Edd Dumbill

Edd is Editor at Large for O'Reilly Network, and co-author of Mono: A Developer's Notebook. He also writes free software for GNOME, and packages Bluetooth-related software for the Debian GNU/Linux distribution. Edd has a weblog called Behind the Times.

Edd was editor of between October 1999 and June 2004, and still chairs the annual XML Europe conference.

Articles by this author

XQuery's Niche

XQuery has been much hyped, but is it sufficiently different from XSLT to be successful? Edd Dumbill follows a debate looking for XQuery's niche.

The Cost of XML

The apparent overhead of using XML is once more in the spotlight, as is the financial overhead of using eBay's web services. Edd Dumbill reports.

On Folly

XML-oriented programming languages? Crazy! The Semantic Web? Nuts! Or perhaps not. Edd Dumbill on how the crackpots were right all long.

Faster, Faster!

Edd Dumbill reports on debate about making XML faster and leaner and offers the opportunity to send nominations for this year's XML Anti-Awards.

XML, the Web, and Beyond

XML community coverage; browser technology and open content join traditional XML topics in the new-look XTech 2005 conference; plus debate on when multiple schemas are the best way forward.

How Do I Hate Thee?

Find out everyone's top five dislikes about XML, and get to the bottom of exactly why namespaces tops the list.

Linkin' Park

One of the original trinity of XML specs, XML linking has largely failed. Can, and should, we fix it?

Notes and XQueries

Why is XQuery taking seven years to develop? And what's an XML spec worth these days, anyway? Lively debate from the world of XML.

Not Evil, Just Smelly

Hypertext guru Ted Nelson reckons XML is evil. XML folk reckon Nelson is mad. But is there truth in what he says?

Lady and the Tramp

If XML's the Lady, then RSS is the Tramp. But while RSS is energetically being refined and embraced, the Lady's ossifying rapidly.

RDF Roundup

Edd Dumbill's report on XML community discussions covers how to write XML documents as RDF models and more incredulity at the WS-* web services specifications.

Fallacy and Lunacy

In his regular look at the world of XML, Edd Dumbill uncovers the fallacies of XML Schema usage, and scoffs at the lunacy of SOAP.

Constraining Validation

What's the difference between validation and business rules? XML developers discuss how and why to use them.

All Roads Lead to RDF

A recent article by Mark Nottingham suggests that RDF may well be the answer to the difficulties inherent in specifying web services with W3C XML Schema. Edd Dumbill reports.

Misconceive Early, Misconceive Often

Our XML community column examines the fallout from Mark Pilgrim's claim that XML on the Web has failed; plus the emerging use of an alternative to URIs in RDF.

Caveat Incumbent

Is XHTML an evil intrusion into the Web by religious lunatics from the cult of XML? And does XML-ification really help anyway?

Browser Boom

Edd Dumbill reports on the boom in web-browser innovation as well as Mozilla and Opera's mysterious desertion of the W3C as a forum.

Eternal Refactoring

A summary of the latest happenings in the XML and RDF developer communities: refactoring specifications, Amazon wishlists in RDF, and XML as art.

Moving On, But Not So Far

In his last week as editor of, Edd Dumbill says goodbye after nearly five years of directing the web site.

The State of XML

In this closing keynote speech to XML Europe 2004, Edd Dumbill summarizes XML's recent changes and enduring strengths.

Making Web Services Work at Amazon

Jeff Barr, Amazon's web services evangelist, presented Tuesday at XML 2003, explaining the decisions involved in making Amazon's puiblic web services strategy a success.

XML at Five

To celebrate five years of XML, Edd Dumbill interviews a selection of XML old-timers and experts about their experiences of XML and hopes for the future.

Whither Web Services?

With the technology press taking a more measured view of web services, does this mean the party's over? Edd Dumbill argues that the future of web services and XML are closely linked, and that the fun's only just beginning

TAG's Iron Fist

The W3C's Technical Architecture Group's condemnation of HLink has met with an angry response. Edd Dumbill says that the TAG's approach isn't good for the web or for the W3C.

Kicking out the Cuckoo

Web services are a distraction from the true business of developing the Web, argues Edd Dumbill, and the W3C should stop wasting resources on their development.

Bright Year In Prospect For XML

Edd Dumbill reviews some of the promising areas of XML for the coming year, including presentation technologies and a renaissance in independent contributions to XML.

<taglines/> Anti-Awards 2001's answer to industry awards ceremonies, these anti-awards seek to burst a few of the XML industry's overinflated bubbles.

Plaudits and Pundits

The return of the <taglines/> comment column, handing out plaudits to Adobe, introducing XML Europe 2002, and soliciting nominations for the Anti-Awards 2001.

High Hopes for the Universal Business Language

The Universal Business Language (UBL) is a new effort to standardize XML business documents, being spearheaded by Jon Bosak. In this interview, Bosak describes UBL's aims and its relationship to ebXML.

The Selfish Tag

Even in the standards-led world of today, an attitude of pragmatic selfishness is the best policy for developers using XML in their applications.

XML You Can Touch

What's really hot these days in XML isn't the latest spec, but it's the software that's using XML. Edd Dumbill takes a look at how XML has been adopted in the GNOME desktop platform.

XML Divided

As XML application grows, it is inevitable that it will divide into different communities, but a strong commitment to interoperability must remain key.

Picture Perfect

The W3C's publication of the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) Recommendation heralds a new age for graphics in the emerging multi-device Web.

A New Old Angle on XML

XML's syntax may be its strongest asset, but non-XML syntaxes can help make XML even more usable.

A New Kind of Namespace

Light finally dawns in XML-DEV on the reason behind the inclusion of locally-scoped element names in W3C XML Schema.

The Web's Grand Planners

Edd Dumbill examines the W3C's new architectural watchdog, the TAG, and whether it will have much influence over the development of XML.

Programming Web Services with XML-RPC

This excerpt from O'Reilly & Associates' recently published Programming Web Services with XML-RPC discusses using PHP to integrate two web applications into a single interface. In the given example, the authors show how a technology news service based on RSS (RDF Site Summary) feeds was created.

Washed Clean, Washed Up

In the first installment of his new column, Edd Dumbill takes a look at the latest incarnation of SOAP, and the ever-changing XML conference scene.

XML on the Cheap

If you're new to XML, or simply want a to play around with it a little, there are plenty of resources on the Web you can use for free, many without even installing software on your computer.

A Web Less Boring

Tim Bray condemned the state of web browser technology, saying it was responsible for making the Web dull, in his opening keynote at XML Europe 2001 in Berlin.

Reports from WWW10

Highlights from the 10th International World Wide Web conference, which took place last week in Hong Kong.

XML Hype Down But Not Out In New York

Signs of reality were setting in this week at XML DevCon 2001 in New York City. As vendors and professionals were feeling the pinch of the economic conditions, the cloud of dust raised by recent overmarketing was starting to settle.

Building the Semantic Web

Tim Berners-Lee's vision of the Semantic Web is undoubtedly exciting, but its success will lie in the extent to which it solves real world problems.

XML on the Move

A report from XML DevCon Europe, London. On the first day of the conference, Henry Thompson spoke on XML Schemas and the XML Infoset, and David Orchard gave an overview of the world of web services.

Developers' Day at XML 2000

The XML Developers' Day at XML 2000, chaired by Jon Bosak, was composed of "late-breaking" developments in XML, and provided many valuable insights into developing XML systems.

Embracing Web Services

Delivering a talk entitled "Web Services: Requirements, Challenges and Opportunities," Greg Hope laid down the future of web business as Microsoft sees it, and especially the role of XML technologies.

A Uniform Interface for Authoring

In the first session of the XML DevCon Fall 2000 conference, Greg Stein delivered an introduction to WebDAV, Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning protocol.

Distributed XML

In this speech to the XML World 2000 conference in Boston, Editor Edd Dumbill gives an overview of the integrated future of XML and the Web, and the role that SOAP and RDF will play in that vision.

The Semantic Web: A Primer

The question "What is the Semantic Web?" is being asked with increasing frequency. While mainstream media is content with a high level view, XML developers want to know more, and discover the substance behind the vision.

XML Protocol Technology Reference

A quick reference to the most important technologies and initiatives in the XML protocols area, with links to specifications, white papers, and developer communities.

A Few Bumps

Some problems are due to success, some are growing pains, and some just refuse to go away. XML has all of these, chronicled as ever by the XML-Deviant.

Putting RDF to Work

Tool and API support for the Resource Description Framework is slowly coming of age. Edd Dumbill takes a look at RDFDB, one of the most exciting new RDF toolkits.

The State of XML - Part 2

In his closing keynote speech at XML Europe 2000, Edd Dumbill surveyed the state of XML, covering its past, its present, and its future in distributing data and applications around the Internet.

Eight Greats of 1999

It has been an eventful year on From January's XML Namespaces recommendation through to December's XML'99 show, we've selected some of the most interesting, controversial, and useful articles published on during the last year.'s Year in Review

During this year we have seen the establishment of essential core technologies and the formation of several wide-reaching XML initiatives in the business world. We review what has been achieved in 1999, and what must come next in 2000.

Which Mailing List Should You Join?

Some of the best and most up to date help on programming with XML can be found in mailing lists and newsgroups. Our guide can help you to choose the right forum in which to get involved.

Apache XML Project Launches

This Tuesday saw the launch of the Apache XML Project, an effort to provide an open source, commercial-quality platform for XML. The project has been bootstrapped by the contribution of tools from the open source community, and commercial vendors including IBM and Sun.

Examining CommerceNet's eCo Framework

The eCo Framework Project from CommerceNet will provide a fundamental level of integration and interoperability among e-commerce applications that are written for different vertical markets. Edd Dumbill analyzes the project's two key documents: the eCo Semantic Recommendations and the eCo Framework Specification.

Vendor Update: IBM and Sun

Vendors IBM and Sun are both committed to XML, and have donated substantial code to the XML community through Apache. We talked to both organizations about their plans for XML product support, and what they have lined up for the rest of this year.

The State of XML

In his closing keynote speech at XML Europe 2000, Edd Dumbill surveyed the state of XML, covering its past, its present, and its future in distributing data and applications around the Internet.

XML at Jetspeed

Jetspeed is a new open source project to create a Java and XML-based enterprise information portal. We review the progress so far and examine the possibilities for the project's future.

Fooling with XUL

With the mounting excitement about Mozilla, we decided to check out the promise of the XML, DOM, and CSS in combination with the XUL user interface language.

XTech 2000 Conference Reports reports from XTech 2000, the XML developer's conference held from February 26 - March 2 in San Jose, California. News from the tutorials, conference sessions and keynotes.

Bad Language

This week: discussions on the clarity of language in W3C specs, the neglect of HyTime by XML standards developers, and the possibility of XML-DEV as a replacement for scholarly journals.

High Drama

This last week has the seen the periodic resurrection of the "How The W3C Should Be Run" debate. XML-Deviant had a front row seat.

Making Progress

The holiday behind, XML developers are back to work. This week has seen plenty of activity on the SAX2 front, as well as a progress update from the SML initiative.

Wishful Thinking

XML-Deviant is a new weekly column on, providing reports from the XML developer mailing lists. This week's happenings include wishful thinking from Peter Murray-Rust, and a DTD for sharing recipes.

Reports from XML'99

Last week provided coverage of the GCA's XML'99 conference in Philadelphia. Over 2,200 delegates gathered to attend tutorials, see the products on show in the expo and listen to the presentations.

The Key Role of Open Source in XML

Delivering the closing keynote of XML'99, Peter Murray-Rust told how XML had "changed his life" and stressed the importance of open source software to the development of XML.

Schemas Top Delegate Wishlist at XML'99

The W3C's Dan Connolly fielded questions from the floor in Monday morning's Standards Update session at XML'99. The progress of the XML Schema work was important to many attendees from the XML community

XML'99 Coverage on is proud to be a co-host of XML'99, running from December 5-9 in Philadelphia. We'll be bringing you daily coverage from the show, highlighting interesting technologies and products.

Simplified Markup Language: Your Responses

Last week we invited you to respond to Robert La Quey's article on a Simplified Markup Language. This article presents some of your feedback, along with other excerpts from the continuing SML debate.

Syndicating XML

This special issue of focuses on XML's application in syndication, including XML news formats, ICE, and syndicating web site headlines with RSS.

XML in News Syndication

XML has found many applications in the news industry for overcoming the challenges posed by the Web. This article examines the technologies, and looks at the future of news syndication with XML.

XML Europe 2000 Reports

Held from 12th-16th June in Paris, France, the XML Europe 2000 conference demonstrated the continuing increase in innovation and application of XML. We reported daily from the show all week.

Getting Personal With CPExchange

On Wednesday afternoon at XML Europe 2000, Brad Husick of Vignette introduced the work being done by the CPExchange group on XML descriptions for customer profiles.

Quilt Has Querying Covered

Jonathan Robie of Software AG kicked off the XML Europe session on XML Query languages Tuesday afternoon with a description of the Quilt language.

Shaken, But Not That Stirred

Although the XML Protocols Shakedown Panel at WWW9 in Amsterdam last week clarified the positions of the various participants, the session did not result in any clear consensus.

XML and Portals

This month's Special Edition focuses on the role of XML in portals. XML plays a natural part in the process of aggregation and transformation of data that is core to the operation of a portal.

XML Protocols

With the recent release of SOAP 1.1, XML protocols is a "hot" topic. Looking forward to the "XML Protocols Shakedown" at the WWW9 conference next week, we examine recent developments, and the vital importance of XML interoperability.

XML, Standards and You

XML has been nurtured by standards organizations from its very beginning. Because of this, XML's current use and future development is inextricably tied with the world of standards and standard-makers. This special edition of highlights the processes involved in creating XML standards.

Grassroots Enforcers: The Web Standards Project

Users are frequently the ultimate losers when standards aren't respected. The Web Standards Project is a coalition of web users and developers who got together to campaign for adherence to standards on the Web.

Keep it Simple...

The popularity of Sean McGrath's PYX notation has highlighted the value of simple syntax-based XML processing. Why stack layer upon layer of processing when you don't need it?

Pyxie Perfect

Last week's article about Pyxie fired the imagination of's readers. Now Pyxie has Java and Perl implementations too!

Conference Sketch

This week, XML-Deviant is in San Jose for the XTech 2000 conference. Seeing XML-DEV in the flesh is a rare experience: read on for highlights of the XML Schema Town Hall meeting.

"XML Father" leaves W3C for OASIS

Jon Bosak, the "Father of XML," announced to delegates at XTech 2000 today that he is stepping down from W3C activity and devoting his energies to OASIS.

Bleeding-Edge XML: XLink and Apache

In the first of our reports from XTech 2000, we examine the XLink specification and learn about XML web publishing from the Apache XML Project.

XTech 2000 - Real World XML

What will be happening this coming week at XTech 2000? Our introduction to the XML developers' conference previews the tutorials, technical sessions, and other events.

XML Inter-Application Protocols

Last week, reported on a talk by Tim O'Reilly, in which he discussed the next-generation of web-centric applications. This week, Edd Dumbill presents a case why XML is already in a position to form the links between these services.

Backends Sharing Data

What if you could script remote procedure calls between web sites as easily as you can between programs? Edd Dumbill shows how it can be done in PHP.