I was reading an article over at ZDNet (When standards don’t apply)… well, skimming it, really… when I saw them make mention of SVG as an alternative to Flash. I chuckled. As it is well known, I am a standards evangelist, and well, SVG is most certainly the standards-based alternative to Macromedia’s proprietary Flash. I was laughing because, as much as I’d love to try using SVG (I even have some tutorials on how to write the underlying XML), a plug-in for the format is not available in realistic terms. I’ve heard murmurs about mozilla building SVG into their browsers, but I’ve yet to see any real proof of that (someone, please… surprise me). The only plugins I’ve seen (and this is via Adobe) are for (horror of horrors) Netscape 4, and I think there was one for IE/WIN. Fat lot of good that does me. I’d at least like to tinker with the format, and I can’t even get it to render on any of the latest browsers. Does anyone make a plug-in for realistic use. I feel like I’m back in 1999, trying to write CSS with marginal support, only about 10 times worse. Unless someone comes out of the woodwork with a plug-in for most browsers (say, Adobe, who is supposedly the champion of the format), the specification will remain just that… a spec, and not something you can actually use.

[several days later]

Now comes news that Macromedia is planning on adding support for SVGT to their Flash Player Lite for Mobile Devices. Mobile devices, like your web-enabled mobile phone and PDA, have quite a bit less processing power than your brand new dual processor G5, so standards-based vector graphics offer something quite appealing: simplicity. Let’s hope that Macromedia will be team players and add support for SVG to their regular Flash Player.


  1. Actually the plug-in has been available for most browsers for at least over a year now… In fact, there a couple, one from Adobe and the other is from Corel. Though they render SVG quite differently.

    I believe that the reason SVG never took off, was and still is – the dominance of Flash. There has been a lot of talk about integrating SVG into browsers, as it is XML based, but it never happened. Mozilla is the only one that’s currently working on the native implementation of SVG. Anyway, it sure would be nice to see SVG come to life, somehow…

  2. edit: apparently, although undocumented, the Adobe SVG viewer works with Safari, as well as NS4 and IE/MAC. Cool. Unfortunately, it appears neither IE/MAC or Safari support javascripting of the SVG, which makes the examples at rather useless.

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