This week, Mark Logic is sponsoring a breakfast seminar on agile publishing.
The speakers are great. I've seen Howard Ratner, the CTO of Nature Publishing, speak a couple of times and he is entertaining and informative. I've also met with David Worlock who is both an amazing font of knowledge and an engaging speaker.
And the topic is spot on: Looking at product development through the agile lens yields many new possibilities for how you can both build and deliver new content products.
For me, it has always been about ways to speed up and simplify the product development process. As the Technical Director at PC World Online I was on the receiving end of hundreds of small, 'can't you just' requests. I hated saying no - these were the good ideas that made us innovate and if I said 'this isn't in the schedule' or 'maybe next year' then we'd get nowhere. And in 1997 at the start of web publishing we had a LOT of ground to cover!
So we did a lot of small projects, we launched things in days rather than months and we made the most of our tools, pushing XML into databases the best we could and using Tcl (!!) and Vignette as a basic framework for rapidly developing many, simultaneous projects. It was certainly agile (if with a little 'a') and that term applied to not just the tech team, but everyone working together to create new products.
These same trends are still around and are maybe even more important as publishers today need to invent, create new products and break the mold of the traditional products (which we were very busy inventing 10 years ago!).
And the tech teams are still getting those 'can't you just' questions . . . but now you can use XQuery instead of all those clunky database/webcms/app layer toolsets. XQuery is *the* native programming language for XML and XML is *the* model for content. So with XQuery you don't spend a lot of time translating your content between tables, objects and outputs. Instead, you just get right to work on those 'can't you just' questions.
And when you use an XQuery engine like MarkLogic Server, things go even faster because you can load any content without up-front configuration and can perform any query on any part of the XML. This turbo-charges the process but letting you get a-hold of some content and right away start writing your application (like we did in the first tutorial).
I often say that we wish we had XQuery back then. Well, you do have XQuery now and what a difference it makes!
So come on out this week and explore the world of agile content products - here are the details:
The Agile Publishing Imperative:
Accelerate the Creation of Information Products
Thursday, November 8
8:00 am - 11:00 am
Four Seasons Hotel
Hope to see you there,