By Craig Buckler

Is SVG Finally Coming to Internet Explorer?

By Craig Buckler

IE SVGCould one of my top wishes for IE9 be coming true? According to the IEBlog, Microsoft have joined the W3C SVG Working Group! Here’s a quote from Patrick Dengler, a Senior Program Manager on the IE team:

As a part of Microsoft’s continued commitment to interoperability and standards support, yesterday we submitted our request to join the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) Working Group of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). We’re excited to take part in ensuring future versions of the SVG spec will meet the needs of developers and end users.

Web developers have passionately bemoaned IE’s lack of SVG facilities for many years — it’s the only mainstream browser which does not support the image standard. Microsoft may have stopped short of announcing a full SVG implementation in IE9, but the signs are looking good.

I always suspected Silverlight to be the main reason why Microsoft avoided SVG. The company want to increase Silverlight’s following and possibly considered the image format to be a competitor. I’m not convinced that’s the case and, even if it were, good SVG support has a greater potential to reduce dependency on Adobe Flash. That could ultimately be a benefit to Silverlight’s future.

However, it could simply be the case that Microsoft’s previous lack of investment in the IE team made SVG a low priority. After all, it was more important to fix IE’s rendering bugs first.

Whatever the reasons, let’s hope Microsoft implement a full standards-based SVG rendering engine in Internet Explorer 9.0 or sooner. Coming tomorrow — 9 Reasons Why SVGs are Important for the Web.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s hope they will. Just wonder wich version will be first supporting SVG and how good it will be.

    This can lead to major breakthrough of new solutions.

  • steve_web

    Certainly hope so! – I’d like to believe that the IE Team is smart enough to realize that mentioning that they joined the SVG group… without explicitly stating that they didn’t plan to support it in IE9… would only make developers “presume” that it was a serious consideration for the next version of IE.

    That all said, I still have to support IE6 users (unfortunately)… hopefully with IE9 – I.T. departments can really get pushing with moving off of legacy IE and moving all users to the latest version and/or give them the option to install Firefox or Chrome.

  • Q.E.D.

    It seems more likely to me that IE’s reluctance to adopt SVG has more to do with Microsoft’s use of VML in its office products. By cornerning the Office software market with VML in Exel, Word and Outlook, MS had a distinct advantage in the browser war by displaying VML in IE. Unfortunately, IE never switched to the non-proprietory SVG and nobody else took up the VML standard, so developers never really learned to use XML based vector graphics as part of their basic web design.

    I’ve been programming with JavaScript and VML for 6 years (when IE covered >90% of the market) and while programmers could do some amazing stuff with this combo, it wasn’t cross-browser supported so it never went anywhere. I’ve only seen two or three examples of JavaScript and SVG that even compared to the instant graphing or interactive animated graphics done in VML and JavaScript in IE. Essentially, IE had the same capabilities as the <canvas> tag going back to IE5.5.

  • Don’t stuff it up, Microsoft!

  • Edgar

    I seriously doubt that Silverlight would be the reason MS avoided SVG. SVG isn’t really a true competitor to Silverlight, because Silverlight offers so much more. SVG allows developers to use vector rendering in their web page content. Silverlight allows developers to write applications in most .NET languages, create applications that run out of the browser and even create fully trusted applications. With Silverlight I can create an application that runs in the browser and then easily take that same application and turn it into a stand alone application that runs outside of the browser. That simply isn’t possible with SVG. Anyhow I still hope MS adds SVG support to IE. It’s a much needed addition to the browser.

  • Hi Edgar,

    SVGs on their own don’t challenge Silverlight or Flash, but they could with a little JavaScript magic. With the exception of video and complex games, most of animated effects you see today could be achieved without plugins and offer better accessibility and SEO.

    That’s not to say Silverlight and Flash don’t have their place, but standards-based alternatives are becoming more viable.

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