August 18, 2004
@ 10:16 AM

I saw the following excerpt in Shelley Powers's post entitled Differences of Humor where she wrote

Sam Ruby has posted a note about the upcoming Applied XML Conference put on by Chris Sells. When I looked at the agenda and realized that the conference managed to put together two days worth of presentations without one woman speaker,

Knowing the nature of Chris Sells's conferences this is unsurprising. They seem to mostly be an opportunity for Chris's DevelopMentor clique and their buddies to hang out. However Shelley's post did make me start thinking about how many women I knew who worked with XML and just like the time I started to keep a list of Seinfeld episodes in which at least one African or African American appeared in (don't ask) I started tracking down the number of women I knew off who worked on XML technologies who's works I'd rather see present than at least one of the presentations currently on the roster. Here is my list


  • Eve Maler - Sun's most notable XML geek after Jon Bosak and Tim Bray. She's worked on SAML and UBL. I meet her at XML 2003 where we chatted about versioning in UBL and what truly meant by polymorphic XML processing.

  • Jeni Tennison - the most knowledgeable person on the planet about W3C XML Schema. I've lost count of the amount of times I've seen her school members of the W3C XML Schema working group about the technology on various mailing lists. Also an XSLT and XPath guru. She's always pushing boundaries in the XML world such as with her work on layered hierarchies in markup vocabularies with LMNL

  • Priscilla Walmsley - the author of Definitive XML Schema which is probably the best book on W3C XML Schema on the market. She's also co-written a book on XML in Office 2003 which I haven't read but would love to get a presentation on especially with regard to some finer details on how Office uses XML schemas. 

  • Amelia Lewis - a co-author of the WS-ReliableMessaging specification and the author of an excellent critique of the W3C XML Schema primitive types in her article Not My Type: Sizing Up W3C XML Schema Primitives


  • Elena - the Microsoft XML Web Service stack rests on her shoulders. What makes Visual Studio.NET an awesome XML Web Service environment is that there is functionality that lets you point at a WSDL and automatically you get handy dandy .NET classes generated for you. Elena owns the meat of this code, a lot of which resides in the XmlSerializer class

  • Denise Draper - an architect on our team who in a past life has been a member of the XQuery working group, worked an XML data integration suite for Nimble Technology and worked in the AI field.

  • Priya Lakshminarayanan - the developer for the W3C XML Schema validation technology in the .NET Framework. She's the most knowledgeable about the technology at Microsoft, I'm a distant second to her breadth of knowledge about this somewhat arcane and cryptic technology. She the first person I've seen implement a tool for generating sample XML documents from XML schemas that didn't suck.

  • Helena Kupkova - the developer for the XML parser in the .NET Framework. She completely gutted our old implementation and doubled the perf in some scenarios. A totally impressive developer. More impressive is that she ships stuff like the XML Diff and Patch demo on GotDotNet in her spare time.

  • Nithya Sampathkumar - the developer on the XML schema inference technology in the .NET Framework. Once I took over as the program manager for this technology I grew to understand the subtleties involved in trying to infer a schema for arbitrary XML documents. A presentation on the techniques used in her implementation and the limitations of XML schema inference would be quite interesting.

  • Neetu Rajpal - the program manager for XML tools in Visual Studio. I've overheard some interesting conversations involving her discussing some of the trickiness involved in implementing an XSLT debugger. An in-depth presentation about what the XML tools team is planning to ship and the issues they encountered would be killer.

  • Vinita - the program manager for MSXML which is the most widely deployed XML library on the planet. Even without shipping in Internet Explorer, Windows and Office they still get millions of downloads a year.

  • Tejal Joshi - works on the XML tools in Visual Studio. At last year's XML 2003 conference I enjoyed hearing James Clark discuss implementation strategies for his nxml-mode in Emacs. I'm sure Tejal would have similarly interesting stories to tell.

  • Lanqing Dai - used to be developer for the XmlDocument class but has moved on to WinFS. I'd love to hear a her thoughts on how working in an XML-centric world compares to living in the item-centric world of WinFS.

There are more women I know off in the XML field both within and outside Microsoft but these are the ones whose presentations I'd rather see than something like XML as a Better COM (for example). Maybe next time Chris Sells should look around the usual XML hang outs both online (like the xml-dev mailing list) and within Microsoft internally for conference speakers instead of announcing them in his blog. It may lead to a more diverse list of topics and speakers.

I need to go watch Berserk. Talk to you guys later.