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

From: Bill McCoy <bmccoy@idpf.org>
Date: Thu, 10 Sep 2015 10:04:04 -0700
Message-ID: <CADMjS0ZvmRywqNo_whBgSkPPfNNckQ4Kqdv4QtTbxqk4Pud3qw@mail.gmail.com>
To: Leonard Rosenthol <lrosenth@adobe.com>
Cc: Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>, W3C Digital Publishing IG <public-digipub-ig@w3.org>, Deborah Kaplan <dkaplan@safaribooksonline.com>, Liam Quin <liam@w3.org>, Ralph Swick <swick@w3.org>, Olaf Drümmer <olaf@druemmer.com>
Actually the second bullet as presently worded is too vague to capture my
notion of a portable document, even with the "MUST".

If a "Portable Web Document" depends on active processes running on
servers, then it is not portable, whether or not these scripts depend on
Web Resources external to the Portable Web Document. If my Web Document
incorporates a Python program running on the server that manipulates every
image based on the phase of the moon, I cant pickle that Python program up
and transmit it along with the rest of the Web Resources. So by my criteria
it is not portable, at all. But it seems to meet the definition, since the
processing only relies on the images, not on external resources.

Ivan, you seem to be implicitly rejecting (by not adopting it) my
suggestion that we nail down specifically that to qualify as portable, the
set of representations (formats) for all of resources must be finite. I
would love to see an example from you of a Web Document that should qualify
as "portable" where that is not true. Maybe we just have a different
meaning about "portability" - if you (and perhaps this group) want to
define "portability" in a way that does not guarantee the ability to
support archival or multi-channel distribution, I guess I don't object. I
just don't think it matches how we have historically used "portable" when
applied to "documents", so it may create confusion.

Another way to state my issue is that I believe "portable" should NOT be
defined in a way that is human-centric. "portability" is an important
attribute as much for machine-machine communication (distributing content
to aggregators, semantic analysis, etc.) as for human consumption. The
current definition therefore seems to me to be way too anthropocentric with
"present the essential content" and "graceful degradation".  Also I'm not
sure what "*it* is offline" means - we are talking about a collection of
Web Resources here so what does it mean for them to be offline? It seems we
are trying extra hard in this definition to tiptoe around what I see as a
very basic and simple property that requires, for Portable Web Documents, a
restriction on the REST architecture's general flexibility (that resources
aren't bound to specific representations), and by consequence implies that
interactivity (other than concierge-level interactivity, such as fetching
resources from DBs and perhaps choosing which of a set of resources to
fulfill) may only be enabled through "code-on-demand", i.e. code that is is
itself a resource of the document.

So I would much prefer a crisper, simpler, and more objectively
ascertainable definition of  "Portable Web Document" which explicitly rules
out necessary server-side interactivity by pinning down that the formats
for all resources are predefined ("finite and enumerable" or some better
wording), rather than all this vague stuff about "essential" and "graceful".

But, maybe that's just me... ;-)


On Thu, Sep 10, 2015 at 7:24 AM, Leonard Rosenthol <lrosenth@adobe.com>

> I think we are almost there…
> However, I would prefer to the MUST in the second bullet as a SHOULD
> (strong recommendation, not requirement).  I know this is the one point on
> which Bill and I disagree, but we have some actual use cases where this
> comes up.  Also, in my mind, this is the “cached” state for the PWD – where
> it would normally get something online but when not connected it
> could/would use something local (but not part of the document).
> Leonard
> From: Ivan Herman
> Date: Thursday, September 10, 2015 at 7:24 AM
> To: Bill McCoy
> Cc: W3C Digital Publishing IG, Deborah Kaplan, Liam Quin, Leonard
> Rosenthol, Ralph Swick, Olaf Drümmer
> Subject: Re: [Glossary] Definition of a portable document (and other
> things...)
> Bill,
> just picking up where we were yesterday, to settle the last few meters:-)
> We seem to be in agreement in the definition of Web Resources, and Web
> Documents[1]; let us not repeat them here. What we want is a refinement of
> the portable part. At present, we have:
> • A *Portable Web Document*: a Web Document which contains, within its
> constituent set, the information necessary to provide delivery of essential
> content and functionality, or a graceful degradation thereof, without
> the presence of any other Web Resources.
> Following the idea I had yesterday evening, and also following Deborah's
> approach on adding some 'explanation' to the terms, what about adding the
> following two items:
> [[[
> • It * must* be possible to present the essential content of a Portable
> Web Document even if it is offline (though possibly with a lower quality,
> e.g., using suboptimal, but local fonts, or images instead of a remote
> video).
> • Active processes (e.g., scripts) of a Portable Web Document, when
> responsible for an essential functionality, *must not* depend on Web
> Resources external to the Portable Web Document.
> ]]]
> I was wondering about adding to the second post: "apart from the standards
> defined for Portable Web Documents, i.e., programming environments and
> standard API-s available in User Agents", but that might become to much
> details. This is not mathematics, after all:-)
> Any more such "qualifying" notes? Are those fine?
> I think that if we find a consensus on this part, we are done with the
> first round of glossary definitions… But there are more!
> Ivan
> [1] https://www.w3.org/dpub/IG/wiki/Glossary
> ----
> 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


Bill McCoy
Executive Director
International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF)
email: bmccoy@idpf.org
mobile: +1 206 353 0233
Received on Thursday, 10 September 2015 17:04:33 UTC

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