XTech was subtitled “the mobile web”, but one of the major themes for me was that of the distributed web. The first keynote, by Simon Wardley, gave a vision of a future in which hardware, frameworks and applications are services in the cloud rather than products on machines we own: where we use flickr to store our photographs, Google App Engine to host our applications, and Amazon S3 to store our data. In David Recordon’s keynote (written up by Jeremy Keith), he talked about small, specific services provided by sites that aren’t “destination sites”. The same picture was painted by Gareth Rushgrove in his talk on Design Strategies for a Distributed Web.
I finally have some time to write about XTech. What a great conference! I know that Edd would like it bigger, but its modest size gives it a family feel. Like a family gathering, there are pontificating oldsters whose wisdom goes largely unappreciated by young upstarts who themselves bring energy and innovation to the crowd. And a bunch in the middle trying to translate across the gap: to explain the vision to the old and the reality to the new.
It’s XTech 2008 next week. I’ll be there to talk about the work we at TSO have been doing with OPSI to add semantic information to the London Gazette using RDFa. It’s really interesting and timely work on all sorts of levels; you can read the abstract of the talk to get a taster and of course it’ll be published afterwards.