Aug 272013

For the XML Summer School this year, I’m teaching about HTML5, CSS3 and ePub in the Hands-on Web Publishing course. The basic premise of the course is to show what technologies are involved in taking a bunch of Word documents or XML files and turning them into a decent-looking website or ePub. The course includes lessons on relevant bits of XSLT transformation (since Word is XML under the covers, if you dig deeply enough), scripting in Ruby to automate as much as possible, and, of course, enough information about HTML and CSS that people can make a decent-looking website in class in the hands-on part.

As a starting point for the exercises, we’ll use a generated template from HTML5 boilerplate, since, if you pick the right options, it is relatively clean and simple to understand. Looking at the current common design practices used across a number of options (HTML5 boilerplate, Bootstrap, WordPress templates for example) coupled with web components and the sheer size and number of HTML5-related specifications from WHATWG and the W3C, I’m wondering just how much more complicated it can all get before the pendulum starts swinging back again towards simplicity and separation of content from processing. Even a bare-bones template has a number of lines in it to deal with older versions of IE, or to load some JavaScript or (mostly) jQuery library. It’s no wonder we’re starting to see so many frameworks that try to cover up all of that complexity (Bootstrap again, or Ember, for example).

In the meantime, at least I have a reasonably constrained use case to help me decide which of the myriad possibilities are worth spending time teaching, and which are best left for the delegates to read up on after the class.

Nov 202009

The XML Summer School in Oxford at the end of September was the usual mix of interesting presentations, punting, good discussions in the pubs, and wandering around old buildings. The photos I took have none of the first, little of the last, and an over-proportional number of punting and pubs, mostly because that’s when the camera did its job best. These are all part of the XML Summer School 2009 group on Flickr, if you want more photos of that week in Oxford.

Sep 042009

This year the XML Summer School in Oxford is at the end of September, rather a change from previous years, when it was in July. This morning on the organising call we decided that we need to go punting on the Monday before dinner rather than after dinner, since the evenings will be dark sooner, but that’s about the only drawback to the late-summer timing.

Apart from being heavily involved in organising the event, I’m chairing two courses this year. There’s Trends and Transients, a fun day with lots of discussion and debate about hyped, over-hyped, and current technology issues. This year we have Tony Coates talking about how XML could have saved us from the current financial crisis (somewhat tongue-in-cheek), Paul Downey ranting on what’s wrong with Rich Internet Applications, and Rich Salz telling you what to look for and avoid in cloud computing. The day is capped off by unconference sessions in the evening where everyone gets to have their say in as much length as people will listen to them.

New this year is the other course I’m chairing, the Semantic Technologies course, where Bob DuCharme, Leigh Dodds, Andy Seaborne, and Duncan Hull are joining forces to teach classes in Linked Data, OWL, RDF, SPARQL, and all those other acronyms that are forming the basis of what some people are calling Web 3.0. I’m looking forward to catching up on what’s new in all of these, and figuring out whether some might be useful for a project I have in mind.

I haven’t decided which other courses and classes I’ll sit in on yet; they all look good.

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