A few questions about the SVG graphics format.
March 9, 2004 7:51 AM   Subscribe

A few questions about the SVG graphics format... [MI]

I loathe flash for reasons too numerous to mention, so when someone pointed me to SVG it grabbed my attention pretty hard. Scalable Vector Graphics, movement and control of shapes... it's wonderful sounding stuff...

Question is, has anyone used it in anger? Is it any good? Does it look like it has the potential to take off?

If you do know SVG, what editor do you use and can you recommend a decent manual/tutorial? I can find some, but wanted your opinions on what's helped you.
I confidently predict this question will get no more than 5 replies. ;)
posted by twine42 to Media & Arts (5 answers total)
I'm not sure why you loathe flash so much, but I suppose that's another thread.

SVG was pushed pretty hard by Adobe a 3-4 years back, they were pushing an alternative plugin to Flash. I think we can pretty definitely say this was hopeless when it started, but Adobe is still chugging along. SVG also apparently plays well with java applets and applications, but that comes with it's own set of woes. In either case, I think it's safe to say it's bad idea to use this on public web sites, unless you really want most of users to have to install a new plug-in.

I also think, given how little it's grown since it launched several years ago, it's a good bet it's not going to "take off". Which isn't to say there isn't a niche in might find (mobile apps maybe?).

Personally, I haven't used SVG since the betas from Adbove, so I can only compare to that. From a coders perspective, I found the javascript + XML scripting to be extroidinarily clunky. Esp. when compared with the latest Flash incarnation with Actionscript 2.0 (based off the latest ECMAScript, and almost a true OOP language).
posted by malphigian at 8:46 AM on March 9, 2004

Um, Abdove is supposed to say Adobe -- keyboard seizure there.
posted by malphigian at 8:47 AM on March 9, 2004

I've diddled around with it, mostly because I was attracted by its XML-ness, but I came away less than impressed.

Flash already covers everything it can do in a web context, but allows greater interactivity when you need it and has a greater installed base. Interchange format, then? But we already have PDF and XSL::FO for that. These guys seem to think it'd make a good desktop format, but that sounds like wishful thinking: don't see what's so compelling about it that would make anybody abandon Quartz, GDI, XRender etc.

So I don't really see the niche that it can usefully fill.
posted by ook at 9:44 AM on March 9, 2004

The most infuriating aspect of SVG is that a text element can take up only one line. There's no facility to tell the rendering agent, "give me a text block 5cm wide, and wrap the following words to fit." No word wrap at all; you have to do it manually. Even Microsoft's VML is better in that respect.
posted by profwhat at 11:26 AM on March 9, 2004

I haven't done any svg where it was shown directly to the user, just as an internal format rendered as a regular image (using SVG# for .net / Batik for Java, to serialize to gif/jpeg).

If you're familiar with xslt it's easy enough to get some database table as xml, and then to xslt the data to SVG. It'd be my first choice for generating static images, but not animation or something interactive.

ook: I think SVG icons are the niche, and with vectors for icons/text, we just need screen units and we've got a resolution independent desktop.
posted by holloway at 1:42 AM on March 10, 2004

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