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.

Posted in Activity News | Tagged | Comments Off on Digital Publishing and Accessibility in W3C Documents Note Published

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.

Posted in Activity News | Comments Off on AC Meeting Summary, Archiving, Locators, Use Cases

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.

Posted in Activity News | Comments Off on DPUB IG Telco, 2016-03-21: A11y Update, STEM CG, Use Cases document

DPUB IG Telco, 2016-03-14: 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.)

Use Cases Document

(The discussion continued where last week’s discussions left off.)

Romain put together a wiki page collecting the current use cases on the Wiki. The bullets reflect only the current categorization, but is not necessarily the final one; actually, the goal is to have larger use cases that span over several use case and requirement categories.

The group went through the bullet points and the relevant use cases on a very high level; some general conclusions

  • The “portability” use case are about what it means when a PWP is moved off line, changes its state and ownership. Related to this issue, it is important to show, through a use case, that the fact of having a single URL for a collection of Web resources is an important notion. In general, portability is one of the most important use case area that has to be set right.
  • Use cases for manifests are very important; probably the notion for manifest/metadata will come up in many different cases (and not only on accessibility issues, which is reflected on the current set of items).
    • the terminology for manifest vs. metadata should be carefully considered…
  • The group already agreed that pagination is out of scope for this document, but there is an aspect that should be described, namely that a PWP consists of many different document and pagination should go smoothly from one to the other
    • As an aside: there are areas, like pagination or styling, that are out of scope to this document, mainly because other groups are busy with them; nevertheless, these should be referenced from the PWP use case document to form a coherent unit.
  • Use cases should emphasize the need of PWP-s being rendered by browsers, although not clear whether explicit references to polyfills is a good idea here (it may be too implementation specific)
  • Use cases around scripting: the real issue in this case is related to privacy and security, what are the requirements that must be covered by a PWP, and what does that mean for security?
  • Personalization (or is “user preference” the right term?)
  • Internationalization is related, in this respect, to multiple rendition. Again, it is worth digging up the IDPF use cases when multiple rendition was introduced in EPUB.

Discussions to be continued…

DPUB IG Telco, 2016-03-07: Accessibility 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.)

Accessibility Note

Charles LaPierre reported on the Task Force’s activities. Task Force is working on a document (to be published as a Note). The has been a lot of discussions, the document was also presented at IDPF meetings, and received reviews by experts in the relevant W3C WAI groups. The current plan is to rewrite the current set of “suggestions” in the document and to do a GAP analysis instead. Indeed, using a GAP analysis instead of terms like “WCAG should…” will make this document easier to adopt for groups like EPUB A11y. (The Task Force has also reached out to the IDPF EPUB WG on the subject of accessibility profiles.). Other plans include to rewrite the abstract, convert some Google documents into wiki tables, change the “tone” of the document in general.

The plan is to organize a meeting with the WCAG WG (probably March 25) as well as with the IDPF groups, after the current re-write round, to then go for a publishable state.

Subsequent discussions on the call were around the exact scope and choice of topics in this document.

There are issues that are currently in the document but they may not have to. A characteristic example is the area of drop caps. On the one hand, that feature is now part of CSS, under the responsibility of that WG; the accessibility aspect of usage is not relevant to the WCAG (which concentrates on the principles) but on the correct usage of that CSS property with regard to accessibility. Problems around this feature drifts towards issues of authoring practices, techniques, which is different than what the note is all about. Which may mean that, as a future work, accessibility techniques may have to be picked up by this task force eventually.

The other major area is the accessibility issues surrounding publications of, e.g., mathematics, chemistry, music, etc, i.e., more complex structures. The accessibility requirements for these are significant, but their solution probably does not come from WCAG but, rather, by turning towards approaches like ARIA. Again, these may be part of a future work of this Task Force, but not necessarily a topic for the current document to be published. It has been agreed, however, to add some words about future work into the note.

The task force urgently need other volunteers to help in this editing round!

Use Case Document

Prior to the call, Romain Deltour published an overview of the current use cases.

Previous work reviewed the older use cases; many of them are out of scope, many have to be reworked and/or rephrased. The Wiki page above listed the identified areas where more use cases are needed. In any respect, the document has to start from scratch, because the use case collection is is very uneven in terms of details and quality. It is probably necessary to merge use cases, because the current collection is too fragmented, some of them just one-liners and not very developed.

There were some discussion about the exact scope of this document. It has been agreed that the goal is to collect use cases for the purpose of PWP. Other, legitimate use cases for publishing are covered by the feedback to the CSS Working Group, the accessibility task force, etc; the goal in this case is to have a solid basis for an eventual, more standard-oriented work on PWP.

The discussion started late on the telco, and are to be followed on the next call.

DPUB IG Telco, 2016-02-29: Locators, CSS and STEM

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

Locator Task Force Report

Ben de Meester gave and overview of the activities of the Locator Task Force so far. (There are two draft writeup on the repo: one on the overall issues and one on the specificities of a the locator reference.)

The fundamental approach the Task force is getting at is to give a separate role for a canonical locator for a PWP, which is agnostic to state (packed or unpacked). This canonical locator points to a PWP as a resource. Using that canonical locator the rest of the processing may rely on the world view of a PWP on the Web (i.e., accessible via HTTP) and unpacked, like a Web page.

When dereferencing that canonical locator, the response contains, in some way or other, a metadata that lists not only the canonical locator but the specific locators at different states (e.g., the different forms of packaged content). To handle those locators the TF is considering a separate abstraction, namely a PWP Processor that has the task of converting, if necessary, references to a canonical locator (or URL-s constructed with that canonical locator as a “base”) to specific resource locators.

The ways the PWP Processor work is independent on how exactly the server is set up. That latter may use a simple deployment scheme (where, for example, the canonical locator coincides with the locator of an unpacked version of the content) or a more complex one based on content negotiation. A draft figure depicting the basic functioning of a PWP Process is also in development by the Task Force.

There is a difference between an identifier and a canonical locator, whereby the former may be simply a URN, and stays the same for different instantiations of a PWP (which will all have a different canonical locator). Of course, there might be cases when these two coincide, but that is not required.

The current model considers only the situation when the content of a PWP is, essentially, a tree like structure with the locator at the base. In general, a PWP can include a set of other resources; in that case, some sort of a mapping table may have to be used by the PWP Process. This, at this moment, has not yet been discussed by the TF, but has been postponed instead.

The next steps are getting some details right and produce some sort of a document describing the general mechanism in terms of a semi-specification.


The requirement of collecting STEM related issues for the CSS Working Group came on on the last meeting. The discussion, however, became more general insofar as how to decide which problem, raised for a specific STEM area, is relevant for CSS, which one is more for HTML or for SVG or for others.

As a coincidence, there has been some discussions around the particular issue of mathematics. We know that the acceptance of MathML on the web is, at this moment, very low. A possible way forward is to create a separate group (probably a Community Group) that would bring together developers/implementers of mathematics on the web and analyze the situation very much bottom up (regardless of syntax) to decide which features are needed for, in this case, mathematical layouts in terms of CSS, SVG, ARIA, HTML, etc. Some of the features may already exist, or may only need some extra control, some of the features should be defined, etc. If such an analysis would be successful, creating a mathematical layout engine on top of existing OWP features would become much more feasible; a mapping of a syntax (LaTeX, MathML, or others) may follow later. That approach can be followed by other engines, eg, for chemistry markup; actually, many of the features may be general and not bound to a particular STEM area. This way of moving forward may be implemented in the coming months…