Publishing WG Telco, 2019-09-09: Settling Issues, pre-TPAC publication

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

The meeting concentrated on a number of issues that could be either closed or that should be discussed on the F2F meeting next week. In particular, issues 40, 22, 13, and 16 were all closed without further actions, whereas issues 12 (“What is null base URL”), 9 (“Should canonicalization include absolutization”), and 51 (“Values for readingProgression”) were postponed to the F2F meeting.

There was also a short update on the latest editorial draft changes since the last official output. The changes were mainly on the manifest document: removal of the concept for canonical manifests (with the emphasis of a “canonical” representation of the data structures encoded in WebIDL) and the strict separation of the language set for the publication (i.e., the content) and the literal texts in the manifest proper. Depening on external circumstances the new versions may be published before TPAC.

Publishing WG Telco, 2019-08-26: Horizontal reviews, issue handling

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

Horizontal reviews

The group discussed the horizontal reviews; the I18N review is essentially done, the self-review test for security/privacy will be done by next week, and a meeting with the APA WG will take place at TPAC to finalize the accessibility review.


Some minor issues have been handled for audiobooks: some existing terms will be called out for publishers (adult content, abridged…) These will be the subject of an upcoming PR.

The were also some minor LPF issues; the document is essentially ready to go.

On internationalization, a somewhat more complex issue was to separate the language used for the textual content of the manifest from the (main) language of the publication itself. The solution, put forward in an issue comment will be adopted in an upcoming Pull Request.

No meeting next week

Next week Monday is holiday both in the USA and in Canada, so there will be no meeting.

Publishing WG Telco, 2019-08-19: Publication approval, some change of manifest structure, alternate resources

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

Publication decisions

The WG agreed to publish a FPWD for the Publication Manifest as well as a new version of the Audiobook spec

Manifest structure

The WG discussed some changes on the way manifests are defined in the spec

  • The spec makes it clear that the manifest is using a specific “shape” of JSON-LD for the spec (which is also expressed in a JSON Schema) and Reading Systems are not required to have a full JSON-LD implementations
  • The previous notions of “authored” and “canonical” manifests disappear; instead, the former “canonical manifest” is simply expressed as a data structure (defined in WebIDL) that is used by a processor. The document will contain a transformation algorithm to that data structure.

Alternative resource

The WG discussed the proposal whereby it is possible to add an “alternative” resource to a resource in, e.g., the reading order to represent, e.g., an audio file with a different bit rate, a sound file to a text, etc. The WG is, in principle, fine with this, but a PR should be produced to see the full detail.

Publishing WG Telco, 2019-08-12: packaging ws report, rel attributes, rendering hits

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

Web Packaging Workshop report

Dave Cramer was present at the Workshop (organized by IETF) and gave a brief report. The discussion was also around the work currently spearheaded by Google on packaing. The most interesting aspect for this group may be the combination of all resources into a single binary file; a browser may be able to unpack such a file directly. The other aspect (‘origin substitution’) seems to be more controversial at the moment

Issue Discussions

The group discussed some outstanding issues:

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Publishing WG Telco, 2019-08-05: Summer publication schedules

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

The group agreed on a schedule for publications for the coming weeks:

  • For almost immediate release (depending on administration):
    • A Note version of the Web Publication document
    • The UCR document
  • Finalize the next version of the following documents for the 19th of August
    • Publication Manifest (i.e., the manifest part of the current Web Publication Document); this will be a FPWD for a Rec-track document
    • The Audiobooks draft
    • The Lightweight Packaging note-to-be

The goal is to review those documents on the 19th, publish the document after that (if there is a consensus on the group), then review them at TPAC for a CR afterwards.

Publishing WG Telco, 2019-07-29: planning after summer recess

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

After a brief summer recess the group concentrated on some planning, also following the discussions on which directions to follow for the Working Group.

The planning for the coming period involves:

  • Publishing the UCR as a new version of a Working Group Note (as decided on the last meeting before the recess)
  • Publishing the current WPUB document as a Working Group Note (which can then be picked up by the Publishing CG for further incubation)
  • Create a restricted version of the current WPUB document, tentatively entitled “Web Publication Manifest”, which contains the (JSON-LD) vocabulary specification only
  • Update the audiobook specification to refer to the Manifest document and also to include audio specific processing. Undecided yet whether this enlarged audiobook document would include the current lightweight packaging, or whether that would remain as its own document for now

The goal is to have these documents “publication ready” by TPAC; a detailed set of milestones should be proposed at the next meeting.

Publishing WG Telco, 2019-07-01: Future of WPUB, shape of audiobooks

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

The meeting concentrated on a single issue: what exactly is the future of the work in the Working group. The essence of the question was part of the agenda, and is simply reproduced here:

Proposed Changes to PWG

The chairs of the Publishing Working Group (PWG) and the EPUB 3 Community Group have been discussing how best to move forward with Web Publications. As the specification exists today, there is little chance of it being adopted by publishers, as it does not reflect current business needs. In spite of our best intentions, we did not gain the support of the browser vendors or the larger web community. We attempted standardization before experimentation and incubation. Clear business needs have been hard to find.

We feel the best course of action is to suspend work on web publications for now, and focus on areas where we have clearly-expressed and widely-supported business needs, such as audiobooks. We would consider resuming work on web publications, but we would need more clearly-articulated business needs, and broader participation from the web community as well as the publishing world.

So what should we do? We have a proposal:

  • Publish the existing full Web Publications spec as a Working Group Note, with the message that “there is insufficient business interest to proceed today, but we can revisit in the future.”
  • Move forward with audiobooks. But we need to decide on an approach:
    1. Most of the chairs favor using the existing audiobook spec as a foundation, incorporating the manifest and associated vocabulary from Web Publications, and possibly integrating the packaging spec. By de-emphasising the WP aspect of audiobooks, specifying the processing of the manifest could become much simpler, avoiding the complications of fetch, CORS, and so on. But this still leaves open the possibility to better integrate with existing web technologies, and perhaps even evolve to support podcasts. And if the synced media proposal for audiobooks gains traction, it could be a boon to the larger web. This could open the door to future profiles as well.
    2. EPUB could become a packaged audio format by defining audio formats as core content types, allowing them to be referenced directly from the spine without fallbacks. This provides a natural way to incorporate navigation and non-audio content in audiobooks, and takes advantage of EPUB’s existing media overlays. But there may be little interest from the industry.
  • Work with the publishing community to focus on the future of EPUB. Perhaps instead of inventing something new, we can bring EPUB closer to the web. Some of the ambitious proposals made for EPUB 3.1 could form the foundation of the EPUB 4 of the future, including the browser-friendly format, the HTML serialization, and more progress on scripting in EPUB. If the industry indeed sees a business need for a new version of EPUB, We do not yet know where that work might happen, but logistics will come later.
  • Follow the advice that we’ve received from the larger web community about incubation, about identifying gaps in the web platform and advocating for filling them rather than trying to create a grand vision from scratch.

We will spend Monday’s meeting discussing these issues. We hope to hear your thoughts about these questions in particular:

  1. Would you prefer to move forward with audiobooks as is (in a Web Context) or audiobooks in an EPUB context? We would like to hear about implementation interest from both “listening system” vendors and content creators.
  2. What are the next steps for EPUB? What comes after EPUB 3.2? Going forward, we will ask you to identify particular gaps in the EPUB specification.

The discussion was complicated (see the minutes) and questions were raised. As for the question on audiobooks, the group’s decision is to use the WP formalism (as opposed to EPUB) for the audiobook line.

Publishing WG Telco 24-06-2019: Finalizing the UCR

Publishing WG Telco 24-06-2019: Finalizing the UCR

Update on the UCR document

We worked toward finalizing the Use Cases and Requirements Document so that we can publish it. Two specific use cases were discussed:

Content Protection: The fundamental question is whether a WP will itself express information about content protection/controls or will enable other systems to do so. The editors will adjust the language of the requirement to clarify the use case.

CSS Counters: This requirement called upon CSS to cross HTML documents to increment counters in an automated way. The group agreed that this is out of scope for PWG and probably not possible and removed the use case.

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Publishing WG Telco, 2019-05-03: Update on the WPUB spec, audiobook, synced media and UCR docs

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

Recent updates on the WPUB spec

Matt gave a short overview of the recent changes, which were mostly reacting on some TAG comments (reorganization of the WebIDL usage, remove ambiguities in addressing and in internationalization sections). A new version will be pushed onto /TR soon.

Audiobook FPWD

It was agreed on the F2F meeting to publish a FPWD for the audiobook specification. The question was whether the AudioObject is the right object type for the audio content; however, after discussions it turns out that there some minor differences that should be looked at first before deciding on using it (or not). It was agreed to publish the FPWD as is now and come back to this issue later.

The discussion on the role and usage of LinkedResource type also came up; it was decided to (re-)raise the issue with to see if it was possible to use an (updated) type at that place instead of a publishing-specific type.

Update on sync media

Marisa gave some updates on the fact that a number of question on synced media are now listed as specific issues, inviting for explicit discussions.

Update on the UCR document

Two specific use cases were discussed:

  • Escalating trust: the question was whether the corresponding use case should be kept in the list: many features are already done on the Web. On the other hand, this may not be exactly the same case for mobile apps. After discussions it was decided to keep the use case (although one of the scenarios might be misplaced here)
  • Resource mixing and CSS counters across HTML pages: describes a feature that is not possible in CSS today. In general, the problem with the use case is that it mixes a use case (continuous counters across a publication) and a possible implementation tool, i.e., CSS, and that isn’t the right way to go. On the other hand, it was agreed that the (reworded) use case should remain, even if it is not implementable on today’s Web.
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Publishing WG Telco, 2019-05-03: Action tracking, LPF issues

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

The group looked at open action items mostly from the group’s F2F meeting, then concentrated on issues on the lightweight packaging spec.

UA conformance

It was agreed on the F2F meeting that the LPF document would not define a significant wording for conformance but will, instead, rely on the WPUB conformance. The proposed text does that, but a stronger reference to ZIP processing may be necessary. Also, there are some issues in relation to the WPUB processing. The final formulation is delayed until the other isssues are solved.

Packaged publications vs canonical id

The issue is that the current formulation in the WP document relies on a URL that is the ‘preferred’ address for a WPUB. This requirement does not work for a packaged version of a publication which may not have such ‘preferred address’, though it may have a canonical identification (e.g., an ISBN).

After discussion the current approach is to alleviate the WPUB specification insofar as it should allow a IRI (e.g., a URN) as an identifier value, although the value SHOULD be a URL (i.e., an http address). That would work for packaged publications, too.

This will have to be discussed further; there is now a Pull Request suggesting those changes.