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Using SVG as the Rendering Model for Structured and Graphically Complex Web Material

Mong, Julius; Brailsford, David F.


Julius Mong

David F. Brailsford


Christine Vanoirbeek

Cecile Roisin

Ethan Munson


This paper reports some experiments in using SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), rather than the browser default of (X)HTML/CSS, as a potential Web-based rendering technology, in an attempt to create an approach that integrates the structural and display aspects of a Web document in a single XML-compliant envelope.
Although the syntax of SVG is XML based, the semantics of the primitive graphic operations more closely resemble those of page description languages such as PostScript or PDF. The principal usage of SVG, so far, is for inserting complex graphic material into Web pages that are predominantly controlled via (X)HTML and CSS.
The conversion of structured and unstructured PDF into SVG is discussed. It is found that unstructured PDF converts into pages of SVG with few problems, but difficulties arise when one attempts to map the structural components of a Tagged PDF into an XML skeleton underlying the corresponding SVG. These difficulties are not fundamentally syntactic; they arise largely because browsers are innately bound to (X)HTML/CSS as their default rendering model. Some suggestions are made for ways in which SVG could be more totally integrated into browser functionality, with the possibility that future browsers might be able to use SVG as their default rendering paradigm.


Mong, J., & Brailsford, D. F. (2003). Using SVG as the Rendering Model for Structured and Graphically Complex Web Material. In C. Vanoirbeek, C. Roisin, & E. Munson (Eds.),

Conference Name ACM Symposium on Document Engineering
End Date Nov 22, 2003
Publication Date Jan 1, 2003
Deposit Date Oct 3, 2005
Publicly Available Date Oct 9, 2007
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords PDF, SVG, XML, vector graphics.
Public URL
Additional Information Final draft od paper accepted for Doc. Eng. 2003


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