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SVG: Imaging`s Pot of Gold?


Flash might be wonderful for many graphics tasks, but SVG can do everything Flash can do and more. Plus, it's open source, which makes it easy to take a look. Even Flash addicts might find themselves swayed to try it out. (This article was originally published in the May issue of Plug-In).

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January 11, 2005
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. · SVG: Imaging`s Pot of Gold?
  2. · The best part: it's open source
  3. · Taking aim at Flash

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SVG: Imaging`s Pot of Gold? - Taking aim at Flash
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Now, while Dean Jackson, in his article SVG On the Rise (http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/javascript/2002/06/06
/svg_future.html
), concludes his article by stating “SVG was not designed to replace any existing technology,” it sure seems to have Flash in its sights. The differences also play against the ubiquity of the Flash player, giving us a nudge and a wink as they point to Macromedia. Scalable Vector Graphics (http://luxor-xul.sourceforge.net/talk/jug-nov-2002/slides.html) written by Gerald Bauer, compares SVG and Flash as follows in the section “What’s Wrong with Flash?”:

  • Both require browser plug-in; SVG will get built-in browser support (e.g. Mozilla)
  • Open, royalty-free, multi-vendor vs. closed, single-vendor
  • Free World Wide Web Standard vs. Macromedia Inc.
  • Easy-readable plain-text vs. binary format
  • $50,000 Flash Generator license for creating large-scale dynamic graphics vs. inexpensive packages such as PHP, XSLT, JSP and others
  • Both allow embedding of typefaces (fonts); SVG allows multiple SVG documents to reference same SVG font file; SVG applies typographic handling to original text to ensure your text is searchable and selectable
  • SVG supports Photoshop-like filter effects on vector graphics; Flash doesn’t support filter effects
  • SVG is a truly open and extensible format; anyone is welcome to add functionality; Flash is controlled by Macromedia; you can’t extend the format without violating their patents/copyright

So whether or not Bauer openly proclaims it, SVG is taking aim at Flash in a big way. SVG is certain to continue to cause a stir in the development community. Flash enthusiasts reward Macromedia with an almost cultist loyalty and devotion. Those disinclined to live within the confines of the well-appointed Macromedia enclave may wish to visit SVG at will for free. So for you open source flash addicts—well, there’s still hope for you yet.


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