Business career: Highlights

Evangelizing the use of XML and related standards

Me speaking at a seminarI wouldn't say I'm an all-singing, all-dancing professional seminar speaker, but when I master my subject and believe in what I'm selling, I can be a very engaging and persuasive speaker. I got consistently high satisfaction ratings as a speaker at I.T. Works seminars and as a trainer during in-house workshops. In my civil service career, I am now using my speaking skills to convince politicians and top-level civil servants to take the appropriate organisational & technical steps towards integrated e-government and electronic service delivery.

In 2000 and 2001, I've spent most of time at I.T. Works actively evangelizing the use of XML and related open standards, in a series of seminars, workshops and in-house training sessions all over Europe, until I became recognized as one of the leading experts on XML in the Benelux. My two most popular XML training courses were "XML in 2 days" (course programme [PDF 20 KB]) and "XML in 4 modules" (course programme [PDF 22 KB]). I've spent a lot of time and effort creating the slides I used in those courses, which is why I make them freely available here. Since I don't give these courses anymore, these slides are unfortunately no longer as up-to-date as they used to be. However, they do contain lots of drawings and diagrams that were specifically designed to clarify some of the most hard-to-grasp concepts behind XML and related standards. I hope you find these slides still as useful now as my course participants did back then. If you have any questions or remarks regarding these slides, don't hesitate to contact me.

XML in 2 days

The course that I gave on an almost weekly basis, during commercial XML conferences or as part of in-house training sessions all over Europe, was the "XML in 2 days" course. In two full days I explained the key concepts behind XML and gave an overview of related XML standards. I also explained and demonstrated the basics of XML editing and DTD design, discussed the use of XML for data exchange and application integration, presented a number of interesting case studies of XML use, and finally provided a full round-up of XML tools. At the end of each day we always had hands-on exercises by the course participants, using real-life examples taken from their own work environment.

Sample slide of presentation         Sample slide of presentation
Day 1 Part 1:
XML intro [PDF 2.2 MB]
 
        Day 1 Part 2:
XML standards [PDF 873 KB]
 
Sample slide of presentation         Sample slide of presentation
Day 1 Part 3:
DTD basics [PDF 351 KB]
 
        Day 2 Part 1:
XML for data [PDF 613 KB]
 
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Day 2 Part 2:
XML case studies [PDF 1.5 MB]
 
        Day 2 Part 3:
XML tools [PDF 3.7 MB]
 
Sample slide of presentation
Conclusions [PDF 3.2 MB]
 

XML in 4 modules

While the "XML in 2 days" course was primarily oriented towards IT decision makers and IT project managers, the "XML in 4 modules" course was more oriented towards analysts, software developers and web site designers. In four information-packed half-day sessions, I explained the key concepts behind XML and gave an overview of related XML standards. I also explained and demonstrated how to create and validate XML, how to transform and display XML, how to process and program XML, and how to store and query XML. By the end of the course a participant would have gained enough practical understanding of XML to immediately start building his own XML-based IT solutions.

Sample slide of presentation     Sample slide of presentation
Module 1 Part 1:
XML intro [PDF 734 KB]
 
    Module 1 Part 2:
XML standards [PDF 715 KB]
 
Sample slide of presentation     Sample slide of presentation
Module 2 Part 1:
XML basics + XML DTDs [PDF 339 KB]
 
    Module 2 Part 2:
XML Schemas + tools overview [PDF 936 KB]
 
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Module 3 Part 1:
Transforming XML [PDF 646 KB]
 
    Module 3 Part 2:
Displaying XML [PDF 925 KB]
 
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Module 4 Part 1:
Processing and programming XML [PDF 451 KB]
 
    Module 4 Part 2:
Storing and querying XML [PDF 2.3 MB]
 
Sample slide of presentation
Resources [PDF 508 KB]
 

Advocating the use of open Internet standards

I was already giving talks about XML as the future document/data format for the networked enterprise back in 1998, when the XML standard had only just been approved by the W3C. In what must have been the very first series of sales presentations on XML in Belgium, organized by OFFIS (now part of the Aubay Group), I tried to convince potential customers that XML was going to become "the ASCII of the 21st century". In order to create more visibility for OFFIS as a possible provider of advanced XML-based document management and application integration solutions, we also launched the portal site XMLcenter.com (no longer active). This site offered a weekly digest of important XML news, reviews of new XML tools and web sites, and a free Q&A service where XML newbies could get all their tricky XML questions answered.

Sample slide of presentation         Screen shot of web page
XML: The document/data format
for the networked enterprise
[PDF 867 KB]
 
        XMLcenter.com web site
(no longer active)
 

While working at OFFIS, I tried to keep the company at the leading edge of developments in Internet technology, by using new open Internet standards (such as XML and Java) the moment they became available. In order to build Fedenet, an intranet providing web-based access to a variety of information sources of the Belgian federal government, in 1997 we developed our own Perl-based application server, the Smart Gateway. This application server supported template-based HTML page generation and provided query interfaces to most legacy databases. In order to access the Regedoc document database, in 1998 we developed a web-based client/server solution where a Java-based stand-alone client used the HTTP protocol to exchange XML query/response messages with the Smart Gateway. We were also one of the very first to use Java servlets for simultaneously accessing document stores and databases. As we got more convinced of the potential of XML, we shifted our focus from providing "conventional" electronic document engineering solutions to becoming a full-service XML competence center, offering a range of commercial XML products and tailor-made XML solutions for advanced document management and application integration.

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Presentation of project:
Fedenet portal site [PDF 210 KB]
 
    Presentation of project:
Région Wallonne DGEE site [PDF 232 KB]
 
    Presentation of services:
XML competence center [PDF 245 KB]
 
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