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Scalable Vector Graphics

Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is a language for describing two-dimensional static and animated vector graphics in XML.

SVG became a W3C recommendation in September 2001. SVG was developed in a long process after Macromedia and Microsoft introduced VML whereas Adobe and Sun submitted a competing format known as PGML. SVG is natively supported in the Amaya web browser. In other ones, a plugin, like Adobe SVG Viewer or Corel SVG Viewer, is needed to see SVG images, but they can be displayed by external editors and viewers. Mozilla now supports parts of the W3C SVG Standard, but much is still unsupported.

From the W3C Overview of SVG:

SVG allows three types of graphic objects:
  1. vector graphic shapes (e.g. paths consisting of straight lines and curves)
  2. images
  3. text

Graphical objects can be grouped, styled, transformed and composited into previously rendered objects. Text can be in any XML namespace suitable to the application, which enhances searchability and accessibility of the SVG graphics. The feature set includes nested transformations, clipping paths, alpha masks, filter effects, template objects and extensibility.

SVG drawings can be dynamic and interactive. The Document Object Model (DOM) for SVG, which includes the full XML DOM, allows straightforward and efficient vector graphics animation via ECMAScript or SMIL. A rich set of event handlers such as onmouseover and onclick can be assigned to any SVG graphical object. Because of its compatibility and leveraging of other Web standards, features like scripting can be done on SVG elements and other XML elements from different namespaces simultaneously within the same web page.

SVG rivals Macromedia Flash in terms of potential and power, and is an open standard, unlike Flash.

Almost all of the major drawing software packages such as Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw support SVG export. The free OpenOffice 1.1 Draw component can now also export SVG files, although many users may prefer to use the free program known as SodiPodi, which was recently ported to Windows.

See also: Semantic Web, 2D, 3D

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