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Google to slip SVG into Internet Explorer

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JavaOne Microsoft might be hesitating on Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) in Internet Explorer 8, but Google's pressing on.

The search giant's engineers are building a JavaScript library to render static and dynamic SVG in Microsoft's browser. Google promised that the library, a Javascript shim, will simply drop into IE.

API evangelist Patrick Chanezon told The Reg that although the project, called SVG Web, is not yet ready for prime time, Google hopes to have code ready in time for its SVG Open conference at the company's Mountain View, California, campus in October.

Engineers have already devised ExplorerCanvas to put the ability to draw 2D graphics using Canvas into IE.

SVG has a huge presence on the web. This facet of the World Wide Web Consortium's HTML 5 spec is supported in Firefox, Safari, Opera, Chrome, and Apple's iPhone, and is used in Google Maps and Google Docs. It also topped a list of features wanted by developers in a OpenAJAX browser wish list last year.

Microsoft, though, has resisted implementing SVG in IE - despite committing to support for web standards with IE 8, and despite the fact IE that remains the world's most widely use browser.

IE chief Dean Hachamovitch told The Reg at the time of IE8's launch that SVG didn't make the cut because Microsoft wanted to do a "good job" of the implementation and test suite.

There's suspicion, though, that the reason has more to do with Microsoft's internal politics, with the company wanting graphics and drawing in IE done using Silverlight instead.

SVG Web is more than an answer to Microsoft's foot-dragging, however. Google has declared for HTML 5 on the web, proclaiming last week that the web programming model has "won".

Support for graphics capabilities in HTML 5 should also be seen as Google's partial answer to Adobe Systems' Flash. Google has complained that Flash is not open source and its development is not driven by the community. Google said the benefit of SVG Web is that it would sit inside the DOM whereas Flash "sits on top of the web, it's not part of the web". ®

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