Re: Cross-platform vector format? (was RE: HELP! &(^*#$ Word!!!!!

Subject: Re: Cross-platform vector format? (was RE: HELP! &(^*#$ Word!!!!!
From: Jeroen Dekker <Jeroen -at- Square1 -dot- nl>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2001 12:55:15 +0200

> From: "Dick Margulis" <margulis -at- mail -dot- fiam -dot- net>
> Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2001 11:01:08 -0500
> Actually, vanilla PostScript, unencapsulated, is probably the most
portable. You can open it in Illustrator on a PC, in
> several Mac applications, and in several UNIX applications. EPS is
sometimes problematic because of all the flavors that > are out there.
> Second choice would be PDF, only because it costs more to generate and
tends to be more easily corrupted.

Vanilla PostScript is indeed the most reliable choice to get vector graphics
out of their source applications, be it design or engineering. As the
absolute cross-platform standard in professional printing for over two
decades, PostScript is robust, accurate, and very rich in the graphical
elements it supports (versus HPGL for example). Any Windows application can
generate it via a PostScript printer driver, most UNIX applications output
it directly (by default even) and it is also widely used on the Mac. Whether
it's artwork, wiring diagrams, CAD drawings or GIS maps, PostScript is ideal
for storing vector output (including bitmap images and font text by the
way). So far so good, in full support of Dick Margulis' statements.

When it comes to actually bringing your wonderful PostScript and EPS vector
graphics into your documentation and publishing tools (and using them!),
life becomes a lot more complicated. Most applications (Frame, Word to name
a few) cannot open vanilla PostScript. Thus wise men came up with
Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) as a 'placeable' format. As many of you will
know from experience, this is not the easiest file format to deal with:

- EPS does not display in the application if saved without preview (the
infamous red X)
- If saved with preview, you get a low-res bitmap for on-screen viewing,
losing one of the great advantages of vector graphics (being
resolution-independent display, scaling, zooming) until you go to print
- ... which must be done to PostScript printers
- The different preview formats (TIFF, PICT, binary, ASCII) give
cross-platform problems
- In most applications you do not get the ability to edit your drawings,
which is another great advantage inherent to vector graphics

Recognizing and championing the great virtues of PostScript as an ubiquitous
cross-platform output/storage/interchange format, and acknowledging that
that is only half the solution for technical documentation, my bosses
decided to develop ps2vector (first released on UNIX in 1995). By converting
from PostScript to MIF for FrameMaker for example, you unleash the full set
of advantages that comes with vector graphics:
- optimal display quality on any size/resolution screen, in Frame and in PDF
- zoom in and out at optimal quality
- resolution independent printing to any printer
- fully edit graphical objects and text using the native Frame editing tools

Likewise with WMF/EMF for MS Word and PowerPoint, CGM for SGML systems and
now also SVG for HTML/XML web applications.

Notes about these vector formats as candidates for THE cross-platform vector
MIF: specific to Frame
WMF: Windows only, does not support features like bezier curves and cropping
EMF: next generation WMF (Enhanced), does support bezier curves, cropping
CGM: mainly used in technical environments, many flavors and standards, few
applications output it (well)

SVG: has all the qualities to become THE standard. Web-enabled, open source,
industry-backed, XML-based. All this makes it platform-independent,
application-independent, device independent, vendor neutral (although we're
waiting for Microsoft and Netscape to back up their pledged support with
built-in browser support). It's built on the foundations of PostScript, is
fully text-based, and offers tremendous dynamic capabilities for scripting,
interactivity, animation, layering etc. Sliced bread pales in comparison <g>

Another half-tutorial/half-plug brought to you by

Jeroen Dekker
The Graphics Connection
jeroen -at- square1 -dot- nl


*** Deva(tm) Tools for Dreamweaver and Deva(tm) Search ***
Build Contents, Indexes, and Search for Web Sites and Help Systems
Available 4/30/01 at or info -at- devahelp -dot- com

A landmark hotel, one of America's most beautiful cities, and
three and a half days of immersion in the state of the art:
IPCC 01, Oct. 24-27 in Santa Fe.

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as: archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: RE: Converting AutoCad drawings
Next by Author: Multiple versions of a document
Previous by Thread: Re: Cross-platform vector format? (was RE: HELP! &(^*#$ Word!!!!!
Next by Thread: Plays well with others

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads