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Created: November 07, 2003.
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W3C Public Working Draft on Authoring Techniques for Device Independence.

The W3C Device Independence Working Group has published an initial public working draft of Authoring Techniques for Device Independence. The document provides a summary of several techniques and best practices that Web site authors and solution providers may employ when creating and delivering content to a diverse set of access mechanisms. It includes discussions on the features of authoring tools, site creation and maintenance tools, storage, delivery, adaptation, end-user devices and software on such devices. The working draft seeks to identify known, published practices and techniques that address (1) the creation of original, reusable and adaptable content; (2) the representation of author intentions and decisions; (3) creating and adapting navigation features; (4) design and adaptation of interactive content; (5) use and management of contextual information." The W3C Device Independence WG was chartered to "study issues related to authoring, adaptation and presentation of Web content and applications that can be delivered effectively through different access mechanisms. The Working Group has the dual role of monitoring and reviewing the work of other groups from a device independence perspective, as well as proposing solutions for achieving better device independence in areas not already covered by other groups. The long-term objective of the Device Independence WG is to avoid fragmentation of the Web space, making it accessible with various kinds of presentation device. Consistent with this goal, presentation devices should be able to access Web content appropriate for their capabilities and authors should be enabled to create Web content that is deliverable across different presentation devices."

From the Authoring Techniques Working Draft

The WG charter lead to stipulation of the following goals for the draft document:

  • Authoring Practice: Identify the current and proposed techniques to support authoring for multiple devices, and present these as abstractions of the process from the original authoring step up to and including the final delivery of content to the access mechanism.
  • Adaptation Techniques: Identify the range of content adaptation techniques and how they may be applied at the different stages of the delivery process (from server through intermediaries to the device).
  • Requirements: Identify the requirements that should be satisfied by implementations of techniques identified in this document. In particular, this relates to the technical requirements for markup languages and other technologies offered by the W3C.
  • XForms: Identify techniques, based on XForms, to support device-independent navigation and interaction. These techniques must support the tailoring of presentation, interaction modes and navigation within form-based Web applications.

Drawing on the experience of technology providers and Web authors, this Note presents an overview of many existing techniques and best practices that may be used to deliver tailored content and applications to a wide variety of devices. It shows, in practical terms, how one might address the problems of content creation, content maintenance and content adaptation. It explores the issues associated with managing an application's interaction with a user where different devices and modalities are present.

This Note is restricted to content and applications that are intended for Web delivery, employing technologies that are associated with the Web, and in particular those technologies that have been recommended by the W3C or are being developed by the W3C. Furthermore, while the Web can be used to deliver a wide variety of media types, this Note shall focus on media that is represented by, or referenced through, markup languages. XHTML and its associated technologies shall play a key role in this Note, but the legacy of older technologies shall be recognized as an important domain of interest.

Implementation-specific issues shall be recognized, but not elaborated, in this Note. This includes issues such as performance and scaling, security, resource consumption etc. It is recognized that different implementations of the same authoring techniques, and their associated adaptation techniques, will have different properties and that these differences provide scope for business opportunities..." [adapted from the Scope and Goals statements]

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