Category Archives: Markup UK

Markup UK and XML Prague 2022

If you’ve checked the web pages of either Markup UK or XML Prague, you’ll know that Markup UK is not happening this year but XML Prague is, in June. Next year, 2023, MUK will happen while XML Prague will not.

This came about because the XML Prague organisers realised that February is not going to be a great time to gather in person but really wanted to organise the conference later, if at all possible. June was their preferred option. However, since we at MUK were hoping to see everyone in London in May, they thought they’d better talk to us. Two conferences set one month apart was an option when XML was new and hot – maybe – but not today.

See, while we and XML Prague are both about meeting everyone, live, in person, talking, sharing ideas, sharing a pint, the nominal reason to gather is always to listen. We need papers. We need presenters. It’s a lot of work to get people to spend their free time to produce those papers, and hard enough when the conferences are a couple of months apart.

Try doing that when they are right next to each other.

So we decided that we shouldn’t. XML Prague is driving this year while we grab the wheel in 2023. I know I’m going to Prague in June, hopefully to listen AND to talk, and I hope you will, too.

More Than A Year, Actually

I seem to write these once every year or so.

Markup UK 2021 is over and I’m happy to report that it was a complete success. It was all virtual, of course – who does actual physical conferences these days – but it had the feeling of a physical conference. People were there, if you know what I mean. They were more than blips on a screen, they were actual people interacting and talking to each other.

Some of this is due to more clever software. We used Whova, which ties together the boring administrative stuff that you’d otherwise have to do manually using Zoom only, and it brings you all kinds of things that make a virtual conference feel a lot more like a physical one. For organisers, it’s great. Hopefully for attendees, too.

It cannot replace a physical conference, however. If anything I miss the physical ones more, because of the fairly close approximation of one that Whova brings. I’m not a social person but I miss being able to say hi and a few words on a chance encounter at the coffee table, and I miss the dinners after a full day of talks, and I miss addressing a roomful of people ready for the next talk.

I’m sure the presenters felt that way, too.

But the conference was a success, and right now I just wanted to write something about it. Hopefully I’ll feel like writing more within a year, this time.

Markup UK 2019 News

I’ve been busy finalising the Markup UK 2019 registration app and am pleased to announce that registration is now open – register at A special early-bird rate is available until the 1st of May.

Also open is the call for papers – please see for details. Please take note of the following important dates:

  • 8th April – call for papers ends
  • 24th April – feedback to authors
  • 26th May – full papers due
  • 7-9 June – Markup UK 2019 conference

XML Prague Is Over

This year’s XML Prague is over and I’m writing this at the Munich airport on my way back home. My brain is still hurting.

The conference was fabulous, as always. Among the highlights were Gerrit Imsieke’s awesome XSLT trickery for splitting XML, Steven Pemberton’s walk-through of his Invisible XML spec, and Michael Piotrowski’s nostalgic look back at SGML. But my personal favourite has to be Adam Retter’s introduction to his new Fusion DB XML (and NoSQL) database that I think just might prove to be a game-changer. He’s launching it in June at Markup UK in London – another great reason for everyone to join us there!

I also gave a paper at XML Prague, about merging two XML sources of the Swedish Code of Statutes, also known as SFS, a project I’ve been busy with for the last eight months or so. It’s been quite a ride, and if you’re interested, have a look at the XML Prague proceedings. There are lot of other good papers there, too.

Markup UK 2019

While XML Prague is gearing up – there’s just a few short weeks left now – we (me and my partners in crime in the Markup UK organising committee) are busy planning for this year’s Markup UK conference, to be held on 7–9 June at King’s College London. There’s going to be a preconference day with tutorials and meetups on the Friday before the main conference, and I think it’s going to be great.

Mark the dates in your calendar and start thinking about that exciting markup talk you know you want to give!

Markup UK 2018

Had my blog not been down because of Markup UK (see my previous post), I would have written about it. Well, it’s not down now.

Markup UK was great. It was fabulous. On short notice (we announced it in February, for chrissakes), we managed to lure enough speakers and participants to have a great conference. There were lots of interesting talks, both on the stage and otherwise, people had a great time, and so we’re going to do it again in 2019.

Watch this space (and

I’m Back!

Those of you who actually read what’s posted here may have noticed that this blog was offline from mid-April. There were several reasons to this, chief among them that I upgraded my server and things went downhill from there.

The upgrade happened because I needed to use my server for eXist-DB stuff for Markup UK and the older OS had problems running a more recent JVM. eXist-DB installed and ran just fine, but it broke WordPress, for some reasons.

Now you know.

XML Prague Week

As it turns out, XML Prague was rather eventful.

For me, the week began with a very productive two-day XProc workshop. I’m part of the W3C Community Group that is producing a 3.0 version of the XProc specification. I’m pleased to report that we made a lot of progress. There is going to be a candidate release of the spec (multiple specs, actually) in the spring, and alpha releases of two XProc implementations, XML Calabash and Morgana XProc in June, coinciding with an XML conference in London in June.

Which brings me to the next item: There won’t be an XML London this year (Charles Foster decided not to organise one), but instead, we announced Markup UK during XML Prague, to be held on June 9-10. I am organising the conference together with Geert Bormans, Tom Hillman, and Andrew Sales. Details will follow ASAP. Watch this space (and the conference website, obviously).

As for XML Prague itself, it was as great as always. Great talks, great people, great food, great beer.