Section: Software

Timesheets Library

Participants : Nicolas Hairon, Cécile Roisin.

The goal of the Timesheets library is to synchronize HTML5 content using declarative synchronization languages defined by W3C standards (namely SMIL Timing and Synchronization and SMIL Timesheets ).

With the raise of HTML5 which natively supports continuous content (audio, video) there is a dramatic need for handling synchronization, animation and user interaction in an efficient and homogeneous way. As web browsers do not support SMIL, except for SVG Animation (which is based on the SMIL BasicAnimation module), multimedia web authoring remains difficult and relies on code-based, non-standard solutions.

Therefore we are developing a generic, cross-browser JavaScript implementation for scheduling the dynamic behavior of HTML5 content that can be described with declarative SMIL markup. Using a declarative language makes sense for the most common tasks, which currently require JavaScript programming:

  • it is much easier for web authors and for web authoring tool developers;

  • it is a much better way to achieve good accessibility and indexability;

  • it is easier to maintain, since no specific JavaScript code is used.

This open source library is now deployed and used by external users. As far as we know, ENS Lyon was the first user: its site html5.ens-lyon contains several dozens of scientific conferences where the video capture of each conference is synchronized with the slides, a structured timeline and a table of contents. This web site was demonstrated in May at the WWW 2012 conference. University of Evry makes also a important use of the Timesheets library as a tool for teaching multimedia concepts at master level.