Balisage 2008 Announces Program

by Kurt Cagle

Balisage is probably not a term on everyone's tongue. Its original usage comes from the Navy - for a ship to travel "balisage" means that they are using special dimmed lights for navigation while in enemy territory, a term also known as Silent Running. It has, however, acquired a second meaning more appropriate to computer science in general and XML in particular. Balisage is the use of XML to enable document processing without "giving away" data to a proprietary application's format. Balisage in this sense is somewhat edgy and subversive, striking at the boundaries where Open Source and Open Standards meet to form Open Data.

It's perhaps appropriate then that the former Extreme XML conference, long known as the hardest core of XML moots, should take on the name of one of the central tenets of the Open Data movement. Balisage brings together some of the foremost minds in the areas of content management, semantics and ontology, information processing, application development and security to explore how best to build on the shape of this emerging technology. The shift in name also reflects a broader shift going on in the field, as people realize that while XML is core to most of what they are discussing, it is what is being done with XML (and with the harmonics of that activity) that is becoming most important, not the format itself.