The most interesting Web Services DevCon talk for me, though, was Don's talk on type systems and the fact that SQL's type system is, in many ways, much more flexible than the object-oriented systems so many people know and love. His observation that C++, Java and C# arguably move us away from where we want to be, at least in terms of flexibly manipulating data resonated in a very deep way, because it feeds directly into my own interest in exploring the direct use of XML in distributed systems.

I built on Don's theme in my own talk, which was a continuation of the work I presented at the previous DevCon. I presented the various approaches to accessing SOAP messages directly as XML from within a WebMethod. The next step, which I didn't get to talk about, is how to make programming against those messages more tractable. My examples used XmlReader and XmlWriter, which is the lowest level way to do it. But, needless to say it isn't that appealing to a lot of people.

I carried the XML as data model theme into the following week at WinDev, where it became one of the observations in my keynote. I was happy that the talk did so much for Chris - he finally saw the point in run-time typing when you have to work with a wide range of data formats. His reaction further energized me to continue with my work on using XML directly.

There is so much to do!