XML 2004 Conference Diary, Day Four

by Edd Dumbill

Previous entries: href="http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/5924">day one, href="http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/5937">day two,
day three.

Hotel room. 11.30am, Thursday

Struggling to recover from the meeting-fest that was yesterday.

My first encounter was with Justsystems, a very successful Japanese
company who are trying to enter the US and European markets with an
XML product. Their xfy
(pronounced ex-fie) product is really more a platform for creating
editing environments for compound XML documents.

We were shown some very impressive demonstrations of live,
view-based, editing of underlying XML documents. They've created a
language called VCD, which is a bit like XSLT, except it also includes
constructs to express how editing in a live view affects the source

I was very impressed with the technology, but their key task I
think is to put it into a product such that people have a use for it.
As a platform, like Eclipse, it is promising, but it's not yet a
product. And the worry from their point of view ought to be that
platforms themselves are reaching commodity pricing points, if not
free already.

After that, long meetings discussing href="http://www.xtech-conference.org/">XTech 2005, and after that
a long, um, "meeting" in the bar and a great Lebanese restaurant with
Simon St.Laurent, Len Bullard and Jelks Cabaniss. Len was relating
lots of history from the SGML days, proving once again that there's
nothing new under the sun.

After that we dragged ourselves off to a party where old hands in
the XML world struggled with an electric ukalele. Ducked out early as
the time zone difference started to hurt too badly.

This morning I had the pleasure of chairing two excellent talks.
Tony Byrne from CMSWatch delivered a professional and polished summary
of the state of content management in enterprises. The punchline was
really that content management was more a discipline than a matter of
choosing such-and-such a vendor's tools.

The second talk was Allison Bloodworth from the University of
California, Berkeley, presenting on a project to unify the various
calendars created in UCB. It was a great example of merging
user-centered design with "document engineering", a formulation of XML
document design created by Bob Glushko. Again, well polished and

We're down to the last few presentations now, so not long to go.

Ukalele-playing markup experts, apply here.