EPUB 3 Working Group Telco — Minutes

Date: 2021-07-02

See also the Agenda and the IRC Log


Present: Dave Cramer, Avneesh Singh, Wendy Reid, Masakazu Kitahara, Ivan Herman, John Foliot, Bill Kasdorf, Toshiaki Koike, Romain Deltour, Brady Duga, Ben Schroeter, Charles LaPierre, Gregorio Pellegrino, Hadrien Gardeur

Regrets: Wendy Reid, Tzviya Siegman, Matthew Chan


Chair: Dave Cramer

Scribe(s): Ben Schroeter


1. In Memoriam Garth Conboy

Dave Cramer: Garth Conboy, a member of this working group, passed away. He was a giant in our industry and instrumental in creating the EPUB spec. He will be sorely missed.
… submitted a pull request for a dedication to Garth in the EPUB 3 spec.

Bill: Garth led the charge for creating a standard amongst competitors. That is indicative of his generous spirit and dedication to community.

Ivan Herman: Garth was instrumental in the transition of EPUB from IDPF to W3C, and an omnipresent contributor who spread happiness and good will.

Tzviya Siegman: When I sent the announcement yesterday, it struck me how many people Garth impacted through his work. He looked on the bright side even when sick.

Wendy Reid: Will forever be grateful for Garth teaching me how to chair, and to always allow room for fun and optimism even on dark days.

Bill: Had a knack for leading without appearing to lead.

Charles LaPierre: I loved his spirit and how he always made Brady do stuff.

Brady Duga: Have worked with Garth through four organizations. This is a difficult time.

Dave Cramer: https://github.com/w3c/epub-specs/issues/1681

2. Are root-relative paths valid?

See github issue #1681, #1374.

See github pull request #1725.

Dave Cramer: What more needs to happen or can happen in the spec for root-relative paths?

Ivan Herman: one problem we need to address is that we have a problem with iBooks and others that rely on Adobe ADE, namely that they rely on a specific way of organizing the files, which is not in the standard.
… Matt’s test was done according to the standard, but iBooks and others get it wrong. We can either acknowledge that problem as a warning and keep the standard as is (iBooks doesn’t conform), or we reverse-engineer and put into standard a restricted version of how files can be organized, in order to conform with iBooks. We need to decide if this will harm current eBooks.
… I personally would hate to put restrictions in the standard, but that’s just me

Romain Deltour: the test was done with valid ePub with shared resources - there is still the issue of root-relative URL paths and paths that would go outside the container. I think we need the spec to address that.
… some kind of language defining the root is likely necessary.
… and review interoperability with reading systems.

John Foliot: Is an unintended consequence that a publisher would have to create two versions, one for iBooks and another for other reading systems?

Dave Cramer: I don’t see huge problems around interoperability because EPUBs are consistent with folder structure, generally.

Ivan Herman: Whatever works for iBooks works for others - but there are perfectly valid ePubs that iBooks doesn’t take.
… As for the questions of Romain, we have decided that path relative URLs shouldn’t be used, and paths shouldn’t go outside the package. We need to make this clear in the documentation but there is not a fundamental technical problem with this.

Romain Deltour: these are edge cases, we don’t see this problem often if ever.
… What we have is a recommendation for authors, but we need a recommendation for reading systems on how to process URLs.
… How should a reading system deal when authors don’t follow recommendation.

Ivan Herman: it would be helpful to have a clearly-worded proposal for reading systems. Hoping Romain’s help with this.

Dave Cramer: everyone seems to agree that having ../.. etc. to outside the package is not a good practice.

Hadrien Gardeur: from a reading system perspective, they need to resolve URIs, and expose the HTML resource (or any resource) to web view.
… reading systems have different ways of doing this, but you need to get the web view to do what you want, and how this is achieved can impact what we are discussing.

Ivan Herman: What precisely should the recommendation in the reading system spec be to cover all implementations?

Hadrien Gardeur: we don’t know how each RS works behind the scenes, we can only speculate.

Ivan Herman: If we put something in the spec, it’s up to RS how to implement
… we don’t have to define that.
… Whatever we do, the author of an EPUB should have a clear mental model of what’s happening. The RS implementation is not under the author’s influence. If we are saying EPUb is a website in a box, we should be able to clearly define the root, and stop there.

Hadrien Gardeur: On the web, we don’t think about files and root containers. For reading systems, we are deciding how an EPUB behaves. So weary of this conceptual approach.

Dave Cramer: we are really talking about edge cases here. Hoping that we can build some tests based on the write-up and what we are trying to achieve.
… hoping we can get clear enough to cover our edge cases without restricting RS implementation.

Hadrien Gardeur: difficult to test everywhere - gets tricky when you have to consider different CSS, etc

Dave Cramer: let’s get some proposals down with Romain’s help, and get Matt to take a look at them, and proceed from there.

Ivan Herman: Must have a clear statement somewhere whether we intend to restrict EPUB content and define organization of EPUB package.

3. accessibility review

Ivan Herman: Gregorio has reviewed the document and added issues/questions. Matt and I have examined these and responded to many. The editors can clarify and clean up most of these.
… We are supposed to go through a horizontal review for a11y

John Foliot: FWIW, I am a member of the APA

Gregorio: only issue might be about fixed layout accessibility, but I also want to read the RS specs to see if there are issues there, e.g. when RS ingests Nav file, how does it deal with language and aria attributes - we have to make sure these are not lost
… also for the checklist, many of the requirements are on the user agent side (like display transformability)
… Overview looks good, just need to review RS specs

John Foliot: to request a horizontal review, send an email to APA review

Hadrien Gardeur: for TOCs, RS will get rid of all markup (including lang attribute)
… some even ignore hierarchy and display TOC as a flat list

John Foliot: +1 to Ivan

Ivan Herman: we should make it so that our documents themselves are also accessible.

Ben Schroeter: +1

Avneesh Singh: horizontal review from Gregorio was first public working draft to identify problems early on. Proper (official) pre-CR horizontal review will be done by APA around October.
… ensuring accessibility for our documents will also ensure they are machine readable. Don’t need a formal check but we should do it.

4. summer break?

Ivan Herman: I’ll be out a couple weeks in July

Dave Cramer: We have a lot of work that we can do outside weekly calls, like test writing and various reviews
… suggest we discuss in Chairs call and come up with a schedule

Gregorio Pellegrino: In Italy we are in vacation in August :)

Dave Cramer: This has been a challenging week, so thanks everyone for participating.