The XML Summer School, a week of seminars on a wide range of XML-related topics sponsored by the CSW Group at a college of Oxford University, is being held for the sixth year. Peter Flynn and I hold the distinction of being the only people to have taught every year, but the list of people who have taught for most of those years the roster of new people each year are both very distinguished lists.
One of these distinguished members, Michael Kay, recently wrote that "when you come in on the last day you get the impression of a strong sense of bonding that has taken place over the week." There are people who I would have considered friends because I ran into them once a year at a conference and email sometimes who, because of this conference, I consider fairly close friends, because you get to spend a lot of time hanging out and discussing all kinds of things. (There is often some drinking involved once the day gets old enough; the schedule for the week includes "pub crawl" as an official event.) The marketing literature for the event has always pointed out that instead of just being lecturers talking through slides to attendees, it's everyone hanging out together day and evening, with activities like punting and private receptions held in local museums, and Michael's comment shows that the system works.
I've been overseeing the track on XSLT and related technologies, which this year includes XSL-FO and XQuery. Michael Kay and Jeni Tennison will return to teach XSLT with me (I cover the easier parts), and this year Priscilla Walmsley joins us to teach XQuery and XSL-FO. Paul Prescod will cover a very interesting topic: the role that client-side XSLT can play in AJAX application development. (Michael's talk will touch on both XSLT and XQuery issues, covering the contributions that schema awareness can bring to application development with these languages.)
And that's just one track. I should pay more attention to the Health Care and Drug Information tracks, because there's always a good cast of presenters discussing interesting solutions to large problems. I always learn more about web services from people like Marc Hadley and John Kemp; Eve Maler makes some very dry issues about security and access control much more interesting, and there are always new things such as this year's coverage of rich web clients by Paul Prescod and Chris Lilley. With people like Peter Flynn, Tony Coates, Peter Brown, and Sean McGrath, I'm never sure what I'll be discussing, but it's always interesting (which reminds me—there are often unscheduled pub crawls as well).
To summarize, the CSW Oxford XML Summer School is a great opportunity to to learn basic, advanced, old, and new aspects of XML, whether you're starting the week as a beginner or as a long-time practitioner. Take a look through the web site.