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Created: October 28, 2004.
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W3C Announces Last Call Working Draft for Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.2.

The W3C SVG Working Group has released a Last Call Working Draft for Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.2 and invites public comment through November 24, 2004. After examining feedback on this draft, the Working Group plans to submit the specification for consideration as a W3C Candidate Recommendation.

The SVG language "delivers accessible, dynamic, and reusable vector graphics, text, and images to the Web in XML. The SVG Version 1.2 Working Draft document also describes a set of APIs for building graphics-based applications. Key features include shapes, text and embedded raster graphics, with many different painting styles. It supports scripting through languages such as ECMAScript and has comprehensive support for animation. SVG is used in many business areas including Web graphics, animation, user interfaces, graphics interchange, print and hardcopy output, mobile applications and high-quality design."

SVG Version 1.1 "is a W3C Recommendation and forms the core of the current SVG developments. W3C has also developed SVG Mobile Profiles: SVG Basic and SVG Tiny are targetted to resource-limited devices and are part of the 3GPP platform for third generation mobile phones. SVG Print is a set of guidelines to produce final-form documents in XML suitible for archiving and printing."

SVG 1.2 represents an "extension to SVG 1.1 that provides features requested by the implementor and content design communities, believed to be in conformance with the Architecture of the World Wide Web. It is a modularized XML language for describing two-dimensional graphics with animation and interactivity." Validation for SVG 1.2 is supported through use of the RelaxNG schema presented in WD Appendix F.

The SVG version 1.2 Last Call Working Draft does not present a complete language description, but documents the changes from SVG version 1.1. It covers, for example: Flowing text and graphics; Multiple pages; Text enhancements; Streaming; Progressive rendering; Vector effects; Rendering model; Painting enhancements; Media; Animation; Extended links; Application development; Events and Scripting; Non-graphical enhancements.

SVG 1.2 supports SVG's XML Binding Language (sXBL) "for custom markup extensibility via pre-packaged components. sXBL allows developers to create re-usable, higher-level components expressed in a custom XML vocabulary, where the implementation of these components is defined in terms of a shadow tree containing SVG content. For instance, with sXBL, it is possible to define a set of flowcharting components expressed in a custom flowcharting XML grammar."

SVG 1.2 "enables a block of text and graphics to be rendered inside a shape while automatically wrapping the objects into lines using the flowRoot element. An SVG 1.2 document or document fragment can have multiple pages. While the concept of a 'page' usually applies to printed media, a page in SVG is defining an ordered list of groups containing graphics, with only one group being displayed at any time. SVG 1.2 also introduces editable text fields, moving the burden of text input and editing to the user agent, which has access to system text libraries."

Media enhancements in SVG 1.2 include: (1) an audio element which specifies an audio file to be rendered to provide synchronized audio; (2) a video element that specifies a video file to be rendered to provide synchronized video, where the usual SMIL animation features are used to start and stop the video at the appropriate times; (3) support for alternate content based on display resolutions.

SVG 1.2 supports vector effects. Whereas "the default rendering for a shape is to fill the geometry with a specified paint, then stroke the outline with a specified paint and finally the option to draw markers at the vertices, vector effects provide that any combination of marking operations (fill, stroke or vertex markers) can be applied in any order to a given geometry." SVG 1.2 also updates the rendering model and rendering operations of SVG 1.1 by supporting alpha compositing, clipping paths, and masks.

Extended links in SVG 1.2 are based upon XLink, and contain multiple locators. "In SVG 1.2, activating an extended link causes a menu to be displayed; the text of each menu item is taken from the title on each locator." Enhanced application development features include support for element focus and navigation, and tooltips.

Bibliographic Information

Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.2. Edited by Dean Jackson (W3C). W3C Working Draft. 27-October-2004. Produced by the W3C SVG Working Group as part of the Graphics Activity within the W3C Interaction Domain. Version URL: Previous version URL: Latest version of SVG 1.2 URL: Latest SVG Recommendation URL:

Authors. The authors of this specification are the participants of the W3C SVG Working Group: Ola Andersson (ZOOMON AB), Henric Axelsson (Ericsson AB), Phil Armstrong (Corel Corporation), Selim Balcisoy (Nokia), Benoît Bézaire (Corel Corporation), Robin Berjon (Expway), Gordon Bowman (Corel Corporation), Craig Brown (Canon Information Systems Research Australia), Mike Bultrowicz (Savage Software), Tolga Çapin (Nokia Inc.), Mathias Larsson Carlander (Ericsson AB), Jakob Cederquist (ZOOMON AB), Suresh Chitturi (Nokia), Charilaos Christopoulos (Ericsson AB), Lee Cole (Quark), Don Cone (America Online Inc.), Alex Danilo (Canon Information Systems Research Australia), Thomas DeWeese (Eastman Kodak), Jean-Claude Dufourd (Group des Ecoles des Télécommunications (GET), Jon Ferraiolo (Adobe Systems Inc.), Darryl Fuller (Schema Software), FUJISAWA Jun (Canon), Christophe Gillette (Motorola, formerly BitFlash), Rick Graham (BitFlash), Vincent Hardy (Sun Microsystems Inc.), HAYAMA Takanari (KDDI Research Labs), Scott Hayman (Research In Motion Limited), Stephane Heintz (BitFlash), Lofton Henderson (OASIS), Ivan Herman (W3C), Bin Hu (Motorola), Michael Ingrassia (Nokia), ISHIKAWA Masayasu (W3C), Dean Jackson (W3C, W3C Team Contact), Christophe Jolif (ILOG S.A.), Lee Klosterman (Hewlett-Packard), KOBAYASHI Arei (KDDI Research Labs), Thierry Kormann (ILOG S.A.), Yuri Khramov (Schema Software), Chris Lilley (W3C, Working Group Chair), Vincent Mahe (France Telecom), Philip Mansfield (Schema Software), MINAKUCHI Mitsuru (Sharp Corporation), Luc Minnebo (Agfa-Gevaert N.V.), ONO Shuichiro (Sharp Corporation), Lars Piepel (Vodafone), Antoine Quint (Fuchsia Design, formerly of ILOG), Bruno David Simões Rodrigues (Vodafone), SAGARA Takeshi (KDDI Research Labs), Sebastian Schnitzenbaumer (SAP AG), Bradley Sipes (ZOOMON AB), Andrew Sledd (ZOOMON AB), Peter Sorotokin (Adobe Systems Inc.), UEDA Hirotaka (Sharp Corporation), Rick Yardumian (Canon Development Americas), Charles Ying (Openwave Systems Inc).

About the Scalable Vector Graphics Language (SVG)

Summary adapted from the W3C document "About SVG: 2d Graphics in XML":

"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. Text can be in any XML namespace suitable to the application, which enhances searchability and accessibility of the SVG graphics. The feature set includes nested transformations, clipping paths, alpha masks, filter effects, template objects and extensibility.

SVG drawings can be dynamic and interactive. The Document Object Model (DOM) for SVG, which includes the full XML DOM, allows for straightforward and efficient vector graphics animation via scripting. 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 SVG elements and other XML elements from different namespaces simultaneously within the same Web page.

SVG is used in many business areas including Web graphics, animation, user interfaces, graphics interchange, print and hardcopy output, mobile applications and high-quality design.

SVG is a royalty-free vendor-neutral open standard developed under the W3C Process. It has strong industry support; Authors of the SVG specification include Adobe, Agfa, Apple, Canon, Corel, Ericsson, HP, IBM, Kodak, Macromedia, Microsoft, Nokia, Sharp and Sun Microsystems. SVG viewers are deployed to over 100 million desktops, and there is a broad range of support in many authoring tools.

SVG builds upon many other successful standards such as XML (SVG graphics are text-based and thus easy to create), JPEG and PNG for image formats, DOM for scripting and interactivity, SMIL for animation and CSS for styling.

Applications of SVG in Industry

  • Mobile: The SVG Mobile specification was adopted by 3GPP as the required graphics format for next-generation phones and multimedia messaging (MMS). Already there are SVG-enabled handsets shipping worldwide. SVG Mobile is primarily used for messaging in applications such as greeting cards, diagrams and animations... Many leading companies joined the SVG effort to produce the SVG Tiny and SVG Basic profiles, collectively called SVG Mobile and targetted at resource-limited devices such as mobile handsets and PDAs...

  • Print: The combination of rich graphical features, comprehensive text support and resolution independence in SVG produce a format suited to printing. Leading print hardware companies are currently developing the SVG Print specification: a version of SVG specifically suited to hard-copy output. Use cases of SVG include an XML-based page description language similar to Postscript and PDF, a final-form archiving format and variable data printing, where the information is provided by a database and output using a graphical SVG template. SVG provides identical online and hardcopy display. Being based on XML, SVG Print fits neatly into existing XML workflows...

  • Design and Interchange: SVG is well suited to the high-end graphical design market common in the Aerospace, Transportation, Automotive and Telecommunication industries. The extensibility of XML allows SVG diagrams to have embedded metadata in proprietary formats without affecting the presentation. For example, a CAD program could export to SVG for online display, but embed data within the file that facilitates future editing or roundtripping...

  • GIS and Mapping: Geographic Information Systems have very specific requirements: rich graphics features, support for vector and raster content and the ability to handle a very large amount of data. SVG is well-suited to this market and many GIS systems provide SVG export...the ability to extend SVG and embed metadata is useful to the mapping community. For example, graphical elements can be identified as their native objects (such as a lake), allowing applications to interact with the objects in a graphical manner. SVG is a perfect complement to the OpenGIS consortium's GML format. GML, also XML-based, describes geographical elements such as rivers and roads. It can be converted into SVG using an XML pipeline for online display..."

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