Vector Graphics in XML
Monday, April 13, 1998 by Dave Winer.
It's been a major Monday morning in the XML and graphics world.
First, early this morning, a group led by Netscape, Sun and Hewlett-Packard announced that they would work on an Internet standard called Simple Workflow Access Protocol, or SWAP.
According to the press release, SWAP will build on HTTP. No specification was released, nor was there official word on when the group would meet.
A charter for this group appeared in early April on a Netscape website. From the charter it appears that SWAP will go thru IETF, not W3C.
This protocol probably overlaps in functionality with the RPC-over-HTML format we've been developing at UserLand.
However, if SWAP gains traction, we will implement it too, of course.
Then, later in the morning, an announcement came from Adobe, Netscape and IBM that they had submitted a specification for vector graphics that would enable net clients (e.g. Navigator and Notes) to display resizable images.
The new format is called Precision Graphics Markup Language or PGML.
I've wanted this for a long time!
If PGML is deployed widely, designers, people who use XPress, PageMaker, Illustrator or Freehand, will be able to give websites the look of a glossy magazine without compromising bandwidth.
And programmers, people who work in C and Pascal, on Mac or Windows or Unix, will be able to create net functionality that looks and feels like an application running on personal computer desktops.
Both groups of people will immediately understand the PGML format. It's simple if you have the right background, and a lot of people have the right background.
Further, since PGML is a variant of XML, it will pull XML parsing technology thru applications, making it easier for those products to support other XML-based standards.
All-around, the PGML announcement appears to be a good thing!
PS: Lots of pointers on today's Scripting News home page for people who want to know more.