[whatwg] On the subtitle format for HTML5

Tab Atkins Jr. jackalmage at gmail.com
Mon May 24 10:11:40 PDT 2010

2010/5/23 Silvia Pfeiffer <silviapfeiffer1 at gmail.com>:
> I just came across this thread
> http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?p=1397067 and found it a most
> interesting read!
> Particularly the comment of jiifurusu .
> It seems the subtitling community is developing a replacement format
> for ASS with advanced features beyond what WebSRT has. Wouldn't that
> show there is a need for an exchange format with advanced features?

Not necessarily.  It means that people want certain advanced features.
 It doesn't mean that those are necessary, or that the people
developing those advanced features are aware of existing work they can
build on, like the entire web stack.  We can do a lot with a very
simple format that covers all the *necessary* use-cases and can be
easily implemented by simple devices, and then expose extra
functionality via the web stack's technologies like CSS for the more
important devices (that is, anything that can implement the web).

This does presuppose a particular segmentation of device
needs/priorities, but it's a segmentation that I believe makes the
most sense for a modern format, given the reality and increasing
pervasiveness of web-based video.

> That new format seems to try and cater for high-end needs and lower
> end needs. If we have to develop a new non-HTML-like format, wouldn't
> it make sense to coordinate with those guys? In particular if the
> community that we are trying to build upon by reusing SRT is actually
> against extending SRT?

Based on that thread, the main argument that community has against
extending SRT is that it won't be compatible with current authoring
tools.  Their advice appears to be to instead adopt a new format being
created which will also be incompatible with current authoring tools,
though, so I don't know if I can trust their instincts too much.  ^_^

(Not saying anything in particular against ASS or AS6, as I haven't
looked at them in any sort of detail, but they do similarly appear to
be more complex than we want for the same reasons that everything else
has been too complex - they build in things that are potentially
desirable but not necessary, and which can be done through existing
web-stack technology equally well.)


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