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[Fwd: News release: World Wide Web Consortium Issues First Working Draft of SMIL Boston]

From: Philipp Hoschka <ph@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 03 Aug 1999 18:36:14 +0200
Message-ID: <37A71A7E.8E0F8E2@w3.org>
To: www-smil@w3.org

attached mail follows:

World Wide Web Consortium Issues First Working Draft of SMIL Boston 

Next version of XML-based multimedia language features reusable modules,
generic animation, improved interactivity and TV integration 

W3C Contacts: 

Janet Daly, <janet@w3.org>, +1.617.253.5884 

Europe: Ned Mitchell, <ned@ala.com>, +; or Andrew
Lloyd,<allo@ala.com>, + 

Asia: Yuko Watanabe, <yuko@w3.org>, +81.466.49.1170 

      http://www.w3.org/ -- 3 August 1999 -- Leading the Web to its full
potential, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today releases the first
public working draft of Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language
(SMIL, pronounced "smile"), known as SMIL Boston. 

SMIL Boston builds upon the W3C SMIL 1.0 Recommendation, and adds
important extensions, including reusable modules, generic animation,
improved interactivity, and TV integration, all written in the
Extensible Markup Language (XML). 

By publishing this working draft at an early stage of the work on SMIL
Boston, W3C is ensuring that the public can follow developments, and
that the final result may be widely accepted and adopted. Following W3C
practice, the Synchronized  Multimedia (SYMM) Working Group provides a
public mailing list (www-smil@w3.org) for comments in addition to the
feedback  channels defined by the W3C Process. 

SMIL Boston Delivers Multimedia Presentation Power to the Web, Carries
Industry Support 

SMIL 1.0 enables authors to bring TV-like content to the Web, avoiding
the limitations of traditional television and lowering the required
Internet bandwidth for this type of content. With SMIL, producing
audio-visual presentations for the Web is easy, since it can be done
using a simple text editor, and does not require learning a programming

The SMIL Boston Working Draft proposes several extensions to SMIL 1.0,
such as integration with TV broadcasts, animation functionality,
improved support for navigation of timed presentations, and the ability
to integrate SMIL markup in other XML-based languages. These extensions
are based on the feedback received from authors, implementors and others
using the SMIL 1.0 infrastructure existing today. 

Current members of the W3C Working Group working on SMIL are key
international industry players in Web multimedia, interactive television
and audio/video streaming. In alphabetical order, they are: Canon,
Compaq, CSELT, CWI/Oratrix, France Telecom, Gateway, GLOCOM, INRIA,
Intel, Macromedia, Microsoft, NIST, Panasonic, Philips and RealNetworks. 

SMIL Boston Modules Enable Integration with other XML-based Languages 

Designing the syntax and semantics of a markup language requires
significant time and effort. Fortunately, designers of other XML-based
languages are able take full advantage of SMIL Boston, as it is designed
as a set of reusable modules. With SMIL Boston, language designers can
for example add timing information to Extensible HyperText Markup
Language (XHTML) and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), simply by importing
the SMIL Boston Timing and Synchronization module, rather than building
timing models and syntax from scratch. 

SMIL Boston Enables Creation of Animations in XML 

Animation is a popular approach to create compelling Web content while
reducing the download time for a presentation. While the most popular
form of animation on the Web today is animated GIF, it has several
limitations. As the animation is encoded in binary format, one needs
special editing tools to create it. Further, only GIF images can be used
in the animation- one cannot include a JPEG image, or an XHTML headline,
or an SVG vector graphics object. 

The SMIL Boston animation module eliminates the limitations found of the
animated GIF format. Since SMIL Boston modulesnare based on XML,
animations can be written using a simple text editor. It enables
animation of any media format, such as JPEG images, PNG images, even
video clips. The SMIL Boston animation module can also be used to add
animation capabilities to other XML-based languages, such as XHTML, SVG
or an XML-based 3D language. 

      SMIL Boston Improves Navigation Support 

One of the benefits of SMIL presentations over traditional TV content is
that users can navigate within the presentation, thereby focusing on the
parts of the presentation that interests them most. This can be achieved
by providing a table of contents of the presentation. 

Using SMIL Boston, the table of contents and the content itself can be
contained in the same SMIL file, rather than being split over several
files. This simplifies authoring, and reduces delays when users navigate
through the presentation. 

Another benefit over traditional TV content is that SMIL allows authors
to include additional content (e.g. background information) on the topic
of the presentation. In SMIL Boston, optional parts can be contained in
the same SMIL file as the main presentation. This allows the user to
access optional content without interrupting the main presentation. 

SMIL Boston Integrates Multimedia Objects with TV Broadcast 

Future digital television broadcasts are to use very similar techniques
as today's SMIL presentations. Rather than broadcasting audio and video
signals only, digital TV broadcasts may consist of a combination of
images, text and other media objects that are synchronized at the

SMIL Boston has been designed for integrating multimedia objects into
digital television broadcasts. SMIL Boston authors can schedule  media
objects to appear at certain points in time, and can write SMIL
presentations in which parts are activated by a signal sent from the TV
broadcast station. 

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C] 

The W3C was created to lead the Web to its full potential by developing
common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its
interoperability. It is an international industry consortium jointly run
by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (MIT LCS) in the USA, the
National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA)
in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the
Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web
for developers and users, sample code implementations to embody and
promote standards, and various prototype and sample applications to
demonstrate use of new technology. To date, over 340 organizations are
Members of the Consortium. 

      For more information about the World Wide Web Consortium, see


World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

Janet Daly, Head of Public Relations
MIT/LCS NE43-344
545 Technology Square
Cambridge, MA 02139

voice: 617.253.5884
fax:   617.258.5999 
Received on Tuesday, 3 August 1999 12:37:02 UTC

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