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   Wanna see John Cowan at XML 2002? Pony up!

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I apologize for the mildly commercial nature of this message.

As some of you may know, I don't get any subsidy from my employer
for going to conferences, so when I get there, I have to be gainfully
employed.  Doing tutorials is one way to cover the conference charge,
the train ticket, and the hotel.

Currently, I'm scheduled for two half-day afternoon tutorials, one on
Sunday afternoon, one on Monday afternoon.  The first one is "Unicode Ate
My Brain", which I gave at XML 2001 (now updated slightly); the second
one is "RELAX NG: DTDs On Warp Drive".  So far, not enough people have
signed up for these to get to the break-even point.  If this doesn't
change, I can't go.

So if some of you want to see my face in Baltimore this year, sign up.
If you figure you know all you need to know about Unicode and RELAX NG,
get your cow-orkers and friends to sign up.  If you don't, not only will those
who hunger and thirst after knowledge get nada, but the rest of you won't
hear about TagSoup.  Nuf sed.

Here's the registration form: https://nt6.bnt.com/gca/xmlusa/2002/regform.asp

Here are the write-ups on the two tutorials, plus my XML 2002 biography,
for spreading around your various organizations.

Unicode Ate My Brain
Sunday 2.00pm - 5.30pm
Audience Type: Technical View
Prerequisites: Understanding of XML; no knowledge of Unicode is required.

Instructor(s): John Cowan, Senior Internet Systems Developer, Reuters
Health Information, United States

Unicode, the universal character set, is one of the foundation
technologies of XML. However, it is not as widely understood as it should
be, because of the unavoidable complexity of handling all of the world's
writing systems, even in a fairly uniform way. This tutorial will provide
the basics about using Unicode and XML to save lots of money and achieve
world domination at the same time.

This tutorial will be divided into five sections:

1.) Before the Unicode Standard will explain a little bit about the mess
of existing local character sets.

2.) The Unicode Standard will give a basic overview of what Unicode is,
including design principles, conformance, the kinds of characters that
exist in Unicode, and a high-level roadmap to character allocation.

3.) Encodings will explain how Unicode characters are encoded in different
environments to balance the competing needs of compactness, simplicity,
and interoperability.

4.) Unicode and XML will explain the features of XML that are directly
relevant to Unicode and vice versa.

5.) And finally The Programmer's View will discuss the various techniques
for dealing with Unicode characters and strings programmatically.

Attendee Technical Requirements: None.

RELAX NG: DTDs on Warp Drive
Monday 2.00pm - 5.30pm
Audience Type: Technical View
Prerequisites: Understanding of XML; basic understanding of XML
DTDs. Knowledge of XML Schema or SGML DTDs is helpful, but not required.

Instructor(s): John Cowan, Senior Internet Systems Developer, Reuters
Health Information, United States

In this tutorial you will learn how to use the RELAX NG schema language,
an alternative schema language for XML. RELAX NG allows easy and
intuitive descriptions of just what is and what is not allowed in an
XML document. It is simple enough to learn in a few hours, and rich
and flexible enough to support the design and validation of every kind
of document from the very simple to the very complex. Once RELAX NG's
concepts have crossed the blood-brain barrier, you will never be able
to take any other schema language seriously again.

RELAX NG is an evolution and generalization of XML DTDs, and it shares
the same basic paradigm. Based on experience with SGML and XML, RELAX NG
both adds and subtracts features from DTDs. XML DTDs can be automatically
converted into RELAX NG. Experts in designing SGML and XML DTDs will find
their skills transfer easily to designing RELAX NG. Design patterns that
are used in XML DTDs can be used in RELAX NG. Overall, RELAX NG is much
more mature (and it is possible to have a higher degree of confidence
in its design) than it would be if it were based on a completely new
and different paradigm.

A major goal of RELAX NG is that it be easy to learn and easy to
use. Schemas can be patterned after the structure of the documents
they describe, but need not be: definitions to be composed from other
definitions in a variety of ways. Attributes and elements are treated
uniformly as much as possible. RELAX NG supports pluggable simple datatype
libraries, from a trivial one that describes only strings and tokens
to the full XML Schema Part 2; new ones can be readily designed and
built as needed. RELAX NG provides full support for namespaces. RELAX
NG provides two interconvertible syntaxes, an XML one for processing,
and a compact non-XML one for human authoring.

RELAX NG is being standardized in OASIS by the RELAX NG Technical
Committee, and is a major component of ISO DSDL, the Document Schema
Definition Languages umbrella.  As a bonus, attendees will learn something
about XLink and something about XML Schema Part 2: Datatypes.

Attendee Technical Requirements: None.

John Cowan's XML 2002 Biography:

John Cowan is the senior Internet systems developer for Reuters Health,
a very small subsidiary of Reuters, a wire service and financial
news company. He was responsible for Reuters Health's current news
publication system, which distributes about 100 articles per day to about
200 wholesale news customers, mostly in XML. (Yes, so most of them want
HTML and get XHTML. Deal.)

John is a member or de-facto member of the W3C XML Core WG, the W3C XML
Linking WG, the OASIS RELAX NG TC, and the OASIS Geography and Language
Published Subjects TC, and the closed Unicore mailing list of the Unicode
Technical Committee. He also hangs out on far too many other technical
mailing lists, masquerading as the expert on A for the B mailing list
and the expert on B for the A mailing list. His friends say that he
knows at least something about almost everything; his enemies, that he
knows far too much about far too much.

John presented a tutorial on Unicode at XML 2001, and was co-chair of
the Schema Comparisons town hall meeting at the same conference. At that
time, many in the XML community had heard of him, but only about five
people had seen him. This anomaly is now rectified.

In his copious spare time, John constructed and maintains the Itsy Bitsy
Teeny Weeny Simple Hypertext DTD, a small subset of XHTML Basic suitable
for adding rich text to otherwise bald and unconvincing document types
(now available in RELAX NG, too). He is interested in languages --
natural, constructed, and computer -- and is the author of _The Complete
Lojban Language_, ISBN 0-9660283-0-9. His also the current maintainer
of FIGlet, the world's only Unicode rendering engine that uses ASCII
characters instead of pixels.

John Cowan       http://www.ccil.org/~cowan        <jcowan@reutershealth.com>
        You tollerday donsk?  N.  You tolkatiff scowegian?  Nn.
        You spigotty anglease?  Nnn.  You phonio saxo?  Nnnn.
                Clear all so!  `Tis a Jute.... (Finnegans Wake 16.5)


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