Technologies for the Near Future


Read all about SVG and the W3C's SVG Activity at the W3C web site.

What is it?
Scalable Vector Graphics is a new format for images on the Web. Traditional formats such as JPEG, PNG and GIF are raster-based, that is they are encoded as a series of coloured dots. Vector graphics are encoded as a description of lines and curves, which means they can be enlarged and reduced to any size without loss of image quality (subject to limitations of the screen or printer rendering them). The following example shows a small SVG and a small PNG image, and the same images enlarged:
Figure 1.1: Comparison of PNG and SVG enlargements.
Small PNG image:

Small image

Small SVG image:

Small image

Enlarged PNG image:

 has very poor resolution

Enlarged SVG image:

Enlarged SVG

Who is using it?
There are a number of authoring packages and SVG players available for Windows, Linux, Java, and other systems. There are also plug-ins for browsers which are expected to be available when SVG becomes a W3C Recommendation (it is currently a Working Draft) sometime this year.
Where is it going?
Work is being done to include SVG support directly in Mozilla (the next generation Netscape browser), Gnome (a GUI interface for Unix and linux) and other software. Experimental work is also being done using SVG to provide self-describing graphics for blind users, and very preliminary work is looking at SVG as an image format well suited to mobile devices such as web-enabled mobile phones.

This page was produced by Charles McCathieNevile of W3C as part of a presentation for online@RMIT. All responsibility for errors rests with the author.