Wednesday, 17 March 2010

SVG and HTML5 Support in IE9

The Register has an article today about the next version of Microsoft Internet Explorer, IE9. You can already download a preview and apparently it looks nice and has support for SVG and HTML5. At last! I hear you say, only 2 years after the rest of the pack. The reason why I find this very exciting is because of SVG rather than HTML5. This is the type of technology that could be very useful in all sorts of areas where Flash is used today, as demonstrated by Microsoft's business charts and map examples.

So what can you do with SVG that you can't do with Flash? In a nutshell, here is my short list:

  • You can style SVG using CSS, the same as HTML so if you want to change the look and feel of your site, you can do text and graphics in one go;
  • It is a W3C standard so anybody can provide an implementation and you are not tied to a particular company;
  • It is a dialect of XML so anybody with a text editor can create SVG data;
  • As a dialect of XML, every tool that manipulates XML and HTML, including web based languages like PHP can manipulate SVG so it is extremely easy to generate on the fly and integrate into a web page;
  • You can use AJAX technologies with it the same way you do with HTML.

I'm sure there are others but that's all I can think of at 1:30am. Generally speaking, the huge advantage of SVG is that it can re-use the complete HTML tool chain, which offers a huge variety of tools both open source and commercial.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Fractals with Octave: The Whole Shebang

After all this time writing this simple series of how to create fractals with Octave, I finally got to the end of it and published the code on GitHub so here is a nifty summary.


Each article has a link to the previous and following ones so you can just start with the first one and follow up to the last one.


The code is available on GitHub and can be downloaded from the project page, where you will also find some installation instructions.

If you're interested, please download the code and if you use it to create stunning images, I'd love to hear from you. If you think you can improve the code, don't hesitate to suggest changes or fork it.


To quote the project page, none of this was created in a vaccum. I used a number of offline and online references so if you are interested in the subject of fractals, you could do a lot worse than checking them out:

Thursday, 4 March 2010

The Art of Database Analysis, Take 2

Thanks to Ed, I found this interesting post on graphs and decided to adapt it to my previous database graph. So I now have a version of that script that uses the pygraph library:

Database PyGraph

Database Graph

I like this one better, it looks a lot more organic.