XML 2004 Conference Diary, Day Two

by Edd Dumbill

Continued from Monday's report.

Marriott Wardman Park, Washington D.C. Tuesday, 10am

Ducking into the keynote hall I hear the speaker say "value
proposition" and "web services" in quick succession, and so decide
breakfast is probably the better option. May I be forgiven.

Last night I experienced what may yet turn out to be the most
phenomenal surprise of the conference. Len Bullard! Those who follow
XML-DEV will know Len as a prolific and provocative contributor to the
XML community and who, up until this week, had not made a personal
appearance. A sighting of Len Bullard is rarer than one of XML's
international man of mystery, James Clark.

Len himself was a little bemused by his iconic status, I think,
especially as Simon St.Laurent prostrated himself at Len's feet at the
speakers' reception.

Gathering a bunch of the usual suspects we roamed down Connecticut
to a Japanese restaurant, the Sake Club, and had a great meal. Much
talk of the US election, and much indulgence in the excellent sake

No surprise on our return to hit the bar and find DocBook's Norm
Walsh snug in a corner. After an hour or so of overconfident
declamation about punctuation and XML schemas we tottered off to

All of which goes a small way to explain why I preferred breakfast
over web services.


While looking for a bandwidth fix I bump into Steve Pepper of Ontopia, chief evangelist of the topic maps world. He tells me they've joined in the W3C now and are working with Semantic Web Best Practices group, in particular on RDF and topic maps integration. If that works out, maybe we can send them to address the Middle East situation.

Three hours until my talk. I discovered the erudite and wonderful Wendell Piez is to chair my session, so I am now obliged to be interesting.


Just been to talk with Microsoft's Jean Paoli, along with
co-conspirators Simon St.Laurent and Kendall Clark. Paoli
was awarded the "XML Cup" earlier, along with XML's own Venerable Bede, Robin Cover. A passionate and expressive Frenchman, Paoli urges us that it's time to declare victory with XML and publicly express that we've done what we said we would. An interesting point, as I think he's right, although most of us still gaze on what is yet to do, or what we don't terribly like.

Whether it's pleasing in its implementation or not, it is the case that there's a well-deployed style, schema and transport mechanism for XML, and this means a lot for connecting systems together. Maybe we should, as Paoli suggested, have a party.

Restaurant recommendations, plaudits and hate mail.


2004-11-22 07:34:21
re: The Middle East situation

With reference to your recent statement "If that works out,
maybe we can send them to address the Middle East situation"
(XML 2004 Conference Diary, Day Two, 11am), I wish to point
out that enmity is in the eye of the beholder.

The TMstinians and the RDFraelites have more in common than
many might think:

Their languages, while admittedly different, both derive from
Proto-Semantic and thus share many characteristics, viz.
consonantal structure, writing direction, &c.

What then if the one represents vowels through diacritics while
the other omits them altogether? Are not such details a cause
for celebration rather than confrontation, enriching as they do
our common heritage?

What unites our two communities, both victims of a single
anti-semanticism, runs far deeper than the hostility of recent
years might suggest. So let us join forces in common cause and
seek out the synergies that may in time unite us.

I remain confident that the process now initiated within Dubbya
3C will prove fruitful in this regard and respectfully urge your
support, along with that of Dubbya G3.

Yours etc.

SP, Ontopia