Fixing EPUB - Great Expectations
The Extensible Markup language (XML) provides a way to share information with tagging specific to content domains, rhetorical forms, or other needs. By contrast, HTML markup is evolved synergistically with Web browsers in mind, and the tagging is largely specific to browsers. Although EPUB was (is) based on XML, it's also based on HTML: it uses XHTML for the documents. As a result, there is little to no support for domain-specific markup, and the ebook experience seems unimaginative, constrained by the intersection of Web browsing and content silos. What might happen if there could be communities evolving domain-specific markup for electronic texts? For 3D models or live mathematics, for poetry, for music and musical scores inside books? For context-specific dictionaries and glossaries, for per-chapter tables of contents and wayfinding cards, and so much more. Is there any way to enrich ebook readers in this direction?
Liam Quin was for many years in charge of XML work at W3C; they left in 2018 and now runs Delightful Computing, which is active in XML, Web and accessibility training and consulting.