XML and Web Services In The News - 03 July 2006

Provided by OASIS | Edited by Robin Cover

This issue of XML Daily Newslink is sponsored by Innodata Isogen


 W3C Launches Math Working Group for MathML 3.0
 Adobe Pits Flex Against AJAX
 Namespaces, Tables, and Schemas, Oh My
 Internet Calendaring & Scheduling Core Object Specification (iCalendar)
 Mustang: The Fast Track to Web Services

W3C Launches Math Working Group for MathML 3.0
W3C, Announcement
W3C has announced the launch of a new Math Working Group to replace the Math Interest Group. Patrick Ion (and Invited Expert, representing the American Mathematical Society) and Robert Miner (Design Science) are Co-Chairs of the Working Group. The group is chartered through 29 February 2008 to produce a new MathML 3.0 Recommendation, to improve and expand MathML in the areas of internationalization, accessibility, and mathematical richness. Work items for MathML 3.0 include (for example): (1) Extension of MathML to support elementary mathematical notations such as mixed numbers or two-dimensional notations for addition, multiplication, and long division. So far, layout of these notation has been achieved using tables. The introduction of explicit markup for them will increase accessibility and searchability. (2) Extension of MathML to enhance support for online assessment, particularly accessible assessment. Users of MathML include a large number of educational institutions interested in long-term standards- based encoding of mathematical content.
See also: W3C Math Home

Adobe Pits Flex Against AJAX
Paul Krill, InfoWorld
An update to Adobe's Flex rich Internet application development platform last week makes the technology less expensive to use, and could make Flex more competitive with open source AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) development systems. Flex 2 includes a number of free features, such as the Flex SDK (software development kit). The real changes, though, are in pricing, where Adobe is looking to reduce the cost of simple Flex deployments. With Flex 2, Adobe is permitting free single CPU deployments of Flex applications using the Flex Data Services 2 Express or XML and Web Services. Previously, Flex users paid $15,000 per CPU to get started with the Flex SDK, which was part of the Flex Presentation Server. The Flex 2 platform works with Adobe's ubiquitous Flash Player and features the Flex 2 SDK; Flex Data Services, to link data to the client; a Flex Builder 2 IDE; and the Flex framework. Approximately 5,000 developers currently use Flex, but Adobe wants the number of developers using the former Macromedia technology to grow to 1 million within five years...
See also: the Adobe Flex 2 web site

Namespaces, Tables, and Schemas, Oh My
Eliot Kimber, Dr. Macro's XML Rants
A conundrum: what's the best way to enable recognition of standard XML types that are intended to contain arbitrary stuff from non-standard namespaces such that the schemas governing the non-standard stuff can constrain the rules for what goes inside the standard stuff? This question comes from my attempts to integrate standard table models, in particular the OASIS (nee CALS) table model, into purpose-built document types that are, per my rule that all document types should be in a namespace, in their own namespace and that whose constraints are formally defined using XSD schemas. For example, the OASIS Exchange Table Model (which supplants the hoary CALS table model used in most technical documentation doc types) does not define a namespace -- the specification was published in 1999, before namespaces were even finalized or in common use. This means that one can, like DocBook, simply add the table element types to your schema and go on your way. But that is asserting that those element types are part of your schema, not a standard module that you are using by reference. The body of practice with using namespaces to create compound document types composed from multiple modules intended to be mixed and matched is quite thin and I don't think we've yet arrived at a concensus of what the best practice is. So I've been experiementing in the context of document types for technical documentation where you want to create a family of related document types that share some common structures, use appropriate standard components such as MathML, SVG, and OASIS tables, and are practical to author. My current working hypothesis is that each distinct set of re-usable element types should be in its own namespace. This follows in part from my assertion that (with a few small exceptions) every XSD document should govern a distinct namespace -- and conversely, every namespace should be represented by exactly one XSD schema document in a given processing context.
See also: Namespaces in XML

Internet Calendaring and Scheduling Core Object Specification (iCalendar)
Bernard Desruisseaux (ed), IETF Internet Draft
A new IETF Internet Draft has been released for the Internet Calendaring and Scheduling Core Object Specification (iCalendar) specification. The document is a product of the Calendaring and Scheduling Standards Simplification (Calsify) Working Group of the Internet Engineering Task Force. This memo has been defined to provide the definition of a common format for openly exchanging calendaring and scheduling information across the Internet. The memo is formatted as a registration for a MIME media type . However, the format in this memo is equally applicable for use outside of a MIME message content type. The proposed media type value is 'text/calendar'. This string would label a media type containing calendaring and scheduling information encoded as text characters. This MIME media type provides a standard content type for capturing calendar event, to-do and journal entry information. It also can be used to convey free/busy time information. The content type is suitable as a MIME message entity that can be transferred over MIME based email systems, using HTTP or some other Internet transport. In addition, the content type is useful as an object for interactions between desktop applications using the operating system clipboard, drag/drop or file systems capabilities. This memo is based on the earlier work of the vCalendar specification for the exchange of personal calendaring and scheduling information. An iCalendar object method is a set of usage constraints for the iCalendar object. For example, these methods might define scheduling messages that request an event be scheduled, reply to an event request, send a cancellation notice for an event, modify or replace the definition of an event, provide a counter proposal for an original event request, delegate an event request to another individual, request free or busy time, reply to a free or busy time request, or provide similar scheduling messages for a to-do or journal entry calendar component.
See also: iCalendar DTD Document

Mustang: The Fast Track to Web Services
Gautam Shah, JavaWorld
The upcoming release of Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE) version 6.0, also known as Mustang, makes development and consumption of Web services a breeze. It brings the power of metadata to simple Java classes, enabling them to be deployed as Web services. It also brings the Java API for XML Web Services to clients consuming those services. This article takes a hands-on approach to developing metadata- based Web services and thereafter consuming them using JAX-WS. For the skeptic, Java SE 6 has improvements across the board, from opening programmatic access to the Java compiler, to system-tray and splash- screen components, to mixing scripting languages with your Java source code (with JavaScript supported out-of-box), to a dapper look and feel in Swing, to XML digital signatures, to the Smart Card I/O API, to JMX monitor threading improvements, to Web services annotations for service providers and simplified client access. The author focuses on the improvements to the Web Services Metadata specification and Java API for XML Web Services (JAX-WS) 2.0 in Java SE 6 that make both development and consumption of Web services quite easy. Using these new features, "we create a Web service from a simple Java class by merely slapping on annotations; thereafter, we consume this service using JAX-WS 2.0. We even add a handler to the service that intercepts the service call and dumps the SOAP messages to System.out. Actually, these features have been available as after-market downloads that implement Java Specification Request 181 (Web Services Metadata) and JSR 224 (JAX-WS). Having these features part of the standard Java release makes them more mainstream; expect to see proliferated support in IDEs soon.

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