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Last modified: February 04, 2002

[December 19, 2001]   W3C Issues WebCGM 1.0 Second Release as a W3C Recommendation.    As part of the W3C Graphics Activity, the World Wide Web Consortium has published WebCGM 1.0 Second Release. The specification has been issued in the form of a revised W3C Recommendation which brings WebCGM up to date with the first release errata. WebCGM is "an interoperable way to exchange dynamic Computer Graphics Metafile (CGM) files over the Web. The WebCGM Profile adds hyperlinking to graphics-rich applications such as interactive electronic manuals for engineering and manufacturing. The WebCGM profile specifies additional constraints to improve interoperability, defines how hyperlinking works, and defines mechanisms for use in HTML. Based upon CGM, an ISO standard for vector graphics, the WebCGM profile was developed in collaboration with the CGM Open Consortium to satisfy the needs of specific markets in the aerospace, defense, automotive and electronics industries." A document prepared by Chris Lilly and Dieter Weidenbrück for XML Europe 2001 compares SVG and WebCGM, clarifying that SVG and WebCGM do not compete as graphics standards. Each is suitable for distinct purposes: SVG for high-quality, creative graphics, and WebCGM for technical graphics with a long life-cycle. [Full context]

Abstract from the WebCGM 1.0 Second Release: "CGM (Computer Graphics Metafile) has been an ISO standard for vector and composite vector/raster picture definition since 1987. It has been a registered MIME type since 1995. CGM has a significant following in technical illustration, electronic documentation, geophysical data visualization, amongst other application areas. WebCGM is a profile for the effective application of CGM in Web electronic documents. WebCGM has been a joint effort of the CGM Open Consortium, in collaboration with W3C staff and supported by the European Commission Esprit project. It represents an important interoperability agreement amongst major users and implementors of CGM, and thereby unifies current diverse approaches to CGM utilization in Web document applications. WebCGM's clear and unambiguous conformance requirements will enhance interoperability of implementations, and it should be possible to leverage existing CGM validation tools, test suites, and the product certification testing services for application to WebCGM. While WebCGM is a binary file format and is not 'stylable', nevertheless WebCGM follows published W3C requirements for a scalable graphics format where such are applicable. The design criteria for the graphical content of WebCGM aimed at a balance between graphical expressive power on the one hand, and simplicity and implementability on the other. A small but powerful set of metadata elements is standardized in WebCGM, to support the functionalities of: hyperlinking and document navigation; picture structuring and layering; and, search and query on WebCGM picture content."

[February 04, 2002]   CGM Open Consortium Releases WebCGM Test Suite.    A posting from Lofton Henderson (CGM Open Program Director) announces the first public release of the WebCGM Conformance Test Suite 1.0. This release of the test suite "has tests spanning the most important functionality of the WebCGM 1.0 standard. It covers both the graphical and intelligent (navigation and hyperlinking) content of WebCGM 1.0. A second release is planned for June, 2002, containing additonal test cases (where functionality might currently be inadequately tested), as well as structural and informational improvements. In particular, an important link/traceback from the test case to the appropriate requirements and testable assertions from the WebCGM standard is under development. The test suite should provide a valuable interoperability tool for both WebCGM product developers and product users. Comments, feedback, and suggestions are welcome." [Full context]

Bibliographic information: WebCGM 1.0 Second Release. W3C Recommendation, 17-December-2001. Version URL: Also as a .ZIP archive. Latest Version URL: Previous Version URL: By David Cruikshank (The Boeing Company), John Gebhardt (Intercap Graphics Systems), Lofton Henderson (Inso Corporation), Roy Platon (CCLRC), and Dieter Weidenbrueck (ITEDO/IsoDraw).

Abstract from the "Vendor Offering" demo at XML 2001, entitled 'New Vendor Products for REC WebCGM Interoperability': "WebCGM is a stable and mature W3C Recommendation for technical graphics on the Web. Besides having functionality accurately targeted at its functional niche, a standard needs several other things to succeed. The most obvious need is a critical mass of implementations which interoperate successfully. Five vendors of the CGM Open Consortium are now releasing WebCGM products, whose functionality spans the categories of WebCGM content generators, format transcoders, viewers and browser plugins, editors, and validators. These products are being built with the aid of a new WebCGM Conformance Test Suite, which adds the critical component of verifiability. After a brief introduction and pointer to additional WebCGM resources and information, we will present three brief sub-scenarios that simulate snippets of workflow, in which the five vendors will (pair-wise) apply their products and functionality, to demonstrate the interoperable potential of WebCGM and the products."

[January 03, 2001]   CGM Open Releases Browser Helper Object (BHO) for WebCGM Web Graphics.    CGM Open has announced the public release of a Browser Helper Object (BHO) which allows software vendors to build WebCGM viewers that can handle object-level WebCGM addressing. CGM Open is an OASIS-affiliated global consortium dedicated to standardized graphical information exchange. The Browser Helper Object project has developed the product for software developers who want to develop a WebCGM viewer; the code is offered as a public service to the developer community. According to the announcement, the tool "enables browsers such as Microsoft Internet Explorer to effectively use the WebCGM Web graphics standard. Designed in collaboration with Microsoft, the CGM Open BHO is an add-on software component that allows object-to-object linking of graphics in Web content... W3C standards prescribe an extension associated with URLs -- the 'URL fragment' -- which enables specifications such as WebCGM (and SVG) to address individual graphical objects within Web documents or pages. It was discovered that Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE, 5.0 and 5.5 at least) did not correctly handle URL fragments in all necessary situations. The WebCGM BHO solves the problem for WebCGM applications running with IE. In collaboration with Microsoft, CGM Open developed a solution that examines all CGM URLs that are processed by Internet Explorer. If it encounters a URL that contains a WebCGM fragment it will store this fragment in a safe place so that the WebCGM viewer will be able to access it. WebCGM viewers will have to check this location to find out whether there was a fragment, and then act accordingly. The WebCGM BHO is freely available in object code form, to any builders and distributors of WebCGM viewers, and includes sufficient implementors' documentation... 'Object-to-object linking is critical to the useful integration of graphics on the Web,' explained Lofton Henderson, Program Director of CGM Open. 'The BHO is a prime example of the contributions CGM Open provides for the Internet community. The Consortium's role as a vendor-neutral resource makes this accomplishment possible. No single Web graphics provider could have developed this solution alone.' Although the CGM Open BHO was designed specifically for WebCGM access, the solution can also be adapted for SVG, the Scalable Vector Graphics format, currently under development by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). According to Henderson, 'CGM Open considers WebCGM and SVG as complementary standards optimized for solving different Web vector graphics requirements. We trust that the CGM Open BHO can be leveraged by the SVG community to facilitate successful SVG products.' WebCGM is "an application of the ISO-standard Computer Graphics Metafile for electronic documents. WebCGM was developed by CGM Open, in collaboration with the W3C, with support from the European Commission Esprit project. An 'intelligent graphics' profile, WebCGM includes both graphical and non-graphical content, allowing object hierarchies, link specifications and layer definitions. CGM Open is an international organization of vendors and users dedicated to open and interoperable standards for the exchange of graphical information. CGM Open is an affiliate member of OASIS, the XML interoperability consortium. The work of CGM Open complements that of standards bodies, focusing on making Web graphics standards easy to adopt and practical to use in real world, open systems applications."

[January 21, 1999]. A W3C press release announces that "The World Wide Web Consortium Issues WebCGM Profile as a W3C Recommendation. Interoperability for Industrial-strength CGM Graphics." References: REC-WebCGM-19990121, W3C Recommendation, 21 January 1999. The authors include David Cruikshank (The Boeing Company), John Gebhardt (Intercap Graphics Systems), Lofton Henderson (Inso Corporation), Roy Platon (CCLRC), and Dieter Weidenbrück (ITEDO/IsoDraw). As part of the W3C Graphics Activity, the WebCGM Profile 'reflects cross-industry agreement on an interoperable way to exchange dynamic, hyperlinked Computer Graphics Metafile (CGM) files over the Web.' "Key industry players - members of CGM Open, W3C, or both - brought their expertise to the design of this profile: ArborText, Auto-trol Technologies, Aerospatiale, Bentley Systems, The Boeing Company, CCLRC, Inso Corporation, Intercap Graphics Systems, ITEDO/IsoDraw, Jeppesen Inc, Larson Software Technology, NIST, System Development Inc, Xerox Corporation, and Zeh Graphic Systems. The work was also supported by the European Commission's Esprit Project and undertaken in liaison with ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC24, the ISO working group which developed the CGM specification. The Recommendation provides a "formal specification of the content model of the CGM Version 4 functionality of WebCGM - the 'Intelligence' content. XML has been chosen as the specification language for the content model of the CGM, as validating parsers are widely available which could be adapted to perform content validation checking against WebCGM instances (either via modification of the readers, or via transformation of the intelligent content of WebCGM instance)." The WebCGM Profile also "allows hyperlinks within multiple pictures in a document, links to close-up views of parts of a picture, and links from CGM to an HTML document, including a frame in a frameset. Links can have multiple destinations - for example, the wing of an aircraft could link to structural diagrams, wiring schematics, test results and parts lists; [its hyperlinking] follows the W3C Xlink design principles and is conformant with the RFC 1738 and RFC 1808 specifications used for all URLs (Web addresses)." For other information, see the testimonials.


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