XML and Web Services In The News - 30 June 2006

Provided by OASIS | Edited by Robin Cover

This issue of XML Daily Newslink is sponsored by IBM


 Ex ante Disclosure: Risks, Rewards, Process and Alternatives
 Delve Inside the Lucene Indexing Mechanism
 Mobile Web Services: A New Agent-Based Framework
 The Screening Room #6: XML for Analysis
 Domain-Independent, Composable Web Services Policy Assertions
 Last Call Working Draft for WebCGM 2.0
 Web Apps Get New Open-Source App Server

Ex ante Disclosure: Risks, Rewards, Process and Alternatives
Andrew Updegrove, Consortium Standards Bulletin
The current hot topic at the IEEE, ETSI, and a number of other SSOs is whether to permit disclosure of specific licensing terms -- including cost -- before final adoption of a standard, with many opposed as well as in favor of such a change. In fact, the Chairman of the U.S. Department of Justice has encouraged prudent adoption of just such "ex ante" disclosures. It's time for SSOs to "just say yes" to ex ante, and to dedicate resources to perfecting this new and useful technique. Ex ante disclosure of licensing terms, including cost, is being actively discussed today in a variety of standard setting organizations (SSOs), with strong opinions on both sides of the issue being offered in what at times has been a heated debate. In this article, I attempt to place this debate in context by describing ex ante alternatives, the antitrust issues involved and the alternative mechanisms that can be employed instead to achieve similar results. I also suggest that ex ante disclosure presents no greater an antitrust challenge than has often been successfully addressed in the past in the course of implementing other changes to SSO intellectual property rights policies and procedures. I conclude by proposing that the standard setting community should embrace, perfect, and when appropriate, add prudently designed process steps to enable ex ante disclosure of relevant patent claims in order to increase the likelihood of issuing commercially viable, as well as technically useful, standards.
See also: Patents and Open Standards

Delve Inside the Lucene Indexing Mechanism
Deng Peng Zhou, IBM developerWorks
This article introduces the indexing mechanism of Lucene, a popular full-text IR library written in the Java language. A number of large, well-known organizations are using Lucene. For example, Lucene provides searching capabilities for the Eclipse help system, MIT's OpenCourseWare, and so on. In this article the author demonstrates how to index your documents with Lucene, discusses how to improve the indexing performance, and analyzes Lucene's index file structure. Lucene is an open source project in the popular Apache Jakarta Project family. Keep in mind that Lucene is not a ready-to-use application, but rather an IR Library that lets you add searching and indexing functionality to your application.
See also: the Apache Lucene project

Mobile Web Services: A New Agent-Based Framework
Mustafa Adacal and Ayse B. Bener, IEEE Internet Computing
The overhead involved in XML processing presents a huge problem for mobile Web services applications. Many researchers have experimented with performance improvements such as faster parsers, data compression, protocol optimizations, or binary encodings, but the outcome generally depends on the structure of the data used and the application itself. Another important issue that influences performance is the choice of architecture -- a wireless portal network architecture, for example, avoids XML processing on mobile devices, whereas a wireless extended Internet architecture requires XML processing as well as the ability to transfer SOAP messages. Moreover, in a wireless extended Internet architecture, new or updated applications must be downloaded over wireless networks before the user can use them. This process is time- consuming and costly because of the additional data that must be transferred over limited bandwidth. The authors describe an agent-based mobile services framework which uses wireless portal networks and eliminates XML processing on mobile clients. It also offers dynamic service selection and rapid application development and deployment for Web service providers.
See also: W3C Mobile Web Initiative

The Screening Room #6: XML for Analysis
Jon Udell, InfoWorld
In the June episode of 'The Screening Room' I received an education from Chris Harrington, who runs the Active Interface consultancy, about an emerging standard for online analytical processing (OLAP) called XML for Analysis (XMLA). Although XMLA was originally a Microsoft/Hyperion initiative, it's attracting wider interest and seems headed toward standardization. At the conclusion of the screencast, Chris points to this proof-of-concept interoperation between his client and Mondrian, an open-source Java-based OLAP server that can turn a number of SQL databases, including MySQL, into XMLA providers. In a recent podcast interview Kingsley Idehen announced that in addition to releasing an open source version of the Virtuoso database, there would also be an Open AJAX Toolkit whose data-binding capabilities are abstracted in terms of XMLA, an interface provided by Virtuoso and by SQL Server. How will business intelligence meet Web 2.0? Chris Harrington and Kingsley Idehen think AJAX and XMLA will form the bridge.
See also: earlier references

Domain-Independent, Composable Web Services Policy Assertionst
Anne H. Anderson, IEEE Conference Paper
This paper was presented at the Seventh IEEE International Workshop on Policies for Distributed Systems and Networks (POLICY 2006). Paper abstract: "The current model for the predicates, or 'Assertions', used in a WS-Policy instance is for each policy domain to design new schema elements for that domain's Assertions. Their semantics are defined in an associated specification and are domain-specific. This model leads to interoperability and maintenance problems and hinders dynamic service composition. WS-PolicyConstraints is a domain- independent language for writing Assertions that is based on the Web Services Policy Language subset of XACML; it differs in addressing only the Assertion layer. This paper describes problems with domain-specific Assertions, the WS-PolicyConstraints alternative, and problems encountered in the development of this language." [Note: the XACML References document Version 1.65 provides information on Bibliography, Related Standards, Products and Deployments, and the XACML Attribute Definitions. The editor reports that the XACML References resource cites over 160 technical articles and lists some 44 XACML deployments.]
See also: XACML References

Last Call Working Draft for WebCGM 2.0
Benoit Bezaire, David Cruikshank, Lofton Henderson; W3C Working Draft
W3C has announced the publication of a Last Call Working Draft specification for "WebCGM 2.0." Computer Graphics Metafile, or CGM, is an ISO standard for tree-structured, binary graphics format that has been adopted especially by the technical industries (defense, aviation, transportation, etc) for technical illustration in electronic documents. The W3C Working group was chartered to develop a W3C Recommendation for WebCGM 2.0, starting with WebCGM 2.0 Submission. WebCGM -- first published (1.0) in 1999 followed by a second (errata) release in 2001 -- unifies potentially diverse approaches to CGM utilization in Web document applications, and therefore represents a significant interoperability agreement amongst major users and implementers of the ISO CGM standard. WebCGM finds significant application especially in technical illustration, electronic documentation, and geophysical data visualization, amongst other application areas. WebCGM 2.0 adds a DOM (API) specification for programmatic access to WebCGM objects, and a specification of an XML Companion File (XCF) architecture, for externalization of non-graphical metadata. WebCGM 2.0, in addition, builds upon and extends the graphical and intelligent content of WebCGM 1.0, delivering functionality that was forecast for WebCGM 1.0, but was postponed in order to get the standard and its implementations to users expeditiously.
See also: WebCGM Working Group

Web Apps Get New Open-Source App Server
Charles Babcock, InformationWeek
A new open source application server is available for download from WSO2 Inc., a little known but highly regarded Sri Lankan firm of open source developers. It's Tungsten 1.0 application server is designed to handle Ajax and other scripting based applications more efficiently. The WSO2 stands for Web Services Oxygenation, perhaps an alchemist's way of saying it's time to activate a new generation of Web applications. Nevertheless, WSO2 is bringing a fresh set of concepts and standards to the notion of an application server, software that gives a Web site its ability to scale across many users. Application servers available today, such as IBM WebSphere, BEA Systems WebLogic, and Red Hat's JBoss, are written in Java and geared to run Java applications. WSO2's Tungsten 1.0 comes in both Java and C versions, with the latter offering some advantages when it comes to dealing with Web technologies. Many applications today are being written in the popular PHP scripting language, which itself is based on C, points out Sanjiva Weerawarana, a former IBM Web services developer who is CEO of WSO2. Tungsten is meant to process incoming XML messages and connect them to back-end SAP or other applications. "We take the XML payload and context and pass it to the application directly" without intermediate parsers or processing.

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