The sad life of SVG up until... NOW

Posted on March 17, 2010

In 2003 I purchased a book by O’Reilly on Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). It was a great book and I had high hopes for what I was learning, but it remains one of the only things I’ve learnt that I have not had the opportunity to use in a professional setting.

SVG has long been deserving widespread adoption on the web, but the one browser that really matters has not had support for it. Sure you could install 3rd party plug-ins, but native support is needed for widespread adoption. That one browser without support has been Internet Explorer 8 and below.

That is up until now. The MIX 10 conference was held from March 15-17, 2010 and the Internet Explorer team announced that they have support for SVG in version 9. Looks like they’re about 10 years late, but better late than never.

Some milestones:

  • SVG was initially released late 2001
  • Firefox and Camino have had support since 2005.
  • WebKit which Opera and Safari are based on has had support since 2006.
  • Microsoft relases .Net framework 3.0 which has support for XAML

Does SVG pose a threat to Silverlight/XAML?

In 2006 Microsoft would probably of said yes. Today they would say no. I would also say no.

Silverlight and its XAML markup provide a full application description format.

SVG is more of a graphic file format and offers minimal programming support via a script tag typically using Javascript.

That being said, when possible I would prefer to use SVG.

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