Wednesday, September 30, 2009

XML-In-Practice Day #1 Summary

I'm at IDEAlliance XML-In-Practice 2009 in DC this week talking about IBM WebSphere XML and learning about other XML products and technologies. There are four tracks -- Publishing and Media, Applications, Foundation and Interoperability AKA the technology track, Electronic Medical Records and President Obama's Economic Plan, and e-Government. Based on my totally unscientific head count, the attendance to each track is 50%, 25%, 12% and 13%.

I attended the following sessions today -

Keynote - XML Enabled Medical Records - Dr. Clement McDonald

I learned a) how technology is used to create repositories of information within hospitals/caregivers b) how much workload these systems exchange in the form of HL7 messages c) how distributed systems share data within a localized region for decision making, consistency of care d) how Web 2.0 is helping replace very complicated forms based desktop apps that are trusted currently e) how Dr's are happy to have a wealth of electronic information to help, but see putting new data into the system as something they cannot afford to do given already limited time with patient (call for smarter devices/speech to text) f) how different data is across the various medical interactions all the way from very structured to very narrative. The best two parts of the talk was the 0.5 seconds he showed an XML document which stressed the business aspect of this is key - the technology just has to exist behind the scenes to make it possible and seeing a Dr. throw stuffed pings to the audience (joke on how LOINC standards sounds like OINK).

Overview of President Obama's Electronic Medical Records Plan and Health Information Technology Architecture - John Quinn

I a) learned how much money is set aside to rewards providers that move to standardized medical health records and what timelines exist to get these rewards b) learned how these timelines are aggressive based on time to implementation of typical systems c) learned how the rewards are based upon a certified system which is challenging to guarantee for valuable use. I really took away a deeper appreciation for not only the complexity inside of a single hospital, but also how challenging a national mandate will be (especially to individual physicians).

XSLT Stylesheets from Version 1.0 to 2.0 - Priscilla Walmsley

I didn't take alot of notes in this session as I'm rather knowledgeable about this topic. However, I'd say it was a great presentation given the example (before and after) based approach.

Customer Use Case: How IBM Simplifies Complex Content Developing and Publishing Across the Enterprise. - Daniel Dionne

Great presentation that didn't go into just what DITA for content development/publishing is, but showed the entire lifecycle and processes needed to make a wide adoption work. Went into some rather impressive use cases of the technology, along with challenges, within the IBM company.

Technical Overview of Relax-NG - Bob Ducharme

Can't say I was a huge supporter of this talk, but that is likely due to the fact that I'm a data-oriented XML guy and I'm working on standards, customer situations that are very dependent on XML Schema. Bob discussed areas where Relax-NG was better than XML schema for mostly document oriented scenarios. I would have liked to see more mention of XML Schema 1.1 and how that changed the story. I did get some good value out of understanding why some document-centric customers are still using DTD's.

HL7's use of XML - Paul Knapp

Learned how HL7 V3 XML isn't really yet used in US e-healthcare apps (every hospital is exchanging internal messages in HL7 V2). Abroad, new projects that are less than three years old are very likely to be HL7 V3. We should be seeing more of this in the states with new projects, especially as we start to consider the need to share information outside of a single hospital, etc. Paul did mention binary XML and how that would help many of the HL7 V3 current issues.

MarkLogic Beer and Demo Jam

I did a 4 minute demo along with nine others during the reception. You get 5 minutes to do a demo with no preparation and the best demos win free stuff. I demoed the XML Feature Pack and the 40 samples we have along with the end to end blog checker sample written in XPath 2.0, XSLT 2.0, and XQuery 1.0. The samples I showed had a nice CSS and dashboard we've added since Beta 4 and that visual skinning over the XML technologies drew positive comments from the crowd. Didn't win anything in the end. Oh well.

After hours

Finally, I was able to do dinner with about 15 folks who regularly attend these conferences. Some great conversation with people from all parts of the industry.