ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC34 N1xxx



Information Technology --
Document Description and Processing Languages


Clarification on scope, purpose and justification of DIS 14297


OASIS UOML-X TC (Peter Junge as OASIS liaison at SC34/SC2)


DIS 14297



Draft #2


Reply to SC34/SC2




SC34, SC34/WG2 and Liaisons



Recommendations of March 2011 Meeting of ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34/WG2 in Prague

Clarification on scope, purpose and justification of DIS 14297

1. Scope

DIS 14297 describes the abstract document model of the Unstructured Operation Markup Language (UOML) and the operations available on it. Specifically, operations providing functionality for read/write/edit and display/print on layout-based documents are described.

DIS 14297 does not define any binding for the operations on the UOML document model. Such bindings are implementation-defined or will be defined in further standards focusing UOML and related technologies.

2. Purpose

DIS 14297 defines UOML, a platform-neutral operation interface that allows applications to dynamically access and update the visual appearance of fixed layout documents.

UOML provides a standard set of objects for representing fixed layout documents (or the fixed layout of documents), describes how these objects can be organized, and defines a standard set of operations for accessing and manipulating them.

Document service vendors can support UOML as an interface to their proprietary documents; content authors can write to the standard UOML interfaces rather than vendor-specific APIs, thus increasing the interoperability of document software.

3. Justification

DIS 14297 specifies an XML schema, called the Unstructured Operation Markup Language, which defines an XML-based instruction set to access the visual appearance of unstructured documents and associated information. It first defines an abstract document model, which is a set of standard objects and the way they are organized. Secondly, it defines a set of standard operations as an interface to access and manipulate these objects.

In the Unstructured Operation Markup Language (UOML), the term “document” is restricted to its visual appearance. With UOML, programmers can build, modify, and manage documents and their contents. UOML provides a unified interface to access and manipulating documents that simplifies the work to access them.

The goal of UOML is to enable the implementation of the UOML interface by the widest set of tools and platforms; thus fostering interoperability across multiple vendors, applications and platforms. There are two types of UOML implementations: Docbase Management System (DCMS) implementations that execute UOML instructions and application software implementations that issues UOML instructions.

UOML is valuable for document interoperation. Document editing software usually processes documents in its own proprietary format. With UOML, operation on a document is performed through a DCMS Document editing software can cooperate with multiple DCMS and can edit a document regardless of its format. Conversely, a DCMS can cooperate with various document-editing software. Thus, interoperability is achieved.

With the help of UOML, document-editing software can put its focus on editing functionality and need not handle document formats, while a DCMS can put its focus on the functionality and performance of document operation and need not care about specific software applications. Industry division is thus realized, and free market competition is encouraged.

UOML is a mature technology in China (mostly used in E-Government) which has several implementors there. These implementors are using UOML to ensure interoperability in multi-vendor document management systems. One of these vendors has implemented UOML for their office productivity suite, which is a derivative of Free and Open Source Office Suite. This implementation of was recently submitted to the parent open source project under the free software license LGPLv3, hence UOML has entered international markets which requires standardization on international level.