Looking Over 3.2 and the May 2007 User Conference

by Ian Small

Categories: Features; 3.2
Altitude: 10,000 feet

Well, it's less than a week until our user conference, and we've just released 3.2 out into the wild (fancy that!).

For those of you who've been participating in our Early Access program, you know that our newest release has been cooking for a while, and - more to the point - you also know that it's chock-full of new features. (I wonder as I write this what a chock actually is, but then, that's one of the joys of blogging - you don't really need to stop to find out.)

What I do know is that MarkLogic Server 3.2 is a diamond resulting from the convergence of a number of forces: our publishing customers, our government deployments, the market at large, and of course the inventive and twisted minds of our engineers and products personnel. This release can take you, and us along with you, into a whole spectrum of new places and new possibilities. 3.2 can accelerate you into:

  • new languages (and thus into new geographies),
  • new sources of content (like the web),
  • new content formats (including the Microsoft Office and OpenOffice end-user productivity suites),
  • new applications (powered by even better search and analytics),
  • new user navigation and information displays (powered by those same analytics),
  • new levels of performance (letting you make your existing apps even faster than before),
  • new extremes of scalability (through enhanced tuning, new functionality and more low-level control levers than ever before),
  • new tools for development (check out Oxygen 8.2), and
  • new tools for systems management (both through our admin interface and through integration to new status APIs).

If it sounds like a lot to take in, it is. Over the coming weeks and months, I'll try to blog about some of the more intriguing bits - at least the parts where I have some unique insight to add. But for the moment, the best place to soak it all up will be at our user conference, which starts just next week in the city (go here if you haven't registered already).

This year's conference will be at the Hilton Financial District in San Francisco, starting on Tuesday May 15th. Having been back and forth to the hotel a number of times over the last several months, I prefer to think of it as the "Hilton Chinatown", as it literally bridges San Francisco's Financial District and Chinatown. It's a great location, both in terms of the hotel and its immediate surroundings. And that's good, because we have a great conference coming up.

For the first time, we're going to dual-track the conference. We'll have an applications track, focused on customer solutions and case studies, and a technical track, focused on the nuts and bolts and of course on MarkLogic Server 3.2. The applications track will be predominantly delivered by our customers, and the technical track by us, but there will certainly be pinch hitters in each track talking "from the other side". We're also having a really nice set of plenary sessions that will give the attendees an opportunity to come back together and hear about topics that should interest both the yin and the yang of the MarkLogic user base.

I've been spending a lot of time working with the team on the technical agenda, and the conference program does an excellent job of summarizing why you might be interested in going to each talk. However, with my "insider" position, I have the advantage of knowing a wee bit more about what's going on in each session. So I'll leave you with a hint about something-you-might-not-think-you-would-learn from each of the technical track sessions - an off-the-wall nugget that might pique your interest sufficiently when faced with the unenviable decision of "which session should I go to?"

  • Going Beyond English With Enhanced Language Support
    Leveraging the work we've done around stemming, this session will also show you how we've improved precision and recall even if your applications are English-only.
  • Getting the Right Order with New Collations
    Collations don't sound terribly sexy, but you can save yourself a whole lot of work if you realize all the ways they can be used. I'll bet you didn't know that you can use collations to do phone number comparisons, independent of all the different ways you can write a phone number!
  • XQuery Best Practices (Elsevier)
    Learn from some folks who've been using our software for years. And get the lowdown on some of what they've already figured out with 3.2. (But don't expect them to share everything they know...)
  • Win, Place and Show with Lexicon Frequency Analysis
    Probably the leading candidate for whizziest feature in 3.2, lexicon frequency analysis doesn't just make things faster - it makes some new analytics possible for the first time.
  • Content Logic: Moving Beyond Presentation and Business Logic (Harvard Business School Publishing)
    Business logic. Content logic. What's the difference? Seems to me that the folks with one of the biggest names in business publishing would know. So the good news is that they're going to tell you.
  • Getting to Big Time Bulk Content Processing
    So if we set you a homework problem of reprocessing 25 KB of XML content, do you know where you would start? How about if it was 25 TB? You'll learn the whole range of solutions from this session.
  • Tuning in to Performance with Fields and Word Query
    Fields are probably the single feature in 3.2 with the most far-reaching impact on production deployments of XML content servers. I could tell you all the things that fields can do for you, but you probably wouldn't believe me. Suffice it to say that it could hurt your head to attend this session, but your end users (and your IT manager) might love you for it.
  • How Do I Search Thee? Let Me Count The Ways...
    It wouldn't be a MarkLogic release without more search functionality, more search scalability, and more search performance. Did you ever want to search just-that-one-forest-over-there? Well, you can learn how here.
  • Using <oXygen/> to Debug Applications in MarkLogic Server
    It's a bird! It's a plane! It's an integrated development environment for developing content applications in MarkLogic Server! Imagine a GUI debugger for your XQuery content applications. No, wait, you don't have to imagine it - it's here!
  • Knowing the Score for Relevance
    So just how confident are you that you really have an accurate measure of our fitness for scoring? If you want to understand that pun, you should come to the session, which is (as a matter of fact) delivered by MarkLogic's leading punster.
  • Getting A New View To Performance with the Performance Profiling API
    Boy, just as soon as we've got debugging out there, we're off making performance profiling possible. And what's nice is that unlike the debugging API, the performance profiling API can be immediately useful to you, the individual developer. And with a little bit of SVG, graphical output is yours for the taking!
  • Enterprise Ready: New Administration and Operation Capabilities
    So what if I told you we were opening up the APIs for doing cluster status and request monitoring? So that you can integrate MarkLogic with central monitoring tools... Would that be interesting to you?
  • Working with PDF Conversion
    PDF, PDF, PDF. Such a popular format. And yet, so difficult to work with. Together with you, we've figured what works well (and what doesn't), and 3.2 brings a lot of new tools for people in the trenches with PDF. This session will take you through the ins and outs of a whole set of new conversion options for PDF.
  • Preparing for Office 2007
    Well, this is my own session, so I think it might be ungentlemanly of me to bias you into attending, not to mention unfair to the folks over in the applications track. But let me just say one word. Demos.
  • Pushing the Envelope: Sizing and Scaling
    You've heard us talk about "big, fast, XQuery". This session will talk about scalability, how 3.2 can help, and will give you some history on what "big and fast" has meant to us - and where it's going. If you're into big, I suspect that there will be at least one chart that raises your eyebrows.

I know that 3.2 is a great release. And I believe we're going to have a great conference. So I look forward to seeing you there next week to catch up, talk about your business, and talk about how 3.2 can keep accelerating you forward.

See you at the Hilton!
ian

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