Posts tagged "Open Web Platform"

W3C Web Platforms Docs: A Standards Perspective

Recently, Adobe, along with many others in the community, initiated a major community effort to build a common suite of developer-oriented documentation of the Open Web Platform as a community effort sponsored by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) .

One of the problems with standards is that generally, they are meant more for implementors and less for users of the standards (often by design). Those who actually write the standards and work on the committees that create them know that they are fragile interface descriptions – and this fragility is what requires the care in their crafting.

Standards specifications are necessarily quite detailed, in order to really promote interoperability and ensure things work the same. And this is where things get sticky. The implementations are based on the standard or the specification, and all standards (well, nearly all) are written in native language by people who are usually specialists in technology, as are many people who implement the developer-oriented documentation.

What’s exciting here is that the Web Platform Docs (WPD) effort is really targeted at the user community to help document the standards in a way that is useful to that community.

But a standard really only gains value when it is implemented and widely deployed. And this is why the WPD is so innovative. WPD is about use and deployment of the standard. It has tutorials on how to use a feature; it has examples of uses. This is the kind of material that the W3C working group does not have time to create, but values. It is what the vendors provide to get their implementations used.

The importance of the site, from a standards point of view, is that it helps build an informed user base. Not at all a simple task.

The Web is evolving – and in its evolution, it is forcing others to change as well. Ten years ago, this type of common activity, open to all (for both contributions and information) would have been if not unthinkable, at least foreign. With this announcement, the contributors and the W3C have (hopefully) begun to change the way standards are seen – to an easier and kinder environment.  And this is a good thing.

For an Adobe developer’s view, see: What’s one of the biggest things missing from the Web?

Leading the Web Forward: Adobe’s “Create the Web” Event and Open Standards

I recently attended Adobe’s “Create the Web” event in San Francisco on September 24, 2012. One of things that struck me was the role standards are playing in the tools and technologies announced at that event.  Adobe is increasingly delivering standards-based tools to simplify the creation of imaginative content for the Web as well as contributing technology to the continuing development of the Open Web Platform standards within the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
 
Adobe has for many years been one of the primary vendors of tools for creating visual content. Our customers look to us to help them create innovative and effective presentations and content: graphically, textually and interactively. Originally, these tools involved display vehicles created by Adobe, but increasingly, the tools Adobe is providing are moving to standards-based platforms such as the Open Web Platform. For example, the recently announced Edge Animate tool makes the creation of animations using HTML5, CSS and JavaScript much more natural; a user interacts with a graphical display of the objects being animated, and the tool helps the user write the “code” for inclusion of the objects on the user’s Web page.
 
As the Web platform standards have become available on mobile as well as desktop devices, creating presentations that scale across these devices has become more challenging. The Edge Reflow tool helps create presentations that shift the way the same content is displayed on devices of different sizes using a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) feature called media queries. PhoneGap Build then allows an author to take a Web platform-based application and package it as a native application that can run on a number of mobile device operating systems.
 
But, the Web of today still lacks many of the features Adobe customers have grown to appreciate and use. For that reason, Adobe is very active in extending the Web standards to include those features. In the area of presentation layout, Adobe has submitted proposals to allow a presentation to be constructed from multiple flows of material and to have objects on the page exclude other objects or text to achieve layout effects commonly seen in magazines. In the area of graphics, Adobe is helping to standardize the technologies used to create filters that add pizazz to presentations and to allow various elements to be overlaid, transparently. These efforts are accompanied by open-source demonstration implementations that help vendors supporting the Open Web Platform understand the value of and possibilities around the features being contributed. Adobe is in active partnerships developing these features to lead the Web forward.
 
Adobe is making a strong statement in support of the Open Web Platform standards. We are developing tools that make it easier to produce content for the Open Web, and we are working to extend that standard to better meet the needs of Adobe customers. Thus, standards are significant in the ways Adobe helps creative professionals, publishers, developers and businesses create, publish, promote and monetize their content anywhere.