Opera 8 and the future of SVG

The final version of Opera 8 is available at their FTP site and the official release is expected tomorrow. Details including ftp mirrors at Opera Watch

The perhaps most interesting new feature in Opera 8 is native SVG (Tiny) support. It came out of nowhere in 8.0 beta 3 and is improved for the final release. A quick check at the W3C SVG test suite reveals that it works really well. As Opera is the fiirst browser to implement native SVG support it’s no surprise that very few web sites uses SVG at the moment.

But that will change. It has been revealed that Opera’s open source competitor, Mozilla Firefox, will include native SVG support in the upcoming 1.1 release, scheduled for June this year. With two major browser makers supporting SVG, web developers can finally start using it and expect that some of their visitors will enjoy it.

But dark clouds are also appearing in SVG heaven today. In a very surprising move, Adobe has merged with Macromedia (press release). Adobe is very important for the future of SVG since they control the best known SVG plugin for Internet Explorer. And sadly, most people still use that browser. SVG is a competitor to Macromedia’s Flash so what will Adobe/Macromedia do? Ditch SVG? No one knows but if they go for Flash only, it is a major step backwards for the adoption of SVG.

2 Responses to “Opera 8 and the future of SVG”

  1. Rob Says:

    I’ve seen hints that they might bring Flash content into PDF (though that could just be blind speculation). I don’t see why they wouldn’t share some technology between Flash and SVG. At the least they could do an import/export option (for a common subset of the features). One thing to remember is that Adobe is the buyer, so it’s up to them which technology (or combination of technologies) is pushed in the future.

  2. hb Says:

    Yeah, maybe they will try to make SVG/Flash more compatible. That would be nice. It’s just that I think it’s easier for Adobe/Macromedia to make money on Flash than on SVG as long as they control Flash and it has the biggest market share.