IDPF Workshop on Advanced Adaptive Layout for High-Design Publications - July 20, 2011

June 29, 2011


The IDPF will hold a Workshop on Advanced Adaptive Layout for High-Design Publication on July 20 from 9:00am Pacific until 2:00pm, at the Google campus in Mountain View, CA and via Web meeting.  The meeting facilitator will Markus Gylling, Chair, EPUB 3 Working Group. IDPF members, EPUB 3 Working Group participants, and other interested parties are invited to participate.
Background and Overall Goals
In the development of EPUB 3, requirements for advanced adaptive layout were surfaced (targeting high-design digital publications such as textbooks, magazines, picture/children's books, and STM publishing), and one solution ("CSS Page Templates" aka "PGT") was proposed [1]. However, it proved infeasible to standardize a solution in this area on the EPUB 3.0 development timeline, and the PGT proposal (from Adobe Systems) was not fully reviewed. One aspect of PGT has since entered a standardization process with W3C as "CSS Regions" [2], and Adobe has continued to work on overall development of PGT and implementations thereof.
While EPUB 3 includes substantial incremental capabilities for adaptive layout (CSS 3 Multi-Column support, CSS Media Query support, etc.) it is believed that these capabilities do not fully meet requirements for high-design digital publications to move away from final-form page layouts and alternative formats, and are not sufficiently authoring-tool-friendly. It is also observed that use of fixed-layout models with EPUB has already begun, to the potential detriment of cross-device usability and accessibility. Therefore, despite EPUB 3.0 not yet being completely finalized, IDPF considers it a high priority to begin the process of EPUB's further evolution in this area.
Workshop Objectives
The overall objective of this workshop is to continue the conversation started during the EPUB 3.0 cycle regarding requirements (use cases and workflow scenarios) and potential solutions including but not limited to CSS Page Templates. Specifically, we'd like to see if we can get to a rough consensus among attendees around the problem area and solution(s), with a strong possibility to propose a Working Group charter for an addition to EPUB 3 focused in this area (most likely an optional, modular capability, given our overall goal to evolve EPUB in a more modularized manner). While a recommendation to proceed on a standardization track with a CSS Page Templates specification is a definite possibility, as discussed during EPUB 3 WG meetings, other proposals and points of view are explicitly solicited.
Agenda (Updated as of July 12)
  • Introductions and networking - coffee & pastries (9:00-9:30am)
  • Welcome: Bill McCoy (9:30-9:35)
  • Overview and ground rules: Markus Gylling  (9:35-9:50)
  • What's already in EPUB 3.0 for adaptive layout: Garth Conboy, Google (9:50-10:10)
  • Status of W3C Proposed CSS Layout Modules: Elika Etemad (Fantasai), W3C Invited Expert & Tab Atkins, Google (10:10-10:30)
  • Summary and demonstration of PGT and CSS Regions work: Peter Sorotokin, Adobe (10:30-11:30)
  • Discussion (11:30-12:30)
  • Lunch (12:30-1:30)
  • Conclusions and next steps (1:30-2:00)
A significant proportion of remote attendance is expected for this meeting and we will aim to provide reasonable voice conference facilities and screen sharing via Web conferencing.
Proposals for additional talks / position papers on the topic area are solicited by July 5, via email to Bill McCoy (bmccoy -at- These need not be formal in nature. Out of scope for discussion are a) debating whether nor not the IDPF should focus on EPUB addressing market segments like textbooks and magazines (i.e. for the purposes of the workshop, the assumption is "yes") and b) issues relating to representing fixed-layout pre-paginated content in EPUB (whether as bitmap images, SVG, or XHTML content laid out with fixed positioning). It is recognized that the latter topic, with the potential of leading to a fixed-layout profile of EPUB, is of interest and may be very helpful for content types such as manga/comics. This may be a future workshop topic, but we don't feel the time available on July 20 will enable a discussion that does it justice.
RSVPs for physical attendance are requested by July 12, to bmccoy -at- No RSVP is necessary for electronic attendance: all IDPF members including EPUB 3 Working Group members will receive conference call and Web access information via email closer to the event date.

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