I recently stumbled over a little piece of information that, while quite stale, still seems widely underreported in the places I hang out. Adobe announced some time last fall that its SVG Viewer is dead and gone as of January 1, 2008.
Is anyone really surprised? Given that SVG was Adobe’s meagre foothold in the web-based vector market, easily dwarfed by Flash, and given that Adobe now owns Flash, continuing to produce a competitor seems a little self-defeating from a business perspective. It’s been more or less inevitable since the completed merger that this day would come.
But it comes at an interesting time. Or, more like an inconvenient time. Recent versions of Firefox have natively supported SVG since version 1.5. Opera 8 added support as well. Safari nightly builds support it, though it hasn’t yet filtered out to a major release. (This uptake of browsers supporting SVG natively is likely another reason/excuse why the business case wasn’t there for Adobe’s continued development.)
What about Internet Explorer though? If you guessed IE lacks any form of native SVG support, you win the bonus round. The only way to experience SVG within IE has always been via the Adobe plugin, and that house of cards just came crashing down.
As for official support within IE, so far we’re still batting zero. Chris Wilson of the IE team popped into a comment thread last year to dispel the rumour that we can definitely expect official support in the next version of IE. (He did however state that as the SVG momentum is picking up elsewhere, he expects they’ll add it at some point in the future. Nice, but nothing we can count on yet.)
Overall, it seems there’s some decent momentum happening right now. I’m cautiously optimistic that some day in the next few years, we’ll actually see a usable subset of SVG across the board. I just wonder what we’ll use for authoring tools…