Saturday, 13 November 2021

SVG Family-Tree Generator (v6.1)

The release of SVG-FTG V6.0, back in March, has been very successful. There was an article in the UK Family Tree magazine, an online interview with me, and a significant increase in membership of the Facebook support group.

It is now time to release V6.1. The major feature in this version is an "album" of all your images that can be browsed or searched from your web browser. This feature was actually deferred from V6.0 because of the enormous number of other features and improvements already in there.

Although an experienced software developer, I am also a genealogist and a user of this software. Hence, new features are usually added because I have a genuine need for them, and the software is made freely available both because it was never written for commercial gain and because I expect many other genealogists to have similar goals.

One of these goals relates to images. SVG-FTG V6.0 supported thumbnail images in the person-boxes, and arbitrary images in the biographical or historical notes for either persons or places; however, I needed something more than this. Expecting all images to be relevant to a specific person, or even to a family, would put SVG-FTG in my own firing line that criticises other software. I have images that relate to groups (e.g. weddings or parties) and some that relate only to places. I wanted to be able to catalogue them such that I could search for people and/or places, and view associated textual notes, or simply to browse them. I wanted this to be possible on my local computer or on a website. But most importantly, I didn't want my images modified, renamed, copied, or moved in any way from my originals — a requirement that all responsible genealogists will immediately understand.

Image Album

SVG-FTG 6.1 provides a tool to maintain distinct groups of images (termed "galleries") and add meta-data to the individual images. This can include a caption, a place description, associations to persons in the current tree, and general textual notes. The images can be of anything you want, including groups and document scans, and so are not constrained to be of specific persons.

At a point of your choosing, all the images in all your galleries can be indexed for presentation and searching using a Web browser; this indexed set is termed an "album".

NB: None of your images are moved or modified in anyway. Separate storage records all this meta-data, but it is indexed so that your images can be viewed using a typical filmstrip tool, and searched from an interactive application added to your family tree.

There are two separate pieces of software that benefits from this meta-data:

  • The first is a small tool for displaying the properties of image files in a Windows directory. It is called MetaProxy, and was described previously at MetaProxy V3.0. It is a free tool that requires no installation, and it links images and their meta-data properties so that they are automatically displayed together. MetaProxy is not an essential tool, but it provides a very simple way of capitalising on all the information you would have added for each image, effectively making your Windows directories a bit more sophisticated than simple groups of named image files.
  • The second bit of software is a new SVG-FTG interactive application, called 'Image Album'. The application talks to an album filmstrip — displayed in another tab — so that searches can be performed and results displayed in the filmstrip. For instance, I could request that all the images showing my old school be presented, or just the pictures of my school with me in them, or pictures of my school with either/both my brother and me in them. Selecting one of the images from filmstrip shows any textual details you may have added for it.

When the interactive application is added to your tree, you will usually get an extra 'Album' button in the bottom-left of each person-box. This button supports the following operations:

  • Click: Selects (or deselects) the current person so that they can be referenced by a subsequent search.
  • Ctrl+Click: Clears all the highlights for currently selected persons.
  • Shift+Click: Launches the search box.
  • Alt+Click: Tells the album filmstrip tab to present all images, from all galleries (i.e. ignoring any search criteria).

The search box allows you to include any/all/none of the selected persons, a specific place description, and a gallery name. For instance:

 


When you press the 'Search' button then the meta-data is searched in the current browser tab. If there are no matches then you will see a message, otherwise the album filmstrip is asked to present the matching images. The album filmstrip is automatically launched in a separate tab, and if you are using viewpoints then they will all communicate with the same filmstrip tab.

The image filmstrip shows how many images there are in total and which of those is currently shown in the main panel. There are buttons to the left and right allowing you to cycle through the current images. Alternatively, you can click on a specific image in the strip of images in the lower panel.

 


In response to a search then the list of images is reduced to just those matching the search criteria. Clicking on the main image will show (or hide) a panel of text showing the notes that you created for the image.


The full list of images can be restored by clicking on the album title, or from your tree by using the search box or Alt+Click operations.

Help Text

All of the forms that have a menu bar will now show an extra option: Help. Selecting this will display a simple page of help relevant to that particular form.

GEDCOM V7.0

After a very long hiatus, GEDCOM 7 was released by Family Search this year. The goal has been to create a more precise and unambiguous specification, and to provide a more solid foundation for the representation of family trees.

SVG-FTG V6.1 imports both GEDCOM 7 and 5.5(.1), and offers a choice of exporting as GEDCOM 7 or 5.5.1. This will not be of much use until other companies support the new GEDCOM specification.

Image Scaling

In response to a question from one of the SVG-FTG users, I've had to look at image scaling. In V6.0, when expanding a thumbnail image into another browser tab, it was scaled to fit the window size, but if the image was a small low-resolution one then this could result in a very blurry presentation.

The low level function that handles this (su_showFile) has now been modified so that an image will be displayed original size if it will fit, otherwise it is scaled down to fit while retaining its aspect ratio.

Non-Standard GEDCOM Dates

By far, the biggest issue with importing GEDCOM files has been the near-ubiquitous inclusion of non-standard dates by the software that generates them, i.e. date formats that clearly do not conform to the GEDCOM specification. It is too early to tell whether GEDCOM 7 will help, or how databases of stored dates — especially those held by online genealogy software — will be made compliant.

SVG-FTG V6.1 now accepts many of the most common date variations in order to make the import a smoother operation, and lessening the need to manually "cleanse" the data before loading.

Thursday, 30 September 2021

A Citation Generator

 

This title will have hopefully grabbed the attention of many genealogists. The article does describe a citation generator, and it will be demonstrated below — directly in this blog — but the true subject matter is considerably more general: a decision tree generator.


Some time ago, I was asked about the possibility of a Web-based application to guide a user around resources, and to direct them to where they want to go. The idea was for it to ask relevant questions and then present them with the information they need, together with hyperlinks for them to select. The example I was initially given was to locate sources for vital events in different regions of the world. This is a fairly straightforward and useful idea, but the general idea has many more possibilities.

Unfortunately, the reality of such systems can be complex. Even a sequence of just twenty questions (as in the game) could result in a million possible answers, and nearly a million distinct questions. Trying to design and maintain such a system requires specialised software.

Although relevant software products already exist, I offered to write one for free because (a) I had already developed graphical tools for SVG-FTG that could be re-used, (b) I could see many different applications for this if designed properly, and (c) I wanted something that was simple but customisable. Decision trees can be used to guide an end-user around resources, find something in a catalogue, identify something, implement a hierarchical help system, or construct something (e.g. a citation string). Ideally, the tool used for design and maintenance should be blind to the final usage, and be equally applicable to all these cases and others.

The resulting software (D-Tree) is a free tool that allows you to graphically design a question-answer decision tree that can incorporate yes-no questions, multiple-choice menus, input fields, and more. Following the SVG-FTG precedent, at any point during the design, the user can ask to generate an HTML implementation of the tree that could be tested in their default browser, and later deployed on the Internet. Since there are many items of software that may be described as a decision tree then this description is important; D-Tree is a design tool that helps you create and maintain decision trees, and generate HTML implementations of them when required.

In a nutshell, the questions and input fields gather a set of information from the end-user during the traversal of the tree. At an endpoint to the traversal, that information can be presented to the user, or used to give an overall answer, direction, or advice.

Where is D-Tree?

Users of SVG-FTG will see many similarities in the appearance, functionality, and installation of D-Tree. The distribution kit, PDF documentation, and some samples (including the citation generator demonstrated here) may be found in a Dropbox folder.

The PDF documentation includes a user guide, a guide to the internals for people who want to add extra node types and customise things, and an installation guide. At the time of writing, there is a prototype Facebook group for support, but no playlist of instructional videos on my YouTube channel because the only user is the one who initially commissioned it.

What does D-Tree look like?

D-Tree presents a canvas upon which flowchart symbols can be placed and moved around. Such symbols are not as common as they used to be, but there is a standard and D-Tree tries to stay compatible with it. Lines can be drawn between these symbols to represent the possible flow of control.


Many of the functions provided in D-Tree will be similar, if not identical, to the ones in SVG-FTG. For instance:

  • Manual arrangement of nodes or automatic layout.
  • Finding nodes by caption or by key.
  • Multiple selection of nodes for moving or deleting.
  • Copy and paste of nodes.
  • Zoom levels for viewing more or less detail in the tree.
  • Array of settings to modify the generated tree.

As with SVG-FTG, the designer (D-Tree) is Windows-based but the generated HTML should work in all modern browsers.

Citation Generator

One of the applications that I wanted to use D-Tree for was to design a Q&A approach to generating citations. Yes, there are several citation generators around, but all the ones I am aware of consist of a large number of templates into which your citation parameters are inserted. Selecting the appropriate template for a given situation can be a genuine hassle because there are so many possible nuances to the basic array of source types. Even with a hierarchical index, it can be hard to translate your knowledge of the citation scenario into a subset of applicable templates, whether using a flat index or otherwise.

Evidence Explained[1] contains a huge index of its quick-reference guides, but anyone who has actually read the book will know that the chapters give solid advice on how to handle the nuances; the quick-reference pages are merely a guide to the most common situations in each source category.

Below is a simple generator for reference note citations to a published book. This is not a product itself and so don't get hung up about missing nuances or the colour choice. It is a demonstration of the possibilities, but also a starting point for people to develop their own. In other words, you can take this free design tool (D-Tree) and write your own, better, citation generator. Or, you can take this illustration as a starting point and add to it since the corresponding tree definition file is one of the samples in the installation kit.

The questions take you through some of the nuances specific to this one source type. At each point in the traversal of the tree, the 'Help' button will display relevant help text, and this is all part of the design available in that sample file.

The HTML implementation of the decision tree uses CSS to style it. The standard CSS file defines an area in the centre of your screen for the tree traversal, which is good for local testing but may not be what you want when integrating it into your website. The standard CSS also use a blue theme for the main tree and a green theme for the hierarchical help, as demonstrated by the example above. But you can easily nominate a CSS file of your own to change colours, fonts, frame sizes, question and menu layouts, input fields, etc., and ensure, for instance, that the result works equally well on a hand-held device.

So what if you also use a template-based system? Well, it could actually dovetail with these trees, if its design is open and flexible enough. Rather than the terminal nodes (i.e. endpoints) of the traversal using the gathered information to construct a citation string, it could be passed on to another system to generate one.



[1] Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Pub. Co., 2009).

Sunday, 8 August 2021

Stop Adding Incorrect Details for My Family

 

This is a woefully common reaction in online genealogy. Whether someone is overwriting your details in a shared tree, or publishing incorrect details about your family in their own tree, it can be frustrating when you see incorrect details published and then blindly copied by others.

But wait a moment, why does your opinion carry more weight than theirs? If you politely tell someone that their details are wrong, and they either ignore you or tell you to go forth and multiply, why would you expect them to change anything? If you provide them with a reference to a census page or parish record (or other) and they say ‘Oh, I already have a John Smith in my tree, so thanks but no thanks’ then you may begin to see the problem.

Yes, there are a few edge-cases, such as someone telling you your own father was Peter rather than Paul, or insisting that you were born in Kathmandu rather than the East End of London, but we are looking at the more general case here.

Far too often, a record by itself does not sufficiently identify a person, or their relationships to other people. Even a group of corroborating records may be insufficient to connect them. But useful evidence is not necessarily the same as a direct answer; to show that John Smith1 cannot be right, yet without confirming that John Smith2 is correct, is still a useful product of your research. In a surprisingly large number of cases, there will be no direct evidence, and the naive expectation fuelled by advertising that you can build your tree from online records, becomes a sad disappointment. To get past such brick-walls, you need to get into inferential genealogy, and this then implies that you need to write up the how and why of your research for it to be accepted. In fact this is a general tenet that applies to all claims, with more details being required where there was more inference. If you need to convince another researcher that their information is incorrect then you need to provide such an explanation.

This is a lesson yet to be learned by the hosts of online records and online trees. Their insistence on the simplistic research model of ‘search here and build it there’, compounded by ‘if you cannot find it, copy it’, has already done untold damage to our collective research.

A few years ago, I drew an analogy between research in academic fields and in online trees at Research in Online Trees, pointing out that in all academic fields (including professional and academic genealogy), it is not a direct A-to-B process. There are intermediate steps where researchers may build upon, or even challenge, past work by other researchers. But for that to happen, dedicated researchers need a way to write up and publish their research for others to find.

Note that attaching  a write up to a particular person or family in your tree is not good enough: even if the text is searchable via search engines such as Google (which it rarely is because it is stuck in a database) then it may not be specific to that person or family. It could involve multiple generations in more than one family. As with those other academic fields, a comprehensive write up will also need basic formatting, and especially a mechanism for footnotes and citations.

Many researchers who fall into this category, and who are not solely interested in academic journals, will resort to blogs. These can be highly effective ways of making such arguments, but they are ignored by the hosts of online trees. Yes, they can be cited (sort of), but you are forced to find them using a search engine. If your surnames also happen to be common terms then this is not going to be very productive. Unsurprisingly, I have explained how these hosts can easily fill that gap, allowing their users to search registered blogs along with their own online records, and without diverting traffic away from those blogs or risking any type of copyright: Blogs As Genealogical Sources. Reactions — few as they were – implied the idea was too complicated, or that it would cost too much money to implement, or that it would involve payments to the blog authors, or simply that no one else does it. All of these notions were ill-founded, but their lack of both vision and responsibility will leave us wanting in terms of a more robust model for sharing and collaboration in general.

Monday, 2 August 2021

Is Pinterest a Valid Source?

 

At the end of 2019, I made a case for online trees being a valid source, although with some caveats. I recently thought about a similar case for Pinterest, but the situation is not the same there so I wanted to dig over the main issues.


 Like many people, I started a Pinterest account when it first appeared, and then got disinterested when I realised that it was all smoke and mirrors (or images thereof), that my feed could not be tailored to deliver what I really wanted to see, and when I got deluged by unwanted advertising. In fact, I have just closed my account as it had no value for me.

Pinterest has been criticised for many reasons, including some content being pornographic or obscene, being overtly political, hosting commercial scams, spreading misinformation (especially medical), or focusing on people's eating disorders or weight problems. But what was it supposed to be?

According to Wikipedia, Pinterest is an "American image sharing and social media service designed to enable saving and discovery of information ... and ideas", but the reality is much more mundane. It is now basically an image sharing site with no obvious purpose. You see images were supposed to be just a taster that encouraged people to pin them, and click on them to get information; an image on its own — with no caption, link, or accompanying information — is a dead-end.

Let me pick a specific case, one that initially encouraged me to look at Pinterest: images of old places. I love to see historical pictures of my home town, but on Pinterest they invariably contain no details, or any caption. If I wanted to search for an image of a particular place then I cannot — the search bar simply finds boards of that name shared by other users. If I happen upon a rare or interesting image there then I might, if I'm lucky, recognise the place, but what about the date, or the photographer, or the story behind the picture?

If I was doing this as part of a research project then I have a deeper problem: provenance. Where did the image come from? Who took the original, and is it in copyright? Pinterest does have a mechanism for a copyright holder to get material taken down, but this is fighting against the tide because it already makes it so easy for people to share anything and everything that they might find, online or otherwise. At the very least, it should have implemented a mechanism identifying the initial point of entry of an image onto Pinterest, i.e. who first loaded it, and where from.

The situation is more complicated than this, though, and doomed to failure in the hands of people who treat it like stamp collecting. I have several images in my blog posts that I have taken pains to get permission to display from the copyright holders, and I had shared those same posts via Pinterest using those images. And yet I have these images in isolation on other people's Pinterest boards. That is, pinned images, divorced from my blog, without the associated information, and without any provenance or attribution. The images had been appropriated to sit in someone's "gallery" of images that they like, but that serves no purpose beyond the private pleasure of such hoarders.

So, if Google turns up some image during your research that resides on Pinterest, what do you do? Would there be any point in citing it at all, in the way you might for other social media? Google does provide a search-by-image mechanism through which you might be able to identify a non-Pinterest copy — ideally being older and with more details — but then a Google search could equally have found that, so what purpose does Pinterest serve? As a means of sharing, it is naively structured and simply exacerbates sharing issues already present on the Internet. But as a source of information that is worth reading and citing then it is a non-starter.

Saturday, 5 June 2021

When a Place Unlocks a Bit of History

This small post recounts a heart-warming case where knowledge of a place unlocked a bit of family history, and painted events in the lives of my parents and their friends that no document could ever yield.

I have long held that a place is more than just a name, or even just a string of jurisdictional names; it has a history and properties all of its own. I have written many posts that have tried to get this message across — often focusing on the legacy of the GEDCOM model — and have even devised a research data model capable of recording the history, documents, images, name changes, and connections of a place in a fashion analogous to that of persons.

My parents, Stan and Ann, were young when they married: my mother was only 17, and she had me by the age of 18. My father had just completed his two years of National Service when he took a job with Nottingham knitwear manufacturers Harry Prew-Smith Ltd, and it was here that he and my mother first met. They were married towards the end of 1955, but he left that job after less than a year to try and find a better one. He tried working on the railway, first in a shunting yard and followed by a spell in the parcel yards (about seven months in all), after which he tried selling vacuum cleaners and then brushes (about six months in all). He then took a job with Stanton Iron Works but had to give it up after about ten months because of knee problems. He often told me how the heat and heavy manual work there was extremely tough, and how he would come home soaked in sweat, but with not an ounce of fat on him — he weighed less than ten stone when he left. But he then blagged his way into a cooking job, based almost entirely on what he had learned during his National Service. This was certainly not the end of his job-changing but it will suffice to set the scene for this article.

I still remember the St. Ann's district where I lived until the age of five, and where my grandparents continued to live after that. It consisted of Victorian back-to-back terraced houses with little if any amenities: no hot water on tap, no central heating, and no inside toilet. The district had a reputation, but it also had a community — something sadly lost when the slum-clearance programs of the 1970s not simply demolished the houses, and dispersed the residents, but also tore up the streets to lay down different ones. This left people clinging to their memories of that community and any old photographs because there was virtually nothing left that they could point to and identify with.

Facebook groups can be a great comfort to such people, and I was a member of several groups that shared photographs and memories. It was here, in 2018, that I connected with David Marriott, a man who remembered my parents, and my father's family. He even admitted to a romantic "fling" with my father's younger sister, Gill, and that she had a best friend, Christine Broadley, whom she went everywhere with; the pair even dressed the same. He recalled that my father and his younger brother, Ray, were older than him, but my cousin (also a David) was about the same age. There was a youth club — the Sycamore Youth Club, run by an Eric Wheatley — on Lavender Street, and my father and cousin used its basement as a gymnasium since it had the weights and other equipment down there.

He then shared a photograph of himself taken in about 1957; he knew it was in my "mother's living room", but not really where or by whom.

 


Figure 1, David Marriott, around 1957, displayed with his kind permission.

I took one look at the awful wallpaper behind him and thought 'I know that pattern. I've seen it before somewhere'. So I went through my own photograph collection looking for something similar, and came up with the following:

 

Figure 2, Ann Proctor, around 1957.

A closer match you could not find: the wallpaper is the same, the seat and cellar door (to the right) are the same, and the lighting is the same. The picture of my mother was taken by my father with a homemade pinhole camera (real ones were very expensive back then), at 9 Manning Grove, Nottingham, and developed by himself. David's picture was not only taken at exactly the same place but probably on the same evening, too.

My grandparents lived at 15 Manning Grove, and 9 Manning Grove was the house of Keith Walker, which my parents rented for about a year. My mother and Keith Walker's wife used to make the tea at the gymnasium.

That was enough to jog David's memory. "Goodness," he said, "I recognised her straight away". He recalled that my father was working night shifts at Stanton Iron Works, and so she was on her own, except for yours truly who was only about one year old. Because she was a bit lonely and scared in someone else's old house, David, Gill, and a few more friends used to go round to keep her company, eat chips (that's "fries" to my American friends) and drink all of her tea. I passed these recollections onto Gill, my cousin David, and my mother (my father having sadly died a few months earlier) and they all wanted to know how the others were doing. My mother said they used to have a great laugh on those late evenings, and it really helped a young mother cope.

That's real history, painted in vivid colours!

 

 

Friday, 16 April 2021

What is SVG? Publishing Trees for Free

This question should be of interest to anyone who has considered publishing their family tree on a subscription-free website that requires nothing extra to be installed.

Maybe you haven't thought about this in any great depth, but the website or desktop product that you currently use to maintain your tree is going to be inappropriate for some of your family and friends. Assuming that you do want to share with them, they will simply want to link to some web page, without paying for anything or having to install anything, and see a presentation edition of your tree, your family history, your images, etc. They won't want to see any buttons or options for maintaining that information.

This was the situation with all but two of my extended family wanting to see my own research (those two also happened to be genealogists), and so I decided to develop some software with this goal in mind. I also had a goal of drawing trees that could be included into my blog-posts so I came up with a tool that satisfied both requirements: SVG Family-Tree Generator (SVG-FTG). But what is this SVG?

SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphics. It is a language for defining graphical shapes in your browser, and handling user interaction with them. It is quite different to normal image formats as it scales indefinitely without going fuzzy when you zoom in. SVG-FTG converts your family tree, including biographical notes and images, into an HTML document that employs SVG to produce the graphical parts of your tree, CSS to style the presentation, and JavaScript to handle user interaction.

Figure 1, a common example of what SVG can create.

I will try not to get too technical, but I do need to make some clear and careful points as SVG often gets "bad press" for inappropriate reasons. SVG is like a sister technology to HTML: HTML is good at presenting text, forms, menus, images, and frames around such content. It's ubiquitous so I don't need to describe its full capabilities; SVG is good at drawing shapes and lines, and including text or images within those shapes.

Superficially, their structure looks the same with their elements defined by opening and closing tags, each in angle brackets. For instance, this small HTML extract presents a level-1 heading with a paragraph of text following it:

<h1>This is a title</h1>

<p>This is a paragraph

of text</p>

The following SVG extract draws a rectangle with a circle inside it:

<rect x="100" y="100" width="200" height="200" fill="yellow" stroke="black" stroke-width="3"></rect>

<circle cx="200" cy="200" r="90" fill="orange" stroke="navy" stroke-width="10"></circle>

SVG is technically a separate XML-based language, which means that its syntax follows slightly different rules to HTML, but that difference is not relevant here. It does mean, though, that it can be placed in specific files of its own — usually named *.svg — and they can be treated like normal image files, but more on this in a moment.

When the SVG is embedded within an HTML document then it is referred to as "inline SVG", and this is what SVG-FTG generates in order to produce a graphical user interface (UI). Together, these two contributions to the UI — HTML elements and SVG elements — can produce a very sophisticated presentation. They also share the event mechanism, which basically means that the way they respond to user clicks and button presses is the same, and that means that they collaborate to implement an application: a tool delivering useful functionality to the end-user.

Figure 2, Example of application generated by SVG-FTG.

So, in this guise, there is nothing sinister or risky with SVG; it is simply another contribution to the UI. It uses JavaScript and CSS in the same way as most HTML pages do.

But the other scenario — that of separate SVG files — is subtly different. They're really document files rather than image files and so can also contain JavaScript and CSS. The problem comes if they are naively treated as image files because they can harbour malicious content. For instance, if they are deployed as a CSS background image, or a logo on some website, or in some image gallery then such content could be activated. At the very least, this could lock-up your browser (the so-called 'Billion Laughs' attack), but could also lead to 'HTML Injection' and 'Cross-Site Scripting' attacks.

This means that many sites capable of loading images are very careful to either disable such SVG image files or sanitise them by removing any script. Unfortunately, this protective action can spill over into a complete rejection of SVG because the two scenarios that we've mentioned have not been sufficiently well defined and distinguished.

One example of this involves Wordpress.com — not Wordpress.org which is the self-hosted and unrestricted variant. It is well known that you have to jump through hoops to get any <script> or <style> elements into your page, as well as certain special ones such as <embed> and <object>; but it also seemed to strip out inline <svg> elements for no apparent reason. Note that the <svg> element is not mentioned at all on their page: https://wordpress.com/support/code/ (at the time of writing), leaving its viability in some doubt.

There are various plug-ins that may be used with Wordpress.com but all of the ones that I am aware of relate to the loading or sanitising of "SVG files", which we explained is not our situation.

When pressed on this point, and given the specific example of the TimelineExample.html mentioned in the SVG-FTG guides, their support provided the following details.

Users would most likely need to upload the above mentioned HTML file through SFTP and not including it between the custom code widget/block. They’d also need to be upgraded to at least the Business plan to be able to do that. [13 Apr 2021]

When specifically asked about support for the <svg> tag, the following response was given:

By default SVGs are something that’s not allowed/supported by WordPress, so I guess they’d need to install a third-party plugin that allows them to be able to work with and include SVGs... [13 Apr 2021]

The term "SVGs", used here, would appear to mean "SVG files", which I went to great pains to eliminate as not relevant to my question. It does seem as though they are fixated on "SVG image files" and have little concept of its usage to provide a graphical UI for an application.

However, after escalating this issue, Wordpress.com demonstrated to me that it is actually possible to host these SVG-FTG applications on their site under the Business Plan, and that the process is not too different from the Wordpress.org one. In their words: “It is also a simple process of copy and pasting. Although, I added all the CSS and JS to the head of the site as on your example URL and only loaded the content in the body via the Custom HTML block”. Hence, although neither of these Wordpress scenarios is actually free, it is possible to host SVG-FTG applications on them both. It’s just a shame that “inline SVG” is so poorly understood and catered for, generally.