editing the spec, creating the tools
adobe appears extremely active in the svg arena. jon ferraiolo from adobe is both an author and the editor of the svg spec. he delivered a demonstration of adobe's svg tools in may 1999 at the www8 conference. shown were an adobe illustrator import/export utility for reading and writing svg files from illustrator, and a web browser plugin for displaying svg files. the tools are likely to be made publicly available shortly after the finalization of the svg spec this fall, however adobe is also running a developer program to test the tools out before launch.

about adobe's svg plugin
jon's plugin demo focused primarily on the plugin's current ability to render flat svg inside a browser. while that sure was nice to see, i was really curious about how things like interactivity and animation would be incorporated. i talked with jon about those topics after his session. while svg will have basic linking capabilities natively, jon said advanced interactivity and animation were still up in the air. current thinking is that those capabilities are likely to be provided by javascript (ecmascript) and the dom. of course, that scared me a little because i've spent a bunch of time trying to communicate between flash and web browsers, and there are lots of time consuming issues a developer has to overcome. when i described some of the limitations i had run into with flash and scripting, jon assured me that adobe is committed to making things work properly and reliably...he even suggested that if it were absolutely necessary, a javascript interpreter could be added to the plugin so the normal plugin-browser communication problems could be avoided. jon noted that the plugin--which currently weighs in at about a meg but will probably be only half that when shipping--already has a complete xml and css parser. in fact, chris lilley went so far as to say that even now the adobe svg plugin basically uses the browser for window management and pretty much nothing else. whatever the final product includes, the adobe svg plugin will definitely give web designers one of the earliest tastes of svg on the web. finally, due to my chronic plugin-phobia, i asked jon if a java version will be produced. he claimed it was possible because adobe has already produced something similar for pgml, and sun has done good ground work towards supporting svg with its java2d api. chris hopes to see an open source viewer produced, and pointed out that black dirt software already has such a viewer in the works.

what about an authoring tool?
it looks like adobe will be a major supporter of svg. the only unanswered question is will they work on a dedicated svg authoring tool, or only on an illustrator/svg module. svg can provide things like style sheets, alternative content, and text descriptions that don't translate to the illustrator authoring model very well. in addition, svg on the web will likely include animation and interactivity--things that macromedia's dreamweaver and flash already are handling. no word yet on whether adobe has any intention of producing a tool for authoring that kind of media.

adobe's svg technology preview
early in 2000, adobe opened their info centre on svg up to the public. if you haven't visited it yet, and you're at all interested in svg, make it your very next stop. at the site, adobe offers fully functional versions of their svg browser plug-in and illustrator-to-svg file converter. they also present rational, thorough viewpoints on the role they feel svg will play on the web in the future, and give clear demos and tutorials on the technology.

revision history
may 21, 1999: posted.
june 2, 1999: updated content based on chris lilley's feedback. thanks chris!
oct 12, 1999: fixed link to "flash and scripting".
feb 15, 2000: added link to adobe's svg technology preview site, and gave in to popular demand to lighten the background of this page :).