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please rename Timed Text (TT) Authoring Format 1.0 Distribution Format Exchange Profile (DFXP)

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 2009 17:27:50 +0200
Message-ID: <eb19f3360909290827x5f6f3349pb901f00ff541881d@mail.gmail.com>
To: public-tt@w3.org
Cc: plh@w3.org
Reviewing http://www.w3.org/TR/2009/CR-ttaf1-dfxp-20090924/#intro
again, I find I get stuck on the title of the document.

The name you have given your work does not do it (or W3C) justice:

"Timed Text (TT) Authoring Format 1.0  Distribution Format Exchange
Profile (DFXP)"

The only piece of this which carries any hint as to the real world
value of your work is the phrase "Timed Text". I strongly encourage
you to rebrand the work around something more memorable. In practice
it will be called Timed Text, or Timed Text *something*, and all the
text floating around that talks about legacy systems, authoring,
presentation, smil etc will be ignored. The work will succeed or fail
on the usefulness of the text format. Giving it a name that simply
identifies its purpose will help it find a useful niche. Failing that,
at least give it a short enough name that two parties referrring to it
can do so in two or three syllables. Not twenty!

The current title (and abstract) need some work before this goes to REC.

Is the format designed ... for "authoring"? For "exchange"?  Is
"publication" or "distribution" different to exchange? is conversion
from a legacy format "authoring"? What makes something "legacy"? Am I
mis-using the format if I use it for full text indexing or content
analysis or on-screen search in a smart EPG? Or for counting the swear
words in a movie sound-track to help human cataloguers classify it?

The abstract also focusses excessively on "means to an end" issues,
rather than the actual problems addressed by the technology.

Here is the abstract, with my comments in [chunky brackets]:

"""This document specifies the distribution format exchange profile
(DFXP) of the timed text authoring format (TT AF) in terms of a
vocabulary and semantics thereof.

[ suggest: This document specifies a format for exchanging Timed Text
information, by defining a vocabulary with associated semantics ]

The timed text authoring format is a content type that represents
timed text media for the purpose of interchange among authoring
systems. Timed text is textual information that is intrinsically or
extrinsically associated with timing information.

[  suggest: Timed Text is textual information that is intrinsically or
extrinsically associated with timing information. The format defined
here represents Timed Text in a manner suitable for exchange amongst
applications involved in the authoring, transcoding, presentation,
indexing, search or management of timed textual information, eg.
subtitling and captioning systems. We do not emurate the possible uses
of the technology, but focus instead on giving the format a clear
definition so that it can provide interoperability between diverse

The Distribution Format Exchange Profile is intended to be used for
the purpose of transcoding or exchanging timed text information among
legacy distribution content formats presently in use for subtitling
and captioning functions.
[ suggest: delete this]

In addition to being used for interchange among legacy distribution
content formats, DFXP content may be used directly as a distribution
format, for example, providing a standard content format to reference
from a <text> or <textstream> media object element in a [SMIL 2.1]
[suggest: delete this; a W3C format can be used wherever it is useful] """

In summary: please don't go to REC with this awkward, unwieldy name.
Just call it the Timed Text Markup Language or similar, and resist the
attempt in the overview to enumerate all the ways (authoring,
exchange, distribution) the format can be used, and go into a bit more
detail about what it can be used to *achieve*...


Received on Tuesday, 29 September 2009 15:28:35 UTC

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