I really don’t understand why vector graphics haven’t taken off more. The power of vectors, to have lossless quality no matter what size something is and smaller code seem to me to be the saviour of GUIs. A long time ago, at the end of the year 2000, I created a prototype web site for a client that contained very advanced graphs and other vector-based elements based on VML (an introduction to VML), which was very exciting! For once, I’m going to say something nice about IE and that is that I really like the built-in support for VML.
This, of course, led me to believe that instead of using old bitmaps on web sites, we’d have vector graphics all over, graphics whose content could be updated on-the-fly with scripting. Vector graphics that would also dramatically decrease the size of all web pages.

Sure, Macromedia Flash has gotten more and more popular, and Adobe have their SVG Viewer, but these two need plug-ins to work. I’m amazed that vector graphics still aren’t an integral part of the current web browsers. The SVG recommendation was released in January 2003 (also incredible that it didn’t happen sooner) and Mozilla are working on implementing built-in support in future versions and Opera plan to have it in Opera 8.

Another interesting thing is the upcoming Avalon rendering engine in the upcoming version of Windows, which will be vector-based.

I’m just baffled that it took so long for companies to realize the strength of it.


  • Dejan says:

    It usually takes some time for any new technology to take ground in industry, sometimes more and sometimes less. However, maybe most amazing example is concept of object oriented programming that was invented in mid-60s and it took around 25 years for it to be reinvented and popularized. And it took another decade for scientists to show that OOP sucks as a concept, but that it complete different story not belonging here… (I will take my flames along with me, thanx).

  • Robert says:

    Do that, please! 🙂

    I still think things should have happened faster with vector graphics. I mean, look at the speed of evolvement regarding other web related technologies.

  • WW says:

    I rembember that prototype, it was a long time ago, and it will still be considered high-tech and before it's time!

    But that prototype didn't decrease in size, all those javascripts made it quite heavy.

  • Robert says:

    Yes, it was a very interesting project!

    I don't have the code anymore, so I can't really reply to the statement regarding the size.

    However, as you said, it was pretty high-tech for those times, hence lots of advanced scripting.

    It also contained a pretty early version of the AJAX concept, with XML data islands.

    But it wasn't the VML code's fault if the page was heavy; with lots of images instead, it would've been at least three times the size it was.

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