W3C Releases SMIL 2.0

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has released the SMIL (Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language) 2.0 specification as a W3C Recommendation, representing cross-industry agreement on an XML-based language that allows authors to write interactive multimedia presentations. A W3C Recommendation indicates that a specification is stable, contributes to Web interoperability and has been reviewed by the W3C Membership, who favor its adoption by the industry.

According to W3C, SMIL 2.0 allows developers to use a simple text editor to create multimedia experiences for the Web. SMIL allows the author to incorporate a wide range of data (audio, video or text), which may be locally or remotely stored.

SMIL 2.0 has been produced as a set of modules that can be used individually or in combinations. These modules provide new functions like animation, content control, layout, linking, media objects, meta-information, structure, timing and synchronization, time manipulations and transition effects.

By combining individual modules together, the W3C SYMM Working Group defines two SMIL 2.0 profiles. Profiling introduces the ability to tailor an XML-based language to specific needs (e.g. to optimize presentation and interaction for the client's capabilities). One profile is for comprehensive SMIL 2.0 presentations, and another suited to handheld/mobile devices, called SMIL Basic. This gives authors the ability to create presentations which are adaptable to different environments, whether limitations are due to bandwidth or device.

Profiling also adds the ability for integrating functionality from other markup languages. The Consortium has been successful combining Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) with SMIL 2.0 Modules and is working to combine XHTML modules.

The SMIL 2.0 specification was written and developed by the SYMM Working Group. The W3C SYMM Working Group includes Glocomm, IBM, Intel, Macromedia, Microsoft, Netscape/AOL, Nokia, Oratrix, Panasonic, Philips, RealNetworks and WGBH; as well as research and government organizations such as CWI (Centre for Mathematics and Computer Science, the Netherlands), INRIA (Institut National De Recherce en Informatique et en Automatique, France) and NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology, USA).

For more information, visit www.w3.org.