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Team Comment on the Timesheets: XML Timing Language Submission

W3C is pleased to receive the Timesheets: XML Timing Language Submission from Helsinki University of Technology.

This Submission specifies an XML language for introducing temporal control to XML documents.


The XML Timing language (Timesheets) provides temporal styling for XML documents. The temporal control language is included as a distinctive section in a document and it assigns the timing information to the elements in the other sections of the document, in the same way the Cascading Style Sheets assign spatial properties to the elements. The desire is keeping content and spatial and temporal styling of a document separated into three functional sections.

As with CSS, Timesheets can be reused in multiple documents using an external timesheet. The external timesheet may also be appended to the end of the local timesheet. Therefore a common timesheet can be reused in multiple documents without the need to rewrite it every time. It provides a common temporal layout for multimedia presentations with different contents but identical storyline.

Additionally, the language is extended to change style properties of the elements from the timesheet (using a class attribute for the item element). This is done by setting the value of class attribute to reference a CSS pseudo-class that is used in the style sheet of the document. The author doesn't have to add the same document element with the same content multiple times with different style properties, but instead only define a pseudo-class for each property change and control them from the timesheet.

Compared to SMIL, the XML Timing language can be seen as a different approach to the timing of XML documents. It reuses a subset of timing primitives from the Timing and Synchronization module of SMIL 2.0. It allows to separate content, styling and timing for authoring and maintenance of multimedia documents.

Relationship to W3C work

The Timesheets Submission relates to the following W3C Activities:

Relationship to other Member Submissions

The Submission relates to a previous Member Submission "SMIL 2.0 Extension for Professional Multimedia Authoring - Preliminary Investigation acknowledged by W3C, which proposed several possible extensions to SMIL 2.0 function modules in the timing and presentation area.

Next Steps

We look forward to the Synchronized Multimedia community providing feedback on the utility of the architecture and overall functionality offered by Timesheets. We also look forward to a discussion of the degree of interest that exists in integrating a timesheet model approach into the mainstream of Web technologies, as well as the strategy that could be put in place to accomplish this goal.

The Timesheets Submission should be brought to the attention of the Synchronized Multimedia Activity and the Hypertext Coordination Group for discussion on Timesheets with other approaches to XML Timing languages, such as SMIL, Timed Text, SVG and related strategic issues. Collaboration with the Multimodal Interaction (MMI) Activity for interaction purposes and the Compound Document Formats (CDF) Activity for combining existing documents formats, either by reference or by inclusion is recommended.

W3C Members and other parties interested in Timesheets are encouraged to contact the submitter or to discuss this and other ideas on the public mailing list <www-smil@w3.org> (public archive) for possible future work.

Disclaimer: Placing a Submission on a Working Group/Interest Group agenda does not imply endorsement by either the W3C Team or the participants of the Working Group/Interest Group, nor does it guarantee that the Working Group/Interest Group will agree to take any specific action on a Submission.

Editor: Thierry Michel $Date: mercredi 23 mars 2005 - 09:22:12$ $Revision: 1.49 $