Don’t call me DOM

28 June 2006

WWW2006 trip report

Beyond my session, I took particular notice of the following sessions I attended:

  • I saw Dean, Art and Steven presenting in the W3C track session on Web Applications; it sounds like a lot of really exciting technologies are being cooked in this activity, grounding the bases to make the Web into a sensible user interface development system… Of course, it’s already very much so in many aspects, but with so much reliance on Javascript and non-declarative interfaces that this remains something mostly for companies with plenty of resources.
  • Ben Adida’s presentation on RDFa during the development track had a very nice demo with a set of bookmarklets, coded with what sounded like a rather nice RDFa Javascript library; I’m still not quite sure where RDFa is headed, but surely this demo hit a few very nice sweet spots
  • the panel on tagging versus Semantic Web was absolutely great; it was admirably chaired, very lively, and made a few excellent points on the usage patterns of tagging, the merits and limitations of statistical approaches; I’m sorry now I didn’t take more detailed notes during the panel.
  • I saw Tim demonstrating his tabulator tool, more or less a Javascript-based RDF browser; it certainly did give this warm feeling that the Semantic Web is making very big progress, underlining the importance of SPARQL in the technologies stack; it was quite nice to see also that a big chunk of the data demonstrated actually came from projects I had been involved with, some of which based on GRDDL.
  • I was also fairly impressed by the demonstration of PhotoStuff, a photo annotation tool that can be used in combination with any relevant ontology; I wish these ideas were actually integrated into existing open source tools (e.g. f-spot?), but meanwhile, the demo was also a pretty good illustration of why having an integrated stack of technology matters
  • I attended Richard’s tutorial on internationalization and localisation; captivating stuff! among other things, this was also a good occasion to learn about the new languages tag system that I hadn’t heard about before
  • finally, the session on advanced layout in CSS3 (which unfortunately I could only partially attend) made me wish for it to be implemented today rather than tomorrow; CSS is both amazingly great in theory, and so very often painful in practice (mostly due to browser bugs, but also due to the absence of a good layout system). The proposed new CSS properties would make so many Web designers’s life so much simpler that it should be required by law to be implemented in browsers once it is finalized! I left the session during Andy Clark’s presentation during which he smacked pretty hard on the Web 2.0 sites where semantics and accessibility tend to be afterthought considerations… Generally speaking, it sounded like the WWW Conference crowd was cautious, sometimes dismissive of the Web 2.0 trend.

Overall, I was really happy I attended the conference this year, and am hoping WWW2007 will be as good or better.

Picture of Dominique Hazael-MassieuxDominique Hazaël-Massieux ( is part of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Staff; his interests cover a number of Web technologies, as well as the usage of open source software in a distributed work environment.