I was at XML2007. It was interesting. The mood was confident and
relaxed despite the fact that the conference was smaller than it has
been in years. Or rather (this is part of what was interesting),
*because* it was smaller. The definite sense was that XML is now a
done deal, and there's no particular news and nothing to get
especially excited about. A commonly heard analogy was one coined a
few years ago by (I think) Lauren Wood: "it's like having a
conference about ASCII". In other words, something of a yawner.
Nevertheless, spirits were good, as there seems to be plenty of work to do.
Things seem to be maturing. The easy stuff has been dealt with.
XQuery and XPath/XSLT 2.0 have demonstrated their worthiness and
viability (despite lags in getting competitors to Saxon for XSLT
2.0). The hard stuff is hard precisely because these are issues that
admit of no technical solution. For example, there was a panel
discussing the need for better editing tools. Notwithstanding
marketing pitches from the panel (they were all vendors), their only
ideas seemed to be "we'll be working really hard on building better
interfaces" -- without much notice being given to how naive
evaluators and new users of XML need to develop a better
understanding of why application-independent rich tagging is better
than their WYSIWYG security blankets, and how UIs might possibly help
both ease the work and reward them for it. TEI-friend Peter Flynn and
myself tried to enlighten them, without much evident effect. Oh well.
Interestingly, the oXygen team, who had two people attending, were
not invited to join the panel, despite the universal praise for their
product and the buzz surrounding their new release. I guess you pay a
price for being a small company without a deep-pocketed marketing
arm. But George and Stefan did not have to be on the panel, as they
evidently came not to be heard, but to listen. Smart guys at oXygen:
send them your good ideas.
New developments along the horizon? Hardly. An exception to this is
the emergence of what we all hope will be the last XML-related spec
for some time, XProc, an XML Pipelining specification allowing the
declarative design and management of processing pipelines. This will
be useful for all of us who have been using batch files or Ant for
this. (They work, but yikes.)
I gave a paper on writing mapping specifications for XML-to-XML
transformations (co-authored with my boss, Tommie Usdin). It was very
well received. The biggest laugh was when an audience member asked,
"Do you ever get pushback from your developers about [mumble mumble
inaudible]?" and I had the presence of mind to answer "We get
pushback from our developers about everything". The crowd seemed to
relate to that.
So even we techies are human beings after all, which I think bodes
well for the humanities and for the TEI.
At 02:54 PM 12/5/2007, Hope wrote:
>So, did anyone attend XML 2007 this week in Boston? Any notes? Any
>TEI-ers blogging on it?
>Here are a couple non-TEI bloggers who did, but it would be nice to
>hear about it from a TEI angle.
>[log in to unmask], University of Vermont
Wendell Piez mailto:[log in to unmask]
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