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The World Wide Web Consortium Issues WebCGM Profile as a W3C Recommendation

Interoperability for Industrial-strength CGM Graphics

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http://www.w3.org/ -- 21 January, 1999 -- Leading the Web to its full potential, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today released the WebCGM Profile as a W3C Recommendation. Developed in close collaboration between W3C and the CGM Open Consortium, the profile reflects cross-industry agreement on an interoperable way to exchange dynamic, hyperlinked Computer Graphics Metafile (CGM) files over the Web. CGM is an ISO standard graphics format widely used in the aerospace, defence, automotive and medical industries, for example in interactive online technical manuals.

A W3C Recommendation indicates that a specification is stable, contributes to Web interoperability, and has been reviewed by the W3C Membership, who favor its adoption by the industry.

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.

"SC 24 is pleased that W3C and CGM Open have developed the WebCGM profile. As the original developer of the CGM International Standard, SC 24 looks forward to continued cooperative work with our partners W3C and CGM Open in defining future standards for the web." said Steve Carson, Chair, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC24

Guarantees Interoperability

The CGM specification is rich and has many optional parts. This gives great flexibility but has in the past led to interoperability problems: valid encoders producing valid files which valid decoders could not handle. Profiles describe which features of CGM are to be used, and in precisely what way, to achieve interoperability.

"Previously, there were several proprietary flavours of hyperlinked CGM, each produced valid CGM files but they would not interoperate with other vendors products,"  said Chris Lilley, Activity Lead for Web Graphics at W3C. "Today's release of the WebCGM Profile is the technical part of the solution, and the product announcements by Members of W3C and CGM Open make interoperability a reality."

Combines Industrial CGM Experience With Web Know-How

Based on the widely used aerospace profile (ATA) recently adopted by the automotive industry, the graphical features of the WebCGM Profile are proven in use. Web-oriented features such as variable transparency and inclusion of the sRGB color space used by HTML 4.0 and CSS make CGM a good Web citizen.

"WebCGM represents big step forward in both the CGM state of the art, as well as interoperability of graphics on the Web. Existing CGM clientele will benefit by having an immediate migration path to internet and intranet configurations, and WebCGM should provide an attractive option for compact, open, and reliable graphics interchange for many other Web graphics users as well. I'm very pleased that this collaboration between the experts of W3C and CGM Open has proved so fruitful, resulting in this first vector graphics standard for the Web," said Lofton Henderson, Chairman of CGM Open.

Intranet applications in engineering and manufacturing are expected to derive immediate benefit from the open, vendor-neutral WebCGM Profile. Other application areas are not forgotten: W3C is working on a new Scalable Vector Graphics format, written in XML and stylable with CSS, which complements WebCGM and is expected to find uses in advertising, sales support materials, and other types of graphics design.

Adds Hyperlinking

The WebCGM Profile 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.

The WebCGM Profile follows the W3C Xlink design principles and is conformant with the RFC 1738 and RFC 1808 specifications used for all URLs (Web addresses).

Further information on WebCGM can be found at http://www.w3.org/Graphics/WebCGM/


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 National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users, sample code implementations to embody and promote standards, and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date, over 300 organizations are Members of the Consortium.

For more information about the World Wide Web Consortium, see http://www.w3.org/

About CGM Open

The CGM Open Consortium, Inc is an organization of vendors and users of CGM technology. The non-profit international consortium has the stated mission of promoting the Computer Graphics Metafile (CGM) as an open and interoperable standard for the exchange of graphical information.

The work of CGM Open complements that of standards bodies, focusing on making CGM easy to adopt, and CGM based products practical to use, in real-world, open system applications.

For more information about CGM Open, see http://www.cgmopen.org/


$Date: 1999/01/21 15:40:04 $
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