SVG a graphics format for 21st century

XML-based definition promotes re-use and interactivity


Data mashups are going to be big.

Finally, delivery as SVG has one overwhelming advantage over raster-based graphics and even Flash that the compatibility battle with IE has obscured: all of SVG's scriptability is accessible through supported browsers! To make a GIF "live", for example, you must define a separate "map" file which relates pixels to actions; while this has taken us a long way, it's also led to whole generations of Web applications which were hard to maintain and erratic to use. SVG is a higher-level format, though, where it's natural to express, "if I move the mouse pointer into the interior of the combustion chamber, then pop-up a chart which shows ..." SVG images can complement and support textual reports which flow around them in a Web-based display, and, with the right scripting, the text and the picture can interact right before end-users' eyes, without having to return to the server.

These client-side capabilities have been implicit in SVG definitions and implementations for several years. They've also been incompletely documented. I plan to publish a couple of tutorials on the subject this winter, and look forward to a wealth of exciting new applications that will take advantage of client-side graphics scripting.


Later this week, I'll describe other uses of SVG, along with a few more general comments on the state of Web programming.

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