Tim Bray

Last updated
Tim Bray
Tim Bray.jpg
Born (1955-06-21) June 21, 1955 (age 68)
Education University of Guelph (BS)
Known for
SpouseLauren Wood
Website www.tbray.org/ongoing

Timothy William Bray (born June 21, 1955) is a Canadian software developer, environmentalist, political activist and one of the co-authors of the original XML specification. [7] He worked for Amazon Web Services from December 2014 until May 2020 when he quit due to concerns over the terminating of whistleblowers. [8] [9] Previously he has been employed by Google, Sun Microsystems and Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). Bray has also founded or co-founded several start-ups such as Antarctica Systems. [10] [11] [12]


Education and early life

Bray was born on June 21, 1955 [13] in Alberta, Canada where his father worked for the Dominion Experimental Farm Service in Fort Vermilion. He grew up in Beirut, Lebanon, and returned to Canada to attend school at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario. [14] He graduated in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science, double majoring in mathematics and computer Science. In 2009, he would return to Guelph to receive an honorary degree Doctor of Science. [15] Tim described his switch of focus from math to computer science this way:

"In math I’d worked like a dog for my Cs, but in CS I worked much less for As—and learned that you got paid well for doing it." [16]


Bray joined Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in Toronto as a software specialist. In 1983, Bray left DEC for Microtel Pacific Research. He joined the New Oxford English Dictionary (OED) project at the University of Waterloo in 1987 as its manager. [17] It was during this time Bray worked with SGML, a technology that would later become central to both Open Text Corporation and his XML and Atom standardization work. [4] [6] Bray co-founded Antarctica Systems - in 2002, during his tenure as CEO for Antarctica, Bray was included in Upside magazine's elite 100 list, alongside other IT leaders like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell and Larry Ellison. [18] Bray was director of Web Technologies at Sun Microsystems from early 2004 to early 2010. [2] He joined Google as a developer advocate in 2010 focusing on Android, and then on technologies related to identity, such as OAuth and OpenID. [4] [5] [6] [19] [20] [21] He left Google in March 2014, unwilling to relocate to Silicon Valley from Vancouver. [22] He started working for Amazon Web Services (AWS) in December 2014. Bray left AWS in May 2020, after being dismayed by their treatment of whistleblowers who had raised concerns over the safety of warehouse workers in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bray had held the vice president rank, stating on his blog that "VPs shouldn't go publicly rogue", and had much praise for AWS, yet he wasn't pleased about his co-workers being fired. [23] [24] [8]

Bray's entrepreneurial activities include:

Waterloo Maple

Bray served as the part-time chief executive officer of Waterloo Maple during 1989–1990. Waterloo Maple is the developer of the Maple mathematical software.

Open Text Corporation

Bray left the new OED project in 1989 to co-found Open Text Corporation with two colleagues. Open Text commercialised the search engine employed in the new OED project.

Bray recalled that “in 1994 I heard a conference speaker say that search engines would be big on the Internet, and in five seconds all the pieces just fell into place in my head. I realized that we could build such a thing with our technology.” [16] Thus in 1995, Open Text released the Open Text Index, one of the first popular commercial web search engines. Open Text Corporation is publicly traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol OTEX. From 1991 until 1996, Bray was senior vice president—technology'.


Bray, along with his wife Lauren Wood, ran Textuality, [25] a consulting practice in the field of web and publishing technology. He was contracted by Netscape in 1999, along with Ramanathan V. Guha, [5] in part to create a new version of the Meta Content Framework called Resource Description Framework, which used the XML language.

Antarctica Systems

In 1999 he founded Antarctica Systems, a Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based company that specializes in visualization-based business analytics.

Web standards

Bray has contributed to standards in technology, particularly Web standards at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).


As an Invited Expert at the World Wide Web Consortium between 1996 and 1999, Bray co-edited the XML and XML namespace specifications. Halfway through the project Bray accepted a consulting engagement with Netscape, provoking vociferous protests from Netscape competitor Microsoft (who had supported the initial moves to bring SGML to the web.)[ citation needed ] Bray was temporarily asked to resign the editorship. This led to intense dispute in the Working Group, eventually solved by the appointment of Microsoft's Jean Paoli as third co-editor.

In 2001, Bray wrote an article called Taxi to the Future [26] for Xml.com which proposed a means to improve web client user experience and web server system performance via a Transform-Aggregate-send XML-Interact architecture—this proposed system is very similar to the Ajax paradigm, popularized around 2005. [27]


Between 2001 and 2004 [28] he served as a Tim Berners-Lee appointee [29] to the W3C Technical Architecture Group. [30]


Until October 2007, Bray was co-chair, with Paul Hoffman, of the Atom-focused Atompub Working Group of the Internet Engineering Task Force. Atom is a web syndication format developed to address perceived deficiencies with the RSS 2.0 format.


Bray worked with the IETF JSON Working Group in 2013 and 2014, serving as editor of RFC 7159, a specification of the JSON Data Interchange Format which revised RFC 4627 and highlighted interoperability best practices, released in March 2014. [31] He also edited RFC 8259, a further revision of JSON. [32]


Bray has written software applications, including Bonnie which was the inspiration for Bonnie++, a Unix file system benchmarking tool; Lark, the first XML processor; [33] and APE, the Atom Protocol Exerciser. [34]


Bray being arrested at the Trans Mountain Pipeline protest in 2019 Tim-at-protect-the-inlet.jpg
Bray being arrested at the Trans Mountain Pipeline protest in 2019

Starting in 2018, Bray became visible as an environmentalist in the context of the Trans Mountain Pipeline dispute. On April 18, 2018, he was arrested for contempt of court at a demonstration at the Trans Mountain site in Burnaby, Canada. [35] [36] He also participated in an open letter from business leaders to the British Columbia government [37] and was subsequently a public voice against the project. [38] [39] In 2019, Bray was the only VP-level Amazon employee to sign a letter to Amazon shareholders calling for a stop to Amazon Web Services' support for oil extraction. [40]

See also

Related Research Articles

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  1. Bray, T. (1996). "Measuring the Web". Computer Networks and ISDN Systems. 28 (7–11): 993–1005. doi:10.1016/0169-7552(96)00061-X.
  2. 1 2 Khare, R.; Barr, J.; Baker, M.; Bosworth, A.; Bray, T.; McManus, J. (2005). "Web services considered harmful?". Special interest tracks and posters of the 14th international conference on World Wide Web - WWW '05. p. 800. doi:10.1145/1062745.1062758. ISBN   978-1595930514. S2CID   13543260.
  3. Teaching Glass, Ongoing, 2014-05-13
  4. 1 2 3 Tim Bray at DBLP Bibliography Server OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
  5. 1 2 3 Tim Bray in Google Scholar
  6. 1 2 3 Tim Bray author profile page at the ACM Digital Library
  7. Roger Debreceny (2009-06-18). XBRL for Interactive Data. Springer. ISBN   9783642014376.
  8. 1 2 Bray, Tim (December 1, 2014). "Amazonian". Ongoing. Retrieved January 2, 2015.
  9. Bray, Tim (April 29, 2020). "Leaving Amazon". Ongoing. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  10. Interview with Tim Bray from Canada on Rails 2006, discussing Ruby, Rails, REST, XML and Java
  11. Tim Bray @ FOWA Expo 08 — The Fear Factor [ permanent dead link ]
  12. Interview with Tim Bray from QCon San Francisco 2008, discussing the future of the web
  13. Bray, Tim. "The New 40". Ongoing. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  14. Weise, Karen (22 July 2020). "The Amazon Critic Who Saw Its Power From the Inside". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  15. "Eight to Receive Honorary Degrees". June 1, 2009.
  16. 1 2 Joe Cellini. "Tim Bray: Biomedical Visualization". Apple Inc. Archived from the original on 2004-04-04.
  17. Blake, G. E.; Bray, T.; Tompa, F. W. (1992). "Shortening the OED: Experience with a grammar-defined database". ACM Transactions on Information Systems. 10 (3): 213. doi: 10.1145/146760.146764 . S2CID   16859602.
  18. "Antarcti.ca CEO Tim Bray joins technology's elite". geospatialworld.net. 23 January 2002. Retrieved 4 May 2020.
  19. Tim Bray (2010-03-15). "Now A No-Evil Zone". Archived from the original on 2013-10-19.
  20. Tim Bray (2012-06-29). "Now On Identity". Archived from the original on 2013-11-09.
  21. Bray, Tim (2013). "Golang Diaries I". tbray.org. "a really good time to write about something is while you're still discovering it, before you're looking at it from the inside" —Tim Bray
  22. Bray, Tim (February 19, 2014). "Leaving Google". Ongoing. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  23. "'VPs shouldn't go publicly rogue': XML co-author Tim Bray quits AWS over treatment of staff at Amazon's Retail division". The Register. 4 May 2020. Retrieved 4 May 2020.
  24. "Coronavirus: Amazon vice-president quits over virus firings". BBC. 4 May 2020. Retrieved 4 May 2020.
  25. Textuality
  26. "TAXI to the Future" . Retrieved 2012-07-08.
  27. Tim Bray. "ongoing · The Real AJAX Upside". Ongoing. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
  28. "W3C TAG History, thru 2004 WebArch Recommendation". W3C.
  29. Dan Connolly. "TAG - representation "from the larger Web community"?". W3C.
  30. David Becker. "How does XML measure up?". CNET Networks . Retrieved 2008-10-26.
  31. Bray, T. (2014). Bray, T. (ed.). "RFC 7159: The JSON Data Interchange Format". doi: 10.17487/RFC7159 .{{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  32. Bray, T. (2017). Bray, T. (ed.). "RFC 8259: The JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) Data Interchange Format". doi:10.17487/RFC8259. S2CID   263868313.{{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  33. Lark—the first XML processor
  34. ongoing — Software—Summary Page on Tim Bray's weblog
  35. Cruickshank, Ainslie (18 April 2018). "More protesters make court appearances as Kinder Morgan pipeline protests go global". The Star. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  36. Lambert, Sheena (19 March 2018). "'Welcome to the wild side, Mum' — A day with the Kinder Morgan pipeline opponents". National Observer. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  37. Gibillini, Nicole (19 April 2018). "Hundreds of business leaders urge B.C.'s Horgan to keep up Trans Mountain fight". BNN Bloomberg. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  38. Erlichman, Jon (31 May 2018). "Trans Mountain nationalization a 'grave mistake': Open Text co-founder". BNN Bloomberg. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  39. Erlichmann, Jon (20 April 2018). "OpenText co-founder Tim Bray throws support behind B.C. Premier Horgan on Trans Mountain". BNN Bloomberg. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  40. Merchant, Brian (12 April 2019). "6,000 Amazon Employees, Including a VP and Directors, Are Now Calling on Jeff Bezos to Stop Automating Oil Extraction". Gizmodo.