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“The Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL, pronounced "smile") enables simple authoring of interactive audiovisual presentations. SMIL is typically used for "rich media"/multimedia presentations which integrate streaming audio and video with images, text or any other media type. SMIL is an easy-to-learn HTML-like language, and many SMIL presentations are written using a simple text-editor.” (Synchronized Multimedia (W3C) retrieved 18:11, 20 March 2007 (MET)).

Versions and features

SMIL is an extensible standard. That means that providers can expand SMIL with their own XML namespaced extensions. E.g. QuickTime does so.


SMIL 1 allows integrating a set of independent multimedia objects into a synchronized multimedia presentation. Using SMIL, an author can

  1. describe the temporal behavior of the presentation
  2. describe the layout of the presentation on a screen
  3. associate hyperlinks with media objects
  • These together can be used to produce "true" multimedia animation


Features of SMIL 2:

  1. Timing:
    • AccessKeyTiming
    • BasicInlineTiming
    • BasicTimeContainers
    • EventTiming
    • ExclTimeContainers
    • FillDefault
    • MediaMarkerTiming
    • MinMaxTiming
    • MultiArcTiming
    • RepeatTiming
    • RepeatValueTiming
    • RestartDefault
    • RestartTiming
    • SyncbaseTiming
    • SyncBehavior
    • SyncBehaviorDefault
    • SyncMaster
    • TimeContainerAttributes
    • WallclockTiming
  2. Time Manipulations
  3. Animation
    • BasicAnimation
    • SplineAnimation
  4. Content Control
    • BasicContentControl
    • CustomTestAttributes
    • PrefetchControl
    • SkipContentControl
  5. Layout
    • AudioLayout
    • BasicLayout
    • HierarchicalLayout
    • MultiWindowLayout
  6. Linking
    • BasicLinking
    • LinkingAttributes
    • ObjectLinking
  7. Media Objects
    • BasicMedia
    • BrushMedia
    • MediaAccessibility
    • MediaClipping
    • MediaClipMarkers
    • MediaDescription
    • MediaParam
  8. Metainformation
  9. Structure
  10. Transitions
    • BasicTransitions
    • InlineTransitions
    • TransitionModifiers


Ssince dec. 2008, SMIL 3.0 is a W3C recommendation. “It is built on top of SMIL 2.1. A large number of SMIL 2.1 Modules [SMIL21-modules] remain the same in SMIL 3.0. SMIL 3.0 introduces new SMIL 3.0 Modules with extended functionalities.” (Relation to SMIL 2.1, retrieved 18:16, 4 September 2009 (UTC)).

SMIL profiles in other W3C languages

SMIL syntax and semantics can be used in other XML-based languages, in particular those who need to represent timing and synchronization. For example, SMIL 2.1 components are used for integrating timing into XHTML and into SVG. Not all of these SMIL 2 modules are integrated into the XHTML+SMIL profile or the SVG standard. In addition, one has to understand how they are integrated, i.e. what kinds of HTML/SVG elements can be animated in which ways.


Daniel K. Schneider believes that all browsers should have implemented XTHML+SMIL and full SVG (i.e. static SVG / DOM interactivity and animation/SMILE animation) years ago but it didn't happen that fast.

SVG, finally, is now part of HTML5 and as of April 2012, and SVG-SMIL tags work in most browsers (except IE9). HTML5 does not implement HTML+SMIL.

Native Web browser implementations

(this section needs updating - Daniel K. Schneider 13:00, 27 March 2012 (CEST))

Microsoft HTML + TIME

“HTML+TIME (Timed Interactive Multimedia Extensions), first released in Microsoft Internet Explorer 5, adds timing and media synchronization support to HTML pages. Using a few Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based elements and attributes, you can add images, video, and sounds to an HTML page, and synchronize them with HTML text elements over a specified amount of time. In short, you can use HTML+TIME technology to quickly create multimedia-rich, interactive presentations, easily and with little or no scripting.” (retrieved 15:09, 4 May 2007 (MEST))

“HTML+TIME 2.0 is based on the HTML+SMIL language profile World Wide Web link in the Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL) 2.0 World Wide Web link working draft. SMIL 2.0 is the W3C successor to SMIL 1.0. HTML+TIME 2.0 is the successor to HTML+TIME 1.0.”(retrieved 15:09, 4 May 2007 (MEST))

Starting IE 5.5. the Microsoft HTML+TIME implementation is quite conformant to the W3C XHTML+SMILE profile, but as far as we understand a bit different. In addition, Daniel K. Schneider wonders why they have to stick to this name, instead of calling it HTML+SMILE.

Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera

As of Winter 2012, SMIL is now implemented within SVG and HTML5/SVG (since SVG is now part of HTML). XHTML+SMIL is not.

Media players

Media player is a term typically used to describe computer software for playing back multimedia files. Most software media players support an array of media formats, including both audio and video files.


  • Any text editor, preferably an XML editor
  • LimeSee2 free SMIL 2.0 editor
  • GriNS, commercial editor (not tested)


Tutorials and Overviews



HTML + SMIL + Quicktime


  • XHTML+SMIL Profile W3C Note 31 January 2002. This profile describes the SMIL modules that are added to XHTML, and details the integration issues, including the application of integrated SMIL modules to CSS styles
  • Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)