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Re: Relationship between W3C and IDPF, for this work?

From: Leonard Rosenthol <lrosenth@adobe.com>
Date: Wed, 12 Aug 2015 14:46:33 +0000
To: Bill McCoy <whmccoy@gmail.com>, Bill Kasdorf <bkasdorf@apexcovantage.com>
CC: W3C Digital Publishing IG <public-digipub-ig@w3.org>, Ralph Swick <swick@w3.org>, Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>
Message-ID: <430F878F-DC86-400C-9850-54DE90341CA2@adobe.com>
I appreciate the background from all of you - definitely helps me understand the landscape.  And thanks to both Bills for their explanations about where they see EPUB fitting in and possible directions (or lack of directions).  That all makes me feel a bit better about the directions on both sides.  I feel like there is definitely the willingness to solve a set of problems, hopefully w/o breaking with the past – but doing so if need be.

We’ve spent a lot of time at Adobe looking at the needs of the non=professional publisher – from IT, to the church secretary to students (at all levels) and more.  I am hoping to bring our findings, including the limitations of EPUB to many of these market segments, and some specific recommendations both around EPUB and other possible directions, to this group in the coming months. Hopefully in time for the F2F…

Looking forward to continued discussion!


From: Bill McCoy
Date: Tuesday, August 11, 2015 at 1:05 PM
To: Bill Kasdorf
Cc: Leonard Rosenthol, W3C Digital Publishing IG, Ralph Swick, Ivan Herman
Subject: Re: Relationship between W3C and IDPF, for this work?

HI, just to chime in and add two more points to the discussion:

- I totally agree with Leonard that enterprise/ad-hoc publishing use cases are important and in some sense are those that will push the envelope of use of OWP for publishing, as he wrote: "from the internal-only enterprise content to the church secretary sending out the monthly newsletter". And this is something W3C helps bring to the party, given its large member constituency in enterprise. However, I think it's inaccurate to claim that such customers do not have EPUB and HTML tools today. Consumer-grade word processing tools that have added EPUB 3 export in the last couple of years include Apple Pages, OpenOffice,and the most popular independent WP solutions in Korea and Japan (Hangul WP and Ichitaro). Adobe InDesign and now Apple iBooks Author  are hgher-end solutions but are not just for commercial publishers - they are used in enterprises and by design-centric consumers - and they now both support EPUB 3. Given this competitive situation and the a11y mandates developing for EPUB 3 I would not be surprised if other popular office document solutions weren't natively supporting EPUB 3 reasonably soon. Are EPUB tools (and HTML export options) good enough for ad hoc and enterprise publishing? Heck, no!. But these industry adoption trends strongly suggest that  Leonard's proposal of "starting from scratch" is not the right answer for this group.

- BillK is certainly correct that the raison d'etre of DigPub IG is NOT simply about moving development of EPUB 3 or its successor to W3C. But I think it is fair to acknowledge that this is a possible long-term outcome of closer collaboration between W3C and IDPF. It certainly made sense to everyone for development of the forthcoming EPUB 3.1, which is constrained by definition to maintain compatibility with today's EPUB, to remain at IDPF, while this group can focus more on enabling publishing capabilities in base OWP technologies. For a future "EPUB 4" (whatever it be called), we'll have to see. IDPF's perspective is that a unified approach for portable documents based on OWP technologies will aid interoperability and help support a robust ecosystem (just as PDF has done in ably filling the niche for paper-replica portable documents), and part of our strategy is to help advance the OWP overall and increase alignment of EPUB with the rest of OWP over time. So an even closer relationship with W3C is something that could be welcomed, so long as the needs of the digital publishing industry were effectively met. Whether EPUB becoming more aligned with OWP mandates EPUB work being done at W3C is however not clear - WebGL for example seems to be fine continuing to be developed by Khronos Group, who has gathered 3D industry stakeholders just as IDPF has gathered publishing industry stakeholders. But publishing is more central to HTML/CSS than 3D, and as online and offline publishing converge it's not so clear (to me anyway) that there can be as clear a distinction in the work that needs to be done in publishing for OWP, and the stakeholders for that work, as with 3D (although it's possible that there could be a lasting distinction between the work needed to further develop base OWP capabilities for publishers, and that needed to further develop "superstructures" for reliable publications) .  What IDPF does NOT want to see is work on two "dueling" open standards for portable documents on OWP, and we are prepared for radical evolution of today's approach (both the format itself and spec development processes)  as part of pursuing maximum "harmonization". We do want to avoid "bikeshedding" and even technically meritorious improvements must be balanced against the cost of requiring discontiguous migration (something W3C has navigated masterfully with HTML5 and CSS3 work in recent years). EPUB 3.1 work should help us understand better how far we can push today's EPUB towards meeting EPUB-WEB goals without fundamentally incompatible changes, which may shine more light on how and where future work on the portable document "superstructures" should best be done.


On Tue, Aug 11, 2015 at 7:47 AM, Bill Kasdorf <bkasdorf@apexcovantage.com<mailto:bkasdorf@apexcovantage.com>> wrote:
Hi, Leonard--

This confusion is largely due to your coming in late to this conversation.

This is NOT about moving EPUB from IDPF to W3C.

It began as a JOINT initiative, prompted by a jointly written white paper by Markus (IDPF) and Ivan (W3C) about a year ago, in consultation with both IDPF and W3C leadership, presented to last year's Books in Browsers conference.

There have been subsequent joint presentations, most notably at the IDPF Digital Book conference last spring by Tzviya, Markus, and Ivan. I've attached that presentation for your reference, which I think will give you some good perspective. I have it in several formats; I thought you'd enjoy the fact that I'm giving you the PDF. ;-)

Both organizations have been careful to keep the initiative as a joint effort. I can attest to that since I happen to be a member of both the IDPF EPUB 3 WG and the W3C DPUB IG. In both contexts, care is being taken for each organization to focus on the aspects that make the most sense for it to address. Moreover, they not only avoid getting in the way of what the other organization is doing, they make a deliberate effort to _make use of_ what the other organization is doing, and deferring to the other organization on issues that are clearly in that org's domain. Plus, keep in mind that these are still very early stages. Many issues are in the "hmm, what is the best way to deal with this?" stage. We have tried hard, and are trying hard, to avoid the "IDPF wants X, W3C wants Y, now they have to duke it out" dynamic.

A case in point, packaging. An important topic on both sides. EPUB has its packaging. IDPF is revisiting that (okay, perhaps "thinking about revisiting that" is more accurate); while it is quite unlikely any significant change would be made in the upcoming EPUB 3.1 work, we definitely have that issue on our radar for the longer term future. In fact one of the ironies of our situation right now is that there was a solution years ago that was rejected in favor of the simpler .zip format; now, that earlier solution might actually be a better choice. (Brady is your best resource on that issue.) At the same time, we have been discussing the packaging issue on the DPUB side. I hope I'm not out of line on saying that what appears to be the most likely direction is that DPUB will wind up being agnostic on packaging. (That's my hope.) If you're packaging a publication as an EPUB, then of course use the EPUB packaging spec. If you're packaging other types of content (which btw is not necessarily a publication in the W3C context), use whatever packaging makes the most sense, ideally what is the _appropriate_ packaging for that content. I am of course oversimplifying, but you get the drift. (Ivan is your best resource on that issue.)

Sorry for the long e-mail but I thought this perspective could be helpful to you.

--Bill Kasdorf

-----Original Message-----
From: Leonard Rosenthol [mailto:lrosenth@adobe.com<mailto:lrosenth@adobe.com>]
Sent: Tuesday, August 11, 2015 7:35 AM
To: Ivan Herman
Cc: W3C Digital Publishing IG; Bill McCoy; Ralph Swick
Subject: Re: Relationship between W3C and IDPF, for this work?

I am trying to understand why there is a need to force EPUB as the solution to a series of developing problem statements.

If this group is simply serving as a conduit for moving standardization of EPUB from IDPF to W3C - which may or not be a good thing - then change the name and charter of the group to specifically focus on that.  And then move all of the other work - CSS for publishing, packaging of the web, etc. - to other non-biased groups.

On the other hand, if this group is truly about focusing on delivering solutions to customers/users in the area of improved publishing using OWP technologies, then we should (as I stated on the call yesterday) be starting from scratch and focus on how to deliver these solutions.

Of course, this also leads to the obvious question of who are the customers of this work?  Certainly, there are folks already represented from traditional publishing avenues (books, magazines, and even technical pubs).   What is missing, IMO, are all the other types of folks who wish to publish content digitally - from the internal-only enterprise content to the church secretary sending out the monthly newsletter.  The requirements of the former do not match those of the latter and the positions on the call yesterday of “but we already have tools” goes directly against these customers who have nothing today.

As I mentioned yesterday - I have nothing against EPUB - I think it’s an excellent solution for the customer base for which it was designed.  And I think that it, and it’s customers, should continue to help drive requirements for improved publishing of OWP content.  HOWEVER, they are not the only customers for such things and therefore their needs should not be the only ones driving directions.


On 8/11/15, 5:40 AM, "Ivan Herman" <ivan@w3.org<mailto:ivan@w3.org>> wrote:

>I do not think there is a written, formal document on this. However, the group itself has been set up in a strong cooperation with IDPF, accompanied by a numerous presentations, public panels, a series of joint workshops that actually led to the creation of this activity, or a joint participation in the EDUPUB initiative.  All that is also been reinforced in the current charter proposal and the mutual memberships of the two organization.
>Is there anything specific you are looking for?
>> On 10 Aug 2015, at 18:01 , Leonard Rosenthol <lrosenth@adobe.com<mailto:lrosenth@adobe.com>> wrote:
>> Can someone point me to a document that details the exact relationship between the IDPF and the W3C as it relates to the work of this group?
>> Thanks,
>> Leonard
>Ivan Herman, W3C
>Digital Publishing Activity Lead
>Home: http://www.w3.org/People/Ivan/
>mobile: +31-641044153<tel:%2B31-641044153>
>ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0782-2704

Received on Wednesday, 12 August 2015 14:47:06 UTC

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