Wednesday, May 16, 2007

LGM: Introduction to SVG

The second talk Andrew and I attended at the Libre Graphics Meeting was entitled "Introduction to SVG" and given by Inkscaper Ted Gould. His aim was to give a general (and not overly technical) overview of what SVG is and what it can do.

Mr. Gould touched on some of the basic elements of SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) such as gradients, markers, clones, text on a path, inserted bitmaps, alpha transparency, patterns, and so on. Not being particularly familiar with SVG prior to joining Inkscape, and now just learning its capabilities, I was pretty impressed to see via the examples provided all the cool things that SVG has built right into its specification.

This photo realistic car [found here] was made in Inkscape, and really goes to show what amazing things can be done with SVG.

Mr. Gould noted that SVG is XML based, and uses CSS for styles. He gave an example of what a small file that defines a simple square might look like. He also explained the three different profiles used for SVG: tiny (which implements only a small subset of functionality, and is therefore suitable for cell phones), basic (which has a larger subset than tiny, but is still suitable for devices like PDAs), and full (the name speaks for itself). Inkscape is currently aiming for tiny, but once that has been reached, the journey to basic and then full will have begun.

A couple of big bonuses of SVG were mentioned by Mr. Gould. For instance, thanks to the use of XML, SVG files are human readable. This is very good news for Google and accessibility: the search engine can easily parse the contents, and screen readers can "speak" the file. Also, internationalization becomes less of a pain. Graphics with text can be translated just as easily as HTML text, so artwork like logos can be translated easily.

I enjoyed this presentation quite a bit more than the previous talk on the Open Document Format. Maybe it's because Mr. Gould didn't seem to have any kind of hidden agenda, but was still obviously knowledgeable and passionate about the topic at hand. Of course, my personal interest in graphics in general might have something to do with it, too. Either way, I believe that this presentation served all audiences -- the artists, Inkscape developers, and other developers -- rather well.

If you want to learn more about the SVG format, check out the main W3C page for SVG. Don't forget to download Inkscape for all your SVG editing and creation needs!


google said...

try for loads of links on SVG

Anonymous said...

Thanks, great report, Inkscape is realy a must (the more as it can edit PDF files now!)

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