“Introducing” Adobe SVG Viewer 8

Properties screenshot of a file shipped with Adobe Reader 8

Properties screenshot of a file shipped with Adobe Reader 8

A common belief is that ASV 6 Developer Release 1 was the last version of the famous Adobe SVG Viewer software (ASV 3.03 being the last stable release). Well, apparently not… ;-)

Distributed with Adobe Reader 8, one can take a peek at the ImageViewer.API file, placed within the plug_ins directory (full path will typically be %ProgramFiles%\Adobe\Reader\plug_ins\ImageViewer.API. The original filename, NPSVG8.dll (see screenshot), is probably familiar to whoever has played with previous ASV versions: NPSVGX.dll stands for Netscape Plugin, where X is the major version number; the file was used for deploying the plug-in in browsers, such as Firefox (Gecko) and Safari (WebKit), who didn’t natively support SVG by then. As of today, at least Firefox is no longer compatible with the plug-in (and Safari will likely follow) but they don’t need to anyway: a good level of native SVG support is available in modern browsers. :-)

When first I noticed about this file, there was an obvious question bouncing in my mind: Would it be possible to turn NPSVG8.dll into an updated SVG Viewer? That is, to integrate the DLL in order to produce a fixed version of ASV6 (which, while being superior to ASV3 in terms of features, is also more unstable and has a couple of nasty regressions). Crawling through the web brought up a link containing some leads, but in any case, the Adobe Reader license blocks it (in case someone is still wondering):

Plug-in Restrictions. You will not integrate or use Adobe Reader with any plug-in software not developed in accordance with the Adobe Integration Key License Agreement.

I wonder if Adobe would issue an integration agreement for doing that…? :-D

A quick search through Adobe Reader 9 shows that the plug-in seems to have been removed for good. Chances are that functionality might have been reworked into Multimedia.api; also, some features were probably moved to the Adobe Mars (PDFXML.api) plug-in. Well, this turned out to be nice material to write about, anyway… :-)

Notice 2009-11-30: This post wasn’t actually published when written: the post contents were mostly ready but, unfortunately, got lost in my “to do” stack (see the first blog entry for more on this).

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