Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language
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|Internet media type|
|Developed by||World Wide Web Consortium|
|Type of format||Markup language|
|Standard(s)||SMIL 1.0 (Recommendation)|
SMIL 2.0 Second Edition (Recommendation)
SMIL 2.1 (Recommendation)
SMIL 3.0 (Recommendation)
SMIL (pronounced /ˈsmaɪl/ "smile"), the Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language, is a W3C recommended XML markup language for describing multimedia presentations. It defines markup for timing, layout, animations, visual transitions, and media embedding, among other things. SMIL allows the presentation of media items such as text, images, video, and audio, as well as links to other SMIL presentations, and files from multiple web servers. SMIL markup is written in XML, and has similarities to HTML.
SMIL 1.0 became a W3C Recommendation in June 1998.
SMIL 2.0 became a W3C Recommendation in August 2001. SMIL 2.0 introduced a modular language structure that facilitated integration of SMIL semantics into other XML-based languages. Basic animation and timing modules were integrated into Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) and the SMIL modules formed a basis for Timed-Text. The modular structure made it possible to define the standard SMIL language profile and the XHTML+SMIL language profile with common syntax and standard semantics.
SMIL 2.1 became a W3C Recommendation in December 2005. SMIL 2.1 includes a small number of extensions based on practical experience gathered using SMIL in the Multimedia Messaging System on mobile phones.
A SMIL document is similar in structure to an HTML document in that they are typically divided between an optional
<head> section and a required
<body> section. The
<head> section contains layout and metadata information. The
<body> section contains the timing information, and is generally composed of combinations of three main tags - sequential ("
<seq>", simple playlists), parallel ("
<par>", multi-zone/multi-layer playback) and exclusive ("
<excl>", event-triggered interrupts). SMIL refers to media objects by URLs, allowing them to be shared between presentations and stored on different servers for load balancing. The language can also associate different media objects with different bandwidth requirements.
For playback scheduling, SMIL supports ISO-8601
wallclock() date/time specification to define begin/end events for playlists.
SMIL files take either a
.smil file extension. However, SAMI files also use
.smi, which creates some ambiguity at first glance. As a result, SMIL files commonly use the
.smil file extension to avoid confusion.
Combination with other XML-based standards
SMIL+RSS or other web syndication methods
While RSS and Atom are web syndication methods, with the former being more popular as a syndication method for podcasts, SMIL is potentially useful as a script or playlist that can tie sequential pieces of multimedia together and can then be syndicated through RSS or Atom. In addition, the combination of multimedia-laden .smil files with RSS or Atom syndication would be useful for accessibility to audio-enabled podcasts by the deaf through Timed Text closed captions, and can also turn multimedia into hypermedia that can be hyperlinked to other linkable audio and video multimedia.
SMIL+VoiceXML and SMIL+MusicXML
VoiceXML can be combined with SMIL to provide a sequential reading of several pre-provided pages or slides in a voice browser, while combining SMIL with MusicXML would allow for the creation of infinitely-recombinable sequences of music sheets. Combining SMIL+VoiceXML or SMIL+MusicXML with RSS or Atom could be useful in the creation of an audible pseudo-podcast with embedded hyperlinks, while combining SMIL+SVG with VoiceXML and/or MusicXML would be useful in the creation of an automatically audio-enabled vector graphics animation with embedded hyperlinks.
Status of SMIL
SMIL is being implemented on handheld and mobile devices and has also spawned the subset known as Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) which is a video and picture equivalent of Short Message Service (SMS).
- Adobe Media Player
- Helix Player
- K-Multimedia Player
- QuickTime Player
- Windows Media Player (Playlist Files)
- Zune (Playlist Files)
In order to view a SMIL presentation, a client will need to have a SMIL player installed on his/her computer. Currently, Apple's Quicktime player, Windows Media Player (WMP) and RealNetworks RealPlayer are among the most popular media players.
It would be convenient to be able to show these SMIL files natively in web browser, eliminating the requirement of a separate SMIL player or plug-in. Currently, Microsoft's Internet Explorer has limited support for SMIL features. The open-source Mozilla project is gradually incorporating SMIL and other XML-related technologies such as SVG and MathML into their browsers, but progress is slow. It is possible they are waiting for these XML-based languages to mature.
Media player boxes based on dedicated 1080p decoder chips such as the Sigma Designs 8634 processor are getting SMIL players embedded in them.
Embedding SMIL files into XHTML web pages
- van der Heijden, Dennis (2007-05-25). "SMIL Standards and Microsoft Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8". Axistive. http://www.axistive.com/smil-standards-and-microsoft-internet-explorer-6-7-and-8.html. Retrieved 2007-12-22.
- Synchronized Accessible Media Interchange
- Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica
- Nested Context Language
- Semantic Web
- List of computer standards
- ↑ W3C 1st Working draft for SMIL 3.0
- ↑ last draft revision of 3.0
- ↑ Bulterman, D.C.A., & Rutledge, L. (2008). SMIL 3.0. New York, NY: Springer.
- ↑ Podcasting & SMIL
- ↑ Analysis of RSS+Time as a playlist format
- ↑ Accessible Podcasting
- ↑ Podcasting: SMIL Alternative?
- ↑ Podcasting Sucks
- ↑ Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange, , 
- ↑ DigiSigToday, Digital Signage Media Player to Support SMIL Standard, 2008
- ↑ A-SMIL.ORG, SMIL for Digital Signage
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