Is SVG still a viable technology?

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John Seyton

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Sep 14, 2005, 7:44:29 AM9/14/05
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This blog entry - http://www.yafla.com/dforbes/2005/09/13.html#a48 -
basically says some points that I have been wondering about. I have an
initiative for an internal graphics pipeline where I was considering
SVG, but now I'm rethinking. How do other people here feel about the
future of SVG?

Seth Brutzman

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Sep 14, 2005, 4:54:21 PM9/14/05
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John Seyton wrote:
> This blog entry - http://www.yafla.com/dforbes/2005/09/13.html#a48 -
> basically says some points that I have been wondering about. I have an
>

Okay, a few points here: to any technology advocate without his/her
fingers in a massive corporate pie, this guy appears to be a soldier for
the Great Monopoly. He feels that Flash is now an Open Standard, and
that Microsoft's latest assault on information freedom, XAML, is a gift
rained down from the Gods. Of course, neither of these points are true,
and it shows that the author is indeed a shill of sorts, never looking
at the ill effects of his endorsed technologies.

With Flash and XAML, corporate lock-in, patent threats, technology
licensing and a myriad of other maladies are constantly hanging over the
heads of those trying to develop applications and services built on top
of these formats. For all who rely, or plan to rely, on these "gifts,"
caution is suggested. One wrong move on the part of any party, and due
to the highly centralized and proprietary nature of these tools, all
could easily come toppling down.

> initiative for an internal graphics pipeline where I was considering
> SVG, but now I'm rethinking. How do other people here feel about the
> future of SVG?
>

SVG, on the other hand, avoids all of these maladies, something
conveniently not mentioned in the blog entry. Owned by nobody, SVG
cannot be proprietized and horded like Flash and XAML, nor can patent
litigation and licensing fees be brought against those wishing to use
it. Totally free of license encumberment and threats of legal action, I
utilize SVG daily through entirely free (as in freedom and beer) tools:
Mozilla Firefox for viewing SVG on the web and other remote locations;
Inkscape for creating SVG-based artwork and illustration; Scribus for
page layout and desktop publishing; even my GNOME desktop is displaying
an SVG background and icons! Flash is fully incapable of this level of
portability, and until Vista comes out, XAML won't be doing _anything_.
On top of this, XAML will be the ultimate in monopolistic tools; several
people have offered well-formed arguments claiming that Microsoft is
attempting a new level of vendor lock-in with this technology, as well
as making an attempt to take down the desktop publishing market at the
same time (there goes the Macromedia/Adobe merger!). Why would anyone
buy into that?

My opinion, John, is that SVG is not only the technology you should use,
but the technology you should _advocate_. Its future is bright thanks
to the hard work of such groups as Mozilla SVG and other Free Software
projects, and it's the best way to keep your freedom and the beauty of
your applications intact.

--
Seth Brutzman
deadl...@deadlyhead.com

Justin Wood (Callek)

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Sep 15, 2005, 1:19:08 AM9/15/05
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While I agree in-FULL with Seth's reply, I must also advocate "in-part"
adoption of the `new' <canvas> element for uses where scripting may be
an easier way to do it.

since DOM technology, especially in Mozilla can become slow, and since
SVG still relies on DOM technology for many of its semantics, the
dynamic changing of such can be cumbersome at best.

Though remember, "Canvas" is not yet supported by IE, is just newly
introduced into Firefox, and has been in either Opera or Safari (at this
time of night the correct application for this escapes me) initially.

There are Documents on the "Mozilla Developer Center"
(http://developer.mozilla.org/) explaining and tutorializing Canvas as well.

But I will still say, my primary use of web-based-graphics, (for non
camera imagery) is SVG.

~Justin Wood (Callek)

Andreas Neumann

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Sep 15, 2005, 3:53:26 AM9/15/05
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John,

while I agree with Dennis Forbes that it took much longer for SVG to go
into mainstream, I don't agree at all with his conclusions.

And several of his statements aren't true at all.

Mozilla SVG, f.e. is not just a "fork" or a technology preview, but is
now in the main trunk and enabled in Mozilla Firefox 1.5 beta. Batik is
not dead at all but very alive. All browser vendors except Microsoft
are currently working on SVG support: Opera, Konqueror, Mozilla,
Apple/Safari. Why would these people invest a lot of time and resources
in a dead technology? Adobe improved SVG support in Illustrator CS2 and
is still very active in the W3C working group.

The SVG.Open conference (http://www.svgopen.org/) showed a lot of
interesting applications. People from many major corporations or
projects showed up at this conference, including Canon, Nokia, Sun,
Opera, Mozilla, KDE, Yahoo, Cap Gemini, etc. --> have a look at the
proceedings.

Finally, SVG is very much alive in Open Source, currently perhaps the
best supported vector graphics format, available in graphics and DTP
apps. It is supported in Inkscape, Scribus and Gimp.

I can fully understand that major coroporations such as Microsoft,
Macromedia and Adobe are partially afraid of SVG and open standards.
Remember that Microsoft wanted to introduce a MS based WWW back a few
years, avoiding open standards, such as HTML, but fortunately failed.
It gives the user freedom to choose from a variety of tools, incl. many
open source tools.

Andreas

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