Compound Document Formats Working Group Charter

The mission of the W3C Compound Document Formats (CDF) Working Group is to continue to develop specifications which combine selected existing document formats from the W3C and elsewhere, and which specify the runtime behavior of such combined documents.

The need for this group arises from the increasing demand for certain document formats that mix existing W3C formats, either by reference or by inclusion. To address this need, the Compound Document Formats Working Group will create a framework and a set of specific combinations of technologies, known as technology profiles (as distinct from User Agent profiles). The goal of this working group is to identify the most common and most useful combinations of existing technologies, and to describe the syntax, interfaces, and interaction where that behavior is currently undefined.

The primary goal is to define the details of SVG and MathML in both XHTML and HTML, and of X/HTML in SVG, in a single-file mixed-language document, which is a central market need for browsers and UIs across desktop, mobile, and embedded devices. Also important are mixing lesser-known, but potential-rich, languages such as SMIL, SCXML, XForms, and VoiceXML. For example, the SMIL timing model is used extensively in SVG, and can also work in XHTML via Timesheets, and can be combined with SCXML and XForms for rich user interfaces; defining how such combinations of technologies integrate will promote their use and usefulness, as well as making implementation easier through clear and comprehensive test suites.

The main markets that the CDF WG will address are those with an existing investment in some combination of current Web formats, such as XHTML, HTML, SVG, and CSS; these include desktop Web browsers, mobile phones (both mass-market and feature phones), Interactive Television and Consumer Electronics (set-top boxes), and content creators and consumers in the scientific, technical, engineering and educational sectors.

With the WICD framework and Compound Document By Reference completed, the focus of activity will be Compound Document By Inclusion. Given the recent activity in non-XML HTML, the CDF WG will devote significant attention to inclusion of other languages in HTML as well as XHTML.

Join the Compound Document Formats Working Group.

End date 31 May 2010
Confidentiality Proceedings are public
Initial Chairs CHAIR INFO
Team Contact
(FTE %: 15)
Doug Schepers (W3C/Keio)
Usual Meeting Schedule Teleconferences: Weekly
Face-to-face: 3-4 per year


The scope of the Compound Document Formats Working Group covers the technologies related to combining existing documents formats, either by reference or by inclusion.

As described above, it is within scope to create a new document format that combines existing W3C formats to address industry needs, including a manifest format. It is also within scope to create new technologies that apply to the possible new complications that arise from combining formats. Furthermore, it is within scope to define solutions for accessing and manipulating the formats developed by this group, using a DOM API through both scripting and compiled programming languages.

The architectural constraints on the work are:

Technical Items

Note that with so many potential useful combinations of technologies, the interests of the active participants will drive the work on precisely which vocabularies and profiles receive the most concentration and consideration.



Success Criteria

Out of Scope

It is not within scope to create a new document format for an specific purpose, where the new format does not consist of a combination of existing W3C formats. For example, it is not within scope to create a markup language for text documents (where it overlaps with HTML), graphics (where it overlaps with SVG), styling (where it overlaps with CSS), or timing and synchronization (where it overlaps with SMIL).

Also not in scope are issues of the general case for universal integration of all XML langauges, which is under consideration by the Technical Advisory Group. The experience gathered by this work is expected to inform TAG issue mixedUIXMLNamespace-33 but is not expected to solve the entire issue by itself.


The working group will deliver at least the following:


A tentative schedule of expected milestones is given below. All milestones are dependent on the outcome of the requirements and what the Working Group believes is the appropriate timeframe.


Specification transition estimates and other milestones. Already completed milestones are styled like this

Note: The group will document significant changes from this initial schedule on the group home page.
Specification FPWD LC CR PR Rec
CDR UC&R Nov 05 - - - -
CDR Oct 05 Nov 06 Jul 07 Jul 08 Oct 08
CDI UC&R Aug 08 - - - -
CDI Aug 08 Mar 09 Jul 09 Jan 10 Mar 10
CDM Jan 09 Jun 09 Sep 09 Mar 10 Jun 10

Dependencies and Liaisons


The Web Applications Working Group is not aware of any direcr Web Applications Working Group specifications that depend upon specifications developed by other groups, though there are some dependencies between current Web Applications Working Group specifications.


The Working Group has to work closely with other groups at W3C, especially those developing document formats:

Hypertext Coordination Group:
The Hypertext Coordination Group has the responsibility to ensure that all the W3C Working Group creating Document specifications review each other's work. The Compound Document Formats Working Group will be represented on the Hypertext Coordination Group.
Web Applications Working Group:
The WebApps WG has many deliverables, including APIs, languages, and packaging formats that can be used in combination with many different technologies. To ensure that these deliverables are suitable for a broad range of technologies, and to help integrate how they work together, this group will work closely with the WebApps WG.
W3C Groups developing document formats:
Including the HTML, XHTML2, CSS, Math, SMIL, XForms, Voice, and SVG Working Groups. The Compound Document Formats Working Group will produce technology based on the products of these Working Groups, it is essential that there is a close working relationship.
Multimodal Interaction Working Group:
The Multimodal Interaction Working Group faces many similar problems. A close collaboration with the MMI WG is needed.
Math Interest Group:
Many scientific and technical documents use MathML, and the community has an interest in compound document issues.
Multimodal Interaction Working Group:
The Multimodal Interaction Working Group faces many similar problems. A close collaboration with the MMI WG is needed.
Internationalization Working Group:
The Working Group will cooperate with the I18N Working Group.
Web Accessibility Initiative:
The Working Group will cooperate with WAI to ensure that all work meets the W3C accessibility goals.

The following is a tentative list of external bodies the Working Group should collaborate with:

Some of the outputs of this Working Group are technologies that could be endorsed by 3GPP.
Some of the outputs of this Working Group are technologies that could be endorsed by OMA.
Some of the outputs of this Working Group are technologies that could be used in Java Community Process Expert Groups.
DVD Forum:
Some of the technologies developed here should be applicable to the DVD Forum, or other related industry bodies (such as BlueRay).

Furthermore, the CDF Working Group expects to follow these W3C Recommendations:


To be successful, the CDF Working Group is expected to have 5 or more active participants for its duration. Effective participation to CDF Working Group is expected to consume one half work day per week for each participant; one to two days per week for editors. The CDF Working Group will allocate also the necessary resources for building Test Suites for each specification and maintaining existing specifications (including publication of errata).

Each organization may have up to two participants in the CDF Working Group for purposes of technical discussion, issue resolution, voting, and other issues of process, but may additionally allocate any number of participants for dedicated tasks, such as creating or maintaining the test suites, or providing tutorial materials, subject to member review and approval.

Participants are reminded of the Good Standing requirements of the W3C Process.


Feedback to this group may be sent to the public mailing list public-cdf@w3.org (archive), a forum for open technical discussions. This group will primarily conduct its technical work on public-cdf-wg@w3.org (archive), the group's publicly-readable mailing list. Editors within the group will use the W3C's public CVS repository to maintain Editor's Drafts of specifications. The group's action and issue tracking data will also be public, as will the Member-approved minutes from all teleconferences.

The group will use a Member-confidential mailing list for administrative purposes and, at the discretion of the Chairs and members of the group, for member-only discussions in special cases when a particular member requests such a discussion.

Information about the group, including news and links to specifications and membership, is available from the CDF home page. Member-only information is available from the CDF Working Group home page.

Decision Policy

As explained in the Process Document (section 3.3), this group will seek to make decisions when there is consensus. When the Chair puts a question and observes dissent, after due consideration of different opinions, the Chair should record a decision (possibly after a formal vote) and any objections, and move on.

This charter is written in accordance with Section 3.4, Votes of the W3C Process Document and includes no voting procedures beyond what the Process Document requires.

Patent Policy

This Working Group operates under the W3C Patent Policy (5 February 2004 Version). To promote the widest adoption of Web standards, W3C seeks to issue Recommendations that can be implemented, according to this policy, on a Royalty-Free basis.

For more information about disclosure obligations for this group, please see the W3C Patent Policy Implementation.

About this Charter

This charter for the CDF Working Group has been created according to section 6.2 of the Process Document. In the event of a conflict between this document or the provisions of any charter and the W3C Process, the W3C Process shall take precedence.

Please also see the previous charter for this group.

Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>
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