Remember those data guys? The programmers who saw XML as a way of rep- resenting data? They recognized a very subtle truth: XSLT is a compiler. XSLT takes a string (an XML document), parses it into lexical units (XML nodes), arranges those nodes in a tree structure, and then maps that tree struc- ture onto a new stringthe output stream. Compilers are nice tools to have, especially when the output of those streams could in fact be another XML docu- ment (it doesnt have to be HTML). XSLT soon ballooned out of proportion to its XSL sibling to such an extent that XSL became interchangeable with the transfor- mation language. Belatedly, XSL became XSL-Formatting Objects (XSL-FO), which is a way of describing page content that may end up becoming more important to the printing industry than it would be to browser manufacturers. From Stormy Beginnings, a  Common Standard 1998 was a good year for XML. Not only did it see the publication of the XML specification in December 1997, but people began looking for potential needs that werent being met by HTML but that might be met by XML. A big one loomed in the need for a vector graphics standard. PostScript has long been the de facto standard for describing vector-based graphics, or graphics that use equations rather than pixels to depict images. However, as is demonstrated previously, PostScript is a little too low level; it is a language that an expert could potentially write, but in general was far too opti- mized for machine use to be useful in the same way that HTML can be. HTML, however, includes nothing in the way of graphics primitives for drawing, so the field was largely ceded to proprietary standards written by third-party vendors. A few years before, a small company named Future Splash worked out a way of encoding vector graphics in a small bundle to allow for dynamic animations without the tedious download times of digital video. Future Splash became pop- ularso popular that in 1996 Macromedia (one of the largest established players in the multimedia field) purchased it, renaming it Flash. Flash, rendered through Macromedias Shockwave plug-in, has become the most common piece of pro- prietary software on the planet. Adobe and Macromedia have traditionally had a rivalry, and arguably they have been battling back and forth in the multimedia production and playback arena for several years. In 1998, Adobe submitted a proposal called the Precision Graphics Markup Language (PGML) to the W3C that basically described an XML- based graphics language. That same year, Microsoft had been looking at creating a vector markup lan- guage standard to complement its efforts with the XML, XSLT, and XML Schema (a way of defining data types associating with specific XML elements or attri- butes) specifications currently under submission. Macromedia at the time had released the specification for Flash but because it wasnt XML-based had chosen 9 Why SVG?