The run up to the Mark Logic User Conference (The World's Largest XQuery Gathering) is usually hectic and this year is no different. I've been busy preparing for the 1-day orientation class that I will be teaching and desparately trying to squeeze in bike rides so I don't embarrass myself on the 'unofficial' conference ride I'm putting together. Getting ready for the class is somewhat easier as it mostly involves brushing up on Shakespeare. We use the complete Shakespeare XML as a basis for the examples and its always fun to do some exploring of the text with the class. I am hoping to expand my set of queries for cool things like King Lear's Falchion.
Other folks are also plenty busy. Scott Able, AKA The Content Wrangler, will be our official Blogger at the conference and his interview (located here) with MarkLogic's Norm Walsh is a great warm up for the conference. It has excellent examples of XML and XQuery in action, some sound reasoning on the correctness of using XML for content and some thoughts on its widespread (but still unsung?) use in almost everything. I particularly like his retelling of how Dave Kellogg steered him in the right direction in a response to his newbie question on a MarkLogic internal list. Norm, the rest of us just thought you were crazy :)
Dave's attention to detail does pay off - this week he was busy collecting awards: MarkLogic Server just won the SIIA Codie Award for Best Databse Management System and Dave's blog (where among other things he related that story about Norm and talked about the bike ride) won for Best Corporate Blog. Way to go Dave . . . way to go MarkLogic Server team!
Over at O'Reilly, Kurt Cagle has been pushing the boundaries of MarkLogic Server and our implementation of XQuery for his presentation at the conference. This post looks at some of the neat features that Mark Logic has added to XQuery to make programming easier. Function mapping will automatically execute a function for every item in a sequence and maps let you work with hash maps within XQuery. I particularly like Kurt's post because he gives good XQuery code samples, something I am always trying to create more of.
I'll have to make sure I add Kurt's session (Tuesday at 2:45) to my conference plan. It's getting pretty full with so many great customer sessions (gotta make BusinessWeek and Wiley) and can't miss technical presentations (AtomPub from Norm, Kurt's session and the MarkLogic feature sessions) that I'm afraid I'll miss out on all the good side conversations about how XQuery is changing the face of content applications.
If I can just make it through getting ready, it is going to be really fun!