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Towards resolution of SVG 1.2 Flowing text

From: Dean Jackson <dean@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 2004 15:46:23 +1100
Message-Id: <2590516C-2C8A-11D9-A2F5-000393B3CA5E@w3.org>
Cc: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
To: www-svg@w3.org

Having read the same arguments multiple times from both sides in this
long thread, I fear that if it continues this way we'll never reach
consensus (which I assume is what Ian wants). This email is an attempt
to extract the questions that need answering.

But first, a little background (which has already been covered):

- Adding automatic line breaking to SVG text was a major request from
   SVG users and implementers. Additionally, the mobile computing
   community was an important group to request this feature. SVG Mobile
   implementers saw CSS as too heavy, and rejected it as part of
   SVG Tiny. Therefore, whatever we propose must work in the
   absence of CSS.

- The SVG Working Group put a lot of effort (starting in 2000) into
   providing this feature in an interoperable manner that takes into
   account existing specifications (such as XSL:FO and HTML+CSS) as
   well as mixing SVG and HTML in a single document. This feature has
   been stable for a while, and before the last modification we had
   two interoperable implementations. (Aside: I think the specification
   of this feature needs to be clarified).

- There were many proposals to reuse the CSS box model, including
   a proposal from Adobe (Peter) and from me. Unfortunately CSS wasn't
   the right solution (as we have found in many other cases).

- SVG is a presentational language and, unlike CSS, we are required to
   specify as far as possible an exact output result. Therefore we have
   to provide simple (and standard) algorithms to achieve this.

- It was *never* the intention to replace a text-based, (moderately)
   semantically-rich language such as HTML with the SVG 1.2 features.

The above points are not really intended to draw feedback, but
I won't be surprised if they do. To me the important questions are

Ian (and Håkon),

- do you accept Peter's statement that SVG 1.0/1.1 already
   has text flow and line breaking, and effectively all SVG 1.2 adds
   is *automatic* line breaking?

- do you believe UAX 14 addresses the needs for automatic line
   breaking? (eg. interoperability, CSS not available, internationalised
   text support)

Actually, your last call comments don't suggest we drop this feature.
You just made a proposal (which I assume you believe addresses our
requirements). I took that to mean you're unhappy with the feature,
leading to the questions above.

We get many proposals for new features. We do look at them all (and
in this case we are required to look at it for Last Call).
However, we are probably too late in the cycle to add new features
or to make substantial changes. As this feature is required for
SVG Tiny 1.2, it makes it even more difficult to consider. This
means that we probably don't have the time to engage in a detailed
discussion for feature that we already have (and already have spent
a long time designing and implementing). Of course, we welcome input
into future versions of SVG.

On the topic of clashing or overlapping elements between SVG and
HTML, that's something we'll look into. I can't recall any desire
to add semantic elements to SVG (as we are presentational).

Received on Tuesday, 2 November 2004 04:46:24 UTC

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