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Created: November 20, 2002.
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W3C Releases New Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) Specifications.

A communiqué from Chris Lilley (INRIA/Sophia-Antipolis, W3C Graphics Activity Lead) reports on the release of three W3C specifications for Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). Both Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.1 Specification and Mobile SVG Profiles: SVG Tiny and SVG Basic have been been advanced to W3C Proposed Recommendations, and are open for comment through December 20, 2002. The specifications have been produced by members of the W3C SVG Working Group as part of the W3C Graphics Activity within the Document Formats Domain. Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is "a language for describing two-dimensional graphics in XML. SVG allows for three types of graphic objects: vector graphic shapes (e.g., paths consisting of straight lines and curves), images and text. Graphical objects can be grouped, styled, transformed and composited into previously rendered objects. The feature set includes nested transformations, clipping paths, alpha masks, filter effects and template objects. SVG 1.1 separates the SVG language into reusable building blocks, while Mobile SVG re-combines them into two profiles optimized for cellphones and pocket computers." The W3C SVG Working Group has also released an initial public Working Draft of Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.2. "Potential areas of new work identified in SVG 1.2 include integration with other XML formats, and text wrapping, printing, streaming, painting, rendering model, and DOM enhancements."

Bibliographic references:

About Scalable Vector Graphics (from the SVG 1.1 PR):

SVG drawings can be interactive and dynamic. Animations can be defined and triggered either declaratively (i.e., by embedding SVG animation elements in SVG content) or via scripting.

Sophisticated applications of SVG are possible by use of a supplemental scripting language which accesses SVG Document Object Model (DOM), which provides complete access to all elements, attributes and properties. A rich set of event handlers such as onmouseover and onclick can be assigned to any SVG graphical object. Because of its compatibility and leveraging of other Web standards, features like scripting can be done on XHTML and SVG elements simultaneously within the same Web page.

SVG is a language for rich graphical content. For accessibility reasons, if there is an original source document containing higher-level structure and semantics, it is recommended that the higher-level information be made available somehow, either by making the original source document available, or making an alternative version available in an alternative format which conveys the higher-level information, or by using SVG's facilities to include the higher-level information within the SVG content.

The W3C Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) Working Group has been chartered to produce royalty-free specifications. As of 2002/11/13, "the SVG Working Group participants and the W3C [were] not aware of any royalty-bearing patents that are essential to implement the deliverables of the SVG Working Group, which includes all versions of the SVG specification and the SVG Mobile Profiles." Compare GIF Image Format and JPEG.

The SVG Future: Sketch of W3C Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.2, excerpted:

The Working Draft specifies version 1.2 of the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) Language, a modularized language for describing two-dimensional vector and mixed vector/raster graphics in XML. [The draft] lists the potential areas of new work in version 1.2 of SVG and is not a complete language description. In most cases, the descriptions in this document are incomplete and simply show the current thoughts of the SVG Working Group on the feature...

Text Wrapping: SVG 1.2 enables a block of text to be rendered inside a shape, while automatically wrapping the text into lines, using the flowText element. The idea is to mirror, as far as possible, the existing SVG text elements...

Support for XForms: XForms is a technology for describing forms in XML. It separates the model or content of the form from its presentation and is designed to be integrated into a host language, such as SVG. This provides the host language with an abstract definition of form content and leaves the rendering to the host. SVG is well suited to hosting XForms, since it provides powerful rendering and interactivity APIs. Furthermore, a generic set of user interface components has been a common request from the SVG community. By describing how SVG and XForms can be integrated that request can be answered while providing more functionality if required. For example, the tight integration with a data model of a form should allow an SVG/XForms implementation to package SOAP messages easily. It also would allow an author to provide multiple interfaces to the same form (SVG, CSS, VoiceXML). It also should be possible to extend generic form controls to use an SVG rendering specified by the document author. Events within the SVG rendering should be linked to behavior that updates the form model...

Support for XML Events: XML Events is an XML syntax for integrating event listeners with DOM Event handlers. The events in SVG are hardwired into the language, such that you are required to embed the specification of event handling within the content (e.g., an element has an onclick attribute). By allowing XML Events, SVG content can specify the event listeners separately from the graphical content...

More SMIL Integration: SVG 1.0 included SMIL Animation for its animation syntax. It has been a common request from the public to have more features from SMIL in SVG. For that reason, SVG 1.2 will mostly likely incorporate more of SMIL, such as audio, video, transitions and enhanced timing controls.

Rendering Arbitrary XML: Many of the enhancements to the SVG language are based on using SVG as a presentation layer for structured data (e.g., XForms). Public feedback has also suggested that many content developers are using SVG as the graphical user interface to their XML data, either through declarative transformations such as XSLT or through scripting (loading XML data into the SVG User Agent and transforming using the DOM). The SVG Working Group is examining this use case closely, to see if there is anything that can be added to SVG in order to better facilitate this technique...

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