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And before you get too exercised, please read the post, date 9 Feb 2006, titled "All Tools Suck".

Friday, March 24, 2006

Old Home Week at DITA 2006 and Eve's Blog

I've added a link to Eve Maler's blog to the list of blogs of people who's opinion I respect as I just discovered her blog. I've worked with Eve since my very early days doing SGML stuff back when I was at IBM and Eve was at Digital Equipment. She impressed me in a number of ways from the first moment we met and she continues to impress. I'm eager to see what she has to say about stuff. I also observe that she has a band (Mudcats, at least that's their name as of 8 March). I also have a band (Toothache Ballerinas), although we have yet to actually perform in public. So now I'm even more impressed.

I discovered Eve's blog through the blog of Scott Hudson. I discovered Scott's blog because when I did a vanity google of "eliot kimber utilikilt" Scott's entry of September 13, 2004 was in the first results. Turns out I inspired Scott to get a Utilikilt when I wore one while presenting at Extreme Markup (in 2004? I lose track). Turns out Scott is also an XML practitioner and generally interesting guy. I got to hang out with Scott last night where we drove together, along with DocBook master Bob Stayton, to the dinner that the XMetal team from Blast Radius hosted for the DITA TC (Thanks Jeff).

DITA 2006 is the first XML-related conference (or conference of any kind) that I've attended in a couple of years and I'd forgotten how much fun it is to hobnob with brother (and sister) wizards for a few days. You get to have intense and uber-geeking conversations about technical stuff, something I don't get to do much these days, and of course catch up on people's families, jobs, life experiences and whatnot.

DITA 2006 is being held in the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina, where I worked for IBM for 10 years. I was surprised and pleased to see some of my IBM collegues from those times. The startling thing to me was that, in appearance, they had not changed at all. The didn't even seem to have aged. It was almost like I'd never been gone and we were sitting down for lunch in the cafeteria just like we did back then.

This DITA conference reminds me of the early SGML conferences where you had a small number of really enthusiastic people who were all excited about new technology and new possibilities. For the last few years the XML conferences have been by contrast quite dull, with little excitement and few truly new things. XML will be 10 years old in February of next year, although I really date it to December of 1996, which is when we announced its existence to the world at SGML '96. So it's pretty well settled down into being the almost invisible, boring infrastructure it is. Which is good, but it makes the conferences more like plumbing supplier conventions then the geek fests they used to be.

So it's fun to be here and get to breath some of that heady air again.

Oh, and check out DocZone.com. They're providing a "hosted XML content management solution", built on top of XHive's Docato product and also integrating a translation support tool (with which I'm not familiar at all). Two of the North American members of DocZone are former collegues of mine from Innodata Isogen and I'm pretty sure that what they're selling is legit. I haven't worked personally with Docato or XHive, but a number of my colleagues have and from their reports it sounds like it doesn't suck too bad, so that bodes well for DocZone. DocZone also claims to provide DITA support out of the box, although I don't really know what that means. But I think this product bears following. The company is very new but XHive and Docato are reasonably mature for XML-aware content management tools.

Dr. Macro says check it out.

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6 Comments:

Blogger John Cowan said...

Dr. Macro should absolutely start coming to Extreme Markup. Geek excitement + old home week. And what's better than Montreal in August?

6:57 AM  
Blogger Eliot Kimber said...

I think I'll try to make it this year, if I can, although it may be too late for me to do a paper. Maybe I can convince Marketing to just send me...

7:48 AM  
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9:04 PM  

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