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.

Apr 212009

One of my current projects is as Course Director for the revamped XML Summer School in Oxford, England. John Chelsom asked me to help out and I was only too happy to say yes; I have many fond memories from previous years. It will be more a late-summer school this year, being from September 20-25, but that does free up more of the summer proper for other things, not to mention giving us more time to figure out the schedule and speakers.

Another advantage of late summer for the XML Summer School is that it doesn’t clash with Balisage in Montréal, Canada, which is on August 11-14 (with the symposium on processing XML efficiently on the 10th). Papers for that are due on April 24, so you don’t have much time to get them in if you’re planning on speaking. Any markup-related topic is welcome, as long as it is of sufficient quality and depth.

It’s interesting comparing the two – Balisage is a geek’s conference, unapologetically aimed at people who are think deeply about the issues, even if they’re not applying them at work. The XML Summer School is more like training, aimed at less expert practitioners of and newcomers to XML, and more likely to be attended by people who want to go back to work the next week and apply what they’ve learned directly. A few of the speakers are the same, of course, and the discussions over dinner tend to veer in some of the same directions.

And, of course, both conferences are on Twitter; Balisage at and the XML Summer School at

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