Since I haven’t done one of these for awhile, I thought I’d kick off the New Year by giving a recap of the last several months in the land of Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). I’ll start with the bad news.
Adobe Announces End-Of-Life for SVG Viewer
Arguably the biggest SVG news this last quarter is that Adobe officially announced an End-Of-Life for their long-dormat browser plugin, Adobe SVG Viewer (ASV). ASV is a great plugin, providing wide support for SVG. At the moment, only Opera 9 rivals the amount of SVG support available to the desktop browser.
Adobe, having purchased Macromedia (and its powerful Flash/Flex platform), have clearly decided that Flash was the route they should pursue to compete effectively with Microsoft’s WPF. From a business perspective, I can’t fault their decision, but it is a blow to open-source standards and a disappointment to much of that development community. As a result of many complaints from their decision, Adobe has agreed to keep the download available indefinitely.
Now the SVG community waits with baited breath for Microsoft to throw us a bone and announce its plans for Native Support for SVG within the Internet Explorer (something to which they’ve hinted at but not firmly committed).
And now for the good news…
An SVG Logo Is Born
The SVG Logo contest ended with the winning logo being the 8-leafed lotus shown at the right. Official versions of the logo will be forthcoming from Doug Schepers and his team, but I’ve done my part to manually hack the winning entry into a couple images that I can use on my site until then. I have to say that at first, I was somewhat disappointed with the winning entry as compared to some of the other runner-ups, but now that I’ve used the logo a bit here and there and I’m quite happy with it. I think the simplicity of the logo is part of its strength.
Support for SVG in KDE4
This is a great KDE news article describing some of the efforts to bring SVG fully into the Linux desktop (beyond icons and wallpapers). The article shows some nice eye candy of applications and games using SVG to render their graphics. I found it interesting to read this and was getting pretty excited about KDE4 – especially in light of Microsoft Vista not supporting a fully scalable vector interface.
W3C releases Test Suite for SVG Full 1.1
Announced a few weeks ago, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) finally released a much-greatly improved test suite for SVG 1.1. I’ve run all the browsers I can play with through about a fifth of the tests so far. Perhaps I’ll report my results somewhere down the line… It’s great that there are reference test cases, it’s just too bad that it’s so late after SVG 1.1 was released. Thankfully SVG 1.2 is required to have a test suite before being released. I’m not sure if this is a new requirement or if it’s just being taken more seriously this time around.
Alternative SVG Support for IE
Mark Finkle, now an official Mozilla employee, has been experimenting with the idea of using the Mozilla engine as a sort-of plugin for Internet Explorer to get SVG and XUL rendering into that browser. I’ve got lots of questions about this, particularly since I was asking these sorts of questions when Adobe first announced EOL on ASV.
SVG+Ecmascript+XUL+XHTML+CSS (still waiting for a good sexy acronym here !) is one of the competitors to Microsoft’s XAML/WPF in terms of describing User Interfaces declaratively (OpenLaszlo and Flex are others) – so these experiments are exciting stuff. I wonder when the W3C’s Web Applications Format Working Group will make their endorsement…
Anyway, I’ll be watching Mark’s blog very closely going forward and doing some experiments of my own when I can find the time.