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RE: SMIL - IIS Server

From: John Foliot - WATS.ca <foliot@wats.ca>
Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2006 07:20:27 -0700
To: "'Patrick Lauke'" <P.H.Lauke@salford.ac.uk>, <jassanaly@ipedis.com>, "'WAI Interest Group list'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <013f01c6f909$eb6c4100$6501a8c0@bosshog>

Patrick Lauke wrote:
> SMIL is a markup language, just like HTML. As such, it's completely
> independent from the server technology... 
> 

However!....  The file extension for SMIL documents is extremely
problematic, especially if you succumb to the poor habit of MS'ing your
extension (.smi instead of .smil).  The issue is then one of which player
will be invoked at the user end: Windows Media Player, QuickTime or
RealMedia (the 3 players that I know that support .smi/.smil MIME type).

.smi *can* stand for either SMIL or SAMI (Microsoft's SMIL based but
different captioning and "playlist" authoring language); it can also
represent the RealMedia SMIL or the QuickTime SMIL - two other
captioning/playlisting methods that sadly are not inter-operable: .smil
content authored for RealMedia will not play in QT, nor vice-versa, and
neither of these players will play SAMI content.

This becomes a huge issue at the user end, especially on the Windows
platform, where multiple media players exist.  All of these "helpful"
players generally offer, as part of the installation process, to become the
default media player for the user.  As most users generally click through
all of the installation screens without really reading them, it usually
means that the latest player installed has instilled itself as the default
media player for their competitors media files.

What this means then is that if you have created RealMedia SMIL content, but
an end user installed QuickTime player, the QT player will try to play the
.smil file (as, after all, it thinks it can) - however because RealMedia
SMIL and QT SMIL are actually different, the "playing" fails - with no
apparent reason to the end user.

This "hijacking" issue has become such a problem that I find myself
recommending people actual create native (non-proprietary) SMIL files and
importing them into FLASH to create captioned Flash Files - at least then we
don't have a situation of dueling media players to contend with.

I really wish that these companies would get their act together and agree to
create and support one common implementation of SMIL - the current fractured
landscape further complicates an already confusing situation, and further
discourages developers to provide captioned streams.  This can only continue
to become an increasingly significant issue, especially with educational
institutions looking to incorporate video and audio streams into their
on-line learning environments.

JF
---
John Foliot
Web Accessibility Specialist
WATS.ca



Jackir wrote:
> 
> Hi everyone,
> 
> Do you know if SMIL technology can work on Microsoft IIS Server ? or
> does it only on Apache Server ? 
> 
> Kind regards.
> Jackir
Received on Thursday, 26 October 2006 14:23:17 UTC

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