SVG Open 2010

SVG Open 2010 was held in Paris, and since I live nearby I offered to give a talk about Inkscape. I would like to thank the organizers for waving the conference fee and even providing a ticket for the conference dinner aboard a boat on the Seine.

There were quite a few interesting talks and panels and I learned quite a bit. My overall impression can be summed up easily: SVG has finally arrived. This conclusion was easy to make after talking to the many representatives of the major web browsers, including those from Microsoft who were there in numbers. In case anybody missed the news, IE9 will include comprehensive support for SVG, only missing the filters, SMIL, and SVG fonts modules. Filters will almost certainly appear in IE10; SMIL and fonts might too depending on demand. In case anybody wants to know, it took about 15 developers 15 months to implement SVG support in IE.

A good fraction of the discussion was on how SVG fits into HTML5. HTML5 is not a finished standard and there are still pieces to work out. Microsoft is implementing what it can now and has an important message for users: Download and test the IE9 previews and betas. Complain about any behavior you find wrong or undesirable. You have about three months before IE9 gets locked down. It will be hard to change behavior after that as IE9 is expected to be around for 10 years and future versions of IE will maintain backwards compatibility.

I’m afraid my notes are quite poor so I will just make a list of some random observations:

  • HTML5 will be everywhere soon. Firefox 4 and IE9 already contain HTML5 parsers, Webkit (Chrome and Safari) and Opera will have them soon (you can use SVG in XHTML right now). All the browsers support some HTML5 features.
  • There is a huge desire to have CSS3 apply the same way to HTML as to SVG. This includes things like sharing filters.
  • SVG is very popular in mapping circles (and not just in OpenStreetMap).
  • Vector effects are very interesting for maps, especially the ability to share partial paths between objects and for creating complex paths for roads, et cetera.
  • Most TV set-top boxes use SVG for their displays.
  • Look for cool SVG demos at SVG-Wow.org.
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