Tuesday, November 04, 2008

inspired by SVG

SVG = Scalable Vector Graphics

In the last couple of weeks I've spent some time (re) reading David Eisenberg's book SVG Essentials, writing SVG markup, writing SVG tutorials and ranting to various teachers and students that we should be doing more of this in school.

I've put my case that it's rather reasonable that I be able to teach with a standards compliant browser (meaning Opera) and why not an open source vector graphics editor as well --> inkscape

As an interim workaround I've put the USB version of Opera (this is a separate site to the official Opera site) on the USB keys that I'm also using to boot Sugar, so at last my students can see what an SVG animation looks like
  • Tutorials are on the xo-whs wiki SVG page (quite a lot there, more to come)
  • SVG display is on my website SVG page - but get Opera first, otherwise you will see error message or you won't see the animations or if you use IE you won't see anything much at all
Janet, who has considerably more artistic ability than me has also contributed some nice graphics, drawn using inkscape. Thanks Janet

So, why am I inspired by SVG?

It appeals to my sense of economy, that graphics can be represented by algorithms, which makes them small and elegant.

It appeals to my sense that web standards are important and this is an area in which MS falls down not just a little bit but totally. I became aware of this a few years ago by reading Jeffrey Zelman on web standards, the hard struggle to implement CSS, and also readingTim Berners-Lee on the history of the web.

It's mathematical - both simple co-ordinate systems and more complex maths such as bezier curves. I like the fact that art can be done with maths. So are I've only just scratched the surface of SMIL, Synchronised Multimedia Programming Integration Language, but I can see more potential there.

My students have been receptive and patient and in due course I hope to publish some of their pics of weird cats.


Anonymous said...

Hi Bill, would be awesome if you could give it a try with a FF 3.1 beta and see if it works fine for you. If so, we could have Browse working for you in Sugar 0.84. If not, you may want to enter a ticket in mozilla's bugzilla so it gets better one day ;)

Bill Kerr said...

hi anonymous,

"Perhaps not too suprising, SMIL will not be included in Firefox 3.1 - so Opera and Webkit are the only two supporting SVG animation at the moment"
- Allan Jardine: Web UI Development, October 2008 News

stelt said...

SMIL is Synchronised Multimedia INTEGRATION Language

Bill Kerr said...

thanks stelt,

I've corrected that error, with a strike through, in the original post

Jecel said...

The Lively Kernel, created by Dan Ingalls, is a great way to have fun with SVG.