It is about ten years now since the need was recognized for a standard vector-graphics language for the web; about five since Mozilla rejected Adobe's offer of a free plug-in; a couple of years since they identified SVG support as a key differentiator between Mozilla and Microsoft Internet Explorer---and every time I try to use SVG in a web page, I discover a new, show-stopping bug.
This time I was starting on a litttle presentation using Eric Meyer's S5 package. I want to include a diagram; ideally it will be stretched according to the resolution of the screen I am displaying the slide on. It follows that I want to use SVG. Should be simple, right? A few boxes and arrows, and some text to explain what the boxes mean. So can I display this in Firefox? Sadly, no.
I created a test document that displays the SVG on its own, and the text is
visible. When I display the same graphic using the same
embed element in
the S5 slideshow, the text is invisible.
If I change the text to have a coloured outline, then the outline appears but not the fill: I end up with hollow text for my labels, which looks stupid.
I haved tried looking for this bug on Bugzilla, but the dementia of their search interface makes it hard to search for anything specific. I get either 'zarroo' matches or a billion. Too bad they can't just let Google scan all the juicy text in their bug reports and supply a search service that works a bit, but must instead roll their own.
I could try reporting the bug myself. Probably I should. But it would be a lot of bother---I need to try to whittle down the test case, and so on, and even then they would complain that I have not downloaded and compiled the latest bleeding-edge development version of Firefox first. Given that I have no expectation that anything will be done to rectify the situation (there are no plans for any changes to the SVG component before 2007), I do not feel strongly motivated to make the effort. Besides which, I did not sit down intending to spend the evening debugging; if I wanted to do that, I could have stayed in the office.
Updated to add: I have installed Adobe's SVG plug-in, and I can display the slides with SVG in Safari. the only problem is that safart does not seem to support using mouse-clicks on the slides to advance to the next: I need to click on the >> button. Camino does the same as Firefox.
I installed Opera 8.54 to see it it does any better; it displays the SVG fine and---being the original inspiration for S5---it can display the slide-show full-screen, something that makes it unique amongst the browsers I have tried on the Mac. It also works well with the remote-control applet in my K700i phone: I can control the slides using my phone via Bluetooth, which would be very swank should I ever need to present to a client (a distant prospect).