Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Microsoft joins SVG Working Group

Category: Microsoft, SVG

My gut feeling whenever I hear a “we are joining a group” type post from anyone is “thanks for telling us, ping me when you have an implementation”.

However, when someone as big as Microsoft blogs about joining the W3C SVG Working Group they are trying to send a signal. Hopefully they will help the process and SVG will proceed nicely and we will see it on more user agents.

But, as a friend just said, I will hold my breath to celebrate until I see it and Canvas in a browser :)

In fact, the lack of talk about Canvas from Microsoft has me worried.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 11:39 am

4 rating from 25 votes


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“Hopefully they will help the process and SVG will proceed nicely and we will see it on more user agents.”

Although I hope so, when did Microsoft “help” any standards… well, except when it tryed to standarize it own Office format paying coutry representatives?

Please, SVG WG, finish your work before any MS people get in!

Comment by lmasanti — January 6, 2010

I agree. This is a neat thing, good for MS.

At the same time: So what? Does this actually change anything? Until they support SVG in a client, who cares. I doubt I’ll be changing my setup any time soon in production: Canvas/VML (via exCanvas).

Is IE dead yet? Please??

Comment by idio — January 6, 2010

They implemented Canvas in their latest browser IE9. They showed a demo on it.

Comment by MohamedMansour — January 6, 2010

I’m skeptical anytime MS joins a WG. Historically they have joined so they can stall or completely redirect where the current WG is headed.

Comment by leif81 — January 6, 2010

you could even argue that MS supporting SVG is worrying … if they allow it to be mixed with non-XML HTML in a crazy way (which is pretty likely) it could screw up browser parsing and future language extensions.

In any case I agree with you that canvas is much more webby. If there was CSS to turn HTML elements into arbitrary shapes then SVG would be pointless.

Comment by chrisfjay — January 6, 2010

@chrisfjay: HTML5 supports inlining SVG, that’s the only logical way for anyone to include it (I give MS that much credit). As for which is more ‘webby’, I’d argue that SVG is. It has a markup, a DOM, can be scripted, etc. Canvas is an API which gives you a programmable image, this is a relatively new concept for the web.

@Dion: MS did help try and update a separate Canvas spec that shepazu started, so they are showing some interest in Canvas at least.

Comment by codedread — January 6, 2010

@idio – Heard of RaphaelJS?

Comment by sixtyseconds — January 6, 2010

Typically informed and rational Ajaxian comments on an MS-related topic. We just need someone to suggest they switch to Webkit, and someone else to whinge about how IE has ruined their life and we’ll be done.

Comment by Amtiskaw — January 6, 2010

Goddamit, IE has really ruined my life!

Comment by mawe — January 6, 2010

Microsoft invented XmlHttpRequest. Which is the core for all things “ajax”. Think about that for a moment.

Things are rarely black or white. It’s all shades of gray.

Comment by jx12345 — January 6, 2010

@Amtiskaw – You forgot the MS invented ajax comment (see above)..

Comment by sixtyseconds — January 6, 2010

Microsoft, if you really want to show support for SVG, you should throw out your terrible browser and start over with one based on WebKit.

Comment by okonomiyaki3000 — January 6, 2010

Just because something is trite doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

Comment by zachleat — January 6, 2010

I, for one, welcome our new SVG overlords!

Comment by rasmusfl0e — January 6, 2010

Hmm, some people will say “It’s a Trap”, and that MS is doing it to slow down the SVG standards till they can implement something slightly better in some ways, and terrible in others.
More than likely is so they can get details from humans, and not just specs on how SVG should work so IE14 can have a full implementation of HTML5, CSS5, Canvas, Web workers, local storage, SVG before 2022.

Comment by GordonStanton — January 6, 2010

compute(Microsoft, Standards);

operand types do not match, request ignored.

Comment by GuyF — January 6, 2010

Never forget M$ turned JS2 into “Harmony”

Comment by nasp — January 7, 2010

What is js2? By the name of “Harmony” I know a process where Ecmascript 3.1 was created and pushed to become standard instead of ES4. Also, in this instance Microsoft was the second company (after Yahoo) that recognized, that ES4 is a dead end. And that was good until the lawyers and managers parachuted in and made a mess. Even with that – Microsoft did a whole lot better than IBM.

Comment by jx12345 — January 7, 2010

I smell a MS supporter around here, somewhere…

Comment by sixtyseconds — January 7, 2010

Let’s face it – MS did derail ES4. It’s true it started with Doug who for the most part is anti-change (or to be kind, extremely conservative). He has stated that if it was up to him HTML 5 wouldn’t have happened either. When ES4 was extremely close to being standardized, Doug at the last minute thought it was a bad idea but no one listened to him(having worked on it for the better part of a decade). So he went to MS. Why did MS go along with Doug? Doug believes it to be strictly a technical decision; but strategically, MS wouldn’t be benefited by a much stronger JS when they were pushing SL for “serious web programming”. For whichever reason, they were glad to throw their weight behind Doug’s initiative. If MS hadn’t thrown its support behind Doug, you can be pretty sure we would have ES4(JS 2) today.

As a result, JS hasn’t moved forward much as a language. JS development has moved forward over the past several years not due to the negligible language improvements, but due to the arrival of a number of innovative frameworks.

Features that developers have asked for (and that would have been in JS2) such as classes, namespaces, etc. have instead been hacked in sixteen different ways by many of these frameworks leading to a fracturing of the JS development space. I’m not saying its not wonderful having lots of framework choices, but when each one is implementing essentially the same feature over and over, and pieces of what would have been standard in JS 2 have been implemented in slightly different ways by everyone from Resig to Slocum, it’s hard not to be frustrated.

Comment by coryn1 — January 7, 2010

@coryn1: You’re not giving doug a fair shake. There were genuine technical issues with the ES4 spec. The spec was mostly missing the point, focusing on lots of new syntax, while the primary problem with javascript was security, not syntax. By keeping the language simple but fixing the gaps, it is much more easy to make (and keep) it secure.

I found this presentation a pretty good overview of why the way it went down was the right solution for javascript’s problems:

Comment by Joeri — January 7, 2010

What about the pattern VML? Now, after year, MS transform/changed a lot of visual web project because the fight of diferent patterns: SVG X VML. There are something in the air.
Lets pay attention. Always.

Comment by ViniciusCamara — January 7, 2010

Sigh. Wish I could be happy about this, but I can’t.

Step 1: Embrace
Step 2: Extend
Step 3: Extinguish

We’re just currently at step 1 right now.

Comment by mdmadph — January 7, 2010

How many times do people have to bitten by a snake before they learn!

Both DirectX and Silverlight are key strategic technologies to assist Microsoft continue its Windows monopoly.

Microsoft will do ANYTHING to enable it to gain advantages versus any competitors of DirectX and Silverlight. There is a timely article here> on how Microsoft joined the OpenGL organization that later enhanced its anti-OpenGL campaigns.

Let us all be very very clear on Microsoft’s intentions – to contain or preferably destroy SVG. It’s past actions against OpenGL are an example of the efforts it will go to to destroy competition. Joining the SVG Working Group merely puts the ‘snake’ in a better position to subvert the work and market penetration of SVG.

Comment by interoperate — January 8, 2010

@joeri I had seen Doug’s presentation on how it went down-some of my comments were actually based on that. I have a lot of respect for Doug; and he is is almost always very reasonable. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I always agree with his point of view. There are some things that he doesn’t think are particularly important, and some people disagree with that.

I can’t help but think what if 12 Angry Men had ended seeing that the kid had committed the murder, and was laughing as he was released. A very reasonable Henry Fonda would have convinced the rest of them to go in the completely wrong direction. That’s how I feel here.

Comment by coryn1 — January 8, 2010

I understand some of the skepticism expressed about Microsoft’s intentions in joining the SVG, based on MS’s historical behavior. I’m a developer too… I feel your pain. But as W3C Team Contact for the SVG and WebApps Working Groups, I’ve been working with the IE team for a couple years, and I have been talking with them about SVG for a while. The discussions have all been on a pragmatic, technical level, and I believe they are sincere in wanting to improve their browser and the Web in general.

They have engaged with the SVG WG on a solid footing, and I hope this means they will be supporting SVG (and Canvas) in IE9… only they can say that for sure, but if it doesn’t make it into IE9, I suspect it will only be for lack of time and resources (yes, the IE Team is actually relatively small).

As for sabotaging SVG, that makes no sense. Silverlight and IE are different divisions of Microsoft, and the company is pretty compartmentalized. It would be silly for them to allocate their limited resources into stalling the SVG WG… and the SVG WG wouldn’t let that happen anyway. On the contrary, I think Microsoft will contribute to improving SVG 2.0.

How about for once, we put aside the past, and take the good news for what it is: Microsoft is engaging more directly and positively in open standards, and that will make all our lives easier.

Will their SVG implementation be perfect out of the gate? No. Neither are those of any of the other browsers (though some are better than others)… but they are improving. If IE ships with SVG support, we will have a functional subset of SVG that can be used interoperably by content creators, and that’s where our energy should be focused: on making the developer and designer world awesomer.

(Just to be clear, I’m Doug Schepers… the “Doug” mentioned above is Doug Crockford.)

Comment by shepazu — January 8, 2010

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