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[filters] Custom filter functions proposal

From: Lea Verou <leaverou@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2012 02:48:18 +0200
Message-ID: <4F4046D2.8090302@gmail.com>
To: public-fx@w3.org
The filter functions defined by the Filter Effects draft [1] are 
tremendously useful, however there will always be the case where 
something more custom is needed. To solve this, the current syntax 
provides the ability to reference arbitrary SVG filters and shaders.

I think it would be even better to additionally provide a mechanism that 
combines the simplicity and ease of use of filter functions with the 
power of referencing arbitrary SVG filters. In other words, a way to 
define custom filter functions that refer to a certain parameterized SVG 

This could be done with SVG Parameters [2], so I'm merely suggesting 
some syntax sugar on top of that, to ease readability, avoid repeating 
URLs and facilitate sharing of filter libraries between authors. Also, 
to make custom filters animatable, as UAs generally don't interpolate 
between IRIs.

This would allow authors to write:

filter: foo(1.5);

instead of:

filter: url(path/to/filter/filterlib.svg?foo-amount=1.5#foo-filter);

as long as the `foo` function was defined with an @filter rule that 
references the filter and defines the function arguments (a subset of 
the SVG’s params). It would accept the following descriptors:

Name: src
Value: <iri>
An IRI reference to a ‘filter element’ element that defines the filter 
effect. For example "url(commonfilters.svg#large-blur)"

Name: name
Value: <string>
The name of the custom function. If it collides with a predefined 
function, it overrides it.

Name: parameters
Value: <string>+
The (space separated) parameters the function accepts, in the order it 
accepts them. They correspond to parameters in the SVG document with the 
same name.

Name: default
Value: <string>
The default value, when the function is called with no arguments.

- Is the SVG Parameters spec still in development? I see it hasn't been 
updated for almost three years.
- This proposal would introduce a dependency on SVG Parameters that 
might not be desirable.
- Added complexity may be too much for the benefit it provides.
- Since SVG Parameters allow for a default value too, the `default` 
descriptor may be redundant.
- No way to specify optional parameters, such as the ones for <shadow>, 
it's all or nothing. No way to restrict parameter types.
- The markup equivalent of most predefined filter functions includes 
basic math on the arguments, such as [1 - amount]. Not sure how this 
would be possible with this proposal, as SVGParams doesn't seem to allow 

[1]: https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/FXTF/raw-file/tip/filters/index.html
[2]: http://www.w3.org/TR/SVGParam/

Lea Verou (http://lea.verou.me | @LeaVerou)
Received on Sunday, 19 February 2012 00:49:32 UTC

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