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Graphics Software The Internet

Vector Graphics Lead Wish List For Future Browsers 321

Coach Wei writes "Community voting results and a summary report have been published from OpenAjax Alliance's recent "community wishlist for future browsers" effort. When the voting closed on July 13th, 222 people participated in this open community initiative, with 143 people voted, 55 feature requests being written up, and contribution from many industry leaders. The voting indentified and prioritized 37 features. The top 10 are related to vector graphics, security, performance, layout, rich text editing, Comet, audio and video. Among all the feature requests, 2D Drawing/Vector Graphics is clearly the most desired feature by the community. It received most votes (110 people voted for it), and highest total score (over 10% higher than the second feature request). Looks like that it is time for all browsers, in particular, IE, to seriously consider supporting standards-based vector graphics."
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Vector Graphics Lead Wish List For Future Browsers

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  • "Community" ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by qoncept ( 599709 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @01:21PM (#24291583) Homepage
    I don't think the OpenAjax Alliance's poll reaches quite what would constitute the "web browser users" community. I'm also trying to figure out what the "particularly Internet Explorer" comment meant. Not that I read the article..
    • Re:"Community" ? (Score:5, Informative)

      by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <{akaimbatman} {at} {}> on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @01:24PM (#24291639) Homepage Journal

      Internet Explorer is the only major browser to NOT implement SVG and Canvas. Which is a major failure on Microsoft's part. One might almost say that they're intentionally trying to prevent the adoption of standards that could replace their proprietary APIs like VML and ActiveX. Almost, anyway. It's not like Microsoft has a history of not implementing the DOM standards or anything.

      (*Hint!* That was sarcasm. Microsoft fails miserably at implementing the DOM2 standards.)

      • Re:"Community" ? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by IdahoEv ( 195056 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @01:54PM (#24292173) Homepage

        Internet Explorer is the only major browser to NOT implement <insert ANY interesting/useful non-proprietary feature or open standard here>

        There, fixed that for you. The only thing MS is ever first on are the things that can't be implemented in any other browser because MS owns the technology.

        • Re:"Community" ? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by maxume ( 22995 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:21PM (#24292629)

          Except for AJAX...


          I mean, they didn't come up with the cute name, but they did package the technology first.

          • Re:"Community" ? (Score:5, Informative)

            by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @03:43PM (#24293895) Homepage Journal

            I mean, they didn't come up with the cute name, but they did package the technology first.

            True, but their version is based on ActiveX, while everyone else used XMLHttpRequest. See here: []

            • Re:"Community" ? (Score:4, Informative)

              by maxume ( 22995 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @03:52PM (#24294007)

              Yes, because they created it before XMLHttpRequest ever existed as a standard. They took a shot at implementing XMLHttpRequest for IE7 but apparently botched it a bit.

              The point is, Microsoft created the technology and then it ended up in other browsers.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Sleepy ( 4551 )

              That's splitting hairs on an irrelevant point.
              Who was first? Microsoft.

              It doesn't matter if it was done in ActiveX, as a DLL, or as pat of the "kernel".

              At the time it actually made sense to do it in ActiveX... it could be disabled if installations wanted to do so.

              What made Ajax at the time useless was only Microsoft was supporting it... so some Intranets could take advantage of it, but not the wider web.

              Once Mozilla supported it, things got better... except we had to wait for abstraction Javascript librarie

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by kabz ( 770151 )

            I believe the original driver behind the AJAX features was a web-based Outlook mail client.

            Little did they know that they had opened the door to all the cool things we have today like Google Mail, Google Docs, Google News, Google Labs Search, Google Notebook, Google Base, MS Live Mesh ... err ;-)

            I think we owe MS a huge debt of gratitude for making the web browser-based clients possible, and for most practical purposes, freeing us from monolithic PC-based software.

      • Re:"Community" ? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by HTH NE1 ( 675604 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:45PM (#24294981)

        Microsoft fails miserably at implementing the DOM2 standards.

        Microsoft fails miserably at implementing the HTTP standards! See their treatment of files served as text/plain.

    • by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @01:31PM (#24291737)
      But all 222 "web browser users" worldwide voted. Unless someone voted twice.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bunratty ( 545641 )
      I don't think the poll was aimed at browser users. It was aimed at web developers, in particular, Ajax developers who are creating new, interactive websites.
    • not to mention that 222 votes is statistically irrelevant. Only a fool would base any business decision on such a woefully small sample size.

  • by mdm-adph ( 1030332 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @01:22PM (#24291605)

    ...keep your art out of my code (and off my lawn)!

    Native JSON should clearly be at the top of this list. I call shenanigans.

    • by Joebert ( 946227 )

      Native JSON should clearly be at the top of this list.

      Huh ?!

      I could have sworn JSON was adopted as a method of transfering data from server to client instead of XML because JS Object Notation was already something native to browsers.

      I only have about 5 years of experience with Javascript, so I could be wrong.

      • It hasn't been adopted officially, hence the use of "eval()" to turn it into a JSON object. Otherwise, it's still just a string. :(

        I'm gussing "Native JSON" would be able to accept a string from the server, automatically turning it into a JS object.

        • by Joebert ( 946227 )
          I don't know, something about this still sounds redundant.
          • by mdm-adph ( 1030332 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:37PM (#24292887)

            Trust me, that's why it's called JavaScript object "notation" -- it's not actually a JavaScript object. You still have the extra step of converting it out of string form when you get it from the server.

            • by multipartmixed ( 163409 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @03:14PM (#24293403) Homepage

              Of course you have to convert it to/from strings, duh, you can't put an abstract concept like an object on a wire and send it across the internet. So we represent the object some other way. A string is a perfectly fine way.

              And -- Oh -- it's a string which which contains a JavaScript object literal. Now, what do you call the language subset which defines the string appearance of a Javascript object literal? JavaScript Object Notation seems pretty damned reasonable.

              Don't like calling eval() to parse the object literal? Why not? It's an object literal; to turn ANY piece of source code (and that's what it is, source code for an object) you need to run a parser over it. It turns out that eval() is a pretty damned good JavaScript parser.

              You could, if you we were so inclined, parse the JavaScript yourself. And, in fact, if you only wanted to support objects -- not the whole JavaScript language -- you might want to only parse a limited subset of JavaScript, which some freaky has guy (who works at Yahoo) has decided to call JSON.

              Now, what's the best way to write a limited-function parser in JavaScript, and still have it be really fast?

              Use native constructs.

              Hmm, but does JavaScript have any native constructs which allow us to easily build parsers which understand small regular grammars? Hint: there's a reason they're called regular expressions.

              So, the current common/secure technique is to use a regexp parser to validate the input to eval(), because that's the fastest way (two calls, both into native code).

              Now, how the hell can we MAKE these objects? Well, it's pretty easy from JavaScript; the .toSource() method and/or uneval calls work pretty good.

              So, we now have a general-purpose way to serialize/deserialize javascript objects into something we can send over a network. If you wanted to, that's enough to start a cult and try to build a career around. You could even describe it really complicatedly (like on []). Or, you could build a compilcated object/class hierarchy around it, like this guy [] -- I suppose you could even come up with something as complicated as DCOM or CORBA if you were really bored.

              But it's still nothing more than winging JavaScript source code around the internet, and validating it somehow [regexp] if you don't trust its contents.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by snoyberg ( 787126 )

          I hope, for your users' sake, you don't actually parse JSON that way. If you don't believe me, just wait til a site passes you the JSON string "alert('P0wned!')"

    • But it's implemented everywhere and quite easily. JSON is, by definition, native javascript code, the only part that gets added is the validation to ensure that no other code sneaks in at the same time. Asking for native JSON support in javascript is like asking for native array support in C.
  • by spazdor ( 902907 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @01:23PM (#24291617)

    Guys, guys.
    We've got it covered. Just close your eyes, bend over, and wait for Silverlight.

    • by Joebert ( 946227 )

      Just close your eyes, bend over, and wait for Silverlight.

      That has inspired me to install a traffic signal over my headboard.

  • by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo ( 1000167 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @01:23PM (#24291619)
    Where I work we're constantly scaling our web software needs to fit the situation, and I have yet to be able to cross a vector and a scalar!
  • by mmell ( 832646 )
  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @01:27PM (#24291689) Homepage Journal
    and also openajax alliance constitutes what we call 'browser users' on the internet ...

    that alliance should try to make ajax actually something of use to the internet, rather than trying to shape future browsers to their preference by staging limited scope polls and then pushing it as browser community's preferences.

    or, we can just kill all buzzword crowd and get it over with.
  • by PontifexPrimus ( 576159 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @01:28PM (#24291691)
    Ok, I'm normally a peaceful person, but if someone invents a way to trap me on a page and disable my back button I'll hunt that guy down and kill him. Seriously. I understand that AJAX doesn't play well with the back button, but if this cancellation of functionality is implemented so that every site can deploy it easily it will break the web as we know it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Dr_Banzai ( 111657 )

      That's what the Super Back Button is for.

      This could be the start of the back button arms race...

      • We must not allow a Back Button gap!

        On a more serious note, wouldn't it be nice to be able to attach a confirm box to the back button, which allows the user to still go back if they desire, yet lets them know that they may lose the data within the ajax app?
    • by urcreepyneighbor ( 1171755 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @01:37PM (#24291869)

      <sarcasm>Well, you see... our new, half-assed, pieced-together technology will only properly work if we force users to use it the way we want. Remember: it's OUR content, so we get to determine how the USERS use it!</sarcasm>

      <serious> [].</serious>

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Overriding the back button would lead to evil behavior on some websites. I think what would be better is to have a way to register "the page has advanced" events with the browser when dynamic content is loaded. In other words, the back/forward buttons could be tied to application states that aren't necessarily a result of a complete page load. This would be like the YUI Browser History Manager [], but with a simpler set up and no libraries to include.

      The only problem is that sites could load up the application

  • by TorKlingberg ( 599697 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @01:28PM (#24291705)
    It seems the vote was open to anyone on the internet, and only 222 people answered. There will probably be more people writing comments in this thread.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jsebrech ( 525647 )

      As one of the people who voted on it, I can tell you that I considered the vote well-advertised inside of the ajax development community. Many of the voters are the people building the javascript libraries that are powering "web 2.0" (hate that term, but it applies here).

  • by mdm-adph ( 1030332 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @01:29PM (#24291713)

    ...who doesn't want cross-domain access? I'm perfectly fine with making server side code to parse whatever I need and then feed it to the browser via the local domain.

    Am I missing something? Something about making a browser more independent of the server or something?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by _xeno_ ( 155264 )

      That cross-domain security doesn't really solve a damned thing?

      Remember the "Samy is my hero" MySpace virus []? OK, the Wikipedia article calls it a "cross-site scripting vulnerability" but it wasn't, exactly. It was in the sense that MySpace was allowing JavaScript from user-supplied text to be sent to the client. But once inserted into his profile, it no longer crossed domains. It used AJAX to act with the user's credentials on the same domain.

      Cross-domain security didn't do anything to protect against that

  • said "IE" and "standards" in the same sentence...
  • Sliding Panes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @01:36PM (#24291829) Homepage Journal

    I'd love Firefox to let me set not just exclusive tabs each with their own page, but also to let me slide around a dividing border between two panels, each with its own page in it. Side by side, or top/bottom, or a grid of X x Y. Let me look at two (or more) pages at once, scrolling each independently inside its pane. Comparing. copy/pasting. Like Excel and OO.o spreadsheets can allocate ranges of cells to separate window "portals" onto the sheet below.

    • And along with that, I'd like it to scroll when I put the mouse over it and scroll my mouse button. It drives me nuts when I try to scroll a background window in Windows, and the foreground window scrolls.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kugrian ( 886993 )

      Like Split Browser []?

  • SVG animation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gr8_phk ( 621180 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @01:37PM (#24291863)
    I'm glad Firefox has SVG and is improving it. I really want to see SVG animation. It sucks to use java script just to cause a diagram to have a few moving parts when animate transform would do the trick.
  • by apathy maybe ( 922212 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @01:41PM (#24291937) Homepage Journal

    Don't we already have that? Yes, yes we do, it's called TinyMCE [] and it is licensed under the LGPL and can be included on your form with just a couple of lines in your HTML code.
    Oh wait, you want native rich text editing? Yeah, like you are really going to get a consistent experience across different browsers...

    You know what I want from my web browser? I want it not to freeze when loading large (and/or lots of) images, and I want secure JavaScript, including killing off all JavaScript easily (none of this take over the browser with 50.000 alerts crap). Yeah, I know Opera has that last one, but I want a [i]free[/i] browser as well.

    Anything else? Security sounds nice. I personally don't have much of a use for vector graphics as a developer, but I can see how they would be useful for everyone else.

    Ummm... Maybe I'm just not very imaginative, but I tend to find that stability and security top my list of what I want nearly every time.

    (Though I have to admit, the new address bar in Firefox 3 is nicer then the Firefox 2 bar.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jsebrech ( 525647 )

      Don't we already have that? Yes, yes we do, it's called TinyMCE [] and it is licensed under the LGPL and can be included on your form with just a couple of lines in your HTML code.

      With rich text editing they mean a foundation sufficient to build a light-weight word clone in. The current browser support for rich text is so poor that it's not possible to use it without some whizkid's library, and even with the library it's really poor, barely up to the level of wordpad in capability.

      Ummm... Maybe

  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @01:44PM (#24292003) Homepage Journal

    I'd like HTML forms to include a tag that uniquely identifies the site publishing the form, and the form itself. Probably a hash of the form's field names, signed by the site with its SSL certificate. Then I could click an option on the form to repopulate it with the last data I already inserted into that same form the last time I filled it (or any previous time, in a history). Storing that data on my local terminal, rather than leave it stored at the remote site.

    And I'd like for the full range of common personal info fields to have standard names, so I could click to fill out the neverending series of personal info forms the Web challenges me with all day, every day. Click to refill the form with the same info as last time I visited it. Or one dataset from a list of named profiles stored on my local machine. So I don't have to remember what personal info I disclosed to this or that site, or scrounge for it from the other places I keep that info stored personally.

    If the system let my browser point at a "personal info server", I could click to populate these personal info forms using anyone's terminal, not just my own, though I'd have to trust the terminal not to exploit the personal data exposed while using its browser as a transfer point. Maybe these personal info forms could also take a URL that points directly at my personal info server, and let the challenging server direct its request to my personal info server, which lets the challenging server login (as prearranged) and get the data specified as available to it.

    That infrastructure would take some work. But it would save me a lot of trouble every day. And therefore save a lot of trouble for millions of others in the same boat. While lowering the transaction barriers, without sacrificing security. And indeed increasing security, by minimizing the personal data stored outside my control, at numerous (and forgettable) unaccountable remote servers.

  • by oodaloop ( 1229816 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:03PM (#24292313)
    You'd think on a geek website the CSS would work, links wouldn't take you to random parts of the page, text wouldn't constantly overlap, etc. If maybe we could get that simple stuff to work first before we take on all this over stuff.
  • by doti ( 966971 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:12PM (#24292463) Homepage

    Funny, just now I was checking the Roadmap for Inkscape []. SVG animation is planned for the next-next release (0.48, it's 0.46 now, 0.47 will be basically some internal re-factoring).

    Unfortunately, multi-page support, which was the feature I was looking for, is planned for 0.49 (or 0.50?).

  • by JustShootThemAll ( 1284898 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:17PM (#24292553)

    The ONLY thing that has to be added, and needs to be added about ten years ago, is a date input field in forms.

    One that is locale-aware (DD-MM-YYYY, MM-DD-YYYY, or whatever you're locale used). Currently you have to jump through several hoops and it is near impossible to get a foolproof date input.

  • 'Bout time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rs79 ( 71822 ) <> on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:21PM (#24292619) Homepage

    Oh sure, NOW people understand we need vector graphics.

    I saw NeWS demo'd by sun in 84. I used native postscript extensively in 88+.

    Then I watched html make a mess out of nearly everything to do with the network (html email? huh?).

    Bout friggin time poeple woke up.

  • it's WHAT time? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by poot_rootbeer ( 188613 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @03:05PM (#24293259)

    Looks like that it is time for all browsers, in particular, IE, to seriously consider supporting standards-based vector graphics.

    Right. How could Microsoft, a company with 90,000 employees and a market cap of over $250 Billion, possibly fail to respond to the desires of a hundred customers who spent a grand total of $0.00 on Internet Explorer?

  • by hkmwbz ( 531650 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:18PM (#24294465) Journal

    Among all the feature requests, 2D Drawing/Vector Graphics is clearly the most desired feature by the community.

    So basically, Canvas and SVG? Both supported by Opera, Safari and Firefox (AFAIK). In fact, Opera currently has the best SVG implementation, period. Best Canvas support, I'm not sure, but since Apple invented it I guess that could be Safari.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"