The idea came to mind when I started to migrate from a print-based presentation of my family history to a web-based version. I found that the complex, multi-page charts that I had produced couldn't easily and seamlessly be used in the new environment.
SVG is a language based on XML for describing two-dimensional vector and mixed vector/raster graphics. SVG content is stylable, scalable to different display resolutions, and can be viewed stand-alone, mixed with HTML content, or embedded using XML namespaces within other XML languages. SVG also supports dynamic changes; script can be used to create interactive documents, and animations can be performed using declarative animation features or by using script. The SVG specification is an open standard developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) since 1999.
This proposal would provide the following benefits to FH users:
- Incorporation of charts into web sites. Currently, FH charts are not included in the pages that can be incorporated in a FH-produced web site - or at any rate, there is nothing in the web site wizard to support this. The only options are:
- Export to one of the raster formats, and incorporate this as an image in a web page
- Export as PDF, and display the PDF as part of the web site
SVG files can be styled using CSS (cascading stylesheets) which could augment or override formatting generated in FH.
- The option to edit charts outside FH. FH provides excellent charting capability, but there are occasions when users may wish to go beyond this, for example:
- combining charts and other graphical elements
- re-arranging boxes or lines in a way that FH doesn't support.
- creating multiple smaller charts from a single large chart generated in FH
- Chart images that are crisp and clear at any resolution or size. FH's existing formats (other than PDF) are raster formats which do not have this property.
- Incorporation of charts into reports. When reports are exported to RTF, they can be processed by external word-processing software. Most modern word processors include support for SVG files, so this would make it possible to incorporate charts (or parts of them) into the body of a report (with all the benefits of scalabilty).
- generate markup that links from boxes on the SVG chart to the corresponding text file. In a FH generated website, the format is indnnn.html but a solution should recognise that that many users export from FH to other products, and permit the user to specify a different format.
- support the the 'class' and 'style' attributes on all elements to support element-specific styling, using CSS (cascading style sheets).
- generate SVG charts in the website wizard, with minimal configuration, as a quick way for users to explore the benefits of SVG.
- export SVG charts to permit their use in the contexts described above.