DPUB IG Telco, 2016-06-20: CSS WG, Use Cases Document

See minutes online for a more detailed record of the discussions. (The headers below link into the relevant sections of the minutes.)

Bridging with the CSS WG

This was a continuation of the discussion from last week on how to bridge with the CSS WG better. What was agreed is that there should be more active contacts with (a) reading system developers who hit the major issues themselves and are major part of the ecosystem and (b) with technical people in e-publication production who may hit issues that they have to circumvent with special code (possibly polyfills). It would also be important to find out how the features defined in XSL-FO are currently used in publishing and what difficulties are hit when those are mapped onto CSS. Two actions are planned

  1. organize a meeting with the major Reading System developers, like Google Play, iBooks, Readium, AER.IO, Bluefire, etc, to collect their input
  2. set up a (wiki) page to collect the XSL-FO experiences (eg, from Antenna House, Prince, etc) that should be mapped on CSS and what difficulties they hit

It was emphasized that real business cases are needed; an experimental implementation in a not-widely-used platform will not be convincing enough for browser manufacturers…

Use Cases’ Document Structure and Editing

The discussion (also in preparation to the upcoming Virtual F2F) was mainly on how to structure the current use case document. The example of the use cases of the archival task force was mentioned, although it was felt that the structure in that document is a little bit too complex (and also related to some sort of a workflow), so it should be somewhere in between. Also, some real “story” should be added around the individual use cases, which are often just a one sentence. It was therefore agreed that, for example in section 2.7 of the document we should all add a story around 1-2 case, and then organize the document accordingly.

What are also missing for a proper organization are

  • succinct definitions of the requirements that are referred to from the use cases
  • prioritization of the requirements

It was also noted that some requirements are mutually contradictory; these should be at least called out and, possibly, discussed and decided upon. (Part of this may be the subject of the Virtual F2F.)

DPUB IG Telco, 2016-06-13: CSS WG, priorities

See minutes online for a more detailed record of the discussions. (The headers below link into the relevant sections of the minutes.)

CSS F2F meeting report

Dave Cramer gave a report of the recent CSS WG F2F meeting, that took place in San Francisco. The main point of interest for this group are:

  • Flexbox and grid. Both of these have evolved significantly. Flexbox is now in CR and grids has also evolved a lot.
  • Alt text in generated content. Generated content has been picked up again, and it will include the possibility to add “alt” text to it. Although this is still a complex issue, the goal is to improve the accessibility aspects of generated content
  • Discussions on baseline grids, to control alignment of stuff across pages and columns. This, and another feature called hanging punctuation. Both are important for, eg, CJK languages.

CSS Priorities’ document

There is a document on CSS priorities that the group has started to edit. The goal was to come up with a wish-list of things the publication community would like to be able to do but cannot do. However, it is fairly difficult to get these points onto the CSS WG’s agenda, and a simple listing of priorities will not really cut it. The problem is that the browser developers will see this as a theoretical thing, and dismiss it, unless there is someone who is trying to build something but coming up with a roadblock. What really counts and makes people think and move is people come not only with wishes, but some sort of implementations – polyfills or not – is how groups like CSS operate.

There were some discussion on the call on, e.g., how to “use” and cooperate with the Readium consortium, how to get more input, etc; the discussion will continue on subsequent calls.

DPUB IG Telco, 2016-06-06: Use case document & manifests

See minutes online for a more detailed record of the discussions. (The headers below link into the relevant sections of the minutes.)

Use cases on manifests

Most of the meeting was on use cases to be gathered/documented on manifests. One of the most important issue, at that point, what the manifest is for an area like publishing. Is it a resource to be used for packaging only, or is it to be used independently on whether the publication is packed or not. (The consensus shifts towards the latter.) What is (is there?) a difference between the information in a manifest and what is commonly referred to as metadata?

The basic use case for manifests is to define what are the resources that are part of the publication. Then the discussion ended up listing a number of “information” that must be available about a publication; some of these are:

  • information on the media type of those resources (can a RS handle them), about their size (does the RS have enough memory for it)
  • reading order of the resources (at least a default reading order)
  • need to know whether the rendering is offline or online
  • need to have basic metadata, like the name and the cover image of the publication itself
  • need to have access to the resource “efficiently”, i.e., without the need to complex processing of the resource
  • need to know the rights associated to resources (is it all right to download a font)
  • need to know if there are extraneous files in the publication and what to do about that
  • need to have information on whether the resources are unaltered, whether they can be altered and under what circumstances, about the origin of the resources

etc. (The URC document’s commit right after the call has a record of that list.)

This discussion is of course ongoing. Actually, a new “virtual F2F” meeting may be organized to flesh many of the details out.

DPUB IG Telco, 2016-05-23: W3C/IDPF Plans, Web Platform WG

See minutes online for a more detailed record of the discussions. (The headers below link into the relevant sections of the minutes.)

IDPF/W3C Plans

There was an announcement on the exploration of W3C and IDPF joining forces; this was discussed a bit on the call. Nick reported on a mailing list discussion, and the main question there was what the impact would be on publishing. There were some concerns around the messaging, on how these things have been decided, etc. Karen also reported on an article on CNET.

Ivan raised the issue that the current messaging does not emphasize enough the importance of the use case document that the IG is planning, and also emphasizing that the current PWP document is not necessarily a done deal as it is; the use case evolution may modify it greatly. Finally, Dave raised the issue that there were many discussions leading up to the announcement that was done in closed fora, and the final decision process should be made more in the public. The group also wondered about the possibility for further public discussions around this, including a possible Webinar.

Web Platform WG topics

Charles McCathieNeville (“chaals”), co-chair of the Web Platform WG at W3C, was the guest of the call to discuss some areas of common interest.


There is a work item in the WPWG on packaging but, at this moment, there are no real takers. Packaging is obviously of interest for the publishing community, and the question arose whether this community wants to push the current approach. The fact is that most browsers have an extension that uses zip and a manifest; i.e., that approach would get some traction, as opposed to the current proposal.

During the discussion it came to the fore that publishers currently use zip+manifest, although the current formats for manifests, as well as the specificities on zip usage, are not very Web friendly. But there is already work going on (in the IDPF EPUB WG) to update the manifest, a JSON approach, which is the current line at W3C (see the Web App Manifest, is probably o.k. for the Publishing Industry on long term. That being said, it is not clear how the current Web App Manifest can be extended for a particular community.

It has been agreed that the DPUB IG would submit issues or comments on the manifest as well as the packaging work to make its position clear.

Service Workers

The current work on PWP relies on concepts that calls for a tool like Service Workers. Dave has already experimented with this, but questions arose about the longevity of the Service Worker spec, and whether it is really something the community can rely on. It seems that Service Workers are indeed here to say, although the first implementations will probably not be optimal. But it is a safe bet to use them. (See also caniuse entries on it: Mozilla and Chrome already ship it, Microsoft has expressed interest. Not clear about Safari.)

HTML Extensions, Custom Elements (eg, the element)

Lately there were lots of discussion on the re-introduction of the element, that would certainly be of interest for the Publishing Community. What is needed today is to have clear usage data through an implementation. It was emphasized that “implementation” does not necessarily mean one of the browsers; if an EPUB reading system implemented it and used it, this would constitute a good proof of usage.

On a more general level, the issue of HTML Extensions, in particular Custom Elements, came to the fore, as well as the general approach for extensions. For Custom Elements, although it is only supported in Chrome/Opera at this point, the plan is to go ahead and others will also implement it; more generally, the approach using discussions in the HTML Incubator was emphasized as a means to bring new features into HTML.

It was agreed to have these types of meetings with the WPWG more often…

Digital Publishing and Accessibility in W3C Documents Note Published

The Digital Publishing Interest Group has published a Group Note of Digital Publishing and Accessibility in W3C Documents. This document describes how W3C guidelines (including but not limited to WCAG20, ATAG20, UAAG20, and WAI-ARIA) and their principles, guidelines, and success criteria can be applied to the needs of Digital Publishing. It provides informative guidance, but does not set requirements.

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DPUB IG Telco, 2016-05-02: F2F planning, Overview of Web Annotation

See minutes online for a more detailed record of the discussions. (The headers below link into the relevant sections of the minutes.)

Accessibility Note

A (virtual) F2F meeting is planned on the 25th of May; the telco spent quite some time to plan the agenda for that meeting. The bottom line is that virtually the whole of the F2F meeting should be spent on the use case documents, addressing use cases on portability, random access, digital signatures, manifests, security, etc. Relationships to the BFF work at IDPF will also be discussed, as a straw man approach to new types of manifest. The goal will be to work on real text and significantly move the core document forward.

Notes in HTML

Tim Cole, Rob Sanderson, and Ivan Herman gave an overview of the Web Annotation Work. They gave some details on the new version of the Web Annotation Data Model document, which provides a simple approach to describe an annotation structure with a body (or several bodies), target (or targets), both enriched by provenance, license, etc, features. A rich selector mechanism is also defined to ensure a better description and access to, possibly, a part of a resource, providing a finer granularity than what is available through, eg, media fragments only.

There were some discussion on current implementation plans, as well as the timing and plans to migrate the current annotation work, as part of the IDPF documents, to this new version.

The plans for the Web Annotations are to issue a Candidate Recommendation sometimes late spring this year, and hopefully publish a Recommendation sometimes by the end of this year.

DPUB IG Telco, 2016-04-25: A11y note, Notes in HTML

See minutes online for a more detailed record of the discussions. (The headers below link into the relevant sections of the minutes.)

Accessibility Note

Charles LaPierre reported about the latest editorial round on the upcoming accessibility note. There were only administrative and editorial issues to be discussed; the group has agreed to publish the note, as an official W3C IG Note, on the 3rd of May.

Notes in HTML

Shane McCarron and David MacDonald presented a draft they are busy with on adding a note element e.g., footnote, endnote, etc. to HTML in some way or other. This is very early work, though also based on an earlier discussion thread on the Interest Group. The intention on the group meeting was, primarily, to see if there is an interest, from the publishers’ point of view, on having such a set of elements (specifically: note, noteref, and notegroup). There were lots of question and discussion on the group call, but it is clear that such HTML elements would be of a great interest for the publishing community, in view of the widespread usage of footnotes, endnotes, references, etc, that is used in publishing.

Beyond clarification questions the discussion on the call covered issues like whether the way forward is to use the route of bona fide HTML extensions or HTML Custom elements; whether there is anything to discuss with the CSS Working Group on this, the relations to the annotation work, and the general way forward and how this IG can help it.

DPUB IG Telco, 2016-04-19: Math CG, EPUB summit, latinreq, A11y note, Use cases

See minutes online for a more detailed record of the discussions. (The headers below link into the relevant sections of the minutes.)

Math on the Web CG

Peter Krautzberger reported on the new W3C community group that has been launched: “Math on the Web”; see the site for a more detailed goals of the group. Many people have been contacted, the responses are usually positive. At this moment there 18 participants, a call of action is still necessary (see, e.g., Peter’s blog). The participants are an interesting mix, usually people you don’t see in these discussions. First goal is to find common ground and get people together to find things they are interested in working on. We hope to educate the appropriate people and be a positive role within the W3C. Further work with the ARIA Working Group may also be important on the A11y side of Math presentation, but the same type of interaction with the CSS WG is also to be expected.

A short F2F meeting at TPAC has been set up.

EPUB Summit update

There was an EPUB Summit in Bordeaux, France, on the 7-8 April, preceded by an IDPF EPUB 3.1 Working Group F2F.

Markus reported on the F2F meeting. An important topic was the discussion on the Browser Friendly Format (BFF). This is a server-side provision of EPUB. At present, the IDPF WG decided that this work is not part of the core deliverables of EPUB3.1 and, rather, a general collaborative work for for the future. There are, of course, lots of overlaps with the PWP work and we will have to discuss the forms of cooperation in future.

The Summit itself has been video’d, and the content will be on the Web soon. One of the interesting presentation was from Samuel Petit, from Actialuna, who gave a great presentation on user interaction and publisher requirements for comics, manga, but any kind of visual presentations like children’s books or educational publications.

There were also lots of discussion around LCP (Lightweight Content Protection), a scheme developed by the Readium Consortium.

Latinreq update

There were also discussion in Bordeaux that led to an update of the Latireq draft, following a discussion on how to properly handle quotation marks in different languages.

Accessibility Note

The Accessibility Note in preparation is now ready for final review before publication. Goal is to finalize it by next Monday and publish it after that.

Use Cases Document

The gathering of the use cases continues, and the goal is to collect them now and come up with a first document draft in the coming weeks.

AC Meeting Summary, Archiving, Locators, Use Cases

See minutes for a more detailed record of the discussions.

AC Meeting Summary
Ivan Herman provided a summary from the recent AC Meeting. Bill McCoy of IDPF presented about PWP. Web Platforms Group (formerly HTML and API groups) will publish HTML 5.1 CR in June. It looks like Service Workers will move forward, but Packaging for the Web and the FindText API are on hold. There was a lot of discussion about EME and Security. DPUB should be aware of this, no immediate needs, but pay attention in the future.

Archival TF Update
Tim Cole gave an update from the Archival TF. They have been gathering data by meeting with archiving organizations. They have met with LOCKSS and CLOCKSS, and Leonard Rosenthal will soon provide information about PDF/A. LOCKSS/CLOCKSS indicated that a lot of necessary information will be provided by the manifest. The TF has been drafting use cases and general information about archiving as well.

Locators TF Update
Ben DeMeester provided an update about the Locators TF document which is all but complete. The document provides a lot of terminology and definitions. Ivan Herman added that there are some terms like “PWP Processor” that are not really defined for now. The chairs are discussing whether to publish this document on its own or incoporare it into the PWP White Paper. The first section of this document has been shifted to use cases for the use case repository.

Use Cases
Heather Flanagan requested that we move forward with creating a use cases publication modelled after the use cases in CSV on the Web. We agreed that we will address use cases around packaging at the virtual F2F. Other use cases should be added directly to the wiki or as a GitHub issue.

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DPUB IG Telco, 2016-03-21: A11y Update, STEM CG, Use Cases document

See minutes online for a more detailed record of the discussions.

A11y TF Update
Deborah Kaplan updated the group on the status of the A11y Note. DAISY Consultants are helping to edit the document. We will publish by the end of the month then circulate to the IG for review and publish.

Peter Krautzberger and Ivan Herman have been working on drafting a charter to form a new CG that focuses on a bottom-up approach to math on the Web. The group will bring together those who are already implementing solutions for MathML, ChemML, Music, etc. The goal is to pave the way for new standards and optimized implementation architecture. Feedback is welcome. The charter and group should be announced within the next month.

Use Cases Redux
Romain Deltour continued to lead the group through a framework for use cases for PWP. The IG agreed to point to existing Web Annotations’ Use Cases instead of duplicating them. There was a discussion about how best to handle use cases related to the concept of a package. Romain suggested referring to the TAG’s notes from preparing Packaging on the Web, even if we do not use their definition of “package”. There are several mini-use cases to address, including stream-ability, nesting, update-ability. We may assign short use cases to a sub-group or set these as placeholders to discuss at the F2F. Heather Flanagan and Romain Deltour will make some editorial decision about editorial next steps and report to the group.

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