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Microsoft Adopts SVG For Internet Explorer 9 152

Posted by timothy
from the what-will-child-services-say dept.
An anonymous reader writes "SVG has been a published standard for almost a decade. Microsoft has had nothing to do with it, even while every other major browser adopted SVG as a supported format and interface. Just in the last few weeks, though, Microsoft has thrown a surprising amount of its weight behind SVG." This means for IE 9, but it's a start.
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Microsoft Adopts SVG For Internet Explorer 9

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  • It's just more mulling over the recently released IE9 preview, which went through the /. torture rack pretty much as soon as it was announced. SVG support was already there, and was discussed alongside all the other newly supported standards, so what's the point of TFS?

    • Re:Nothing new (Score:5, Interesting)

      by erroneus (253617) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @04:16AM (#31637690) Homepage

      Yeah I was thinking pretty much the same thing, but this is another article for a difference crowd with its own purpose. And with all that said, perhaps it's time to put Microsoft's SVG implementation through the /. torture rack.

      Even during the previous article's discussion, a question on my mind (that I was afraid would have been modded offtopic) was "how faithful will their implementaiton of SVG be?" Microsoft is quite famous for doing things in such a way that it makes the world believe everyone else is broken. So now I am left to wonder about this too.

      • Re:Nothing new (Score:5, Informative)

        by maestro371 (762740) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @04:33AM (#31637762)

        I've tested with an application that I'm developing that generates complex SVG network maps (that validate as SVG 1.1 with the W3C validator with no errors).

        Linear gradients don't work at all, stroke and fill colors appear to be sporadic. JavaScript doesn't work (but I didn't expect it to as it's targeted to Chrome and Safari primarily right now).

        I expect that MS will add more functionality as the preview progresses. They have a lot of work to do, regardless.

        • Re:Nothing new (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Ralish (775196) <ralish@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Saturday March 27, 2010 @07:35AM (#31638432)

          Yes, the SVG support in the Platform Preview is definitely a work in progress; it really should be viewed as an early alpha in overall completeness and quality. However, MS has apparently committed to a full and proper SVG implementation in IE9. Some links worth checking out:

          Platform Preview gives Web developers first taste of IE9 [arstechnica.com] - Scroll down to SVG heading for a nice summary

          SVG in IE9 Roadmap [msdn.com] - Official IE blog post on SVG

          • If you look at Haavard's blog [opera.com] on the Opera site, you will find a reference to run of the SVG 1.1 Test Suite on IE9 [codedread.com]. In contrast to Microsoft's SVG test suite (of about 104 individual tests in 7 areas), the W3C's test suite has 275 tests, each of which typically has a dozen or so subtests. On the standard test, IE9 passed 28.36 % of the tests. All other browsers are above 60%. Once SVG becomes viable, I expect that all of the other browsers will quickly advance into the 90%+ range. Opera is already wel

            • by pyrbrand (939860)

              A skeptic, that is to say, anyone who can recall Microsoft's behavior over the past 20 years, might wonder if Microsoft ran the official SVG test suite on all competing browsers to find areas where they failed. They then built a second test where they know the others will fail.

              You mean like Hickson did with Acid3? Whatever set of tests you're using, if they're incomplete (and they always will be), they will be biased in terms of coverage. Some test suites like Acid3 are meant as a bludgeon to wag the dog of a competitor or certain organization, some are designed to ensure that features you care about are supported in they way you believe they should be, and others are just QA guys doing their best to make sure their product works. In any event, whichever set of tests you code

            • by naoursla (99850)

              More likely: Microsoft identified areas they thought were important. They then made plans to implement and test those areas. Once the implementation was done and the tests passed (thereby 'validating' the tests) they were submitted to the working group. Tests can be tricky to write and it is a good idea to make sure they work as expected before putting them into production. It shouldn't be a surprise that tests submitted by Microsoft work on IE9.

              SVG is still under development. The IE9 preview is going to fa

        • I don't find this surprising. It's a policy Microsoft has used since circa 1990:

          EMBRACE an existing standard/format that has gained popularity.

          EXTEND the format with new functions which are copyrighted by Microsoft, so competing products can't display the pages properly.

          EXTINGUISH the competing companies by telling users that those companies' products only provide half the functionality, therefore you should use Microsoft's product. And oh yeah, MS provides it for free with Windows, so it's doubleplus goo

      • Re:Nothing new (Score:5, Informative)

        by jlp2097 (223651) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @09:18AM (#31638894) Homepage Journal

        And with all that said, perhaps it's time to put Microsoft's SVG implementation through the /. torture rack.

        Not necessary - here is a nice comparision for all current browser implementations of SVG and how much tests of the official SVG test suite they pass : SVG Implementation Table [codedread.com]. If you click on the chart you get a very detailed view.

        To summarize:
        IE9: 29% of the SVG test cases,
        Firefox: 72%,
        Chrome/Safari: 83
        Opera: 93%

        IE9 is way behind, Opera is the winner in this test

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Hal_Porter (817932)

          Whenever anyone runs objective tests of browser functionality, Opera usually does very well. I'm amazed it doesn't have more market share.

  • by jcr (53032)

    I commend the decision, but I don't trust them.

    -jcr

  • by nohumor (1735852) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @03:13AM (#31637480)
    this follows on the earlier announcement to support more HTML5 features on IE9. after killing netscape, IE has managed to thwart other upcoming browsers by tweaking standards in a way that developers specifically for IE and other standard compatible browser's rendering looked bad. now this was a fine business strategy except that the browser just refused to evolve. firefox happened followed by safari, chrome, etc. heck, even opera is getting more attention now, especially with euro mandated browser raffle for windows. now IE strategy of not following standards is stacking up against it, with some markets have IE share dropped to less that 50. it is trying to catch up now and actually have the audacity to suggest that they are doing a better job of following the standards, a case in point the adoption of long desired css border-radius. anyway, developers are 1 step closer to worry less about cross browser compatibility (cbc) and more about design and development
    • by Hadlock (143607)

      Dude, you must be new here. You could have summed that up with the cliche "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish" and have been moderated to 5 already. Here, watch:
       
      Microsoft is clearly trying their tactic of Embrace, Extend, Extinguish using SVG.
       
      There.
       
      Now, just kick back and watch the moderation roll in :)

  • I guess they now want to change the standard to accommodate their bugs.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by oh2 (520684)
      Why else ? "Embrace, extend, extinguish" is the Microsoft motto when it comes to competing standards.
  • The problem of MS: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by drolli (522659) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @04:03AM (#31637638) Journal
    Browsing is also mobile browsing nowadays. Microsoft has not the capability any more to impose technologies (Silverlight etc.) on users any more. If 50% of the devices dont support your webpage and never will, you can not ignore any mor anybody who can not install some plugin. Morover IE is also loosing foothold on the desktop. So what was a move to hinder a competitor seriously (Why should i embed SVG on webpage if IE can not view it?) is slowly becoming a disadvantage. If Firefox and google chrome get the image of "just working fine" when compared to the IE and IE gets the image of causing problems, then they can stop making IE9.
    • by erroneus (253617) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @04:22AM (#31637722) Homepage

      SVG graphics on web pages is simply the most appropriate thing. Web developers/designers all over have been chomping at the bit to use SVG because the results are beautiful and scalable. MSIE support is and has been the one thing preventing them from actually doing it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gbjbaanb (229885)

        Yeah, but.... a lot of companies have dropped their SVG support after MS (or was it Adobe) decided to stop supporting their SVG plugin.

        Now IE9 will have native SVG support, that just means *most* browsers will have it (ie not IE7 or 8), which still means that it is not widespread enough for adoption. Maybe in a few years when everyone has migrated from IE8 to 9, but you know how long that will be. In the meantime, all the other browsers will be running something much better like webGL and MS will be still p

        • Google provides a JavaScript library [google.com] that renders SVG using native support if present or Flash if not. This works in IE. I wouldn't be surprised if MS decided to support SVG in response to this; it's one more reason for keeping the Flash plugin (which competes with Silverlight) installed.
      • Web developers/designers all over have been chomping at the bit to use SVG

        I think you mean champing at the bit. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bit_%28horse%29#In_popular_culture [wikipedia.org] for more detail on that.

      • by bartok (111886)

        I'm a web developer and sometimes I only have to target Firefox and I've never been able to figure out how to use an SVG file in an HTML document. It's not supported by the IMG tag, you can can't use it as a CSS background, etc. It's a confusing as hell technology that hasn't taken off because figuring out how to use it on a page is way too complicated.

    • Browsing is also mobile browsing nowadays. Microsoft has not the capability any more to impose technologies (Silverlight etc.) on users any more. If 50% of the devices dont support your webpage and never will, you can not ignore any mor anybody who can not install some plugin. Morover IE is also loosing foothold on the desktop. So what was a move to hinder a competitor seriously (Why should i embed SVG on webpage if IE can not view it?) is slowly becoming a disadvantage. If Firefox and google chrome get the image of "just working fine" when compared to the IE and IE gets the image of causing problems, then they can stop making IE9.

      The mobile space really is exploding. Smart phones were fairly useless for the longest time but the tech has really matured. They're very useful machines. And with the prevalence of non-Windows netbooks, there's more and more pressure for true interoperability.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Every time somone mentiones this I go to adobe and try the svg test... and I can't se anything except "Missing Plugin".
    What's the trick ???

    • To get the plugin?

    • The trick is to visit a site that uses SVG correctly, instead of invoking the plugin explicitly. Try something like one of the w3schools examples [w3schools.com] or others [jenkov.com].
    • by maxume (22995)

      Your browser might be picking the wrong mime type for SVG. I can't find the details, but I recall that an early Adobe tool established 'image/svg-xml' in the windows registry, and firefox will inherit that; changing it to 'image/svg+xml' should fix things (I suppose installing a later version of the Adobe SVG plugin should also do that, who knows).

  • What a Coincidence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by randallman (605329) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @04:10AM (#31637668)

    There appears to be an inverse relationship between IE market share and its implementation of standards. Applaud MS for good decisions, but never forget how they acted when they owned the market.

    • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @04:28AM (#31637742)

      There appears to be an inverse relationship between IE market share and its implementation of standards. Applaud MS for good decisions, but never forget how they acted when they owned the market.

      I mostly share your perspective, but I must admit from a business point of view it made perfect business sense for Microsoft to drag their heels for as long as they basically had a monopoly on the web browser market. Why should a company with 90+% share support standards? There's no real advantage to them - all implementing better standards support would do is make it less painful for users to try another browser.

      But as a web developer, I am much happier being able to code for IE8 than I was for IE7. But let's not forget that IE8 still lags all other browsers in terms of standards support. Saying "they certainly suck less than they used to" is most assuredly damning with faint praise... but it's the truth. Oh, additionally, I will say that developing IE workarounds for our internal pages and systems takes less time now, since (for those anyway) I can say "sorry, we only support the latest version of IE".

      • by bmo (77928)

        "Saying "they certainly suck less than they used to" is most assuredly damning with faint praise... but it's the truth."

        The "it sucks less" reasoning has been the case since the upgrade from DOS 1.0 to 1.1

        --
        BMO

      • by kjart (941720)

        I mostly share your perspective, but I must admit from a business point of view it made perfect business sense for Microsoft to drag their heels for as long as they basically had a monopoly on the web browser market. Why should a company with 90+% share support standards? There's no real advantage to them - all implementing better standards support would do is make it less painful for users to try another browser.

        Close, but you're missing the point that, at 90+% market share, you are the standard.

      • by WNight (23683)

        Why should a company with 90+% share support standards? There's no real advantage to them - all implementing better standards support would do is make it less painful for users to try another browser.

        Because many customers are smart enough to see that as a trap. When I buy a printer I price ink, and check if the printer has user-hostile firmware.

        If MS had built a solid OS instead of focusing on short-term profits from office lock-in they'd be what they wanted, the core of every new device.

        Instead by forcing the core developers, API-shapers, and savvy users away by locking down their OS and mutilating public processes they essentially forced the development of the new alternatives.

        • "If MS had built a solid OS instead of focusing on short-term profits from office lock-in they'd be what they wanted, the core of every new device."

          No great OS would be able to get a monopoly-like adoption on even PC desktops. The reason is that users have disparate needs, and only lock-in can make they agree on a pltaform. A great OS has no lock-in, by definition.

          See how many different distros are used just on the ninche ocupied by Linux. One company would never be able to do all those tasks equaly well.

      • This is "business" in the sense of "profit is the objective, morals are not factored in".

        The more consumers accept this kind of attitude, the more they will get it.

        You know, as it turns out, even from the perspective of pure profit, adhering to standards still makes sense. (To the degree that consumers have some brains.) You can build customer loyalty by proving yourself to be in a symbiotic relationship with them. Conversely, Microsoft has made me an adversary. Would I be so strongly opposed to using M

      • by jpmorgan (517966)

        A better question is, when one product holds 90%+ market share, why would any sane standards body create something different? If IE had 90% of the market share, the standard should have been very close to IE's behavior at the time. In any other industry, standards bodies exist to codify existing practices, not invent new ones. That's how you create a standard with minimal disruption. Instead we're in a situation where more than a decade later, there still isn't agreement in web browser behavior for the majo

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fm6 (162816)

      Loss of market share is certainly a factor in this. But not the only one.

      One big factor is all the legal and political pressure to play nice with others. One result is that browser choice screen that EU customers get. Another is the fact that they've given no preference to their new free antivirus software; not so long ago, they would have just added it to the Windows install and ignored the complaints.

      But I think the biggest change is a cultural shift among all software people. Engineers use to be a lot mo

    • by Eskarel (565631)

      The problem with standards is that they're generally designed more by the losers than by the winners.

      The argument could be made that, given that at the time they were being devised IE had almost 90% of the market share, that at least some of the IE way ought to have been the standard. After all, Netscape was as guilty of changing and polluting the web standards as anyone else back in those days.

      While there are certainly some things in IE which are just strange(the way it handles the z-axis for instance isn'

    • That was caused by losing some market share, rest assured, but the change is a bit deeper than that. Just ask yourself what Microsoft gains publishing IE. The answer used to be that they wated to stop the Web from developing, but now that they are losing market share they aren't able to do that anymore. So why launch a new version?

      IE is now the prefered front-end of all Microsoft web services (the ones for the cloud and the ones for the LAN), owning the front end gives them the oportunity to make a much bet

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Earth hour? Useless! This day shall be known as IE HOUR! Everybody starts their IE's around UTC+0 12:00!

    On a more serious note, why don't they do these real improvements in small increments, so that these would appear to IE8 too, but faster.

  • Too Slow (Score:4, Funny)

    by davidjgraph (1713990) * on Saturday March 27, 2010 @04:31AM (#31637756)
    C'on guys, you're way behind. Just like it took you ages to report IE supported HTML. Oh wait....
  • Awesome! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Saturday March 27, 2010 @04:35AM (#31637774) Homepage

    At this rate, IE 14 might actually be worth using!

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @04:50AM (#31637806)
    because they probably just now noticed it existed.

    Just kidding, but Microsoft has been pretty insular... it seems most of the time they would rather contemplate their own navel than check to see what anybody else is doing.
  • They do try, bless their little cotton socks. :
  • Shouldn't the headline read "Microsoft embraces SVG for Internet Exploder 9?"
  • by advocate_one (662832) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @05:23AM (#31637900)
    it's their only business model... SVG is the new target to pervert. Expect their web development tools to produce subtly broken SVG that only renders correctly on the IE version... they did the exact same with html. They will go to great lengths to ensure their development tools produce websites that don't work right on other browsers. Ever such subtle glitches, but the users will end up blaming the other browser that they picked on the ballot page.
    • Yup (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @07:22AM (#31638378) Journal

      Call me a suspicious paranoid old bugger, but if you been buggered by someone decades, you tend to grow a bit cautious.

      The more I read about IE9, the more I wonder "what's the catch". Because MS finally getting it and playing nice just doesn't seem to be an option.

      And low and behold. No IE9 for XP, despite it still being sold by MS and still being widely used. The excuse: "we can't because we are only a multi-billion dollar company and can't afford to hire the very best and just make it work".

      An MS apologists commented on the last article that it was impossible to run IE9 under XP because of the hardware rendering... clearly he doesn't know that A: DirectX entire point was to abstract hardware to the point it also (used to) support it purely running in software mode" and B: That all the other browsers have no such problem.

      No, I see MS making the same mistake they made countless time before. Not killing of their old crap. Learn to clean up after yourself. You dumped IE6-7-8 on the world, now get rid of them.

      It would be doable for MS, and they are not. Why? Because they are still the same old "can't do" company. MS apologists and the naive jumped in Windows Mobile 7 to, and then finally it was announced, no multi-tasking and no copy&past... so it was just like all the releases before, fundemental things that WERE PROMISED, not making it into the release.

      So, I am going to see what MS finally delivers. Their promises have no value.

      • by PhxBlue (562201)

        No, I see MS making the same mistake they made countless time before. Not killing of their old crap.

        You don't suppose that's exactly what they're trying to do by saying IE9 won't be available for Windows XP, do you?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by TheNetAvenger (624455)

        An MS apologists commented on the last article that it was impossible to run IE9 under XP because of the hardware rendering... clearly he doesn't know that A: DirectX entire point was to abstract hardware to the point it also (used to) support it purely running in software mode" and B: That all the other browsers have no such problem.

        This is where people get confused so easily. For IE9 to work on XP, they would have to recreate the WDDM for XP. And when you do that, there are things in the WDDM that other levels of the OS do not have or understand, so essentially you are having to build XP into Vista.

        This is why DX10 was impossible on XP as well, as the XPDM does not handle the low level video functions the same way nor do they have the features that are expected that the WDDM provides like VRAM virtualization and GPU Scheduling/Thread

        • by syd02 (595787)
          I'm not a Windows programmer, or even a Windows user. How is it that so many other companies are able to support Windows XP with their new products? I mean even looking specifically at browsers...Chrome supports Windows XP SP2 through Window 7, and Firefox supports Windows 2000 through Windows 7. Is IE in Windows 7 really so much better than Firefox or Chrome in Windows 7 that it was worth exploiting features of Windows Vista/7 that aren't available in XP?
      • "The more I read about IE9, the more I wonder "what's the catch". Because MS finally getting it and playing nice just doesn't seem to be an option. "

        The catch is that they can't stop the web anymore, and they need a half decent IE to sell Exchange, Sharepoint and their cloud services.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Go look at how HTML evolved, and which browsers supported which features, and you'll see that they didn't do anything the other browser makers weren't also doing. Grab older editions of, say, O'Reilly's HTML Definitive Guide, and you'll find a large chunk of the tags are marked as non-standard Netscape extensions, for instance.

      The web got big on these non-standard tags. Many eventually became standard (although sometimes in not quite compatible ways). The big difference between IE and the others is that Mic

      • by dingen (958134)

        The problem is not that other browsers implement their own standards. The problem is that Microsoft didn't implement the actual standards. Sure, Webkit creates their own "--webkit-border-radius" CSS-property, but which property is there for IE to do rounded borders? Nothing. There's a whole list of features which have long been supported in other browsers and could be used to make the web more awesome, but because IE supports none of these, they're holding back the development of the web as a whole.

        It's a g

      • "But they did it, too..." is never an excuse for misbehavior.

        Anyone tuned in to what was going on in the early days knows that Netscape was behaving badly, too. They don't get a free pass to be assholes either.

  • This was announced on the 16th of March:

    http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/KEY02 [visitmix.com]

    • by game kid (805301)

      Microsoft had announced it would join the SVG Working Group, and that IE9 would use Direct2D and DirectWrite (connect the two freakin' dots), weeks if not months ago. I hope others here are merely acting like SVG (of some sort) in IE9 is news, and not actually surprised with Acid3's breath behind their neck and all.

      Now, a final version of IE9 with a perfect implem of the language, or one that rivals those of Firefox, Webkit, or Opera? That would be news.

  • Flash has opposition now from two technologies, one is SVG and the other is Silverlight. The timing is very logical since Apple doesn't support flash on it's IPhone and Ipad. Microsoft first has to remove Flash from it's dominant position. If that plan would work out in the future Microsoft can always choose to drop SVG support and pushing forward it's Silverlight.
    • by Eskarel (565631) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @09:37AM (#31639020)

      I've said this before, and I'll say it again.

      Silverlight was not released just to watch movies and animations. Just because that's what Flash has devolved into over the years, doesn't mean that that's what Microsoft(or anyone else) wants to do with Silverlight(or JavaFX if it still exists).

      Silverlight is aimed at creating Rich Internet Applications. It's more of an alternative to AJAX than to Flash because, while Flash can be used to create RIAs, no one does.

      Unfortunately, the demo RIA for everyone of these platforms is a video player, mostly because it's dead simple, looks flashy and is something you can't do in Javascript, so everyone forgets that.

      I really don't think that HTML5 and/or SVG taking over the animation or video playing market share is going to make any dent in Silverlight, because that's not what it was designed for.

      • by kikito (971480)

        You can do videos with Javascript. They just don't work on IE.

  • Regrettably a broken page mysteriosly named "??? Cameron Laird" is all I get to see on Firefox 3.6 when following the link from TFA [itworld.com] which says

    starting to collect my favorite public demos here [phaseit.net]

  • Imagine all those gradients and rounded corners - how they wasted so much pre-video bandwidth. Imagine the speed at which those pages could've loaded over a 56 kbps connection. All because Microsoft had monopoly on de-facto "standards" and is abusing it. Well we don't need you anymore, dying old browser.

  • Microsoft is putting their customers at risk every time they half ass these standards like they love to do. Companies spend a lot of time and money to develop these lovely web apps that only work for IE version X, then find out that because IE X+1 is trying to finally conform to standards their current app is broken. Whether we like to admit it or not, IE is getting better at security issues, but many of their customers can't upgrade b/c they built the POS that is IE 6. I have seen this again and again i
  • Dear Microsoft: (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kikito (971480)

    C-A-N-V-A-S.

    Thanks.

  • Step one: Done. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hurricane78 (562437) <.gro.todhsals. .ta. .deteled.> on Saturday March 27, 2010 @04:56PM (#31642538)

    Next: Step two: Extend.

"But this one goes to eleven." -- Nigel Tufnel

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