Microsoft is helping to sponsor the XML 2005 Conference (November 14-18, Atlanta GA) and we encourage people to participate. There is still time to submit proposals for "late breaking news" presentations, presentations to describe and promote specific products, and "town hall meetings" where people can get together to informally debate the issues of the day. See the call for participation for details, but be aware that the deadline is September 16. We encourage anyone, especially those who are building XML solutions on a Microsoft platform, to submit a proposal let the world know about them at XML 2005.
Town Hall Meetings have been revamped this year to provide a venue for anyone with some ideas to kick around. In recent years these were more like informal panel discussions. This year, we ask facilitators to simply introduce a topic then open it up to the floor for discussion, praise, abuse, etc. All you have to do to be a facilitator is send in a topic and a few discussion starter questions.
Also, I have organized a panel discussion on Efficient XML where people from several organizations will offer their perspectives on how to transmit and process XML data more efficiently. Some panelists will talk about their hardware-based approaches, others will discuss their thoughts on "binary XML" formats and the possibility of standardizing them, and we can expect various people in the audience to challenge these positions. A big part of my day job is to keep track of this area and help shape Microsoft's responses to the various needs to make XML more efficient, so I really hope to see audience participation from people on all sides of this issue.
The WebData XML team will be well-represented on the technical program and our General Manager Dave Campell will be giving one of the keynote speeches. The timing of this conference is fortunate for us since it comes at about the same time as we are formally releasing .NET 2.0, Visual Studio 2005, and SQL Server 2005, all of which have extensive improvements in their support for XML. Likewise, it comes soon after the MS Professional Developers Conference, at which we will be outlining the XML features in products planned for the future, and it's a safe bet that we'll be saying more at XML 2005. We look forward to seeing you at XML 2005; several of us will be available to describe our current and future XML offerings in more detail and to hear from you what you think we need to do to meet your needs.