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TPAC 2018: Everything You Need To Know

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October was a great traveling month for the EP team. One of the most memorable trips that took place was Juan Corona’s trip to Lyon, France, where he attended the W3C TPAC Conference. Juan got to participate in the Publishing Working Group, contributing his thoughts and providing feedback on the Web Publication Specifications and EPUB 4.

Learn more about the MVP, Web Publication Boundaries, Audiobooks and more:

MVP:
The Working Group was able to come up with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), which consists of the three main ideas:

  • The Table of Contents is omnipresent;
  • Basic Reading Progression;
  • Have the last page location bookmarked or remembered.

In order to be Web-Publication aware, the user agent needs to support these minimal requirements.

Web Publication Boundaries:
The main question that stood up before the Working Group was “what resources make up a Web Publication and how do you define boundaries for that?”. The simple conclusion proposes that the bounds of a publication is the combination of the default reading order and the resource list. Presence of the two contributes to the bounds of the publication.

Another question arose when the group struggled to define the differences between Web Publications, Portable Web Publications and EPUB 4. The group proposed the idea to continue working on EPUB 3.2 under the W3C recommendation track and move Web Publications from the Working Group to the Community Group, with a chance of bringing in additional technical expertise. In this proposal EPUB 4 would be “ice boxed” and pushed further back in the timeline.

Table of Contents:
The Table of Contents needs to be evolved for the Web Publications. The goal being to provide more freedom with a less strict and more flexible structure for web content authors. To satisfy this, the group wishes to explore the idea of creating an algorithm to solve the problem. Juan expressed his idea for this algorithm, and the group gave the task over to him, informarly naming it Juan’s algorithm. If this algorithm is able to handle both a machine-readable and a visually rich table of contents at the same time, it will truly be a great solution to the problem.

Audiobooks:
On the other side of the table, two representatives from the big players are placing a high stake on Audiobooks, bringing talk of finding a structure for Audiobooks as a part of the progression on EPUB 3.2. The use case for Audiobooks is a very interesting trend to follow.

Plenary Day:
The TPAC experience Juan has acquired also consists of more than just the Publishing Working Group. Happening during the day at TPAC known as the Plenary Day, which was planned around  the “unconferencing” model, the participants all came together to bring up topics for individual workshops or sessions for group discussion.

  • Juan got to see the incubation of ideas such as increased control of JavaScript imports with mapped package names;
  • Two similar proposals for the idea of controlling the rendering of HTML element process with ”display locking”;
  • And finally the formalization of the Accessibility Tree at the specification level.
  • These ideas sound very useful and would help to solve major technical challenges we’ve found in the past with implementing web-based EPUB reading systems.
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