Re: Support for Vector Images

Chris Lilley (
Tue, 25 Nov 1997 20:10:14 +0100 (MET)

Date: Tue, 25 Nov 1997 20:10:14 +0100 (MET)
From: Chris Lilley <>
Message-Id: <>
In-Reply-To: Andrew n marshall <>
To: Andrew n marshall <>,
Subject: Re: Support for Vector Images

On Nov 24,  7:57pm, Andrew n marshall wrote:

> I would greatly appreciate the W3C to include a recommendation for
> vector-based images for HTML.

OK, request noted. People have been asking for this on and off for years;
I recall mentioning this in a paper for WWW4 before I joined W3C, and I
ran a panel on Scalable Vector Graphics at WWW6. There is a clear interest,
but vector graphics is currently suffering from being labelled as a
"minority need"

>  Personally I would prefer this to be a
> monochromatic format

One restricted to monochrome, or one that can do monochrome (and greyscale and

> that could be rendered in the foreground color

Ah yes. Remember the original three formats for inline images, introduced
with XMosaic? GIF87 (yes well), NCSA HDF (a mite specialised) and ... XBM.
XBM holds, in it's verbose way, two colors called foreground and
background. Which is nice and adaptable for certain kinds of artwork
and would fit nicely into the world of stylesheets if the format itself
didn't give such poor compression. People rapidly found, though, the
need to assume that the foreground color was dark and the background
light; it is difficult to do artwork with any shading or form without
knowing which of your two colors to use for shadow.

Another way to integrate vector graphics with HTML is to inherit the
current style sheet state, which will give a foreground and background
color (and a link color and a background image and placement, if present,
and the current font settings. There is some work going on at W3C, in
collaboration with RAL, to look at parameterising CGM graphics from the
current CSS state in this manner.

> (great
> opportunity for scripts!!).  EPS files come to mind as a quick and easy
> solution to this problem, although I'm not an expert in the pros and cons
> of image formats.

A declarative format is likely to be easier, for authoring and re-use;
procedural formats tend to be write only unless there are additional
constraints (eg, AI eps) which tenmds to actually make them declarative.

> The other request that goes along side this is vector-based clipping paths.
>  I know this is a nasty request, and I also realize it is specific to the
> visual rendering, especially text flows.  I honestly don't expect anything
> out of this.  Perhaps there is a better place for this in CSS.

It certainly sounds like a stylesheet issue.

Chris Lilley, W3C                          [ ]
Graphics and Fonts Guy            The World Wide Web Consortium              INRIA,  Projet W3C                       2004 Rt des Lucioles / BP 93
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