Sunday, September 19, 2010

SVG Doodles for Blogging, Micro-blogging and Messaging

(Emerging from mobile hibernation ... :-)

Whilst twitter looks set to support photo micro-blogging in a new design, I still see much room for creative potential if there were new apps and services that support SVG. Now that smartphones and micro-blogging have become immensely popular with the further development of touch screen devices, I thought it would be worth echoing and expanding on some thoughts I had on jotting more than text. I initially conceived this as extending blogs, but with so many communication faclities being mediated primarily through the Web, it could be far more general.

From a cursory glance via Google, it appears there have been some research papers in SVG Web services: for instance, in 2004 there was published Making SVG a Web Service in a Message-based MVC Architecture, but such efforts seem to peter out. Yet, as far as individual applications are concerned, the facilities for creating quick sketches and sharing them are improving; among the iPhone apps there is PMS IT!, though I haven't seen it in action.

The SVG 1.1 standard includes a section on animation, so the process of drawing (the sequence in which strokes are made etc, 'online recording', as it were) as well as the end result ('offline record') can be saved. Then the recipient or viewer of such a drawing can play it back, an effect I think I probably first saw in the children's programme, Rainbow. Furthermore whoever has a copy of the drawing could extend it. A simple example might be a game of Os and Xs.

If you provide a central point for aggregation of such content, you could then have a drawing-based equivalent of Twitter. By allow more than one person to work on a single drawing, you then could have an interesting example of collaboration (technically CSCW).

With the technologies for image recognition, you could also apply pattern matching to the doodles against a database of complex pictures such as photos and works of art. This could even lead to new ideograms. For instance, suppose you want to create a new road sign that represents particular features of a modern landscape. You could take a photo and then try drawing some simple representations until you arrive at the simplest one that returns the desired match.

So another call for doodles!

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