Magpie Engineer

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Balisage pre-conference symposium 2016: XML in, Web Out

For many years, every August I ruefully wondered if I would ever get a chance to attend Balisage, the premiere Markup conference, a required pilgrimage for any self respecting XML devotee.

However, living in Prague, it is far away and always coincided with summer holidays or birthday celebrations. So I had to be content with reading the excellent proceedings and grabbing snatches of conversation overheard from those fortunate enough to have attended.

Well this year a stroke of unexpected luck!

I’ve been asked to chair the Balisage 2016 preconference which I was honored to accept if not a little frightened for taking on the responsibility of ensuring the pre conference continues down the pedigreed path of previous efforts.

So with summer holidays replanned and a trip to Washington booked I finally get the chance to attend a thought provoking conference about much more then Markup.

XML in, Web out

Working for MarkLogic I get to see, at scale, what works in the real world. The hyper successful projects, which innovate and incite radical positive change, are commonly those that embrace heterogeneous data formats which cut across the lay lines promulgated by Conways law. Many of these projects use the XML stack as a central component to their most critical applications and its inspiring to see how well the XML stack compliments older and newer technology stacks (a case of 'The whole is greater than the sum of its parts').

The XML in; Web out preconference will be a forum and showcase for how the XML Technology stack provides a natural 'backbone' for building Great Web Applications.

Call For Participation - Is it worth it ?

So the call goes out to practioners who are building web applications with the XML stack - we want your submissions.

'The work is its own reward'

The preceding statement comes to mind when contributing to conferences and writing papers. Trying to fit in writing a paper in the jumble of Life, Work and Existence is a challenge.

The challenge continues when a paper is reviewed by exacting peers with the possibility of having to make a presentation in front of an audience; which seems less of a reward and more like a recipe for a case of nerves and cold sweat. Then there is the impossible juggling of carving out time and energy to travel and spend a few days attending a conference, convincing spouses and cajoling bosses that its worth it.

So if I have not put you completely off submitting a paper, allow me to say some of the benefits.

'Spend half the time "doing" and half the time "learning"'

The above unattributed quote (not me) sums up my rationalisation attending conferences. Often I am doing/learning at the same time but I think you all understand what I mean.

Conferences are my time to learn and as our profession is singularly autodidatic it is imperative to weave self education into the routine.

Preparing for a conference is my way of regular 'saw sharpening' on topics that interest me. Attending a conference and listening to talks & meeting people is a way of learning about topics I did not have the sense enough to think of myself.

If you are interested in becoming a better practioner there are few better ways to achieve it then taking on the challenge of submitting a paper. It can be uncomfortable, trying, challenging and exciting but well worth it.

You’ve got plenty of time …​


  • 22 April 2016 — Paper submissions due

  • 21 May 2016 — Speakers notified

  • 8 July 2016 — Finals due

  • 1 August 2016 — XML In, Web Out: International Symposium on sub rosa XML

  • 2–5 August 2016 — Balisage: The Markup Conference


Submit full papers or substantial drafts in XML to

Even if you do not have a fully formed idea feel free to send through your thoughts or DM me @_james_fuller I would love to hear from you.

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