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

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W3C Members Collaborate on Dramatic Improvement to Web Graphics

Testimonials -- 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 ( 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

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


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

Adobe , Apple , Corel , IBM , Inso , Macromedia , Microsoft , Netscape , Quark , Sun , Visio.


"Adobe, the leading provider of professional graphic design tools, is proud to be a part of this colloborative effort to bring professional quality graphics to the Web. For Web designers, SVG is revolutionary. It will allow them to create graphically compelling, interactive, and fully dynamic Web sites directly from their favorite illustration and animation authoring tools. Its compatibility with HTML, XML, DOM, CSS and JavaScript makes it a perfect fit for today's Web authoring workflows and the emerging graphically rich electronic commerce sites of the future."

-- Tom Malloy, VP for Advanced Technology, Adobe Systems Incorporated


"Apple's leadership position in the design and publishing markets is providing the Scalable Vector Graphics working group with crucial guidance in defining the next generation of graphical content on the Internet. With advanced features like transparency, compositing, raster effects, and built-in ColorSync support via ICC profiles - we expect SVG to offer Apple's design customers a state-of-the-art format for web content creation."

-- Tim Schaaff, Senior Director of Interactive Media Group, Apple Computer


"Corel is extremely pleased to support the World Wide Web Consortium efforts to develop an industry-wide standard for Scalable Vector Graphics. As an active participant in the SVG working group, we are committed to tracking the SVG working drafts and to embracing SVG throughout our graphics applications."

-- Derek Burney, Executive Vice President of Engineering, Corel Corporation.


"As an advocate of open standards, IBM believes that Scaleable Vector Graphics can deliver better graphics, faster and will help e-businesses bring media rich content to the Internet. For example, SVG can improve the quality of images enabling Web shoppers to view life-like content from Web storefronts and catalogs."

-- Andrew Donoho, Senior Engineer and SVG working group member, IBM


"SVG has the potential to greatly improve graphical content on the Web and to open up exciting new possibilities for electronic publishing. An open standard based upon XML, SVG promises to facilitate the manipulation, interchange, linking and searching of graphical content. Already a significant contributor to W3C standardization efforts for XML, DOM, and CGM, Inso strongly supports the development of this important new standard and plans to fully implement SVG viewing, publishing and content management in our products and in our Enterprise Information Platform."

-- Sebastian Holst, vice president of product management for Inso's Electronic Publishing Solutions


"Macromedia is committed to open solutions that help our customers add life to the Web. As one of the key contributors to the SVG specification, we believe this, along with VML and WebCGM, will be a useful static text-based format for Web designers who want to exchange content between tools during the authoring process. SVG will be a great complement to Flash, Macromedia's ubiquitous run-time format that enables a more dynamic Web experience for end-users. Today, the Flash player is included with Windows 98, MacOS 8.5, Netscape Navigator 4.5, AOL 4.0, and most recently Linux."

-- Pete Santangeli, Director of Flash Program Management at Macromedia.


"We're excited to have actively participated in the development of SVG, a format for delivering vector graphics in HTML documents, and that it has moved so quickly to the initial Working Draft phase. We think SVG will be a great new format, complementing WebCGM for vector graphics, and PNG for raster graphics."

-- Mark Ryland, Director of Standards Activities, Microsoft Corporation


"Netscape is pleased to see that the working group is progressing on SVG. We believe the web user's experience will be greatly enhanced by a vector graphics standard designed specifically for the Web. Many of the raster images on the Web could be replaced with vector graphics which offer compact downloads, device independent resolution, and retention of textual data for searching and indexing."

-- Jim Hamerly, Vice President of Client Products, Netscape Communications Corporation.


"SVG promises a number of advantages over the raster graphics used on the Web today. It offers high fidelity graphics and precision design control with small files that can be scaled and transformed efficiently on the Web. Quark is actively participating in the SVG Working Group and will migrate the technology into our products as appropriate."

-- Mark Lemmons, Quark business unit manager, Internet Publishing


"As a member of the W3C's working group on vector graphics since its inception, Sun is pleased to see the draft release of the Scalable Vector Graphics specification, which will provide for a 2D vector graphics format to enhance what Web designers can do with image formats. At the core of the Java 2 platform lies the Java 2D API, which contains a rich set of graphics, text and imaging features -- all of which map to the the SVG specification. As a result, the Java 2 platform will provide an excellent base from which to implement the capabilities in the SVG specification."

-- Dr. Jim Mitchell, Vice President of Technology and Architecture, Sun Microsystems, Inc.


"The SVG Working Draft provides a rich language for describing and displaying vector graphics inside of Web pages. SVG's expressiveness will allow for high quality presentation and interchange, both of which are especially important for Visio users who want to publish and exchange drawings via the Web. We look forward to continued participation within the Working Group in making SVG a Web standard."

-- Ted Johnson, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Visio Corporation

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