Microsoft Joins W3C SVG Working Group

Microsoft is joining the W3C SVG Working Group. Presumably that means there’s some interest in SVG for IE or Silverlight or both. I wonder what led to the change of heart.

I pretty much wrote off any chance of SVG being mainstream in 2005 when Adobe bought Macromedia. Adobe was previously somewhat of a SVG pusher, but Macromedia obviously is the home of Flash. As expected the SVG love dried up. The gap that Adobe filled was adding support for SVG to IE. If IE supports it natively that’s a game changer.

Gecko already has decent support for SVG. WebKit has support for a while. Opera has support as well. Without analyzing in too much detail there should be a subset that’s usable across current browsers and hopefully IE by the time IE 9.0 ships.

I must admit given the choice I’m still more interested in Microsoft supporting <canvas/>, but no word on that as of yet. I’m still hopeful.

Hooray for web standards!

Flash For iPhone

Gear Live is reporting that Flash for the iPhone is coming. Given how many times rumors like this come around, I’m slightly skeptical until I actually see confirmation for myself.

That said, if there is an implementation, I suspect it will be a special mobile version, and very MPEG-4 centric. By that I mean H.264 as the encouraged (if not only) video encoding, and AAC as the preferred audio format, with MP3.

There’s a simple reason for this. AAC, MP3, and H.264 can be processed using hardware decoding. This means the CPU isn’t needed, resulting in lower power consumption. Many mobile devices have specific hardware for this reason. There is unknown hardware in the iPhone, which may very well be for hardware decoding.

By leveraging hardware decoding it allows Apple to offer things like video without sacrificing thermals or battery life. Since Flash can now use H.264 as well, it could offload some of that complicated processing. The CPU itself contains PowerVR MBX 3D graphics.

This could allow for most Flash to work, with much lower power consumption. The downside to this is that VP6 encoded video wouldn’t be able to use hardware decoding. For many online video sites (which use VP6 since H.264 is still very new) you’d have to run off of the CPU meaning more thermals and power consumption. A notable exception is YouTube, which thanks to Google’s work with the Apple apparently uses H.264 by means of a custom application.

Adobe Buys Macromedia

I didn’t expect to see that in the news this morning (hat tip glazou), but I did expect it to happen years ago. The two companies just seem complementary. As proof of that I’ve often heard people confuse the companies and their products. This is big news for the industry as a whole. I can see many things changing:

  • Daniel Glazman mentions that there’s likely only room for 1 html editor. Go Live or DreamWeaver. I’m personally going to suggests DreamWeaver survives. Simply because it’s more robust. It’s advanced features such as editing code, php, etc. are much better than Go Live. It reaches a larger market. As for the impact on NVU? Well I guess that remains to be seen. I guess people will now be looking to see if DreamWeaver will be the only real commercial game in town.
  • SVG. This I think is the largest impact this deal is going to have. The fate of SVG. Adobe has been pushing SVG since very early on. But now with Flash in their hands. How do they feel about an open standard? Will they perhaps decide to open Flash to relax critics and just push their software as the ‘ultimate Flash IDE’? Will they stifle the growth of SVG? Or will they perhaps make the Flash plugin render SVG just like QuickTime or other media plugins support multiple formats?
  • Adobe has made a business of being cross platform (similar to Netscape). Their Acrobat Reader is available for virtually anything (even the Palm OS). Does this mean better Flash support for non-windows computers (which has historically sucked)?
  • PDF + Flash + Shockwave = ?
  • New products? Will Illustrator and Flash converge?
  • How does Photoshop fit in? Will it integrate with Macromedia Products?

Overall this is a groundbreaking event. It’s not unexpected as their products were complementary for ages and it was inevitable for them to come together. It’s finally happened.

Composer to continue full steam

Daniel Glazman apparently is starting a new company!

MozillaZine has it covered.

Composer was never powerful enough to meet my needs as a web developer. But perhaps they can take it to that level. Imagine a Composer product competing with Adobe GoLive and Macromedia Dreamweaver.

All built on a Gecko Foundation….

And Daniel is all into standards. Even mentions joining W3C. I imagine that means we will be seeing the most standards compliant WYSIWYG web design application ever.

IMHO I would do a few things to composer:

  1. Autocomplete tags like PHPEdit does. In fact, that’s my preferred editor. I use it constantly for HTML. The best auto-complete implementation I’ve ever used. Just enough to speed me up, yet not get in my face. I would love to see Composer adopt that for source editing.
  2. Support for HTML, XHTML, XML, WML, XUL, JS, CSS, PERL, PHP, PYTHON, syntax highlighting, and code-complete where applicable (closing tags, etc.).
  3. Valid code. Keep getting closer to 100% valid code all the time. It’s good, and should keep improving.
  4. A full IDE feeling. Take PHPEdit, MSVC, or any IDE. Get that type of functionality and feel in those menu’s. Perhaps a pro/lite mode. Lite as it is now, Pro takes on a more professional, and more thorough (complex) interface.

Perhaps more later. These are my main idea. I would love to see a real open source based editor that’s thorough enough for me to be using on a daily basis. To me, Composer is a toy with potential. Not quite professional quality.

I think Daniel’s venture may be the ones to give it the emphasis it needs to become that killer app. The new resizing images, among other features added in recent history have been a good step. He’s got the experience. Now he can devote himself to composer as an Application, not a component. Yea!