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Re: New commit of the Portable Web Publication draft, to be reviewed...

From: Bill McCoy <bmccoy@idpf.org>
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 2015 10:46:18 -0700
Message-ID: <CADMjS0bAdzq3=Ubj_R24LzwT5PFQwUEadwnNCgrM2ZcufgHzZw@mail.gmail.com>
To: Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>
Cc: W3C Digital Publishing IG <public-digipub-ig@w3.org>
Hi, I haven't been on the calls, so apologies if I'm revisiting old ground,
and also my comments are not substantive/technical. But, to help avoid
fostering unnecessary FUD among current EPUB adopters and stakeholders, I
would like to propose some minor word-smithing of one sentence in Section
4.2. In the interests of full transparency, I'm sending my suggestions to
the group as a whole rather than just making edits in the source document.
Feedback and discussion welcome, as always.

The sentence I'm concerned about currently reads:

*Although all effort must be taken to keep as much backward compatibility
with deployed formats (e.g., EPUB 3) as possible, the requirement(s) of
Portable Web Publications will very likely mean a non-backward compatible
transition from those.*
I have two issues with this:

1. I believe it would be more accurate to state outright that EPUB is not
just one of many "deployed formats" but is the primary format for
consideration for backwards compatibility in this effort. Proprietary
formats like Mobipocket are not really under consideration (and at this
point the vast majority of content flowing to Amazon's infrastructure from
authors and publishers is in EPUB anyway). Non-web-based formats such as
PDF, XPS, and DOCX aren't really in scope for specific backwards
compatibility either. So unless someone would like to propose other adopted
formats that we should specifically consider for backwards compatibility,
it just seems unnecessary to be vague on this point.

2. I would also suggest a slight softening of the "non-backward compatible"
part. I think it's important that it not be perceived that this document is
the opening salvo of a determined "forking" effort particularly when two of
its co-authors are respectively the CTO of IDPF and the co-chairs of the
IDPF EPUB Working Group. IDPF understands that the results of work towards
achieving the goals of Portable Web Publications may be incompatibilities
with today and tomorrow's EPUB, but IMO it is premature to suggest so
strongly that this will be the case, particularly as we don't yet know how
far tomorrow's EPUB (e.g. EPUB 3.1) can evolve incrementally towards
achieving Portable Web Publication vision. Also "very likely" is a judgment
call that it seems premature to declare consensus on, particularly without
any supporting specifics.

As I see it, what we are fundamentally doing with this document is
describing a desired end goal, not detailing how we are going to get there
from where we sit today.

So while it's wordier I would propose the following replacement:

*It would be highly desirable to deliver on the requirements on Portable
Web Publications in an evolutionary manner that builds on, and is backwards
compatible with, the existing EPUB format 3, since it is already widely
deployed. However, to fully deliver on Portable Web Publications
requirements may not be possible without a non-backward compatible
transition. At this preliminary stage, this document emphasizes all
requirements envisions for Portable Web Publications without addressing the
natural tension between goals of preserving compatibility and fully
achieving all these requirements in the most elegant manner. But neither
this end-goal emphasis, nor the use of the new term "Portable Web
Publication", should be taken as implying a recommendation to definitely
create a "de nova" new format that would replace EPUB. Further
investigation is required, and the ongoing evolutionary trajectory of EPUB
must also be taken into account.*
Basically I want to preserve (at least at this early juncture) the notions
that a) it might turn out to be possible to fully meet the "Portable Web
Publications" goals in an evolutionary manner and/or that b) the community
might decide that it's better to sacrifice or relax some of the goals in
order to preserve backwards compatibility. By way of example, the ZIP+XML
packaging could turn out to be fine for all needs of packaging on the Web,
and allow preserving that aspect of EPUB compatibility.

BTW I would also suggest removing the note about EPUB+WEB, at this point I
think that's historical, and not of interest to the broader audience we
expect for this document. In which case the clarification I suggest above
could perhaps come earlier in the draft, perhaps as soon as where that note


On Wed, Sep 30, 2015 at 4:20 AM, Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org> wrote:

> Dear all,
> as agreed on the telco, I have made some changes.
> *The first and most important is that the address/name of the repository
> has changed, due to the change of the term Document to Publication.*
> Sorry about that. The draft is at:
> http://w3c.github.io/dpub-pwp/
> the github repo being
> https://github.com/w3c/dpub-pwp
> (it was pwd instead of pwp…). Hopefully, this is the last change in the
> URL.
> I have made the following changes, mainly on the terminology section:
> - Changed (Portable) Web Document to (Portable) Web Publication everywhere
> in the text and, in particular, in the terminology (glossary) section[1]
> - Added a definition for "Content", essentially taking it over from WCAG
> - Changed the term 'collated' to 'aggregated' for the definition of a Web
> Publication
> - Added a bullet item emphasizing the fact that a Web Publication has a
> URI denoting the *whole* set of resources
> - Added the font example that we used in our discussion to give an example
> for the 'fuzziness' of portable vs. non-portable publications
> - I have added a separate section on states[2], but switched to the
> protocol vs. file and dropped the online vs. offline. Have added the
> typical example table, but also added some notes on the other corner cases
> Section 4 still needs work on adopting the state terminology, but I wanted
> to get some feedback before proceeding on that one.
> Remember that the goal we have is to get to a version next Monday that
> would be acceptable as a first public working draft. A FPWD is not supposed
> to be complete or perfect so, at this point, what we have to decide is
> whether the document is "good enough". We can and should work on it further
> later, of course…
> All comments, (github) issues, pull request, etc, are welcome...
> Cheers
> Ivan
> [1] http://w3c.github.io/dpub-pwp/#pwp_definition
> [2] http://w3c.github.io/dpub-pwp/#state_definition
> ----
> 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 Wednesday, 30 September 2015 17:46:47 UTC

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