In co-operation with Dave Orchard of BEA, I’ve spent the last few days hosting a face-to-face meeting of the W3C Technical Architecture Group here in Vancouver. I’m pretty tired, since there’s been some heavy lifting, with a background roar of allegorical artillery. But there are compensations.

Grumbling · The TAG has existed since early 2002 and we’ve yet to finalize one of our main deliverables, the Architecture of the Web document. Thus a lot of this meeting was a paragraph-by-paragraph grind through some of the gnarliest passages of this edifice, with a view to getting at least part of it through the W3C process by year-end. I’m not going to give the blow-by-blow, since we publish our minutes anyhow.

(Of course, Murphy arranged that Antarctica has a couple of really cool developments and deployments in progress this week, which I’ll write up here later. Hey, who needs sleep anyhow? But ongoing suffered.)

Anti-Grumbling · I said “there are compensations.” Most obviously, spending the best part of three days in a room with these people is to some degree its own reward.

The W3C TAG at work
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Palimpsest

Plus, we’re all industry veterans with sharp tongues but thicker skins, and whereas each of us has thrown at least one notable tantrum, nobody seems to retain grudges.

Also, since people are coming to Vancouver from all over the world, often wedging brutally long and inconvenient flights into already-jammed schedules, Dave and I try to show the crowd a good time; so we usually manage to pack some serious eating and drinking, and one outdoor excursion, in among the wrangling over the precise characterization of resource representations and so on.

I’ve embedded a couple of pictures, which in Vancouver at this time of year are easy to come by.

Sunset from Grouse Mountain; ocean
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Sunset from Grouse Mountain; sky

Background Thunder · Meanwhile, the debate about the true nature of a Resource (that's the “R” in URI) thunders on, apparently without limit in length, depth, or breadth. Kendall Clark, who’s usually quite good, has a piece over at XML.com, which identifies some of the voices but I think doesn’t really capture the arguments that well.

But I could be wrong on that; you can find out for yourself by reading some recent postings on the XML-dev mailing list, perhaps starting here. Or go to our own TAG mailing list, starting just about anywhere in the July archive.

Whereas I’m repeatedly on the record as being more than a bit baffled by what the argument is about, and have hinted unsubtly that maybe it’s at the angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin level, a lot of people who are demonstrably smart care a whole lot about it. Anyhow, I can’t ignore it as long as I’m on the TAG, which is at least until we get that damn Architecture document shipped or it’s clear we’re not going to.


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July 23, 2003
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