IE7 Support of HTML+TIME - Do we need it in the first place?

On IE Blog there was a post 'Time, Time, Time, see what’s become of  me..'. posted on 7th April 2006, that i happened to read this evening. The post was asking users to respond to a series of questions on HTML+TIME.

How do you currently use HTML + TIME? Have you seen the Introduction to HTML+TIME article? What do you think is the coolest feature? What are your usage patterns? Can you point me to your sites or other sites that you know of that use HTML + TIME? Any input you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

I could not resist to give my feedback, as I have used HTML+TIME for a while and have been searching a viable alternative to create playlists that can be played across most, if not all, media players. For some reason, Peter and the IE team decided to block comments on the blog. So I sent an email to the IE team blog. Hope it will be read. But here is what I wanted to tell the IE team. I am posting here my email.

Hi IE Team,

I am responding to your blog post "Time, Time, Time, see what’s become of me..." regarding TIME+HTML. I have been using HTML+TIME for about 6 months. Here are my inputs. Hope might help.

I have been using HTML+TIME mostly for creating presentations based on playlists (audio + video) and images. Its quite easy, as I don't have to learn new things but start using the new tags in my HTML pages. But here are few things that are so painful and drove me to stop using HTML+TIME:

  1. Currently I can not use media played by other players like Quick/Realtime. I can only play media that can be played by windows media player. Though the documentation says that it is possible to embed other players with HTML+TIME, it does not work somehow. 

  2. If I have a SMIL file, it can not be directly played by windows media player. The same SMIL file can be played for Quick/Real. I had to create asx file based on SMIL to play in WMP.

  3. No other browser supports this HTML+TIME, so I can not use it web pages meant for wider audience.

You guys may be a great team implementing SMIL concepts to HTML first which no other browser supports but Windows Media player does not support SMIL while other players support. I don't know why Microsoft does not support what others support and support what others don't support? As a user, I would like to see SMIL file directly supported by Windows Media player. That will help a lot since I can use the same SMIL presentation on any player. And least priority is for HTML+TIME supported  by IE to include support for all media players in HTML+TIME.

Comments have been disabled on the blog, so I had to write an email. Hope it will be read.

HTML+TIME or SMIL are not just meant for what I am using for. But this is just a simple use of the concept. While technically, HTML+TIME is not proprietary, since it is kind of an extension to use SMIL concepts to HTML right in the browser and the fact that HTML+TIME was mentioned as a note at w3c, practically it is proprietary in the sense that it is only supported in IE. The blog also hinting that IE team is not sure whether anybody is using it. Neither IE nor Windows media player support basic SMIL. That makes it difficult for anybody to create a simple playlist that can be played on WMP, Real and Quick, the most widely used players. If SMIL is supported in Windows media player, then we don't even need HTML+TIME support in browser.

Here is a list of various formats to create playlists, compiled by Lucas Gonze. You can see that, no format is being followed by all major players. Either they have a proprietary format or proprietary extension to a common format. We talk about a lot and expect open systems. But in reality most software systems are so closed, and offer little or no interoperability. 

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