Balisage 2011

[11 August 2011]

Last week, Balisage 2011 took place in Montréal.

As one of the organizers, I should not brag overmuch about the conference, but I can’t resist saying that on the whole it seemed to go fairly well this week. (But hey, you don’t have to take my word for it. Cornelia Davis of EMC, who gave a well received talk about Programming Application Logic for RESTful Services Using XML Technologies has written a blog post describing her experiences at Balisage 2011. Read it!)

Allen Renear (with collaborators) and Walter Perry gave thoughtful and thought-provoking papers on the nature of identity and the role of identifiers (rather dense, and probably not to everyone’s taste — I suspect some found them less thought-provoking than just provoking). There were case-study reports on ebook deployments, the markup of supplementary material in electronic journals (huge issue for the maintainers of the scholarly record in science), and the revival in XML of an old SGML project whose server died. Michael Kay and O’Neil Delpratt talked about their work measuring the performance benefits of byte-code generation in Saxon. Eric van der Vlist described a small Javascript library he has written for the support of multi-ended hyperlinks. Eric Freese reported on the state of EPUB3. Michael Kay gave an impromptu evening session on SaxonCE (XSLT 2.0 in the browser, now out for alpha testing). Jean-Yves Vion-Dury talked about a method of encrypting XML documents in such a way that a service provider can store them and perform certain operations on them (like running a restricted class of XSLT stylesheets or XQueries over them) without decrypting them, by the ingenious technique of encrypting appropriate parts (that’s the tricky bit, what exactly are the appropriate parts?) of the stylesheet or query. And there was much, much more.

Balisage 2012 will be in Montréal in August 2012. As Patrick Durusau put it:

If you see either < or > at work or anyone talks about them, you need to be at Balisage ….

Mark your calendars.