Liam R. E. Quin · Résumé

Address: Liam Quin,
777 County Rd 24, RR1,
Milford, ON,
'Phone: +1 613 476 8769

Employment History

2001 - present: World Wide Web Consortium

I work full time for the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) as XML Activity Lead.

If you would like me to give a keynote or speak at a conference, or visit your organization and present about XML or related topics, contact me directly ( or contact the W3C press office (

My consulting firm, Barefoot Computing, is still going to give support to existing clients, but I am not able to take on much new work right now.

2000 - present: SGML/XML Consultant

I'm now working for myself out of a home office in Milford, Ontario. Clients include Wiley Interscience (, for whom I have done large amounts of DSSSL, DTD and scripting work, and for whom I'm currently working on XSLT stylesheets and an XML DTD; I have also been writing on XML for both John Wiley and Sybex..

I have spoken at two recent Open Source conferences ( and the Gnome GUADEC conference in Denmark), and am also working on an XML-based page layout progam.

1999 - 2000: SGML/XML Consultant

I helped to configure an SGML publishing database for aircraft manuals; this includes DTD work, typographic layout design and implementation, documentation and scripting. I also wrote a Perl preprocessor for style sheets to help make the environment easier to manage.

1997 - 1998: Groveware: Director of Development

I managed a team of programmers building web software. An XML repository was designed and built using Java and an object-oriented database. The startup ran out of funding before the sales effort had really started. What's left is at and the products still appear to be for sale, but I no longer have any involvement.

1990 - 1997: SoftQuad: Senior Technical Consultant

I spent over seven years at SoftQuad, working with some wonderful people and learning a lot. I started out as a programmer, writing a troff driver for a Xerox laser printer and moved on to SGML consulting and DTD writing. I was technical manager of the Consulting division for a while; that involved meeting with customers, specifying projects, helping with sales hand-offs and also managing the programmers write the code. And sometimes writing the code.

I was technical lead for HoTMetaL, an HTML editor; I was responsible for specification, design, and for managing the implementation, documentation and much of the publicity.

I was technical product manager for SoftQuad Panorama Pro, a networked SGML viewer, and was also responsible for detailed analysis and design of some medium-sized (several man-year) Panorama-based consulting projects.

I also spoke at conferences and represented SoftQuad Inc. at innumerable trade shows and conferences.

1986 - 1990a: Unixsys (UK) Ltd: Technical Manager

Unixsys (UK) sold Unix-based computers, which I elped to configure. We also sold publishing software, including SoftQuad troff, and built Unix-based PCs at a time when that was an unusual thing to do.


Mastering XML, Premium Edition

I am one of two main authors involved in this 1000+ page book from Sybex; it is a rewrite of an earlier edition with the same title.

Open Source XML Database Toolkit

I am the sole author of this one, an interdisciplinary look at techniques for using relational, object and hashing databases with XML. Published by Wiley.

The XML Specification Guide

This is a 400 page book published by Wiley in January 1999; my colleague, Dr. Ian Graham, was the co­author. It was Book of the Week in February 1999 at, and has four and a half stars at

Conference Papers

I have given papers at Usenix (technical Unix conference), (a Linux conference), SGML, XML and Markup Technologies conferences, GUADEC, for the Gnome desktop, BBS1CON (an ISP conference), the International World Wide Web Conference and elsewhere.

I give tutorials on digital typography, on SGML and XML, and other subjects.

I was on the Editorial Board for the MIT Press academic peer-reviewed journal Markup Technologies.

See also Publications below.

Current Projects

I'm currently working on a novel, it's time for a break from Xml books!


I've done a lot of programming; because I can usually get on well with other people, I can communicate between programmers, writers and managers, and because programmers respect my abilities, they will work with me and for me.

The C Programming Language

I have been programming in C on Unix since 1981, and have worked on a very wide range of projects. This ranges from writing a publicly available text retrieval database package representing approximately two full years of effort, through to maintaining or debugging code, writing smaller projects or helping other people with design, debugging or coding.

Perl (CGI, Conversion, Modules, XML, Web Databases)

I've written a lot of small CGI scripts in perl; the largest perl programs I've written have been an IRC Server and a bot, The AutoLinker is a perl script that adds cross-references to generated HTML automatically based on a database or on an XML input file; you can see an example at

The Unix Operating System (Unix, Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, HP/UX, etc)

(Administration, Installation, Networking Web Pages, Programming)
I've had some Unix or other system at home since 1986; currently a SPARC system. I've been involved in Unix administration since 1985 or so too, with systems including VAX, Sun, PC, IBM, HP, SGI and others running both commercial and free operating systems.

The X Window System, NeWS and GUIs

I've done a lot of X programming, including work with XView, OSF/Motif, GTK, Tk, NeWS/PostScript and others. I once wrote an interactive game in PostScript that was quite popular for a while

I've also helped review books and standards (you can see my name as a technical reviewer in the O'Reilly Volume 8 on X Administration for example.

I've helped design interactive products, including the first version of SoftQuad's HoTMetaL HTML editor, with user feedback and documentation needs taken into account.

Others . . .

I can read, and sometimes write, C++, java, tcl, tk, troff, awk, etc.

World Wide Webbing


I was on the HTML 2 committee for the IETF, and have been making web pages since 1993. I was product manager for SoftQuad HoTMetaL Pro and worked on the original specification for that product.


I have been using SGML since 1987, designing DTDs, helping people represent information with markup, teaching and consulting. I worked at SoftQuad when it was the leading SGML company, programming, managing and designing; I was product manager for SoftQuad Panorama, an SGML viewer that used style sheets; I am still involved in the SGML community.


I was on the W3C XML Working Group from the start, have written a book on XML and am working on a second one. I was an invited expert at the World Wide Web Consortium for the XLink activity.


I'm currently working full time using XSLT to generate HTML and other formats. You can see an XSLT-based preprocessor for the magicpoint presentation tool at


I've written more CGI scripts than I can count, in Unix shell, C and perl, with or without perl CGI modules.


I've used a wide range of applications to make web graphics that are small, download quickly, and make good use of the standard Netscape/IE 216-colour pallette, including PhotoShop, PaintShop, Illustrator, ImageMagick, pbm, XPaint and others.

Text Retrieval


I gave a paper at Usenix 1994 in Boston on text retrieval, and on my implementation; the paper is available at in HTML. As far as I am aware, I am the first person to describe (in 1989) heuristic case matching, in which upper-case terms in a search query only match upper case words, but lower-case terms match either; this is currently used by major search engines.


My text retrieval package, lq-text, is at where full source is available (about 30,000 lines of C); it was first released in 1989, and continues to be freely available in the open source tradition.

Managing People and Projects


I managed a team of consultants and programmers at SoftQuad; projects were delivered on time or early, with high satisfaction from both customers and staff.


I managed a team of programmers at GroveWare; I previously managed between 2 and 8 programmers at SoftQuad. I'm good at motivating technical staff, partly because I understand the issues and they know that I do.

Spare Time

I am Network Director for an Internet Relay Chat network that has a user-base of approximately ten thousand people.

Standards Work

Organization For International Standardization (ISO)

I was involved with work for DSSSL, the style sheet language for SGML; I've also worked with the ISO SGML specification extensively. I am involved with the Canadian standards association in representing Canada for work in the area of fonts and typography.

Oh, and yes, ISO isn't an acronym.

Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)

I was involved in IETF working groups for MIME, Unicode, HTML and IRC.

World Wide Web Consortium

I was involved in Digital Signatures, RDF, HTML, XML, Linking and other groups. I currently participate as an Invited Expert.

Public Speaking and Training


I've spoken at a number of conferences, sometimes at very short notice, and am comfortable with this.


I've been involved with invited workshops (such as the Dublin Core series on Metadata) and have held workshops myself.


I have written and delivered training courses on Unix Administration, C Programming, typography, HTML, SGML and other areas.

Fonts, Type and Graphic Design

I am considered a technical font guru; I also collect antiquarian books, and have given tutorials and lectures on graphic design and typography. I designed the layout for the late Yuri Rubinsky's SGML on the Web, which was widely complimented.


If fame comes from citations, then I suppose I'm getting there... Alta Vista finds over 800 pages with my name on them, and I'm mentioned in quite a few specifications (including CSS, the Web Style Sheet standard, for example) and books. Several of my papers seem to get cited, and recently the work I did on analysing Design Patterns in XML has been referenced.


Some papers and talks I have given. This list is very incomplete.

A Text Retrieval System for the Unix Operating System in Usenix Technical Proceedings, Boston, Summer 1994.

Suggestive Markup: Explicit Relationships in Descriptive and Prescriptive DTDs, Proc. SGML 96, Boston, Dec. 1996

Writing a Readable DTD, SGML/XML '97 Conference Proceedings, pp. 297-308

XMLR: XML Reduced: A Thought Experiment - or, Why I Demand Coherence, Extreme Markup Languages 2002: Proceedings; see also slides

Lessons From an XML Query-Driven SVG+HTML Web Site, XML Europe, 2004

Why should I care about XML Query?, O'Reilly Emerging Technologies, 2004; see also slides.

International Standards: W3C, a talk given at the Ontario Government Open House in Toronto, September 2002.

IRC++, given at the 2001 Linux Conference Australia.


BSC. (Hons) in Computer Science, University of Warwick, 1984


I am English, and hold a UK passport. I am also a Canadian citizen.

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