1999 XML News

Friday, December 31, 1999

Norman Walsh has posted version 1.2 of his XSL style sheets for DocBook. This version adds support for XT-based chunking and various other improvements.

Walsh has also released version 0.03 of his XSL Lint written in Perl. XSL Lint is a semantic lint checker for XSL. This release adds variables and recognizes the XSLT URI.

IBM's DB2 XML Extender provides new data types that let you store XML documents in DB2 databases and new functions to work with these structured documents. Entire XML documents can be stored in DB2 databases as character data or stored as external files managed by DB2. Retrieval functions allow you to retrieve either the entire XML document or individual elements or attributes.

Paul Miller has released version 0.3 of XMLIO, an XML input/output library for C++ applications. XMLIO is a simple, nestable, streaming, XML parser for C++ application data. Unicode is not yet supported, however, so much work remains to be done. Version 0.3 adds chained element handlers and support for parsing lists. The underlying parser is James Clark's expat. An ANSI C++ compiler with namespaces, exceptions, and the standard library is required. XMLIO is free under the MIT X11 license.

IBM's alphaWorks has released the XML Lightweight Extractor (XLE), a program to extract data from a database and converts and assemble that data into XML documents.

Thursday, December 30, 1999

Sun's posted a proposal for archiving/serializing Swing and JavaBeans based GUIs as XML. This may help fix the problem of inconsistent binary serialization formats between JDK versions that's especially troublesome for Swing applications. The proposal includes a sample Bean Builder tool for building GUI code from the proposed XML grammar. JDK 1.3 is required.

Wednesday, December 29, 1999

The W3C has released the recommendation (i.e. finished standard) for HTML 4.0.1, a bug fix release to HTML 4.0. The changes are mostly fairly minor, but do include some fixes to make HTML more XML/XHTML compatible such as allowing attribute values to contain colons and underscores. (I suspect most browsers already allowed that.)

The W3C also emitted a host of new working drafts right before Christmas. These include:

Monday, December 27, 1999

Jonathan Eisenzopf has released version 0.8 alpha of XML::RSS that fixes a bug that causes problems when working with multiple instances of XML::RSS. The API has not yet been finalized.

Friday, December 24, 1999

Zveno has released a beta of Swish 1.0, an open source XML editor written in TCL. Tcl/Tk 8.1 or later is required.

Tuesday, December 21, 1999

The W3C has published two revised and two new working drafts. The first new working draft is for XBase, a means of specifying a base URL for the current document, much like the BASE element in HTML using an xml:base attribute. The second new working draft is for XHTML Basic, a subset of XHTML 1.1 that contains basic XHTML features like text structure, images, basic forms, and basic tables. XHTML Basic is intended for Web clients running on things that aren't full-blown computers like cell phones, Palm Pilots, pagers, and set-top boxes. The XHTML Basic DTD is built using XHTML modules.

The two revised working drafts are for XLink, and the XML Info Set. The XML Info Set specification is now in last call, which will end January 31, 2000 if no major issues are found.

Monday, December 20, 1999

FourThought LLC has released version 0.9.0 of 4DOM, a Document Object Model (DOM) Library for Python. 4DOM implements W3C DOM Core level 2, HTML level 2 and Level 2 Document Traversal. This release adds full Level 2 support in core and HTML, including namespace-support and fixes assorted bugs.

FourThought LLC has also released version 0.8.0 of 4XSLT and 4XPath, XSLT and XPath implementations in Python. These support most, though not quite all, of the latest W3C XPath and XSLT specifications.

Saturday, December 18, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released a new version of the LotusXSL XSLT application written in Java. This release is essentially a wrapper around the Apache XML Project's Xalan XSLT processor (which itself is based on an earlier release of LotusXSL). This release supports the October XSLT recommendation.

AT&T has released XMill 0.7, a special purpose compression tool for XML data. It's been established that XML-based file formats are generally smaller than the corresponding binary formats, and that after compression they range from a little smaller to a little bigger than the compressed binary. However, XMill claims compression up to twice that of gzip by taking advantage of knowledge that a file is in XML. XMill is written in C++, and is more or less free.

Friday, December 17, 1999

The W3C XML Schema working group has published new working drafts of XML Schema Part 1: Structures, and XML Schema Part 2: Datatypes.

The W3C Internationalization Working Group has published the last call working draft for "Ruby Annotation". The Last Call review period will end on January 14, 2000. "Ruby" are short runs of text alongside the base text, used in East Asian documents to indicate pronunciation or to provide a short annotation. This specification defines markup for ruby. The specification is written so that this markup for ruby can be included as a module of XHTML 1.1.

The Apache XML project has posted the first full release of Xalan, an XSLT processor written in Java. This is version 0.19.1 (though it's based on later version of other tools like LotusXSL). It's distributed in the somewhat unusual jar format, though Java programmers shouldn't have a problem with this.

IBM's alphaWorks has released the IBM On-Line Transcoding Demo, a set of Windows server-based applications for the on-demand conversion of documents from CGM or AFP to SVG.

Thursday, December 16, 1999

simple/CHAOS has posted the first public development release of SixPack, an open source, tree-based XML editor for the Macintosh written in REAL Basic.

Wednesday, December 15, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released version 0.3c of SVGView, a viewer program for Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) documents. SVG is a developing W3C standard for encoding vector graphics in XML. This release supports the December 3 SVG Working Draft and fixes assorted bugs.

Tuesday, December 14, 1999

Sean McGrath's released Pyxie, an open source XML processing library for Python.

Monday, December 13, 1999

Zveno Pty Ltd has released beta 5 of Swish, their open source, cross-platform, GUI editor for XML a new version of our XML Editor, Swish.

Sunday, December 12, 1999

The W3C has published an XHTML Proposed Recommendation. XHTML is a reformulation of HTML as strict XML. For example all tags are in lower case, and <br> is replaced by <br/>. Review is scheduled to be complete by January 8, 2000.

Saturday, December 11, 1999

The W3C has elevated Document Object Model Level 2 specification to Candidate Recommendation status. This means the specification is assumed to be stable. There will be a one-month period for programmers to write implementations of the specification. Assuming no major bugs turn up during implementation, the specification will move into the Proposed Recommendation phase around January 19, 2000.

IBM's alphaWorks has released the first iteration of Visual XML Tools for Windows NT. This includes four pieces:

  • Visual XML Query, a tool for constructing XPath expressions
  • Visual XML Creation, a tool for creating XML documents from a SQL query
  • Visual DTD, a tool for creating and viewing DTDs
  • Visual XML Transformation, a tool for generating DTDs and XSLT stylesheets that transform one example XML document into another example XML document.
Friday, December 10, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released a new version of VoiceXML with support for audio playback and recording, natural language grammars, tapered help and error messages, timeouts, and simulated telephone DTMF input.

Wednesday, December 8, 1999

The Apache-XML Project's released version 0.12 of the open source FOP XSL formatting objects to PDF converter. FOP is written in Java.

Oracle's released version 2 of its XML parser for Java. This parser supports all the usual interfaces and specs: XML 1.0, SAX 1.0, DOM 1.0, Namespaces, etc.

Sun's released an early access version of its Java API for XML parsing, which mostly amounts to SAX, DOM, a few utility classes, and Sun's XML parser (formerly known as Java Project X). Java Developer Connection membership is required.

Tuesday, December 7, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released new versions of their XML parsers for Java and C++. Version 3.0.3EA3 of XML4J is based on the Apache Xerces XML Parser (which is largely based on an older version of XML4J) and adds DOM Level 2, SAX2 (alpha), and parts of W3C Schema proposal. XML4C++ adds namespaces, some DOM level 2 support, and bug fixes.

Monday, December 6, 1999

The XML Linking Working Group of the W3C has released a new draft XPointer specification. This is a pretty major change. It adds clear notions of points, ranges, and singletons for selections. Tumblers are now called "child sequences". New functions include range(), range-inside(), string-range(), here(), origin(), start-point(), end-point(), and unique(). I'll try to update Chapter 17 of the XML Bible to the new specification soon. Last call is December 27, 1999.

The W3C has also released a new working draft of the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) specification. SVG is an XML application for vector graphics. (Think PostScript in XML.)

Sunday, December 5, 1999

Ian Hutchinson's released a beta of TtM, a Tex-to-HTML+MathML translator. It's written and distributed as C source code that you'll need to compile.

Saturday, December 4, 1999

After briefly selling out, Amazon is listing the XML Bible on 2-3 day availability again. I've also seen the second printing reaching various local book stores. If you've been waiting to order it, you can get it now. If by chance, amazon sells out again, they should be able to get more quite quickly.

Friday, December 3, 1999

Walter Underwood of Infoseek has written a draft proposal for a robots processing instruction. This processing instruction would inform search engines and other spiders and robots how it should handle a particular document (e.g. whether it should be indexed and/or spidered). In essence, this would do for XML documents what the Robots META tag does for HTML documents.

Michael Kay's released version 5.0 of Saxon, his XSLT processor written in Java. This release brings Saxon into conformance with the XSLT ands XPath 1.0 final recommendations. New extension functions in this release include intersection(), difference(), has-same-nodes(), line-number(), system-id(), if(condition, then, else). This release also introduces style sheet chaining for multipass processing and user-definable numbering and collating sequences. Saxon is open source software distributed under the Mozilla Public License.

Amazon sold out of the XML Bible within a few hours of me noting that they had gotten some back in stock yesterday. However, the second printing is shipping now, and I do expect that they will get more before the 3-5 weeks they're advertising now. Your best chance to get a copy is to order it now so they'll ship it as soon as they get more from IDG. Borders is the only online store I've found that has it in stock for immediate shipment, but most others should have it soon.

IBM's alphaWorks has updated several tools including:

  • Visual DTD generates Java classes for creating XML instances of an XML schema and sample XML document from a DTD, adds a new graphical view, and fixes assorted bugs.
  • The Visual XML Transformation Tool now allows you to save and resume sessions as well as fixing assorted bugs. This tool takes as input DTDs describing the source XML documents. The user then visually constructs the desired structure of the new XML document, and the tool then generates an XSLT style sheet for transforming the source documents to the target document.
  • XML Viewer and Xplorer now use version 1.60 of the IBM Install Toolkit for Java 1.60. Xplorer is a Java application for searching, validating and viewing XML files in XML viewer.
  • The IBM Classes for Unicode (C++) have fixed some bugs in the configure script.
Thursday, December 2, 1999

Amazon is now listing the XML Bible on 2-3 day availability. I assume this means that the second printing has either reached them or soon will. If you've ordered the XML Bible in the last few weeks, you should receive it soon. If you've been waiting to order it until the second printing was available, you may want to order it now.

The W3C has posted the first public working draft of Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) 2.0. Mostly this is a clean-up of MathML 1.0. The major news additions in this release are a document object model (DOM) for MathML and the new content elements arg, real, imaginary, equivalent, approx, divergence, grad, curl, laplacian, size, vectorproduct, scalarproduct and outerproduct.

Activated Intelligence has released the first public version of EZ/X, an XSLT processor written in Java. In various incarnations this processor has been driving the JavaLobby web site for the last year. Unfortunately, the licensing of this software is still up in the air. Consequently it seems dangerous to make a commitment to it, especially when there are so many good free alternatives like LotusXSL and XT.

Wednesday, December 1, 1999

Don Park's launched the SML-DEV mailing list for further discussion and development of this simplified form of XML. You can join by sending a message to: sml-dev-subscribe@eGroups.com. After watching SML on xml-dev for the last couple of weeks, I'm glad to see it go somewhere else. Personally, I just don't think it will be all that useful in practice.

Dave Pawson's posted version 2.0 his XSL FAQ List.

IBM's alphaWorks has released version SVGView 0.3b, a Java program that uses Java 2D to display Scalable Vector Graphics files. Version 0.3b fixes assorted bugs and adds partial rendering and gradient-filled text.

Tuesday, November 30, 1999

The W3C has published a note on A Notation for Character Collections for the WWW. This proposes an XML syntax for describing particular subsets of Unicode characters. For instance, this could be used to describe what characters a font includes or what characters are allowed in Java identifiers.

IBM's alphaWorks has released DatabaseDom, a Java bean for mapping database tables into XML documents and vice versa. DatabaseDom uses JDBC, IBM's Data Access Bean and DOM programming. Template files define the structure of the database and the corresponding XML.

Monday, November 29, 1999

The W3C has released a new working draft of XHTML, a reformulation of HTML 4.0 as strict HTML. The biggest change in this draft is that XHTML is now back to a single namespace (http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml) for strict, transitional, and frameset versions.

Sunday, November 28, 1999

Lee Buck, Charles Goldfarb, and Paul Prescod have written a draft specification and sample implementation in Java of DT4DTD The purpose is to provide legacy systems that cannot convert their DTDs to XML Schema, to use XML Schema conformant data types nonetheless.

Saturday, November 27, 1999

The W3C HTML Working Group has posted a summary of its plans for the next year or so. The following table excerpted from that document gives the estimated dates.

Deliverable 1st Public Draft Recommendation or Note
XHTML 1.0 5 December 1998 January 2000
HTML 4.01 26 March 1999 November 1999
Building XHTML Modules 23 July 1999 April 2000
XHTML Modularization 31 March 1999 April 2000
XHTML 1.1 31 March 1999 April 2000
XHTML Basic November 1999 April 2000
XHTML 2.0 January 2000 July 2000
XHTML Profile Requirements 30 July 1999 n/a
XHTML Profiles December 1999 December 2000
Extended Forms Requirements 30 July 1999 n/a
Extended Forms Module November 1999 December 2000
Extended Events Module November 1999 April 2000
Investigate XHTML Modules as XML Schemas February 2000 unknown

As far as I know this is the first public mention of some of these proposals including XHTML Basic (for thin clients), XML Profiles, and XHTML 2.0 (replacing HTML images and links with XLinks). More details are in the note

Friday, November 26, 1999

Icon has released a beta of XML Spy 3.0, its half-tree, half-table based XML editor for Windows. The currently shipping version is $54 payware.

Thursday, November 25, 1999

Object Design has released a stand-alone version of Stylus, a visual XSL editor for Windows 95, 98 and NT that includes a debugger. Internet Explorer 4.0.1 or later is required. Stylus is $199 payware.

Wednesday, November 24, 1999

The XML Linking working group of the W3C has posted a note about XML Inclusion which proposes a way of merging different XML Infosets into a single composite Infoset. Some of this has been done in different ways in previous working drafts of XLink, particularly show="parsed". All of this is controversial. Personally, I think this is important and a good idea though I haven't explored the detailed proposal yet.

Tuesday, November 23, 1999

Sun's posted public draft 1 of The Java API for XML Parsing Specification v1.0. (Does anyone else find the word "The" a little presumptuous in the title? Like we should all suddenly give up SAX and all the other APIs for parsing XML with Java that we've been using successfully for over a year just because Sun has decided to go its own way?) This API describes a class library (more or less implemented by Sun's Project X) that provides basic functionality for reading, manipulating, and generating XML documents from Java programs. Comments to xml-spec-comments@eng.sun.com.

Monday, November 22, 1999

Wattle Software has released XMLWriter 1.0, a payware XML/XSL/CSS/DTD editor for Windows 95/98/NT. Internet Explorer 4.0.1 or later is required. XMLWriter costs $75 Australian (roughly $50 U.S.).

Saturday, November 20, 1999

The W3C has revised several working drafts including

Friday, November 19, 1999

I've updated the online versions of Chapters 14, XSL Transformations, and 17, XPointers, of the XML Bible to match the November 16, 1999 W3C Recommendations of XSLT and XPath. The main change in Chapter 14 is that a DOCTYPE declaration is no longer output by default for HTML files. Otherwise the changes were extremely minor.

Thursday, November 18, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released version 1.0.5 of the XMI Toolkit. XMI is an XML application for encoding UML models. This release adds software for converting between Java, Rational Rose, and UML models. It also adds an API to read and write XMI 1.0 files. It requires Windows 95, 98, or NT.

Wednesday, November 17, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released an XSL Editor written in Java. This editor integrates the previously released XSL Trace and Visual Transform tools. Authors can set and remove "break points" on the style sheet and source document. The XSL Editor user interface features a collapsible tree view and "Dynamic 'edit pads'". Most interestingly, XPath expressions can be automatically generated by selecting the relevant nodes from the source document.

Tuesday, November 16, 1999

The W3C has elevated both XSL Transformations and XPath to official recommendations. XPath does not list any changes since the October 8 Proposed Recommendation, though I haven't run a diff yet. XSLT has two changes:

  • A literal result element that is used as the root element of a stylesheet must have an xsl:version attribute. This should help to avoid some common and confusing problems where xsl:stylesheet elements with the wrong namespace are unintentionally interpreted as literal result elements.
  • The data-type attribute of xsl:sort can use a prefixed name to specify a data type not defined by XSLT. According to a note, "The XSL Working Group plans that future versions of XSLT will leverage XML Schemas to define further values for this attribute."
Monday, November 15, 1999

I'm still catching up on news that piled up in my in box while I was away at SD99 East. If you don't normally read Cafe con Leche on the weekends be sure to scroll down for a lot of important developments that took place over the last week, but didn't get posted here till this past weekend.

Fujitsu's Takuki Kamiya has written a DOM query utility in Java on top of XT. This program retrieves DOM Nodes that match a given XPath selector.

Geir Ove Gronmo has posted the first 0.10 (and shortly thereafter the second 0.20) release of GPS - Groves and Property Sets for Python. This is a Python implementation of the groves and property set concepts defined in the HyTime and DSSSL standards. Python 1.5.2 or newer, an SGML/XML parser with a SAX driver, SAX for Python, and xmlarch 0.25 are required. GPS is GPL'd.

The first beta of the open source application server Enhydra 2.3 is now available. Version 2.3 adds a lot more support for XML including XML Compilation using the IBM alphaWorks XML4J parser. This must be downloaded separately due to licensing restrictions though this should be cleaned up in a future release now that XML4J is managed by the Apache Project. Version 2.3 also adds Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) support and Dynamic Connection Methods

Motorola has released a beta of the Mobile Applications Developer Tool Kit for Windows 95, 98, and NT. This is a software development kit for Wireless Markup Language (WML) and Voice Markup Language (VoxML) applications. It includes a WML 1.1 compiler and interpreter for simulation of local and/or server-based WAP applications; HTTP connectivity for simulating VoxML applications; and Automatic Speech Recognition and Text-To-Speech Synthesis Engines.

Sergey Melnik has released a beta of the stream based version of the SiRPAC RDF parser.

EditML is a free, tree-based XML editor for Windows that requires Internet Explorer 4.0.1 or later.

Sunday, November 14, 1999

Let's see if I can catch up on some of the news that backed up while I was away at SD99 East last week. I actually had Internet access at the show but I rarely had any time to use it before the show closed for the night. I really wish hotels would use the space wasted on the price gouging minibar on a PC with a real Internet connection instead, or at least an Ethernet port for a laptop. For $189 a night, is a T-1 connection really too much to ask? Or even a phone line that doesn't charge you several times the market rate for calling your ISP? This trip I stayed at the Grand Hyatt on the conference's tab, but I can't see going back there if I have to pay for it myself. D.C. has a lot of equally nice hotels for a lot less money. Last May, I stayed in a nicer room at the DoubleTree Suites in Foggy Bottom for about half of what the Grand Hyatt was asking.

The biggest news of the week was the founding of the Apache XML Project. This consists of four key pieces of the XML equation:

  • Xerces - XML parsers in Java, C++, and Perl which will be based on the IBM alphaWorks XML for Java and XML for C++ parsers as well as Sun's Project X, and OpenXML from Exoffice and Assaf Arkin
  • Xalan - XSLT stylesheet processors, in Java and C++ which will be based on IBM alphaWorks' LotusXSL processor and , and XSL:P from Exoffice and Keith Visco.
  • Cocoon - XML-based web publishing, written in Java
  • FOP, an XSL formatting objects to PDF converter written in Java, developed by James Tauber

These should all be true open source software without the annoying restrictions that limited the IBM products. This is a major step forward for XML. Thanks are due to IBM, Sun, ExOffice, DataChannel, James Tauber, and all the others who contributed their time and code to the community for this project.

The W3C has released several new and revised working drafts including:

  • SMIL Animation is the first public draft of an animation framework and set of base XML animation elements suitable for integration with XML documents more or less based on the SMIL 1.0 timing model.
  • Canonical XML describes a way to reduce an XMl document to its fundamental form--for instance by eliminating insignificant white space--such that two XML documents whose Canonical-XML form is identical can be considered the same for the purposes of many applications.
  • User Agent Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 provides guidelines to user agent (browser, player, plug-in, etc.) developers for making their products accessible to people with disabilities. Last call is December 1, 1999.
  • Techniques for User Agent Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 discusses techniques vendors can use to implement the tasks described in "User Agent Accessibility Guidelines 1.0".
  • XML Schema Part 1: Structures proposes facilities for describing the structure and constraining the contents of XML 1.0 documents. The schema language, itself an XML application, defines a superset of the capabilities found in XML 1.0 document type definitions (DTDs). For instance it reintroduces the functionality of the SGML & operator that isn't allowed in XML DTDs.
  • XML Schema Part 2: Datatypes defines the data types used in XML documents. These include equivalents for all the major Java and SQL data types.
  • The Platform for Privacy Preferences 1.0 Specification describes how Web sites can express their privacy practices in a standard RDF format that can be retrieved automatically and interpreted by browsers and other user agents. Last call is April 30, 2000.

IBM's alphaWorks has released the first version of X-It, a wizard based batch processing application for XML files that performs tasks like sorting, validating against a new DTD, finding and replacing text, deleting nodes, and so forth.

AlphaWorks has also updated the LotusXSL XSLT processor written in Java to make some fixes to JavaScript and embedded stylesheet support.

Saturday, November 13, 1999

I have returned from SD99 East. XML was extremely hot at this conference. For the first time, people were stopping me in the halls to talk further about my presentations. There's certainly a lot of excitement about XML, though a lot of people are still a little confused about what it is exactly or what they can do with it. I've posted the notes for all my XML presentations at the conference including:

  • Introduction to XML, a full day tutorial covering XML, DTDs, XSL Transformations, and XLinks.
  • XML Basics, a 90 minute seminar introducing XML's syntax and uses
  • XML DTDs, a 90 minute seminar introducing Document Type Definitions, validity, and well-formedness
  • XSL Transformations, a 90 minute seminar introducing XSLT and its uses.

All slides for these talks were originally written in XML. An XSLT stylesheet was used to produce the onscreen notes and printed handouts.

Many other people talked about XML and related technologies at this conference including Simon St. Laurent, James Tauber, Simon Phipps (InfoWorld has a story about his keynote), Dave Linthicum, John Ousterhout, Christian Gross, and Johnathan Eisenzopf. The XML sessions were generally the most packed at the conference. Software developers are really beginning to catch the XML fever.

Tuesday, November 9, 1999

I've posted the notes for my Intro to XML Tutorial given today at SD99 East. This is a full day tutorial covering XML, DTDs, XSL Transformations, and XLinks.

Monday, November 8, 1999

I'm leaving for the SD99 East conference in D.C. later today. I'll be there to talk about XML and Java Network Programming for the next week. Updates here are likely to be a little sporadic until I get back.

Saturday, November 6, 1999

I'm sure that by now you've heard that the findings of fact in the U.S. government vs. Microsoft antitrust case came down squarely against Microsoft. I won't bother to reiterate the findings here. Macintouch has a nice summary and all the usual computer news sites will have more detailed coverage.

Friday, November 5, 1999

James Clark has posted a new release (19991105) of XT, his XSLT processor written in Java. This release adds three new extension functions:

  • xt:node-set for converting a result tree fragment to a node-set
  • xt:intersection for computing the intersection of two node-sets
  • xt:difference for computing the difference of two node-sets

This release also adds a simple, slower API based purely on the DOM as opposed to SAX.

eXML is an XML Parser Toolkit for Eiffel. The current version is 0.1.7 and is based on expat 1.0.2.

Wednesday, November 3, 1999

The W3C director, Tim Berners-Lee, has sent the XHTML proposed recommendation back to the HTML working group for further discussion. Apparently he was concerned that consensus had not been achieved on some crucial issues like the proper MIME type and whether XHTML should use one namespace or three. As far as I know, this is the first time he's exercised his veto power over a proposed recommendation. In this case, it's not too big a deal since XHTML files are for the most part completely intelligible to existing browsers as either HTML or XML, standardization status notwithstanding.

Tuesday, November 2, 1999

Dongwook Shin has released the XRS (XML Retrieval System), an XML indexing and retrieval engine for Solaris Java that allows a variety of structural searching functions.

James Clark has posted a new release (19991102) of XT, his XSLT processor written in Java. This release adds support for the doctype-system, doctype-public, omit-xml-declaration and standalone attributes on xsl:output, the preceding axis, xsl:message, and DOM Level 1 for the source tree.

The RDF-DEV mailing list is being deprecated in favor of a new, W3C official www-rdf-interest mailing list. To subscribe to the www-rdf-interest mailing list, send a message: to www-rdf-interest-request@w3.org with the subject "subscribe".

Sunday, October 31, 1999

The W3C has released version 2.2.0 of Amaya, their test bed, open source Web browser for Windows and Unix with support for MathML, HTML 4.0, XHTML and CSS. There's still no direct support for arbitrary XML though. :-( CSS.

Saturday, October 30, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has updated TeXML, their XML-to-TeX converter with support for much more of Unicode and a document type and formatter for plain text. TeXML is written in Java, though of course you'll need a TeX system to produce final output.

Thursday, October 28, 1999

The W3C has released a beta of SAC 1.0, The Simple API for CSS. This is a standard Java interface for Cascading Style Sheet parsers.

Wednesday, October 27, 1999

Pro Solutions Ltd. has released a Perl module for parsing Resource Description Framework (RDF) documents. It does not support the aboutEachPrefix feature of RDF. Otherwise the implementation is complete. Registration is required.

Percussion has released two new payware tools for working with Web sites and XML. (Pricing not yet available.) Rhythmyx is yet another Web server that preprocesses XML and XML+HTML files to HTML before serving them to the client. Considerably more unique, however, is XSpLit, a tool that reverse engineers HTML files to XML documents plus XSL stylesheets. I haven't yet tested either one, however.

Rick Jelliffe has released "The Schematron", a tree-pattern schema language built on top of XSL. This is an open source project. Miloslav Nic has started writing a Schematron tutorial.

IBM's alphaWorks has released a new version of LotusXSL, their XSLT processor written in Java. This release simplifies the programmer level API and adds support for the format, lang, grouping-separator, and letter attributes of xsl:number.

Tuesday, October 26, 1999

I've begun updating the XML Conference list. If you know of any shows that aren't listed here, now's a really good time to send them to me.

Monday, October 25, 1999

The W3C has posted a working draft of XML-Signature Core Syntax and Processing. This draft describes how to encode digital signatures in XML, how to include digital signatures in XML documents, and how to canonicalize XML documents before signing them.

The W3C has also posted a note about TV Broadcast URI Schemes Requirements from the Web-TV interest group. This note discusses the requirements needed for Uniform Resource Identifiers for television shows.

Saturday, October 23, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released a couple of new and updated products for working with SVG, the W3C's XML encoding of vector graphics. First, the AFP to SVG Transcoder is a new Windows program for translating Advanced Function Presentation (AFP) documents to Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). Secondly, the SVGView Java2D based application has been upgraded to version 0.3a with support for the August 12th working draft of SVG.

Friday, October 22, 1999

FourThought LLC has released versions 0.7.2 of 4XPath and 4XSLT, Python implementations of XPath language and XSL Transformations respectively. These release are mostly up-to-date with the October 8 proposed recommendations of XSLT and XPath. They've also released version 0.8.2 of 4DOM, a Python implementation of the Document Object Model.

Thursday, October 21, 1999

Michael Dyck has converted Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (G&C Merriam Co., 1913, edited by Noah Porter) to more than 50 megabyte of XML. It's now hosted here on MetaLab.

Wednesday, October 20, 1999

Oracle's posted version 0.9.6 of the XSQL on Oracle TechNet (registration required). XSQL is a servlet based approach for serving XML information (optionally transformed by XSLT stylesheets) to Web clients from JDBC compatible databases. This release supports the October 8 Proposed Recommendation of XSLT.

Tuesday, October 19, 1999

IBM's alpahWorks has posted version 1.0.3b of their Xeena continously validating XML editor. This release fixes a bug in 1.0.3a.

Monday, October 18, 1999

Cover of Docbook: The Definitive GuideNorman Walsh and Leonard Muellner have released DocBook, The Definitive Guide (version 1.0.2). According to the preface:

DocBook provides a system for writing structured documents using SGML or XML. It is particularly well-suited to books and papers about computer hardware and software, though it is by no means limited to them. DocBook is an SGML document type definition (DTD). An XML version is available now, and an official XML release is in the works. Because it is a large and robust DTD, and because its main structures correspond to the general notion of what constitutes a book, DocBook has been adopted by a large and growing community of authors. DocBook is supported "out of the box" by a number of commercial tools, and support for it is rapidly growing in a number of free software environments. In short, DocBook is an easy-to-understand and widely used DTD. Dozens of organizations use DocBook for millions of pages of documentation, in various print and online formats, worldwide.

The complete book is available online. A paper version can be ordered from Amazon.

Friday, October 15, 1999

Sebastian Rahtz has updated his XSL-FO-to-TeX-to-PDF converter PassiveTeX. This release supports running heads.

Thursday, October 14, 1999

The Cambridge Communique describes a W3C effort to make possible the peaceful coexistence of both RDF and XML schemas.

Wednesday, October 13, 1999

Lennart Staflin's posted the first beta (as opposed to alpha) version of PSGML 1.2.0. PSGML is an Emacs major mode for editing SGML and XML documents that works with GNU Emacs 19.19 and later or with Lucid Emacs 19.9.

The XML Bible has received its third consecutive five-star review on amazon.com.

Tuesday, October 12, 1999

Michael Kay's released version 4.7 of his open source Saxon XSLT processor. This version implements the most recent drafts of XSLT and XPath. New fetaures include namespace support, xsl:import, xsl:apply-imports, xsl:output, numeric sorting, xsl:fallback, the terminate attribute for xsl:message, disable-output-escaping attribute for xsl:output, various other changes to bring Saxon into conformance with the latest drafts of XSLT and XPath, and better error reporting.

Monday, October 11, 1999

I've updated the online versions of Chapter 14, XSL Transformations and Chapter 17, XPointers of the XML Bible to be in sync with the new XSLT and XPath Proposed Recommendations. The changes were overall quite minor, though almost all the XSL examples had to change to account for the new namespace.

IBM's alphaWorks has updated their XML Parser for Java to EA2 to add some support for XML Schemas, DOM Level 2, and SAX 2.

James Tauber's released version 0.11 of FOP, his XSL formatting objects to PDF translator. This version makes major changes to the code, as well as minor changes to the areas of XSL FO that are supported.

Sunday, October 10, 1999

Milestone 10 of Mozilla is now available for MacOS 8.5, Windows 95/98/NT and Linux (glibc 2.1 and above). According to the release notes, this version supports XML with CSS Level 1 stylesheets, as well as simple XLinks and HTML Namespaces. This release also adds a Document Object Model (DOM) Viewer so you can inspect the object model of a page. This should be useful for learning and debugging JavaScript and DHTML.

Saturday, October 9, 1999

The W3C has released new drafts of XSL Transformations and XPath. Furthermore, both have been upgraded to proposed recommendation status. James Clark has updated his xt XSLT processor to support the new drafts. I'll post updated versions of my XSLT and XPath chapters from The XML Bible sometime in the near future. In the meantime, here's a quick summary of the changes:

The XPath specification hasn't changed a great deal. XPath results can now be defined in terms of the XML Information Set. This makes the whole document somewhat clearer, and trickier points somewhat easier to grasp. Furthermore, there are three changes to the syntax:

  • The normalize() function is now called normalize-space().
  • The boolean or operator and the boolean and operator now shortcut evaluation where possible. That is, the or operator does not evaluate the right operand if the left operand is true, and the and operator does not evaluate the right operand if the left operand is false.
  • The substring(string, offset, length) function now rounds the offset and length arguments as may be necessary if they're floating point numbers.

The XSLT specification hasn't changed a great deal either. The two most obvious changes are the new namespace (http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform instead of http://www.w3.org/XSL/Transform/1.0 with a version attribute of xsl:stylesheet specifying the version.) and that child:: and attribute:: axis specifiers can now be used in expressions rather than simply the abbreviated syntax. For example, it's now possible to say:

<xsl:template match="child::chapter/child::section/attribute::title">

This doesn't allow you to match anything that couldn't be matched before (for instance, a match pattern still can't match elements based on their siblings; that is, it can't use the ancestor axis) but it may make it slightly easier to teach and learn the pattern syntax. Furthermore, there are a number of other changes to the syntax:

  • Namespace aliasing has been added. This makes it much easier to write XSL stylesheets that use other XSL stylesheets as either input or output documents.
  • The xsl:stylesheet element has a new exclude-result-prefixes attribute that can help eliminate unnecessary namespace declarations in the result tree. This attribute can can also be applied to individual literal result elements.
  • The system-property() function no longer considers property names without a namespace URI to necessarily refer to an operating system environment variable.
  • The html output method doesn't escape < characters inside attribute values. Furthermore, it will only include a <!DOCTYPE> in the output HTML document if either the doctype-public or the doctype-system attribute was explicitly specified.
  • The match and use attributes of an xsl:key element are no longer allowed to contain variable references.. On the other hand, the expression in the value of the use attribute of an xsl:key element can now return types other than node-set.
  • The extension-element-available() and extension-function-available() functions have been replaced by the element-available() and function-available() functions. These can now test for standard XSL elements and functions like xsl:key and document() as well as extension functions. This is important because all current XSLT implementations omit some standard elements or functions. Similarly, the xsl:fallback element can now back up standard elements as well as extension elements.
  • The document(object, node-set?) function consider the second argument when the first argument is a node-set. (Previously the first argument was used for both arguments if it was a node set.)
  • The xsl:locale element has been changed to xsl:decimal-format, since it didn't really affect anything other than number formatting in the first place. Furthermore, several defaults on xsl:decimal-format (nee xsl:locale) have changed. The NaN attribute now defaults to the string "NaN" instead of the Unicode replacement character; and the infinity attribute defaults to the string "Infinity" instead of the Unicode infinity character ∞. (If your browser can't render the above two characters, that largely explains why this had to be changed.)
  • When the data-type attribute of the xsl:sort element has the value number, the lang attribute is ignored in sorting.
  • The xml-declaration attribute of the xsl:output element has been replaced by an omit-xml-declaration element. By default, the XML declaration is now included in the output document.
  • The other value for the letter-value attribute of xsl:number is now called traditional but still has the same semantics.
  • The xsl:message element now has a terminate attribute. If the value of this attribute is yes, then the XSLT processor shoudl shut down after processing the message.

Aside from the single change in the namespace URI, most of these changes won't affect many existing stylesheets. Those sheets that are affected should be easily fixed.

Friday, October 8, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has updated a couple of XML-based products including

  • The TexML markup language and converter adds support for many Unicode characters and a plain text document type and formatter.
  • Version 1.2.07 of the TaskGuide Viewer wizard creation tool
  • A new version of the IBM Classes for Unicode that adds the Unicode 3.0 bidirectional algorithm
Wednesday, October 6, 1999

Datachannel founder David Pool has left his position as CEO of DataChannel to start a new venture capital fund called the "XMLFund". He will be replaced current DataChannel president Lucie Fjeldstad, who will become both president and CEO. DataChannel is perhaps best known for its work on the MSXML parser from Microsoft.

Tuesday, October 5, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released version 1.0.3a of the Xeena validating XML editor to fix a bug in version 1.0.3.

Sunday, October 3, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has posted an early implementation of VoiceXML 0.9, an XML application for distributed Internet-based voice programs.

Saturday, October 2, 1999

Dongwook Shin's released XRS, a search tool (not necessarily web based) for XML documents. Among other features it can retrieve particular elements rather than an entire document.

The XML Bible reached #25 on Amazon's bestseller list yesterday afternoon. That's a new record for one of my books. Right now it's dropped to #65 though.

Friday, October 1, 1999

The W3C has posted a new working draft on Paged Media Properties for CSS3. From the abstract:

This document proposes an extension to CSS to permit finer control over the paged presentation, both printed and online, of Web pages. Some of the features described are useful for other media as well. Included are properties for describing headers, footers, footnotes and endnotes. These features require other features described here, such as cross-references and page-based counters. In addition, page-dependent floating elements are described
Thursday, September 30, 1999

The Unicode Consortium and the W3C have published a joint draft technical report covering Unicode in XML and other Markup Languages

Simon St. Laurent has posted a new draft specification of XPDL, the XML Processing Description Language.

The XML Bible got as high as #40 on amazon.com's bestseller lists last night, a new record for one of my books. As I write this it's dropped back to #55. Big thanks to everyone who bought The XML Bible!

Wednesday, September 29, 1999

The XML Bible has broken the top 100 on amazon.com's bestseller lists. As I write this it's sitting at #58! This is the first time one of my books has broken the top 100. My previous record was #102 for Java I/O. This is probably because The XML Bible is now a featured book on Amazon's computer book page.

Big thanks to everyone who bought The XML Bible and helped it get this far! If you've been thinking about buying it in the near future, I'd really appreciate it if you bought it from amazon today so we can push the book into the top 50. Plus, Amazon's selling it for 40% off today, and they normally don't maintain that high a discount on my books for more than a week, so it pays to act quickly. If you aren't sure whether or not you want it, you can check out my XML Bible page for various other information about the book including updated chapters and what I'm told is one of the best introductions to XSL on the Web.

Netscape's released Communicator 4.7 for assorted Unixes, Windows 95/98/NT, and the Macintosh.

Tuesday, September 28, 1999

Tim Bray's posted an important note on the need for standard Related-Resource Discovery for XML.

Monday, September 27, 1999

Version 2.0 of Bill LaForge's MDSAX has been released. MDSAX is a Java library for turning XML documents into Java objects.

XMLZip is a Linux and NT tool for compressing XML files.

Sunday, September 26, 1999

Version 2.27 of XML::Parser, and XML parser for Perl based on expat, is now available from your local CPAN mirror. This release adds the original_string, position_in_context, and skip_until methods as well as a new utility for transforming an XML document read into Canonical XML. Finally they're a dozen or so bug fixes.

Saturday, September 25, 1999

The W3C has published five new public working drafts:

  • XML Schema Part 1: Structures defines a means of specifying the structure of the elements and attributes that make up an XML document, much as a DTD does. However, schemas do this in a well-formed XML syntax.
  • XML Schema Part 2: Datatypes defines ways of specifying the allowed PCDATA content of a particular XML element or attribute; e.g. how to say that a QUANTITY element must contain a number or an EVENT element must contain a date.
  • Ruby extends XHTML to the ruby text found in many East Asian documents and books.
  • The Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2 Specification defines an interface for accessing an HTML or XML document from Java, JavaScript, C++, and so forth. Last Call 8 October 1999
  • User Interface for CSS3 proposes extensions to CSS2 to better handle form widgets and related GUI components in web pages.
Friday, September 24, 1999

Ron Bourette has released XML-DBMS 1.0, a free Java class library for transferring data between XML documents and relational databases. XML-DBMS is parser and database independent, and layers on top of DOM, SAX, and JDBC. Source code is included.

Bourette has also released Schema Converter 1.0, a Java class library for modelling DTDs as Java objects, and converting to and from these objects from DTDs and XML schema languages. Currently DDML is the only supported schema language.
Thursday, September 23, 1999

I've posted the notes from my recent talks at JAOO99:

These notes were written in XML. AN XSLT style sheet was used to convert them to HTML for display in a web browser.

IBM's alphaWorks has updated their XML Viewer application to be more user friendly, especially during installation. A few bugs are fixed as well.

AlphaWorks has also updated their DTD-based Xeena editor with some useful new features like the ability to validate continuously and save incomplete documents.

Wednesday, September 22, 1999

The W3C has posted version 2.1.0 of the open source Jigsaw web server written in Java. This release introduces XML Serialization for resources.

Tuesday, September 21, 1999

The XML-Fin mailing list has been formed to discuss XML in Finnish. To subscribe, send email to majordomo@evitech.fi with words "subscribe XML-Fin "your_email_address" in the body of the message.

Monday, September 20, 1999

Bluestone has posted the first beta of Visual-XML 1.1 for writing XML documents and DTDs that attach to databases. Visual XML is available on Windows and Unix.

Sunday, September 19, 1999

FourThought LLC has released version 0.7.1 of 4XSLT, a partial Python implementation of the August 13 working draft of XSL Transformations.

Saturday, September 18, 1999

Oracle's posted the first production release of the Oracle XML Parser for Java v2 on TechNet (free registration required).

Friday, September 17, 1999

James Tauber has released version 0.10 of FOP, his XSL Formatting Objects to PDF translator. This version is much faster, and now supports break-before, break-after and text-indent. Many bugs are fixed and many properties are more fully supported.

Thursday, September 16, 1999

The final Unicode Character Database for Unicode 3.0 has been published. This release adds more than 10,000 characters to Unicode 2.0. The printed book will not be available until January. Although this release has been expected for some time, it appears the W3C has given little thought to how to update the official XML grammar to account for these new characters. Eventually a revision of the XML 1.0 specification will be required.

Wednesday, September 15, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released four new XML tools written in Java:

  • First off the bat is the XML Generator, a Java program that creates test cases for DTDs by by generating instances of valid XML from an input DTD.

  • Second is Visual DTD, a builder tool for creating, viewing, and editing DTDs.

  • Next is the Visual XML Transformation Tool for composing new XML documents based on existing XML documents.

  • Finally, XSL Trace helps debug XSL stylesheets by stepping through XSL scripts and showing the transformation rules as they are created and the output as it is generated.

I've updated the Bush Files. Most importantly, both the XML and tab delimited versions now properly distinguish first from last name as well as city from state so it's possible to easily sort and search on these fields. This version also fixes a number of niggling problems in the structure of the data where the value of one field (e.g. amount contributed) shifted into a different field (e.g. date).

Tuesday, September 14, 1999

Sun has approved Java Specification Request 31, XML Data Binding. This document is a proposal to develop a Java API for compiling an XML schema into one or more Java classes. That's there not yet such a thing as an "XML schema" does not seem to have impeded this proposal's approval. Frankly, this one is way premature in my opinion.

Sunday, September 12, 1999

The W3C has posted a new working drafts on International Layout that describes a mechanism for using CSS with East Asian and bidirectional text formatting needed for traditional Chinese, Hebrew, Arabic and similar languages.

The W3C has also split up the previous XHTML modularization draft into five new drafts:

  • XHTML 1.1 - Module-based XHTML defines an XHTML 1.1 document that differs from XHTML 1.0 documents in
    1. Being built on modular DTDs instead of the monolithic DTD of XHTML 1.0
    2. Completely eliminating all previously deprecated elements. It includes applets but does not include frames.
  • Modularization of XHTML specifies an abstract modularization of XHTML 1.0.
  • Building XHTML Modules describes a concrete implementation of the above abstract modularization as a collection of component XML DTDs. (Other concrete implementations might also be possible, for instance with schemas).
  • XHTML Document Profile Requirements discusses what is required to define different document profiles for user agents running on different classes of displays such as desktops, television, handhelds, cellphones and voice user agents.
  • XHTML Extended Forms Requirements sets out the goals for development of a new set of form elements for XHTML that will not be backwards compatible with existing browsers.

Overall, the modularization of XHTML allows XML developers to cleanly pick out the subset of HTML they need for their applications. For example, you cam use HTML tables without automatically pulling HTML frames, lists, or applets as well. This is discussed in Chapter 20 of The XML Bible, Reading Document Type Definitions. I'll posted an updated version of that chapter that covers the new working drafts here on Cafe con Leche in a couple of weeks. (That is one of the longest chapters in the book so it may take me a little while.)

Friday Governor George W. Bush of Texas posted complete records of his campaign contributions on his web site. However, he deliberately posted them in PDF format so they couldn't be imported into a database or a spreadsheet, and consequently reporters and voters couldn't find out just how much of his money was coming from whom. Or at least that's what he thought. :-)

I am pleased to announce, that after a few hours of intense hacking I have succeeded in extracting the crucial information from the PDF files and have posted them online in tab delimited format and XML formats for anybody who wants them. Accountants, start your spread sheets!

I've written a very simple DTD for the XML version. Based on this DTD the results do appear to be well-formed and valid (though I've been burned by misbehaving validators before). The first two validators I tried gave up on trying to parse such a large (more than eight megabytes) document. Interestingly, the initial conversion to XML did turn up some bugs in my PDF-to-text converter program, but the validation of the XML did not find any additional problems. I can see where a schema language would be very useful for this sort of reverse engineering work though. I'm going to try to add a simple XSL stylesheet to these in the near future, but they're so large that they really challenge anyone trying to browse them directly.

Saturday, September 11, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has posted a new release of LotusXSL. This release adds "a separate XPath package, an XML Query interface, new extension architecture, thread safety per instance, and many other features". LotusXSL supoprts the latest August 13 working drafts of XSLT and XPath.

Thursday, September 9, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has posted a new release of XML TreeDiff with better documentation of the XUL and FUL output formats as well as a few bug fixes.

Wednesday, September 8, 1999

Version 1.0.0 of the GNU Privacy Guard (GPG) is now available for Linux and FreeBSD. (Versions are available for Windowes and other Unixes but need more testing.) GPG is a free replacement for PGP. GPG doesn't use any known patended algorithms and was devleoped outside the United States so it can be freely exported

Friday, September 3, 1999

FourThought LLC has released version 0.7.0 of 4XPath, a python implementation of the W3C's XPath language

Thursday, September 2, 1999

Late Night Software has released version 1.0d4 of their XML Parser OSAX for AppleScript based on James Clark's expat. This release supports element values greater than 32K and updates itself to expat 1.1.

The XML Bible has gotten its first reader review on amazon.com. I got five stars!

Wednesday, September 1, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has updated their LotusXSL XSL Transformations processor to support the latest (August 13, 1999) working draft of XSL Transformations and XPath.

AlphaWorks has also updated their XML Parser for Java to version 2.1.5 to fix assorted bugs.

The W3C has posted a new working draft of XHTML Extended Forms Requirements. This document sets out the goals for development of a new set of form elements for XHTML that will not be backwards compatible with existing browsers. It does not yet propose the actual elements and attributes that will be used. That will be done once the requirements the form vocabulary must satisfy are agreed on.

Tuesday, August 31, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has updated Xplorer with a couple of bug fixes. XPlorer is a Java application that can search, validate and view XML files.

Monday, August 30, 1999

The W3C has posted the final public working draft for Common Markup for micropayment per-fee-links. According to the spec, "This specification provides an extensible way to embed in a Web page all the information necessary to initialize a micropayment (amounts and currencies, payment systems, etc). This embedding allows different micropayment electronic wallets to coexist in a interoperable manner".

The W3C has also posted the fifth public working draft of Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P) Specification.

Participation is being sought in the Mozilla RDF / Z39.50 Integration project. The goal is to incorporate the Z39.50 search and retrieval protocol into the next-generation Mozilla/Netscape web browser. Since Mozilla makes extensive use of the Resource Description Framework (RDF), the approach is to integrate the Z39.50 search support (using open source software from Index Data) with the RDF metadata system.

Saturday, August 28, 1999

Version 2.0 of ODBC2XML, an ODBC to XML Generator for Windows is now in beta. ODBC2XML merges data from ODBC data sources into XML documents. It accepts well-formed XML "template" files that can contain XML text, SQL queries, and instructions about where the query results merge with the XML. It generates well-formed XML files that contain the ODBC data merged into the original XML text. This is available as both a DLL and a Windows executable.

Friday, August 27, 1999

Milestone 9 of Mozilla is now available for Linux, Mac, and Windows. This releaseintroduces necko, a multithreaded, modular networking library which allows pluggable protocol and mime converters.

Version 0.83 of Fujitsu's Hybrick SGML/XML browser with support for XLinks and XPointers has been re-released. There don't seem to have been any changes since it disappeared from the old site a few months ago, so I doubt this supports the latest working drafts.

Thursday, August 26, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released version 2.3.1 of their XML Parser for C++. This release fixes assorted bugs, supports some additional encodings, and runs on more platforms and with more compilers,

Wednesday, August 25, 1999

After 20 years of hype, Ted Nelson has finally released his early hypertext system Xanadu to the world. Now we finally get to see if the reality measures up to the hype. (As of 9:00 A.M. EDT the server seems to have gone under thanks to the Slashdot effect. There appear to be mirror sites at http://udanax.xanadu.com/ and http://linux2.userland.com/users/admin/static/misc/xanaduGreen/aug22rel/)

The W3C has posted a proposed recommendation for HTML 4.0.1, a bug fix release for HTML 4.0. The changes are mostly pretty minor.

The W3C has also elevated XHTML 1.0 to proposed recommendation status.

I've posted the slides from last night's presentation on XLinks and XPointers to the XML SIG of the Object Developers' Group. This was adapted from Chapters 16 and 17 of The XML Bible. I started with the HTMLized version of those chapters as posted here on Cafe con Leche. I added various XML markup to split them into individual slides, bullet points, and examples while simultaneously cutting them down to a size appropriate for a presentation. I also had to clean up the original HTML so it would be well-formed XML. An XSL style sheet and James Clark's XT were used to generate the actual slides in HTML. The presentation itself was delivered from a Web browser reading the HTML files off the local hard disk. It would have been equally easy to do it straight from the Web.

They key developments that made this possible were the HTML output method in the latest draft of XSL (so I didn't have to worry about whether browsers could understand constructs like <br/> or <hr></hr>) and the xt:document extension function (so I could put each slide element in the input document into a separate file). This also made it very straight-forward to generate differently styled versions of the presentation for printing transparencies, reading directly on the internet, projecting onto a wall, and speaker's notes. For example, the online version you can read here simply uses the browser's default fonts. However, the versions designed for projecting onto a wall use 16-point body text and bold monospaced fonts so they can more easily be read from the back of the room. The print versions don't include navigation links. The onscreen versions do. I think I'm going to do all my presentations this way in the future. PowerPoint is dead. Long live XML!

Tuesday, August 24, 1999

Wattle Software has posted the first beta of XMLwriter, an syntax coloring, DTD and schema aware XML editor for Windows. XMLWriter is $49 payware. A 30-day evaluation version is available, though as usual I'm more than a little annoyed that they're asking users to pay to beta test their products.

Monday, August 23, 1999

Tomorrow night, Tuesday, August 24, I'll be talking about the latest drafts of the XLink and XPointer specifications in New York City from 7:00 till 9:00 P.M. This talk is sponsored by the XML SIG of the Object Developers Group, and will take place at Goldman Sachs in the Wall Street area, 125 Broad Street, 19th Floor, Room B. To register for this session, please send a request by email direct to wperry@fiduciary.com. You will receive a confirmation by return email.

James Clark has posted a new version of his XT XSL Transformations processor that fixes a few bugs, including an UnsupportedEncodingException that popped up when using the Win32 executable version with older version of the Microsoft Java VM.

Tom Scola wrote in to tell me that the IETF has published actual draft specifications for Digital Signatures for XML which the previously mentioned W3C requirements draft is based on. Since this is an IETF process, public participation by interested parties is possible without paying thousands of dollars of membership fees.

Saturday, August 21, 1999

The W3C has posted the first working draft of XML-Signature Requirements. This is essentially RFP for eventual development of a specification for digitally signing XML documents. This is not yet an actual specification (or even draft specification) for digitally signing XML documents.

The W3C has also updated the working draft for the "Boston" release of the Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL).

Friday, August 20, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has fixed various bugs in their XML Parser for Java.

They've also posted a new version of the TaskGuide Viewer written in Java. TaskGuide Viewer is an XML-based tool for creating wizards.

Thursday, August 19, 1999

Paul Tchistopolskii's posted an early alpha of Some2XML, a Perl program to convert structured text documents to XML.

Wednesday, August 18, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has refreshed their XML TreeDiff tool. This release fixes assorted bugs and introduces a new language for encoding reports.

Tuesday, August 17, 1999

Version 0.05 of libxml-perl is available on CPAN. libxml-perl is a collection of smaller Perl modules, scripts, and documents for working with XML. This release features a major update to the Perl-SAX specification.

IBM's alphaWorks has released version 1.0 of Data Descriptors by Example (DDbE). DDbE is a pure Java program that reads XML documents and constructs a DTD for those documents. This release fixes assorted bugs and adds a lot more examples and documentation compared to the earlier, preview release.

AlphaWorks has also released an experimental version of the XML for Java parser that supports some parts of the W3C's XML Schema Language.

The XML Bible is available in Canada from Indigo. I'm told this offers Canadians lower shipping prices than ordering from a U.S. dealer. Retail price is $74.99 Canadian. The back cover shows it at UK £42.99 UK so I assume it either is or soon will be available in the United Kingdom as well. I have no information about availability in other countries, though Amazon will of course ship internationally. XML: Extensible Markup Language is being translated into Chinese for the Taiwanese market. I don't know anything yet about possible translations of The XML Bible.

Monday, August 16, 1999

Bill la Forge has released version 1.2 of MDSAX, his tool kit for working with Java SAX parsers and parser filters. This release expands ContextML to support content model validation and supports full document validation, including application-specific requirements for attribute values and other content.

Sunday, August 15, 1999

Beta 2 of PHP 4.0 has been released. Beta 2 fixes a lot of bugs and adds a fe new features. All 4.0b1 users should upgrade.

Saturday, August 14, 1999

The W3C has posted new working drafts of XSL Transformations and XPath. I'll be updating my tutorials this weekend. Last call for comments on these is September 2 (which seems a little premature to me).

Major changes and additions to XSLT include:

  • The current() function that returns a node set containing only the current node being processed
  • The result-ns, result-version, result-encoding and indent-result attributes of the xsl:stylesheet element have been all been replaced by the top-level xsl:output element.
  • The xsl:value-of and xsl:text elements now have a disable-output-escaping attribute that can turn off the autmatic translation of <, > and & to &lt;, &gt;, and &amp;. This has the effect of allowing essentially arbitrary output from XSL transformations, not merely transformations to other well-formed XML documents.
  • the default-space attribute of xsl:stylesheet has been removed; instead the xsl:strip-space and xsl:preserve-space elements can use wildcards

There are a lot of minor changes and clarifications besides to the behavior of existing elements and attributes.

The changes to XPath syntax are relatively minor, though the specification document has also been cleaned up and rewritten. The largest is that the namespace() and local-part() functions have been renamed to namespace-uri() and local-name() respectively. Most of the other changes won't be noticed.

James Clark has updated his XT XSLT formatter to suport these latest working drafts. This release is substantially more complete than previous releases. As well as supporting the latest syntax, it supports various pieces that have not previously been implemented though they were present in previous drafts including

  • the substring() and string-length() functions
  • the document() function for processing multiple input documents
  • the unparsed-entity-uri() function
  • attribute sets

Additionally this release adds a Java servlet wrapper and support for multiple output documents by an extension element.

The Web Standards Project is starting an email campaign to ask Microsoft to fully support HTML 4.0, CSS1, DOM1, and XML in Internet Explorer.

The XML Bible has reached 666 on amazon.com's bestseller list, (please, no jokes about the Satanic Bible or selling my soul to the devil) outselling XML: Extensible Markup Language for the first time. XML: Extensible Markup Language is going into its third printing soon, but I do recommend people buy The XML Bible instead. It's much more comprehensive and up to date. FatBrain has sold out of its initial shipment of The XML Bible, but should have more soon.

Friday, August 13, 1999

The XML Bible is in stock again at Amazon. If you ordered over the last couple of days, you should get it soon. otherwise, now's a good time to order.

Lots of new and revised working drafts from the W3C today, including:

RenderX has released an online validator for XSL Formatting Objects documents.

Thursday, August 12, 1999

The XML Bible is in stock at FatBrain for same day shipment. Amazon expects to ship it within 2-3 days.

Sebastian Rahtz has fixed numerous bugs in his PassiveTeX XSL Formatting Objects to TeX converter.

Caucho Technology has posted beta 6 of Resin, a Java based server side solution for integrating Java Server Pages, XML, and XSL. It works with Apache and Microsoft IIS among others.

Version 0.04 of libxml-perl-0.04 is available on CPAN. libxml-perl is a collection of smaller Perl modules, scripts, and documents for working with XML. Changes since version 0.03 include modular pattern (query) and action processing and bug fixes.

Wednesday, August 11, 1999

For those who judge books by their cover, you can now see the cover of The XML Bible on your left. I've also got a larger 24-bit JPEG of the cover that really looks quite nice. IDG's cover artists did an excellent job with this book.

The XML Bible broke Amazon's top 2000 today, reaching at least as high as 1,799. A repeatable bug in amazon's system moves books that sell out too quickly back into the "Not Yet Published" category where The XML Bible sits now. But it has been published, and if you pre-order from Amazon today, you'll get it just as soon as IDG can get more books from their warehouse to Amazon's (maybe even quicker if they ship directly from Ingram). I haven't yet seen it in stock at any other online bookstore, but I did notice that Borders listed it for $5.00 cheaper than everybody else.

Norm Walsh has posted version 0.10 of his DocBook XSL Stylesheets with assorted bug fixes.

He's also posted a new xslint Perl script that analyzes XSLT documents for semantic and syntax errors.

Tuesday, August 10, 1999

Cover Under Construction The XML Bible is in stock for 24-hour shipment at amazon.com. They still don't have a screen shot of the cover, though :-( Update: that was quick. Less than two hours after I announced it here, Amazon's sold out and have placed it back on 1-2 weeks shipment. They'll probably have more sooner than that though, based on past experience.

The XML Bible is the second edition (in everything but name) of my previous best-seller, XML: Extensible Markup Language. However, topping out at over 1000 pages (vs. 400 for the previous book) there's more new material here than old. And all the older material has been substantially revised, rewritten, and expanded based on both reader comments and my own growing understanding of XML over the last year. The XML Bible costs $10 more than XML: Extensible Markup Language ($49.95 vs. $39.95) but for that $10 you get over two and a half times as much stuff, so I think it's a pretty good value. :-)

The XML Bible is also up to date with all XML specifications as of July 1, 1999. Unfortunately several specifications for XSL, XLinks, and XPointers were revised July 9, 1999 just as the book was going to the printers. :-( I've posted revised versions of all affected chapters online here at Cafe con Leche and plan to continue doing so as the various specifications grow and evolve toward their final incarnations.

The XML Bible is a comprehensive introduction to XML for Web page design. It shows you how to write XML documents, validate them with DTDs, design CSS and XSL style sheets for those documents, convert them to HTML, and publish them on Web servers for the world to read. You'll also learn how to use XML technologies like RDF, XLinks, XHTML, and namespaces to add structure and organization to your document collections. And finally, you'll learn about the many uses of XML beyond the Web site, including genealogy, subscription services, mathematics, vector graphics, and more.

Unlike most other XML books on the market, The XML Bible covers XML not from the perspective of a software developer but rather that of a Web page author. It doesn't spend a lot of pages talking about BNF grammars or parsing element trees. Instead it shows you how you can use XML and existing tools today to more efficiently and productively produce attractive, exciting, easy-to-use, easy-to-maintain Web sites that will keep your readers coming back for more.

This book is aimed squarely at Web site developers. I assume you want to use XML to produce Web sites that are difficult to impossible to create with raw HTML. You'll be amazed to discover that in conjunction with style sheets and a few free tools, XML lets you do things that previously required either custom software costing hundreds to thousands of dollars per developer or extensive knowledge of programming languages like Perl. None of the software in this book will cost you more than a few minutes of download time. None of the tricks require any programming.

The XML Bible should be available now at a bookstore near you including amazon.com. It's $49.95, ISBN 0-7645-3236-7, published by IDG Books, and written by me, Elliotte Rusty Harold. You can read more about it on my XML Bible page

Sun's posted a Java Specification Request for an XML data-binding facility for the Java Platform. According to the proposal, "Such a facility compiles an XML schema into one or more Java classes. These automatically-generated classes handle the translation between XML documents that follow the schema and interrelated instances of the derived classes. They also ensure that the constraints expressed in the schema are maintained as instances of the classes are manipulated."

Friday, August 6, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released an experimental version of the XML Parser for Java that supports the draft W3C XML Schema Language and access to the DTD via the DOM.

Wednesday, August 4, 1999

Beta 1 of the Exeter XML Server is now available. This is a straight-forward Web server for NT that can automatically apply XSL stylesheets to XML documents and serve the resulting XML files. No word on what this will cost when released.

Mike Brown's Fancy XML Tree Viewer is an XSL style sheet that shows the node structure of an XML document in colorful HTML tables and bulleted lists.

Tuesday, August 3, 1999

I've posted three complete chapters from the XML Bible here on Cafe con Leche:

All three are completely up-to-date with the latest working drafts of their respective specifications. I wish I could say the same about the printed book, but unfortunately the lead time inherent in dead tree publishing means that there's about a two-month lag between the last opportunity to make changes and the time the book hits store shelves; and that's more than enough time for a lot to change in the fast moving world of XML. Still out of 23 chapters and several appendixes, all but 3 are still current; and that's better than average in this market. The printed version of the XML Bible will be available on August 10, though some bookstores may take a little longer than others to get it in stock. Amazon pretty reliably sells out of my books within a day or two of getting their first copies in stock, so you may wish to pre-order a copy if you buy your computer books from them.

Monday, August 2, 1999

The W3C has posted a new working draft for Scalable Vector Graphics, an XML application for describing vector graphics. There are too many changes to list here.

In related news, IBM's alphaWorks has posted the first SVG viewer software. This is written in Java and requires Java2D (part of Java2/JDK 1.2) and IBM's XML Parser for Java.

David Megginson has published an 800K RDF example document that contains data describing 2,963 international airports.

GoXML is a context sensitive XML search engine. My initial tests failed to generate any hits. I'm not sure whether this is a result of the quality of the search engine or the paucity of XML data on today's Web.

James Tauber has posted version 0.9.1 of his XSL Formatting object-to-PDF converter FOP. This release fixes assorted bugs.

Sunday, August 1, 1999

The W3C has published the first public working draft of Canonical XML. In essence Canonical XML is a means of determining whether two XML documents that are not byte for byte identical are nonetheless the same after white space is compressed, default attributes are included, comments and processing instructions are removed, entities are resolved, and so forth.

The W3C has also published the first public working draft of a scheme for better handling layout of non-Roman text in CSS.

Norman Walsh has posted version 0.09 of his XSL Stylesheets for DocBook. These fix the XSL formatting objects output that got broken in 0.08.

Friday, July 30, 1999

James Tauber has posted version 0.9.0 of his XSL Formatting object-to-PDF converter FOP. This release adds support for the display-rule formatting object, the color property on both text and display-rules, and the wrap-option and white-space-treatment properties. This release also fixes a bug in file encodings.

The Molecular Dynamics Language (MoDL) is a new XML application for describing atoms and molecules that can be converted to VRML for viewing.

ICEsoft has posted an early access release of version 5.0 of their $1000+ payware ICE Browser HTML rendering Java component. Version 5 adds support for HTML 4.0 and XML with CSS Level 2 style sheets, as well as partial support for DOM Level 1 and Level 2.

Thursday, July 29, 1999

Michael Kay's released version 4.5 of his SAXON XSL Transformations processor, written in Java. This release supports most of the July 9, 1999 working draft of XSL transformations.

Wednesday, July 28, 1999

James Tauber has posted a new version of his XSL Formatting object-to-PDF converter FOP with assorted changes to the layout engine.

Norman Walsh has posted version 0.08 of his XSL Stylesheets for DocBook. These convert DocBook files to HTML or XSL formatting objects using the July 9, 1999 working draft of XSL transformations.

Markus Kuhn has written a FAQ list about Unicode support in Linux, and Bruno Haible has published a How-To on the same topic.

Tuesday, July 27, 1999

The W3C has posted a new working draft of the XLink specification. Surprisingly, this isn't all that far removed from the last draft thast was published more than a year ago. This draft eliminates content-role, content-title, and behavior attributes as well as attribute renaming. It adds the concept of an arc for bidirectional links. And it makes much heavier use of namespaces. But the actual semantics of XLinks change relatively little, and the overall syntax changes are mostly search and replace fixable. It's not nearly as big a change as the latest drafts of XPath, XPointer, and XSL Transformations.

Monday, July 26, 1999

XML:XSLT is a Perl module that supports something that sort of looks like XSL transformations, though it's incompatible in some key ways.

Clark Cooper has posted version 2.26 of the XML::Parser module for Perl on CPAN to fix some bugs that got introduced into version 2.25.

Sunday, July 25, 1999

James Clark has released a version of XT that supports the July 9, 1999 XSL Transformations working draft.

Saturday, July 24, 1999

Clark Cooper has posted version 2.25 of the XML::Parser module for Perl on CPAN. This version contains Version 19990709 of expat and fixes assorted bugs.

Friday, July 23, 1999

The HCRC Language Technology Group has released version 1.1 of their LT XML parser for C. This release adds optional validation of XML documents for the first time.

Thursday, July 22, 1999

Henry S. Thompson's released version 0.5 of his free XED XML-aware text editor for Solaris and Windows 95/98/NT. This release reads the DTD to determine what should be placed in the element and attribute menus and also includes a reasonable set of help files for the first time.

IBM's alphaWorks has released version 2.0.13 of their validating XML Parser for Java. This release makes a few more classes serializable, and adds some other minor new features and examples.

SoftQuad has released version 1.0 of XMetal, their $495 payware XML editor.

Tuesday, July 20, 1999

The first beta of PHP4 is now available. I don't use PHP much here, but I have been using PHP3 quite heavily on the New York Women Composers web site and thinking about where it might fit in here and on Cafe au Lait.

IBM's alphaWorks has released version 0.17.4 of LotusXSL, their implementation of the April 24, 1999 working draft of XSL Transformations. This release fixes assorted bugs.

Sunday, July 18, 1999

James Tauber has released version 0.82 of his FOP XSL formatting object to PDF translator with a few more bug fixes.

Saturday, July 17, 1999

James Tauber has released version 0.81 of his FOP XSL formatting object to PDF translator with many bug fixes.

Friday, July 16, 1999

The Milestone 8 release of Mozilla is now available for Windows, assorted Unixes, MacOS 8, and, for the first time, BeOS.

Jon Bosak's posted version 2.00 of his XMLized Complete Works of Shakespeare. These fix a bug with the declaration of the &amp; entity in the DTD that prevented them from being loaded into IE5.

Ronald Bourret's released the first alpha of XML-DBMS, a set of Java packages for transferring data between XML documents and relational databases. According to Bourrett, "It views the XML document as a tree of objects in which element types are generally classes and attributes and PCDATA properties of those classes. It then uses an object-relational mapping to map these objects to the database. An XML-based mapping language is used to define the view and map it to the database." This software is free.

IBM's alphaWorks has released a minor update of the Speech Markup Language with examples of using WebSphere or Domino with the Speech Markup Language browser to build conversational applications.

Thursday, July 15, 1999

Geir Ove Gronmo has posted version 2.0 of tmproc, a Topic Map processor with support for the final release of the topic map standard. tmproc is written in Python, and should work on any platform to which Python has been ported. 'Topic Maps' are an international standard (ISO/IEC 13250) for layering multidimensional topic spaces on top of information assets. The standard covers concepts like topics, associations, occurrences and facets/metadata.

Wednesday, July 14, 1999

Michael Kay's released version 4.4 of his SAXON XSL Transformations interpreter and compiler. This still implements the April 21, 1999 working draft of XSLT (not the more recent July 9 working draft) but it does feature much improved performance.

Lutris's Enhydra is an open source (BSD license) XML based application server with strong Java integration for Windows and Unix. Personally, I'm still trying to get a grip on just what an application server is and does (the definition seems to change depending on what the vendor is trying to sell me) but this product at least looks interesting. The current version is 2.1. 2.2 is in beta.

Tuesday, July 13, 1999

Sebastian Rahtz has posted the first iteration of passivetex, a program that uses TeX to implement the XSL formatting objects. This is still very early, very rough work.

Pankaj Kamthan has written some basic MathML tutorials.

Martin J. Duerst has released charlint, a perl program that checks and corrects a stream of UTF-8-encoded characters.

Monday, July 12, 1999

The W3C has released version 1.0.1 of MathML, the Mathematical Markup Language. This is purely a bug fix release to address some known problems with the spec.

In related news, the W3C has also released version 2.1 of the Amaya Web browser for X86 Linux, Sparc/Solaris, AIX, OSF/1, and Windows 95 and NT. This rel;ease fully supports the presentation language of MathML. Otherwise, this release doesn't have a lot of XML support.

Sunday, July 11, 1999

The W3C has posted a new working draft of the XPointer specification. This draft changes almost everything about XPointers except their ultimate purpose as a means of locating arbitrary fragments of or position in XML documents. It uses the same XPath syntax as the recent XSL Transformations working draft.

The W3C has also posted the fourth working draft of Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) specification, an XML encoding for vector graphics.

Saturday, July 10, 1999

The W3C has posted a new working draft of XSL Transformations (just a couple of days after I turned in the final correctons for the XML Bible, damn it :-( ). The biggest change is that the expression language has been pulled out into a new specification and renamed XPath so it can be shared with XPointer. Most of the other changes are fairly minor. Most stylesheets can migrate to the new draft simply by renaming a fee of the less common elements and attributes like n-digits-per-group. The extension function mechanism has been extensively revised and cleaned up. Probably the biggest change is to the non-abbreviated selection syntax, now part of XPath, where items like from-children(BOOK) and from-attributes(ISBN) are now children::BOOK and attributes::ISBN. None of the available formatting engines yet implement this working draft.

Mozilla is soliciting help tracking down layout bugs in the next generation Gecko layout engine through The Gecko BugAThon 300. What they need is simpler test cases. This is an opportunity for non-programmers who really know HTML and CSS to participate in the open source development of Mozilla.

Friday, July 9, 1999

Beta 1 of version 3.0 of the AOLServer web server has been released. This is the server used in Philip Greenspun's Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing . For the first time, AOLServer is being released under an open source license (which seems to mean that after AOL bought the company that made it, then did nothing with it for a few years, AOL finally realized selling Web server software didn't fit into their business model and wanted to get rid of it the simplest way possible.)

The IETF has released the first draft standard version of HTTP 1.1. This is more final than it sounds. New features include:

  • The client must tell the server what system it's connecting to so multihoming can be implemented on one IP address
  • Compressed file transfer using gzip
  • Persistent connections so there's less TCP overhead per page
  • Partial file transfer
  • More detailed response codes
  • Encryption of passwords so they're no longer sent between client and server in the clear

This really only scratches the surface of what's new in HTTP 1/1. The entire document is almost 200 pages. Many of these features are already supported by current Web servers.

Thursday, July 8, 1999

James Clark has released version 19990708 of his XT XSL transformations engine in Java. This release fixes assorted bugs.

Wednesday, July 7, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released version 0.17.3 of LotusXSL, their implementation of XSL Transformations. This release adds an XSLT servlet and fixes assorted bugs.

Saturday, July 3, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released the XMI Toolkit, a Java component for converting Rational Rose UML models into XML and DTDs.

Friday, July 2, 1999

The W3C has published the first working draft of CSS Namespace Enhancements, a scheme to make Cascading Style Sheets "namespace aware" so that styles can be applied to particular elements in particular namespaces regardless of which namespace prefix happens to be used.

The W3C has also posted the third working draft of Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) specification, an XML encoding for vector graphics.

Finally, the W3C has posted a new working draft of the XML Fragment Interchange specification.

Thursday, July 1, 1999

The W3C has promoted Associating Style Sheets with XML documents to official recommendation status. There are no major changes. All this says is that style sheets are attached via a processing instruction in the prolog that looks like

<?xml-stylesheet href="baseball.xsl" type="text/xsl"?>

Wednesday, June 30, 1999

A couple of updated products from IBM's alphaWorks lead off today's news:

  • The XML for C++ parser now supports Windows NT/98, AIX, Solaris, Linux, HP-UX 10.2 (aCC & CC), and HP-UX 11 (aCC & CC) as well as fixing assorted bugs.
  • TeXML supports the latest April 21 XSL working draft and Lotus XSL 0.17.2 and XML4J 2.0.11. Further, TeXMLatte now outputs options and parameters in document order.
Tuesday, June 29, 1999

Peter Flynn's posted version 1.5 of the XML FAQ list.

Monday, June 28, 1999

Sun has cancelled the previously announced contest to develop an XSL formatting opbject to PDF translator. The biggest problem seems to have been the legal issues of running a contest in various countries.

Markus Kuhn has converted many X11 bdf fonts to the ISO 10646-1 (Unicode) encoding to make all characters in them available.

Saturday, June 26, 1999

James Clark has posted a test version of expat, his non-validating XML parser in C, with experimental support for parsing external DTDs and parameter entities.

Friday, June 25, 1999

Oracle's posted several new and updated products on TechNet (registration required) including

  • XML Parser for Java v2 with improved performance and an integrated XSL Transformations engine.
  • XML SQL Utility for Java to convert results of SQL statements or ResultSets to XML
  • XSQL Servlet, a Java Servlet that uses the XML SQL Utility and XML Parser v2's XSLT Engine to build dynamic "datapages" in XML out of one or more SQL queries embedded in any XML document.
  • XML Parser for PL/SQL, a DOM/SAX/Namespaces-Compliant XML Parser for PL/SQL in Oracle 8i
  • XML Parser for C, a DOM/SAX/Namespaces-Compliant XML Parser for C
  • XML Parser for C++, a DOM/SAX/Namespaces-Compliant XML Parser for C++
Thursday, June 24, 1999

Mozilla M7 is now available for the usual mix of platforms including Linux, Windows, and MacOS 8.5.

The Unicode consortium has released a beta of the Unicode 3.0 data files. These show the names, ranges, and code points of the various characters that will be included in Unicode 3.0. Fonts are not included. Unicode 3.0 adds more than 10,000 new characters, mostly to the CJK ideographs.

Wednesday, June 23, 1999

James Tauber has released version 0.7.1 of FOP, his XSL-formatting objects-to-PDF translator. This release adds support for fo:display-sequence and fo:inline-sequence.

Monday, June 21, 1999

My account on metalab was cracked over the weekend while I was out of town. So far it appears to just be a random attack, probably through password sniffing. The sunsite admins caught it pretty quickly and locked the account out. Nothing appears to have been changed; but I don't really know yet. Please let me know if you spot anything that seems out of place though.

James Tauber has released version 0.7 of FOP, his XSL-formatting objects-to-PDF translator. This release is the first to come with source which is now available under a simple open source license. As well as source code, this release adds a new mainline class called XTCommandLine that enables straight XML+XSL to PDF (using the XT XSLT implementation) and multiple page sequences. The PDF specific code is also more cleanly sepoarated from the rest of the code so that work can begin on other output formats like Mozilla formatting objects.

IBM's alphaWorks has released version 0.17.2 of LotusXSL with assorted bug fixes.

Jonathan Eisenzopf's updated the The Perl XML module list. He's also released version 0.4 of the XML::Dumper Perl module. XML::Dumper dumps Perl data to a structured XML format. XML::Dumper can also read XML data that was previously dumped by the module and convert it back to Perl. This is useful for dumping Perl objects to files using an XML format that can be reloaded or accessed by other programs. Version 2.16 or greater of the XML::Parser module is required.

IBM's alphaWorks has posted the C++ IBM Classes for Unicode under a public source license. These classes provide more or less the same Unicode functionality you'll find in Java. These should make it easier for C and C++ developers to write conforming XML parsers.

Friday, June 18, 1999

David Brownell's released SAX adapters for Sun's "Project X" XML parser and Swing HTML parser. These classes attach to the Sun parsers to provide a SAX interface.

Thursday, June 17, 1999

Netscape's released Communicator 4.6.1 for MacOS 7.6.1 and later, Windows 95 and later, and assorted Unixes. There don't appear to be any new XML features in this release. It's mostly just minor changes.

Tuesday, June 15, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released version 2.0.11 of their XML Parser for Java with assorted bug fixes.

Michael Kay's released version 4.3 of the open source SAXON XSL processor. This release adds support for the April 21, 1999 working draft of XSL as well as an assignment statement for variables and a while loop.

Infoteria's released the first beta of iXSLT, a command line Windows program for XSL transformations that is allegedly compliant with the most recent XSLT working draft. The beta expires August 31, and requires you to fill out a long and annoying form. Given this I suggest sticking with Saxon or XT instead.

Sunday, June 13, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released Data Descriptors by Example. This is a Java application that reads example XML files and constructs an appropriate DTD.

AlphaWorks has also released XPlorer, a Java application for searching, validating, and viewing XML files.

Thursday, June 10, 1999

efirst XML is a set of DTDs and style sheets for scholarly journals.

Tuesday, June 8, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released the easyXML Bean Suite including XMLHolder, XMLElement, XMLAttribute, and XMLFileGenerator Java beans. The easyXML Bean Suite allows Java applications to process XML.

Monday, June 7, 1999

Andreas Neumann's released version 1.2 of fxp, a validating XML parser written in Standard ML. Version 1.2 adds support for XML Catalog and retrieval of non-local URIs, includes a new sample application fxviz, a document tree visualizer, and fixes assorted bugs.

I've finally fixed the Cafe con Leche search engine so you should be able to search the archives again. It turned out to be a one-word change in the form necessitated by the shift from sunsite to metalab.

Sunday, June 6, 1999

The W3C has posted a new working draft of XHTML 1.0, a reformulation of HTML 4.0 as strict XML.

Saturday, June 5, 1999

A new version of expatpp has been released. This is a C++ wrapper for the expat non-validating XML parser. This release imporves sup;port for nested parsers.

Thursday, June 3, 1999

CiTEC has released alpha 2 of the payware DocZilla XML and SGML browser. This release runs on Windows 95, 98, and NT and Linux. DocZilla builds on the underlying Mozilla code technology with additional XML support, SGML, HyTime links, CGM graphics, CALS tables, and more CSS2. This release expires September 1, 1999.

Wednesday, June 2, 1999

David Megginson's posted the first alpha version of SAX2 for Java.

Tuesday, June 1, 1999

Sun's posted Technology Release 2 of the Java Project X validating XML parser on the Java Developer Connection (registration required). This release adds full support for SAX 1.0, fixes assorted bugs, and improves performance.

James Clark has released version 1.1 of Expat, his open source, non-validating XML parser written in C. This release adds or expands support for namespaces, comments, CDATA sections, and default attributes attributes.

The W3C has published a working draft of Web Characterization Terminology and Definitions Sheet to attempt to standardize the meanings of commonly used terms like "Web page" and "Web site".

Richard Tobin's released version 1.0.7 of his RXP validating XML parser with support for XML namespaces and some untested attempts to make RXP thread safe.

Monday, May 31, 1999

The Milestone 6 release of Mozilla is now available for Windows and Linux. Mail and news are significantly improved, profile creation and installation wizards have been added, and lots of bugs have been squashed. This release expires on July 1, 1999 at 12:01 AM.

Thursday, May 27, 1999

Peter Flynn's posted version 1.5 of the XML FAQ list.

Thursday, May 27, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released version 0.17.1 of LotusXSL, their implementation of XSL Transformations. This release fixes assorted bugs, improves performance, and supports CDATA sections.

Wednesday, May 26, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released version 2.1.0 of their validating parser XML for C++, a C++ shared library written in pure C++. This release adds support for Solaris and fixes assorted bugs.

Tuesday, May 25, 1999

The W3C has released Amaya 2.0, their test bed Web browser for Windows and Unix. This release has many new features and improvements including better CSS support, more intuitive editing, and support for compressed HTTP. XML is not supported directly, but MathML is. Source code is available.

Monday, May 24, 1999

James Tauber's released version 0.6.1 of his FOP XSL formatting objects to PDF converter . This release allows you to pass FOP a DOM Document rather than a filename and use any SAX parser, not just XP.

Sunday, May 23, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released the XML Translator Generator, a program for creating document translators between different DTDs.

AlphaWorks has also released version 1.0.2 of the Xeena XML editor with some bug fixes.

Wednesday, May 19, 1999

Omnimark has made version 5 of its Omnimark Windows scripting language available for free for the first time. I'd still prefer an open source implementation, but this is a nice step. Although a lot of people rave about Omnimark, I've pretty much ignored it until now because of a general aversion to proprietary payware programming languages. The IDE is still $995 payware. You have to download the IDE to get the langauge, but I'm told you can install just the language.

Tuesday, May 18, 1999

David Megginson has posted a Web page full of information about SAX2.

Mark Davis has posted the first draft of a Unicode FAQ list.

The W3C has posted the first working draft for the XML Information Set, "a description of the information available in a well-formed XML document".

Ian Hutchinson has put up a Web page that attempts to translate arbitrary (La)TeX into HTML with embedded MathML.

Version 0.85 of the Silfide XML Parser is now available. This release adds namspace support, assorted bug fixes, and a DocumentLoader that can load a DOM Document from a String, a URL, an InputStream or a SAX InputSource. Source code is available.

A project is forming to bring MathML support to Mozilla. Programmers are needed.

Monday, May 17, 1999

I've posted the slides from my standing room only XML Basics seminar given last Wednesday morning at SD99 West in both HTML and PowerPoint formats. I've also posted the slides from my full day XML tutorial last Monday, again in both HTML and PowerPoint format. The slides from these two sessions are very similar, though of course the full day session covered a lot more topics in more depth.

Daniel Palm won the recent contest to design XML icons for Web sites with these three entries:

Sunday, May 16, 1999

Oracle's posted the third maintenance release of the Oracle XML Parser for Java 1.0 on TechNet (registration required) with assorted bug fixes.

Saturday, May 15, 1999

Netscape has released Communicator 4.6 for Mac, Windows 95, 98, and NT, Linux, and assorted other Unixes. It's only available in English as a complete or professional install at the moment. No Navigator standalone version has yet been posted. This release adds AOL Instant Messager 2.0 (boring and annoying), some security fixes, the RealNetworks' G2 Player and assorted other features but no significant new XML support. I recommend you download the 128-bit encryption version but the insecure versions are available from the usual ftp servers.

Friday, May 14, 1999

I've returned from SD99 on the red-eye from San Francisco, and I'm now catching up on mail and news from the last week. There'll be a lot of new news here Saturday. XML was extremely hot at the conference, even though the attendees are primarily object oriented programmers rather than Web developers. Both my intro XML tutorial and and my Intro XML seminar were packed. I'll be posting the revised notes for those sessions here soon.

James Clark has posted a new release of XT, his implementation of the XSL Transformation language, with assorted bug fixes and optimization of the / and // patterns.

Friday, May 7, 1999

I'll be in San Francisco for SD99 West for the next week where I'll be giving several talks and tutorials on XML, Java Network Programming, and Java I/O. Updates may be sporadic over that week.

The W3C has pasted the first working draft of an XML Schema language in two parts, Structures and Datatypes. The data types supported include

  • string
  • boolean
  • number
  • dateTime
  • binary
  • uri
  • integer
  • decimal
  • real
  • date
  • time
  • timePeriod
Thursday, May 6, 1999

The Milestone 5 release of Mozilla is now available for Linux and Win32. This release is supposed to have the best CSS support yet. I'm going to download it and give it a whirl. I've been using M3 for the last few weeks since M4 couldn't even launch on my system. You may want to read the release notes before downloading.

The W3C has posted version 1.0 of their Web Content Accessiblity Guidelines. This is a very good thing that should make the Web a lot more usable for everyone. The 14 basic guideulines are

  1. Provide equivalent alternatives to auditory and visual content.
  2. Don't rely on color alone.
  3. Use markup and style sheets and do so properly.
  4. Clarify natural language usage
  5. Create tables that transform gracefully.
  6. Ensure that pages featuring new technologies transform gracefully.
  7. Ensure user control of time-sensitive content changes.
  8. Ensure direct accessibility of embedded user interfaces.
  9. Design for device-independence.
  10. Use interim solutions.
  11. Use W3C technologies and guidelines.
  12. Provide context and orientation information.
  13. Provide clear navigation mechanisms.
  14. Ensure that documents are clear and simple.
Tuesday, May 4, 1999

The W3C's posted a Proposed Recommendation for Associating stylesheets with XML documents. This version doesn't appear to introduce any changes to the syntax of how one attaches a stylesheet to an XML document. The xml-stylesheet processing instruction in the prolog is still the only mechanism.

Monday, May 3, 1999

James Tauber has released version 0.6.0 of FOP, his XSL formatting objects to PDF converter. This release updates FOP to partial support for the 4-21-1999 working draft of XSL.

Sunday, May 2, 1999

Version 2.1.9 of Unicode has been released with assorted minor changes.

In related news, a new draft of the Unicode 3.0 Bidirectional algorithm technical report has been posted.

Saturday, May 1, 1999

The W3C's posted a new working draft of the Scalable Vector Graphics specification.

Wednesday, April 28, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released three new XML tools

  • XML Security Suite to include digital signatures, element-wise encryption, and access control in XML documents. This is available on Linux, Windows 95, and Windows 98.

  • XML for C++, a validating XML parser for AIX and Windows NT written in C++. Source code is included.

  • XML Viewer, a simple Java program for viewing well-formed XML documents.

They've also updated several products including

  • PatML, a pattern match/replace processor for XML written as a Java bean (assorted bug fixes)

  • The Bean Markup Language now includes a dynamic event adapter generator. Additionally <string> and <cast> can now have a value attribute. Finally scripts ccam now be written in JavaScript or NetREXX.

  • The XML BeanMaker reads a DTD and generates Java bean classes for documents based on the DTD. (assorted bug fixes)

  • XML EditorMaker generates visual editors from DTDs. (assorted bug fixes)

Tuesday, April 27, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released a new version of the XML Productivity Kit for Java that can load XML data from JDBC accessible databases, build XML aware servlets using XPK4J beans, and make XSL tree transformations using LotusXSL.

Monday, April 26, 1999

James Clark has posted a new test release of his non-validating expat XML parser in C that fixes a few bugs and adds methods to determine whether attributes were specified or defaulted, to control what to do with documents that have a DTD and standalone="no", and to determine the number of bytes in the current event.

Saturday, April 24, 1999

Michael Kay's released version 4.2 of SAXON. This release adds an XSL compiler that takes an XSL stylesheet as input and generates a Java application as output. The generated Java application can then process XML documents without the original style sheet. In a truly excellent hack, the compiler is written in XSL, generates Java, and has been used to compile itself. This release supports the December 1998 XSL working draft.

Friday, April 23, 1999

FourThought LLC has released the second public alpha of 4XSL (version 0.6.1), with support for most of the XSL transformation language as given in the December XSL working draft. It's written in Python and has been tested under Solaris and Linux.

Thursday, April 22, 1999

The W3C's posted a new working draft of the full XSL specification including formatting objects.

Wednesday, April 21, 1999

The W3C's posted a new working draft of XSL Transformations (XSLT) Specification Version 1.0. Apparently they have decided to split XSL into two separate specifications for transformations and formatting objects. From the spec:

This draft is intended to be "feature complete". The Working Group plans to use future drafts to stabilize the current functionality; it does not intend to add any new functionality in version 1.0.

The XSL WG and the XML Linking WG have agreed to unify XSLT expressions and XPointers [XPointer]. A common core semantic model for querying has been agreed upon, and this draft follows this model (see [6.1 Location Paths]). However, further changes particularily in the syntax will probably be necessary.

Among other changes, this release adds support for extension languages like JavaScript. However such support is not required.

James Clark has updated XT to support this draft.

Tuesday, April 20, 1999

Matthew Sergeant's written an XML Mime sniffer for Apache that allows you to return any MIME type you like for XML files. It relies on the mod_perl Apache module.

Monday, April 19, 1999

IBM's posted the first release of its XML Security Suite for digitally signing XML documents. This software requires Java 1.2.

Saturday, April 17, 1999

Version 0.5.1 of the Python/XML distribution is now available. The Python/XML distribution contains the basic tools required for processing XML data using the Python programming language, assembled into one easy-to-install package. The distribution includes parsers and standard interfaces such as SAX and DOM, along with various other useful modules. This version adds a DOM test suite, marshalling into various XML-based formats, and many bug fixes.

DataChannel's released XJParser, their version of the validating XML parser included in IE5 for Windows and Unix.

Maje is a compiler which generates MathML presentation tags from normal expressions like a+b=c. MAJE is a command line program that runs on DOS and Linux.

Friday, April 16, 1999

The Mozilla Project's posted the M4 release of Mozilla for Windows, Mac, and Linux on their FTP site.

NeoPlanet has also released an alpha of their own custom browser for Windows built around the Mozilla and IE5 rendering engines.

Monday, April 12, 1999

The W3C has revised and updated a number of XML related working drafts including:

Saturday, April 10, 1999

Robert C. Lyons has released XML Convert 1.0, a Java application that uses XFlat schemas to convert flat text files into XML.

Friday, April 9, 1999

Richard Tobin's added namespace support to the validating XML parser RXP. This can also be used through the online XML-checker page.

IBM's alphaWorks has released version 0.16.4 of the LotusXSL formatting engine with streaming SAX output (as well as DOM tree output), an improved JavaScript engine, and assorted bug fixes.

IBM's alphaWorks has also updated their XML Parser for Java to version 2.0.6 with assorted bug fixes and improved documentation. Version 1.1.16 is also available with some bug fixes. (So far I've mostly been sticvking to 1.x because it's command line validator is more useful.)

Wednesday, April 7, 1999

Media Design in*Progress has released version 1.0 of Emile Lite, a free (in the sense of free beer, not free speech) XML editor for Macintosh.

Sunday, April 4, 1999

Jonathan Robie's formed a mailing list to discuss XQL, the XML Query Language. This list is intended to answer questions about the definition of the language, how to implement it, who has implemented it in what products, and whatever else seems to be of interest as well as attempting to reach consensus about the future development of XQL.

Friday, April 2, 1999

The ISO 8859-15 character set (Latin-9) has been adopted by the ISO. Latin-9 covers Albanian, Basque, Breton, Catalan, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Faroese, Finnish, French, Frisian, Galician, German, Greenlandic, Icelandic, Irish Gaelic (new orthography), Italian, Latin, Luxemburgish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Rhaeto-Romanic, Scottish Gaelic, Spanish, and Swedish. It's very close to Latin-1 (ISO 8859-1) but with a Euro sign instead of an international currency sign, some Finnish letters instead of some uncommon symbols, and some extra French letters instead of the fractions.

Thursday, April 1, 1999

Version 1.0.5 of the OpenXML XML parser in Java is now available.

Wednesday, March 31, 1999

The Java Apache Project's Cocoon is a 100% pure Java, Web publishing framework servlet that uses XML and XSL to generate HTML. The current version is 1.1 and features improve performance through both memory and disk caching and support for the XSL:P processor.

Tuesday, March 30, 1999

Tom Harding's written a free Java implementation of Extensible Protocol, a pure-XML protocol for sending and receiving XML documents on a persistent connection.

Friday, March 26, 1999

Simon St. Laurent's released version 0.1 of MDServlet, an open source, very raw, highly configurable MDSAX processing servlet. MDServlet requires a Java Servlet Development Kit 2.0-compliant servlet engine that can run Java2 servlets such as the W3C's Jigsaw. (The Java Web server does not yet support Java 2.)

Thursday, March 25, 1999

Geir Ove Gronmo has released version 0.25 of xmlarch, a Python module for processing XML architectural forms using a SAX parser. This release adds support for the #GI mapping token and fixes a few bugs.

Geir Ove Gronmo has also released version 0.10 of tmproc, a Topic Map processor, written in Python. Topic Maps are a proposed ISO standard notation for "interchangeably representing information about the structure of information resources used to define topics, and the relationships between topics." Tmproc requires Python 1.5.1 or later, an SGML/XML parser with a SAX driver, SAX for Python, and xmlarch 0.25.

Tuesday, March 23, 1999

Mozilla M3, the first pre-alpha of Mozilla since Gecko, is now available with some XML+CSS support for Mac, Win32, and X86 Linux. More after I've downloaded it and tried it out. At the very least it's a lot smaller than IE5 which took me several days to download.

My first impressions of IE5 have been reasonably positive. However, a number of bugs have surfaced in particular parts of its XML handling. The CSS support is definitely lacking, even at the level of CSS1. I haven't yet tested much XSL.

Monday, March 22, 1999

The production release of MDSAX 1.0 is now available. MDSAX is a set of programmer-level tools for working with Java SAX parsers and parser filters.

Sunday, March 21, 1999

Oracle's posted the first bug-fix release of the Oracle XML Parser for Java on Oracle TechNet (registration required).

Friday, March 19, 1999

I'm only about 9 megabytes into the 40+ megabyte download of Internet Explorer 5.0 so I don't have much to say about it yet. (Microsoft's download site keeps disconnecting me. I blame NT for that.) However I did note that this release has optional support for Hebrew and Arabic pages for the first time. Surprisingly, however, it won't run on Hebrew or Arabic localized versions of Windows.

Dave Winer noted that IE5.0 uses Alexa to track the Web sites you visit. There are big privacy problems here, though perhaps not as serious as Netscape's. Dan Shafer and Tim Bray have also written nice overviews of their inital impressions of IE5.

Thursday, March 18, 1999
Microsoft's posted Internet Explorer 5.0 for Windows 3.1, 95, 98, NT 4.0, HP/UX and Solaris on its Web site. This should provide the best support for XML +XSL/CSS we've seen yet. More news on that once I've been able to download and test it. If anybody's finished downloading and installing it and wants to comment here, drop me some email.

Microsoft's also released version 3.2 of its Java Software Development Kit for Windows. This release includes the Microsoft XML Parser as well as assorted other new items.

Wednesday, March 17, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has version 2.0.4 of the validating parser XML for Java. Versions 2.0 and 2.0.3 were completely non-sfunctional as far as I could tell. I'll check this out and see if it works any better.

AlphaWorks has also released new non-terminated licenses for Bean Markup Language and the XML Tree Diff.

Monday, March 15, 1999

Michael Kay has released a new version of SAXON with more support for XSL transformations. It also supports

  • Multiple output files so you cansplit a single input document into lots of linked output documents.
  • Invoking Java element handlers from XSL, and XSL element handlers from Java, and Java code that extends the standard XSL vocabulary
  • SAXON Stylesheets produce a text file, not a tree. This means you can use them to produce CSV files, EDI messages, SQL scripts, or any number of formats that don't use angle-bracket syntax. Of course you can also produce XML and HTML output.
  • Documents that don't to fit in memory

This release also includes a new version of the DTDGenerator tool that generates a DTD from a sample document.

Friday, March 12, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has posted version 0.16.3 of their LotusXSL formatting engine. This release adds compatibility with XML4J 2.0.3. So far I still haven't been able to get XML4J 2.0.3 to parse a single file without throwing an IllegalAccessError, however, so I'm sticking with XML4J 1.1.14. IBM tells me they're looking into the problem.

Thursday, March 11, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has updated their XML treediff tool for compatibility with xml4j 1.1.4 and some speed-ups.

Tuesday, March 9, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released the first version of Xeena, yet another tree-based XML editor written in Java. This one restricts authors to following the DTD. Java 1.1 and Swing are required.

AlphaWorks has also released version 2.0.3 of the XML Parser for Java with assorted bug fixes. In my limited testing, 2.0.0 proved way too buggy to use, generating IllegalAccessErrors almost from the start, and I reverted back to 1.1.14. Hopefully 2.0.3 will prove more stable.

Monday, March 8, 1999

Netscape's posted Communicator 4.5.1 on their ftp servers. Versions are available for Power Macs running MacOS 7.6.1 or later, Windows, assorted Unixes including Linux, Solaris, Irix, AIX, and HP/UX but not SunOS, Windows 3.1, MacOS 7.5 and earlier or 68K Macs. Available languages include English, Japanese, and German. Professional, full, and Navigator-only versions are available. There do not appear to be any significant changes in XML support in this release.

Sunday, March 7, 1999

James Clark has posted a new test release of expat, a non-validating XML parser in C, with handlers for namespace declarations and a few bug fixes. He's also released a new version of XT, a non-validating XML parser in Java, with some bug fixes and begun an expat FAQ.

Friday, March 5, 1999

The W3C has elevated the Resource Description Framework (RDF) to official recommendation status. Rick Jelliffe written a DTD for this version of RDF since one is not included in the spec.

Thursday, March 4, 1999

The W3C XML Fragment working group has published the first Working Draft of the XML Fragment Interchange Recommendation. The hope is to enable software no work with parts of XML documents that in isolation may be neither well-formed nor valid. This might assist with automated document assembly using XLinks and XPointers, among other uses.

Wednesday, March 3, 1999

In his Seybold keynote Adobe CEO John Warnock pledged support for the XML-based Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) standard and promised to release plug-ins that add SVG support to Adobe's core graphics applications.

Right now I'm more curious to know what Microsoft plans to do with VML and SVG in Office2000. Is VML dead or will Microsoft follow through on its threat to ignore anything that isn't VML?

Monday, March 1, 1999

Paul Prescod's posted a "proposal for the creation of a W3C-recommended transformation language" (basically splitting the transformation and formatting parts of XSL). Comments are actively solicited. I don't have a strong opinion on this, one way or the other.

Saturday, February 27, 1999

Ken MacLeod's posted a draft of Perl SAX.

Friday, February 26, 1999

Version 0.82 of Fujitsu's HyBrick browser is now available with expanded support for XLink/XPointer including user interface enhancements and bug fixes.

Using yet another strange version numbering scheme nobody can understand, Sun has posted "Technology Release 1" of Java Project X, their XML Parser for Java, on the Java Developer Connection (registration required). Java 1.1.6 or later is required. Source code is included.

The W3C has posted now working drafts of the XLink Requirements Document, the XPointer Requirements document, and the XPointer-Information Set Liason Statement.

Ought to be some fun reading!
Thursday, February 25, 1999

Sun's posted a proposal for developing an XML Standard Extension Specification on the Java Developer Connection (registration required). Only one week has been allotted for comment. Personally I'm a little perturbed by this proposal since it more or less ignores a lot of ongoing, community based work on XML APIs like SAX and ModSAX. If Sun were serious about supporting XML, they'd contribute to those efforts instead of trying to do it all in-house. But of course if they participated in an open, democratic forum they couldn't control the outcome for their own benefit. This is yet another example of Sun using its control of Java to put its grubby, proprietary hands all over any technology it wants to own. Comments can be sent to jsr-comments@sun.com.

Wednesday, February 24, 1999

The W3C has posted a new working draft of the Voyager HTML-in-XML specification. It's now called XHTML.

Tuesday, February 23, 1999

Adobe says that version 4.0 of their GoLive Web authoring program will include support for XML. The Mac version will allegedly ship in March, the Windows version in May.

Monday, February 22, 1999

Beta 3 of MDSAX 1.0 has been posted. This release adds:

  • Coins implemented over MDSAX
  • A light weight version of program composition which does not require a DOM
  • Attribute support which is a superset of DTD attribute specification, including global attributes and attributes specific to a parent context.
This is Open Source Software:
Sunday, February 21, 1999

An email from Clare Robertus got me to revisit my year old journal entry Fast Times at Ridgemont High, or Whatever Happened to My Sister Eileen? In the process I learned that Google is leaps and bounds above any other search engine, including my previous favorite, Altavista. It was able to definitively trounce the other engines I tested in finding relevant and interesting information on the increasingly obscure book/movie/play My Sister Eileen. It even dug up an old TV sitcom based on the book that neither I nor anyone I've talked to had ever heard of or mentioned before.

Saturday, February 20, 1999

John Cowan's posted the fifth draft of the Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Simple Hypertext DTD.

Friday, February 19, 1999

The W3C's XML Information Set Working Group has published its Requirements and Design Principles document.

Thursday, February 18, 1999

The Language Technology Group, Human Communication Resarch Centre, University of Edinburgh, has released version 1.0 of RXP, a validating XML parser in C. This software is avaliable under the GNU Public Licence.

Wednesday, February 17, 1999

The W3C's posted a requirements document for an eventual XML schema language. They've also updated the errata for the XML 1.0 specification.

Oracle's posted a beta of its XML Class Generator for Java on TechNet (registration required). This product generates a set of Java source files based on an DTD. The generated Java source files can then be used to construct, optionally validate, and print a XML document that matches the DTD.

Tuesday, February 16, 1999

Michael Kay has released version 4.0 of SAXON, a Java library for processing XML documents: it provides a number of services above the SAX and DOM level to make applications easier to write and more modular. Changes in this release include improved support for processing using the DOM, a subset of XSL that mixes XSL and Java, and the ability to create multiple output files.

Monday, February 15, 1999
CITEC has posted a pre-alpha XML, SGML, and HTML browser called DocZilla based on the Mozilla open source. Doczilla uses CSS to render XML and SGML directly and also supports the DOM accessed through JavaScript.
Saturday, February 13, 1999

Mark Hale's released version 0.831 of his JSci class library with support for Java 1.1.7 and MathML.

Friday, February 12, 1999

The W3C has posted the first incomplete, working draft of a Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) specification. SVG is an XML application that should replace VML, PGML, DrawML, and other vector graphics proposals. The authors list includes representatives from Adobe, Microsoft, Visio, Corel, Sun, Netscape, Xerox, IBM, Quark, and Macromedia. Thus one can hope that this proposal will eventually achieve widespread adoption. Of course, Microsoft has previously announced its intention to use VML regardless of what the W3C says or does. However, perhaps they've changed their mind.

Jiang Luqin has started a new mailing list for discussing XML in Chinese. To subscribe send email to majordomo@ml.crema.unimi.it the words "subscribe xml_zh" in the body of your message.

Thursday, February 11, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has posted version 0.16.2 of the LotusXSL formatting engine with support for XML4J 1.1.14.

Wednesday, February 10, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released version 2.0 of their XML Parser for Java (xml4j). This release adds a configurable, modular architecture, increases speed, and supports revalidation and XCatalog.

NEC has submitted a note about the Personalized Information Description Language (PIDL) to the W3C. Given the obvious pronunuciation of the acronym, it's perhaps not surprising that this proposal appears to have been written by non-native English speakers. One wonders what other names they considered{? Perhaps the "Universal Replacement In Notation Appended To End"? or the "Personal Information Suffix System"? In any case, despite the name and my grammar school level musings about it, the idea looks interesting. According to the note:

PIDL provides a common framework for applications to progressively process original contents and append personalized versions in a compact format. PIDL supports the personalization of different media (e.g. plain text, structured text, graphics, etc), multiple personalization methods (such as filtering, sorting, replacing, etc) and different delivery methods (for example SMTP, HTTP, IP-multicasting, etc).
Tuesday, February 9, 1999

FourThought LLC has released version 0.7.0 of 4DOM, a CORBA-aware implementation of the W3C's Document Object Model (DOM) written in Python 4DOM supports DOM Core level 1, DOM HTML level 1, Node Iterator and Node Filter from DOM Level 2, and a few utility and helper components. 4DOM is distributed under the terms of the GNU Library Public License (LGPL).

Monday, February 8, 1999

The second beta of the open source MDSAX 1.0 software for writing XML filters in Java that reside on top of SAX has been posted. This release includes a context markup language for defining filter structures. Furthermore, several filters are included with this release including John Cowan's namespace filter David Megginson's XAF filter for Architectural Forms.

Saturday, February 6, 1999

Version 0.60 of xmlproc is now available. xmlproc is a validating XML parser written in Python, which supports SAX 1.0, XML namespaces, SGML Open catalog files and XCatalog 0.1.

Friday, February 5, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released version 1.1.14 of XML Parser for Java (formerly XML for Java). This release adds a user data object on DOM nodes, better access to DTD information, support for Swing 1.1, and many bug fixes.

Thursday, February 4, 1999

In the latest example of patent idiocy, the U.S. Patent Office has granted Microsoft a patent that appears to cover significant parts of both CSS and XSL, US5860073: Style sheets for publishing system. Furthermore, it seems likely that Microsoft ignored its obligation to inform the W3C of its pending patent application on the technology when it was "participating" in the development of CSS.

This is a very bad patent that ignores much prior art, and will probably be invalidated quickly. Nonetheless it does demonstrate Microsoft's continued disdain for the standards process, and continuing inability to work well with others.

Wednesday, February 3, 1999

Bluestone Software's XwingML is an XML application for specifying Java GUIs. XwingML is spamware.

Tuesday, February 2, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has posted a new commercial source release of the LotusXSL formatting engine with better error detection and reporting, more bug fixes, support for xsl:apply-imports, and namespace quoting.

Sunday, January 31, 1999

Didier PH Martin has posted a new version of the SGMLKit with XML support.

Saturday, January 30, 1999

Jonathan Borden has posted an early version of the XML MetaData Object Persistence C++ source (nee MBXML). This is an open source project, but uses a lot of third party, non-open source packages including the IE4 msxml parser. XMOP provides persistence and marshalling support to COM objects that have type libraries.

Friday, January 29, 1999

The Internationalization Working Group and the Internationalization Interest Group of the W3C have published a new Working Draft on International Layout in CSS that contains proposals to add some styling properties to CSS to deal with many formating choices and problems arising primarily in East Asian scripts.

Thursday, January 28, 1999

The W3C has released version 1.4a of the Amaya Web browser for Windows 95, 98, and NT and most major Unixes which includes support for MathML though not arbitrary XML. Source code is available.

The W3C has also released a test suite for CSS Level 1 that should help browser vendors correctly support CSS, and should help Web developers more easily figure out what each browser does and doesn't support.

Wednesday, January 27, 1999

Beta 1 of MDSAX 1.0 is now available. From the MDSAX Web site

MDSAX (Multi-Document Simple API for XML) is a set of tools for working with Java SAX parsers and parser filters. MDSAX provides developers with considerably more control over the creation and stacking order of SAX filters, and makes it simple for programs to specify different filter stacks for different types of documents (as identified by their root elements.) Factory classes make it possible to construct and initialize filters to take full advantage of all of their features without extensive custom coding. MDSAX also provides access to a number of services, allowing filters to communicate amongst themselves and with the application.
Tuesday, January 26, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has updated their LotusXSL formatting engine which is written in Java. This release adds support for xsl:apply-imports and namespace quoting. It also provides a new Commercial Source version.

Monday, January 25, 1999

Version 1.0 of the XSA specification has been released. XSA is an XML-based system that allows anyone who is interested to automatically discover new versions of software products as they are released by polling XML documents describing the products. It is mainly intended to help software index maintainers keep their indexes up to date.

Sunday, January 24, 1999

The Unicode Consortium has created a new $600, non-voting Specialist Membership for individuals. Specialist members will have full access to the member areas of the Unicode web and ftp sites. They can participate freely in UTC meetings as non-voting members, and they will receive a discount at Unicode conferences. While I would prefer allowing specialist members to vote, this is definitely a step forward. In particular, I hope the W3C follows the Unicode Consortium's example.

Tuesday, January 19, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released a new version of its LotusXSL XSL processor.

XML Francophone is a new French-speaking Web site devoted to XML.

Monday, January 18, 1999

This Thursday I'll be participating in a panel on "The Free Software Movement, Open Source, and the Coming Free Market in OSes" at the New York Software Summit at FIT in Manhattan. I'll be talking (briefly) about the importance of XML for open file formats. The panel is moderated by Jay Sulzberger of LXNY. Panelists include Jesse Erlbaum, Jim Russell (IBM), Dave Shields (IBM), and Richard Stallman (FSF). There are many other panels and seminars as well. Cost for the entire day is $140. (or $95 with the code "NYJavaSIG") The registration deadline is noon on Wednesday, January 20th. There will be no onsite registration. You can register on the Web or by phone at (212) 475-4503.

IBM's alphaWorks has released the XML Enabler. The XML enabler is a Java servlet that can convert XML pages + XSL stylesheets to HTML before delivering them to the Web browser.

Alphaworks has also released the XML Diff and Merge Tool to reconcile, compare and merge changes to XML documents. IBM says it works on AIX and Windows NT, though since it's written in Java I don't see why it wouldn't work on 95/98 and Solaris as well.

Sunday, January 17, 1999

RFC 2482 documents a proposed a mechanism for language tagging in Unicode text so computers can easily determine which parts of a document are in which language. This is useful for Web spiders, spell checkers, and many other programs that act differently depending on language.

Saturday, January 16, 1999

Circolo Vizioso is an Italian magazine of philosophy available in straight XML+XSL for IE5.0b2.

Friday, January 15, 1999

The W3C has formally elevated Namespaces in XML to full recommendation status. I'm a little surprised at this. While I don't have strong opinions about this one way or the other, it was quite clear that this specification doesn't have anything approaching a consensus of the interested parties. Nor is it obvious that the concerns of the dissenters can be addressed in a future revision that doesn't break backward compatibility. In my opinion, the W3C moved too quickly on this controversial issue.

James Clark has posted the first beta release of XT, his non-validating XML parser in Java.

IBM's alphaWorks has released a suite of JavaBeans for working with XML including DOMGenerator, XMLTokenizer, XMLSourceView, XMLTreeView, XMLAttributeView, DTDSourceView, and XMLChildren beans. The suite provides different types of views that help the user to get detailed information about the XML document.

Thursday, January 14, 1999

The W3C has upgraded Associating stylesheets with XML documents to proposed recommendation status. There do not appear to have been any significant changes since the last draft.

Matthew Sergeant has written a Perl module that takes HTML Form output and generates XML. The aim of this module is to be able to generate _arbitrary_ XML, not a standard (read: less useful) DTD. In order to be able to do this the form element names use a standard naming convention, based around XSL/XQL.

Wednesday, January 13, 1999

A test version of a MathML interface for the Reduce symbolic algebra system is now available. This Web based interface parses and evaluates MathML content markup, as well as generating its answers in MathML content markup. You do not need to install Reduce to use it.

Keith Visco has posted the first alpha of XSLP, a free (soon to be open source) XSL processor written in Java which implements the tree construction part of XSL.

Apache 1.3.4 has been released for Windows and Unix. All users should upgrade.

Tuesday, January 12, 1999

Charles Muller has posted his Dictionary of East Asian Buddhist Terms and dictionary of East Asian Literary Terms in XML browsable with the MSIE 5 beta.

Monday, January 11, 1999

Michael Everson's posted a draft proposal for Encoding Egyptian Hieroglyphs in Unicode (PDF format). The proposal contains 761 Basic Egyptian Hieroglyphs, 40 Alternate Format characters, and 4548 Extended Egyptian Hieroglyphs, for a grand total of 5349 characters.

IBM's alphaWorks has updated their XML Tree diff tool.

James Clark has posted version 1.0.2 of Expat, his XML processor in C. Version 1.0.2 fixes one "rather nasty bug" in 1.0.1.

Sunday, January 10, 1999

Release 38 of Samuel R. Blackburn's freeware Win32 Foundation Classes (WFC) library now allows you to control how strict or sloppy the XML parser is. Assorted bugs are also fixed.

Saturday, January 9, 1999

The Chinese XML Now! Web site is now available in Chinese (UTF-8 and Big5). The site attempts to be HTML-in-XML, using voyager, so you can use the site as general XML test pages too. Among other features this site provides test files including http://www.ascc.net/xml/test/wfall/utf-8/test13.xml which has most of the Chinese tests rolled into a single file, with guiding comments.

Version 1.1 of the Portable Network Graphics (PNG) specification is now available. All changes are relatively minor and should be backward compatible. These include redefining gamma terms of the desired display output rather than the original scene, new iCCP, sPLT, and sRGB chunks for color correction, and assorted clarifications of what is and isn't allowed.

Friday, January 8, 1999

A new public draft of the Unicode Collation technical report is now available. Feedback is solicited.

Thursday, January 7, 1999

IBM's alphaworks has posted a new version of DataCraft. According to IBM

DataCraft is an application generation tool targeted for RDF/XML applications in the context of Web-commerce applications. DataCraft, a facility capable of generating visual query skeletons and running the queries against DB2, is an excellent tool for Web-Database application generation using XML.

DataCraft provides client tools visually navigating resource schema, and query language building queries visually from the schema based on XML and RDF. DataCraft uses RDF and XML to describe data collection structures and to exchange resource schema and query between the server and client. DataCraft is written in JAVA and can be accessed by web browsers. Currently, DataCraft supports relational data servers such as IBM DB2 or Microsoft Access.

Wednesday, January 6, 1999

RightDoc 1.0 is an XML-based, $249 payware library for Windows 95, 98, and NT that allows applications to dynamically assemble documents such as forms, reports, billing statements, legal contracts, letters and such. Think of it as mail merge on steroids.

Tuesday, January 5, 1999

Microsoft's released Internet Explorer 4.5 for the Macintosh. There's no noticeable XML support in this release.

Roger L. Costello has launched a new mailing list to discuss XML in Electronic Commerce. To subscribe send email to listserv@mitre.org with "subscribe XML-EC-LIST YOUR NAME" in the body of the message.

Monday, January 4, 1999

The W3C has posted the first public working draft of DOM Level II. This will add interfaces for a Cascading Style Sheets object model, an event model, and a query interface, amongst others though not all these are included in this first draft.

Sunday, January 3, 1999

I've posted a statement about the status of Microsoft MSXSL and XML: Extensible Markup Language in response to numerous reader questions.

Bill la Forge has posted the initial draft of Coins4. he describes it as "Untested. Undocumented. Very abstract. Very different form the Coins spec" so use it with caution.

Saturday, January 2, 1999

James Clark has released a new version of XP, his XML parser in Java. This release has a few bug fixes, and better reporting of ID attributes (the type of ID attributes is now reported in SAX).

Friday, January 1, 1999

James Clark has posted a new test release of the expat XML parser in C. New features include a smaller but slower parser, allowing the application to be informed of the start and end of CDATA sections, and other minor changes.

News from 1998
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Copyright 1999 Elliotte Rusty Harold
Last Modified January 5, 2000