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Google To Host International SVG Conference

kdawson posted about 5 years ago | from the open-standards-rule dept.

Google 38

stelt writes "On Oct.2–4 Google will host the international conference on Scalable Vector Graphics at its campus in Mountain View, California. The SVG Open conference schedule shows developers and designers of various backgrounds. Major brands, open source projects, universities, and individuals are presenting on a variety of subjects like interactive scientific visualizations, mobile web animation art, internationalization and localization in print, geo-systems, etc. A couple of weeks back we discussed Google's adding SVG support to IE, and details of this project will be presented during the keynote 'SVG in Internet Explorer and at Google.'" Early-bird registration has already ended for this conference, but the pricing is not steep.

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QUICK... GIVE ME SOMETHING TO PRESENT! (2, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 5 years ago | (#29311153)

Workshop/Course Instructors and Keynote Speakers**** US$ 0.-

If I can become a keynote speaker I'll get in for free!

Really, about time. (1)

methano (519830) | about 5 years ago | (#29311325)

It's been somewhat amazing to me that an open standard for any kind of scalable vector graphics model on the web has taken so long to take off. The web has mostly been a graphical environment with bandwidth constraints. It seems a natural. I suspect a conspiracy.

Re:Really, about time. (4, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 5 years ago | (#29311521)

It's been somewhat amazing to me that an open standard for any kind of scalable vector graphics model on the web has taken so long to take off. The web has mostly been a graphical environment with bandwidth constraints. It seems a natural. I suspect a conspiracy.

SVG has been around for quite sometime. The first specifications were released in 2001, Every major browser except IE supports SVG out of the box. The biggest reason it has been slow in adoption is the lack of support in IE, which is mostly due to Microsoft's former stagnation between the releases of IE 6.0 and IE 7.

The concept of vector-based graphics wasn't so big in the early days of the Web mostly because computers, consumer desktops especially, were underpowered for display lots of complex vector graphics very quickly, as anyone who was using Corel Draw or even Illustrator in the early 90s can certainly attest to.

Nowadays, though PCs have plenty of horsepower to draw vector graphics quickly, so long you keep the number of nodes down. :)

Re:Really, about time. (2, Informative)

Canazza (1428553) | about 5 years ago | (#29311671)

IE 7+ use VML [wikipedia.org] which is almost identical in it's abilities to SVG. It's not trivial to write a content engine that gives SVG over VML for whatever browser that requires it, but it can be done with a bit of effort. It'd just be nice if MS played vall

Re:Really, about time. (1)

nielsm (1616577) | about 5 years ago | (#29311739)

I imagine it would also be possible to write some XSL to transform one to the other then.

No I don't know the details of either format.

Re:Really, about time. (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 5 years ago | (#29314979)

Yeah, that's a fairly common compatibility workaround, and it's fortunately encapsulated in a number of libraries (e.g. this one [raphaeljs.com] ), so the individual developer can often avoid having to know about SVGVML mapping issues.

Re:Really, about time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29317483)

No. Microsoft controls VML and will regress it and has regressed it to thwart any such effort to layer over it. SilverLight is Microsoft's future and VML is a ruse.

Flash is much better for implementing SVG. Adobe absolutely needs it to work. I can guarantee way over 100 times as many people care about flash working than VML.

Re:Really, about time. (2, Interesting)

ergo98 (9391) | about 5 years ago | (#29311745)

The biggest reason it has been slow in adoption is the lack of support in IE, which is mostly due to Microsoft's former stagnation between the releases of IE 6.0 and IE 7.

Microsoft was one of the original working partners of the SVG specification. They were in a position to support it at the outset, and even published an article about SVG [microsoft.com] in their premiere magazine. I remember going to a Microsoft conference back around 2000 and, when asked about the long-term viability of ActiveX, the Microsoft reps (who were actual developers and not just talking heads) spoke enthusiastically about how they were working with Corel (another SVG author) on a fabulous new vector graphics technology.. ..and then it got iced. If I had to guess at a reason, I would point to the ascension of internal "vector" technologies like XAML, and of course they already had VML.

Re:Really, about time. (1)

nmb3000 (741169) | about 5 years ago | (#29313129)

Every major browser except IE supports SVG out of the box.

That's an incredibly disingenuous statement. If you want to be accurate, you should say that "Every major browser except IE supports various subsets of SVG out of the box."

Looking at the SVG browser support page [wikipedia.org] , there is no major browser fully supports SVG -- they all only support parts of it. Even the partially supported features are not common across browsers.

SVG hasn't really materialized because it is not a fully supported standard feature in any major browser. However, like any feature, one reason it's not supported is that there just isn't that much demand for it (which I realize is a cyclic argument). 98% of websites can make do just fine using XML+HTML/CSS and Javascript. Pages that need additional functionality that could be supplied by SVG prefer to just use Flash as it is nearly ubiquitously supported and there are a myriad of developers available. The same cannot be said for SVG.

Adobe fucked it up for everyone too (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | about 5 years ago | (#29315051)

SVG has been around for quite sometime. The first specifications were released in 2001, Every major browser except IE supports SVG out of the box. The biggest reason it has been slow in adoption is the lack of support in IE, which is mostly due to Microsoft's former stagnation between the releases of IE 6.0 and IE 7.

This is all quite true. However, there was another big player that fucked SVG up for us all: Adobe. They made an SVG plugin, but promoted THEIR proprietary code for embedding it, so that even when sites did make SVG for IE with Adobe SVG, it wouldn't actually work in a browser that supported the standard methods.

There was some slight take-off of SVG back then. Might have gotten somewhere, if it wasn't for that bad implementation. It's still largely IE's fault, but I'm sure Adobe could have done better, had they tried.

Re:Really, about time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29317699)

I used Xara, and hence have no idea what you're talking about...

Re:Really, about time. (1)

cerebralpayne (96960) | about 5 years ago | (#29311607)

It bugs me that when printing or taking a screenshot of a web page with graphics that were originally vector-based but had to be converted to PNG, the coarseness of the graphics look awful next to the crispness of the text.

Re:Really, about time. (5, Interesting)

derGoldstein (1494129) | about 5 years ago | (#29311657)

You may want to look up previous postings on /. regarding SVG.

Here's a quick list:
1) The complete SVG standard is huge. While every modern browser "supports SVG", they really only support certain subsets, and these are not consistent between the different browsers.
2) You need development tools for designers in order for it to take off. Since Adobe bought Macromedia (and thus push Flash like crack), few companies have the manpower/skill to create a dynamic (animation-friendly) design/development environment targeted at web *designers*. You need SVG to be adopted by graphic designers, not just programmers.
3) Flash.
4) Flash.
5) Canvas is a much simpler and smaller standard, and it's much easier to implement. Browsers that integrate Canvas usually implement it in its entirety, and then they can place the "supports Canvas" sticker on their list of features. To do so with SVG would take too long and would require a lot more resources.

The path of least resistance is not SVG. It's a very promising standard, and programs like Inkscape have done wonders with it (and so has KDE), but in browser-land there are simpler solutions that are more widely supported.

Re:Really, about time. (1)

jeff_schiller (877821) | about 5 years ago | (#29312977)

You need development tools for designers

True. Same goes for Canvas.

few companies have the manpower/skill to create a dynamic (animation-friendly) design/development environment targeted at web *designers*

This is true - there are some IDEs but they are mostly targeted to SVG in the mobile space. This is looking like it's starting to change though.

Canvas is a much simpler and smaller standard

True. Another way of saying this is "SVG is more powerful" ;). See: DOM integration, event handling, linking, styling, fonts, filters. As with everything you have to pick the right technology for what you need.

Browsers that integrate Canvas usually implement it in its entirety"

Nope, see Canvas text API or talk to the Bespin guys.

Re:Really, about time. (1)

Metaphorically (841874) | about 5 years ago | (#29313733)

The path of least resistance is not SVG. It's a very promising standard, and programs like Inkscape have done wonders with it (and so has KDE), but in browser-land there are simpler solutions that are more widely supported.

So are you trying to say that it's easier to get IE to implement canvas? Or are you trying to say that it's not worth implementing the rest of SVG in the browsers that support it?

Yes, SVG needs to be in tools that target graphics designers, like Illustrator and Inkscape. And I guess, by your logic, those apps need to support canvas too.

Canvas is a simple API for drawing to a space on a web page. That definitely fills some needs. SVG fills some needs too. There is overlap. There's also overlap between plain text and html, nobody's saying we should get rid of one in favour of the other.

As for the size of the spec, that happens as a specification matures. Have you looked at the size of html5? SVG provides a lot of features, there are some common subsets that can be relied on today across numerous platforms. It would be nice if every implementation had all the features, but we can say the same thing about CSS or any number of other standards. Like an alpha channel in PNGs...

Re:Really, about time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29317023)

Huh? Canvas is just javascript code! It is totally designer unfriendly.

SVG has an understandable XML markup format and you can use Inkscape for a designer tool.
How is Canvas working on IE?

For SVG on IE, at least we have SVG Web: http://code.google.com/p/svgweb

Sure it needs to mature a bit more but SVG Web will work fine for 90% of what you want to do.

Re:Really, about time. (1)

Disco Hips (920480) | about 5 years ago | (#29325959)

perhaps Ian Hickson needs to write an SVG based AcidTest.

there is some SVG in ACID 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29339545)

There is some SVG in ACID 3

Re:Really, about time. (1)

MaraDNS (1629201) | about 5 years ago | (#29311665)

Oh, I don't think there's any conspiracy.

I think it's more a matter of Flash being good enough for most web designers for that kind of content. The nice thing about flash, from the point of view of many web designers, is that it is consistently implemented across platforms; a flash animation will always look exactly the same in Internet Explorer (even IE6), Firefox, Safari, and whatever else supports the Flash plugin. It's possible to stream videos with Flash; it's not possible to stream videos with SVG. The scripting in Flash is good enough to implement full video games.

While SVG, the proposed Video HTML tag, and ECMA script can, in theory, do all this, there is the practical issue that most people using the web do not have SVG. And, Flash supports more features. Is there even a cross-browser way to script "make this full screen"? Yes, this will eventually change, but web designers have to design to today's web browsers in use, not to web browsers that might or might not be in use five years from now.

By the time SVG + ECMA script + Video tag will let someone make a YouTube or an interactive video game without using Flash, Flash will probably have advanced to the point of being able to run real-time 3d video games, and the video codecs Flash will support at that time will probably be able to give real time HD video in a fraction of the bandwidth the open HTML video tag will be able to.

It's a shame in-browser Java applets never caught on the way flash did. It's a more open standard and has a lot more flexibility.

Re:Really, about time. (1)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#29311675)

It's a conspiracy of the many. People see the word 'vector' and respond 'durrrrrr-what?'.

Re:Really, about time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29311813)

The major problem is that it is not supported by IE. No matter how much you hate IE it still has the majority market share. A designer cannot create any required elements in a format that is not supported by the majority of the audience.

I conspiracy makes good news, but I think that it is more likely a by-product of MS's arrogant view that anything that they do is automatically the "standard". The resurgence of the browser wars, non-MS mobile devices, and more interest in Apple/Linux has started to make them consider outside standards (at least as long as it serves their purposes). Hopefully SVG will be one of outside standards that they support without trying to hijack

Google has the right idea to try to add support on IE and raise awareness of SVG among developers.

Re:Really, about time. (1)

clampolo (1159617) | about 5 years ago | (#29317401)

A designer cannot create any required elements in a format that is not supported by the majority of the audience

I take a different approach. If I see that someone isn't using IE, I send them nice crisp SVG images. If they have IE, then I send them the larger and crappier looking PNG images. My hope is that enough people notice how they get pixelated and smeared images that take a long time to load, compared to people with a real browser who get nice images that download quickly.

SVG and WebGL??? (2, Interesting)

whatajoke (1625715) | about 5 years ago | (#29311583)

SVG is a stateful 2D scenegraph API while WebGL is (mostly) stateless 3D API. So are we going to see SVG obsolete a few years from now, when devs start coding their own scenegraph frameworks in javascript using WebGL? I personally am biased towards WebGL due to its Opengl ES 2.0 roots.

Re:SVG and WebGL??? (1)

KibibyteBrain (1455987) | about 5 years ago | (#29312131)

In the web development world, it can take quite a long time for something to go from being "useless" to "obsolete". Even with that wishful thinking that WebGL will be viable for this a few years from now, its unlikely all the tools and workflows that now happily play with SVG will move over instantly, and even less likely that the type of devs out there[and many of them] that still haven't moved over to common sense web workflows of the past decade like proper use of CSS are going to be motivated to use WebGL any time soon, either.

Re:SVG and WebGL??? (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | about 5 years ago | (#29312347)

In the web development world, it can take quite a long time for something to go from being "useless" to "obsolete".

Like Internet Explorer 6?

Re:SVG and WebGL??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29312429)

You're missing a big thing though. 2-D graphics are relatively easy to create, compared to 3-D (truly 3-D) graphics. That's why EA has so many people working on games. I expect that we'll continue to see the web as a very 2-D environment, and so the demand for extra capabilities of WebGL will be much smaller.

Re:SVG and WebGL??? (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | about 5 years ago | (#29319515)

If SVG doesn't have the things what Flash designers have and use, it will stay as underdog. It is same for WebGL.

Just think about how Flash gained its position today, it is like parallel anti universe to SVG. Also, do you think MS will include anything related to OpenGL on IE/Windows? Macromedia/Adobe really know who they deal with so they keep Flash tight, 1.4 MB thing, they even count numbers like 10-30 KB (H264 wasn't included for that reason).

If WebGL or SVG ends up being same size and easy install like Flash, they have chance. See, Google guys made SVG functioning inside MS IE, just with Javascript. What did they get in return? "eww, Javascript", check the slashdot story comments if you don't believe me.

SVG and WebGL must become general technologies, open to any kind of usage, even "dancing bears" type of stuff. That is the real World and you get success that way. As a real smart phone user, I know OpenGL ES but OpenGL ES didn't get traction until iPhone came with it. You know how great SE P1i etc. class smart phones support the older version right? I could see it after 6-7 months, in a benchmark :) Nothing else. Thanks to Developer tools or Apple or just fashion, it became a generic technology on iPhone now.

Microsoft won't do it themselves (3, Interesting)

Orne (144925) | about 5 years ago | (#29312059)

I'm seeing a few posts here complaining that Microsoft won't implement the SVG 1.1 [w3.org] standard in Internet Explorer.

I would argue that as long as Microsoft continues to push Silverlight (which is just browser-safe WPF) as their form of a vector graphics applet for their web browser, any alternative approach within MS is going to stagnate. Silverlight is their attempt to build a Flash-alternative with a SVG programming framework, which is (to Microsoft) a "best" of both worlds. To the rest of us coming from the WinForms world, it's a so-so product that's really awkward to use. I known that MS is pushing Expression Blend as an alternative to Adobe CS3's UI, but really, why didn't they just integrate it into Visual Studio for native editing instead of all this back-and-forth multiwindow crap.

For example, SVG Shapes [w3.org] vs WPF Shapes [microsoft.com] . It's no accident that the syntax is almost exact. But why would Microsoft embrace SVG directly, with its Javascript code triggers, when they can go the Silverlight route with .Net triggers.. it's basic product bundling, to get you to use Microsoft's approach to everything.

Re:Microsoft won't do it themselves (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29312493)

But Microsoft have been forced into u-turns before - witness IE7. Google and Mozilla and Opera and Apple and everyone else just need to get a little inertia behind this like they did with improved web browsers and standards compliance.

Re:Microsoft won't do it themselves (1)

krygny (473134) | about 5 years ago | (#29312777)

... "it's basic product bundling, to get you to use Microsoft's approach to everything."

How innovative.

Re:Microsoft won't do it themselves (1)

Hortensia Patel (101296) | about 5 years ago | (#29316763)

as long as Microsoft continues to push Silverlight ... any alternative approach within MS is going to stagnate

Yes and no. MS clearly have no strategic interest in encouraging SVG. But I doubt there's all that much overlap between the Silverlight and IE teams, and I'm sure that a lot of the IE guys are decent enough engineers to be embarrassed about their product's foot-dragging. So far, MS have been able to keep SVG off the mainstream Web by refusing to support it. If Google's SVG-on-Flash takes off, and they switch Maps etc to it, this will no longer be the case. People will be using SVG, and will be able to see that their friends with FF/Chrome/Safari/Opera are having a better time with it than they are.

The best chance I can see of IE getting solid, native SVG support soon would be if they switch to using WebKit as their primary rendering engine, with Trident relegated to a compatibility mode. Yes, it sounds implausible. But:

  • Apple did it. And have been doing it long enough to have flushed out any lurking patent trolls.
  • IE isn't the strategic weapon it used to be; standards-compliance is pretty good and improving, and you don't see significant IE-only sites on the public internet these days. If it's not locking end-users into the Windows client, and it's not bringing in any revenue, why keep throwing dev resource at it?
  • Some bits of Microsoft - don't ever think that any organization that big is monolithic - have been quietly getting a clue of late. I was stunned when they announced they'd be shipping and supporting jQuery with Visual Studio [asp.net] . Seriously, jaw-on-the-floor stunned.

There were rumours along these lines soon after IE8 shipped. I suspect they were largely wishful thinking, but it does make a lot of sense.

Evil (2, Funny)

ajs (35943) | about 5 years ago | (#29314239)

Every other story about Google this week has been filled with responses about how evil they are, but we fall down on this one?!

This is Google pushing a vector format. Vectors, people! Do you not remember vector diagrams from college physics? Imagine the horror that Google could unleash on the public with this technology! Imagine the hours upon hours of boring lectures! Just... look at the bones!

Beyond web browsers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29314513)

It's sad everybody is thinking about SVG in the confines of a web browser. Why can we only get a standardized, powerful 2D vector animation API along with the limitations of HTTP and Javascript?

The SVG scene model is a perfect candidate for a windowing system (like X11) of the future, fully scalable, themable, supporting all kinds of transformations for fancy window managers and light on bandwidth.

But sadly everybody thinks about SVG in terms of webapps or displaying icons, as opposed to native applications that mutate the scene graph in real-time.

Re:Beyond web browsers (1)

spitzak (4019) | about 5 years ago | (#29317071)

Take a look at cairo

Re:Beyond web browsers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29318017)

Cairo doesn't pass the "real-time" requirement. It's great for generating high quality still images and printing, but not high performance animations.
I'd argue the latter is more important for a windowing system.

Don't care that its open source... (1)

tengeta (1594989) | about 5 years ago | (#29316481)

I'm not changing how I do things because Google promotes it. Stop acting like its the open revolution and people hate it just because they support Microsoft, because that has nothing to do with it. SVG and Silverlight have failed equally up to this point in terms of adoption and support.

Re:Don't care that its open source... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29317221)

It is not just promotion. It is thousands of lines of javascript and actionscript to make SVG work on IE.

It's brilliant technology, not a marketing ploy:
http://code.google.com/p/svgweb

Poor Opera really (4, Informative)

Ilgaz (86384) | about 5 years ago | (#29319447)

I see Opera, still a small company compared to others have sponsored the event and they are one of the earliest ones to support SVG inside browser.

Result? Not even mentioned in scoop. No matter what they do, what they invent, they never get mentioned anyway.

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