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[Glossary] Definition of a portable document (and other things...)

From: Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 4 Sep 2015 15:54:38 +0200
Cc: Ralph Swick <swick@w3.org>, Leonard Rosenthol <lrosenth@adobe.com>, Bill Kasdorf <bkasdorf@apexcovantage.com>, Bill McCoy <bmccoy@idpf.org>
Message-Id: <261E9D38-764C-4D4F-9F36-0422A5C57DED@w3.org>
To: W3C Digital Publishing IG <public-digipub-ig@w3.org>
Dear all

A few weeks ago Leonard started a long thread[1] on the necessity to properly define, ie, have some sort of a glossary entry, for some of the terms we use or will be using. (Leonard's mail[2] was only on the term "Portable Document" but his concerns are, I guess, more general.) This issue came up recently on one of our telcos, too.

There are a number of terms that I believe we do have to define at least for our own work. I have put some (as agreed on the call) on a wiki page[2]; I am sure there are more. For each of those terms I think we had, in the past, a certain level of fuzziness in what we said and maybe wrote; maybe we should begin this new era of the new charter to clarify our own thoughts...

I think the fundamental term we have to start with is indeed the concept Portable/Web Document that Leonard hit through the EPUB+WEB paper; so maybe we could decide first on a definition that we can all live with as a basis. Indeed, we also have to answer a fundamental question: why is digital publishing, portable documents, etc, different than just putting a page up on the Web?

I have gone through the thread[1]. It have actually copy/pasted some extracts at the end of this mail (after my signature...) which I found important at least for myself.

The thread almost concluded with BillM putting forward a definition in[4] but Leonard disagreed with it [5]. To move forward, let me offer modified version of Bill's definition as follows (I also put it on the wiki page[3], just as a placeholder!):

**Portable Web Document** is a uniquely identifiable set of resources that together provide a graceful degradation when presented to the user even if an active server infrastructure is not available. All components of a portable document should themselves be portable.

There was an agreement on the thread that the notion of portable document has some fuzziness; hence the term 'graceful degradation'. I think this reflects some of the arguments: e.g., a font being on the Web (Leonard's example) may not create a problem if it is a choice between two latin fonts, but may become one when it is a special font for some very special character sets. The document should be considered as 'portable' in the former case but shouldn't in the latter. I have also added the reference to the identity; I believe it is very important that the particular collection of resources should be have togetherness that can be identified.



[1] http://w3.org/brief/NDYy
[2] http://www.w3.org/mid/C3B52A44-551D-428F-90BF-90E8F00682B9@adobe.com;list=public-digipub-ig
[3] https://www.w3.org/dpub/IG/wiki/Glossary
[4] http://www.w3.org/mid/CADMjS0bNRY4=McXrKgB9rSaf%252BbpgF2-CfPswcLNo57nEfq1soA@mail.gmail.com;list=public-digipub-ig
[5] http://www.w3.org/mid/CB60B578-959E-4D4C-9D77-A30085E26F6F@adobe.com;list=public-digipub-ig

Ivan Herman, W3C
Digital Publishing Lead
Home: http://www.w3.org/People/Ivan/
mobile: +31-641044153
ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0782-2704

To me what fundamentally distinguishes portable documents from arbitrary websites is solely that portable documents "promise" a reliable consumption experience without respect of any particular server infrastructure and, especially, without such server infrastructure providing interactivity. (BillM)

[...]it is reasonable to consider the publication complete[...] if those links/citations are present, even if they are not actionable at a given time (e.g., when the portable version of the publication is consumed offline), and whether or not the external content has been cached. (BillK)

[...] the portable publication may in fact go "fetch" the quiz, or something even simpler like a streaming video. So in those cases I would agree that the quiz or the video, though external resources, _should_ be considered part of the publication, and the publication not to be "complete" without it. (BillK)

As for the semantics, we should probably focus on what we mean by "portable," and not get quite so hung up on what we mean by "complete." That is verging very close to the argument about what "is" (BillK)

[...] I think that a fully portable document/publication should be expected to have the transitive property of portability. That is to say, all its components (like quizzes) should themselves be portable. The less this is true the less we can consider the overall publication to be a portable document and the more it is a website (BillM)

Received on Friday, 4 September 2015 13:54:51 UTC

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