John Dowdell of Macromedia is seeking advice about what people want to do with XML descriptions of vector drawings. Apparently they're not looking at replacing SWF export with SVG export but rather researching new application areas. That is if they actually plan on using SVG instead of a new proprietary XML format. The product managers over at Microsoft, Corel and Adobe have obviously already figured that one out!
By the way, I am turning 22 today! Late for the party already... Well, at least I got my 90th shine in Super Mario Sunshine.
Corel have updated their SVG Viewer technical preview. They have also added a much needed document specifying what SVG elements, CSS properties and DOM interfaces they support. More SVG viewers is always good news!
SMIL Europe is taking place in Paris in February, after having been postponed from November. Good news since I didn't have time to submit papers before.
Now Playing: Method Man & Redman - Blackout!
Paul Prescod reports from XML Conference 2002 in Baltimore about the first signs of SVG support from Microsoft as part of an upcoming version of Visio. This is great news and really leaves Macromedia as the last one standing in the scattered no-SVG-support league. Although we don't have much details about how this looks (news sites should be picking up soon) this is tremendous news for everyone who have been fighting for SVG to make it to the mainstream. Way to go SVG!
A new company EvolGrafix is born. It was created mostly from what once was PCX Software. The reason I mention this company is because they are aiming at providing SVG-centric tools. They will be releasing their first product early in the new year, XStudioNext, an authoring tool à la Flash MX. They've also got an IDE in the works (Xynamic) which sounds promising. They are planning on intelliscence completion and stuff like that. As long as they have debugging for scripting available I'll be getting it!
Every once in a while I get in a pure SVG evangelization moment. Today, I was reading through FlashMagazine's explanation of why they had to switch from SWF to HTML for publishing. They know SWF, and they know the limitations of the Flash platforms. So I put on my nice fella hat and wrote this email:
I've been checking out FlashMagazine every week or so to see what was going on in the Flash world outside of Macromedia. However, I am not part of the Flash community... I work within the W3C SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) Working Group and am keen on evangelizing good usage of SVG.
The arguments you put forward for switching to HTML as a publishing format make a lot of sense to me. I think that is quite sad that Macromedia, although it has come up with very sexy new features (like video) in the latest Flash Player release, still does not handle some very much needed and simpler features like this HTML-kind of layout.
Although I don't imagine you will switch to delivering your content as SVG (that would be nice though), I thought you might well want to hear about how SVG could help your publishing problems.
Also, JPEG loading (or any other image format handled by your implementation) can be loaded dynamically, just like any other SVG content. You can either use the SVG tag the same way you would use your HTML tag to change an image's URL, or use a getURL() method through scripting to do some progressive loading.
As to generation, SVG is simply XML and therefore is very flexible as to how you will want to generate it on your server. You can build your document from scratch using standard APIs like the DOM (available on pretty much every single server platforms out there - Java,
.NET, mod_perl, PHP, you name it!), pre-built templates with modified fragments connected to your database (SVG is just text too!) or just basic kind of CGI like generation like in the good old HTML days. Being XML, SVG will work well with XML data on the backend, and that would enable any kind of alternate output formats you would want to consider (HTML, PDF, even SWF). Also, SVG is free to use. By "free", I mean patent-free and in the public domain, it does not belong to a single company and is a W3C-endorsed standard. You will never *have* to use any proprietary software to generate or view SVG content.
You would also gain a couple things by using SVG. Text in SVG is real text. Writing "Hello World!" in SVG looks something like <text>Hello World!</text> which allow for much accessibility as text selection, search and copy. Note that this would work for any kind of text, it could be on a curve, animated, flipped, with a filter applied to it, etc. Also, you can use fonts specified encoded as SVG (the so-called SVG fonts) to preserve your perfect text layout and look on any platform. There are a couple TrueType to SVG font converters out there.
Now, there are a few myths hanging around about SVG in the Flash community. SVG is bandwidth-friendly: using gzip compression (supported in all SVG client implementations) you get small file sizes, in exactly the same kind of weight that you would get from a comparable SWF file, if not smaller! SVG is pretty well deployed: Adobe have been shipping their SVG Viewer with Acrobat Reader 5 as well as in almost all their products. That way, there are more than 160,000,000 viewers deployed as of late May 2002. It may not be as many as Flash Players, but it is just about as much as PDF viewers out there and I don't see this as a major problem for a lot of people to deploy PDF content online (even Macromedia do on their website).
It would be nice to see some Flash community important people give some support to SVG. Macromedia is just about the only graphics company that keep on not supporting SVG in any way, which is very sad for the advances of dynamic 2D graphics on the Web (and elsewhere). After all, what is of most interest to you: using Flash itself or a whatever rich dynamic 2D solution that will fit your needs?
If you are also using SWF for publishing, take this into consideration.
I really love my iBook and OS X. Now I am getting a G4 so I can work full-time on OS X. I'm using BBEdit 6.5 and my main gripe with it is that I can't find a way to indent/unindent full blocks. With TextPad I would just select my multi-line block and hit tab or shitf+tab. Anybody here knows a workaround. Actually, I sent an email to the TextPad team to suggest an OS X version since so many geeks are going for OS X these days.
I felt pretty lame telling people I wasn't even a real Perl programmer at OScon: I don't have a single CPAN module out there. I decided to do something about it. So I got me Perl 5.8 installed on the iBook and a PAUSE user id (graouts there as well). Now all I need to do is code some SVG module, and I got ideas so this should work out fine. Look for SVG::PathParser soon!