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Aug. 31, 2012
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

SRU's Dailey pens technology book

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University's David Dailey, a professor of computer science, clearly has expertise enough to cause other experts to come calling. Those calls have resulted in his latest book "Building Web Applications with SVG: Add Interactivity and Motion to Your Web Applications."

The work, published last month by Microsoft Press, is co-authored by Jon Frost, a senior .NET developer who has worked with SVG for more than a decade and who initiated the book "Learn SVG: The Web Graphics Standard," and Domenico Strazzullo, author of Pergola, a JavaScript library for SVG and the open-source project GEMi, a Web operating system, and founder and editor-in-chief of SVG magazine.

The book provides details on working with scalable vector graphics, a topic on which Dailey is recognized as a world expert. His first major book "SVG Primer for Today's Browsers," published by the World Wide Web Consortium in 2008, set the worldwide standards in using such graphics.

SVG employs mathematical formulas involving vectors to create graphics rather than the traditional square pixels. The process allows graphic images to be enlarged to any size without loss of clarity. "Using SVG allows a postage stamp to be scaled to billboard size without loss of image quality," Dailey said. Technically, SVG is used to transform how spatial data is developed, analyzed and disseminated through the World Wide Web and through a range of hand-held devices almost all using HTML protocols.

"The process for the latest book began about two years ago, when Jon Frost, a fellow, I knew by reputation, but had never met, wrote and told me about the book he was writing and asked me to join the project. I thought, 'OK,' and we got into the work. However, about a year ago, we discovered we needed a third co-author, Domenico Strazzulo, to write the final chapter," Dailey said.

"I probably ended up writing more than half of the original text, but it was really a collaborative effort with lots of back-and-forth between the authors," he said.

The book dives into creating rich interactivity with Scalable Vector Graphics. The work is designed to help SVG users learn step-by-step Web application techniques for animation, overlays and applications, Dailey said. It also offers information for those already using such familiar Web technologies as JavaScript, CSS, DOM. and AJAX.

"The intent was to bring SVG into the context of developing web applications and how you leverage the power of SVG to connect to rich data sources that are behind the scenes. We wanted to make it interactive so the end user can ask new questions and derive new presentations from the software they are using," Dailey said.

There are chapters related to creating simple user interfaces for mobile and desktop browsers; how to work with complex shapes and design reusable patterns; how to position, scale and rotate text elements using SVG transforms; and how to create animations using the Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language.

"We think readers and users of the book will be able to build more powerful animations by manipulating SVG with JavaScript, and they can use the technology to apply filters to sharpen, blur, warp, reconfigure colors and that kind of thing all through SVG," Dailey said.

"The primary focus of the book is scalable vector graphics. The book is meant to introduce and give advance exposure to anybody who is familiar with Web programming and some abilities with graphics to pick it up and start working from there," Dailey said.

"I suspect it will be a textbook in some college courses. SRU does not yet have many courses for which it would be appropriate, but it might apply in our 'Web Graphics' course. I know there are courses at other universities where it would be fully applicable," he said. "More likely it will have some use by computer professionals who want to learn the technology which has been around for a few years, but has recently gotten very popular as part of Web programming."

"There are those who want to learn the technology such as those working at Google, Apple or Microsoft. Those places are using a lot of SVG in their online Web development, and I think our book will help bring their staff up to speed with modern Web technologies," he said.

"A lot of the content comes from material I have worked on in my teaching here at SRU. We expose our students to SVG, and part of the enthusiasm for writing the book came from wanting to teach things related to graphics at SRU. Our 'Interface Design' course, which is about building Web applications, has made use of SVG for several years and allows our students to take a fresh look at Web design without the legacy of HTML to focus their Web-design thinking," Dailey said.

"The classroom was the place I could conduct my 'trial and error' in teaching and learning that enabled me to be in the position to write the book," he said.

Dailey also cited his extensive travel and involvement with the international community in developing Web standards as helping provide the information used in the work.

"Had I not been meeting with these world leaders in the field, I would not have had the expertise and the confidence to write a book published by Microsoft Press and O'Reilly. I really think it has been good for SRU, and our students, to have enabled me to learn what I have on the international stage," he said.

"It is fun to think that a guy from Missouri [Frost], a guy from France [Strazzulo] and I teamed with O'Reilly Media, the parent of Microsoft Press. O'Reilly has been a leader in computer science book titles involving just about any new technology. O'Reilly is usually the first company to pick up on new technology and put out a text or book on it," he said.

"O'Reilly was the editor behind our work, and lots of computer professionals and academics turn to O'Reilly as a good source for computing information," Dailey said.

The new book is available both in print and in online format. It may be ordered through, or

The work starts with the basics, then moves to creating and editing SVG graphics. Chapters on adding text and style, working with color, motion and SVG filters are also included.

Dailey spent part of last summer as an invited presenter at DevCon5, the HTML5 Developers and Designers Conference hosted at New York University's Kimmel Center. The conference addressed a variety of aspects of the new HTML5, the first new release of HTML by the World Wide Web Consortium in several years.

In 2010, Dailey, who joined the SRU faculty in 1999, was awarded SRU's President's Award for Scholarly and Creative Achievement for his work with the World Wide Web.

Dailey earned his doctorate from the University of Colorado. In addition to computer science classes, he has taught mathematics and psychology at universities in Wyoming, Oklahoma and Alaska as well as at Vassar, Williams and Bay Path College.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.