Sneak peek at XML 2007

With XML 2006 barely over, we’re already deep into planning XML 2007. Here’s your first peek at what we have planned.

Time and place

XML 2007 is confirmed for Monday 3 December to Wednesday 5 December 2007. We’ll be meeting in Boston again, but at a different hotel, the Boston Marriott Copley Place (located at the opposite end of the Prudential Centre from the 2006 hotel).

A lot of people asked about moving the conference to early November. I think that’s an excellent idea, but unfortunately, we have to book the hotel over a year in advance, so we cannot make that change until 2008.

Program

There will be a few significant program changes for 2007. First, there will be no tutorial day before XML 2007 begins. Attendance for the tutorial day has been declining for several years, and with the obvious lack of interest from our attendees, it no longer makes sense for IDEAlliance to offer it. However, we will try to incorporate more beginner-level and tutorial-style presentations into the main program.

The vendor pecha-kucha went very well in 2006, but for 2007, we’re considering replacing it with a standards pecha-kucha, either in the evening or during one of the days. Each standards committee will have 20 slides (at 20 seconds each) to give us a quick update on what they’ve been doing over 2007 and what to expect in 2008 — that will make it possible for attendees to learn a bit about a lot of standards in a relatively short time.

The publishing and web tracks at XML 2006 were extremely well attended (often overflowing out of the space), and the enterprise track put up a more modest but still respectable showing. However, with only a couple of exceptions, the hands-on track did not attract the same number of people, and we’ve decided to discontinue it in 2007. While we haven’t made a final decision, we may replace it with a vendor track. I personally don’t object to a vendor track as long as it’s well labeled — slipping vendor presentations into the main program is analogous to letting advertisers buy search-engine placement, while having a separate vendor track is more analogous to Google text ads, since it’s clearly distinct. In any case, it turns out that there are lots of people who do want to hear product-specific information and even sales pitches.

We will end the formal program on Wednesday 5 December with a closing keynote around noon. The afternoon will be available for user-organized activities, such as BOFs, committee meetings, or even pub crawls and karaoke — we’ll provide an online forum to help you organize these activities well in advance, and we’ll publicize them on the conference web site. In the past, these activities have been confined to evenings, when people are already tired; moving them to the afternoon should make it possible for more people to participate.

Speakers

XML 2007 will not have a late-breaking call for papers; instead, we’ll open the regular call for papers early (probably at XTech 2007 in Paris), and will keep it open to the end of August or even into September. As with XML 2006, I’m hoping for a mix of veteran and rookie speakers at the conference — I especially like it when we can bring people in from other fields.

Also, by popular request, we’re looking at providing individual evaluation forms for each speaker, so that attendees can help us identify the best and most entertaining among you. We’ll also go back to asking for proceedings before the conference, since that was overwhelmingly what people want; however, we will continue to accept papers in PDF or XHTML format so that speakers do not have to try to set up their own XML mini-publishing systems.

Comments?

I was very happy with how XML 2006 turned out, and I’m looking forward to an even better conference in 2007. Please let me know what you think about these changes — and if you have any new suggestions — by leaving a comment here.

About David Megginson

Scholar, tech guy, Canuck, open-source/data/information zealot, urban pedestrian, language geek, tea drinker, pater familias, red tory, amateur musician, private pilot.
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3 Responses to Sneak peek at XML 2007

  1. John Cowan says:

    The standards pechakucha is a great idea, but please schedule it during the day. Exiling vendors and BOFs to the evening is fine, but standards groups should have a little more respect, ya get what I mean?

    I’d say just stick with three tracks.

  2. Not a fan of vendor tracks. Or…just do a single day with a vendor track. Also…the vendors should pay out the nose for the privilege of presenting in the vendor track. (Generally, I’ve seen these done as “slots for sale” rather than by looking through reviewed proposals. Pretty simple to make a slot in the vendor track a component of “platinum sponsorship” or whatever you want to call it.)

    Perhaps you could divide up the “extra” track among standards (day 1), vendors (day 2), and…um…something.

    Regarding the hands-on track — I would suggest allowing for hands-on sessions in the regular tracks. If a presenter proposes a session with hands-on activities, put it in the correct thematic track (for example, publishing), but label it as hands-on in addition to publishing. There were a LOT of people with laptops at the 2006 conference.

    One other item to note…I run a small consulting business, and we looked at participating in the trade show, but it was completely out of reach for us, given the number of attendees and the cost of trade show space. I suspect that others (like Crane Softwrights, Mulberry Technologies, and so on) would also be interested in the trade show if it were remotely affordable. Perhaps a service providers trade show component?

  3. david says:

    Thank you both for the comments.

    John: I’m reluctant to cut out more space for presentations, but I see your point. Note, however, that we did have a tradition of scheduling standards town halls in the evening in the past. Also, standards committees are a lot more fun after a good dinner and half a bottle of wine.

    Sarah: I don’t enjoy vendor tracks either, but I’m also the kind of person who used to boo commercials before movies. I don’t think we’re typical, because any session that mentions a major vendor’s name tends to be packed, and we had heavy turnout for both of our early-morning vendor breakfast openers last month.

    We do plan to work hands-on-style presentations into the other three tracks as you suggest, especially since we’ve discarded the tutorial day. As for the exhibit hall, IDEAlliance told me that they’ve tried small-business tables in the past but that there wasn’t a lot of interest — for a lot of single-person or very small shops, just paying conference registration, airfare, and hotel is enough of an expense It might be a good idea to try again, though, since the conference and its attendees are always changing. I’ll bring it up with them.

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