-- Last revised November 7th
This page will tell you how to reach me,
what I am working on, my travel plans, as well as my interests and background
activities. You will also learn something about my family, work experience
I am employed by Hewlett Packard who generously have placed me on full time assignment as a W3C staff member, reporting to Vincent Quint. My involvement with the Web started in 1992: authoring HTML+ and HTML 3.0, the Arena browser, coining and helping to launch VRML, setting up the IETF HTTP WG (which I notionally still co-chair -- the real work is done by Larry Masinter), and setting up the W3C HTML-ERB which has by now evolved into a number of working groups, including HTML, CSS, DOM and Math.
73b Ground Corner,
I am 5 hours ahead of Boston, 1 hour behind France and 8 hours behind Japan (during summer time; 9 hours otherwise.)
My mornings start off with getting my two children Thomas and Louise to School. Thomas has to be dropped off at a nearby Town where he gets a bus to his school some distance a way. Louise needs to be walked to her school, which is in our village -- Holt. I am happily married to Jenny Raggett, who besides being a great mother, is a fine technical writer and amateur artist.
I normally switch the computer on and get going around 9:15am local time (i.e. 10:15am French time and 4:15am Eastern time). I now have an ISDN modem, but have yet to get network access at faster than 33k6 thanks to problems with BT. GSM reception is rather poor in Holt, but thanks to BT I have voice mail.
One or two days a week, I travel into HP Labs, some 20 miles away in north Bristol. Here I get up to date with my colleagues and sort out admin. When at HP I can always be reached at my telephone in my cube: +44 117 922 9404.
I seem to be travelling about one week out of every month and am grateful to my wife and family for putting up with this.
My last trip was to Austin for a week of meetings: WAI, HTML and CSS. These were very successful and I am now on the hook to organize a "Future of HTML" event in Palo Alto in late February. I am also about to draft a call for participation for a workshop on high quality speech and the Web, to take place in Spring '98.
The one before that was to New York for the Math WG meeting 29/30th Aug and HTTP-NG meeting in Boston later that week. There are plans for HTML and CSS WG meetings in November. Vincent has said he wants the members of the UI Domain to get together in France, but the date for this has yet to be fixed.
Currently my efforts have been focussed on finishing the HTML 4.0 draft in order for it to become a Proposed Recommendation by the end of October.
I also play a role in the work on CSS and WAI activities. I am working with Bert and Håkon on proposals for styling tables, and with the WAI WG on accessibility issues.
I play a coordination role for the Math WG which I setup in early '96. This involves me in attending Math WG meetings. I also play a coordination role for work on ISO HTML. I have been involved in two meetings with the editors of the ISO HTML proposal - one in May in Cambridge Mass. and one more recently in Dublin. W3C is working with ISO to ensure the ISO HTML work is seen as formal authoring guidelines -- not a rival HTML standard.
I have had a French student working for me for 5 months at HP Labs -- Davy Batsalle -- who has been refining my EzMath plugin for rendering a simple to author math format, with support for exporting to MathML. We have demoed this to the W3C Math working group and have been asked to demo it at the Winter meeting of the AMS in January. EzMath will be made available with source code under the usual "free for any use -- just don't sue us" license. We have submitted a paper on EzMath to WWW'7. We have a standalone demonstrator for Win32 and a Netscape 3.0/4.0 plugin for Win32. Work on an ActiveX control is stalled awaiting technical info on ActiveX from Microsoft. I also hope to get help to port EzMath to the Macintosh and Unix platforms. A book is planned for next Summer.
A sudden attack of pragmatism has led me to recast Spice as a set of extensions to ECMA 262 (ECMAScript). I have submitted a paper on this to WWW'7 and plan to have a plugin for it ready in time for the conference. By compiling ECMAScript, the peformance should be better than interpreted Java.
The language aims to make it easy to add presentation and behaviour to XML documents. It builds upon people's familiarity with CSS to represent style rules but avoids any prior knowledge of the meaning of style properties. There are no predefined flow-objects. Instead these are "imported" in the same way that programs bind to down-loadable Java classes and Active-X classes. This binding can be tight or loose. In the latter case, the binding is to any implementation that provides the interface specified by the author.
An early spin-off from this work is a utility I am calling "tidy" for tidying up HTML. Tidy is composed from an HTML parser and an HTML pretty printer. The parser goes to considerable lengths to correct common markup errors. I have submitted a paper describing tidy to WWW'7 and am working with Gerald Oskoboiny to improve tidy with the goal of making it part of the W3C HTML validation (and correction) service.
My EzMath plugin is based on experience over the last few years since I started looking at how to incorporate mathematics into Web pages in 1993. Imagine you have to speak a mathematical expression over the phone. EzMath aims to use an English-like syntax that captures how you would speak math to a friend when you aren't in the same room and so can't share a written context. This entails a greater focus on semantics that found for example with LaTeX.
I am very much concerned with scaling issues for the Web. Right now the Web is still in its infancy. Techniques that sort of work today, won't work for tomorrow. My ideas are based around the notion of service replication as a replacement for file caching. DNS is a poor basis for naming resources and I an interested in higher performance and more appropriate alternatives. When I formed the HTTP working group in 1994, I tried to get the IETF to work on a next generation protocol, but it has taken until now to get enough people interested in this.
From 1995 working for W3C on assignment from HP Labs for two years at MIT and now from home in England.
1985-1994 working for HP Labs, at Bristol England on knowledge-based systems, hypertext and user interfaces. I started work on the Web in 1992 and gradually shifted my focus until I was working full time on this in 1994.
1984 working for Hewlett Packard's Office Productivity Division
1990-1984 working for Research Machines Limited in Oxford on architecting and implementing system software for local area networks on Z-80 computers for schools and colleges.
I studied Physics at the University of Oxford, and stayed on to get a doctorate in Astrophysics. During this time I developed a fascination for computers and went on to spend a year as a research associate at the Machine Intelligence Research Unit at The University of Edinburgh in Scotland. In 1995 I spent six months at the Logic Programming Department of Imperial College, London, as an Alvey Journeyman.