W3C 2.0

I’m here in Banff, Canada for the 2007 W3C AC (Advisory Council) meeting. The AC is essentially the company reps to the W3C. I played a small part in one of the panel discussions yesterday.

It was the last presentation of the 2-day conference, and the theme was Web2.0: what it is, and how the W3C is adapting to and enabling it. I gave an overview of what Web2.0ey things WAF and WebAPI WGs are doing. It went well… I made a short SVG slideshow with some geeky in-jokes, and it got some laughs. It may have been slightly overshadowed, however, by the conversation between 2 of the other panelists: Sir Tim Berners-Lee (the creator of the Web) and Tim O’Reilly (a prominent tech publisher who coined the term Web2.0). Tough act to follow.

The conference was a lot of fun, as usual, and I got to meet and talk with a lot of technical luminaries, including Dave Raggett, who’s generously letting Chaals and I crash in his hotel room.

SD West

I’ve been out here in Santa Clara, CA, the last couple of days at SD West, a developer conference. There have been a few good classes (I finally met the hyperproductive Elliotte Rusty Harold for the first time), and a couple of great events. David Platt gave a hilarious and insightful talk based on his book, Why Software Sucks, and Google dominated at the geek-themed quiz show, Developer Bowl. 6th Sense was a finalist for the Jolt Awards, which were announced here last night, and I stood in for our marketing guy, since I was going to be here anyway. We didn’t take away the grand prize for our category, but we were one of the runners-up; we got a nice little plexiglass plaque.

I’ll be holding my own class on SVG tomorrow afternoon. I don’t know how well attended it will be… the last day of conferences tends to have a lot of attrition. But it will be fun anyway, and I always enjoy evangelizing SVG. I whipped up a little presentation app in SVG… it uses the powerpoint idiom, but slides around a large canvas between text and interactive examples. I’ve been using SVG slides for a while, but this is a little more interesting… well, interesting to make, I hope it’s interesting to watch. The class will center on workflow using SVG, and I’ll dig into code here and there (this is for developers, after all).

Update:  I’ve put my SVG slideshow up here.


Though it’s Friday back home, it’s Saturday here in Sydney, and it’s been a a long week of meetings. Or meeting, I should say… the first SVG WG F2F of 2007, and my reunion of sorts. I first joined the SVG WG last January, and my first meeting was in Sydney. The winter (read: summer) Sydney meeting, hosted by Canon, has become a tradition. I sure can’t complain. As usual for a face-to-face, we’ve been sequestered in a hotel room all day, though with a beautiful view of Manly Beach right out the sliding doors. At night, we go out for dinner, then back to work, and to sleep. Read on for a day-to-day account of my trip thus far…

Continue reading “Time-Travelogue”

Boston in Winter

I’m here in Boston at a WebAPI Working Group meeting, along with several other WGs. I arrived yesterday afternoon, and headed toward my hotel on the rattletrap subway (part of the “T”… the nation’s oldest mass transportation system, and looks every day of it). The closest stop was across the river from the hotel, so I walked the Boston University Bridge across the Charles River… the river was frozen over, and geese were gathered on the ice. I was pleasantly surprised that it has not been that cold, though when the wind blows it is numbing.

We’re gathered at MIT, in the Stata Center, a misbegotten piece of architecture that looks like it’s a Transformer caught midway between building and airplane forms. I’d hoped to attend the WAF meeting here as well, earlier in the week, but there was just too much to do at work. As it was, I wasn’t quite done with my project (adding annotation functionality to some pregenerated charts), and the short plane rides just weren’t enough time to finish it (I stayed up late last night to dot the i’s and turn it in). I just barely got to my hotel before it was time for me to rush to MIT for the reception. I find that these joint gatherings are really useful… you get to network with others in the W3C, find out what else is going on outside your own corner of the Web, and find opportunities for collaborative efforts that bind the standards world together. Several old friends and acquaintances are here, including Chaals, Anne, and Kjetil from Opera (first time I met Kjetil IRL), Nandini from Sun (the co-chair of the SVG WG), Arun from AOL, and Jim from just about everywhere… as well as lots of other smart people I don’t know quite as well. I also exchanged a few words with Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the energetic creator of the World Wide Web, who I’d met once before in Mandelieu, France.

WebAPI is concerned with the programming interfaces (events and methods) that script programmers use in Web development, while WAF is sort of a grab-bag of different higher-level programming languages and formats. In WebAPI, we reviewed the current state of our specification deliverables, and took steps to move a couple of them forward. One of those steps was a silly debate about what the names for some methods would be (some favored shorter names that are easier to type, while I was in the camp that preferred more descriptive albeit longer names… the decision came down on the latter, but I suspect the debate isn’t over). Another spec was waiting on a module to handle keyboard events –an issue with a lot of gotchas and thorny legacy problems, the different kinds of keyboards ranging from non-English keyboards to mobile phone soft keys– and I reluctantly volunteered to split that module off into its own spec, so we could move DOM3 Events forward. I don’t relish working on this spec, since it will involve aligning with a dilapidated patchwork of old interfaces that I personally feel should be discarded in favor of moving forward with a more sensible solution, but legacy content does need to be supported when possible. We also held liaisons with other groups, including SVG, which handed off some bits of its spec in order to concentrate on graphics, and which needs those bits to move forward apace. I was pleased to see Microsoft in attendance in the person of Travis, our newest WG member, and to have the participation of the likes of Marcos (hyperproductive WAF member).

I’ll be here the next couple of days, and hope to see some local friends while I’m here.

Jiggy With SVG, Eh?

We really had a productive face-to-face meeting of the SVG WG last week. Converging on Raleigh were Chris Lilley of W3C (Scottish, but living in France), Andreas Neumann of ETH (Switzerland), Andrew Shellshear of Canon (Australia), Andrew Emmons of BitFlash (Canada), and Erik Dahlstrom or Opera (Sweden), and Antoine Quint of The (mysterious) Venice Project (France). We locked ourselves in a room and finished up the revised test suite, broke the ground on the errata document.

At one point, our Canadian colleague stated, quite straight-faced, that he was (and I quote) “jiggy with” a resolution on a particular technical point. My jaw dropped. I didn’t know anyone was jiggy with anything anymore… but he went on to claim that it’s a common thing for Canadians to say. Just when you think you know a country, they drop a bombshell like that…

Read on for a brief summary of the proceedings…

Continue reading “Jiggy With SVG, Eh?”

Get An Ointment For That

All this week, 6th Sense Analytics (my employer) is hosting the SVG Working Group’s F2F (face-to-face meeting). Normally, the SVG WG conducts its business via email or twice-weekly “telcons” (voice conferences enhanced by concurrent group chat sessions in IRC). But there’s nothing like sitting around a table, locked in a room together, to get resolutions on issues. Thus, the quarterly F2Fs.

So, a contingent of the SVG WG is gathered here in Raleigh (well, Morrisville), NC. We’ve been hard at work knocking out the long-overdue SVG 1.1 Test Suite (more later), liaisons with other standards groups, and other matters.

For dinner the first night, we went to a pub in Raleigh called Hibernian. Our chair, Chris Lilley, entered us into the pub quiz under the obscure (dare I say geeky?) moniker “SVG++”. When the announcer was introducing the teams by names (most of which involved being drunk), he exclaimed, “SVG-plus-plus…? What is that, a disease? Get an ointment for that!”

If you’re really interested in the gruelling details of the F2F, read on…
Continue reading “Get An Ointment For That”

We’re Off on the Road to Morocco…

My sweetie and I are heading to Morocco! I have a W3C WebAPI Working Group F2F (face-to-face meeting) in Rabat, Morocco, and then an SVG WG F2F in Prague. How often am I going to get a chance to go to Morocco? So we decided to bookend some vacation on either side of it. We leave tomorrow (with layovers in NYC and London), and will spend some time in Casablanca, then travel to Marrakesh, then Fez, then on to Rabat. I believe that this is the first W3C meeting held on African soil.

We’ll be travelling for almost 3 weeks, returning October 2. Luckily, a good friend has volunteered to mind our house, feed the fish, and water the flowers in case it gets too dry.

I’m pretty excited. I’ve never been to either place (though I was once in Bratislava, pretty close to Prague). Also, this marks Continent #5 for me: I went to Japan in the Fall of 2004, and we travelled around Australia earlier this year. I’ve been to Europe a few times now, as has my girlfriend (though she’s not yet been to Asia, so it’s only Continent #4 for her). Now I only have to get down to South America and Antarctica, and I’ll have visited every continent on Earth! This is a silly little goal of mine. I’d also like to visit sub-Saharan Africa (aka “Real Africa”) and India, my favorite sub-continent. But that’s all far in the future… tomorrow, we fly to Morocco!

We certainly do get around! (Like a Webster’s dictionary, we’re Morocco-bound).