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The Future of CairoSVG

After some times of doubts and questioning about the future of CairoSVG, we made a survey to know what the current users would like and expect. This article presents the results of this survey and what is coming for CairoSVG.

Why a Survey?

For a long time, CairoSVG has been used by WeasyPrint when it was relying on cairo to render SVG, PNG and PDF. Cairo is nice but it brought some limitations and bugs in WeasyPrint.

Because of these bugs and limitations, we removed this dependency from WeasyPrint by developing our own low-level PDF engine. Most of CairoSVG’s code was then adapted to work with this new engine and was included into WeasyPrint.

Since this big change, we didn’t really use CairoSVG anymore, and it was thus hard for us know where to lead this project or what would be nice to have when using CairoSVG.

We could have some ideas by looking at the issues on GitHub, but it didn’t really reflect the majority of users. Thus, we decided to made a survey to ask directly these users 🔎.

So, which answers did we get from this survey?


How long have you been using CairoSVG?

CairoSVG was a dependency of WeasyPrint, so it’s not very surprising to see that a part of the users have been using it for a long time. It’s more surprising to have recent users as the project didn’t get new features since quite a time.

In which context do you use CairoSVG?

Most people use CairoSVG in a professional context, but it’s interesting to see that some are using it in a personal context too.

Why did you choose to use CairoSVG, compared to other SVG conversion libraries?

Users like to use CairoSVG because it’s fast, open source and easy to use. You can have a good control on what you’re doing.

In which format do you convert your SVG images with CairoSVG?

It’s funny to see that a large part of the users are using CairoSVG to convert SVG into SVG. This feature had been developed as a joke as the original goal of CairoSVG is to convert SVG into other formats 😄.

On which OS do you use CairoSVG?

Linux is the main OS on which CairoSVG is used, but there is a significant part on Windows too.

What would you expect from CairoSVG in the future?

The majority of the users expects bug fixes for CairoSVG. It’s also quite interesting to see that some people expect nothing in particular.

In the comments, CairoSVG users would also like to see CairoSVG maintained with recent Python versions and have a long life.

Would you like to use another library?

Most people aren’t really into using something else than CairoSVG, but some are willing to try something else.

Would WeasyPrint + GhostScript be a solution for you?

The answer is kind of clear, WeasyPrint + Ghostscript wouldn’t be a solution to replace the usage of CairoSVG.

Would you be ready to pay for new features or bug fixes?

Only 12.5% would be ready to pay for new features or bug fixes. While 75% wouldn’t like that.

What’s Next

First, we’d like to thank all the people who took some time to answer the survey 💜. It really helped us to have a clearer view and to take a decision about what we’re going to do for the future of CairoSVG.

Before talking about the future (so much suspense), we’d like to talk a bit more of this survey itself.

When we created it and looked for CairoSVG issues on GitHub to communicate about the survey, we realized that, in fact, there aren’t so many new issues. The more recent ones are from 2021.

We were also surprised by the number of answers we got, which is lower than what we expected.

Therefore, with the results of the survey, with the number of open issues, and knowing that WeasyPrint doesn’t depend on CairoSVG anymore, we took these decisions (the suspense is over):

  • We’ll continue to release CairoSVG versions to support new Python versions 🎉.
  • We’ll continue to release CairoSVG versions in case of security issues (as it was the case for CairoSVG 2.5.1) 🎉.
  • We’ll include pull requests for obvious bug fixes, but we’ll be very conservative with pull requests for new features. We won’t develop new features, unless some users are willing to sponsor their development.

This way, with our limited resources, we’ll be able to keep providing the current experience for the current CairoSVG users, and they can be assured that project will be maintained and will keep working in the future 🚀.

That’s all, thanks for your attention!