Consequently, when working with SVG, you should always remember that SVG by itself is far less powerful than SVG used in conjunction with something else. This is a point I hope to prove throughout this book. Using SVG and Flash Chances are pretty good that if you have heard anything about SVG, you will have heard about how SVG is sort of like Flash and may even be a Flash killer. Ill confess here, in the name of full disclosure. I worked as the Technical Editor for the Macromedia User Journal and am intimately familiar with both Macromedia Director and Flash applications. I personally think that Flash is a superb product and has a well-deserved reputation for producing some of the most cutting-edge multimedia on the Internet. Moreover, I think that in the area where Flash has initially been targeted, it is the dominant mechanism for both creating and displaying multimedia far and away. So why am I not writing a book about the next version of Flash? There are actually any number of reasons, but most of them boil down to the fact that the principle thing that the Web really needs is not a superb way of building flashy presentations . . . instead, SVG will succeed because it satisfies the need for an easy-to-use, inexpensive, dynamic, nonproprietary way to build graphical inter- faces. Let me address each of these four points individually. Simplicity HTML became popular not because it was the most powerful solution out there; as mentioned earlier, HTML was originally intended to describe physics abstracts, documents that no one but maybe a practicing scientist is ever likely to see. What was more important for HTMLs success was that it originally had a small enough set of tags and a simple enough way of using them that you didnt have to be a programmer to build sophisticated applications. This is the HyperCard principle. HTML owes a great deal to HyperCard, Apples groundbreaking application tool that defined everything from hypertext linking to drag-and-drop language development. The people who took to HyperCard werent programmers (at least such programmers wouldnt admit it); they were grade-school students and teachers, soldiers, and small-store owners. It was a language that let people who didnt know the arcane syntax and convo- luted logic of C++ still write applications that solved their needs. The HyperCard principle is one I personally think has been forgotten (or deliberately displaced) by software vendors. In the rush to build into the business sector, to get those all important e-commerce systems contracts, the creators of 12 Chapter 1