While many web developers and those who are new to the web development industry, the SV or Scalable Vector Graphics format can be a bit confusing. The SVG is actually an XML specification in that one will use an XML file as a means of describing the 2-dimensional graphics which includes both the static and animated versions of it. It was back in 1999 that the World Wide Web Consortium first started the development of the SVG specification. It is important to point out that an SVG image is not truly an image as most would consider it to be, but rather it is a creation of an image using the XML file as a means of defining where and how the vectors are utilised to create the image or animation. Basically, instead of needing a graphics editor like Photoshop or Fireworks, all that you need to create an SV image is your computer’s notepad.
Other than that of Internet Explorer; which is to be expected, all of the modern day web browser programs are able to support and render the graphics right out of the box. In the case of Microsoft’s IE, you will need a plug-in in order to render the images. Because of the fact that the concept is vector graphics which are 100% scalable, the use of SVG images for web development is becoming increasingly popular due to the fact that the images can be rendered infinitely smaller so that mobile devices can actually render them without issues. Likewise, on a larger screen monitor, the SVG graphics will appear the same without any need of using multiple image files which can use up a lot of space and bandwidth.
Through the SVG format, one can make use of text as well as both raster and vector graphics. They are able to be styled, grouped, transformed and even recomposited onto other objects which have already been rendered. Unfortunately though, it will not support the z-index like most vector formats can make use of.
Of course because it being based on and controlled by XML files, the SVG can do a whole lot of stuff such as compression, printing, scripting and so much more. The possibilities are only as limited as the limitations of the actual XML language.
Original Authors: Nick
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 05/03/2009