WebCGM Profile

W3C Proposed Recommendation, 07 December 1998

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David Cruikshank, The Boeing Company
John Gebhardt, Intercap Graphics Systems
Lofton Henderson, Inso Corporation
Roy Platon, CCLRC
Dieter Weidenbrueck, ITEDO/IsoDraw
Ty Bartosh, Jeppesen Inc.
Forrest Carpenter, System Development Inc.
Maryse Da-Ponte, Aerospatiale
Bruce Garner, Analyst/Consultant
Alan Hester, Xerox Corporation
Bob Hopgood, CCLRC
Chris Lilley, W3C
Don Larson, Larson Software Technology
Kevin O'Kane, Auto-trol Technologies
Brad Powell, Zeh Graphic Systems
Dave Rahnis, Bentley Systems
Lynne Rosenthal, NIST

Copyright 1998 CGM Open Consortium Inc.
Copyright 1998 W3C (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique, Keio University)
W3C liability, trademark, document use and software licensing rules apply.

Status of This Document

This document is currently undergoing review by the Members of the World Wide Web Consortium. It is a stable document derived from the W3C Note WebCGM Profile as part of the W3C Graphics Activity.

Please direct comments to web-cgm-comments@w3.org. The review period for this Proposed Recommendation will end at 24:00 GMT on 5 January 1998.

Within 14 days from that time, the document's disposition will be announced: it may become a W3C Recommendation (possibly with minor changes), or (in the case of significant problems) a briefing package may be produced to charter a W3C Working Group to do further work on the specification, or it may be dropped as a W3C work item. This document does not at this time imply any endorsement by the Consortium's staff or member organizations.

This is a stable document but may still be updated, replaced or obsoleted by other documents as a result of Member review. While we do not anticipate substantial changes, we still caution that further changes are possible. It is inappropriate to use this document as reference material or to cite it as other than "work in progress".


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 under the W3C-LA 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.


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