Free Education Document Format
Author: Марко Кажић @marxo
This section serves to clarify decisions related to FEDF development.
Zamphyr's intention to implement crowdsourced, singular knowledge corpuses poses a question of formatting, operating and storing educational content. To enable such an idea, a new set of challenges is presented related to document lifecycle, features and storage. Aside from the obvious, there is a need for a living document structured document, a linked document, to ensure consistency and sustainability. For various applications this format would have to be both developer and machine readable, well-formed to separate content, presentation and semantics. This format would not merely store data, it's a didactic tool, and as such it has to apply some common pedagogical principles as part of its specification. Unlike formats that are merely general-purpose containers for data, with structure and principles required by educational content come responsabilities arise toward adaptivity, localizability, accessibility. It's my firm belief that in the word of increasingly connected data, we need to enable knowledge to be linked with other data points and resources. It's also very clear to me that documents need to be environments for code execution, to create truly living, smart documents. As of December 2018, no such format exists.
A markup language, or rather a framework, similar in nature and intended on providing a fair share of aforementioned functionality is(was) eLML. It provides for a very good foundation in design sense, however, due to some design decisions, project age, and lack of support, I do not intend on adopting its existing code. I will try to pursue a similar design path, an XML-based format tranformable via XSLT. I believe that XML, although dreaded by many in tech, is the most balanced way to go in defining a document format/markup language, and that much of the criticism on its part is not applicable to that specific use. The versatility and maturity of XML and platform support for it could alleviate pain of implementing initial support, tools, linters, hinters and highlighters, with much of the XML ecosystem applicable to the new format, i.e. XSL.
Finally, aside from providing a format to contain educational content, I hope to provide a set of tools for development and transformations to enable independent, self-sufficient use in existing media - screen, digital and print.
I intend to develop this format in the open and to license it freely. All contributors and constructive criticism is welcome and invited.
- Machine readable
- Developer readable
- Rich format
- Join the FEDF Matrix group for dicussion at #fedf:matrix.org
- Click the "Watch" button to follow development on Github