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Re: SVG 1.2 Comment: 4 Flowing text and graphics

From: Robin Berjon <robin.berjon@expway.fr>
Date: Tue, 02 Nov 2004 12:44:35 +0100
Message-ID: <41877323.1020404@expway.fr>
To: Håkon Wium Lie <howcome@opera.com>
Cc: www-svg@w3.org

Håkon, all,

Håkon Wium Lie wrote:
> The problem lies in how different specs interact. Placing strings of
> text on a line or on a path nicely complements vector graphics and
> naturally belongs in SVG. When you add flowing text you turn SVG from
> a vector graphics format to a generic document format.

I'll take time for longer comments later, but I have to jump in here as 
I believe the above sentence is at the crux of the misunderstanding.

Assuming that by "generic document format" you mean something along the 
lines of "text-oriented documents like HTML" then that simply is not the 

SVG's flowable text is that neither in intent, nor in purpose, and while 
it is difficult to predict what users will make of features I very, very 
highly doubt that anyone will be using SVG's flow text for 
block/paragraph style flow as defined by CSS (unless they're stuck with 
a UA that only supports SVG).

Ever seen poetry laid out inside a shape? Ever seen ad text following 
the shiny curves of the latest spacecraft? Ever seen some sombre lament 
about the passing of time animated as it falls through an hourglass? 
*That* is what it's for. It's for text when used as graphics.

Like all WGs, the SVG WG does indeed plan to take over the world. 
There's no denying it. However that plan does not include making (X)HTML 
or CSS redundant. Text flow has entirely different purposes and use 
cases than what is currently available.

Yes, it doesn't separate presentation from content. It's *graphics*. The 
content *is* the presentation. Use as appropriate. If you want to draw a 
cat by filling its outline with "meow" or "miaou" (having switched on 
the user's language settings) use this. If you want to report at length 
on Kerry's surprise landslide victory in Texas use something else.

There are accessibility advantages in describing graphics in SVG over 
sending rasters or proprietary formats like SWF but there's only so much 
you can do. Graphics are ex definitio visual, and their semantics are 
expressed at a different level.

What's great about the CDF work starting up is precisely that people 
will be able to use the right technology for the right situations.

Robin Berjon
Received on Tuesday, 2 November 2004 11:45:07 UTC

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