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Re: Agenda+ for PBGSC meeting 28 June 2019

From: Dave Cramer <dauwhe@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2019 10:27:40 -0400
Message-ID: <CADxXqOyMMxCbSxxyhwcjvwmCfX70QPYyE_QwfL3GmVsRWYKhaA@mail.gmail.com>
To: W3C Publishing Steering Committee <public-publishing-sc@w3.org>
Hi Everyone,

We've written up a brief description of what we hope to discuss at today's
steering committee meeting as well as Monday's working group meeting:

The chairs of the Publishing Working Group (PWG) and the  EPUB 3 Community
Group have been discussing how best to move forward with Web Publications.
As the specification exists today, there is little chance of it being
adopted by publishers, as it does not reflect current business needs. In
spite of our best intentions, we did not gain the support of the browser
vendors or the larger web community. We attempted standardization before
experimentation and incubation. Clear business needs have been hard to

We feel the best course of action is to suspend work on web publications
for now, and focus on areas where we have clearly-expressed and
widely-supported business needs, such as audiobooks. We would consider
resuming work on web publications, but we would need more
clearly-articulated business needs, and broader participation from the web
community as well as the publishing world.

So what should we do? We have a proposal:


   Publish the existing full Web Publications spec  as a Working Group
   Note, with the message that “there is insufficient business interest to
   proceed today, but we can revisit in the future.”

   Move forward with audiobooks. But we need to decide on an approach:

      Most of the chairs favor using the existing audiobook spec as a
      foundation, incorporating the manifest and associated vocabulary from Web
      Publications, and possibly integrating the packaging spec. By
      de-emphasising the WP aspect of audiobooks, specifying the processing of
      the manifest could become much simpler, avoiding the complications of
      fetch, CORS, and so on. But this still leaves open the possibility to
      better integrate with existing web technologies, and perhaps
even evolve to
      support podcasts. And if the synced media proposal for audiobooks gains
      traction, it could be a boon to the larger web. This could open
the door to
      future profiles as well.

      EPUB could become a packaged audio format by defining audio formats
      as core content types, allowing them to be referenced directly from the
      spine without fallbacks. This provides a natural way to incorporate
      navigation and non-audio content in audiobooks, and takes advantage of
      EPUB’s existing media overlays. But there may be little interest from the

   Work with the publishing community to focus on the future of EPUB.
   Perhaps instead of inventing something new, we can bring EPUB closer to the
   web. Some of the ambitious proposals made for EPUB 3.1 could form the
   foundation of the EPUB 4 of the future, including the browser-friendly
   format, the HTML serialization, and more progress on scripting in EPUB. If
   the industry indeed sees a business need for a new version of EPUB, We do
   not yet know where that work might happen, but logistics will come later.

   Follow the advice that we've received from the larger web community
   about incubation, about identifying gaps in the web platform and advocating
   for filling them rather than trying to create a grand vision from

We will spend Monday’s meeting discussing these issues.  We hope to hear
your thoughts about these questions in particular:


   Would you prefer to move forward with audiobooks as is (in a Web
   Context) or audiobooks in an EPUB context? We would like to hear about
   implementation interest from both “listening system” vendors and content

   What are the next steps for EPUB? What comes after EPUB 3.2? Going
   forward, we will ask you to identify particular gaps in the EPUB


Tzviya Siegman

Wendy Reid

Garth Conboy

Ivan Herman

Matt Garrish

Ralph Swick

Dave Cramer

Rachel Comerford

On Thu, Jun 27, 2019 at 12:16 PM Dave Cramer <dauwhe@gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi,
> As part of tomorrow's SC meeting, we would like to have a discussion about
> the future of the the Publishing Working Group. The chairs are proposing a
> change in emphasis on what the group does, focusing on audiobooks. This
> discussion would also touch on the future of EPUB, and whether to stop work
> on WP outside of audiobooks.
> Regards,
> Dave
Received on Friday, 28 June 2019 14:28:16 UTC

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