Re: Proposal: <star> element

Stephen Chenney:
> The SVG language already contains sufficient functionality to express
> the star element use cases presented thus far.
> Philip's argument is that the cost of the
> star element is unnecessary. He says nothing at all about the necessity of
> other features.

This is your/his personal point of view - or this is a (maybe small) fragment
of the world you/he can see from your/his point of view ;o) 
Unfortunately nobody has the overview from outside, therefore it is 
useful to collect results from different points of views to get a slightly
more complete impression ;o)

If we reduce this idea of 'everything is already possible' to the essentials,
we can replace SVG completely by PNG and MNG. 
In general with this one can simulate graphics with scripts on the server 
and there is no need for vector graphics at all.
But in practice there is still a problem, often one does not want to have
files of arbitrary size to simulate a specific functionality and one does
not want to write (or pay someone to write) programs, that realise the
simulation. And therefore SVG is of some use and new features with
the capability to reduce file sizes by orders of magnitude are of some
use as well.

The other simple alternative is just to provide the formula for example
for such a 'star' like element and the interested audience can imaging
what it is by just interpreting the formula - by the way, this works for
most graphis and decoration issues, therefore with this idea we
can save all graphics formats and CSS, because we have already
the feature 'text' - this provides already 'sufficient functionality to 
express' everything ;o) And it is pretty effective as well - you just
have to write 'apple' - a few bytes for a complex idea or abstraction,
typically orders of magnitude more compact than any image of
a specific apple - what a compression efficiency ;o)
Just say 'star' and everybody gets what you mean ;o)
(not really, interpretation especially for 'star' depends strongly
on knowledge, culture and personal point of view, therefore hard 
to write a proposal that covers a wider range of 'star' abstractions
of different people, even if we just care about naive graphical 
2D-object-abstractions - but this difficulty makes the problem
pretty interesting).
And another relation concerning this - introducing a new element
for such objects is providing vocuabulary, words to express
this idea in SVG.

As you can see, if we follow this argument or reduction to the essentials 
consequently and in an efficient way, the internet formats could be 
reduced again to something very simple, you just need imagination and 
simple text a story, a fairy tale  to get it all together again within the 
brains of the audience.
But unfortunately many people are not satisfied anymore
with pretty words, they want alternatives, less effective alternatives
to express something. And once again, if this desire
is something worth to care about, it is worth to care about the
techniques to provide this at least somehow effective in a finite
and acceptable time for the audience.
Some people want stars or more general objects with rotation symmetry
or at least somehow related to polar coordinates, therefore it is worth
to think about the question, how to provide this functionality in an effective
way, for example no need to study mathematics, natural sciences or techniques
to realise some simple shapes, currently in SVG there is a need for this 
knowledge - I would not have started with SVG at all without having studied 
before, in my case physics with several lectures in mathematics - but is
SVG only intended for academics with the capability to approximate
everything by brute force mathematics? Maybe, hopefully not.

Obviously to require some basic knowledge depending on the complexity
of the problem cannot be avoided for all kinds of objects, but for some
commonly known problems SVG can provide features to solve such 
problems in an elegant and effective way.
For example the path element does not only have the M command -
would be sufficient as well to approximate every path, but with
cubic Bezier curves it is much more efficient. You can use such path data
as well to approximate every gradient effect or filter effect - therefore
no need for them in a minimalistic scenario, but it is convenient for
many people wanting to use gradients or filters effects to have such
features. Or animation - should be enough to approximate everything with
set elements, but it is much more convenient and effective to have values,
keyTimes, keySplines, additive and accumulate to do the job.
Therefore the question about the star or polar element is not: 'Do we need 
It is more: 'Does the proposal simplify common tasks in a significant way?'
And because there is more than one proposal: 'Which one covers more
shapes of the intended type and is therefore more useful for a wider range
of authors to solve problems?' 

In the past it was not sufficient for the SVG group just to have an element
for regular polygons (and maybe directly derived shapes as the boundary
of a non convex one).
Then it was not enough to have this proposal for a polar element, covering
much more shapes like abstractions of blossoms or asymmetric star like 
But it was ok to put in the requirements for SVG 2 to add a path like
element with polar coordinates. This is good for lots of static shapes (if 
this would at least appear in the SVG 2 draft).
But if an author really wants to animate a star or a similar shape in an
effective way, something like the star element or the polar element is
needed as well. 
Even worse, a star like structure is often more an object with only the
corners/vertices related to polar coordinates and the curves between are 
often more related to cartesian thinking, therefore a mixture somehow.

Will it be often used? Well, symmetric and asymmetric star like objects
are used for centuries or millennia often to represent some ideas and
Many technical products have some rotation symmetry or at least parts
of the product have. Therefore sure - it is often used.
Looking at the past and taking into account the limited capabilies of the
human brain, my guess is, that the usage will continue for the future.
But this is neither true for the past nor necessarily for the future
in SVG, because there is no simply way yet to note such objects.


Received on Monday, 14 April 2014 18:07:46 UTC