including SAML; XML; Simple Object Access Protocol; and Universal Description, Discovery and Integration. This led to the Navy's decision earlier this year to pilot Oblix Inc.'s NetPoint Identity Management and Access Control Solution 6.1 because Oblix supports SAML... In the initial phase of the program, SPAWAR deployed NetPoint to handle SAML-enabled, single-sign-on authentication of 5,500 users aboard the battleship USS Teddy Roosevelt, enabling them to access applications that do everything from tracking parts to pinpointing the location of enemy vessels. NetPoint handles the exchange of SAML security assertions between users on the ship and servers onshore, and it automatically logs users in to the Navy Enterprise Portal and its available applications. The deployment of the project was successful enough that the Navy is planning to use NetPoint to provide single-sign-on capabilities to all 720,000 naval users and civilian contractors who access the Navy Marine Corps Intranet. Eventually, that number could reach as high as 3 million because all users associated with the Navy will be able to have their identity managed this way..." General references in "Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML)."

  • [October 24, 2003] "Messaging Worlds on Course to Merge. XMPP, SIMPLE Groups Discuss Interoperability." By Cathleen Moore. In InfoWorld (October 24, 2003). "Talks are under way to bridge the gap between rival IETF instant messaging protocols, paving the way for development of new collaboration technologies. Speaking last week at an IM Planet Show panel in San Jose, Calif., representatives from the XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) and SIMPLE (Session Initiation Protocol for IM and Presence Leveraging Extensions) standards camps said preliminary talks have begun. 'The groups plan to talk more about interoperability at the IETF meeting in November,' said Joe Hildebrand, chief architect at Jabber. Hildebrand said once interoperability work begins, the standards groups will look at combining existing IM technology and developing new technology. Other panelists included Jonathan Rosenberg, SIP and SIMPLE co-author and CTO at dynamicsoft; and Maxime Seguineau, founder, chairman, and CEO of Antepo. Illustrating the potential for interoperability, the nonprofit Jabber Software Foundation also announced last week the public availability of two gateways designed to extend XMPP networks to SIMPLE and Wireless Village IM implementations. The SIMPLE gateway is built for IBM's Lotus Instant Messaging implementation of SIMPLE. Both SIMPLE and XMPP are nearing final ratification by the IETF. IM standards development is 'a big-time issue' due to the significant development and market opportunities in enterprise IM and presence technology, said Rob Batchelder, president of Relevance... Although the initial talks between XMPP and SIMPLE camps stayed safely within the bounds of interoperability, the possibility of merging the efforts into a single standard would yield the most benefit to the industry, Batchelder said..." IETF drafts recently published in the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) Working Group: XMPP Instant Messaging (September 7, 2003, reference: 'draft-ietf-xmpp-im-17', 118 pages); XMPP Core (September 7, 2003, reference: 'draft-ietf-xmpp-core-18', 95 pages). Additional specifications cited in "Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP)." See also: (1) IETF SIMPLE Working Group Charter [SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions]; (2) "Common Profile for Instant Messaging (CPIM).".

  • [October 24, 2003] "Denmark Urges Government Support for Open Source." By Matthew Broersma. In ZDNet News (October 24, 2003). "Open source software and open standards are vital for any attempt at e-government, argues a new report from Denmark. Open source software represents a serious alternative to proprietary products, and should be used as a tool to open up software markets to more competition, according to a report carried out under the auspices of the Danish government. The report, which stirred up controversy when it was published in Denmark earlier this month, was released in English this week by the Danish Board of Technology. While a number of governments in Europe and elsewhere are eyeing open source software as a way of cutting costs and stimulating localised software development, the Danish study goes a step further, arguing that public sector support for open-source and open standards may be necessary for there to be any real competition in the software market... The study recommended that governments take an active role in promoting standardised file formats and alternatives to dominant proprietary applications in order to help break a 'de facto monopoly'. 'The ordinary market conditions for standard software will tend towards a very small number of suppliers or a monopoly,' the Board of Technology stated in the report. 'It will only be possible to achieve competition in such a situation by taking political decisions that assist new market participants in entering the market.' The Board was particularly critical of closed, proprietary standards such as Microsoft's Word format, arguing they go against the principles of e-government by requiring citizens to use particular software and reinforcing monopolies. 'A strategy for e-government should not be based on a closed, proprietary standard in a key technology,' the report said. 'There is no genuine competition at present in the desktop (office software) area, largely due to the fact that Microsoft formats also represent de facto standards for electronic document exchange.' The Board recommended that the Danish government take an active role in promoting an open, XML-based alternative for file formats, either by switching to OpenOffice's XML format or launching an EU-wide project to develop a new format... The Danish Board of Technology urged the government to take action, dismissing the lukewarm approach of other European countries: 'It is... not sufficient for us in Denmark to follow Britain and Germany, for example, in merely recommending that open source should be 'considered'. A more active decision must be taken in those areas where there is a de facto monopoly'..." See "Danish Board of Technology Report Recommends Open Source Software for E-Government."

  • [October 22, 2003] "Raising the XML Flag." By David Becker. In CNET (October 22, 2003). "The launch of the new Microsoft Office System included a handful of new products and major changes to existing applications that are intended to position them as part of a broad platform for interacting with corporate data. New XML (Extensible Markup Lanugage)-based functions in familiar programs such as Word and Excel expand their role as purely local applications. New applications such as InfoPath, an ambitious attempt to apply electronic forms to internal business processes, and SharePoint collaborations tools further blur the distinction between desktop and server. But Jeff Raikes, vice president of Microsoft's Productivity and Business Services group, insists that XML 'plumbing' is beside the point -- the real news is that the new Office will buy harried workers a few more minutes in their day. He points to a recent third-party study that concludes that Office 2003 improves efficiency enough to save the average office worker two hours a week. 'I think the kind of benefits you see in Office 2003, where information worker productivity can be improved by up to two hours per week, where you can have the kind of cumulative impact where you can pay for the investment in eight months on average -- that has to be at the core of what we do,' he said. Raikes spoke with CNET in conjunction with the Office System launch...' [Raikes:] 'The biggest story, really, is the transformation. People have historically had a narrow view of what Office means to them and their productivity. With Office 2003, and in particular establishing the Office System concept, we're very clearly...signaling a major transformation of what we're doing with Office and our aspiration to really help people in the broad facets of information work..." See: "New Microsoft Office System Marketed to Enterprises."

  • [October 21, 2003] "Opposition to the H.R. 3261, Entitled 'Database and Collections of Information Misappropriation Act'." Public interest community letter from ARL and others to Rep. James Sensenbrenner of the Committee on the Judiciary and Rep. Billy Tauzin of the Committee on Energy and Commerce expressing opposition to H.R. 3261. (October 21, 2003). "The private sector proponents of the bill have yet to offer a convincing case that existing federal and state laws, including federal copyright law, federal anti-hacking prohibitions, and a variety of state contract and tort laws, are insufficient to provide database producers with adequate protection. They have certainly failed to demonstrate a problem that would justify the fundamental and constitutionally suspect changes to our Nation's information policy called for in the legislation. We represent a broad and diverse coalition of database producers and users consisting of research and educational institutions, consumer and public interest groups, libraries, Internet and communications companies, financial services providers, and large corporate users of information. We believe the open sharing of information has been fundamental to our nation's advancement in knowledge, technology, and culture. We fear that legislation like H.R. 3261 will lead to the growing monopolization of the marketplace for information, where the ability to use facts is increasingly controlled by a small number of international publishing houses..." Signatures from:, American Association of Law Libraries, American Civil Liberties Union, American Historical Association, American Library Association, Association of Research Libraries, Bloomberg, LP, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., CheckFree, Comcast, Computer & Communications Industry Association, Consumer Project on Technology, Digital Future Coalition, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Essential Information, Google, Information Technology Association of America, Media Access Project, Medical Library Association, National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Sciences, National Business Coalition on E-Commerce and Privacy, NetCoalition, Public Knowledge, SBC Communications, Special Library Association, Society of American Archivists, The River, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Verizon, Virginia ISP Association, Washington ISP Association, Worldnet Communications, Wyoming ISP Association, and Yahoo! Inc. See also: (1) testimony of Mr. William Wulf (President, National Academy of Engineering) and (2) testimony of Tom Donohue (President and Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce). Donohue: "Our country's basic information policy provides that facts -- the building blocks of information -- cannot be owned..." See summary by Roy Mark. [cache]

  • [October 17, 2003] "House Panel Approves Database Protection Bill." By Roy Mark. In (October 17, 2003). "The U.S. House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property voted 10-4 Thursday [2003-10-16] afternoon to approve legislation to prohibit the misappropriation of commercial databases. The measure now goes to the full committee... The Database and Collections of Information Misappropriation Act of 2003 (H.R. 3261), sponsored by Howard Coble (R.-N.C.), allows database owners to sue in civil court for damages arising from the theft of the information and represents, according to Coble, a compromise effort to create a balance where the interests of users and producers of databases. Various versions of the legislation have kicked around Congress for the last eight years with opponents, which include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and college and university libraries, contending other laws on the books provide remedies for database owners. Thursday those same objections were raised by Democrats on the subcommittee. 'This is the classic solution in search of a problem,' said Rep. Rick Boucher (D.-Va.), who introduced several amendments to the bill that were all defeated. Boucher sought to exempt libraries from the penalty provisions of the bill and also wanted an amendment that would not allow database owners from using the bill to protect legal materials produced by courts..." Note: this proposed piece of legislation [alt URL] is opposed especially by universities, research libraries and archivists, Internet Service Providers, the American Civil Liberties Union, and consumer groups. See Coalition opposition to HR 3261.

  • [October 17, 2003] "M-Commerce, Certifications Next for Liberty Alliance. Federated Network Identity Effort Proceeds." By Paul Roberts. In InfoWorld (October 14, 2003). "Single sign-on standards group the Liberty Alliance Project said Tuesday that it was taking over the work of European mobile computing standards group Radicchio Ltd. and that it will unveil a program to certify products and services for compliance with the Liberty Alliance's federated network identity standards. The announcements come as the trade group looks for ways to increase adoption of Liberty specifications and build a secure foundation for the growth of mobile and wireless transactions... Radicchio is a U.K.-based cross industry group that was created in 1999 to foster a secure platform for conducting transactions using mobile devices such as cell phones and PDAs (personal digital assistants). The group developed a platform called the 'Trusted Transaction Roaming platform,' or t2r, for authenticating mobile device users across different mobile networks. The t2r platform was recently submitted to the European Commission for evaluation. Under an agreement, which is still being negotiated, t2r will be transferred to the Liberty Alliance Project along with any other specifications and assets belonging to Radicchio, according to a statement released by Radicchio Tuesday at the ITU Telecom conference in Geneva. Once the transfer is complete, Radicchio will discontinue operations, according to James van der Beek, senior manager of strategy at Radicchio member Vodaphone Group. The t2r platform uses the Liberty Alliance's Federated Identity Architecture, Radicchio said in its statement. The decision to fold Radicchio, which counts leading IT players including VeriSign, Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, Vodafone and Orange as members, grew out of the realization that the challenge of mobile commerce was converging with that of verifying user identity, Van der Beek said. 'Identity impacts everything and the Liberty Alliance is the place to handle identity,' he said. The merger also fits with the Liberty Alliance's focus on a new generation of identity services, according to Simon Nicholson, chairman of the Business and Marketing Expert Group at the Liberty Alliance and a manager of strategic initiatives at Sun Microsystems. Inheriting the t2r platform will give the Liberty Alliance a head start developing standards for mobile payment and wallet services, Nicholson said. 'It's a logical next step for the Liberty Alliance to solve those future problems,' he said. The Liberty Alliance is also launching a certification program to make sure single sign-on software products and services adhere to the group's published guidelines and interoperate with other Liberty products..." See the announcement "Radicchio to Submit M-Commerce and Security Standards Work to the Liberty Alliance Project." General references in "Liberty Alliance Specifications for Federated Network Identification and Authorization."

  • [October 17, 2003] "Microsoft and Vodafone: Mobile Web Service Standardisation." By [Computerwire/Datamonitor]. In The Register (October 15, 2003). "Microsoft and Vodafone are to develop XML-based specifications for mobile web services standards. Microsoft has selected telecoms operator Vodafone to help lead development of XML-based specifications for convergence of fixed and mobile applications. Microsoft and Vodafone are to work closely to create web services standards that can extend desktop applications to mobile devices. This could help extend Windows applications to mobile devices giving the desktop franchise new areas of growth. On October 13, 2003, Microsoft and Vodafone announced that they plan to unveil a roadmap of technical specifications later this month, at Microsoft's Professional Developers' Conference (PDC) in Los Angeles. The roadmap, though, continues Microsoft's attempt to subtly stamp its hallmark on web services standards whilst working with a revolving door of partners. In the world of desktop and server-based computing, Microsoft has collaborated with IBM to develop XML specifications and standards for web services. In April 2002, the companies published the WS-roadmap outlining a series of planned security, routing, business process and other specifications. Since then, the companies have consistently met that roadmap, working with a shopping list of partners such as BEA Systems and VeriSign where appropriate, while completely ignoring any similar, external efforts. The announcement appears to indicate that IBM's usefulness does not extend to the mobile sector, and Microsoft is attempting to repeat its success with, arguably, IBM's counterpart in the mobile and cell-phone based computing sector. Vodafone is a global telecommunications player with 123 million customers. Standards could open a back door to broader mobile success for Microsoft's struggling Smartphone operating system. Windows is being steamrollered by Sun Microsystems' Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME) in Asia while Nokia, the world's largest handset manufacturer, has resisted Windows on its devices. Developing specifications that integrate with Smartphone and the limitations of mobile devices would potentially increase the operating system's appeal to operators. Standards could also help extend the desktop-bound Windows applications to mobile devices, breathing additional life into the desktop franchise..."

  • [October 11, 2003] "ebXML Registry Overview. What Is An ebXML Registry, and What Can It Do?" From the OASIS ebXML Registry Technical Committee. October 2003. 2 pages. "An XML registry is an information system that securely stores XML artifacts (e.g., XML schemas, data elements, etc.) and non-XML artifacts (e.g., other e-business objects), as well as details (metadata) about the artifacts. The storage facility (e.g., a file system or database) that holds registered objects is known as a repository, while the part of the information system that maintains the metadata for the registered objects is known as a registry. ebXML Registry Benefits: (1) Promotes service discovery and maintenance of registered content (2) Enables secure and efficient version control for registered content (3) Promotes unified understanding of registered content in federated registries (4) Ensures availability and reuse of authoritative artifacts. A controlled registration and validation of XML / non-XML artifacts from authoritative sources promotes interoperability between trading partners, and facilitates greater reuse (5) Enables collaborative development. Users can create XML / non-XML artifacts and submit them to an XML registry for use and potential enhancement by authorized parties. The enhanced versions can then be made available for access by other authorized parties. ebXML Registry allows a federation of cooperating registries to act as a single e-Business Registry. This ability enables the tying together of internal applications and the systems of critical trading partners via Seamless Query [search registered content in any registry in a federation, regardless of registry type], Seamless Synchronization [synchronization of registered content between all registries in a federation, regardless of registry type], and Seamless Relocation [relocation of registered content from one registry to another in a federation, regardless of registry type]... ebXML Registry enables a secure deployment with reduced implementation / maintenance costs for semantically correct and meaningful information exchange packages. To control how its content is accessed it leverages the XML Signature and XACML standards. Additionally, the ability to employ Policy Decision Points (PDPs) allows it to act as a 'Policy Store' for resources that reside outside its own registry... The ebXML Registry supports e-Business operations in different geographic locations, providing an effective discovery and collaboration tool. For example, (i) locating partners, capabilities, services, documents and business processes; (ii) interacting with partners subsidiaries, customers about multiple product lines. More than just a classification tool for electronic yellow pages it enables the distributed marketing and promotion products and services, viewing of inventory levels, ordering of goods and return tracking, and accessing account information via the Web..." See also: "New Production-Ready Release of Open Source ebXML Registry." General references in "Electronic Business XML Initiative (ebXML)." [source .DOC and PDF]

  • [October 11, 2003] "ebXML Case Study: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Information Network Messaging System (PHINMS)." OASIS ebXML Member Section. Contributor: Alan Kotok (ebXML Forum). October 04, 2003. 8 pages. "The Public Health Information Network Messaging System (PHINMS) provides a secure and reliable messaging system for the Public Health Information Network. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that there are currently multiple systems in place that support communications for public health labs, the clinical community, and state and local health departments. However, many of these systems operate in isolation, not capitalizing on the potential for a cross-fertilization of data exchange. A crosscutting and unifying framework is needed to better monitor these data streams for early detection of public health issues and emergencies. To meet these requirements, the Public Health Information Network will enable a consistent exchange of response, health, and disease tracking data between public health partners. Ensuring the security of this information is also critical as is the ability of the network to work reliably in times of national crisis... Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PHINMS uses the ebXML infrastructure to securely transmit public health information over the Internet. PHINMS is a generic, standards-based, interoperable and extensible message transport system. It is platform-independent and loosely coupled with systems that produce outgoing messages or consume incoming messages... PHINMS has three major components: the Message Sender, Message Receiver, and Message Handler. The Message Sender functions as the client. It is a Java application that runs on a workstation or server. The Message Sender polls the Transport Queue for outgoing data. The Transport Queue can be a database table or a file system directory. When outgoing data is found, the Message Sender packages the data as an ebXML message and sends it to the Message Receiver. The Message Receiver functions as a server. It is a servlet that runs on a J2EE compliant application server. When the Message Receiver receives a message, it processes the message envelope, decrypts the message, verifies the signature and then forwards the message payload to the Message Handler or writes the message directly into a worker queue. The Message Handler can process synchronous messages posted by the message receiver or poll the worker queue. It is a servlet that runs on a J2EE compliant application server. The Message Handler and the Message Receiver can reside on the same system. When the Message Handler receives the message payload from the Message Receiver in synchronous scenarios, it processes the message payload and then sends a response, which contains the Message Handler's status, back to the Message Receiver. In asynchronous scenarios, the message handler polls its worker queue to receive the incoming message..." General references in "Electronic Business XML Initiative (ebXML)." [source PDF]

  • [October 11, 2003] "Interview with CEO of OASIS on Framework for Web Services Implementation Technical Committee." From Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA). October 08, 2003. "Patrick Gannon, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), was recently in Singapore for the launch of the OASIS Framework for Web Services Implementation (FWSI) Technical Committee. OASIS is an international not-for-profit non-governmental organisation (NGO) whose mission is to drive the development, convergence and adoption of e-business standards. The OASIS FWSI Technical Committee, co-chaired by IDA and SIMTech, is the first Asian-led Technical Committee in OASIS... Mr Gannon sees the FWSI Technical Committee as an example of government-sponsored research paying off for the industry. He notes, 'The OASIS FWSI Technical Committee came about as a result of the Web Services Reference Architecture (WSRA) that the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology, a research institute, had developed under funding from IDA and A*STAR. OASIS saw value in the WSRA and suggested that IDA help to form an OASIS Technical Committee based on it.' An industry veteran of 35 years who has held senior e-commerce positions at BEA Systems, Netfish Technologies and the CommerceNet Consortium, Mr Gannon sees this initiative to develop Web Services standards as an excellent example of public-private sector collaboration, which brings together government funding and private sector contributions to offer greater benefits to the broader local business community and, ultimately, the worldwide e-business community..." See also: (1) "Singapore to Lead in Setting Global Standards for Web Services. IDA Singapore and SIMTech to Co-Chair Committee"; (2) other details in the news story "OASIS Announces Framework for Web Services Implementation (FWSI) TC." [cache]

  • [October 10, 2003] "I.B.M. and Cisco Plan Venture to Develop Software Standards." By Steve Lohr. In New York Times, Technology Section (October 10, 2003). IBM and Cisco Systems announce "that they will jointly develop and promote open software standards intended to simplify the increasingly complex task of managing corporate data networks. The software technologies developed in the collaboration will be shared with the rest of the industry, the companies said. In addition, I.B.M. said it had submitted a new problem-tracing method to a technology standards group so that it could be used throughout the industry... For businesses, the challenge of managing data centers and electronic commerce, analysts agree, is huge. The shift of commerce to the Internet has created numerous technical headaches. A company's computer network must interact with an outside world of all kinds of technologies, vastly increasing security risks and complexity. Industry analysts estimate that up to 80 percent of the information technology budgets at most companies is spent on fixing problems and keeping the systems running. The I.B.M.-Cisco collaboration, analysts say, is a step toward reducing some of those costs by introducing technology that can automate the detection, correction and prevention of problems in technically diverse computer systems... Several large computer companies and software makers including I.B.M., Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, Computer Associates and Veritas are working on this kind of network management technology. The challenge has also attracted start-ups like Opsware. The companies often use marketing terms like 'autonomic' and 'adaptive' computing to try to convey the appeal of what is a difficult, abstract subject. Today, the companies have somewhat different approaches and often use different technologies. The I.B.M.-Cisco collaboration is an effort to create certain standards for systems management technology - essentially creating a common language for naming and reporting the routine actions of computer systems and the failures that occur... The systems management standards being proposed by I.B.M. and Cisco would build on Web services. I.B.M. has proposed a standard way to identify and trace information about problems in large software applications on computer systems, called the Common Base Event format, and submitted it to an independent standards group, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards. 'We're trying to put the pieces together, and trying to get buy-in from the rest of the industry,' said Ric Telford, director of technology at I.B.M.'s autonomic computing unit..." Originally pubished at For information on Common Base Event (CBE) format, see References and Additional Information in the IBM/Cisco press release.

  • [October 10, 2003] "IBM, Cisco Help Networks Help Themselves. Companies Announce Drive Toward Self-Diagnostic, Self-Healing Networks." By Stephen Lawson. In InfoWorld (October 10, 2003). "IBM Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. want to make it easier to diagnose and solve problems in an enterprise's IT infrastructure, even to the point where it can do that by itself... Self-diagnosis and self-healing are key parts of IBM's broader autonomic computing initiative, aimed at creating systems and networks that in many respects run themselves, said Ric Telford, director of architecture and technology in the autonomic computing business of Armonk, New York-based IBM. Companies can never remove the human administrator from the picture completely, but Cisco and IBM's steps should make life easier even when people have to get involved... The IBM-developed Common Base Event (CBE) specification defines a standard format for event logs, which devices and software use to keep track of transactions and other activity. All the components of systems typically have different formats for the information they collect about events, Telford said. For example, if an IS team needs to figure out where something went wrong with an e-business application, they may need to understand 40 different event log formats, he said. Root cause analysis of the problem could require several different administrators -- database, network and so on -- getting involved. As a common format, CBE can simplify that process, Telford said. Future products should use CBE as their native log format, but "log adapters" can define mappings between current proprietary log formats and CBE, he said. IBM now has a team of about 24 engineers developing log adapters for core IBM products, including hardware, software and storage products, according to the company. In August, IBM proposed CBE as a standard to the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS)... Another piece of the puzzle is a log and trace analyzer, a visual tool for administrators to study log files in various views. IBM has already made a log and trace analyzer available in its WebSphere Studio application development platform, where developers can use it to work out problems before a product is deployed. For IS administrators using production versions of software, IBM probably will ship a log and trace analyzer as part of its Tivoli system management software, at an undetermined future date, Telford said. Other things that could be standardized include correlation mechanisms -- ways of associating events with one another -- and filters for sifting out the events that are relevant, Telford said. Depending on who at IBM, Cisco or other companies develops methods of doing that, such methods could be proposed to OASIS or another standards body for approval..." For information on Common Base Event (CBE) format, see References and Additional Information in the IBM/Cisco press release.

  • [October 10, 2003] "IBM, Cisco Push Data Center Standard." By Martin LaMonica. In CNET (October 10, 2003). "IBM and Cisco Systems on Friday announced that they are spearheading an effort to create an industrywide method for troubleshooting glitches in complex-computing data centers. The two companies will pursue the standardization of problem-resolution techniques through submissions to the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), a standards body. Their initial proposal for a standard is based on IBM's work on autonomic computing, which envisions computing systems that can automatically fix their own problems without human intervention. IBM and Cisco seek to tackle the lack of a common reporting format for application failures in the disparate parts of a corporate data center, Alan Ganek, vice president of autonomic computing at IBM, said Thursday. The individual elements of a data center -- such as servers, software components and networking gear -- each contain a log that helps systems administrators locate the source of a problem. Typically, the logging information from these elements is tracked separately and not collated or compared. This slows down problem resolution, according to Ganek. To expedite the process, IBM and Cisco are proposing a single data format that would allow disparate systems to share troubleshooting information... [IBM's Common Base Event format], based on IBM's existing 'log and trace' tools, aims to provide a way for hardware and software from multiple companies to share logging information. 'If you expect to add intelligence in order to manage systems, you better understand what the systems are doing. And that means you have to put in the instrumentation to capture what's going on in the system,' Ganek said. IBM expects to finish its own set of network problem resolution tools, including the log and trace software, by the end of the year..." For information on Common Base Event (CBE) format, see References and Additional Information in the IBM/Cisco press release. See also the OASIS WSDM TC, to which the CBE draft specification was submitted for consideration.

  • [October 09, 2003] "Developers Gripe About IE Standards Inaction." By Paul Festa. In CNET (October 09, 2003). "Web developers want to light a fire under Microsoft to get better standards support in the company's Internet Explorer browser, but they can't seem to spark a flame. Gripes have mounted recently over support in IE 6 for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), a Web standard increasingly important to design professionals. Web developers and makers of Web authoring tools say the software giant has allowed CSS bugs to linger for years, undermining technology that promises to significantly cut corporate Web site design costs. Seeking to goad Microsoft into action, digital document giant Adobe Systems last week unveiled a deal to bolster support for CSS in its GoLive Web authoring tool with technology from tiny Web browser maker Opera Software, whose chief technology officer first proposed CSS nine years ago. Opera maintains an active role in developing CSS through the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). But standards advocates said it was unclear whether Adobe's action could prod Microsoft into better CSS support, given the lack of browser competition. 'Because it owns the marketplace, Microsoft's under very little pressure to fix remaining IE 6 bugs,' said Jeffrey Zeldman, an independent Web developer and cofounder of the Web Standards Project. 'When it formed this partnership with Opera, Adobe may have wanted to light a fire under IE, but lots of people have wanted to do that and have not been able to.' ... Complaints over Microsoft's CSS support come amid broader criticisms that improvements in browser technology have slowed to a glacial pace since the software giant crushed credible competition in the market--an outcome that some view as ironic given Microsoft's cries during the antitrust trial that court-mandated restraints on its ability to bundle applications would stifle innovation. 'While it is true that our implementation is not fully, 100 percent W3C-compliant, our development investments are driven by our customer requirements and not necessarily by standards,' said Greg Sullivan, a lead product manager with the Windows client group. When it was pointed out that the most vocal critics of IE's CSS support are Web developers and authoring tool makers, rather than standards bodies, Sullivan said those critics were comparatively few... Developers and toolmakers disagree on the degree to which Adobe and Macromedia can influence Microsoft's decisions with respect to CSS or other IE development. One authority in CSS, a former Netscape engineer now advising companies on their use of the technology, expressed hope that Adobe's deal with Opera could advance CSS and spur changes to IE..." See the Web Standards Project, "a grassroots coalition fighting for standards that ensure simple, affordable access to web technologies for all"; also WaSP's "End of Free IE" opinion.

  • [October 09, 2003] "Diagramming the XML Family." By Daniel Zambonini. In (October 08, 2003). ['Daniel Zambonini illustrates the XML family using RDF, SVG, XSLT and XSL-FO.'] "In this article we'll introduce some of the XML family members and discuss how they relate to one another. We'll then use these technologies to create a diagram of their relationships in order to demonstrate how they work together in practice. Of the hundreds of XML technologies in use, we'll limit the scope of this article to the technologies used in the creation of the diagram... We use Apache FOP. FOP converts our plain text XSL-FO into a PDF file, rasterizing the SVG into a diagram on the page (using Apache Batik)... We use terms from the Dublin Core RDF Schema (which makes use of XML, Namespaces and URIs) to create a RDF description for each technology. These are converted to SVG using XSLT and XPath. We could have validated our XSLT file with XML Schema (using the XSLT schema). The SVG diagram is finally embedded into an Adobe PDF document with XSL-FO, resulting in a printable file that contains a diagram of the technology relationships... We finally have our PDF diagram of the XML technologies... When XML and RDF data become ubiquitous on the Web, the potential for querying and displaying the information will be enormous. The tools and underlying technologies are already in place. All that's needed is a greater understanding of the potential that it offers. The growth of these technologies is limited largely by our reluctance to commit..."

  • [October 09, 2003] "Thinking XML: Semantic Anchors for XML. Universal Identifier Schemes for XML Interchange." By Uche Ogbuji (Principal Consultant, Fourthought, Inc). From IBM developerWorks, XML zone. October 7, 2003. ['XML syntax is just the foundation for data interoperability. The next step is semantic transparency. Some groups are working to address this by defining entire document formats to be adopted wholesale, while other groups are working on ways to express common terminology and concepts at a more granular level. In this installment, Uche Ogbuji looks at XML Topic Maps Published Subjects and Universal Data Element Framework (UDEF), two ideas that take the granular approach by seeking to provide anchors in the semantic stream.'] "XML only provides the most basic foundation towards the goal of universal information interchange. XML is thoroughly established, and a great deal of the effort to build standards on top of XML has been directed towards semantic transparency, which would allow disparate systems to share some understanding of the actual concepts that are represented in some structured form in XML documents. See the inaugural Thinking XML article for a discussion of semantic transparency. Many approaches are taken toward such an ambitious goal, but I tend to classify these into two main categories: (1) Top-down initiatives define entire document formats along with the semantics of all the elements, attributes, and content, usually by reference to relevant industry standards. Examples are OAGIS and Universal Business Language (UBL). (2) Bottom-up initiatives define terms and concepts at the discrete level, independently of the documents in which they would appear. Examples are the ISO Basic Semantics Register (BSR), an effort that unfortunately seems to have stalled, and RosettaNet Dictionaries. Top-down approaches are often less ambitious in scope and positioned for industry backing. Bottom-up approaches have broader potential, but are also far more difficult to develop and evangelize. RosettaNet is rather interesting in that it pursues both, providing dictionaries and document schemata. Also, UBL shares close ties with bottom-up efforts in the ebXML space. The terms and concepts formally defined in dictionaries and semantic registries are the anchors on which you can build generalized semantics for communications in XML. In this article, I shall look at two additional initiatives to build such anchors... UDEF offers examples of how to use their IDs in ebXML and OAGIS as well as RDF and XML schemata. But it is still interesting to consider whether top-down or bottom-up approaches will be most crucial in establishing true interoperability at the semantic level. Will it take the establishment of complete and coherent documents standards that can be readily used, or do the basic building blocks of a shared terminology have to be in place so that interoperability is possible even without agreement on precise document standards?"

  • [October 08, 2003] "Eolas Files Motion to Enjoin IE." By Paul Festa. In CNET (October 08, 2003). "Eolas Technologies on Monday [2003-10-06] filed a motion to permanently enjoin Microsoft's distribution of its Internet Explorer browser amid a flurry of court filings by both sides in the pivotal patent-infringement case. Eolas, the sole licensee and sublicensor of a browser plug-in patent owned by the University of California, asked the U.S. District Court in Chicago for an injunction against distributing copies of IE capable of running plug-in applications in a way covered by the Eolas patent... The Eolas patent-infringement victory has rattled the Web since it was handed down in August. In its verdict, a jury found that Microsoft's IE browser infringed on an Eolas patent that describes how a browser opens external applications of the type produced by Macromedia, Adobe Systems, RealNetworks, Apple Computer, Sun Microsystems and many other software providers. Lueck said Eolas would still permit Microsoft to distribute IE as is, as long as it's being used in conjunction with an application provider or corporate intranet that has an Eolas plug-in license. So far, Eolas has not granted any such licenses... Microsoft said it is well on its way to side-stepping both the patent and a potential injunction with an IE alteration it previewed Monday, a version of which it expects to introduce early next year in its next version of Windows, code-named Longhorn... [Eolas and the University of California said they are] willing to resolve the case on a very reasonable basis, but Microsoft contested Lueck's characterization of the offer as 'reasonable,' and said the company preferred to pursue its workaround strategy than sign a deal. 'In addition, the changes we rolled out for IE are modest and will not have significant impact on consumers or the Web community as a whole,' said Microsoft's Wallent. 'Based on that, the idea that we would pay more than $630 million to get rid of a single mouse click on a small fraction of Web pages is not something that we're entertaining'..." See: (1) "W3C Opens Public Discussion Forum on US Patent 5,838,906 and Eolas v. Microsoft"; (2) Microsoft Adjusts Windows and IE to Address Eolas Patent Ruling; (3) general references in "Patents and Open Standards."

  • [October 07, 2003] "A Comparison of Web Services Transaction Protocols. A Comparative Analysis of WS-C/WS-Tx and OASIS BTP." By Mark Little (Arjuna Technologies Ltd) and Thomas J. Freund (IBM). From IBM developerWorks, Web services. October 7, 2003. ['Up to August 2003 there were two contenders for the Web services transaction space: OASIS Business Transactions Protocol (BTP), and the Web Services Transactions (WS-Tx) specification. There have been several subjective articles and comments comparing BTP to WS-Tx, attempting to show that BTP can do everything WS-Tx can and ignoring the important differences that exist. This article will try to give an objective comparison of these two specifications and show how they both attempt to address the problems of running transactions with Web services. At the end of the article it should be apparent how and why WS-Tx and BTP are different, while at the same time illustrating where they do have some commonality.'] "In 2001, a consortium of companies including Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and BEA began work on the OASIS Business Transaction Protocol (BTP), which was aimed at business-to-business transactions in loosely-coupled domains such as Web services. By April 2002 it had reached the point of a committee specification. However, others in the industry, including IBM, Microsoft, and BEA released their own specifications: Web Services Coordination (WS-C) and Web Services Transactions (WS-T)... Although we'll examine this in more detail later, they key differences between these specifications can be roughly categorized as follows: (1) BTP is not specifically about transactions for Web services -- the intention was that it could be used in other environments. As such, BTP defines the transactional XML protocol and must specify all of the service dependencies within the specification. WS-C and WS-Tx are specifically for the Web services environment and hence build on the basic definition of a Web services infrastructure. (2) The foundations of WS-Tx are based on traditional transaction infrastructures, where there is a strong separation between the functional aspects of business logic and the non-functional aspects of using transactions within an application. BTP essentially started from scratch and requires business-level decisions to be incorporated within the transaction infrastructure... In this paper we'll give an objective analysis of these two transaction protocols and compare and contrast the approaches they have taken. Because there are a number of good texts available on OASIS BTP we will not spend as much time describing that protocol as we will for WS-C and WS-Tx where less information is currently available... A few years ago the world of Web services and transactions looked like requiring new techniques to address the problems that it presented, and BTP was seen as the solution to those problems. Unfortunately, with the benefit of hindsight it did not address what users really want: the ability to use existing enterprise infrastructures and applications and for Web services transactions to operate as the glue between different corporate domains. Although the BTP model has some similarities with WS-Tx, the two specifications differ in some critical areas. For example, transaction interoperability: most enterprise transaction systems do not expose their coordinators through the two-phase protocol. In addition, BTP has many subtle (and some not-so-subtle) impacts on implementations, both at the transaction level and, more importantly, at the user/service level. Much has been made of the fact that ACID transactions aren't suitable for loosely-coupled environments like the Web. However, very little attention has been paid to the fact that these loosely-coupled environments tend to have large strongly-coupled corporate infrastructures behind them. Any Web services transactions specification should not ask 'what can replace ACID transactions?', but rather 'how can we leverage what already exists?' Note: The article concludes with a table showing a summary of the various differences and similarities between WS-C/T and BTP. See: (1) "Updated Specifications for the Web Services Transaction Framework"; (2) "Messaging and Transaction Coordination."

  • [October 07, 2003] "Transactions in Business Processes: A New Model." By Rich Rollman and William Cox (BEA Systems). In Web Services Journal Volume 3, Issue 10 (October 2003), page 34. "Business processes use transactions to ensure that all activities complete as a unit. But because activities in a business process utilize resources from many business partners and can execute for hours, days, or longer, the transactions must be managed differently. Consider a purchasing business process. It might solicit quotes, reserve inventory, issue purchase orders, confirm receipt of items, and transfer funds. For scenarios like this, using a single ACID transaction for the entire business process is impractical. Business processes require a new kind of transaction. Long-running transactions avoid locks on non-local resources, use compensation to handle failures, potentially aggregate smaller ACID transactions, and typically use a coordinator to complete or abort the transaction. In contrast to rollback in ACID transactions, compensation restores the original state, or an equivalent, and is business-specific. The compensating action for making a hotel reservation is canceling that reservation, possibly with a penalty. A number of protocols have been specified for long-running transactions using Web services within business processes. WS-Transaction with WS-Coordination, OASIS Business Transaction Processing, and WS-CAF are examples. These protocols use a coordinator to mediate the successful completion or use of compensation in a long-running transaction... Efforts to standardize business processes like Process Definition for Java (JSR 207) and OASIS' WSBPEL will drive the creation and acceptance of standards for long-running transactions and compensation. Working with long-running transactions, these technologies will expand a business's ability to share and execute business processes with and among its trading partners..." See also: (1) "OASIS Members Form ebXML Business Process Technical Committee"; (2) "Standards for Business Process Modeling, Collaboration, and Choreography."

  • [October 07, 2003] "Why Use DITA to Produce HTML Deliverables? Overcoming the Limitations of HTML." By John Hunt (User Assistance Architect, IBM), Don Day (Lead DITA Architect, IBM), Erik Hennum (DITA Domain Architect, IBM), Michael Priestley (DITA Specialization Architect, IBM), and Dave A. Schell (Chief Strategist and Tools Lead, IBM). From IBM developerWorks, XML zone. October 7, 2003. ['The Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) is an XML-based format for structuring and authoring technical content. This article explores advantages DITA provides for producing HTML content -- including easy global changes, portability through standards, superior linking and Web management, conditional processing, content and design reuse, and better writing through focused content. DITA consolidates all of the benefits in a consistent, overall information architecture that can evolve and grow along with your product information needs and delivery modes, and with the evolution of standard tools for delivering XML as the presentation mechanism.'] The authors address a FAQ like this: Since my output deliverables are exclusively HTML and will stay that way for the foreseeable future, why go the route of creating content in an intermediary XML format and generating HTML? Why not produce HTML directly with an HTML editor? Why go through the extra cycles involved in producing and managing DITA XML content when it seems so much easier to simply write and produce the HTML directly, with tools that were specifically created to support doing that? "DITA leverages the advantages inherent in XML and extends beyond those advantages in the following ways: (1) Easy global changes through customized transforms. With DITA and XSLT, you can update the structure and presentation of an entire information set by applying a consistent, core transform. (2) Portable through standards: Using DITA, product groups and external business partners can easily share and exchange content. (3) Linking and Web management: DITA makes it possible to create and maintain cross-topic links from outside the topic itself; you can apply different sets of links in different situations. (4) Conditional processing: With DITA, you can tag parts of a topic by product, audience, or other characteristics. (5) Reuse: You can reuse topics in different collections using maps, and you can reuse content between topics as well, maintaining common elements like definitions, warnings, and product names in a central place. (6) Focused content and better writing: Topic-based authoring produces better writing... It's possible to achieve some of the above benefits through highly disciplined authoring of HTML and subsequent processing of the authored HTML. However, this quickly becomes a bits-and-pieces process. For example, you might tweak HTML to support a form of conditional processing, but in so doing make it difficult to generate a customized presentation. Then, when you tweak the HTML to improve the presentation, you might need to re-work the content and form of the topic navigation links. XML and DITA overcome this bits-and-pieces problem of HTML. DITA consolidates all of the benefits in a consistent, overall information architecture that can evolve and grow along with your product information needs and delivery modes, as well as the evolution of standard tools for delivering XML as the presentation mechanism..." See general references in "Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA XML)."

  • [October 06, 2003] "Business-Centric Methodology Specification." From the OASIS BCM Technical Committee (Bruce Peat, Mike Lubash, David RR Webber, Eric Okin, Carl Mattocks, Hans Aanesen, Sally St. Amand, Laila Moretto, Dan Pattyn, Paul Kirk, Bob Greeves, and Murali Iyengar). Version 0.05. September 28, 2003. 75 pages. ['This specification covers the requirements associated with the Phase 1 implementation of the BCM which is limited to defining the BCM vision and sets out to define a methodology which 230 allows business users and experts to participate in the development process.'] "The Business-Centric Methodology (BCM) for Enterprise Agility and Interoperability is a roadmap for the development and implementation of procedures that produces effective, efficient, and sustainable interoperability mechanisms. The methodology emphasizes Business First'; shifting power and responsibility to the users -- customers and business domain experts. Business is defined for this specification in broad terms as the reason for an organization's existence -- their functional domain. The BCM task is to provide an overall roadmap for developing interactions between collaboration partners and within Communities of Interest (CoI). The roadmap can be used for new development, providing guidance in defining requirements for the procurement of products, and for providing the structure for interfacing to extend legacy application and services. The BCM offers an approach for managers facing the problem of tying together disparate systems and services. The approach extends the traditional Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) model which only provides internal viewpoints and reengineering of an organization's processes. The critical BCM take-away is that of providing a holistic solution to the interoperability quandary business and technical mangers face today by providing an organizational memory that is persistent. This memory is also agnostic to the implementation architecture and enables business personnel to understand, direct and manage the operations. This approach is at the heart of the BCM and is implemented as a series of BCM Templates for each of the architecture layers that the BCM defines. The BCM Templates prompt for the information artifacts required for proper control, understanding, and building of a shared information architectural foundation. The BCM Templates provide for the precise communication required for not only business understanding but also for directing and controlling the application implementation; an example set of BCM Templates are provided in Appendix A. Templates can be used both internally and externally. Ideally collections of BCM Templates are shared across a CoI to foster adoption, promote re-use and align implementation efforts. The BCM is not intended to be an end-point solution but rather a point-of-departure for, and enabler of, downstream analysis, development and implementation. The intent of the BCM is to provide flexible guidance to those tackling the difficult challenge of interoperability at both tactical and strategic levels..." See: (1) BCM TC Call For Comment; (2) BCM TC FAQ document; (3) general references in "Business-Centric Methodology."

  • [October 06, 2003] "Web Services Orchestration and Choreography." By Chris Peltz (Hewlett-Packard Company). In IEEE Computer Volume 36, Number 10 (October 2003), pages 46-52 (with 6 references). ['Combining Web services to create higher level, cross-organizational business processes requires standards to model the interactions. Several standards are working their way through industry channels and into vendor products.'] "The terms orchestration and choreography describe two aspects of emerging standards for creating business processes from multiple Web services. The two terms overlap somewhat, but orchestration refers to an executable business process that can interact with both internal and external Web services. Orchestration always represents control from one party's perspective. This distinguishes it from choreography, which is more collaborative and allows each involved party to describe its part in the interaction. Proposed orchestration and choreography standards must meet several technical requirements that address the language for describing the process workflow and the supporting infrastructure... Proposed orchestration and choreography standards must meet several technical requirements for designing business processes that involve Web services. These requirements address both the language for describing the process workflow and the supporting infrastructure for running it. First, asynchronous service invocation is vital to achieving the reliability and scalability that today's IT environments require. The capability to invoke services concurrently can also enhance process performance. Implementing asynchronous Web services requires a mechanism to correlate requests with each other. Software architects commonly use correlation identifiers for this purpose. The process architecture must also provide a way to manage exceptions and transactional integrity. In addition to handling errors and time-out constraints, orchestrated Web services must ensure resource availability for long-running distributed transactions. Traditional ACID (atomicity, consistency, isolation, and durability) transactions are typically not sufficient for long-running, distributed transactions because they cannot lock resources in a transaction that runs over a long time. The notion of compensating transactions offers a way to undo an action if a process or user cancels it. With compensating transactions, each method exposes an undo operation that a transaction coordinator can invoke if necessary. Web services orchestration must be dynamic, flexible, and adaptable to meet changing business needs... While BPEL4WS, WSCI, and BPML work their way through standards processes and into vendor product implementations, other enhancements and issues relevant to Web services orchestration are emerging. IBM researchers have proposed a peer-to-peer model of e-business interaction. They compare current Web services to a vending machine -- a set number of buttons that can be pressed in a predefined order. They propose a conversational model -- more like a telephone call with flexible, dynamic exchanges between the parties at each end. At this time, IBM's Conversation Support for Web Services is the only proposal that claims to support this capability..." See: (1) IBM's "Conversation Support"; (2) "Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL4WS)"; (3) general references in "Messaging and Transaction Coordination."

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