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   Random XTech observations

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  • From: David Megginson <david@megginson.com>
  • To: xml-dev@xml.org
  • Date: Fri, 3 Mar 2000 13:07:10 -0500 (EST)

I'm sitting on AC 538 on the tarmac at SJC, waiting to push back and
start the long flight home to Ottawa.  While I'm waiting, here are a
few random observations from three days of XTech (I'm not going to
mention specific papers, except to say that the overall quality was
extraordinarily high):

1. 14-hour days are too long, even though the town halls were worth

2. XPath has matured very fast, and I would now count it as one of the 
   (few) clearly successful W3C specs, along with CSS, XML, and DOM
   (what am I forgetting?).  The proof of its success is that many
   speakers used XPath to explain other things, rather than bothering
   to explain XPath itself.

3. XSLT is winning a lot of converts -- everyone seems to like it.  I
   think that it probably belongs on the list of successful W3C specs
   as well now.  Not a bad track record for the W3C, really.

4. The DOM is everywhere, of course, but people seem to like
   to gripe a lot about it, mainly about the memory usage -- to be
   fair to the WG, that would be a problem with any tree-based API.
   The irony is that everyone loves XSLT (see previous point), which
   pretty-much requires a tree behind it, DOM or otherwise.

5. People don't rag on SAX enough -- it has at least as many flaws as
   the DOM, but it's protected by a kind of hacker cool (just as
   presenters blame Windows when their slides don't work, but rarely do
   the same with Linux).

6. Everyone wants to send XML over HTTP.  Nothing new there, but I'd
   like to see some kind of interoperable, critical mass emerge,
   whatever the flavour.

7. Despite a lot of C++ and a little VB and Python (no Perl that I
   remember!), XML is still very much joined at the waist with Java.
   Partly, that reflects the fact that Java is central to big vendors
   like Oracle and IBM, partly that reflects the fact that Java and
   XML were both designed for client-side use but have migrated to
   server-side, and partly it reflects the fact that Java open-source
   programmers, still eyed suspiciously in the Linux community (where
   even C++ is making slow progress), have found a home in XML and a
   community on XML-Dev.

8. It's getting harder and harder to find an XML conference that's not 
   mostly marketing presentations.  That's the inevitable price of
   success, but it was fun to be at a conference like the ones from
   two years ago, full of hard-core developers.  Thanks, everyone
   (especially to the co-chairs, Tim and Jon).

All the best,


David Megginson                 david@megginson.com

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