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Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language
Filename extension
Internet media type
Developed byWorld Wide Web Consortium
Type of formatMarkup language
  • SMIL 1.0 (Recommendation)[1]
  • SMIL 2.0 Second Edition (Recommendation)[2]
  • SMIL 2.1 (Recommendation)[3]
  • SMIL 3.0 (Recommendation)[4]
Open format?Yes
Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language
Demo animated feTurbulence feDisplacementMap SMIL.svg
SVG with an animated refraction effect using SMIL and SVG filter effects
Native name
Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language
Latest versionSMIL 3.0
December 1, 2008 (2008-12-01)
CommitteeSYMM Working Group
    • Dick Bulterman
    • Jack Jansen
    • Pablo Cesar
    • Sjoerd Mullender
    • Eric Hyche
    • Marisa DeMeglio
    • Julien Quint
    • Hiroshi Kawamura
    • Daniel Weck
    • Xabiel García Pañeda
    • David Melendi
    • Samuel Cruz-Lara
    • Marcin Hanclik
    • Daniel F. Zucker
    • Thierry Michel
Base standardsXML, SVG

Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL (/sml/)) is a World Wide Web Consortium recommended Extensible Markup Language (XML) markup language to describe multimedia presentations. It defines markup for timing, layout, animations, visual transitions, and media embedding, among other things. SMIL allows presenting media items such as text, images, video, audio, links to other SMIL presentations, and files from multiple web servers. SMIL markup is written in XML, and has similarities to HTML.

SMIL allows the creation of interactive multimedia presentations. The latest version, SMIL 3.0, was recommended in December 2008. SMIL has gone through several versions since its inception in 1998, with each version improving its capabilities and features. SMIL is used in various applications, such as multimedia messaging on mobile phones, digital signage, and advanced content in the discontinued HD DVD format. Numerous authoring and rendering tools are available for creating SMIL content. SMIL can also be combined with other XML-based standards like SVG, RSS, VoiceXML, MusicXML, and TEI. While most web browsers natively support SMIL, Microsoft browsers do not, and the future of SMIL support in Google Chrome is uncertain. Playback of SMIL content can be achieved through various software and hardware media players.

Version history

As of 2008, the W3C Recommendation for SMIL is SMIL 3.0.

SMIL 1.0

SMIL 1.0 became a W3C Recommendation on 15 June 1998.[1][5]

SMIL 2.0

SMIL 2.0 became a W3C Recommendation on 9 August 2001.[6] SMIL 2.0 introduced a modular language structure that facilitated integration of SMIL semantics into other XML-based languages. Basic animation and timing modules were integrated into Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) and the SMIL modules formed a basis for Timed-Text. The modular structure made it possible to define the standard SMIL language profile and the XHTML+SMIL language profile with common syntax and standard semantics.

SMIL 2.1

SMIL 2.1 became a W3C Recommendation on 13 December 2005.[3][7] n SMIL 2.1 includes a small number of extensions based on practical experience gathered using SMIL in the Multimedia Messaging System on mobile phones.

SMIL 3.0

SMIL 3.0 became a W3C Recommendation in December 2008.[4] It was first submitted as a W3C Working draft on December 21, 2006.[8] The last draft revision was released on October 6, 2008.[9][10]

Authoring tools

Authoring and rendering tools for smilText and SMIL 3.0 PanZoom functionality:


SMIL documents

A SMIL document is similar in structure to an HTML document in that they are typically divided between an optional <head> section and a required <body> section. The <head> section contains layout and metadata information. The <body> section contains the timing information, and is generally composed of combinations of three main tags—sequential ("<seq>", simple playlists), parallel ("<par>", multi-zone/multi-layer playback) and exclusive ("<excl>", event-triggered interrupts). SMIL refers to media objects by URLs, allowing them to be shared between presentations and stored on different servers for load balancing. The language can also associate different media objects with different bandwidth requirements.

For playback scheduling, SMIL supports ISO-8601 wallclock() date/time specification to define begin/end events for playlists.

SMIL files take either a .smi or .smil file extension. However, SAMI files and Macintosh self mounting images also use .smi, which creates some ambiguity at first glance. As a result, SMIL files commonly use the .smil file extension to avoid confusion.

Combination with other XML-based standards

SMIL was created during a time when structured data using XML was very popular and during a time when Internet Explorer was very popular. Thus "combining" SMIL with other markup languages was considered one of the best current practices of the day.


See also: SVG animation § SVG animation using SMIL

Example of a non-interactive (but animated) SVG with SMIL. The SVG file demonstrates animation of transformation and motion.
Example of an interactive SVG with SMIL demonstrating mouse events.

SMIL is one of three means by which SVG animation can be achieved (the others being JavaScript and CSS animations).

SMIL+RSS or other web syndication methods

While RSS and Atom are web syndication methods, with the former being more popular as a syndication method for podcasts, SMIL is potentially useful as a script or playlist that can tie sequential pieces of multimedia together and can then be syndicated through RSS or Atom.[11][12] In addition, the combination of multimedia-laden .smil files with RSS or Atom syndication would be useful for accessibility to audio-enabled podcasts by the deaf through Timed Text closed captions,[13] and can also turn multimedia into hypermedia that can be hyperlinked to other linkable audio and video multimedia.[14]


VoiceXML can be combined with SMIL to provide a sequential reading of several pre-provided pages or slides in a voice browser, while combining SMIL with MusicXML would allow for the creation of infinitely-recombinable sequences of music sheets. Combining SMIL+VoiceXML or SMIL+MusicXML with RSS or Atom could be useful in the creation of an audible pseudo-podcast with embedded hyperlinks, while combining SMIL+SVG with VoiceXML and/or MusicXML would be useful in the creation of an automatically audio-enabled vector graphics animation with embedded hyperlinks.


SMIL is anticipated for use within Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) documents.[15][16]

Status of SMIL

SMIL is being implemented on handheld and mobile devices and has also spawned [17] the Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) which is a video and picture equivalent of Short Message Service (SMS).

SMIL is also one of the underlying technologies used for "Advanced Content" in the (discontinued) HD DVD format for adding interactive content (menus etc.).

The field of Digital Signage is embracing SMIL as a means of controlling dynamic advertising in public areas.[18][19]

SMIL players


Most commonly used web browsers have native support for SMIL, but it has not been implemented in Microsoft browsers. It was to be deprecated in Google Chrome,[20] but it has now been decided to suspend that intent until alternatives are sufficiently developed.[21] Other software that implement SMIL playback include:


Media player boxes based on dedicated 1080p decoder chips such as the Sigma Designs 8634 processor are getting SMIL players embedded in them.

Embedding SMIL files into XHTML web pages

A SMIL file must be embedded, then opened using a plug-in such as Apple's QuickTime or Microsoft's Windows Media Player, to be viewed by a browser that doesn't support SMIL.


See also


  1. ^ a b Hoschka, Philipp, ed. (1998-06-15). "Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL) 1.0 Specification". W3C. SYMM Working Group. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  2. ^ Ayars, Jeff; Bulterman, Dick; Cohen, Aaron; Day, Ken; Hodge, Erik; Hoschka, Philipp; Hyche, Eric; Jourdan, Muriel; Kim, Michelle; Kubota, Kenichi; Lanphier, Rob; Layaïda, Nabil; Michel, Thierry; Newman, Debbie; van Ossenbruggen, Jacco; Rutledge, Lloyd; Saccocio, Bridie; Schmitz, Patrick; ten Kate, Warner; Michel, Thierry, eds. (2005-01-07). "Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL 2.0)". W3C. SYMM Working Group. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  3. ^ a b Bulterman, Dick; Grassel, Guido; Jansen, Jack; Koivisto, Antti; Layaïda, Nabil; Michel, Thierry; Mullender, Sjoerd; Zucker, Daniel, eds. (2005-12-13). "Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL 2.1)". W3C. SYMM Working Group. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  4. ^ a b c Bulterman, Dick; Jansen, Jack; Cesar, Pablo; Mullender, Sjoerd; Hyche, Eric; DeMeglio, Marisa; Quint, Julien; Kawamura, Hiroshi; Weck, Daniel; García Pañeda, Xabiel; Melendi, David; Cruz-Lara, Samuel; Hanclik, Marcin; Zucker, Daniel F.; Michel, Thierry, eds. (2008-12-01). "Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL 3.0)". W3C. SYMM Working Group. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  5. ^ Khudairi, Sally; Jacobs, Ian; Mitchell, Ned; Lloyd, Andrew; Matsubara, Yumiko (1998-06-15). "Press Release: W3C Issues SMIL as a W3C Recommendation". W3C. W3C. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  6. ^ Daly, Janet; Forgue, Marie-Claire; Takeuchi, Saeko (2001-08-09). "World Wide Web Consortium Issues SMIL 2 as a W3C Recommendation". W3C. W3C. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  7. ^ Daly, Janet; Forgue, Marie-Claire; Hirakawa, Yasuyuki. "World Wide Web Consortium Releases SMIL 2.1 as a W3C Recommendation". W3C. W3C.
  8. ^ "Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL 3.0)". Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  9. ^ "Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL 3.0)". Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  10. ^ Bulterman, Dick C.A.; Rutledge, Lloyd (20 November 2008). Interactive Multimedia for the Web, Mobile Devices and Daisy Talking Books. New York, NY: Springer (published November 2008). ISBN 978-3-540-78546-0. Archived from the original on 2009-03-02. Retrieved 2021-04-08.
  11. ^ Stevenson, Adrian (2007-06-07). "Podcasting & SMIL". Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  12. ^ Gonze, Lucas (2003-12-03). "Analysis of RSS+Time as a playlist format". Lucas Gonze. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  13. ^ O'Donnell, Jonathan; Batchelor, Peter (2006-11-22). "Internet Citizenship: Accessible Podcasting". Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  14. ^ Tom Worthington (2006-05-29). "Net Traveller: Podcasting: SMIL Alternative?". Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  15. ^ "14 Tables, Formulæ, Graphics and Notated Music - The TEI Guidelines". Text Encoding Initiative. 4.2.1. 2021-03-01. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  16. ^ "16.4.2 Placing Synchronous Events in Time". Text Encoding Initiative. 4.2.1. 2021-03-01. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  17. ^ 3GPP, 3GPP TS 26.140 Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS); Media formats and codecs
  18. ^ "IAdea XMP-300 Digital Signage Player to Support SMIL Open Standard". DigSigToday. Wamzle Creative. 2008-12-04. Archived from the original on 2009-02-12. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  19. ^ ", SMIL for Digital Signage". n.d. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  20. ^ Rogers, Philip (2015-04-29). "Intent to deprecate: SMIL". Google Groups. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  21. ^ Rogers, Philip (2016-08-17). "Intent to deprecate: SMIL". Google Groups. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  22. ^ Taft, Darryl K. (2007-10-01). "Adobe Takes Competition to the Max". eWeek. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  23. ^ Sagiadinos, Nikolaos; de Konink, Stefan (n.d.). "Garlic Player - Open Source SMIL Player for Digital Signage". Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  24. ^ Apple Computer, Inc. (2002-03-29). "Developing SMIL Presentations". Apple Developer. Retrieved 2021-04-10.
  25. ^ Apple Computer, Inc. (2005-06-04). "Introduction To SMIL Scripting Guide for QuickTime". Apple Developer. Retrieved 2021-04-10.
  26. ^ "XMP-7300 - IAdea". IAdea. n.d. Retrieved 2021-04-10.
  27. ^ "Planar ContentSmart Media Player MP70 OPS User Manual" (PDF). Planar. n.d. pp. 37–38. Retrieved 2021-04-10.
  28. ^ "SMIL - SpinetiX Support Wiki". SpinetiX Support Wiki. SpinetiX. n.d. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  29. ^ Williams, Denise; Cécille, Claudine (2009-08-26). "VideoBase S.A. Deploys Grass Valley MEDIAEDGE Platform for In-Store Digital Signage Network in Colombia". PressReleasePoint. Retrieved 2021-04-10.
  30. ^ ViewSonic (September 2009). "Working With Smil; Introduction; Playing A Smil Demo; Advanced Customization Via Smil - ViewSonic NMP-550 User Manual [Page 11] | ManualsLib" (PDF). p. 11. Retrieved 2021-04-10.
  31. ^ ViewSonic (2009-02-11). "ViewSonic EP1020r/EP1021r Multimedia Digital Poster - User Guide § Working with SMIL" (PDF). p. 8. Retrieved 2021-04-10.