SVG: The vectorial graphic format… for the Web?

By | 2006-10-19

If you can read this, your browser cannot render “Scalable Vector Graphics”… get FIREFOX or OPERA

I’m learning to use Inkscape, an open source application to draw graphics. It saves your drawings in SVG format. For some reason, I’ve discovered that this format is a really interesting standard for the future of the WWW. The Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is an extension from XML to define, as its name says, vectorial graphics. The W3C standard is quite wide, with a lot of options which define from simple circle shapes to text following a curved path. Because it is XML, you can open in your text editor and see the source (try to see the source code of the image/frame above, if you can see it).

As you can know, nowadays there is not a free option to use vectorial graphics in websites. The only real choice is to use Flash, which is a propietary technology (with the benefits and problems which it carries). Another option, a bit weird, is to use java applets to draw in the screen, but it seems like overconsuming resources without sense.

The good news is that Mozilla and Opera are working hard to support SVG. In fact Firefox paints SVG quite well. But there are more: you can use Javascript to change the elements inside a SVG, like DOM Objects, so you can create animations, add events, and such things. And even more: being vector graphics you can resize without a loss of quality; it supports creative commons definitions; the texts within it can be indexed easily by Google (because actually it’s XML); and so on.

The bad news. The guys from Microsoft are too busy to think about SVG support. Internet Explorer 6 cannot manage SVG, neither does IE7. And they have no plans about it. Why?