Authoring Multimedia Documents for the Web

Muriel Jourdan

INRIA Rhone-Alpes

Opera Project (

The WWW consortium defined the first version of Smil [W3C SMIL 1998]: a "tag-based" standard to describe synchronized multimedia documents on the web. Smil 1.0 allows to describe multimedia documents which are mainly predictive : the temporal organization of the document is known before its presentation (only some durations of continuous object may be unknown) and readers' interactions can only trigger hyperlinks either inside or outside the document. The second version of Smil [W3C SMIL Boston 2000] (whose recommendation is expected in june 2000) will merge predictive and unpredictive behaviors, to be able to describe synchronization such as starting a video when a user click occurs.

These two standards will make the delivery of synchronized multimedia documents on the web possible, but this delivery will be really effective if and only if friendly authoring tools are designed to help authors to handle the intrinsic complexity of the temporal synchronization specification task. Indeed, two features make this one very complex: the dynamic nature of a multimedia document (its presentation is closer to a program execution than to a static document visualization) and the incremental process of the design task (it is a cyclic action/visualization process). Thus the challenging issues are :

Solutions proposed by the Opera project to overcome these difficulties are based on the following principles:

In conclusion, future directions of Opera work on multimedia authoring can be summed up by :


[JRT 1998c] M. Jourdan, C. Roisin, L. Tardif, ``Multiviews Interfaces for Multimedia Authoring Environments'', Proceedings of the 5th Conference on Multimedia Modeling, pp. 72-79, IEEE Computer Society, Lausanne, octobre 1998.

[JLRST 1998] M. Jourdan, N. Layaïda, C. Roisin, L. Sabry-Ismail, L. Tardif, ``Madeus, an Authoring Environment for Interactive Multimedia Documents'', Proc. of the ACM Multimedia'98 Conference, pp. 267-272, Bristol (UK), septembre 1998.

[JRT 1999b]

M. Jourdan, C. Roisin, L. Tardif, ``A Scalable Toolkit for Designing Multimedia Authoring Environments'', numéro spécial `Multimedia Authoring and Presentation: Strategies, Tools, and Experiences' de Multimedia Tools and Applications Journal, à paraître, 1999.

[JRTV 1999]

M. Jourdan, C. Roisin, L. Tardif, L. Villard, ``Authoring SMIL documents by direct manipulations during presentation'', World Wide Web, Balzer Science Publishers, vol 2. num 4. 1999.

[LS 1996a] N. Layaïda, L. Sabry-Ismail, ``Maintaining Temporal Consistency of Multimedia Documents using Constraint Networks'', Multimedia Computing and Networking 1996, M. Freeman, P. Jardetzky, H. M. Vin, ed., pp. 124-135, SPIE 2667, janvier 1996.

[Tardif 00]

Laurent Tardif, Frédéric Bes and Cécile Roisin,"Constraints for multimedia documents", in proceedings of PACLP2000, Manchester (UK), april 2000

[W3C SMIL 1998]

W3C Recommendation, Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL) 1.0 Specification,, 15-June 1998.

[W3C SMIL Boston 2000]

W3C Working Draft,, Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL) Boston Specification,, 25-february 2000.