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1. Introduction to WebCGM

1.1 About WebCGM

WebCGMTM is a profile of the ISO Computer Graphics Metafile standard (ISO/IEC 8632:1999), tailored to the requirements for scalable 2D vector graphics in electronic documents on the World Wide Web.

The WebCGM profile is a subset of the ISO standard, and a set of specifications targeted especially at the effective application of the ISO standard to representation of 2D graphical content within Web documents.

CGM has been an ISO standard since 1987, and CGM has been a registered media type (image/cgm) for the Internet and the World Wide Web since December 1995.

1.2 WebCGM, Profile Rules, and ISPs

WebCGM is a conforming profile of CGM under the stipulations of CGM:1999 Clause 9, "Profiles and conformance", and it utilizes the Profile Proforma (PPF) of CGM:1999 Annex I.1, Proforma tables, for representation of the element-by-element content details. Registration of WebCGM as an International Standardized Profile (ISP) is anticipated.

WebCGM is an "intelligent graphics" profile, which means that in addition to graphical content based on CGM Versions 1-3, the profile includes non-graphical content based on CGM Version 4, Application Structures. The non-graphical content allows the definition of hierarchies of application objects, as well as the association of metadata, such as link specifications and layer definitions, with the objects.

1.3 WebCGM Requirements

The content of WebCGM is chosen to satisfy the requirements articulated in the document "W3C Scalable Graphics Requirements", http://www.w3.org/Graphics/ScalableReq ([grfreq]), and follows the specifications and requirements defined in "Use of CGM as a Scalable Graphics Format", http://www.w3.org/TR/NOTE-cgm ([cgmreq]). The content of WebCGM was significantly influenced by technical recommendations from the CGM Open consortium (see http://www.cgmopen.org/).

The selection criteria for the graphical content of WebCGM included: it should have high expressive power; and, it should be both widely implemented, and implementable with a reasonable level of effort.

The selection criteria for the intelligence content of WebCGM - structuring and metadata elements - were derived principally from the above-mentioned W3C requirements document, [cgmreq].

1.4 WebCGM and other Profiles

The detailed profile specifications of WebCGM are based on those of the ATA (Air Transport Association) CGM profile, "GREXCHANGE 2.4". This profile is recognized as the best defined and most widely implemented in industry, and it has the valuable attribute that there is already an associated product certification testing service.

The details in the PPF of the ATA profile were taken as the starting point, and modified only where they did not meet the requirements articulated in the W3C requirements documents. The graphical content of WebCGM is a simplified, but powerful subset of GREXCHANGE 2.4. The intelligence content is a superset - minimal but sufficient to meet the articulated requirements.

1.5 Conformance of WebCGM

One of the primary benefits of any CGM profile is the ability to insure interoperability through the use of validation tools against CGM instances and certification services for applications. Once an application has been certified through a testing service, behavior of that application is predictable under the constraints of the profile. Several validation and certification tools and services exist which can be leveraged for WebCGM. Among them are:

WebCGM contains both static graphics functionality and dynamic behaviors functionality. Viewer conformance to the static graphics functionality can be measured for any kind of WebCGM viewer. Full viewer conformance to the dynamic behaviors specifications can only be measured in an environment of HTML-based documents and Web browsers. Therefore, full conformance of a viewer to all specifications in WebCGM 1.0 can only be measured for a WebCGM browser plugin (or equivalent architecture).

1.6 Editions and Releases of WebCGM

CGM:1999 Clause 9, Profiles and conformance, prescribes that profiles shall maintain revision control by using a standard "ProfileEd" keyword. Instances of the profile carry this edition information in their identification section.

This release of WebCGM is Edition ("ProfileEd") 1.0. Higher editions may be defined at a later date.

This release is the Second Release of WebCGM 1.0. WebCGM 1.0 Second Release is a maintenance and defect correcting release of the functional Edition 1.0.

1.7 Roadmap to the Document

WebCGM is written in four major sections:

1.8 References and Document Sources

1.8.1 References

All valid profiles of CGM conform to the ISO CGM standard. As are all profiles, WebCGM is defined by reference to the ISO standard:

ISO/IEC 8632:1999(E)
Information technology - Computer graphics - Metafile for the storage and transfer of picture description information
- Part 1: Functional description
- Part 3: Binary encoding
- Part 4: Clear text encoding

The other normative references of this profile are:

Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI): Generic Syntax,
URL: http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2396.txt
Deutsch, P., "DEFLATE Compressed Data Format Specification version 1.3", RFC1951, Aladdin Enterprises, May 1996,
URL: http://www.w3.org/Graphics/PNG/RFC-1951
ISO/IEC 10646-1:1993, AM2:1996
Information technology - Universal multiple-octet coded character set (UCS)
- Part 1: Architecture and Basic Multilingual Plane
AMENDMENT 2: UCS Transformation Format 8 (UTF-8)
PNG (Portable Network Graphics) Specification, Version 1.0, URL:

1.8.2 Document Sources and Registration Authority

Copies of the ISO standards may be obtained from ISO:

ISO Central Secretariat
1, rue de Varembe
Case postale 56
CH-1211 Geneve 20

For the purpose of this Recommendation and according to the rules for the designation and operation of registration authorities in the ISO/IEC Directives, the ISO and IEC Councils have designated the following as the registration authority:

National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA)
(Joint Interoperability Test Command)
The Registration Authority for Graphical Items
Building 57305
Fort Huachuca

For more information on the CGM standard itself, the CGM Open Web site has both bibliographic references, and short articles on CGM topics:

CGM Open

The following World Wide Web sites have more information on CGM:

W3C WebCGM Overview

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