Reinventing Fire

Setting a Visible Goal

September 15, 2008

Filed under: Standards,SVG,Tech,W3C,Work — Magister @ 9:33 pm

SVG 1.2 Tiny, previously in CR, went back to LC today.  Which might seem like a step backwards, but is really a huge leap in the right direction.

Okay, you have no idea what I’m talking about, right?  So, the W3C’s Recommendation track looks something like this:

  1. Editor’s Draft, where ideas are just being hashed out
  2. First Public Working Draft, where we have the basic direction, but still in rough form, and are seeking initial public feedback
  3. incremental Working Drafts, where the draft spec improves over time, based on review and comments
  4. Last Call Working Draft, where we pretty much think it’s done, and ask the public to give it a final once-over
  5. Candidate Recommendation, in which the spec is mostly stable, and where we invite implementors to actually write the code and provide the wisdom of experience
  6. Proposed Recommendation, where the W3C Members get a final chance to say what they like, don’t like, and provide their official comments for consideration to the Director
  7. Recommendation, where the Director (usually Tim Berners-Lee, in consultation with trusted advisors) looks at the spec, looks at the comments, and decides whether or not this should have the stamp of approval from W3C.

On the surface, SVG 1.2 Tiny going from Candidate Recommendation to Last Call seems rather counter-productive.  But the truth of it is, the SVG spec has changed quite a lot for the better, due to lessons learned during implementation and building a test suite.  But change is change, and if you change the spec any time before Recommendation status, you go back to Working Draft (in this case, Last Call Working Draft).  This lets everyone review the current spec, and provide critical feedback before we move forward again.  But with a solid test suite (though no test suite is ever really done), and several interoperable implementations, the current state of SVG 1.2 Tiny is much improved over the previous Last Call, so the path to Recommendation is actually much clearer this time.

I’m really proud of the work the SVG Working Group has done, and I’m honored to have been part of it.  I’m glad that we are now a public working group, so people can see what we are working on and help steer us in the right direction (especially with the new SVG Interest Group that I co-chair with Jeff Schiller).  I’m relieved that the long haul of completing SVG 1.2 Tiny may be coming to an end.  And I’m confident that this specification will really push SVG forward.

And have we got some cool things planned for the coming months!!

iSVG

September 10, 2008

Filed under: Browsers,SVG,Tech — Magister @ 4:53 pm

Since before the iPhone was released, there was speculation that it would support SVG.  After all, WebKit supports SVG, and Safari is based on WebKit, and the iPhone uses Safari.  But alas, the build of Safari that went on the iPhone did not include SVG support… nor, more famously, did the iPhone support Flash or Silverlight. Rats!

Realistically, it doesn’t make a huge impact in the total deployment of SVG on mobile devices.  For all that they are cool, iPhones make up a pretty small margin of mobile devices.  Opera is probably deployed on more devices, and it’s supported SVG for a while.  SVG is used on the BlackBerry, as I understand.  The BitFlash and Ikivo SVG players are deployed on something like half a billion phones, both for content viewing and as the GUI of the device itself.  But… still, having it on the iPhone would be a bit of a coup, and would enable lots of neato Webapps.

And as of yesterday, when I updated the firmware on my iPod Touch, SVG is now supported natively!

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Some Say in Fire

Filed under: Real Life — Magister @ 3:49 pm

Today, the Large Hadron Collider started its slow proton acceleration to our inevitable doooooom (stay tuned for changing conditions)!  My two favorite doomsday scenarios are:

  1. It will produce persistent micro-blackholes, which will devour the Earth in a massive fiery conflagration.
  2. It will produce super-stable strange matter, which will convert the less-stable nuclear matter of which the Earth is composed into more strange matter, like Vonnegut’s ice-nine.

I find this kind of dualism comforting.  Whimper or Bang.  Good or Evil.  People are consistent, even in their nightmare scenarios.  God bless you, Robert Frost:

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To know that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

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