Sunday, July 23, 2006

Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL 2.1)

Over seven months ago, back in December, the W3 approved a new version of the SMIL standard - version 2.1. Technically, it is not a standard in the eyes of the W3 - but a recommendation (Technical Recommendation).

That fact aside, it is a great way to portray compelling presentations with realtime aspects to them.

While the web was originally static text and graphics, combined with a way to navigate from one page to another - nothing about SMIL is really focussed on static presentations.

SMIL presentations are dynamic and dramatic. They move. They change. They animate.

SMIL documents are alive, and lively.

Whereas SVG has basic capabilities for animation, SMIL has very sophisticated capabilities. And now it and SVG can in some ways work together.

Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL 2.1):
SMIL 2.1 has the following
design goals:
  1. Define an XML-based language that allows authors to write interactive multimedia presentations. Using SMIL, an author can describe the temporal behaviour of a multimedia presentation, associate hyperlinks with media objects and describe the layout of the presentation on a screen.
  2. Allow reusing of SMIL syntax and semantics in other XML-based languages, in particular those who need to represent timing and synchronization. For example, SMIL components are used for integrating timing into XHTML [XHTML10] and into SVG [SVG].
  3. Extend the functionalities contained in the SMIL 2.0 [SMIL20] into new or revised SMIL 2.1 modules.
  4. Define new SMIL 2.1 Mobile Profiles incorporating features useful
    within the mobile industry.


The list above, which appears in the SMIL 2.1 spec itself, makes it pretty clear that SVG is very important to SMIL, as is fitting into the whole framework of XHTML-compatible document standards.

SMIL has been around quite a long time.

Always kind of impressive from a gee, wiz sort of standpoint - now it is getting some seriously really powerful capabilities thanks to synergy with other W3 media-document standards.

Not surprisingly, SVG is benefiting from advances made in yet another W3 recommendation.

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