Setting a Visible Goal

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!!


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!

Continue reading “iSVG”


A buddy of mine, Aaron, founded a startup based on some ideas for a content management/communications tool, which morphed into a very nice wiki. The company name is MindTouch, and the wiki is called DekiWiki (“smart wiki” in Japanese and Hawaiian, respectively). The software is an open-source branch off of MediaWiki (though with major improvements in the interface, IMO), and is available for free; the company sells support contracts and special hardware, IIRC. It’s pretty common for a company to give away software for free… my own employer, 6th Sense Analytics, has opened the source code for the SVG charting package I wrote for them, for example, because it’s not our core business. MindTouch is doing pretty well, and has had lots of positive exposure.

So, they did a bit of shameless promotion and posted an article on Wikipedia about it. Nothing wrong with that, there are lots of other wikis described there (including commercial ones).

It got deleted.

They reposted it.

It got deleted.

They asked what was up, and got a series of (lame, contradictory) answers. They tried reposting, and I edited the entry to clarify it and to downplay MindTouch and talk more about the free, open source software itself. When I tried to save the entry, I got a message instead:

“This page has been deleted, and protected to prevent re-creation.”

Say whuuuuuh?

There is supposedly a process whereby pages get marked for deletion, and undergo review. Anyone could have edited out the commercial aspects of the entry (which wasn’t all that egregious, just a blurb on the company itself). But they deleted it without following their own guidelines.

I like Wikipedia, for all its flaws. It’s a successful experiment in massive online collaboration, in my opinion, and I use it all the time. And I’m glad it hasn’t degenerated into an advertising morass. But don’t screw with their bottom line.

I’m not sure I would call this censorship, but it’s too dang close for my tastes. Read the talk page and draw your own conclusions.