W3C XML Packaging Background Information

2000 July 26


From time to time, there are mentions of "XML packaging" in various public fora. The W3C XML Activity has some bit of history in this area, but it does not have the resources to address XML packaging at the present time. Therefore, the W3C XML Coordination Group (CG) has decided to publish the existing background information in the hopes that it may be of some use to any public efforts to address these issues.

Status of Packaging in the XML Activity

Phase III of the W3C XML Activity was started in 1999 September. In the Activity definition, an XML Packaging WG was chartered but given an indefinite starting date (supposedly to be after the XML Core WG had completed its work).

At the W3C XML Plenary f2f on 1999 September 29, it was decided to start an XML Packaging Task Force to do some informal investigation of the issues and provide input for any subsequent working group.

W3C discussions to date

Associated with XML'99, on 1999 December 07 there was the only meeting of the XML Packaging Task Force in Philadelphia. The minutes document lists some background material, states the general agenda of this meeting, and records both a list of potential user scenarios as well as records some discussion.

At the W3C XML Plenary f2f on 2000 February 2, there was a 40 minute discussion on XML Packaging. Those present at that meeting preferred to give top priority to use case 4 (as described in the minutes of the December meeting), to wit:

A "manifest" containing pointers to an XML document, external entities, DTD/Schema, stylesheet, java scripts, etc.

(It was thought that this might also address use case 1.)

The background documents referenced by the Task Force meeting minutes include:

Current situation

At the present time, there is no specific schedule for the (not as yet constituted) W3C XML Packaging WG.

The XML CG has decided to make all the above W3C packaging-related material public at this time with the invitation that any group feel free to use it in the development of any proposed solution to any part of the set of "packaging issues." The W3C is hosting a publicly archived (lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-xml-packaging/) mailing list for the purposes of public discussion of XML Packaging, and all those interested are urged to join the www-xml-packaging@w3.org mailing list (send email to www-xml-packaging-request@w3.org with a subject of "subscribe") to discuss the issues.

Paul Grosso for the W3C XML CG