Chapter 2. The Big Picture

Chapter 2. SVG and the Web

In the last few years, a quiet revolution has been taking place in web browsers and operating systems. Solid implementations of SVG have become standard in both desktop and mobile browsers.

As this has happened, web developers and designers have become more confident in using SVG to display content that moves beyond HTML layout. They have also been combining SVG with the power of the newer, efficient, and standardized JavaScript engines to build sophisticated information graphics and interactive games. Anyone working with data visualization on the web is now gaining familiarity with SVG as a tool.

The history of SVG has not been straightforward.

As with HTML, CSS, and the other standards that make up the web, the development of SVG has been a process of back-and-forth compromises between the authors of specifications, the builders of web browsers that implement them, and the designers of web pages that use them. Unlike those other languages, however, the SVG specification did not develop slowly and incrementally—it was created fully formed, as an incredibly complex graphics language.

If you work with HTML and CSS web design, you will find many aspects of SVG familiar—and a few quite different. The SVG standard was built upon other web standards, most notably XML and CSS, and has a complex DOM that can be manipulated with JavaScript. In that way, it is very similar to HTML. But because the primary focus of SVG is graphics, not ...

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