With Snap.svg, Adobe gets animated SVG religion -- again

An open-source JavaScript library for browsers can give developers some of the features they miss as Flash fades from the Web.

Web developers might have looked to Flash in the past, but Adobe's Snap.svg software -- a JavaScript library for Web browsers that automates various vector-graphics tasks such as animation -- is something of a substitute.
Web developers might have looked to Flash in the past, but Adobe's Snap.svg software -- a JavaScript library for Web browsers that automates various vector-graphics tasks such as animation -- is something of a substitute. screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Eight years after Adobe Systems acquired Macromedia for $3.4 billion, in part for its Flash technology that vanquished the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) format, the company has released an open-source project called Snap.svg designed to bring some Flash-like characteristics to the Web.

Flash is slowly being squeezed off the Web -- at least newer parts of it -- by the fact that it doesn't run on mobile devices and that browser developers are starting to banish plug-ins. Adobe has redirected a lot of its staffing accordingly to Web standards that work in browsers without plug-ins, and SVG is one such standard.

Adobe announced Snap.svg Wednesday at the HTML5 Developer's Conference in San Francisco.

Adobe was a founder and major supporter of SVG back before it lost out to Flash a decade ago. So in a way, the Snap.svg project is retro as well as forward-looking. Like Mozilla's Shumway, it could help fill the void for some developers who want a Flash substitute with a future.

Snap.svg's mascot is a crocodile.
Snap.svg's mascot is a crocodile. Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Snap.svg is a JavaScript library that Web developers can build into their pages to enable flashier (so to speak) SVG features. And it'll dovetail with Adobe's new suite of Web-standards developer tools such as Edge, the company said.

"Snap.svg is a powerful and intuitive API for animating and manipulating SVG content, offering capabilities like masking, clipping, patterns, full gradients and groups to make content more interactive and engaging," Adobe said of the software.

Snap.svg author is Adobe's Dmitry Baranovskiy, who wrote an earlier SVG project for browsers called Raphael. Snap.svg, in contrast to that software, works on modern browsers.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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