Hixie's Natural Log

2005-05-28 11:58 UTC Spring 2005 Travelog: Part 2 (XTech Talk)

On Thursday I gave my talk on what we're up to in the WHAT working group. I think it went reasonably well, considering my presentation on "HTML5" was literally five minutes after Steven Pemberton's talk on XHTML2. ("HTML5" is the name we've been using as the catch-all term for our various proposals.)

Our talks had very different styles of slides: Steven's slides, my slides. I spent ages drawing the pictures for mine. I hope people liked them. I'm not exactly an artist, at least not in the graphical art sense.

Incidentally, the only publicly available browser builds that can render the slides in their intended form right now are very recent nightly trunk builds of Firefox. I found bugs in Firefox, Safari, Opera, the WHATWG specs, and even Cairo while writing these slides. The WHATWG spec bugs are now fixed, as are the Firefox bugs that would stop you from seeing the slides (at least, on the trunk, and for Linux nightly builds — other platforms still have blocker bugs, like the funky anti-aliasing problems on the Windows canvas).

Having said that, I actually used both Firefox and Opera to give my presentation (our internal post-Opera 8 builds have some key bug fixes). I switched half-way without anyone noticing! Switching browsers during a presentation is usually very dangerous, you never know what might go wrong, but this time it went really smoothly, you would only have noticed a very slight shift in the font rendering if you were looking for it.

Someone took a photo during my presentation.

At the end of my talk I asked for suggestions for the spec. I got two: a 3D canvas (we're already working on that), and an <irony> element. The latter will probably be added to the spec shortly (although it seems doubtful that it would survive all the way to last call). I also got a lot of technical and process questions.

After the session there was lots of talk about the future of the Web and XHTML2 and RDF and HTML5 and so on and so forth.

The week has been a lot of fun from a standpoint of meeting people, too. I spoke with non-W3C members who have been contributing to www-html, www-style, and whatwg for months or years (like Grauw and Anne), as well as Mozilla contributors from around the globe that I'd never met before (like mvl, roc, sicking, Pike, dria, and others who will no doubt be offended that I have momentarily forgotten their presence), all of whom I'd never met before. I also spoke to a number of people from around the industry about their needs and wants for the Web, and to W3C members that I hadn't spoken to since the last plenary. I have to be honest, I arrived at XTech reasonably skeptical that there would be anyone of interest there, but I have been pleasantly proved wrong.

Naturally I won't recognise any of these people if I see them out of context, and probably even in context if they don't have a name tag. I'm really really bad at recognising people, it's sad. I must say, though: it's always amusing to find that the young dynamic guy you thought had a lot of fresh exciting ideas is actually a middle-aged woman with lots of experience in the industry, and who has a lot of fresh exciting ideas.

Speaking of women, Chase said he was considering moving to Europe after seeing how many cute girls there are here. I think he's probably just getting a skewed impression because we're just starting into the summer season so everyone is scantily clad, to be honest. And while we're on the subject of scantily clad women, I was quite surprised to find out that the term "red light district" is not metaphoric but quite literal. Prostitutes in Oslo don't sit around in bikinis under red and UV lights, they just stand around on the corner of their street. In Amsterdam, they are all at windows lit up in red waiting for their customers.

I wasn't really very impressed by the red light district. I thought it would be a lot more erotic — in fact, it felt much like walking down the market I'd visited a few days earlier, except at night and by a canal. Maybe we should have seen one of the live shows instead of just walking around the area!

In the morning of my talk, while on the tram towards the conference centre, I saw a horse-drawn carriage of Heineken beer trot past. I presume it was some sort of temporary rift in the time-space continuum. Seems more likely than the alternative explanation, namely that they still deliver beer using horse drawn carriages and wooden barrels, rather than having supertankers or underground pressurised pipe networks.

Overall, though, the insects and intense humidity of Amsterdam make me glad I don't live here. I was probably bitten by mosquitoes more often in the last five days than in the previous five years.