General · 26 Dec 2004

Ripping the X off her varsity sweater…

Who am I and why am I here?

I was an old-time SGMLer who specialized in information modeling, and was one of the folks whom Jon Bosak invited to be involved in the creation of a technology we eventually called XML. I’m writing here for the same reason I co-wrote a book once about SGML DTDs (more about that anon, probably). No, not for the oodles of money or fame… Sometimes I discover that I have something to say, and saying it seems a better idea than the alternative. The profundity quotient will, no doubt, vary quite a bit.

My current day job is the care and feeding of various identity/web services initiatives on behalf of Sun Microsystems, and I’m involved in the OASIS SAML committee and the Liberty Alliance, among others. (N.B.: The opinions expressed here are my own, and neither Sun nor any other party necessarily agrees with them.)

What kind of musings will you find here? This may be the world’s first (and last?) XML-and-cross-stitching blog. For the last two years I have been designing my own stitching patterns with XML themes in order to display the results at the North American XML conference series’ artwork exhibits. I run the exhibit just to show the XML world that structured markup geeks have many talents, or at least interests…

Since I had designed a rather large project for the 2004 conference, I snuck in a lot of stitching during Liberty Alliance standards meetings. At some point Nick Ragouzis caught me in the act. His encouragement to blog about this bizarre hybrid habit really stuck with me.

Others who egged me on, by way of thanks: Tim Bray really turned on the pressure. Lauren Wood offered advice on stylistic matters. Norm Walsh suggested a number of topics (which may surface here someday). And Ben Hyde not only encouraged me to blog, but suggested a design for one of my eventual stitching projects and even blogged about it when it was done. And my husband Eli Israel offered lots of support, both IT and editorial in nature.

Why Pushing String? While stitching away during another lecturer’s presentation on XML schema design at CSW’s wonderful XML Summer School in Oxford, U.K., I commented that some aspect or other of choosing a schema design style was really difficult, “like pushing string.” Looking down, I realized that that’s what cross-stitching is all about.

It turns out to be easy — if your implement is pointy enough.

UPDATE: The post above has more thoughts on the many meanings of “pushing string.”