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trip report from the ninth World Wide Web conference in amsterdam, the netherlands


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table of contents:

  1. summary
  2. what i DID like and what i did NOT like
  3. tutorial 5: wireless application protocol (WAP)
  4. first day (tue 16-may-2000)
  5. second day (wed 17-may-2000)
  6. third day (thu 18-may-2000)
  7. developers' day
  8. documentation
  9. trip reports from other authors
  10. trip reports from previous conferences

summary:

at this conference, i noticed various focus shifts, namely from

wired user agents to wireless user agents
there were a lot of talks about wireless - or mobile - Internet access devices. WAP is only one step towards mobile Internet access. while WAP is a hot topic today, it is expected to be around for not more than maybe two years. according to egbert-jan sol, Ericsson Telecommunicatie BV, the mobile phone may split up into different devices which will communicate via Bluetooth: a keyless receiver/transmitter, a PDA-like user interface and a microphone/earpiece. the user interface device will be used to control not only the mobile phone, but also the TV set, the house management system and - of course - to read and write emails, browse the Web, maintain the address book and the schedule and much more.
wireless devices will also provide additional information to the server, such as the current location, maybe the temperature etc. plus user preferences, such as use/don't use audio, graphics etc. through Composite Capability/Preference Profiles (CC/PP). instead of an interative content negotiation process between the client and the server, the client sends its capabilities and preferences together with the request and will receive an answer, which will fit its features as good as possible.
mobile device require not only different presentation approaches compared to wired devices, but also different user dialogs. the W3C therefore suggests CSS-like "behavior sheets" which will support different behaviors on different devices with different capabilities. the mobile devices working group will work together with the Web Accessibility working group, because both groups have similar requirements, such as a need for alternate content presentation, reduced assumption about the capabilities of the user agent etc. (see Web accessibility & device independence for details).

from discussions about standards and technologies to content production and management
while there were a lot of talks about how to implement a particular service on the Web at previous conferences, people are now more interested in tools to manage and maintain documents and sites. there is a demand for tools which help to maintain web sites, create personalized portals and e-commerce solutions.

from HTML to XML
version 4.0 seems to be the final version of HTML. the definition is available in three different flavors: strict, loose and frames. XHTML is the definition of HTML 4.0 in XML 1.0. further extensions to HTML - MathML for example - will be defined in XML.
however, i think HTML will still be alive and around for a long time. the simplicity of HTML was probably the main factor for the big success of the WWW. basically everyone who knows how to type, can write HTML documents. HTML may have its weaknesses and for the purists, it may not separate content and presentation good enough, still, it is easy to learn and simple to use. XML on the other hand, is a much more complex and sophisticated language. it requires great knowledge and/or good authoring tools to handle it. i assume, large, professionally maintained sites will switch to XML pretty soon - as soon as the major browsers support it - but most of the smaller, "one man show"-websites will stay with HTML for a very long time, if not "forever".

the quote i liked best came from johan hjelm, Ericsson and W3C:
"too much focus on the layout detracts attention from the information part of the system - the focus should be on what is useful and what suites the current situation of the user best !

the next conference (WWW10) will be held in hongkong, may 1 .. 5, 2001

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what i DID like:

Internet connectivity ready even before the conference started:
like last year in toronto, we could plug in our notebooks even one day before the conference. plus they had set up a DHCP server, so we did not have to reconfigure our notebook each time we used a different cable.
they went back to the three day schedule:
last year, the conference was reduced to two days (plus a tutorial day before the conference and the developers' day after the conference). this year, the three day schedule was re-established (again plus a tutorial and a developers' day).

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what i did NOT like:

food not included !
i hardly could believe my ears when i heard that even if i paid USD 1075 (plus taxes) for this conference, i still had to pay separate for the lunch ! 5 gulden for the sandwich, 3.5 gulden for the coke (2 dl) and again 3 gulden for the coffee. this is ridiculous ! besides: three days with a choice of nothing but ham sandwich, cheese sandwich or egg sandwich is not really a great ad for the local gastronomy ...

 

a lot of smoke for a non-smoking conference !
on page four of the printed conference program, they say: "This is a non-smoking conference. Please refrain from smoking."
unfortunately, (too) many people did smoke basically everywhere, in the exhibition area - where we had to eat our lunch, by the way, in the Internet access area, in the hallways and so on. i wonder how many more decades it takes, until the European people understand the meaning of "non-smoking" ...

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tutorial 5: wireless application protocol (WAP)

the author gave a good introduction to WML and its main features. he pointed out the similarities and the main differences between phone.com's WAP browser and nokia's implementation. he made some recommendations on how to implement a WAP application to make sure it is portable across all implementations and gave a short outlook on the future of WAP.

[ details about tutorial no 5 ]   tell me more ...

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first day (tue 16-may-2000)

[ details about the first day ]   tell me more ...

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second day (wed 17-may-2000)

[ details about the second day ]   tell me more ...

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third day (thu 18-may-2000)

[ details about the third day ]   tell me more ...

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developers' day (fri 19-may-2000)

[ details about the developers' day ]   tell me more ...

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documentation:

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trip reports from other authors:

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trip reports from previous conferences:

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production note:

this trip report was written on a Vadem Clio C-1050 running Windows CE with Pocket Word. It was then transferred to a DELL Latitude notebook and modified as needed. this document is supposed to be HTML V4.0 compliant.


WWW9_main.html / 01-jan-2005 (ra) / reto ambühler