Trip Report WWW2005 - May 10-14 2005, Chiba, Japan

[ WWW2005 - takes you to the official web site ]

  1. pre-conference activities (april 30 - may 9, 2005)
  2. conference at a glance:
    1. the venue
    2. registration
    3. food
    4. brief summary
    5. next conference
  3. tutorial (may 10, 2005)
  4. first day (may 11, 2005)
  5. second day (may 12, 2005)
  6. third day (may 13, 2005)
  7. developers' day (may 14, 2005)
  8. documentation
  9. previous conferences
  10. a bit of history and some statistics

1. pre-conference activities:

zürich - vienna - tokyo by plane | tokyo - hakone - kyoto - tokyo by train (may 1-8, 2005)

my wife susanne and i flew from zürich airport (ZRH) via vienna (VIE) to narita airport tokyo (TYO), leaving on saturday, april 30, 2005 on board of an Austrian Airlines Airbus A319, rsp. Airbus A340-200, arriving in tokyo on sunday may 1, 2005. the flights were easy and convenient.

we spent sunday in tokyo, took the bullet train to odaware on monday and spent two days in the hakone area from where we could see mount fuji. after that, we spent three days in kyoto before we returned to tokyo. on saturday may 8, 2005, susanne flew back to switzerland, while i stayed in chiba for one more week to attend the WWW2005 conference.

[ mount fuji as seen from owakudani ] [ gold temple (kinkaku-ji) in kyoto ] [ senso-ji temple in asakusa, tokyo ]
mount fuji as seen from owakudani gold temple (kinkaku-ji) in kyoto senso-ji temple in asakusa, tokyo
(click on the image for an enlargement) (click on the image for an enlargement) (click on the image for an enlargement)

[ more about our japan trip ] more about our japan trip ...

chiba and tokyo (may 9, 2005)

on sunday, i met yves serrano, a fellow-worker at the informatikdienste of the ETHZ. we spent monday afternoon at akihabara, the "electric town" of tokyo, famous for its huge selection of the latest hi-tech electronic devices.

[ chuo-dori in akihabara, tokyo ] [ shops at chuo-dori in akihabara, tokyo ] [ illuminated shops by night at chuo-dori in akihabara, tokyo ]
chuo-dori in akihabara electronic stores akihabara by night
(click on the image for an enlargement) (click on the image for an enlargement) (click on the image for an enlargement)

on tuesday, michael schnoz from corporate communication joined us for the conference.

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2. conference at a glance:

2.1 the venue:

the makuhari messe (nippon convention center) in chiba was a suitable location for this conference, about 30 minutes away from tokyo city by train.

[ makuhari messe ] [ makuhari messe schedule ]
[ the makuhari messe ] [ entrance to the makuhari messe ]
(click on the images for an enlargement)

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2.2 registration:

i was quite surprised by the fact that they did not use any computers for registration. instead, they had printed lists of the pre-registered attendees and it took these poor soul quite a while to look up my name even if i was the second attendee on the list. the result was rather long lines at the registration desk.
another surprise were the "food coupons": we were supposed to go to one of the surrounding restaurants during tutorial and developers' day. there was a map on the back of the coupons indicating which restaurants were supposed to accept these coupons. unfortunately, the names of the restaurants were only printed in japanese and i was not really surprised, when all the restaurants we tried on tuesday did not accept the coupons ... (on saturday, we actually found a restaurant that did accept the coupons).

[ long lines at the registration desk ] [ WWW2005 food coupons ]
(click on the images for an enlargement)

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2.3 food:

during the main days of the conference, they "served" food at hall 8 - a building with a concrete floor, plastic tables and plastic chairs, but not enough chairs for everyone. the food was provided in a box as shown below. i must admit that i had expected a bit more from a country that claims a high standard culture, old traditions and an event that collects a conference fee of JPY 119000 (approx. CHF 1400 or USD 1200) ...

[ hall 8 at makuhari messe during lunch ] [ lunch box closed ] [ lunch box opened ]
lunch time at hall 8 lunch box plus orange jus vegetarian lunch box
(click on the image for an enlargement) (click on the image for an enlargement) (click on the image for an enlargement)

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2.4 brief summary:

  1. searching was the dominate subject. about 50% of the sessions were somehow related to search. one of the research areas was natural language analysis (NLA) in order to improve search results. NLA is much more than just spell checking. it may for example include word analysis in order to determine the type of a word in a particular search phrase. the word "train" for example is a noun in the phrase "next train to london", but a verb in "how to train a dog". successful language analysis could significantly improve the users search experience. there are other areas of research, such as link network analysis in order to find information about a particular person even if there are many persons with the same name.
    there were also interesting panel discussions related to search, such as "querying the past, present and future". i have a particular interest in the past aspect of search, because i believe we can only find what has been preserved. there may be more to archiving Web based documents then just periodically crawl the Web and buy lots of disks. i believe we should intentionally archive particular stages of some websites and we should also carefully consider what we remove from the Web and what we may preserve in archives, such as the "ETHZ Web archive". of course, the "WayBackMachine" is a great thing, but we should not exclusively rely on somebody else's resources and efforts.

  2. semantics starts to become practical. i saw a number of attempts to incorporate semantics into our daily business. this starts with educating people how to properly use CSS in order to bring same base level semantics to our Web documents by using meaningful names and attributes that really are related to the content.
    there were also some more sophisticated approaches, such as "Thresher", a software that allows users to extract data from webpages in a structured form by applying semantics to the content.
    there is a strong relationship between semantics and search, because semantics can significantly improve search results if search engines start to "understand" the content of the documents.

  3. CSS level 3 and XHTML2 are making big progress. members of the W3C presented their current work on CSS level 3 and XHTML2. CSS level 3 will treat documents as grids, similar to the familiar layout of most newspaper. authors can then place their content within this grid. furthermore, there will be support for multiple grids, so the same content can be presented differently on different devices with different form factors and capabilities and even on different media. while it will take at least until 2007 before CSS level 3 will become a recommendation, the W3C hopes to get review of CSS level 2 done by the end of this year.
    XHTML2 is the next iteration in the HTML family. it is fully backward compatible with HTML V4.0, so there will be no need to change any HTML V4 compliant documents, which is great news. on the other hand, there will be some significant and exciting new features in XHTML2. most of all, XHTML2 will support the relationship to the semantic Web by integrating RDF in XHTML2. authors will not have to learn RDF to be able to benefit from it.

  4. W3C announced Mobile Web Initiative (MWI). in his keynote speech during the opening ceremony of WWW2005, tim berners lee announced the Mobile Web Initiative (MWI), which will provide guidelines on how to provide content for mobile devices. it is believed, that in a few years, more people will access the Web with mobile devices than with notebooks or personal computers. therefore it is important to make sure that content is accessible with mobile devices. this initiative should help and guide authors to do the things right.

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2.5 the 15th WWW conference (WWW2006):

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3. tutorial:

i attended the full day tutorial TF03 titled "Web engineering - developing successful Web applications in a systematic way". they defined "Web engineering" as the application of systematic, disciplined and quantifiable approaches to design, production, deployment, operation, maintenance and evolution of Web based software products.

[ more about the tutorials ] more ...

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4. first day:

the first day started with the traditional opening ceremony followed by the very traditional keynote by tim berners lee. after the coffee break the parallel sessions started. i attended the sessions titled "semantic similarity between search engine queries using temporal correlation", "duplicate detection in click streams" and "Thresher: automating the unwrapping of semantic content from the World Wide Web".
after lunch, we heard the keynote by yuji inoue from NTT. after a short break, i attended the panel discussion "current trends in the integration of search and browsing". the last two sessions i attended were titled "Internet search engines: past and future" and "sampling search-engine results".
in the evening, i went to the poster reception.

[ more details about the first conference day ] more ...

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5. second day:

the second day started with a keynote by eric brewer, then i attended the sessions titled "the Infocious Web search engine" and "how to make Web sites talk together".
after lunch, we heard the very interesting keynote by lorrie faith cranor. after a short break, i attended the panel discussion "how search engines shape the Web" followed by the three sessions "a search engine for natural language applications", "an enhanced model for searching in semantic portals" and "disambiguating Web appearances of people in a social network".
in the evening, we went to the conference dinner.

[ more details about the first conference day ] more ...

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6. third day:

the third day started with a keynote by rob glaser from RealNetworks. after the break, there was a very interesting panel titled "querying the past, present and future: where we are and where we will be".
lunch took again place in the very cozy hall 8 where they had another delicious food box ready for us. interestingly, there were lots of empty chairs available today ...
this afternoon, i attended the sessions provided by the W3C. the first one rose high expectations, since it was titled "interaction and the Web: the future browser". i haven't exactly seen the future browser, but the information was very interesting anyway. the adjacent "question and answer" session attracted very few attendees and therefore, the members of the panel had basically ask questions to each other ...
the day ended with the closing ceremony.

[ more details about the first conference day ] more ...

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7. developers' day:

the developers' day started with a keynote by makoto murata, titled "one project, four schema languages; medley or melee ?". he presented a project for the japanese government, that he was involved in as an XML expert. he explained how they successfully implemented various schemas and conversion tools which allowed them to have applications that support everything in japanese, but URIs. despite all internationalization efforts by the W3C, japanese URIs still don't work ...

for the rest of the day, i attended a tutorial titled "current best practices in Web development and design". it was a useful introduction to HTML, XHTML and especially CSS by molly e. holzschlag (see and

[ World Of Webprofessionals ]

at the end of the tutorial, i took a test to become a "Certified Professional Webmaster" (CPW), certified by the "World Of Webprofessionals" (WOW).

on may 24, 2005 i received the following message:

Congratulations on successfully passing the WOW Certified Professional Webmaster exam.

i rose a little dispute about the term "Webmaster", because it is used very inconsistently. while they use it for a person, who does Web design and/or develops Web applications, we at the swiss federal institute of technology have defined the three terms "Web editor in chief" for the person, who is (legally) responsible for the content, "Web editor" for those who actually write content and "Webmaster" for those, who administer webservers, such as myself.

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8. documentation:

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9. trip reports from previous conferences:

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10. a bit of history and some statistics:

the series of Web conferences started in spring 1994 with WWW1 held at CERN near geneva, switzerland. in fall 1994, there was a second conference in chicago, USA. because they stated that there will be two conferences each year, one in europe and one in the US, i did not attend WWW2. but at WWW3 in darmstadt, germany, they announced that in the future, there will be only one conference per year. i managed to convince my boss, that i should attend WWW4 in boston, even if i was already in darmstadt and from then on, i did attended every Web conference up to today. the table below lists all conferences and provides links to my trip reports as well as links to the official conference website where applicable.

no logo
(link to my trip report)
year conference location country number of attendees*
1 [ WWW1 logo - takes you to my trip report ] 1994 WWW1 geneva switzerland (CH) 380
2 [ lWWW2 logo - no trip report available ] 1994 WWW2 chicago USA 750
3 [ WWW3 logo - takes you to my trip report ] 1995 WWW3 darmstadt germany (D) 1075
4 [ WWW4 logo - takes you to my trip report ] 1995 WWW4 boston USA 2000
5 [ WWW5 logo - takes you to my trip report ] 1996 WWW5 paris france (F) 1452
6 [ WWW6 logo - takes you to my trip report ] 1997 WWW6 santa clara USA 2000
7 [ WWW7 logo - takes you to my trip report ] 1998 WWW7 brisbane australia (AUS) 1100
8 [ WWW8 logo - takes you to my trip report ] 1999 WWW8 toronto canada (CAN) 1200
9 [ WWW9 logo - takes you to my trip report ] 2000 WWW9 amsterdam netherlands (NL) 1400
10 [ WWW10 logo - takes you to my trip report ] 2001 WWW10 hongkong hongkong (HK) 1220
11 [ WWW2002 logo - takes you to my trip report ] 2002 WWW2002 honolulu USA 900
12 [ WWW2003 logo - takes you to my trip report ] 2003 WWW2003 budapest hungry (H) 850
13 [ WWW2004 logo - takes you to my trip report ] 2004 WWW2004 new york USA 1000
14 [ WWW2005 logo - takes you to my trip report ] 2005 WWW2005 chiba japan (J) 900

*) note: it is very difficult to get an accurate value for the number of attendees. the numbers are either based on the printed list of attendees where available, on the statement made by the organizers or on my own observations. the number for WWW2 is just an estimation because i missed that conference and i didn't find any numbers on the web.

the graphic below shows the number of attendees for each conference. the colors indicate on which continent the conference took place, see legend below.

[ WWW conference series: number of attendees 1994 .. 2005 ]
africa americas asia europe oceania

the animated map below is just a different presentation of the same facts: conference, location and number of attendees. there are two remarkable clusters of locations where the conferences took place, one in the north east of north america, one around central europe. on the other hand, the only continent that has been left out is africa.

[ worldmap with WWW conferences location ]

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production note:

this trip report was written on a IBM A31 notebook with Softquad HoTMetaL. this document is supposed to be HTML V4.0 compliant.

index.html / 26-jun-2009 (ra) / reto ambühler