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dSVG - A New Kind of Programming?

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the soliciting-your-thoughts dept.

Programming 184

Gord Bowman writes "For anyone familiar with XML and, specifically, with SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), you may be aware that SVG is increasingly being used for the creation of data-driven Web applications. But everyone has been doing so by handcoding script and/or XSLT, without the benefit of an IDE to help. Seeing such a need for a tool, my company (Corel) set about creating one." and 'lo, dSVG was born. Gord Bowman is the lead developer of dSVG and would like you to take a look at the dSVG specs (you can find the link, in the full article) and offer your comments.

"It quickly became apparent that while getting a grasp of XSLT is difficult and time-consuming, even more time-consuming was all the scripting it took to create the level of interactivity required on the client via script. Thus we set about creating a library of generic script functions that would assist developers in creating their Web apps. But it didn't take long to realize that this was no good--you can't data-map and transform (via XSLT) functions like you can markup. And, unlike markup, it's much more difficult to auto-generate and customize script via an authoring tool. So I set about designing an XML markup language, implemented with script (so as to work in any SVG viewer), which would describe UI controls and behaviours, so as to facilitate the creation of SVG-based Web applications.

It was a programmer's dream. I was essentially being paid to develop a new kind of programming language. One that, like XSLT, is XML-based but is more procedural in nature and thus easier for the average developer to grasp. It's also easier for non-developers to grasp it, thus bringing SVG and application development to a whole new class of user. A year later, dSVG (Dynamic SVG) was unveiled to the public as part of the Corel Smart Graphics Studio. And as of yesterday, the full dSVG 1.1 Specification and Test Suite became available for download.

The UI controls were designed to allow complete customization of appearance, and to allow for use with forms without being tied to a forms-specific model. The behaviors were designed to be generic and higher level than DOM methods, so as to be more intuitive to non-developers. The resulting markup language allows data-driven Web applications to be created with little or no need for scripting.

While script is very useful and powerful, markup has many advantages:

- markup is more easily understood by non-developers
- markup can be easily data-mapped and transformed using XSLT
- markup can be easily generated via an authoring tool and customized by the author
- markup is semantically meaningful, promoting interoperability on the authoring side
- markup can be standardized, thus helping the adoption of SVG

dSVG was implemented with script so as to work in different SVG Viewers. However, Corel has proposed dSVG to the SVG Working Group in the hopes that through a collaborative effort, dSVG will lead to the eventual creation of standard markup for UI controls and behaviors. These could then be natively implemented, bringing about even more advantages:

- faster
- less data to transfer
- less need for a script engine on small devices (which can take up a significant part of the footprint)

The dSVG 1.1 spec and test suite was posted for download with the goal of allowing the developers and non-developers to experiment with the markup and to provide feedback. This feedback will help me to improve upon dSVG and will also help the SVG Working Group to better assess how the developer community feels about such standard markup being added to the spec for the purpose of developing SVG-based Web applications.

I hope you will take the time to read through the dSVG spec, try out the test suite, and perhaps even create some of your own content. As the creator, I am obviously passionate and excited about dSVG. And having seen how quickly even non-developers can create Web apps, I feel certain that XML-based programming makes sense and is the way of the future. But being a long-time reader of Slashdot, I would love to hear what the Slashdot community thinks. dSVG may not lead to world peace, but I think it has the potential to change the fundamental way in which Web applications are created.

I look forward to hearing your comments.

Sincerely,

Gord Bowman
Lead Developer, Corel Corporation"

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Let's wait and see (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479236)

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Yahooo Aishwarya Rai (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479350)

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Re:Yahooo Aishwarya Rai (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479944)

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OK. Bend over.

frost pist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479237)

biznatch

GNAA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479241)

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Re:GNAA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479250)

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Sounds great... (4, Insightful)

Tet (2721) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479255)

...now all we need are some browsers with native SVG support. With the Mozilla SVG [mozilla.org] project still seemingly no closer to delivering a shippable release, and no hope whatsoever of MS releasing an SVG enabled IE, looks like we're stuck with the Adobe plugin for now. Until we get past that, I doubt SVG will enter the mainstream (more's the pity).

Re:Sounds great... (3, Funny)

fryguybob (443423) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479315)

Yeah, once we get SVG browser support we can look forward to SVG banner ads.

Sigh (1)

jefu (53450) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479565)

Ah, someone as cynical as me.

Still, I think SVG is likely to be a sufficiently valuable addition to browsers that it is worth pushing for.

Re:Sounds great...Less filling. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479337)

This sadly is unfortunately true. I have to do some of my SVG development using IE, and the Adobe SVG plugin (which hasn't been updated BTW). X-Smiles isn't really a browser in the sense Mozilla and IE is. All the rest is either outdated, or beta/alpha. Amaya with OpenGL has issues with my libraries. This overall is a sad state of affairs for something that's suppose to be a standard.

Re:Sounds great... (3, Interesting)

bwt (68845) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479388)

I agree completely that browsers need to support SVG, and until this is more advanced, tools like the one in this article are getting ahead of things (not that that's necessarily bad). People should vote for Mozilla bug 122092: "Enable SVG support". Ultimately, this needs to be done without plugins -- its really just another image format.

The Konqueror browser seems to have a push to get SVG going too: KSVG [kde.org] , but it has a way to go ("Release 0.1 pending").

There are a good set of SVG resources [protocol7.com] for Linux. The Apache Jakarta projects java SVG viewer, Batik is probably the farthest along.

Re:Sounds great... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479558)

People should vote for Mozilla bug 122092: "Enable SVG support"

Voting doesn't write code. Writing code writes code. You can vote for it all you want, but if nobody writes it it won't make a difference.

On the other side, if you write the code for it, and give it to Mozilla, then nobody will need to vote for it.

Re:Sounds great... (1)

smallpaul (65919) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480321)

I agree completely that browsers need to support SVG, and until this is more advanced, tools like the one in this article are getting ahead of things

According to this logic, Adobe is getting ahead of themselves making products that generate PDF until the browsers natively support PDF. PDF is handled by a plugin. SVG is handled by a plugin. They plugins come from the same company. So why is native browser support a necessary condition for SVG's success?

That said, there are some advanced features that can be only accomplished if SVG is native in the browser but that is necessary for it to become more important to the Web than PDF or Flash. But merely to be in the same league a plugin is fine.

Ultimately, this needs to be done without plugins -- its really just another image format.

Uhhh...no it isn't. SVG is designed to be much, much more than just another image format. For instance it can be the basis for fonts. It has full multimedia sequencing. It can be used as a page description language in printers. But most important: it is designed to be integrated with XHTML so that you authors can seamlessly move back and forth between XHTML, SVG, SMIL, XLink, XForms etc. It is a key part of the next generation of browser and not just another file format (once we get beyond the plugin stage). More here. [xml.com]

Corel also has a viewer. (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479535)

Goto Adobe's svg demo site with corel's plugin and it tells you you need adobe's. Goto Corel's svg demo site with Adobe installed and it tells you that you need Corel's.

THAT is SCOpyrighted! (-1)

rapevictim (557748) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479267)

Please pay $5000 for our Extor^H^H^Hcre^H^H^HImdemity protection LIEsence

Re:THAT is SCOpyrighted! (0)

Dr_Banzai (111657) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479286)

MOD THIS ONE UP +5 FUNNY

GNAA Early Post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479269)

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Anybody find the requisite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479275)

...screenshots link?

Goodbye RFC, hello Slashdot (4, Interesting)

Psychic Burrito (611532) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479292)

Shouldn't new standards be introduced using RFCs? I'm not sure if it's a good trend when they are presented first on Slashdot...

Re:Goodbye RFC, hello Slashdot (0, Troll)

sirdude (578412) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479351)

SVG is still a standard? :o I thought that it lost the battle, war, and it's ability to procreate to SWF... Has anyone actually come across anything that is SVG based? In fact, I wonder how many people here actually knew what SVG was before reading this article...

More groundbreaking news might be the impending release of Macromedia Flash 7 a.k.a Macromedia Flash 2004 a.k.a Matador (for designers) and Toreador (for developers). The beta is out! Check this french translation for some info [google.com] and this [iprimus.com.au] for the screenshot.

Have a good one...

Goodbye RFC, hello Slashdot-Full crew. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479551)

"SVG is still a standard? :o I thought that it lost the battle, war, and it's ability to procreate to SWF... Has anyone actually come across anything that is SVG based? In fact, I wonder how many people here actually knew what SVG was before reading this article..."

Before you get on your Macromedia Flash bandwagon. You might want to look at who was part of the working group.

Re:Goodbye RFC, hello Slashdot (1)

OmniVector (569062) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479358)

this is just a library ontop of the already existing RFC specifications. This is more or less a platform to create SVG images easier.

Re:Goodbye RFC, hello Slashdot (4, Informative)

Homology (639438) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479389)

Shouldn't new standards be introduced using RFCs?

Well, from download [corel.com] page we have :

This file contains the proposal submitted to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) SVG Working Group to enhance SVG's support of enterprise application development for dynamic interfaces

along with an EULA whose length put even the MS one to shame.

However, I can't download the proposal without first agreeing to the EULA, so good riddance. If I was sufficiently interested I probably could look it up at W3C site.

Re:Goodbye RFC, hello Slashdot (4, Informative)

Gord Bowman (689736) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479399)

dSVG is NOT a spec being proposed by the W3C. It's something we came up with ourselves for our product, and then proposed to the SVG Working Group. The concept of having "standard" markup for UI controls has been around a long time, but it hasn't happened yet. Maybe we're not asking enough people if it's what they really want or not. And if we want it, does it belong in SVG or should it be something larger and more generic in its own spec? And the idea of using XML for procedural programming is pretty new, I think. At least I had never found another example of it. Maybe someone else knows of one though. Regardless, I strongly believe in asking communities what they want rather than telling them what they want, and I also strongly believe in getting ideas and constructive feedback from people outside of the SVG-world. I couldn't think of a better forum than Slashdot to solicit that type of feedback.

Any patents involved? (3, Insightful)

Homology (639438) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479506)

dSVG is NOT a spec being proposed by the W3C. It's something we came up with ourselves for our product, and then proposed to the SVG Working Group.

Since this appear to be a product by a comercial company, it sort of begs the questions : Is any patents filed relating to this, or is any existing patent involved? This includes any technology necessary to implement dSVG.

I apologize if I appear impolite, but I'm getting cynical as I age.

Re:Goodbye RFC, hello Slashdot (1)

Luguber123 (203502) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479578)

XML-RPC sounds pretty procedural to me.
http://www.xmlrpc.com/
I know this from PHP, my favorite scripting language so far.

Re:Goodbye RFC, hello Slashdot (1)

Gord Bowman (689736) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479602)

Thanks! I'll look into that one.

Re:Goodbye RFC, hello Slashdot (3, Interesting)

russcoon (34224) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480183)

Gord,

Using XML for procedural programing isn't new. ANT comes to mind. Unfortunantly it turns out it's a really crappy language to program in (overly verbose, etc...). It does, however, make a decent glue language for putting down the declarative portions of a GUI.

As for the usage of XML-ish markup to define widgets, that's also not really very new. XUL, GLADE, netWindows (my project) all come to mind. The problem is tying them to data and programatic constructs. It's nice to see you're taking a similar tack with your wiget set as we are, however I tend to think that the minute you start writing standards around your toolkit, you only decrease your room to improve in the future. The community, i hate to say it, really doesn't know what they want which is why innovation is so powerful. It takes independent thought and originality to come up with someone else's old hat, and it seems you have that in spades. The trick is to not imagine that the community at large is imbued with the same qualities. The world at large doesn't care. You have to reach people with a need for what you want to do. The are the only ones that really matter.

A small dev team of people that grok what you're talking about and are interested in assisting you in making things better is usually going to yeild significantly better results than throwing something to the winding and seeing what takes off. In the worst case, you've satisfied the needs of the people that have needs in the first place, which isn't a bad place to be (although it can surely be obscure).

Anyway, I'd like to talk with you more about your toolkit. Your email addr isn't in your profile, so you can reach me at alex@netWidows.org.

Regards.

Don't phone 1-800-759-0700 (-1)

rapevictim (557748) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479297)

You will get put through to some religous zealots! The GNAA is run by some roadrunner user on his Windows XP box running Xchat.

Windows only? (2, Interesting)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479307)

Okay, so when are the Mac OS X and Linux versions due out? This is a pretty amusing situation - a development studio/language for something that isn't viewable without a plugin on its only supported OS?

Re:Windows only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479341)

Corel == Microsoft
So forget about this.

Re:Windows only? (2, Informative)

Gord Bowman (689736) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479462)

The final output runs in any standard SVG viewer, and some of them run on Mac and Linux (although not Corel's SVG Viewer yet, but only because we're concentrating on finishing up implementing the full SVG spec first). But yeah, CSGS is currently a Windows only product, and again, just because of limited resources right now--if there's enough of a market for selling CSGS for other platforms, I'm sure that would speed up our supporting them. If you would actually buy it if only it supported Linux or Max, please tell me!

Re:Windows only? (3, Insightful)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479516)

Personally, I would not buy the product no matter what platform it runs on because of the (sad) state of SVG support in the browser market, and the foreseen SVG support in the coming years. With IE not being updated for the next 2 years, only Mozilla, Opera, & KHTML variants will be likely to have any decent SVG support anytime soon, and even that is just a possibility, and hardly a foregone conclusion. Your product may be the greatest thing for SVG that has come along (not that that would be saying much, considering), but SVG support, for all _practical_ considerations, is nearly non-existent in browsers, and as a percentage of the surfing public goes, will remain so for years to come. Your product seems like a solution waiting for a market to develop. I don't think that market is GOING to develop for another 2 years, at the soonest. We'll have to wait and see if Microsoft deigns to include usable SVG support in the Longhorn-generation of IE, or whether they cripple & abandon it like they did PNG support. If the latter is the case, then your product may never be useful enough for Corel to continue to support unless Mozilla/Opera/KHTML-based browsers actually start taking significant browser marketshare away from IE.

Good luck on what seems like a fun project, though. Some people will certainly find this product useful, but whether it's enough of a customer base to continue development on is a big guess. Risk big, win big, though!

Re:Windows only? (2, Insightful)

smallpaul (65919) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480248)

Personally, I would not buy the product no matter what platform it runs on because of the (sad) state of SVG support in the browser market, and the foreseen SVG support in the coming years. With IE not being updated for the next 2 years, only Mozilla, Opera, & KHTML variants will be likely to have any decent SVG support anytime soon, and even that is just a possibility, and hardly a foregone conclusion. Your product may be the greatest thing for SVG that has come along (not that that would be saying much, considering), but SVG support, for all _practical_ considerations, is nearly non-existent in browsers, and as a percentage of the surfing public goes, will remain so for years to come

PDF support is quite literally missing from all browsers and yet PDF is quite successful. This is not just an idle analogy. Adobe is the vendor of the leading SVG viewer and they know better than anybody how to make a plugin work. One way is to bundle the SVG plugin with the Acrobat plugin which most people need to download anyhow. Adobe has done that before and probably will again in the future. If, in the next few years, SVG is "only" as successful as PDF I will be quite happy myself. So all of the doom and gloom is certainly not warranted.

If the latter is the case, then your product may never be useful enough for Corel to continue to support unless Mozilla/Opera/KHTML-based browsers actually start taking significant browser marketshare away from IE.

SmartGraphics Studio is for businesses. They can deploy the SVG viewer to every desktop in their system merely by adding it to their standard install. They don't need Microsoft to bless it any more than they need Microsoft to bless PDF/Acrobat.

Re:Windows only? (3, Interesting)

appleLaserWriter (91994) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479622)

Mr Bowman,

I represent a growing provider of diverse Internet services. We have determined that the Linux platform is by far the most cost effective platform for new projects. Because we have selected Linux as the standard server platform, we find that Apple's Unix-based OS X platform is ideal for desktop use by designers and engineers who produce our new projects. Although we consider tools that require the Windows platform, we are most seriously interested in products that support OS X or Linux. In our experience, many other growing internet ventures hold a similar opinion.

Re:Windows only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6480097)

Well, I can't tell yet if I would buy it, just a little disappointed not to see it on Linux, I run Linux and like to stay there, this also goes for trying a trial.

But I can understand your motivation, such product in the current market wouldn't stand a chance if it was for Linux only, so when you don't have the resources for both, Windows is sadly the way to go.

Re:Windows only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6480059)

ACK!

- I thought: cool
- I went to the site
- I thought: cool, a PDF with all specs
- I read the bottom of the PDF: ARGH, Windows Only

No trial for me :(

Join the GNAA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479311)

Did you know that the GNAA now has its own TOLL FREE number?

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You can also join the official GNAA irc channel #GNAA on irc.slashnet.org, and apply for membership.
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Examples, Applications ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479312)

Sounds unique, thus quite interesting.
Are there any existing examples, any customers who have implemented production-quality web apps in this way?

Cool stuff.

Re:Examples, Applications ? (5, Informative)

Gord Bowman (689736) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479338)

You can find some demo apps at www.corel.com/smartgraphics/resources. As for apps created by customers, I don't know.

Holy legaleze Batman! (5, Insightful)

PDHoss (141657) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479313)

Can someone summarize if I am going to get 20-to-life and a cellblock husband if I download the spec?

Jeez, how many paragraphs into the legal requirements do you have to be before you realize that ain't reeeeeal conducive to getting people to beta/bug track/improve your product for free?

PDHoss

Re:Holy legaleze Batman! (2)

Gord Bowman (689736) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479432)

Yeah, I know... lawyers. What can you do. I'm not looking for beta testers though--I'm more interested in what you all think from more of a philosophical perspective. Does programming via markup make sense? Might this sort of thing grow into a real, honest-to-God, full-featured programming language one day? Is the fundamental design sound? That sort of thing.

Re:Holy legaleze Batman! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479497)


What can you do.

The GNU revolution is in after mode, how about

rm -rf /lawyers

Re:Holy legaleze Batman! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479548)

I'm not trolling, I'm serious.

Gordon Bowman wrote:
Might this sort of thing grow into a real, honest-to-God, full-featured programming language one day? Is the fundamental design sound? That sort of thing.

I'm sorry to break this here on slashdot, but if you are so alone at Corel that you don't even have any (qualified) collegues to discuss design matters with, but post them to slashdot of all places to get well thought answers - maybe especially after such legal mumbo-jumbo, you should have a serious talk with your boss?

Slashdot isn't the place to get design help for proprietary software. Either you GPL it and you can get lots of help from the community, or you stay proprietary and you get what you pay for.

Re:Holy legaleze Batman! (1)

nostriluu (138310) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480075)

I don't agree with you (whoever you are) at all. Nowhere in "news for nerds, stuff that matters" do I see anything about GPL, and in fact many of the attitudes expressed here are ambivilant or against GPL philosophy.

Personally I think it would be nice if the slashdot community would align itself more with the GPL philosophy because it is one of the more interesting things going on in the world right now, but criticism is helpful too.

Anyway, I think it is great that the author opened himself up to the community's comments, it's not like he could patent all the ideas afterward.

A License To Be Proud Of (1)

jefu (53450) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480314)

(Or should that be "A License of which one could be proud")

Every so often I look at these things closely to see what amusements lie therein. This one has some fun bits. Some of these seem to stem from an attempt to build a license for every possible product and combination of products - thus in this single license you're agreeing to licenses for Clip Art, iGrafx (or IGRAFX - possibly a different product, who knows), Trellix, some SDK and in every country possible. So, here are a couple excerpts from the license that I found amusing....

YOU MAY: (i) install and use one (1) copy of the Product on a Computer up to the Permitted Number of Computers. You may also make and use a second copy of the Product on a home or portable computer provided that copy is never loaded in the RAM of the home or portable computer at the same time it is loaded in the RAM of the primary computer;
What if the OS keeps things loaded till the memory is claimed by another process?
And the "a Computer up to the Permitted Number of Computers" makes me believe that lawyers are indeed talking a different language entirely. (Leaving aside the Capitalization, of course.)

There is a whole paragraph on GIF licensing from Unisys. Did that patent expire or not?

In reference to clip-art images :
The image shall ... not be made available for downloading separately or in a format designed or intended for permanent storage or re-use by others;
Like jpeg?

You may only download, install and/or Use the Product if: (i) you are not a citizen, national or resident of, and are not under the control of, the government of: Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Serbia, Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan,
Does that mean that there are Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan? I thought the shrubbery and the rummy had forbidden that.
And isn't the government of Iran now the group that the US put in place?

If you are a business in Germany or Austria, the courts of the Province of Ontario, Canada shall have exclusive jurisdiction over any matter arising hereunder.
Not the courts of Germany or Austria? Interesting idea that. And who has jurisdiction if you live in (say) Belgium?

You agree that this Agreement and all documents contemplated hereby be drawn up in English. Vous consentez à ce que cette entente et tous autres documents envisagés par les présentes soient rédigés en anglais.
You must admit that saying that all the documents be drawn up in English and then saying the same thing in French is just a bit self-contradictory.
But I also quite like the "All documents contemplated hereby". Does that include this slashdot posting?

Several paragraphs are in ALL CAPS. Does the case of a character imbue in it Special Significance?

Future possibilities for improvements (5, Informative)

Gord Bowman (689736) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479323)

Wow, this actually got posted. Cool. Let me first say that the dSVG 1.1 spec is still evolving. There's lots of room for improvements. For instance, there's an 'if' element, but no 'elseif' or 'else' elements yet. Those are obviously needed. I originally thought that a DTD could not (or should not) define an element as being dependent upon a sibling, but after talking with some XML experts at the SVG Open conference in Vancouver this past week, I see now that I was wrong. Another needed feature is some kind of a fallThrough="true|false" attribute for the 'case' elements within a 'switch' element--mimicking the 'break' statement but in a more XML-ish way.

One huge area for improvements is in the design of the skins. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I now see that it has limitations both for performance and for the creation of custom UI controls. More on that in a separate comment...

The fact that dSVG is implemented with script is, for now, a good thing because it allows us to make changes to the spec without the viewer, since the implementation gets passed along with the content. And for previously written content, the Corel Smart Graphics Studio (CGSG) IDE will automatically convert from the old version of dSVG to the new version (via XSLT).

I have a big list of ideas for improvements, but it's back at home and I'm still in Vancouver for a few more days attending meeting (so I apologize in advance if I am not always responding in a prompt manner). I'm really interested to see what other developers think of the spec thus far and how it could be improved.

Can you please post the spec by itself? (3, Insightful)

tmoertel (38456) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479411)

I am interested in reviewing the spec, but it's presently tied to the test-suite software, which is locked away behind a long, complicated, and scary-looking license agreement that I'm not comfortable agreeing to. Could you please provide a link to just the spec?

Since you have already submitted the spec to the W3C SVG WG, it's already public knowledge, and there's no reason to hide it behind legalese, right? Can't you just provide a link straight to it?

I'm sure a lot of other people are more interested in the spec than anything else. If you want them (and me) to take a look at dSVG, please make the spec available by itself.

Thanks!

Re:Can you please post the spec by itself? (5, Informative)

Gord Bowman (689736) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479490)

Hmm. That's a good idea. It's actually my fault, really. They asked me if I could post just the spec and I said that the spec currently linked to the slides in the test suite and that I thought most people would like to actually play around with it. So they said, okay, but we'll need a EULA then. And I said, okay, and then went off to my SVG Open conference. So yes, I'll look into just posting the spec without all that legaleze stuff. It's the weekend, though, so I doubt it would happen until Monday.

Re:Can you please post the spec by itself? (2, Interesting)

tmoertel (38456) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479589)

So yes, I'll look into just posting the spec without all that legaleze stuff.
Excellent! Thanks for being cool about this.
It's the weekend, though, so I doubt it would happen until Monday.
Can you give us anything right now? Monday, I'll be working, but today I can look at your spec. I'm sure a lot of other Slashdot readers are in the same boat. Also, on Monday, your article will be long gone from the Slashdot front page, and so you might want to make better use of this opportunity to introduce readers to the meat of dSVG.

Even if you must wait until Monday to get the OK from the lawyers to post the spec, certainly you can give us something now to give us a feel of dSVG.

How about posting or linking to a few snippets of dSVG code? (Actually, I'm surprised that you didn't include a snippet or two in your original announcement.) Most programmers reading this article will want to see what dSVG code looks like. Throw us a bone!

Cheers,
Tom

Re:Can you please post the spec by itself? (1)

Gord Bowman (689736) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479642)

Umm... yeah. Good point. Lemme see what I can do here.

435098734912 (0, Troll)

josh crawley (537561) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479327)

Is it just me, or is this just reinventing the wheel? It sounds like reinventing Flash only worse (because you have to "program" in XML).

Re:435098734912 (1, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479387)

What I want to know is how do you program in XML. Its a loose markup language with no real keywords other than a few tokens >, <, ", =, digits, etc...

It's like coding in ASCII or something....What is an ASCII program?

That and I admitedly missed the XML boat [been busy in college] but what is the big deal? so I can write

<sucks_level>5</sucks_level>

Then write a program to scan for tags and their values. Big fucking deal. I could have used the common .ini format

[stuff_tom_knows]
sucks_level=5

etc...

I've seen XML enabled on numerous products and I can't really fathom why its better. It takes up more room, from recent postings it isn't vary fast to deal with and really doesn't add much to the table.

The only real benefit is it lets the data to be entered in random order [or missing fields] and still recover. Not really a new feature of properly coded data processing applications. /rant

Tom

Re:435098734912 (2, Informative)

fryguybob (443423) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479480)

XML is simple and can be extended to fit almost any hierarchical data. An imediate benefit over ini format is that tags can be nested. There are also attributes of the tags. The reason XML is a big deal is it is a standard for marking up data that everyone can be happy with. The tags (both start and end) make it good for streaming as programs will know when the end of a block of data is. With xml schema or DTD's a specific language can be specified and an xml file can be verified to match that language easily.

The big deal isn't so much XML as the tools to manipulate XML data such as XSLT, XPath, DOM, and SAX.

Re:435098734912 (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479498)

ah cool. See I told you a missed the boat.

Not really knocking the XML spec. Just wondering how adding libxml to an app makes it better immediately...

thanks for the info.

Tom

Re:435098734912 (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479724)

XML is simple and can be extended to fit almost any hierarchical data. An imediate benefit over ini format is that tags can be nested. There are also attributes of the tags. The reason XML is a big deal is it is a standard for marking up data that everyone can be happy with.

Perhaps you really mean "lowest common acceptable format".

That might be good for learning and data transfers, but programming 8+ hours a day for years in XML is a real bear.

It is perhaps good for "throw-away" languages that you use a few times to hook something up with another party, and then move on.

Re:435098734912 (2, Interesting)

HisMother (413313) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479483)

Lots of little things that add up:
  • XML is more structured than INI files, tags can be nested, and can have attributes
  • Several standard APIs for parsing, with multiple robust implementations
  • Tools. Graphical XML editors and viewers, browser support, etc.
  • XSLT is a nice scripting language for querying, formatting, rearranging, extracting, and building XML.
  • Books and example code. There's a wealth of information on ways to use XML out there now.
  • Critical mass. Enough people are using XML that you can exchange XML data with other people and expect them to know how to deal with it; and this large mass of applications means that the number of available tools, books, and resources just keeps growing.
You could compare XML to something like KIF or even XML's own parent SGML and ask "Why XML? Why now?" Critical mass, I think, is most important, more than anything else. You could do all the same things with another file format -- but you wouldn't have the range of tools, APIs, and features to choose from.

Re:435098734912 (1)

josh crawley (537561) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479536)

Yes, these are good arguments for XML vs. INI files, writing your own parser, etc. I think calling XSLT a nice scripting language provokes my gag reflex a little bit. My point was that Flash does mostly the same things (graphical interfaces), and currently these two are on par in deployment methods (SVG requires a plugin, Flash requires a plugin), whereas Flash already has a robust graphical "IDE" which is understood by many thousands of web developers. Like most languages, there's a hell of a difference between reading and writing the various X* languages, and actually programming in them.

you forgot...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479960)

...another TLA to throw up (yes, this was properly choosen) onto the the ol' career outline formally known as a resume and now known as the input for a buzz-word filter.

Re:435098734912 (1)

carlback (46333) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479567)

svg and flash both have there place. i've been building online publishing frameworks using combination of svg (both batik for static output and the ASV, Adobe Svg Viewer for user interaction and fop that could not be created at all using Flash.

I won't lie it would be alot easier on me if the viewer was more wide spread but i've always figured it was a chicken and the egg thing, and evetually will come around

Of course for banner ads flash would be better.

Just like everything ever built use the right tool for the job.

Re:435098734912 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479907)

svg and flash both have there place. i've been building online publishing frameworks using combination of svg (both batik for static output and the ASV, Adobe Svg Viewer for user interaction and fop that could not be created at all using Flash.

Really? Where the fuck are they? [loungetank.com]

Flash vs. SVG (4, Interesting)

Gord Bowman (689736) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479720)

Some people think SVG and Flash directly compete, and others say no. But let's compare them for the case of creating data-driven applications. If you think that you don't have to code in Flash, then you must not have used it. It uses ActionScript, which is like a stripped-down ECMAScript (I think). But it's script. They have a UI for generating it, but it's mainly a succession of dropdown menus to finally insert an 'if' statment. So you're not freed from the need of actually knowing how to program or anything. But even if you did want to use a proprietary binary standard to create an enterprise-class data-driven application, can you and should you? Macromedia recently has tried to enter the Enterprise space to do this, but the idea of using a proprietary solution does not sit well with everyone. Especially when the alternative is to use a complete XML solution from beginning to end. Data-driven graphics and data-driven applications are just now starting to take off. And most of them are using SVG because it's an XML-language--thus you can data-map it easily with XSLT. Many argue that while SVG may be able to compete in the multi-media space, that's not where its strength lies. It's strength is in the visualization of data.

Re:Flash vs. SVG (3, Insightful)

russcoon (34224) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480290)

Gord,

I think you're going to find out that developers at large aren't going to enjoy "programming" in XML. It is overly-verbose for anything but data and meta-data transfer (and many will argue that it's highly inefficient at even that). Programmers and you and I know them want their if statments to look as close to pseudo-code as they can get (hence we have Python and Perl). All of that said, your toolkit still hinges ona a glue language (JS) to make SVG (a declarative style language) even become a programming language in the first place. Therefor the dependency on JS doesn't go away at all. In fact, you've only made your programming environment even more brittle (what are the odds you'll get good debugging info from a dsvg environment?) while continuing to mix data and program in a way that has some deeply negative security ramifications.

So anway, even if Flash and SVG don't compete, dSVG turns SVG into a Flash competitor, except that it's a "complete xml solution from end to end". Frankly, I'm not sure what that buys you.

The point of CSS is to seperate style from structure, and the point of XML is to encode meta-data that would otherwise be lost. Unless you can make a compelling argument that scripting constructs are meta-data that should be encoded, I'm going to continue to have a very hard time buying that programming as such belongs in your markup as anything other than CDATA sections. Yes, it has semantic meaning, but not semantic meaning for data! XSLT treads this line pretty narrowly, and I think it winds up on the right side of the fence in most places, but it again suffers from all of the problems anyone else that tries to make imperative constructs out of markup winds up with, and that's not a good thing.

We doen't use column-based programming languages any more for a lot of very good reasons. Why would we ever want to return to their equivalent if it's only more verbose?

So we can put an XML stamp on it? What does that buy us?

Anyway, Flash and SVG+JS are competitors, Flash and SVG without scripting are not. End of story.

As much as this interests me, forget it! (3, Interesting)

Jack William Bell (84469) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479357)

There is no way I am going to 'read and understand' all that legal language. I would rather create my own competing specification than do that.

So, either release it under a license I can understand (one consisting of ten or less paragraphs) or forget it!

Re:As much as this interests me, forget it! (1)

Gord Bowman (689736) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479499)

Yeah, I understand. Sorry 'bout that. I'll try to get just the spec published, without the script and EULA. Hopefully on Monday.

Re:As much as this interests me, forget it! (1)

Jack William Bell (84469) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480319)

Appreciate the effort and am hoping the company lawyers don't quash it out of hand.

I might add that I have long been a Corel fan and much prefer it to that 'other' commercial graphics option. Except that the animation facilities for Corel paint suck...

Useless (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479364)

This sounds like a typical case of cowboy developper meets the garage boys (See Wiki for more details). This new scheme is closed source hence, I categorically refuse to use it for my company. This smells like a lockout. Ontop of that, it feels like only that one developper worked on designing the spec. The last person I want to see design a spec is a developper (even worst if it was ONE developer). They have no clue what the users want or would like to have. Basic marketting non-sense and probably why Corel does so bad. Third thing which I already pointed out is that this software is made by Corel. Corel never made any profit except this one time when they came out with Linux and the .CON was big (Mind you the cash was not generated by Linux but some other app). If the company does not die before this, the product will be dumped exactly like all the other products they have done in the past. There are a few already good editors around; we don't need something to wanne-be better. Dynamic data? It's called Perl!

Re:Useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6480017)

Although I can agree with damn near everything in the parent, I can't resisit commenting on:

> The last person I want to see design a spec is a developper(sic) (even worst if it was ONE developer).

worse yet would be one marketroid. Not only will they

> have no clue what the users want or would like to have

it's unlikely they will know what is even possible.

Re:Useless (1)

nostriluu (138310) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480180)


Corel has a business before the whole .CON thing with their Corel Graphics suite. I remember it with fondness.

And using XML / submitting things to specs bodies can be part of making things open.. but I guess you're too busy using Perl to look at anything else.

I do agree that Corel has something of a history of dumping things before really giving them a chance, their Java office suite comes to mind. With the improvements of Java along with some influence it could have become a real contender.

Adopting SVG (2, Interesting)

HisMother (413313) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479380)

SVG is a Good Thing, and it would be fantastic if it had broader browser support. Is anybody sufficiently familiar with the dark corners of the standard to explain why we don't see more implementations? Would it really be so hard for Adobe to update their Linux implementation to work with current browsers? Why isn't Mozilla/SVG farther along?

Re:Adopting SVG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479403)

EZ. Mozilla SVG went the GDI way initially. Stupid and wrong because it can't do any low-level transformation. They require a path engine and that's what they are using in Linux. LibART I believe). But like most open source projects. It's half abandonned!

Re:Adopting SVG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479539)

Adobe laid off all their SVG developers some time ago -- it's dead code now.

Mozilla obviously has bigger problems to worry about since all their core engine programmers just got canned, and they're right in the middle of the firebird transition.

Microsoft promised support for IE, but never delivered.

Da disclamer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479397)

http://www.corel.com/smartgraphics/resources/dSVG1 1

WoW one of the longest disclamers I have read in my life :P

I am trying to *complete* my SVG/XML/CSS editor for 2 years... and now they want to add new features!!!

Code examples (2, Informative)

AmVidia HQ (572086) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479415)

IDE's to make programming a language easier is always a good thing. Vector graphics client is still dominated by Flash, but demand for more widespread SVG clients will occur when there are apps for it.

HTML pasted from the Spec, judge for yourself how it looks:

9.6 Example #1

dSVG sample behavior: focus - with added attributes focusGroup and focus
Content of file: dsvg:focus, dsvg:setTransform, dsvg:setAttribute, dsvg:setStyle, (added attributes dsvg:focus, dsvg:focusGroup)
The dsvg:focusGroup attribute adds the ability to store the ID of similar type elements that are assigned to that group.
Default focus can be given to an element (red circle above) by adding the dsvg:focus attribute to that element.

The red, blue, green circles are part of the focusGroup. The orange circle is not.
Click on the red, green and blue circles to set focus.
Hover over the 'red', 'green' and 'blue' text elements to set focus.

red
blue
green
orange

Hovering the mouse over the 'text' element with id="blueText causes the behaviors within the second 'focus' element to be run. When the first 'setStyle' behavior is run, its 'value' attribute, which is equal to:

%(textGroup@elementID)@cdata%

resolves to:

%blueText@cdata%

which then further resolves to:

blue

9.7 Example #2

Pushing the button will run the 'alert' behavior. Its 'message' attribute, which is equal to:

message= "%button1@label+ ' button ' + if(button1@selected == 'false' , 'is selected', 'is not selected')

which resolves to:

"button1@label + ' button ' + if( false , 'is selected', 'is not selected')

which further resolves to:

Evaluate button is selected

adverts? (3, Funny)

mz001b (122709) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479421)

I think this should have read:

"Hi, my company just came out with a new product and told me that I get a huge stinkin bonus if I managed to get an advertis^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Harticle on it posted on /., so please click on this link..."

Re:adverts? (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479515)

Absolutely. Unfortunately the other efforts which Corel have made at attempting to become lead early adopter of technology eg Linux and Java have ended in what many would term disaster. With that track record I would be dubious about anything Corel promote, esp when the IDE is a grand a go.

Aw, c'mon... (1)

Gord Bowman (689736) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479580)

I know it's not open-source, but we HAVE proposed the spec to the SVG Working Group for consideration. I want it to LEAD to a standard, after lots of feedback and collaborative discussion, not to BE the standard as-is. I'm only one developer--what are the odds that I thought of everything? Zilch.

Re:adverts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6480048)

H^H^H^H^H^H^H^

advertisement article

advertisementarticle

The GNAA now has a 1-800 number! Call us!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479433)

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Corel SVG Plugin for Mozilla on Windoze? (1)

nigels (264332) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479444)

I didn't have any luck with the Corel
SVG Viewer and Mozilla 1.4 on W2K.
I suppose a Linux version is totally
out of the question... :-(

Re:Corel SVG Plugin for Mozilla on Windoze? (1)

Gord Bowman (689736) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479527)

Hmm, I know we've had the CSV working with Mozilla on W2K before... maybe not with Mozilla 1.4? I'll look into it. As for a Linux version, NOTHING is ever out of the question. It's all based on demand right now--we have a ton of tasks to do and each one of them has a priority. If a lot of people want CSV on Linux, then that will bump up the priority.

Re:Corel SVG Plugin for Mozilla on Windoze? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479785)

Yes, Linux Mozilla user would love a
robust SVG plugin. I'd use it at work.

Direct link to the spec (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479496)

dSVG11Spec.zip [corel.com]

Jeeze Corel, don't be wankers. If you want a *public* review of your specification for a _proposed_standard_, don't make people agree to give away their first-born.

Re:Direct link to the spec (1)

russcoon (34224) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480329)

a tarball would also be nice.

What can dSVG do that Javascript DOM does not? (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479554)

Can anyone tell me? I've used svg + javascript + DOM. IT works very well and is supported in adobe's pluggin and is the offical w3c recomendation for making svg dynamic. Why confuse the situation? What need is there for dSVG?

-1 (1)

zephc (225327) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479559)

-1, screenshots are too small, resubmit

oh, wait, this isnt K5...

No skill required? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479612)

"It was a programmer's dream. I was essentially being paid to develop a new kind of programming language."

How often has one programmer's dream become the nightmare of many others? Especially when associated with the claim "you don't need programming skill" to use the language.

We already have Basic!

Sorry about being so negative. But I've had way too many bad experiences with claims "no skill necessary" if you use my product.

careful what you wish for (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479629)

having seen how quickly even non-developers can create Web apps, I feel certain that XML-based programming makes sense and is the way of the future

By that criteria, PPOP (Power-point oriented programming) will be the wave of the future.

GUI or drawing? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479786)

It seems references to this have one foot in GUI's and one foot in graphics rendering. I think it is best to separate them because one is primitives and the other higher-level form widgets that fit GUI behavior expectations. Candidate remote GUI XML standards include XUL, XWT, and SCGUI (my pet), among others.

Any new actual features? (1)

r4lv3k (638084) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479813)

How is dSVG any different from SVG + ECMAScript?
Can it can create content as rich as flash, like see http://homestarrunner.com?

r4lv3k

Waiting for SVG pop-up windows. (2, Insightful)

bons (119581) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479959)

So, someone is creating an OO script/language for vector graphics...

Now that you've approaching Flash 5, can you please explain what you're hoping to accomplish?
Since their plug-in is commonly installed, their standards and documentation are apparently about as open and propriatory as yours, and since the number of people who can tell the difference between flash and dhtml is minimal, I'm not sure what the actual goal here is.

According to the normal timetable, Flash 7 should be released before the year is out and that seems to be your primary competitor. Unfortunately it also offers video, sound, raster graphics, and a good lead on a decent OO scripting langage. Oh wait, that's Flash 6.

Is there something new you're offering (other than a different set of lawyers) that we should be noticing?

Where does it stop? (2, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479961)

It's tough to do this well. Where do you stop? When you have an animation system? A game engine?

I'd like to see more open-source tools to create Flash format. Flash is a really good implementation of vector graphics - the engine is small, the files are small, and the system is very powerful. It took Macromedia three rounds to get it right (remember Director?) but finally, they did it.

Flash format is open, and there are a few non-Macromedia tools for it. But not enough. I once looked into doing a Flash tool for stock charts, so you'd get the raw data from the server and could pan, zoom, and do typical stock-chart operations like moving averages locally. It's possible.

That's the truth! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6480217)

Even though current flash usage sucks, it's actually a pretty nice vector graphics platform, and it's the best out there for what it does. The flash file format specification is available for free download from macromedia, but they no longer make their sdk available.
I'd like to see a decent library (c and c++)based on the specification created.
And, come to think of it, I'd like to see a decent library based on the full MPEG4 specification created as well.

Now go to it!
I'll be checking the replies to this post within the hour, and the above assignments better be completed by then. :-p

Using SVG in real world apps ... (2, Interesting)

vi-rocks (611108) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480035)

.. we are and its fantastic. First of all, all our clients are running either Windows (98 to XP) or Mac OS X .. Adobe's plug-in is working just fine. We made a small modification to the Apache config file and feed our SVG files through the PHP interpreter first -- with PHP code embedded in the SVG file. Much of the data begin display on our clients SVG drawings are dynamic and sourced from a MySQL database. As the database is updated, the SVG drawings and figures change automatically. Saves a ton of work.

Re:Using SVG in real world apps ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6480245)

We use it too. Except our clients are either Windows or Linux, so we build Mozilla for them with SVG enabled, and we generate our SVG code with Python scripts using Zope.

I need screen shots (2, Insightful)

omar.sahal (687649) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480118)

Screen shots screen shots , how'd I know i want it with out screen shots

Sounds like baloney to me!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6480125)

you may be aware that SVG is increasingly being used for the creation of data-driven Web applications.
Yeah right...like has anyone ever really created a data-driven web application with svg? Please!!

The funny thing is... (1, Informative)

supersoftdrink (563614) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480187)

I spent a few hours yesterday redesigning my website to incorporate SVG as a design element. I was pleasantly suprised about how easy it was to get everything working properly and completely W3 compliant. What's more is: all the site resources and the template I'm using boil down to just under 6KB. I'm running all this through Mason, so I'm pretty excited to see what can be done through combining Mason and SVG. I'm thinking database-driven graphs, user layout/color/theme preferences... I know that Flash and SVG aren't direct competitors and each has it's strengths and weaknesses, but SVG's main strength (IMHO) is it's coplete openness and roots in XML. This allows SVG to be as dynamic as you want. The only things I see that Flash has over SVG are: XML sockets, more widely accepted, and it's a somewhat difficult format to reverse engineer / yoink code from. I suppose the last "feature" is both good and bad.

Just my 2

Virus Writers Rejoice!! (1)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480320)

One more tool for the trade.
Let's go for beer.
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