Related link: http://www.opera.com/pressreleases/en/2005/03/16/
Opera, the desktop and mobile browser maker, has just announced it is adding SVG Tiny support to their desktop browser. This is a very significant announcement as this makes Opera the first desktop browser to announce default support for a standard profile of SVG. This announcement also builds on last month’s announcement that Opera was adding support for Ikivo’s SVG Tiny viewer for their mobile browser.
Opera is actually not the first browser vendor to look at SVG. Mozilla have an SVG project that is well advanced already, providing SVG-enabled builds for both the Mozilla suite and Firefox. Also, the KSVG have been working hard on brining SVG support to Konqueror and the whole KDE 3.2 platform. But what makes the Opera announcement a breakthrough is that they’re the first one to add SVG natively, default and with announced compliance to a W3C specification, in this case SVG Tiny. So far both the Mozilla and KSVG offerings are made available as optional packages or alternate builds as development continues.
However, I think it is important to note that this doesn’t necessarily mean a lot of changes in the purely technical front. So far it doesn’t look like Opera’s SVG support is adding anything to what you could already have had running for years with most desktop browsers with the Adobe SVG Viewer. Indeed, Opera supports a (very popular) subset of SVG, SVG Tiny, and apparently only supports SVG as embedded within (X)HTML using the
<object> or a similar mechanism. But I can only applaud Opera’s decision and recognition of SVG as a strong standard for the Web.
But these technical considerations cannot cloud this amazing announcement. In my opinion it is still very significant as it ties in with a general renewal of innovation in the browser. 2004 was a big year with the release of Firefox, and recently Apple also brought us Safari and more exposure to KHTML’s rendering engine. I’m waiting to see what impact Opera’s decision to add SVG as a part of their Web rendering platform will have on other browsers out there (although I’m not holding my breath for SVG in IE7).
Well done Opera!