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Re: Generalities and the SYMM Charter

From: Daniel Weck <daniel.weck@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2007 10:17:11 +0100
Message-Id: <F3A85A93-703D-4D65-9433-F52D0A3F0BBF@gmail.com>
Cc: SMIL List <www-smil@w3.org>
To: Destry Wion <destry@wion.com>

Hi !

You are right in saying that full-blown SMIL presentations are rare.  
In that respect, SMIL adoption has been slow.

However, SMIL is often used for part of its functionality in other  
host formats, rather than as a stand-alone fully-featured multimedia  
language. This was the main motivation for modularizing the standard.  
 From this perspective, SMIL is being relatively successful.

To name a few:

- The Daisy standard[1] for digital talking books relies extensively  
on SMIL (fine-grained synchronization of audio and text content).  
Tens of thousands of books are published in this format. Playback  
software is available in the traditional desktop-based form, there  
are also mobile implementations, and there are quite a few hardware  
players as well.

- Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) uses SMIL to synchronize  
graphics, text. video and audio clips on mobile platforms. Most  
modern mobile phones include a basic SMIL implementation.

- The animation part of Scalable Vector Graphics[2] (SVG) is based on  
SMIL animation.

- Although not technically a use of SMIL as an XML language, the Java  
"timing framework" [3] provides SMIL-like declarative animations (it  
was openly inspired by SMIL).

- etc.

Like you, I am somewhat disappointed though. I generally think that  
the state of the art is defined not only by the technology itself,  
but more importantly by its level of adoption.

In that sense, there many advanced SMIL features that I would like  
mainstream multimedia to use. Realistically, this will happen when  
publishers, consumers and playback+authoring software implementors  
have enough incentive to move forward with SMIL.

So far, the demand has been slow, maybe because because of strong  
"competitors" like Flash (I guess SVG is in a similar position).  
However I think that open-standards (and open-source) have different  
strengths to offer, and this is something to capitalize on for the  
next version of SMIL.

Kind regards, Daniel WECK.

[1] http://www.daisy.org/z3986/
[2] http://www.w3.org/Graphics/SVG/
[3] https://timingframework.dev.java.net/

On 10 Jun 2007, at 03:00, Destry Wion wrote:
> Hello,
> First time poster here. I've been watching the list topics for  
> about a month now and dialog is pretty technical, so forgive me for  
> the base questions.
> I've had an interest in SMIL since around 2001. I'm a web standards  
> buff, a technical communicator, and a user interaction specialist  
> by trade so my interest is more with the product interface side of  
> SMIL as opposed to the programming. I think I'm reasonably well- 
> oriented to SMIL; I've read the only two books fully focusing on  
> SMIL that are worth reading (Kennedy's and Bulterman's) as well as  
> Steve Mack's Streaming Media which had some interesting ideas for  
> front-end folks like me, and lately I've been poking through the  
> 3.0 draft, when I find the time (what a whopper).
> My own interests aside, and as much as I would like to see SMIL get  
> some traction online, that just doesn't appear to be happening. It  
> seems it made a little headway years ago and then just disappeared,  
> and along with it went what few SMIL presentations I once knew  
> about that were worth bookmarking (only about 15, mostly academic  
> stuff, but a few documentary and art pieces that were quite good  
> and creative). Today, I can't find a decent SMIL presentation to  
> save my life...old, new or otherwise. Any reference that comes up  
> in Google always leads to a broken link or a proprietary format  
> that I can't even try to play (I use a Mac).
> I'd like to turn it to you now: As people with direct hands-on, I'd  
> be curious and thankful for any comments you might give about why  
> SMIL is rare (seemingly extinct) online at this point (whether  
> communication reasons, technology, whatever), what needs to be  
> overcome to turn that around, and/or any predictions you might have  
> for the future of web SMIL.
> Also, I notice it's been a year to this month that the SYMM Charter  
> hasn't been updated (http://www.w3.org/AudioVideo/2004/symm-wg- 
> charter20060601.html), which is also evident in section 12, where  
> it says SMIL 2.0 is the latest recommendation. Since the document  
> is clearly dated, maybe someone can clarify a couple of things.  
> First, I find the reference "Next Generation" (NG) curious, and can  
> only guess it means to indicate SMIL 3.0, is that right? Second,  
> how accurate are the milestones now that it's been a year? Is NG  
> (3.0) still expected to be a CR this month?
> Thanks for your time and thoughts.
> Destry Wion
> wion.com
Received on Sunday, 10 June 2007 09:17:18 UTC

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