XML and Web Services In The News - 11 January 2007

Provided by OASIS | Edited by Robin Cover

This issue of XML Daily Newslink is sponsored by Innodata Isogen


 Jon Bosak's Closing Keynote, XML 2006
 Content Selection for Device Independence: Primer 1.0 Updated
 Tibco Backs BPEL 2.0 in ESB
 Internet Society Announces New Program to Encourage Developing World Participation in Internet Standards Setting
 OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) Version 1.1 Submitted for Standardization
 FrontPage News: Microsoft Revamps Design Tools
 yax: A Java XProc XML Pipeline Implementation

Closing Keynote, XML 2006
Jon Bosak, Sun Microsystems
IDEAlliance has published the full text of the Closing Keynote given at the XML 2006 Conference in Boston, MA, on 7-December-2006. The keynote was presented by Jon Bosak, Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems and Chair of the original W3C XML Working Group. Excerpt: "When David Megginson asked me to give you this closing keynote tonight, I think he knew that I couldn't refuse an opportunity to come back to the same conference, in the same hotel, at which I had the honor of introducing the SGML community to a product initially known as 'SGML for the Web' but by then repackaged under the name 'XML.'... How far we've drifted from the attitudes that created XML was demonstrated to me recently in the revision to the OASIS UBL Standard for business documents, which is the product of the OASIS technical committee I chair. [UBL story]... The way we actually publish the [UBL] package is as a reasonably well-structured directory tree together with an HTML file that explains the contents and links all this stuff together. The original of this HTML file is a DocBook version from which the HTML is generated using OASIS XSL stylesheets... I'm pleased to report, by the way, that the DocBook original, which we include in the downloadable version of the package, is viewable in both Firefox and Internet Explorer, so you can browse the DocBook version directly, which I think is pretty cool. Yuri Rubinsky would have been pleased. There's actually a name for the kind of stucture we adopted for publishing UBL: it's called a hypertext. The document by which the UBL spec is served out over the web is written in the Hypertext Markup Language and the mechanism by which it's transmitted over the web is called the Hypertext Transfer Protocol. There's a reason that XML was originally called 'SGML for the web.' A large part of the motivation for creating XML was to further the vision of pioneers like Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson, Tim Berners-Lee, and Yuri Rubinsky. Somewhere in attempting to realize this vision we've gotten hung up in implementing the very first step along the way. We've wandered off into the weeds of commercialization and forgotten that the web we've got is the most primitive form of hypertext that could be imagined — which is why it works, and I don't want to deny that. But this focus on the money to be made right at the start has led us into an explosion of XML applications that focus purely on the exchange of data between computer systems. We've lost track of the human aspect of this to the point where even an organization whose very purpose is the advancement of XML considers it unsuitable for human consumption and requires its specifications to be issued in forms tied to the printed page."
See also: the author's web site

Content Selection for Device Independence: Primer 1.0 Updated
Rhys Lewis and Roland Merrick (eds), W3C Technical Report
Members of the W3C Device Independence Working Group have published an updated Working Draft of Content Selection Primer 1.0. The Primer provides the reader with the basic knowledge required to make effective use of the Content Selection for Device Independence Specification, illustrating how to use features of that language in a variety of scenarios. t is widely recognized, within the computer science community, that a good approach to solving a problem is to break it down into a set of sub-problems that overlap as little as possible. In the context of web page creation, one of the best examples of this is the decoupling of content from look and feel. This is typically achieved by using Cascading Style Sheets with a markup language, such as XHTML Version 2. This principle is commonly known as "Separation of Concerns". Generally, solutions that follow this approach are less costly to develop and maintain and more flexible in use. In addition, the highly decoupled solution components that tend to result from the approach are more likely to be reusable. For example, changing the CSS style sheet used with a particular web page may make it possible to use the page in different circumstances without the need to change the markup. Introduction of new features, such as DISelect, into a markup language can provide facilities that lead to the principle of separation of concerns being compromised. This is by no means restricted to DISelect, of course. For a long time, authors have been able to choose to use the 'style' element, available throughout most of the family of HTML and XHTML markup languages, to embed their styling directly within their markup. This clearly breaches the principle. Adaptation by selection involves choosing between different versions of materials according to some set of criteria. Often, selection involves picking one particular variant of a specific resource. For example, several different variants of a particular image might have been prepared to support different delivery contexts. During adaptation, one particular variant might be selected as the most appropriate to use on a particular mobile device.
See also: W3C Device Independence Activity

Tibco Backs BPEL 2.0 in ESB
Paul Krill, InfoWorld
Tibco Software on Wednesday is upgrading its BusinessWorks enterprise service bus to leverage the Web Services BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) 2.0 specification. This makes Tibco's the first ESB to back the OASIS specification, the company said. The new ESB, which has the version number 5.4, also features expanded security capabilities and 64-bit platform support. Tibco categorizes BusinessWorks as a suite of technologies constituting an ESB. As an ESB, BusinessWorks can be used in enterprise SOA deployments. It provides such functions as mediation of messages, in which a SOAP message, for example, could be received over HTTP and sent back out via Java Message Service. Full-scale orchestration for specifying process flows for activities also is enabled. BPEL provides a common framework for orchestration of processes, akin to how SQL is used in working with databases, according to Tibco. It features a language for specifying business-process behavior based on Web services. Version 1.1 of BPEL, which has been available for deployment, was never formally ratified as an OASIS standard, a status soon to be bestowed on the 2.0 version of the specification. BPEL 2.0, or WS-BPEL, which is the official OASIS acronym, is undergoing a public review period. It could be approved as an official OASIS standard by April 1, an OASIS representative said. With BPEL 2.0, the use of global variables in Web services calls is no longer required. Global variables added complexity to BPEL because they were visible throughout a system rather than just where they were needed, McNamara said. Examples of variables include a customer processing ID or a response code from a credit check.
See also: the WS-BPEL v2.0 15 day review

Internet Society Announces New Program to Encourage Developing World Participation in Internet Standards Setting
Staff, Internet Society Announcement
"Continuing its longstanding commitment to build technical capacity in less developed countries, the Internet Society (ISOC) today announced a new program, the ISOC Fellowship to the IETF. The program offers fellowships that fund the cost of attending an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) meeting for technologists from developing countries. The IETF is the Internet's premier standards-making body, responsible for the development of protocols used in IP-based networks. IETF participants represent an international community of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers involved in the technical operation of the Internet and the continuing evolution of Internet architecture. Fellowships will be awarded through a competitive application process. ISOC is currently accepting fellowship applications for two IETF meetings: (1) IETF 68 being held in Prague, Czech Republic, 18 - 23 March 2007, and (2) IETF 69 being held in Chicago, USA on 22 - 27 July 2007. Up to five fellowships will be awarded for each IETF meeting. In addition, the Internet Society is welcoming multiple corporate sponsorships for the ISOC Fellowship to the IETF and is proud to recognize Google Inc. as the program's first corporate sponsor. The Internet Society is a not-for-profit membership organization founded in 1992 to provide leadership in Internet related standards, education, and policy. With offices in Washington, DC, and Geneva, Switzerland, it is dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of people throughout the world. ISOC is the organizational home of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and other Internet-related bodies who together play a critical role in ensuring that the Internet develops in a stable and open manner.

OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.1 Submitted for Standardization
Staff, OASIS Announcement
OASIS announced that the Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) Technical Committee had submitted a specification set, which is an approved OASIS Committee Specification, to be considered as an OASIS Standard. The OpenDocument specification Version 1.1 defines an XML schema for office applications and its semantics. The schema is suitable for office documents, including text documents, spreadsheets, charts and graphical documents like drawings or presentations, but is not restricted to these kinds of documents. The schema provides for high-level information suitable for editing documents. It defines suitable XML structures for office documents and is friendly to transformations using XSLT or similar XML-based tools. The OpenDocument v1.1 specification is a minor update to the OpenDocument v1.0 OASIS Standard. Compared to the OpenDocument v1.0 specification, the OpenDocument v1.1 specification contains a couple of accessibility-related enhancements, error corrections and clarifications, and very few other minor enhancements. OpenDocument v1.1 supersedes an existing OASIS Standard, OpenDocument v1.0. In addition to the prose specification text, three schemas defined by the OpenDocument v1.1 specification are also available separately: (1) OpenDocument v1.1 Relax-NG Schema; (2) OpenDocument v1.1 Manifest Relax-NG Schema; (3) OpenDocument v1.1 Strict Relax-NG Schema. Several OASIS member companies have provided certification that they are successfully using the specification (IBM, Novell, OpenDocument Foundation, Royal National Institute for the Blind, and Sun Microsystems).
See also: ODF references

FrontPage News: Microsoft Revamps Design Tools
Troy Dreier, IntranetJournal.com
With little fanfare, Microsoft FrontPage has slipped away, never to return. That's probably not a concern to you, since it was never a strong choice for professional site developers, but you might be interested in its replacement. Microsoft has created a new site design tool, one that produces better, tighter code, offers a much better range of features, and has a visual side that designers will appreciate: meet Microsoft Expression Web. Users will find that Expression Web offers strong support for cascading style sheets (CSS), even more so than Dreamweaver, something applauded by early testers. The CSS rendering engine lets designers instantly see how their creations will look, and users can easily move styles from individual pages to a central location. Microsoft has also emphasized standards compliance with Expression Web, which will come as a relief to those familiar with FrontPage. You can ensure that your pages will render correctly across all major browsers, and create pages that work with all levels of HTML, XHTML, and CSS. You can even validate your pages, to be sure that they conform to current accessibility guidelines. Pricing is $299 for Expression Web. Some FrontPage users can qualify for a $99 upgrade. [From the web site: "Reduce complexity and ease data integration by using powerful design tools and task panes to quickly incorporate XML data. Seamlessly integrate Web design and development teams with Expression Web and Visual Studio's superior support for XML, ASP.NET, and XHTML. Passionate about Standards: Build dynamic, interactive pages that harness the power of the Web to deliver superior quality. Built-in support for today's modern Web standards makes it easy to optimize your sites for accessibility and cross- browser compatibility."]
See also: the web site

yax: A Java XProc XML Pipeline Implementation
Joerg Moebius, Open Source Software Announcement
A "first experimental version" of yax has been announced as available from SourceForge. Yhe software and documentation are released under the terms of the GNU LGPL license. yax is an Java implementation of the XProc Specification, an XML Pipeline Language. An XML Pipeline specifies a sequence of operations to be performed on a collection of input documents. Pipelines take zero or more XML documents as their input and produce zero or more XML documents as their output. Steps in the pipeline may read or write non-XML resources as well. A pipeline consists of components. Like pipelines, components take zero or more XML documents as their input and produce zero or more XML documents as their output. The inputs to a component come from the web, from the pipeline document, from the inputs to the pipeline itself, or from the outputs of other components in the pipeline. The outputs from a component are consumed by other components, are outputs of the pipeline as a whole, or are discarded. The core idea of yax is to implement the XProc specification in a way that: (a) makes it easy to follow the 'evolution' of the specification, (b) makes it easy to implement custom extentions, and (c) makes some suggestions to the specification possible. As to Inputs / Outputs, the author assumes for the majority of pipeline use cases the position of steps (and constructs) the chaining of input and output ports in the sequence of its appearance. That in mind it would be the easiest way to omit the explicit port entries where the intention of chaining the input and output ports is expressed by position of the components. Going this way it is necessary to write port entries only for the situation in which one want deviate the ordinary sequence." New features include: property and property files; passing properties to xproc script; passing properties through xproc script to xsl script; run without referring to input and output documents (i/o kept within pipeline).
See also: XProc, An XML Pipeline Language

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