Portrait of Edd Dumbill, taken by Giles Turnbull

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a conference management web application

XTech Conference
a European web technology conference

Are web services and e-business interesting?

A couple of people have commented to me on the lack of explicit reference to web services or e-business technologies in the XTech call for participation. It's worth explaining why this is so.

On web services: I consider the low-level specs here (SOAP, REST, WSDL) now to fall under "core technologies" track, and the higher level stuff (WS-*) to be often vacuous spec-mongering.

Also, over the years, the quality of web service proposals submitted to the conference has been notably poor compared to all the other topics. A lot of this was to do with the hype web services received. On e-business, some useful submissions have been forthcoming, but never more than a few. My suspicion is that the OASIS stream of events is more interesting for most people in this space--I'd love to hear otherwise.

I do view e-business presentations as on-topic, but I would like to find those that genuinely present something worthwhile. While many people often say they'd like to see more case studies, turnout for these is always low at the conference itself, so I've shied away from them somewhat. The thing with case studies is that they're necessarily related to a domain, and it's easy to for attendees to assume there's not transferable experience to be heard.

I guess I don't believe either that all the problems in the e-business space are unique to that area. Identity, federated service location, transactions are all topics that deserve a broad audience. However, I acknowledge that I do not work daily in the e-business sphere and I would dearly love to hear somebody who does do a presentation on why there's really some solid things going on there now.

Exchange of best practices is more necessary than ever. More reason not to hive off e-business from the other matters in the conference. For a similar reason I've mixed semantic web topics throughout the tracks as well.

If anyone working in e-business didn't get useful knowledge out of XTech, I'd be astounded. Likewise, those working in e-business have plenty useful to say to the rest of the conference.

  • only 4 days left to submit a proposal for XTech 2006 (Amsterdam, May 16-19) -- do it now
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