SVG Open

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I’m hanging out down in Mountain View for the SVG Open conference this weekend, to speak a bit on how we use and plan to use SVG at Wikimedia and to get up to date on the state of the art. I’ll post my full talk slides on Sunday after my talk…
One of the most exciting new developments in the SVG world right now is svgweb, a very cool tool which brings high-quality SVG rendering support — including full support for the SVG DOM and interactivity — to any browser that supports Flash. This essentially fills the “SVG gap” for most Internet Explorer users, which opens up a huge world of possibilities for both interactive content and tools for building, editing, and localizing SVG-based diagrams, charts, maps, etc right in the browser.
Google web standards evangelist Brad Neuberg gave a great talk about the background of how something like svgweb was needed and showed some great demos, including a quick preview of an inline SVG pan-and-zoom tool for Wikipedia / Wikimedia Commons; we’ll have some even funner demos based on that Sunday!
Also saw a good talk from Sam Ruby on some of the gotchas in the current state of HTML vs XHTML vs HTML5 and how SVG is (or isn’t) supported in various profiles and various browsers. Most interesting was his proposal to rethink how we deal with markup validators in the webdev world — right now most validators give you a lot of errors about things that don’t really make a difference (font vs style?), but freely ignore problematic but “legitimate” structures (say, unclosed list items).

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svgopen is for JavaScript, not flash?

Surely svgopen would never be needed if IE supported SVG natively?

We certainly all are giving the Microsoft guys the eye and encouraging them to implement native SVG in IE 9… 😉 In the meantime, tools like svgweb (as well as various other graphics libraries which support both SVG and IE’s VML as backends) make a lot of really cool stuff possible in the here and now.

Another exciting project in this area is svg-edit (, an SVG editor implemented entirely in HTML & Javascript. I hope that this can one day be added as an extension to MediaWiki, so that sketches and drawings can be added and edited directly on-wiki.

Yep… svg-edit currently has some limitations (gradients don’t seem to work right) and it’s not working in the svgweb adapter yet, but it’s being actively developed, so once those are fixed up it should become pretty easy to drop it in.
The main thing is to coordinate with the authoring tools (Inkscape devs are also interested) in making sure that their editors round-trip everyone’s files cleanly without breaking anything. 🙂