Category Archives: XML Prague

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.

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.

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.

XML Prague 2016

My XML Prague paper for 2016 was accepted. The subject is Virtual Document Management. It’s based on a Balisage paper of mine, but it’s also the result of what I do, right now. I think it’s kind of cool.

I also joined the XML Prague programme committee, which means that I get to read papers. I’m glad to help out and being a committee member sounds a bit posh.

Quite a few friends and colleagues of mine are attending and, sometimes, contributing. It’s going to be an exciting conference and I am really looking forward to it.


As 2015 draws to a close, I’m thinking of 2016 and specifically these highlights:

  • The Hateful Eight in 70mm. I haven’t bothered booking Star Wars yet, but there’s no way I’m not going to see Tarantino’s 70mm epic the way it was meant to, in 70mm at the Imperial in Copenhagen. Yes, I know, the roadshow is coming to Stockholm, too, but the Danes still know how to run 70mm shows while the Swedes don’t. Sorry.
  • Göteborg Film Festival. Yes, I’m going to spend another 11 days in a dark projection booth, hitting Play at three-hour intervals.
  • XML Prague. I’ve submitted a paper, but I’m also peer-reviewing other people’s papers as I’m now part of the Program Committee. The conference is in February, starting on a Thursday (the 13th) rather than a Friday and ending on a Saturday rather than a Sunday, allowing you and your better half to enjoy Prague on Valentine’s Day. Get your festival passes now, folks.
  • Balisage is between August 1-5. I’m definitely going; a year without Balisage would just be too weird.

Mr Smith Goes to Washington

My paper submission to this year’s Balisage conference was accepted. It’s about an eXist implementation I did for the Swedish Federation of Farmers (LRF), and while I may not be completely objective, I think the system is very cool. From the conference blurb:

The Federation of Swedish Farmers (LRF) provides its 170,000 members with a web-based service to check compliance with state and EU farming regulations. These checklists are also produced nightly both as generic checklists with more than 130 pages and as individualised checklists for registered members. The system consists of an eXist database coupled with oXygen Author. The checklists and their related contents are edited, stored, and processed, published as PDFs, and exported to the SQL database which stores member registration, feeds the website, and does various other tasks. The system uses XQuery, XSLT, XInclude modularization, an extended XLink linkbase, and other markup technologies. It currently handles more than 40,000 PDF documents a year and many more than that in the web-based forms.

This is the second version of the LRF system. The first, presented at XML Prague in 2013, was XProc-based and represented my somewhat naive trust in the state of XProc in eXist, The new one I rewrote in XQuery, having tested (and failed miserably at using) the XProc module that is now available. XProc in eXist, sadly, is not yet ready for prime time.

Be as it may, I’m really pleased about both the system and my paper. and hope to see you there.

XML Prague 2015 Impressions

XML Prague 2015 is over and I’m now at the Prague airport, waiting to board a plane. The weather is beautiful–from where I am, it looks like spring–and I’m on a high after my XML holiday.

Some impressions, in no particular order:

  • Being a participant rather than a speaker was a good thing, this year. I’ve been able to relax and focus on listening to the presentations without having to worry about slides or demos.
  • The presentations, for the most part, were great. There were some that weren’t spot on for me, but things like JSON in an RDFa context (Alex Milowski’s talk) were far more interesting than I’d have thought. I still don’t like JSON but Alex’s talk was interesting, entertaining and actually very cool.
  • Hans Jurgen Rennau suggested in his talk node searches in XPath preceding actual node construction, an extremely useful idea presented in his usual well-thought and rational manner. I liked this one a lot, and it is a suitable continuation of his XQuery Topic Tools concept first presented at Balisage last year.
  • Michael Kay started and ended the conference. The first talk of the conference was about XSLT parallel processing and the last was an update on the XSD, XSLT, XPath and XQuery specs work at W3C. Michael’s presentations are always interesting and always well presented. It is fititng that he is the foremost veteran speaker of the conference, having presented at every XML Prague since it started.
  • Norm Walsh talked (almost as fast as Alex Milowski; no wonder he finds the time for the W3C work, XML Calabash, his day job and, presumably, some free time doing photography and such) about progress on XInclude 1.1 and the eagerly anticipated XProc 2.0. Very interesting.

I’ll probably write more later. Time to board a plane.