Section: Scientific Foundations
Participants : Yohan Lasorsa, Jacques Lemordant, Jan Mikáč, Vincent Quint, Cécile Roisin, Irène Vatton.
Multimedia documents are considered through several kinds of structures: layout, time, linking, logical organization. We are working on techniques that allow users to manipulate all these structures in homogeneous environments. The main objective is to support new advances in document formats without making the authoring task more complex. The key idea is to present simultaneously several views of the document, each view showing a particular structure, and to allow users to manipulate each view directly and efficiently. As the various structures of a document are not independent from each other, views are “synchronized” to reflect in all views the consequences of every change. The XML markup, although it can be accessed at any time, is handled by the tools, and authors do not have to worry about syntactical issues.
Even with tools providing views for manipulation of various structures, the authoring task is often considered too complex for most users because it requires a deep understanding of the semantics of the document format (e.g. the SMIL timing model, or the most advanced features of XHTML). We are therefore working on a new authoring model for multimedia documents that would provide a strong basis for creating generic or dedicated authoring tools with appropriate user-friendly GUI.
Our approach is first to focus on the logical structure of the document while keeping some semantics of proven technologies such as SMIL. The second core idea is to tightly integrate template definitions in this document model: the template is itself a document constrained by a schema-like syntax. The continuum between templates and document instances permits to edit templates generically, like any other document and within the same environment. It also enables a more natural authoring process where documents can be created step by step from existing templates up to a final state where all place-holders are filled and all options are decided: during this process, the document status evolves from a pure template to a completed instance.