I had an epiphany of sorts this morning when discussing something with a colleague. Mind you, my day job now revolves around SVG so I am definitely biased but: If you wanted to create a vector image that is displayable on a variety of platforms and products, the only format that makes sense these days is SVG. It IS the interoperable choice for vector graphics. We have a lot of things to thank for this:

  • Wikipedia’s adoption of SVG as preferred image format
  • Browser take-up of native rendering: Opera, Webkit, Firefox
  • Platforms like Qt and Gnome continuously improving support for SVG
  • Mobile industry take-up of SVG as the graphics format of choice (even mandated by 3GPP in Europe)
  • Continuously improving tool support: Inkscape, NetBeans, Xara, Sketsa, GIMP, Ikivo
  • Toolkit and CMS are now starting to take-up SVG: dojo and drupal
  • Lots and lots of Free Clip Art (woops, the secret is out)

It’s definitely a different world than it was 3-4 years ago. I don’t think there’s anything stopping the SVG train. Based on this, I think Microsoft and renewed Adobe support of SVG is inevitable. It’s just sad that we’ll likely have to drag them kicking and screaming (and only after Silverlight gets decent penetration, probably).

§437 · March 4, 2008 · Adobe, Microsoft, Software, SVG, Technology, Web · Tags: · [Print]

7 Comments to “The SVG Train”

  1. Fyrd says:

    Nice, didn’t know all of that. Go SVG!

  2. I think you missed mentioning Batik, which certainly has improved quite a bit from 1.6 to 1.7, and which is still a very useful tool for testing, converting between formats (SVG, PDF, EPS etc), and rasterizing. Also I think it’s used quite a bit by other Java projects.

    Another tool that I found useful is fontforge, which easily exports any type of font to the SVGFont format, either in part or as a whole.

  3. @Erik: Thanks for the additions.

  4. Gyrobo says:

    Microsoft doesn’t seem to share your sentiments. I just tried the IE8 beta and it doesn’t seem to support SVG in any way, shape or form.

  5. Not only does IE8 beta not work, but IE falls another evolutionary step behind. FireFox 3 Beta 3 has brought the ability to embed mathml in SVG. There are some positioning differences from Amaya 10 pre-release, but then the specification for foreignObject in SVG appears to be a bit vague in this regard. I hope to use mathml embedded in svg for physical science web pages such as diagrams with formulas.