Portrait of Edd Dumbill, taken by Giles Turnbull

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What I make

a conference management web application

XTech Conference
a European web technology conference

XForms? OpenOffice? XTech!

Nice when we hit the zeitgeist. There's a lot of buzz from folks such as Sean McGrath about the XForms support in OpenOffice.org. "My", I hear you say to yourself, "if only there was a conference where I could learn about all this!"

Your wish, gentle reader, is granted. Come hear Sun's Daniel Vogelheim present on XForms in OpenOffice.org at XTech this May! We've a great complement of XForms presentations, including one on server-side XForms.

Programme angst

OK, commercial over, now for a slightly more sober behind-the-scenes story about XTech. As I've mentioned before, the standard of submissions has been so high I've had to turn away some really really good talks. Several of these have been from good friends of the conference. When your conference goes back over 20 years, as with XTech in its XML (and before that, SGML) guise, there's a very solid core community that builds up around it.

All this is by way of offering an apology to those people who have been rejected despite the excellence of their proposal. On the positive side, a friend told me about someone who has decided to come to XTech on the strength of their proposal being rejected -- they just had to see who could possibly be better!

Rejecting strong proposals makes me sad. There's another aspect that makes me annoyed. Every year there are one or two companies who link their commercial involvement with the conference to the involvement of their technical staff in presenting. Ever since I've chaired the conference, and for as long as Lauren has chaired our sister US conference, papers have been accepted on the merit of proposals, with judgement based primarily on peer review of abstracts. (There have been occasional exceptions where we invite people because we think the programme is lacking some essential topics.)

It sometimes feels awkward that I might be making things difficult for the conference organisers (the non-profit IDEAlliance), but I really must stress that there's a strict separation between the programme and exhibitors. That's why we have a vendor product presentation track and an exhibit area.

It's also interesting to note that since the tech slump, our series of conferences is practically the only XML conference to survive. The rest of them, that often had paid-for keynotes and sessions, have gone to the wall. I'd like to think that our dedication to providing a strong programme has meant we're still a conference where people think the money spent on attending is worth it.


Mono book co-author Niel Bornstein and I will be teaching a tutorial on Mono at this year's O'Reilly Open Source Convention.


Do not miss Miguel's tales from Beirut today. Typically, he headed right for the middle of the protests and made lots of new friends.

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