XTECH 2005, less that a week off now…

Xtech Conference 2005

I noticed a new comment on the blogdigger development blog from Xslf.

Re: On Language

Hey, that was fun- seeing some Hebrew here 🙂 This issue indeed is painful. My blog publishes feeds in utf-8/Hebrew, and half the RSS readers out there have problems displaying them (esp. post titles) in proper RTL (even though my feed has dir=rtl in the right places). Speaking of Hebrew problems- I just attempted to create a blogdigger group with a Hebrew name/description, and all the system gave me after I submitted the form was question marks 🙁 Seems that the server here did not like Hebrew input (the group can be found at: http://groups.blogdigger.com/groups.jsp?id=2051 ) An English language group that I had opened ( http://groups.blogdigger.com/groups.jsp?id=2044 ) works fine. Sigh 🙁

This is almost exactly the crux of my presentation at Xtech. Right to Left Language RSS is so painful. Why is Hebrew language so difficult to work with for seriously most of the RSS readers out there? Xslf is one of a larger group of people who are puzzled why they can not communicate in there own native language with the modern tools and applications around them. One of my points is Unicode is an enabler, and it really is! But being unicode is not some magic bullet, much great language consideration needs to go into the whole process.

I had a quick peek around Shoshannah Forbes blog http://www.Xslf.com, I can not read Hebrew but I know a friend who does (whos coming around tomorrow). Anyhow I looked at her RSS feeds just out of interest to see if she was doing anything interesting, as her HTML meta-data was neat and considered. Shoshannah is basicly using RSS 2.0 with added modules which are common in RSS 1.0. She describes Hebrew by one head-level dc:language element and then inputs a div with HTML directional code inside like this < div dir="rtl" >. This is what we tried avoid at the World Service because we felt it broke RSS validation, caused presentation vs structure issues and generally did not work in most of the RSS readers on the fragmented RSS market. I recommend Shoshannah read some of the blogs I linked to in Languages in RSS a while ago. It would be great to hear what she makes of the whole Language RSS debate.

Do not forget XTECH is next week and I will presentating along side the other 3 BBC presentations (BBC News, Radio and Music, Backstage BBC). XTECH looks to be a great conference this year, its seems a crying shame that no one is going to be seriously podcasting or even recording the event and speakers. But I maybe wrong?

Anyhow here's my plan for the conference, remixed to show my choices using XSLT of course. All I quickly did, was add an attribute named choice then slotted 1st, 2nd, 3rd or even 4th. Here's my modified XML and XSL. For some reason I couldnt get the external css stylesheet working so I just inlined it in the short term. Do not forget there are many ways to get involved in .

I know theres free wireless at the conference and I'm bringing my pocket wireless hub in a aid to help extent the range but I dont know if electricity will be a problem because my laptop only lasts 1hour without being plugged in. If you happen to be sitting near me in the conference with a laptop, please tap me on a hand as I will have a English 3 way power adapter plugged in where I can.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.