XML 2007 Wrapup

6 12 2007

The XML 2007 Conference is over and here are my observations.

For me personally, it was a mixed bag. My talk was not very well attended and I can understand why now: I thought this was much more of a developers’ conference, but there seem to be many more MIS types and business users than developers. The median age is also much higher than the one that is characteristic of venues like OSCON or ApacheCon: silver hair abound. So it is understandable that many eyes glazed over when I started showing blobs of Java code in the second half of my talk.

One could hope of getting a lot of business leads from such a business-oriented audience, but it’s not that easy to try to sell a European consultancy to a public that is 99% US-based: very few Europeans are here.

Still, I got some nice feedback from the few developers that were attending, so I can be confident that my presentation was of good quality: it’s just that most of the audience was not the right audience.

From the attendee point of view, it was a mixed bag too. There are so many talks that are so loaded with marketspeak that they made me want to run out and do some Christmas shopping instead: shops will take your money as well, but will give you some definite value in exchange for it ;).

As is usual in such situations, you get the best value for money out of meeting other people you have only known virtually until then. One of them is Gregg Pollack (he is the guy playing Ruby on Rails in the “Get a Mac” spoof ads for Rails; if you haven’t seen them yet, do it now, they’re even funnier than the originals).

I also had a god chat with Norman Walsh about his XProc implementation project. I inquired whether he was planning to open it up to external contributions: He eventually will, but will probably rewrite it once again from scratch one more time. So I am going forward with my own implementation, which is currently a labour-of-love, side project to which I am obviously not dedicating any significant amount of time at the moment. We agreed to talk again in a couple of months from now and see how far we’ve come.

The highlight of the trip for me, however, was meeting Sally and Yoav. Curiously, even though both are Bostonians and they worked together in the Apache PRC, they had never met face-to-face before. It took me coming to Boston to catalyze their meeting. We had a very nice dinner in Boston’s North End and a good deal of talk about Apache and our respective jobs and lives.

Cost of a trip to Boston for the XML Conference: about $2000 with MasterCard.

Making new friends there: priceless.




2 responses

6 12 2007
Yoav Shapira

It was a pleasure to meet you, Ugo 😉 I’m glad you got home safe, and I hope to see you in Europe soon.

6 12 2007
Norman Walsh

I hope it’s not a complete rewrite 🙂

But in light of the decision to support XPath 2.0, I am tempted to redo some of the inter-step communication.

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