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Not All SMILs

By Nate Zelnick Industry Standards Still Evolving The Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL), the latest W3C recommendation, is completely in line with the trend of the consortium for the last few months, in that it builds on the other work of the body in an incremental fashion. In this case it means that SMIL, which is used to create time-based presentations that integrate different media objects into a single document, is based on XML.Scott Clark has already written a ton of excellent articles about SMIL and how to use it, so I’m actually going to depart a little from form here and look at a political argument that has developed around SMIL.Even though SMIL has been in the works for about 10 months and has had participation from a wide swath of interested commercial companies, its passage as a standard was not without some controversy. According to several press reports, Microsoft voted against the specification even though it had participated in its creation. Microsoft will not support version 1.0 of SMIL in its NetShow and MediaPlayer products in Windows.Microsoft’s objections to SMIL, according to Group Product Manager Robert Bennett, is that SMIL’s functionality can be done using other technologies that are already standards—namely Cascading Style Sheets, Dynamic HTML and the Document Object Model’s exposure of page elements as named and scriptable objects.


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