WebCGM 1.0 Second Release

W3C Recommendation, 17 December 2001
superseded 5 December 2019

This Version:
Latest Version:
Previous Version:
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


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 and supported by the European Commission Esprit 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.

Status of This Document

This specification is a Superseded Recommendation. A newer specification exists that is recommended for new adoption in place of this specification.

For purposes of the W3C Patent Policy, this Superseded Recommendation has the same status as an active Recommendation; it retains licensing commitments and remains available as a reference for old -- and possibly still deployed -- implementations, but is not recommended for future implementation. New implementations should follow the latest version of the WebCGM specification.

A list of current W3C Recommendations and other technical documents can be found at https://www.w3.org/TR.

This document was produced as part of the W3C Graphics Activity.

The English version of this specification is the only normative version. There are no known translations, and none are known to be in progress.


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