XML 2007 Conference report

I’ve just attended the XML 2007 conference in Boston [held in the winter to filter out all but the most determined attendees]. It is actually a much older conference then I’d imagined having been in existence in various guises since the late 80’s and today was attended by a modest 300 people. I think this decline in numbers is indicative of the established position that XML as a technology as become. The use of XML as a document representation language and also as a data format was mirrored in the central strands of the sessions. Topics in the XML and the Web strand (the one I paid most attention to) concentrated around current trends such as Microformats, Mashups, REST, Office Open XML, JSON and AJAX. Although many of these subjects are relatively new, the maturity of the underlying XML infrastructure upon which they rely facilitate speedier adoption and development.

My main attention was on XFORMS – the technology I have been using in the EELS project. We had an entire evening of XFORMS talks (much coffee and festive eggnog was consumed in preparation) and amongst the vast majority of ‘introduction to xforms’-type presentations were some tips on how XFORMS is ideally suited to work with RESTful services, harnessing the power of XML databases for form storage and the position that XFORMS sits within the emerging standards based web development world. Rather then going into further details, I advise interested parties to read the session moderator, John Boyer’s, blog entry.

Overall the quality of the presentations at XML’07 was very good, and most confirmed existing assumptions about current directions that the aforementioned above technologies were taking. I was particularly impressed to see representatives from US government departments attending the conference. We were shown a flavor of the direction Microsoft is heading in for supporting the development of the next generation of web applications (Silverlight & LINQ), and Sidewinder; a container framework for bringing standards-based web apps (inc. XFORMS) to a user’s desktop outside of the traditional web browser.

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