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.

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