The World Wide Web Consortium Issues WebCGM Profile as a W3C Recommendation

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Interoperability for Industrial-strength CGM Graphics

Testimonials -- 21 January, 1999 -- Leading the Web to its full potential, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today released the WebCGM Profile as a W3C Recommendation. Developed in close collaboration between W3C and the CGM Open Consortium, the profile reflects cross-industry agreement on an interoperable way to exchange dynamic, hyperlinked Computer Graphics Metafile (CGM) files over the Web. CGM is an ISO standard graphics format widely used in the aerospace, defence, automotive and medical industries, for example in interactive online technical manuals.

A W3C Recommendation indicates that a specification is stable, contributes to Web interoperability, and has been reviewed by the W3C Membership, who favor its adoption by the industry.

Key industry players - members of CGM Open, W3C, or both - brought their expertise to the design of this profile: ArborText, Auto-trol Technologies, Aerospatiale, Bentley Systems, The Boeing Company, CCLRC, Inso Corporation, Intercap Graphics Systems, ITEDO/IsoDraw, Jeppesen Inc, Larson Software Technology, NIST, System Development Inc, Xerox Corporation and Zeh Graphic Systems. The work was also supported by the European Commission's Esprit Project and undertaken in liaison with ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC24, the ISO working group which developed the CGM specification.

"SC 24 is pleased that W3C and CGM Open have developed the WebCGM profile. As the original developer of the CGM International Standard, SC 24 looks forward to continued cooperative work with our partners W3C and CGM Open in defining future standards for the web." said Steve Carson, Chair, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC24

Guarantees Interoperability

The CGM specification is rich and has many optional parts. This gives great flexibility but has in the past led to interoperability problems: valid encoders producing valid files which valid decoders could not handle. Profiles describe which features of CGM are to be used, and in precisely what way, to achieve interoperability.

"Previously, there were several proprietary flavours of hyperlinked CGM, each produced valid CGM files but they would not interoperate with other vendors products,"  said Chris Lilley, Activity Lead for Web Graphics at W3C. "Today's release of the WebCGM Profile is the technical part of the solution, and the product announcements by Members of W3C and CGM Open make interoperability a reality."

Combines Industrial CGM Experience With Web Know-How

Based on the widely used aerospace profile (ATA) recently adopted by the automotive industry, the graphical features of the WebCGM Profile are proven in use. Web-oriented features such as variable transparency and inclusion of the sRGB color space used by HTML 4.0 and CSS make CGM a good Web citizen.

"WebCGM represents big step forward in both the CGM state of the art, as well as interoperability of graphics on the Web. Existing CGM clientele will benefit by having an immediate migration path to internet and intranet configurations, and WebCGM should provide an attractive option for compact, open, and reliable graphics interchange for many other Web graphics users as well. I'm very pleased that this collaboration between the experts of W3C and CGM Open has proved so fruitful, resulting in this first vector graphics standard for the Web," said Lofton Henderson, Chairman of CGM Open.

Intranet applications in engineering and manufacturing are expected to derive immediate benefit from the open, vendor-neutral WebCGM Profile. Other application areas are not forgotten: W3C is working on a new Scalable Vector Graphics format, written in XML and stylable with CSS, which complements WebCGM and is expected to find uses in advertising, sales support materials, and other types of graphics design.

Adds Hyperlinking

The WebCGM Profile allows hyperlinks within multiple pictures in a document, links to close-up views of parts of a picture, and links from CGM to an HTML document, including a frame in a frameset. Links can have multiple destinations - for example, the wing of an aircraft could link to structural diagrams, wiring schematics, test results and parts lists.

The WebCGM Profile follows the W3C Xlink design principles and is conformant with the RFC 1738 and RFC 1808 specifications used for all URLs (Web addresses).

Further information on WebCGM 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

About CGM Open

The CGM Open Consortium, Inc is an organization of vendors and users of CGM technology. The non-profit international consortium has the stated mission of promoting the Computer Graphics Metafile (CGM) as an open and interoperable standard for the exchange of graphical information.

The work of CGM Open complements that of standards bodies, focusing on making CGM easy to adopt, and CGM based products practical to use, in real-world, open system applications.

For more information about CGM Open, see


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The World Wide Web Consortium Issues WebCGM Profile as a W3C Recommendation

Inso , InterCAP Graphics Systems, Inc. , ITEDO Software , Larson Software Technology , Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (CCLRC) , System Development, Inc , US Navy , Xerox, Zeh Graphic Systems


"Inso is pleased with the designation of WebCGM as an official W3C Recommendation, as it fills an important missing link in the W3C family of standards. WebCGM should play a significant role in the open interchange of compact, scalable graphics in Web documents. Inso is happy to have had the opportunity to contribute to shaping this standard, and is committed to quality WebCGM support in the our Electronic Publishing Solution products."

-- Sebastian Holst, Vice President Product Management, Inso


"InterCAP will support WebCGM in the next version all of our ActiveCGM products and plan to demonstrate WebCGM at XML Europe 99 this coming April. We are committed to WebCGM and believe that it will play a key role in speeding the growth of e-commerce and product support web-based applications by enabling CGM users to leverage on-going investments in technical graphics."

-- Dr. John Gebhardt, Chief Scientist, InterCAP Graphics Systems, Inc.
Board Member, CGM Open Consortium


ITEDO Software is excited to see WebCGM become an official W3C Recommendation. Finally, web users will have access to the quality and speed of a standard vector format. As a member of CGM Open, we are proud of our contribution to WebCGM and we are fully committed to support WebCGM in the next generation of our products IsoDraw and IsoView."

-- Dieter Weidenbrück, CEO, ITEDO Software


"WebCGM will provide momentum and productivity gains to the technical application community. Manufacturing, Petroleum and Mapping companies will have a viable standards based format, WebCGM, to build their graphical Intranet applications."

-- Don Larson, President Larson Software Technology


"As the organisation who submitted the initial request that there be a Web Profile for CGM , Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (CCLRC) is especially pleased to see this work coming to fruition. It will certainly increase the use of the Web in the scientific and engineering areas. RAL in conjunction with INRIA have developed a draft implementation of the WebCGM Profile in Amaya and we hope to update that to the Recommendation's functionality."

-- Professor Bob Hopgood, Informatics Division, RAL.


"SDI wholeheartedly supports WC3 in its announcement of the WebCGM Profile recommendation. Scalable graphics capability is essential if the World Wide Web is to accommodate an ever increasing appetite for complex imagery. SDI is in the process of upgrading current Unix & NT based CGM Plug-in products to conform to the WebCGM Recommendation."

-- Forrest Carpenter, President, System Development, Inc. (SDI).


"The US Navy and DoD are evaluating candidate formats for delivery and acceptance of 2-D Vector graphics. The WebCGM profile of CGM version 4 provides a vector format that is concise, yet robust with flexibility and functionality."

-- Harry Whittaker, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division


"Xerox' technical publishing department has been intimately involved with the creation of the WebCGM profile to allow for the production and delivery of enhanced service documentation for a 20,000+ member mobile work force. The resolution of interoperability issues will allow vector graphics to be used from creation to the point of delivery on portable workstations."

-- Bernie Colligan, Manager of Worldwide Service Technology Delivery, Xerox Corporation


"For almost ten years, users of CAD, Oil & Gas, and GIS applications have depended upon CGM to view and plot their data. The adoption of the WebCGM Profile is significant because it makes this data accessible to all users. CGM on the Web has the potential to dramatically change how data is used in corporate environments. We wholeheartedly endorse this standard."

-- David Zeh, founder of Zeh Graphic Systems and one of the original members of POSC

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