Documents for Every One – Simple, Obvious, Designed for Humans
Documents for every one seems to be theme of this conference. Jon Udell said it yesterday and Adam said it again today. Jean Paoli provided probably the most compelling evidence of this theme in his presentation towards the end of the day.
“We need to make things simpler”, says Adam maintaining that XML and web services are becoming too complex. “Why does it have to be this hard” he repeatedly asked the audience. His plea for simplicity resonates so well with Jon’s theme yesterday. “Because there is no information model, every one is building their own”, he said. Like Jon’s talk , it is one of those sessions that makes you reflect deeply. Adam blogs and I hope he will continue this theme in his writings.
There were many other intersting sessions. One I particularly liked, was from Joshua Fox from Unicorn titled Know what your schemas mean. He pointed out the problem of multiple overlapping vocabularies and proposed a solution based on “Semantic Information Management”. There was another talk about “Combining Multiple Vocabularies without tears”.
For me, personally, the highlight of the day was James Clark’s talk on Incremental XML Parsing and Validation in a Text Editor. He is a legend. I went to the talk to listen to him about how he implemented an incremental XML parser in emacs. I am not an emacs guy but I am interested in incremental parsing. I think this is just the tip of the ice berg. Many of his ideas can be embedded in document editors.
Jean Paoli’s talk Real Applications of XML on the Desktop: A New Era for XML in the Mass Market was not technical but very useful. He talked about how there is a bottom up movement towards the adoption of XML for every day tasks. He described different cases of XML use with Office 2003 in simple day to day apps. This of course, is Microsoft at its best. They take something as powerful as XML and hide it behind an application as simple as Word or Excel. What makes it so interesting is that most of the apps were built in weeks.
I am looking forward to Dave Thomas’ key note on Open Augment. It is a very complementary to our own effort on HyperScope at the Bootstrap Alliance.