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RE: [xml-dev] XML Conferences in 2009?

> Actually, from the east coast of the US (where I am) it is 
> often just as expensive to get to California as to Europe. 
> Asia is expensive from here, but Prague might be doable. And 
> Montreal. 
> So, what is the character of these two XML conferences? Is 
> one more academic? One more practical? Friendly? More likely 
> to discuss new ideas? What XML conferences do you go to, and why? 

I'm going to both of these, and looking forward to both. 

I haven't been to XML Prague for a few years. It's evolved to have more
refereed papers, but the programme indicates that it has retained its main
characteristics: an excellent line-up of experienced speakers, mostly
industrial rather than academic, presenting information about technology
trends and practical techniques rather than obscure research topics; little
risk of anything descending into a marketing pitch. When I went last the
atmosphere was exceptionally friendly (as one would expect of a weekend in

I've been to Balisage far less often than I would like because of its August
timing, but I'm going back this year and chairing the pre-conference
symposium on "efficient XML processing" which I hope will be a useful
meeting place of people who are trying to extend the boundaries in terms of
high-performance XML applications. I think the biggest strength of Balisage,
from a personal perspective, is that it brings together three groups of
people - academic researchers, product developers, and users - in such a way
that each group can learn from the other two. It's always a challenge to mix
these communities, because academics get more brownie points by speaking at
conferences that select their programme on purely academic criteria, and
no-one other than an academic wants to go to that kind of conference. But
Balisage manages to pull it off, and everyone benefits (some of the
academics grumble that they could get more of their precious brownie points
by going elsewhere, but the ones worth listening to come anyway, because
they like the opportunity to talk to developers and users.)

Whereas XML Prague, I think, will help you keep up to date with the latest
mainstream technology and good practice, Balisage might offer more
surprises: it encourages speakers who think out of the box, who challenge
the accepted wisdom and stretch the limits of what can be achieved. 

Michael Kay

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