A quantum leap in Web graphics is about to happen. A new technology being worked on at the W3C called SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) will bring the rich, compelling, high-resolution graphics that we all have come to expect in printed catalogs and magazines to the Web.

Today's two most commonly used graphics formats on the Web (GIF and JPEG) are both pixel-based, and as we've all probably seen, loose quality when you try to zoom. SVG is entirely based on XML, takes up less space than the average GIF and JPEG, and because of its vector-based nature it has the same high quality when it is displayed on handhelds with limited screen real-estate, as when it is displayed on high-end monitors (even TVs), or when it is printed out on paper.

This page will first cover the exciting functionality that SVG brings to the Web, then discuss in the chapters the advantages of being an XML-based graphics format, and then finally some words and predictions about the future of SVG.

What is SVG?
SVG, or Scalable Vector Graphics, is a language for describing vector graphics in XML. It is a platform for two-dimensional graphics. It has two parts: an XML-based file format and a programming API for graphical applications. Key features include shapes, text and embedded raster graphics, with many different painting styles. It supports scripting and has comprehensive support for animation.

SVG is used in many business areas including Web graphics, animation, user interfaces, graphics interchange, print and hardcopy output, mobile applications and high-quality design. SVG is a royalty-free vendor-neutral open standard developed under the W3C Process. It has strong industry support, there is a broad range of support in many authoring tools and SVG viewers are deployed to over 100 million desktops.

With SVG, you can code graphics directly into an XML document. For more information about SVG, click here

Benefits of SVG
SVG is text based and works seamlessly with current Web technologies like HTML, GIF, JPEG, PNG, SMIL, ASP, JSP, and JavaScript.

Graphics created in SVG can be scaled without loss of quality across various platforms and devices. SVG can be used on the Web, in print and even on portable devices while retaining full quality.

SVG files can be edited and created using any text editor. The SVG files are very small compared to any other vector formats. Its size is equivalent to its text.

Why use SVG?
To Web developers, SVG will look and feel very familiar, thanks to its roots in XML. SVG is text based; therefore, coding techniques can be learned by leveraging the work (or code) of others. This drastically reduces the overall learning curve.

Where will it be used?
SVG will be used mainly to hopefully replace Macromedia Flash MX, but it is too early to tell yet. Currently, SVG may be used to replace the usage of GIF because SVG has basic animations and a very low file size than GIF.


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