Taking a closer look at SVG
10:14, 7 Mar 2000 UTC | Edd Dumbill

In the wake of XTech 2000, XML-DEV members have been taking an analytical look at SVG, concerned in particular by the use of attributes to contain extended path information.

Don Park (who else?) kicked off the questioning, observing that the long list of path instructions in attributes prevented structural manipulation via common XML processing tools such as the DOM or XSLT.

Peter Murray-Rust sympathized with some of the design decisions the SVG had to take, describing his own experience with CML. However, he stated his desire to be able to perform XSLT-based parsing of SVG. (It was later pointed out that the SAXON[?] XSLT processor's tokenize() extension function may be of use here).

Jon Ferraiolo of Adobe, editor of the SVG spec, posted a response to the design queries, citing four points in favor of the attribute notation for path data:

  1. The desire to keep SVG file size down
  2. The largest contributor to file size is path data
  3. Compression on verbose path syntaxes didn't yield much additional benefit than compression on compact syntaxes
  4. The DOM could become huge if each path data command was its own element

Ferraiolo then went on to expand on the design considerations, and commented:

We really appreciate everyone's interest and we like to hear feedback of any type. Even if we don't respond to feedback, we are monitoring and discuss the topics that come up there in working group discussions.

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