July 10th, 2010 at 11:39 am (Metadata, Microformats, Search Engines, Semantics, Standards, SVG, Tech, Technical, Work)
Recently, a browser implementer asked me for examples of SVG. He was having trouble finding good examples of SVG in use, particularly as parts of an HTML document. This question has come up again and again, actually, and it always vexes me. I’ve been active in the SVG community for close to a decade, and I’ve seen thousands of amazing SVG files (and many more of mediocre to average quality), but somehow they seem to have disappeared or bitrotted over the years. Some of those files only worked with the slightly-unstandard Adobe SVG Viewer, or didn’t quite work with Firefox’s incomplete support, I know, but surely not all of them. Where is all the great SVG content I remember, the games and GUIs and design and development? Where are all those files to be found?
I hear some browser implementers say that people just don’t use SVG. Intuitively, this feels false to me, based on my own experience. But could it be true?
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May 9th, 2007 at 4:25 pm (Metadata, Microformats, Semantics, Technical)
I was sitting at the bar with Chaals and Danny Ayers (who I’d previously only known through mutual friends and by reputation) at the Fairmont Springs at lunch. He’s an RDF guy, and I put to him the question I’d put to Harry Halpin last night (while watching Super Troopers); Harry likes the loose structure of microformats (though he acknowledges the utility of established ontolologies for constrained domains like medicine and physics), and I wondered if maybe the linguistic model of exemplars would be useful in RDF and OWL to add some flexibility.
But if formal ontologies are too rigid, I think microformats is too loose. It’s great that people are tagging their content, and useful things can be done with these tags in the short term. But microformats is not immune to language drift. Someone will see a tag, misgrok the meaning from context, and idiosyncratically misapply it to other content. This is exacerbated by the international and multi-language nature of the Web.
For example, let’s say that someone had tagged some content with the word “meme” 15 years ago; it would clearly have referred to Dawkin’s model of “idea evolution” (where a concept is spread not through accuracy, but through adaption to its mental environment… an idea akin to Colbert’s “truthiness”). But a few years ago, it spread into common use as a synonym for “fad”; so far, it retains some superficial similarity to Dawkin’s idea. In a few more years, it will probably be a very dated word (like “groovy”) and may well shift to a meaning like “old-fashioned”; it would then have completely lost its essential meaning. So, a diagram of Dawkin’s model tagged “meme” would then be misinterpreted, misindexed, and regarded with confusion by a future reader.
In the long haul, RDF provides a more time-proof solution by providing conceptual context, not just a cluster of words.
November 7th, 2006 at 5:24 am (Accessibility, Metadata, Microformats, Semantics, SVG, Technical, W3C)
In addition to geometric shapes, SVG has advanced graphical text capabilities. In SVG 1.1, there are several elements specifically designed for the presentation of text. At the most basic level, there is the <text> element, which can have child <tspan> elements that can be positioned and styled independently of the other text content, like this:
Then there are more advanced options, like rotated text
or the <textPath> element
The future of SVG text support holds still more. In the next version of the SVG specification, SVG Tiny 1.2, there are even more useful text features, like the <textArea> element that automatically wraps text to a shape (rectangles on for mobile devices, but any shape at all in future versions of the specification). There is also the new ability to make any text editable by simply including an attribute to the text element. And there are great features from SVG 1.1 (the current version) that are not yet widely implemented, such as SVG Fonts, which let you embed a font into an SVG file so the reader sees the page the way the author intended it, and the <tref> element that lets you directly quote text without duplicating it. All these features will give more control to authors and give a better experience to users.
But is that enough?
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