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The World Wide Web Consortium Releases First Working Draft of Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) specification

W3C Members Collaborate on Dramatic Improvement to Web Graphics

Josef Dietl, <jdietl@w3.org>, +33
America --
Janet Daly, <janet@w3.org>, +1.617.253.5884
Europe --
Ned Mitchell, <ned@ala.com>, +33 1 43 22 79 56
Andrew Lloyd, <allo@ala.com>, +44 127 367 5100

http://www.w3.org/ -- 11 February, 1999 -- Leading the Web to its full potential, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today released the first public working draft of the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) specification. The purpose of this publication is to encourage public comments and contributions. SVG is written in XML, which up to now has mainly been used for text. This draft is the first step in the development of a vendor-neutral, cross-platform and ubiquitous Web-specific format for XML vector graphics.

Current members of the W3C SVG Working Group are key industry players who brought their graphical and Web expertise to the design of this specification. In alphabetical order: Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Corel, HP, IBM, Inso, Macromedia, Microsoft, Netscape, Quark, RAL, Sun, and Visio.

Following W3C's practice, the SVG Working Group provides a public mailing list (www-svg@w3.org) for comments in addition to the feedback channels defined by the W3C Process.

The Web needs Vector Graphics

Many Web graphical assets start out in some vector format. This makes them easier to draw and to edit, and allows them be resized, cropped and reused, then printed at different resolutions.

"Today, Web designers have to pick a width and height in pixels and save their work in some image format like JPEG." said Chris Lilley, W3C Graphics Activity Lead and Chair of the SVG Working Group. "SVG will let the designer keep that vector flexibility and superior quality for delivery on the Web."

The same SVG graphic can be used multiple times on a page, but at different sizes, styled to use different colors and textures, or cropped to emphasise relevant features - all with one SVG image download. And that page will print with high resolution and the correct colors.

The XML advantage

XML, developed by W3C, is a format for representing structured documents and data. SVG is written in XML and therefore benefits from XML's strengths, ongoing developments and increasing popularity. Any existing XML parser can read this new format; interchange will be easy.

Style sheets, which are used today to adjust the presentation of text in XML and HTML, will be equally applicable to SVG. Webmasters are used to changing a few stylesheets to give their whole site a make over; now this will freshen the graphics along with the text, keeping a harmonious and integrated look.

The Document Object Model (DOM), which is used by scripts and programs to manipulate XML documents - for example, to achieve animation effects - can immediately be used on SVG graphics.

Site management tools, which find and manipulate hyperlinks, will work just as easily on SVG files as they do with existing XML documents, thanks to the use of the emerging XLink and XPointer specifications. Because text in the graphics is kept as text, rather than a "picture of text", existing search engines will find SVG graphics and accessibility for the visually challenged is greatly improved.

SVG is expected to find uses in advertising, sales support materials, and other types of graphics design; organization charts, company logos, network and flow diagrams, and other sorts of business communications.

Cooperation Ensures Ubiquity

A new format is no use if it is not widely supported in authoring tools and browsers. By building on existing Web specifications and by harnessing the expertise of key players among the W3C Membership in the graphics creation and Web browsing fields, W3C is ensuring that SVG is an open, vendor neutral format that content creators can easily use and depend upon for graphics delivery over the Web.

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

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/

$Date: 1999/02/11 15:33:03 $
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