XML and Web Services In The News - 13 February 2006

Java Web Services, Part 1: The Year Ahead in Java Web Services
Dennis Sosnoski, IBM developerWorks
The author believes that 2006 is going to be a banner year for Web services in general, and for Java Web services in particular. New third-generation frameworks are being unveiled, which offer much better support for doc/lit SOAP as well as potential performance improvements. At the same time, the froth of WS-* standards is finally starting to settle into a common set of interoperable layers that extend SOAP and WSDL to support core enterprise requirements. In this first part of a series on Java Web services, Sosnoski reviews both the state of Web services today and the major changes coming in 2006, with an overview of how the new frameworks and technologies relate and interact. The following developerWorks articles will look at many of these frameworks and technologies in-depth, with the goal of keeping you informed of the latest developments in the field and aware of how they can be used to aid your programming projects. They will dive into Axis2, discussing the architecture and the underlying AXIOM object model. He also looks into the XOP/MTOM attachment support included in AXIOM, and discusses how this is accessed by data binding frameworks; subsequent articles will cover Axis2 data binding alternatives and performance as well as the details and performance of other Java Web services frameworks.

NetBeans 5.0 Makes 'Free' Look Good
Peter Coffee, eWEEK
NetBeans IDE 5.0 is a substantial step toward bringing open-source, multiplatform Java tools up to the standard of toolmaking that is arguably defined by Microsoft's Windows-only Visual Studio. A major update to the NetBeans open-source IDE and application platform, Version 5.0 became generally available on February 01, 2006; eWEEK Labs tested the general release code on Windows XP and Mac OS X workstations; the IDE is also available for Linux and Solaris. Competing Java tools -- notably open-source alternative Eclipse -- will be challenged by NetBeans 5.0's improvements in the key area of building a GUI for a client-side applet or application. Many developers acknowledge GUI design and construction as a relative strength of NetBeans; the 5.0 update further widens that gap with a new GUI editor, formerly known by the project name Matisse, that gives excellent feedback during design and enables convenient testing... We found that we could readily alter GUI component characteristics by revising that XML description, which is, at least, readily human-readable. Developers may even find it a strength to have the GUI look and feel represented in that parametric manner rather than being buried in other program logic. When we revised the XML .form file, we immediately saw the effects in the visual editor's representation of the GUI upon reopening that element of the project in NetBeans -- but the source code was not brought into consistency with those changes until we made further alterations using the visual tools. We've seen several tool sets with more fully synchronized round-trip interaction between visual and source code editors in several other development tools. Overall, though, the NetBeans 5.0 visual tools are reasonably robust in their handling of outside interference. NetBeans 5.0 proves that Java-based tools can no longer be quickly distinguished from native applications: The result is nothing but good news for developers, who consequently enjoy growing ease of multiplatform development with tools that it's hard to believe are free.
See also: The NetBeans Community web site

Intel, SAP Among VCs Investing $18.5M in MySQL
China Martens, InfoWorld
MySQL has secured $18.5 million in its latest round of venture capital funding, the open-source database vendor announced Monday. The company plans to spend the money on new product development and expanding its sales and marketing operations. The investors include the venture capital arms of Intel and enterprise applications vendor SAP. VC firm Institutional Venture Partners (IVP) led the Series C round of financing, which included investments from Intel Capital, SAP Ventures, Linux distribution firm Red Hat, and Presidio STX, according to a release. Based in the U.S., Presidio is the early stage IT investment subsidiary of Japanese trading and investment firm Sumitomo. Venture capitalists are currently falling over each other to invest in the open-source companies that they see as presenting a threat to long-time proprietary players in different areas of the software market. MySQL competes with Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft in the enterprise database market.

XHTML Modularization 1.1
W3C HTML Working Group, Proposed Recommendation
W3C has announced the advancement of 'XHTML Modularization 1.1' to the level of Proposed Recommendation. Version 1.1 of XHTML Modularization describes an abstract modularization of XHTML and implementations of the abstraction using XML Document Type Definitions (DTDs), and XML Schemas. This modularization provides a means for subsetting and extending XHTML, a feature needed for extending XHTML's reach onto emerging platforms. This second version of this specification includes several minor updates to provide clarifications and address errors found in the first version. It also provides an implementation using XML Schemas. Over the last couple of years, many specialized markets have begun looking to HTML as a content language. There is a great movement toward using HTML across increasingly diverse computing platforms. Currently there is activity to move HTML onto mobile devices (hand held computers, portable phones, etc.), television devices (digital televisions, TV-based Web browsers, etc.), and appliances (fixed function devices). Each of these devices has different requirements and constraints. The use of standards is critical for modularized XHTML to be successful on a large scale. It is not economically feasible for content developers to tailor content to each and every permutation of XHTML elements. By specifying a standard, either software processes can autonomously tailor content to a device, or the device can automatically load the software required to process a module. Modularization also allows for the extension of XHTML's layout and presentation capabilities, using the extensibility of XML, without breaking the XHTML standard. This development path provides a stable, useful, and implementable framework for content developers and publishers to manage the rapid pace of technological change on the Web.
See also: The news item

Folksonomies: Tidying up Tags?
Marieke Guy and Emma Tonkin, D-Lib Magazine
A folksonomy is a type of distributed classification system. It is usually created by a group of individuals, typically the resource users. Users add tags to online items, such as images, videos, bookmarks and text. These tags are then shared and sometimes refined. In this article the authors at what makes folksonomies work. They agree with the premise that tags are no replacement for formal systems, but see this as being the core quality that makes folksonomy tagging so useful. They begin by looking at the issue of "sloppy tags", a problem to which critics of folksonomies are keen to allude, and ask if there are ways the folksonomy community could offset such problems and create systems that are conducive to searching, sorting and classifying. They then go on to question this "tidying up" approach and its underlying assumptions, highlighting issues surrounding removal of low-quality, redundant or nonsense metadata, and the potential risks of tidying too neatly and thereby losing the very openness that has made folksonomies so popular.

An Introduction to SIP, Part 1: Meet SIP
Emmanuel Proulx, BEA dev2dev
The Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is a signaling protocol with great significance to the telecommunications industry. This article provides a general and technical introduction to SIP, and shows how SIP is an important enabler of telecommunication solutions. SIP is a lightweight, extensible, request/response protocol for starting communication sessions between two end-points. Does this sound familiar? SIP was inspired by HTTP and SMTP conceptually, although its intent is different. You can compare SIP messages to the CB lingo 10-codes, and Q-signals. Generally SIP is used by two end-points to negotiate a "call." Once the negotiation is successful, the two end-points use the selected method for talking to each other -- independently of SIP. Once the "call" is over, SIP is used to indicate a disconnection. Therefore, SIP is best used as a signaling mechanism. SIP and its extensions also provide related functions such as instant messaging, registration, and presence. An end-point in the SIP jargon is called a user agent. This could be a "soft phone," an instant messenger, an IP phone, or even a cellular phone. Centralized services are provided by server user agents such as registrars, proxies, or application servers. SIP sounds very simple, and it is. But while this simplicity is important for the protocol to be stable, it doesn't limit the usefulness of the protocol, which has found a rich set of applications areas.
See also: SIP and XML

Software Vendors Improve ID Products
Denise Dubie and John Fontana, Network World
CA and HP this week separately plan to announce better integration within their respective identity management suites so that customers can more easily secure application access and enforce compliance policies. Small vendors, however, are also working on perfecting point products and carving out new functionality Identity federation vendor PingID plans to release its first server for supporting Security Token Service gateways based on the WS-Trust protocol. PingID plans to introduce PingTrust at the RSA Conference, a standalone network gateway for processing security tokens such as SAML assertions or Kerberos tickets that are exchanged among servers and clients. PingID is billing the server as a Security Token Service (STS), a term coined by Microsoft to describe a lightweight gateway that is part of its Identity Metasystem initiative. An STS is defined by support of WS-Trust, a general-purpose token exchange protocol now being worked on by the WS-SX Technical Committee at OASIS.
See also: The WS-SX TC web site

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