DPUB IG Telco, 2015-08-10: education and outreach, aria describedat, prioritization in EPUB+WEB

Author(s) and publish date


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

Education and Outreach Update

Nick Ruffilo gave an update of the education and outreach plans. Nick and Karen have established relations to media outlets (like Publishers' Weekly, DBW), and there are some agreements to get regular updates in the forms of small articles, publishing perspectives, webinars, etc, to show the group's work. As a start, a presentation of Jeff Jaffe will be turned into prose.

The questions arising are general like (1) what is W3C, how is it related to IDPF (2) W3C membership importance for business users, (3) W3C membership importance for technical users. We hope to run a Webinar by September 1st.

ARIA, describedat attribute, meeting on the 13th

The IG has been asked by the ARIA WG and the joined task force to comment on the usage of the @describedat attribute, which is the subject of discussions right now in that group. There are currently some controversies, reminiscent of the discussions surrounding the @longdesc attribute in HTML5 which, back then, led to a formal objection and a detailed W3C response. (The @describedat attribute is very similar in many respect, it can be considered as the same as @longdesc except that it is usable on all elements.) The issue is that the same functionality can be achieved through some other means in HTML5.1 (namely the details element) and the objection against @describedat is, essentially, against the duplication of functionalities.

The DPUB IG is not in position to decide on which functionality should be used. Instead, the group can describe the requirements the industry has and make it sure that the requirements can be met through all approaches put forward. Such requirement document has already been put together by the DPUB IG A11y task force, but should be possibly revised to make it technology neutral. That will be the main topic of a one-off meeting to be held on the 13th.

Prioritization in the EPUB+WEB work

A discussion has been started on the prioritization within the EPUB+WEB work, more exactly on the role of EPUB as a technology v.a.v. the work to be pursued. The key issue (raised by Leonard Rosenthal) is what the role of EPUB is in the work: would it be a direct continuation, with 100% backward compatibility, of EPUB3 or would backward compatibility be potentially broken. Because if the latter, then all bets are off, and the document should not really on EPUB at all and should, possibly, look at radically different solutions (or at least be open to it).

However, the issue may not be so clear-cut (as raised by Ivan Herman); the goal of any standard work is to ensure acceptance by the industry, i.e., a radical departure from EPUB would be detrimental to the future of the work. While a 100% backward compatibility may not be ensured, all efforts should be taken to keep the incompatibilities minimal and, possibly, restrict them to the "administrative" part of EPUB (e.g., package file, manifests, the packaging format itself, etc) and the real "content" (based on OWP) should remain unchanged, i.e., really backward compatible.

(The discussion had to be stopped by the end of the call, to be continued.)

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