Sunday, May 21, 2006

XTech, Day 3 and 4

Amsterdam - Leidseplein

Thursday and Friday were the last days at XTech 2006. I have to admit that I missed most of the Thursday morning talks in order to rehearse my own, so I don't have much to report except Mark's Building Rich, Encapsulated Widgets Using XBL, XForms and SVG which I mentioned earlier. In the afternoon I attended Ryan King's The Intelligent Design of Microformats, Mark Birbek's RDFA: The Easy Way to Publish Your Metadata, and Dean Jackson's Standardising Web Applications: Rich Web Clients at W3C.

Then came my talk, XForms: an alternative to Ajax?, which I think had good success, with a decent number of questions and comments, as well as a few offline discussions afterwards. The talk / paper has been qualified online eye-opening and readable and very good (let us know if you find other references, positive or negative).

On Friday, I attended the talks on mobile web, including Opera's Michael Smith's Bringing Web 2.0 to Mobile Devices, Opera's Håkon Lie's Mobile Web Applications, and Nokia's Andrei Popescu's Mini Map - A web page visualization method for mobile phones. The idea of using standard web technologies to deliver applicatons to mobile devices is clearly an attractive one, and it is worth looking at W3C's Mobile Initiative and Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0 documents for inspiration.

I then went to see Amazon's Jeff Barr's talk on Amazon Web Services, which turned out to be a mistake since there was about 100% repeat with his closing keynote on the Amazon Mechanical Turk. The Amazon Mechanical Turk is clearly an amazing idea, but I knew about it already and did not learn that much during the closing keynote. I believe the potential of this service has yet to be unleashed and I think we are going to see some quite amazing uses of it in the coming years.

XTech closed with Brendan Eich's JavaScript 2 and the Future of the Web. Brendan did a great job describing the new features of JavaScript 2 as well as addressing common criticism towards that evolution. The reasoning goes as follows: the future of the web is going to be XBL and JavaScript, so we better make JavaScript darn good. The idea that XBL and JavaScript will allow implementing XForms and newer markup languages without upgrading browsers is very appealing, although it assumes that browsers will implement XBL and XBL 2: currently the only browser working on this is Firefox, and as always, Internet Explorer may be the thorn in the side of these brilliants efforts. Whatever the outcome, XBL appears to be an excellent solution to extend XForms, on the client or on the server.

All in all, this year's XTech conference was good, with such emerging themes as Ajax, declarative markup, XBL, and services, all topics relating directly to XForms and Web 2.0. The discussions around the mobile web were interesting as well. The conference was not perfect, in particular I wish the audience had been more varied. The next edition will be in Paris, and I am already looking forward to it!

No comments:

Post a Comment