Industrial Graphics Get Standardized for the Web

2 minute read
Angela Natividad avatar
OASIS and W3C recently announced their joint partnership for WebCGM 2.0. This is a new industry standard for technical illustrations in e-documents. Computer Graphics Metafile (CGM) is the ISO standard for tree-structured binary graphics typically used by industries like aviation, architecture, defense and transportation. However, the results of the effort between OASIS and W3C have still yet to cover some ground -- the best use for CGM on the Web still remains a touch unclear. WebCGM has certainly found purpose in technical illustration, e-documentation, and geophysical data scenarios. The Web context has the opportunity to bring diverse CGM application together, representing a kind of interoperability agreement between users and implementers of the ISO CGM standard.In 1999 W3C published WebCGM Version 1.0, the first Recommendation. Later OASIS incorporated CGM Open, a group developed specifically to advance the adoption of WebCGM. As interest built for WebCGM 2.0 and users began demanding improvements, W3C and OASIS decided to work together to develop the new standard.What does WebCGM 2.0 do that's so different? Mainly WebCGM 2.0 now includes a DOM (API) specification for programming access to WebCGM tools, as well as specs of an XML Companion File (XCF) architecture for externalization of non-graphical metadata. In addition, v2.0 builds on the foundations of v1.0's graphical and intelligent content, balancing graphical expressive power and implementability in an efficient manner. Standardized metadata elements are included to reinforce hyperlink and document navigation and purportedly enhancing the searchability of WebCGM picture content."Today, industrial designers reap the benefits of the cooperative work between W3C and OASIS," says W3C CEO Dr. Steve Bratt. "When the developer and designer communities asked for new features and improvements in this critical technology, our organizations combined efforts and expertise, and provided WebCGM 2.0." OASIS CEO Patrick Gannon adds, "WebCGM demonstrates the benefits that can be realized when standards organizations work together for the good of the marketplace [...] The result of this collaboration between OASIS and W3C is a single open standard for CGM on the Web that has been approved by the membership of both our organizations." He additionally noted that the endorsement of both companies serves as an insurance policy for global users -- lending confidence that the WebCGM standards are here to stay, and grow.In related news, the somewhat more visually-tuned W3C just rang in 10 years of (CSS) style.