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RE: What is SVG?

From: Anne Pemberton <apembert@crosslink.net>
Date: Wed, 01 Nov 2000 17:08:17 -0800
Message-Id: <>
To: "Bailey, Bruce" <Bruce_Bailey@ed.gov>
Cc: "'Web Content Accessibility Guidelines'" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

	The reason it came to this list is because it is on this list that I have
learned that SVG exists, and is said to be superior to the usual graphics
put on the web. I wanted to find out whether it is actually a dependable
reality or just pie-in-the-sky. With your comments today, I'm inclined to
lean more to the pie-in-the-sky interpretation. SVG seems to have promise,
if the scalability of the art produced in SVG is maintained on the web
site. In the case of the example on the W3C - SVG page, apparently all that
is presented is a picture of an SVG rendering, which could have been
produced by using an original of larger resolution. On the page where I was
able to download the viewer, there was a single graphic that showed what
SVG was capable of, and it interested me, even tho clocks on pages have
already been panned either here or on the ig list. 

From what I could determine in my short learning excusion, SVG isn't real
enough yet to be included as a "necessity" in the guidelines. Users cannot
access it without a special plug in, and apparently NO ONE is actually
USING it on web pages, even those who are supposedly promoting it. I see no
reason to include SVG in the guidelines, even as a technique until it truly
exists as a viable option. Maybe it will someday, but maybe isn't really
strong enough for guidelines that we want to someday be a part of the body
of law.

I strongly suggest that SVG be removed from the guidelines until it is a
viable reality. It will only tend to reduce the believability of other
parts of the guidelines if it remains.


At 11:49 AM 11/1/00 -0500, Bailey, Bruce wrote:
>Dear Anne,
>I am not sure that this discussion belongs on the GL list, which is why I
>wrote you privately earlier.  As I tried to explain, not all vector graphics
>are created equal.  Yes, all vector graphics (including Flash) are
>scaleable, but Flash does not use W3C SVG.  I will use the uppercase (SVG)
>to refer specifically to the W3C markup standard.  The generic phrase
>"scalable vector graphics" should not be confused with the W3C's open public
>standard for said technology.
>The SVG format is quite specific.  Flash and SVG have as little (and as
>much) in common as do, for example, Windows BMP and PNG.  Yes, both are
>means towards a similar end, but the implementation details are quite
>different, with significant consequences.
>SVG has a number of accessibility features.  Nothing like these has been
>incorporated into other vector graphic formats (including Flash) although
>one could are argue that the theoretical possible future potential is there.
>At this point in time, SVG does require a viewer on most browsers.  This
>will probably change in the near future.  SVG is not yet a final standard,
>so I don't think complaints about this is warranted for now!  We are taking
>about a technology which is still in development.
>Besides the built-in the accessibility features, SVG offers a number of
>advantages over other proprietary graphic formats (including Flash).  The
>standard will be stable.  The standard is open to the public and derived by
>consensus.  Properly done SVG images will at least present the integrated
>textual equivalent if a viewer is not available.  The current and future
>backwards compatibility is very high.
>I am not an SVG expert, so I hope someone will correct anything that I've
>said here which is blatantly wrong!  Has anyone seen a side-by-side
>comparison of Flash to SVG?  I find it interesting that the MacroMedia site
>says NOTHING about SVG.  I would have expected them to have information
>(propaganda?) about why Flash is superior to SVG.  Are they really fairly
>Bruce Bailey
>-----Original Message-----
>From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org]On
>Behalf Of Anne Pemberton
>Sent: Wednesday, November 01, 2000 3:21 AM
>To: Wendy A Chisholm; Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
>Subject: Re: What is SVG?
>Wendy and all,
>Thanks to the many of you who have helped enlighten me. In twix moments
>during the day, and during the assembly, I checked out most of what was
>recommended. Wendy, your definitions were the final clinching ... 
>I tried to download the viewer at school, but kept getting a "unavailable
>page" message, but got it at home just a few minutes ago, and was finally
>able to see something exciting in svg ... the clock on the adobe page. I
>understand that the Flash, which I liked on that Lilly Frog page, may have
>been vector graphics, perhaps svg ... which then makes me wonder why Flash
>is still "inaccessible" if Flash graphics have all these assessibility
>possibilities ...
>For educational sites, I can see advantages of scalable graphics so that
>the output can be sized as needed ... blown up to full page size, perhaps
>larger, to print, full screen size, and if it can all be done from a
>thumbnail sized file on the web, it's great! It could be a boon on sites
>where you want the graphic to appear large on click ... The major drawback
>is the fact that it's said not to do photos well yet ... A plus is that
>graphics can be created into svg using at least two major graphics
>softwares, Corel Draw and Adobe. 
>A distinct downside is that you're back to that nasty mess of saying the
>user has to download something in order to see what's on your site ... free
>and fast is good ... but it still takes planning before the first use ...
>and replacing everytime your system crashes and you have to re-load
>everything you can remember you had ... (needless to say that I am well
>acquainted with inadequate backup ... always two weeks out of date, and the
>only free download I save is Eudora, none of the rest ... ) 
>Thanks for your help, folks. I am seeing advantages to svg and a reason to
>suggest it in the guidelines. But I think that the realities of the
>limitations need to be there too. Perhaps as a sub-number under Guideline 3
>... to define the graphics that can be done in vector graphics (at present,
>free of bugs!) ... and those that will need to be in bitmaps ... the
>techniques should tell what software needs to be used, and how to put the
>"download free software option" on the page ... 
>It is a bit disturbing that a special download is needed ... that may add
>an "unnecessary" hardship on cognitively-disabled folks, who would benefit
>from the scalability of the graphic ... 
>					Anne
Anne L. Pemberton
Enabling Support Foundation
Received on Wednesday, 1 November 2000 17:10:17 UTC

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