How flexable is Smil?

I pose the question knowing the answer already but its quite something to see projects coming together.
In my college there were courselets which I developed along with others, but they were the idea of my guru of a boss Miles (sure he'd hate to be refered to as a boss). Anyhow courselets are basicly question and answers packaged in xml complete with metadata in the form of dublin core elements. They are transformed via xsl into webpages for students to read. Makes sense.

And that would be fine in a normal college, but this a design and communication college and students demand something visually rich. So my work friend Adam setup video resources which are basicly streaming video tutorials which everyone in college can watch. Now moving forward from where he was before, he's now deploying along the lines of about 200 video resources for everything from word to how to write xsl.

The link is perfect because video has little metadata and by xlinking courselets to videos, we can supply not only content rich but also visually rich resources. How does smil fit into all this? Well the question and answer nature can be multiplied to make a complete short course. Smil can join together video and can be generated from the xml by me pulling out the xlink href for the video with xsl. In the first stage it would be easier to pre make the smil and dynamicly generate it later on when students are using the resource fully.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser. Can be found at, and