Anne van Kesteren

XTech diner

While everyone interesting is now in Amsterdam — indeed, in The Netherlands — to look around, give a tech talk, drink some beer, et cetera at XTech, I’m at home as I have to attend (daily) exams at school. Ugh. However, thanks to Jep Castelein of Backbase I was able to meet some people in Amsterdam. Yesterday evening I had diner in a boat on the Amstel and met quite a few people from Mozilla, Opera and Backbase. I expected to meet a few of these people at some point in my life, but never this quick.

So who did I meet? I met Ian Hickson, cat and metal lizards lover who works at Opera Software and currently edits the WHATWG specifications. Michael Day who created probably the only real CSS printer out there, called PrinceXML. Håkon Wium Lie, CEO at Opera and one of the original inventors of CSS. (He recently joined PrinceXML as a director too.) I don’t think Ben Goodger needs any introduction to you. Also attending were Brendan Eich, Robert O’Callahan, Bryan Ryner, Mike Shaver and Axel Hecht. Peter-Paul Koch was also on the boat trip, but I didn’t really get the chance to talk to him. Actually that applies to most of the people just mentioned. The boat trip took about two hours and was quite cool, except of course that it was far too little time to talk with everyone. Especially if you take in account that some of the Mozilla developers were seeing each other for the first time too! I also saw — again, I must add — some presentations of the — proprietary — Backbase user interface language and it was really quite cool, except that it doesn’t degrade at all, but for applications that shouldn’t really matter. They said a public version will be released soon and freely available for everyone but companies.

(At the boat there were also some complot theories about Microsoft et cetera. For example, if they blew up the boat all innovation in browser development would be gone and they could take early retirement.)

When we docked and went to an Irish pub Micah Dubinko, co-editor of XForms 1.0, joined us. Apparently he missed the boat. At arrival we discussed XForms and Web Forms 2 for about half an hour and after that I went home as I wasn’t sure till what time busses to Zeist would be driving around and I wasn’t planning to pay for a taxi or worse, walk.

(Two editors of XHTML 2.0 unfortunately couldn’t make it. I guess they were editing the last parts of their presentation that was held today.)


  1. Sounds great.

    Posted by Mark Wubben at

  2. Dangerous indeed! I hope a security team was hired. ^_^

    The XHTML 2.0 presentation was very interesting by the way. Steven Pemberton is a very charismatic man :). The WHATWG presentation was also interesting, and I talked about it with Ian afterwards, but I think that I still like XHTML 2 better. Not that I dislike Web Forms 2.0 and Web Apps 1.0, <canvas> and the standardization of DOM0 and XMLHttpRequest is great, but I don’t like all of it, such as <article>, <aside>, <nav>, etc. tags. I prefer XHTML 2.0’s ‘role’ attribute, like <section role="navigation">. Especially as it can be extended (I think microformats is the appropriate term to think of).

    Relevant proceedings:

    Anyways, I see much overlap between XHTML 2.0 and ‘HTML 5’. I wish they would be more similar (in particular, that Web Apps would be more like XHTML 2 in applicable areas ;p). There was noticably much controversy between the two ‘camps’, and perhaps that would alleviate it somewhat, and also be less confusing to the end user. I would like to see ‘HTML 5’ being an intermediate format between XHTML 1.0 and XHTML 2.0 (or a 2.1, which incorporates WHATWG stuff).


    Posted by Laurens Holst at

  3. HTML5 is so much more than just markup that it really can’t be some intermediate format and that also makes it much more difficult to compare it to XHTML 2.0 than you make it to be. Also, as apposed to XHTML, HTML5 has a text/html serialization.

    Sure, some aspects of XHTML 2.0 are cool. And personally I wouldn’t think of the ROLE attribute, but more of HREF, CITE and similar attributes that are no applicable to all elements. That is one of the major advantages of XHTML 2.0 in my opinion. Richer markup.

    Posted by Anne at

  4. I had a really good time as well. Today Jep put his photo's on Flickr. I'll do the same with mine tomorrow. Hope your exams went OK!

    Posted by Menno van Slooten at

  5. (Two editors of XHTML 2.0 unfortunately couldn’t make it. I guess they were editing the last parts of their presentation that was held today.)

    Actually one wasn't in Amsterdam. The other was singing in a concert.

    Posted by Steven Pemberton at