Sunday, April 10, 2011

Who knew #SVG supports #WebFonts

On #Commons Scalable Vector Graphics are the preferred format for graphics. The big advantage is that a SVG can be scaled up and down without losing any resolution.

As SVG has an XML definition, the aspects of an image are defined in text and need to be rendered. As text labels can be defined, it is possible to replace the text with text in another language and in other scripts.

When an image is to be rendered, the font needs to be present at some stage. This can achieved by having them locally, by having them present as a web font or by converting the text to graphics.

For many languages with Wikimedia projects we cannot rely on the presence of fonts that adequately show text. The WebFonts extension is to provide a solution for this. The software makes use of freely licensed fonts. These same fonts can be used to support server based SVG rendering.

One issue may be the complex scripts with diacritics like Indic languages or Hebrew. At SILPA there is an experimental tool that converts any text not only to PDF but also to SVG.

As the SVG technology has matured, it is time to review bugs like Bug 8898, Bug 10501 and Bug 21497. It may even be time to consider the use of animated SVG, something we do not do because of the backwards support for old browsers.
Thanks,
       GerardM
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