Thursday, March 03, 2005

W3C Tech Plenary 2005

I attended the 2005 W3C Technical Plenary in Boston. The plenary consisted of working group meetings Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday and a common day on Wednesday. The common day was an overview of new work by all projects within the W3C. Some of the interesting (to me) ones were:

XML 1.1 has engendered some controversy. The talk "Where XML is Going, and Where it Should (or Shouldn't) Go" addressed this topic. The most memorable comment was in relation to changes which allow full internationalization in XML 1.1. To paraphrase: "Sure XML 1.1 is backward compatible, but it allows everyone around the world to play. We have an obligation to support the entire world since we are the World Wide Web Consortium." Good thoughts. I fear for the migration issues, though.

Shawn Lawton Henry (W3C; WAI Education and Outreach Working Group) presented a cool usability study undertaken on the Accessibility Guidelines content on the Web entitled "Lost in W3C Web Space". They did a lot of work to make the usually dense W3C specification content much more accessible, even to those users not somehow handicaped. Check out the new site.

The end of day brought some "Lightning Talks" - quick summaries of new work. These were some of the most interesting:

"Topic Maps and the Semantic Web", Steve Pepper (Ontopia; Convenor SC34/WG3, Semantic Web Best Practices Working Group). Steve brought us up to date on the progress mapping RDF and XML Topic Maps. (slides)

"Project SIMILE: Helping build the Semantic Web", Ryan Lee and Stefano Mazzocchi (MIT). The Piggy-Bank plug-in for the Firefox browser is very nice and worth checking out if you are still wondering why the Semantic Web is cool. You can find the plug-in on the project page.

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