Publishing WG Telco, 2018-07-30: publishing status, implementations, start thinking EPUB4

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

Publishing status

A new stable version has been published; a larger community (PBG, I18N, etc) have been asked to review it and comment. Future releases should come more often, e.g., if and when the WebIDL becomes synchronized with the manifest details.

Implementations

There were discussions about possible test implementations; this may include implementations concentrating on non-packaged use cases (e.g., scholarly papers), traditional ebooks, but also producing some WP-s based on existing content. These implementations should produce feedbacks, raise errors, issues, etc.

Start thinking about EPUB4

The group should start thinking about what EPUB4 will include and do. The discussion was not concentrating on any specific issues yet, nor did it come with resolutions, just a set of first thoughts on the technical aspects as well as the “messaging” aspect of things. Some random thoughts from the discussions:

  • the boundaries of a publications should become more crisp than it is today, that will require technical discussions
  • EPUB4 should be, conceptually, as simple as putting a WP into a zip file—although in reality it is more than that, there may be constraints on the zip structure, just like it is the case in EPUB3:
    • links to file system links is an open issue
    • media type and its inclusion into the file
    • etc.
  • a clear messaging will be needed on what EPUB4 should achieve compared to EPUB3. Some things that came up:
    • most of the content is identical to EPUB3 is identical “except” for a better compatibility with today’s Web (“content is king!”)
    • EPUB4 = EPUB3 + Web Compatibility
    • Web compatibility means that editors/authors/etc can rely on the Web Developers’ community in helping developing content: it is also about the compatibility of people
    • full compatibility with publications that are inherently not packaged, ie, a convergence of traditional ebooks with journals, magazines, single-file publications, scholarly communications, comics, audio books, etc.
      • noting that audio books are naturally part of WP already…
      • we are not talking about converting the EPUB3 market but extending it
  • we have to be realistic, and expect that the EPUB3 and EPUB4 markets will coexist for a while, publishers are slow in moving to new technologies (witness the difficulties of EPUB2 vs. EPUB3 transition)

Clearly food for thoughts and discussions later!


The group decided to take a (Northern Hemisphere) summer break of two weeks; next meeting will be on the 20th of August.

Publishing WG Telco, 2018-07-23: issues on cover and language, implementations, ucr

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

Issues to solve before next draft publication

Cover or cover image

There has been a long Github discussion on the nature of cover: should the respective resource be restricted to an image (leaving the reading system to generate something if it is not) or can it be any resource, e.g., an HTML file provided by the author? Although the discussion raised a number of issues related to usability, accessibility, etc, the issue for now is what should be in the draft.

The decision was to modify the draft to include a more permissive version for cover, and seek feedbacks from the community.

Language and text direction

This is a long standing issue, which has several facets, most issues have lead to a consensus on the issue.

  1. for the directionality, the only fallback at this point is to rely on the Unicode directionality markers
  2. for language, the language provided in the manifest is also defined to be the language of the publication. The question is whether that language value is inherited (or not) in the case the manifest is embedded (via a <script> tag) into the primary entry page. The case when it is raises issues of differentiating between manifests expressed differently.

The decision was to modify the draft to include inheritance, and seek feedbacks from the community.

Implementations

There is a call for experimental implementations once the draft is published. Just a minimal version that

  1. interprets the manifest to provide an internal representation of the data
  2. provide a minimal set of features: read through all resources and provide some sort of an offline access to the content

Such a minimal (and not necessary polished) implementation should reveal problems, missing features, etc.

UCR

The UCR document has been reorganized, and we are now looking at updating it, with the goal of linking it closer to the affordances’ section of the WP draft. A new version should be published in about a month…

Publishing WG Telco, 2018-07-09: consensus on some technical directions, scrolling and pagination

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

Review of Consensus on Technical Decisions

We agreed that we would create a WP that may require a browser extension of the author/publisher to inject a script in a similar way to the scripts injected for MathJax. This builds on the concepts introduced in BFF. We are leaving PWP aside for now. EPUB 4 will be a packaged WP, possibly with stricter rules. We have not determined much about relationship to EPUB 3 except that, as it says in the charter, there will be functional round-tripping.

Scrolling and Pagination

(this is https://github.com/w3c/wpub/issues/207)
This is an issue of author stating preferences. There was discussion about whether this could be accomplished using CSS. Since styling across multiple DOMs cannot be done with CSS, the group agreed to put hints in the infoset.

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Publishing WG Telco, 2018-07-02: hints to resources, navigation beyond TOC, publication bounds

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

Hints to resources

(This is issue #222.)

EPUB3 had hints for special things like MathML; the question is whether it is necessary to have these in WP? The consensus (and the experience of implementers) is that these were not reliable, and it may not be necessary to translate them to WP. However, the WG will set up a list somewhere of those properties for roundripping purposes.

Navigation beyond ToC

(This is issue #223.)

EPUB3 has features like page lists, landmarks, list of tables, etc. What to do about these in WP? Beyond roundtripping, some of these may be very important; e.g., page lists may be considered to be as important as Table of Contents for accessibility purposes.

The discussion was a bit bifurcated on the exact nature of WP and the reason of roundtripping. There was no final decision on the call, the discussion continues on the issue thread.

Publication Bounds

(This is issue #205.)

At the moment there is no clear definition on what the “boundaries” of a WP are, although there are infoset items for resources and reading order. The question is what should happen to additional resources like CSS or other that are referred to from resources. The exact goals must be established for offlining, caching, packaging, etc, where this issue is particularly relevant.

There was no final decision on the call, the discussion continues on the issue thread.

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Publishing WG Telco, 2018-06-25: closing some PR-s, schema.org issues

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

TOC

The final decision is (see comment):

  1. ToC SHOULD be in entry page, and it does not need to be in the manifest in that case
  2. Otherwise, the ToC should be referenced as a “link” in the manifest (e.g., in resources)

Final term for external link

The decision is to use the term links.

Draft reorganization

Matt gave an overview of a radical reorganization of the WP draft; goal was to avoid unnecessary hopping from one section to the other. Essentially, the infoset items, and their representation in the manifest, have been merged in one section

Schema.org

The group discussed the various items that must be discussed with schema.org: problems where the schema.org vocabulary (or underlying tools) does not yet give an adequate set of features for the purposes of publications. An initial list has been provided on the wiki; this list was presented to the group and discussed on the call. Next step is to set up a meeting…

Publishing WG Telco, 2018-06-18: epub:type, affordances, toc in manifest

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

epub:type

There has been some discussion at the F2F of Toronto whether this group should deal with a new version of epub:type. Based on that discussion plus some further discussion on the call, the group adopted a resolution, whereby:

Since there are no implementations of epub:type other than internal workflows (beyond those [e.g., noteref, footnote] with solid ARIA mappings), do not move forward with broad replacements for epub:type.

Affordances

There were lots of discussion on the term “affordances”, ie, whether the term is right, whether it is understandable, and whether the way it is presented in the current draft (i.e., a separate section on affordances) is the cleanest way forward. After these discussion the following approach has been adopted:

  • The individual affordances should be merged with the general description of information set, each infoset item should list the features it “affords”, linking back to the UCR document
  • No new examples/use cases should come to the WP draft; instead, the UCR document should be refreshed and updated.

TOC in manifest

The question of what term to use for TOC came up. While tableOfContents was proposed, the issue on whether a TOC is necessary as a separate item in the first place in the manifest came up. Two discussion points:

  1. If there is an entry in the manifest, it has to be one of the resources, not a separate term with its own structure.
  2. Maybe we do not even need anything if we just rely on the ToC in the entry page.

Discussions follow.

Publishing WG Telco, 2018-06-11: “Cover” in the infoset, JSON terms for reading order and resources

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

Cover

It was not finalized what the exact representation of the Infoset item “cover” would be in terms of JSON-LD and Schema.org. Cover for a book may or may not be an image , ie, the purely image oriented terms may not be enough, and it is also up to the author to use, a resource used elsewhere, and whether it is in the reading order.

The alternative is to use cover as part of the structural items, ie, as part of the reading order list or the list or resources. The issue there is that the Schema.org <a href="StructuredValue“>http://schema.org/StructuredValue (which was considered as a generic type for such usage) type may be too restrictive in so far as it can only appear as the value of some properties, and there is no way to express something like the IANA rel values.

The decision was to define an alternative, and targeted, type to replace StructuredValue, and use that for, e.g., cover. That could also be used for, e.g., privacy policy. It was agreed to define such a structure as part of a PR on github.

Proposed context

The github discussion on various issues have brought forward the necessity to have our own JSON-LD @context file: own terms for resources and reading order, setting the order sensitivity for, say, author (i.e., "author": {"@container":"@list"}), etc. The context file is at: https://github.com/w3c/wpub/blob/master/common/context.jsonld, with the official URL at https://www.w3.org/ns/wpub.jsonld (the latter is redirected to the former for now).

Bikeshedding on terms

The result:

  • the JSON-LD term readingOrder is used for the “reading order” infoset item
  • the JSON-LD term resources is used for the “resources” infoset item
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Publishing WG Telco, 2018-06-04: F2F Meeting review

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

The (short) meeting was on a quick review of the results of the F2F meeting, held in Toronto last week. The minutes of that meeting are available (see the minutes for the 1st day and the 2nd day); a longer and more detailed overview blog will follow soon.

Publishing WG Telco, 2018-05-21: Closing issues (WAM, JSON usage, context), list of resources

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

Closing some open issues

The meeting closed three major pending issues:

  1. The WP definition will not specify a browsing context, is left to implementations (see discussion);
  2. The Infoset is primarily in JSON (a separate file or in an HTML data block) though, to avoid duplication, the information may be in the HTML entry page (see discussion);
  3. The Manifest is not based on the Web Application Manifest (which may be used separately by the author of a WP), (see discussion)

List of resources

There was a separate discussion on whether an exhaustive resource list is required to create a Web Publication (see github issue #198). One of the core problems around the issue is to define exactly what “offlineable” vs. “packageable” means, and whether WP-s should “disallow” these features or not. The separate question is what other areas are affected by the presence (or not) of this information set item.

The discussion will continue on the F2F meeting next week.

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Publishing WG Telco, 2018-05-07: Scholarly Publishing UC, Browsing context

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

Use Cases of Scholarly Publishing

Josh Pyle and Nick Ruffilo have begun to go through the UCR document (inherited from the DPUB IG) to review and refresh it for WG use. One particular area is Scholarly publishing. The overall impression on the UCR document, with regard to this branch of publishing, that some aspects are not emphasized enough: the importance of fidelity of content (mathematical formulae, chemical diagrams, etc), the fact that content is usually stored on the publisher’s site and not necessary downloaded like a book, issues around control of content, etc. One effect on the WP is that, whereas “offline” possibility is very important for Scholarly publishing, packaging less so (“offline” may be temporary, bound to one system, etc, whereas a PWP is not necessarily).

Work is onging.

Browsing Context for WP

An (older) issue 104 looks at the problem of “browsing context”:

“A browsing context is an environment in which Document objects are presented to the user.”

The question is whether a WP introduces its own context or whether it should simply rely on the context provided by the “landing page”. Noting that if WP defined its own “publishing” context, many aspects related to security, how content is acquired, etc, should be redefined. On the other hand a WP has its own “boundaries” in terms documents that are part of it, user interface/personalizations, etc, that may touch on this issue.

(The meeting ended a bit abruptly, because the telco system unexpectedly closed, the discussion is ongoing on issue 104.)