DPUB IG Telco, 2015-03-02: Houdini project, EPUB 3.1 workplans

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

CSS WG’s Houdini project

The Houdini Project of the CSS Working Group had its first meeting a few weeks ago in Sydney, and some participants gave a short overview for the IG. The goal of the Houdini Project is to extend CSS. At present, CSS is a big black box where stuff goes in and formatted display comes out; if the magic isn’t what you want, it is difficult to make changes. The goal of the Houdini project is to “open up” that so that scripts might get additional information and control over the layout process and possibly modify how browsers lay things out.

The sense of the Houdini meeting is that there was a great enthusiasm, but also some level of skepticism on how all this can be done. But, behind the large picture, there are a number of little things, plumbing, etc, that will be done and that are useful. E.g., for the Digital Publishing community the possible control over pagination may be the biggest win: putting pagination on top of existing browser using scripting require some low-level elements in order to make a good reading experience in the browser. Such work will be accelerated if the lower-level work gets going.

It was agreed that it is important that the use cases and possible implementation experiences of e-readers, i.e., of the Digital Publishing Community, should be communicated to the Houdini project.

There is a good introduction and report by Simon Sapin, as well as a summary of Vivliostyle, and a report of the project by Peter Linss to the TAG.

IDPF’s workplaces on EPUB3.1

Epub 3.1 was released several months ago: that included bug fixes, and ISO wording + backwards compatibility. IDPF is now thinking of the next version, and this was presented, by Markus Gylling, at a recent EDUPUB Symposium in Phoenix. Various features to be added were mentioned like 3D format, migration of epub:type to the role attribute, or to HTML5. Some features may also be deprecated, like switch. However, at present, all those are just discussion items, no formal decisions or timeline yet; instead, a discussion among IDPF members should take place.

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