World Wide Web Consortium Issues Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.1 and Mobile SVG as W3C Recommendations

Open Graphics Format Extends Multimedia Beyond the Desktop to Cellphones and Pocket Computers

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http://www.w3.org/ -- 14 January 2003 --Leading the Web to its full potential, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has issued Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.1 and Mobile SVG Profiles as W3C Recommendations. SVG 1.1 separates SVG capabilities into reusable building blocks, and SVG Mobile re-combines them in a way optimized for mobile devices. Advancement of these documents to Recommendation indicates that these W3C-developed specifications are stable, contribute to Web interoperability, and have been reviewed by the W3C Membership, who favor their adoption by the industry.

SVG 1.1 Brings Modularization to Vector Graphics

The graphical capabilities of SVG 1.1 are the same as those of the widely implemented SVG 1.0 , which has been a W3C Recommendation since 4 September 2001. What has changed is the way the language is defined. For SVG 1.0, the Document Type Definition (DTD) was a single, monolithic unit. In SVG 1.1, the DTD is divided up into smaller, more flexible functional building blocks that can be reassembled in different ways for different purposes. The SVG Working Group used the same proven modularization techniques pioneered by the HTML Working Group for XHTML modularization.

Mobile SVG Profiles bring Vector Graphics to Handheld Devices

There is an explosion of interest in handheld devices and mobile phones which have color screens, improved processing power and can deliver enhanced multimedia functionality. These still fall short of the capabilities of desktop and laptop machines, but are now capable of displaying Web standard technologies such as XHTML, SMIL and SVG. W3C has used the SVG 1.1 building blocks to make two profiles or subsets of full SVG; SVG Tiny, aimed at multimedia capable cellphones such as the recently announced 3G units, and SVG Basic for handheld and palmtop computers.

"Cellphones allow Internet and Web access for millions of people who don't have access to desktop machines, temporarily or otherwise," said Dean Jackson, W3C Fellow from CSIRO. "With 3GPP already incorporating Mobile SVG, we are already starting to see more rich and useful content in third generation cellphones."

Instead of sending text messages or canned, bitmap logos, SVG Tiny now makes it possible to send a colorful animated multimedia message. Instead of juggling a laptop or taking a static printout to the factory floor, construction site, hospital ward, or trading room, SVG Basic now enables the mobile professional to consult up to date, interactive, informative graphics on a convenient pocket computer which is dynamically updated over a wireless network connected to the XML information hub of the enterprise.

SVG 1.1 Integrates with Open Technologies, XML components

Another way that W3C and others are making use of the modular SVG 1.1 building blocks is to combine them with building blocks from other W3C technologies to produce more powerful, integrated solutions. Examples include the combination of SVG and XForms to construct graphically rich, interactive input forms, or SVG and SMIL Basic to combine vector graphics with streaming audio and video, or XHTML, MathML and SVG for scientific and technical communication including text with headings, lists and tables; mathematical equations, and interactive graphs and diagrams.

"As with all W3C Recommendations, SVG builds on established, open W3C technologies such as XML, CSS and DOM. SVG also has received rigorous review for Internationalization and Web Accessibility requirements, which results in natural integration with existing technologies. This maximizes application power while minimizing its footprint," said Chris Lilley, chair of the SVG Working Group and member of the W3C Technical Architecture Group (TAG). "Adopting open, truly standards-based solutions has already shown return on investment; the pieces fit together in powerful, extensible and economical ways."

SVG Mobile is now deployed

Commercial services using SVG Mobile are now being deployed, including location based services using geographical metadata embedded in the SVG. The SVG Working Group is pleased by both the number of SVG 1.1 and SVG Mobile implementations and their quality of rendering and interoperability. Fifteen implementations were tested in November 2002, including SVG Tiny implementations from BitFlash, CSIRO, KDDI, Nokia, ZOOMON and SVG Basic implementations from BitFlash, CSIRO, and Intesis; others were also under development but were not tested at that time.

As a result of these compatibility trials, SVG implementations are available now from multiple vendors for integration into cellphones or deployment on PDAs in addition to the increasing number of implementations for desktop and laptop computers. Conformance to one of the two profiles, rather than each manufacturer choosing their own subset, ensures widespread interoperability of content across mobile devices from different manufacturers. This interoperability has three advantages for content creators: lower development costs, wider availability, and a trust in being able to display their content in any compliant implementation. As Mobile SVG is a true subset of SVG 1.1, all conformant desktop players will correctly display all Mobile SVG content, ensuring the Mobile and desktop worlds continue to share a common, standards-based Web.

SVG Has Broad, Continued Industry Support

The SVG Working Group has benefitted from the expertise of leading names in the graphics and mobile communications industries, including: Adobe, Agfa-Gevaert N.V., America Online Inc., BitFlash, Canon, Corel Corporation, CSIRO, Eastman Kodak, Ericsson, Expway, Hewlett-Packard, ILOG S.A., KDDI Research Labs, Nokia, Openwave Systems Ltd, Quark, Savage Software, Schema Software, Sharp Corporation, Sun Microsystems Inc. and ZOOMON AB. Many already have, or plan to provide, product support for SVG 1.1 and Mobile SVG.

For more information on SVG, see the W3C SVG Overview.

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The W3C was created to lead the Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. It is an international industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (MIT LCS) in the USA, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: the development and testing of Web Standards, a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users, and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date, nearly 450 organizations are Members of the Consortium. For more information see http://www.w3.org/