SVG is Scalable Vector Graphics, a W3C standard for XML graphics.
Years ago, as part of the ODA, I worked on a project to try and start an OpenSVG consortium, to develop a set of full-function SVG libraries. Ultimately, the effort wasn’t successful.
LIkely the biggest impediment ot the adoption of SVG has been the lack of good support for it in Internet Explorer. Adobe provided a basic SVG plugin for IE, but dropped support for it in favor of SWF/Flash. Microsoft never provided any support for SVG, opting instead to go their own way with XAML.
This is a big deal, or at least should be a big deal, for the CAD industry. Here’s why:
As of today, the only meaningful standard (or, rather, de-facto standard) for 2D CAD interoperability is DWG. Unfortunately, DWG is a dull tool, unless you’re only talking about sharing files with people using AutoCAD. Autodesk’s implementation(s) of DWG are undocumented, and were never designed for open extensibility. The ODA lost the ability to provide full DWG interoperability as a result of Autodesk’s 2006 lawsuit.
If there is to be a future for 2D CAD and/or BIM interoperability, there needs to be a new standard — one that is reasonably compatible with DWG, but which isn’t intimately tied into the object structures used by AutoCAD. Whatever that standard may ultimately look like, it should be built on an open foundation, with a truly open specification, supported by a commercial software-friendly open source rendering library.
Google’s embrace of SVG gives me at least a little hope that this is possible. Of course, to really make it happen would require the support of at least a handful of major CAD vendors. Getting that support may not be all that easy. The politics of standards support can be really brutal, because major vendors are so focused on competitive advantage.