It’s interesting when two of my interests find a merging point. Here is one such example which talks about putting SVG cartoons onto mobile devices.
The cartoons themselves are very basic with no audio or true storyline, but they serve as examples for how the technique can be accomplished. One might easily extend these concepts to the web browser to provide more true-to-form cartoons (i.e. longer in length), but the key is getting good tool support for this. I’d like to see Inkscape supporting animations some time in the future, since animations are such a big part of SVG overall (and Inkscape seeks to be a SVG drawing program). At present, Inkscape is only for static images, though it is vastly improved in its latest version (released earlier this week).
Flash cartoons have been around for a awhile on the web and also serve as a viable means to stream cartoons out to mobile devices. Of course Flash is a proprietary standard, but it is much more mature.
Incidentally, the animations will not work in Firefox or Opera native implementations (Firefox does not support declarative animations. I haven’t debugged why Opera is having a problem). The TinyLine links in the above article use a Java applet to render the SVG but I’ve found that it is FAR too slow. If you’re using IE+ASV you can view the “surprisep” cartoon as it is meant to be seen at http://www.tinyline.com/svgt/samples/samples/svg/surprisep.svgz (will not work in Firefox or Opera without the Adobe plugin).
SVG 1.1 has a few particularities that make cartoons of any reasonable length problematic, most notably a lack of support for streaming media. Without the ability to stream the media to a device, the entire cartoon needs to be downloaded first before viewing can begin. However, it seems that SVGT 1.2 addresses the streaming issue, so hopefully the W3C can fix the remaining problems with SVGT 1.2 in the VERY near future and get it out there. Another notable exception is that without support for audio in SVG 1.1, you need another way to play and sync the audio track (or go silent like the above example). SVG 1.2 contains the ability to embed media (audio or video).
In terms of SVG on mobile devices, Europe seems to be taking the lead because SVG was chosen by the 3GPP as the defacto vector graphics format that must be supported. From this article it appears that “SVG Tiny 1.1 is required and SVG Basic 1.1 is optional”. Thus, we’re seeing a large number of phones (50 at last count) that now support SVGT 1.1. I’m not sure what the 3GPP2 are doing for North America and Asia, but I would hope they follow 3GPP’s lead.
Since 2005 seems to be the year that SVG starts to break out of its niche market in the desktop, it will be interesting to read some of the papers coming out of the SVG Open for 2005. If the SVG Open 2006 ends up in Victoria, BC as Kurt Cagle wants, I just may try to attend next year…