Scalable Vector Graphics -- or SVG -- is the new XML-based graphics standard from the W3C that will enable Web documents to be smaller, faster and more interactive. J. David Eisenberg's insightful book takes you through the ins and outs of SVG, beginning with basics needed to create simple line drawings and then moving through more complicated features like filters, transformations, and integration with Java, Perl, and XSLT.Unlike GIFs, JPEGs or PNGs (which are bitmapped), SVG images are both resolution- and device-independent, so that they can scale up or down to fit proportionally into any size display or any Internet device -- from PDAs to large office monitors and high-resolution printers. Smaller than bitmapped files and faster to download, SVG images can be rendered with different CSS styles for each environment. They work well across a range of available bandwidths.SVG makes it possible for designers to escape the constant need to update graphics by hand or use custom code to generate bitmap images. And while SVG was created with the Web in mind, the language has a variety of other uses. SVG greatly simplifies tasks like:
Creating web sites whose graphics reflect the content of the page, changing automatically if the content changes
Generating graphs and charts from information stored in a wide variety of sources
Exchanging detailed drawings, from architectural plans to CAD layouts to project management diagrams
Creating diagrams that users can explore by zooming in and panning around
Generating bitmap images for use in older browsers using simple automatable templates
Managing graphics that support multiple languages or translations
Creating complex animation
By focusing sharply on the markup at the foundation of SVG, SVG Essentials gives you a solid base on which to create your own custom tools. Explanations of key technical tools -- like XML, matrix math, and scripting -- are included as appendices, along with a reference to the SVG vocabulary.Whether you're a graphic designer in search of new tools or a programmer dealing with the complex task of creating and managing graphics, SVG Essentials provides you with the means to take advantage of SVG.
Chapter 1 Getting Started
Creating an SVG Graphic
Chapter 2 Coordinates
Using Default User Coordinates
Specifying User Coordinates for a Viewport
Preserving Aspect Ratio
Nested Systems of Coordinates
Chapter 3 Basic Shapes
Circles and Ellipses
The polygon Element
The polyline Element
Line Caps and Joins
Basic Shapes Reference Summary
Chapter 4 Document Structure
Structure and Presentation
Using Styles with SVG
Document Structure -- Grouping and Referencing Objects
Chapter 5 Transforming the Coordinate System
The translate Transformation
The scale Transformation
Sequences of Transformations
Technique: Converting from Cartesian Coordinates
The rotate Transformation
Technique: Scaling Around a Center Point
The skewX and skewY Transformations
Transformation Reference Summary
Chapter 6 Paths
moveto, lineto, and closepath
Relative moveto and lineto
Technique: Converting from Other Arc Formats
Path Reference Summary
Paths and Filling
The marker element
Chapter 7 Patterns and Gradients
Transforming Gradients and Patterns
Chapter 8 Text
Simple Attributes and Properties of the text Element
Our look is the result of reader comments, our own experimentation, and feedback from distribution channels. Distinctive covers complement our distinctive approach to technical topics, breathing personality and life into potentially dry subjects. The animal on the cover of SVG Essentials is a great argus pheasant (Argusianus argus). This pheasant can be found in Malaysia, Thailand, Sumatra, and Borneo, where it lives in tropical rainforests. The males have blue faces, black crowns, and short crests; their under parts are mottled brown. The iridescent spots on their wings and tail feathers aid in attracting females. Female argus pheasants are smaller than males and lack their ornate plumage.The great argus pheasant's wings can continue to grow into the bird's sixth year. Its tail feathers are the longest of all birds, measuring up to 5.7 feet. Some cultures use these feathers in their headdresses. Jeffrey Holcomb was the production editor, and Ellie Cutler was the copyeditor for SVG Essentials. Sue Willing was the proofreader. Jane Ellin, Darren Kelly, and Claire Cloutier provided quality control. Derek Di Matteo provided production assistance. J. David Eisenberg and Brenda Miller wrote the index.Ellie Volckhausen designed the cover of this book, based on a series design by Edie Freedman. The cover image is a 19th-century engraving from the Dover Pictorial Archive. Emma Colby produced the cover layout with QuarkXPress 4.1 using Adobe's ITC Garamond font.David Futato designed the interior layout based on a series design by Nancy Priest. The print version of this book was created by translating the DocBook XML markup of its source files into a set of groff macros using a filter developed at O'Reilly & Associates by Norman Walsh. Steve Talbott designed and wrote the underlying macro set on the basis of the GNU troff -mgs macros; Lenny Muellner adapted them to XML and implemented the book design. The GNU groff text formatter Version 1.11.1 was used to generate PostScript output. The text and heading fonts are ITC Garamond Light and Garamond Book; the code font is Constant Willison. The illustrations that appear in the book were produced by Robert Romano and Jessamyn Read using Macromedia FreeHand 9 and Adobe Photoshop 6. This colophon was written by Linley Dolby.
This is an example of why books (and ebooks) continue to be a worthwhile investment over referring to the internet.
With the internet: answers, descriptions are scattered everywhere. With a good book like this one, (most of) it is all in one place making learning a new subject less daunting.
Particularly good in this book is the explanation of co-ordinate systems and viewports used in SVG and how they interact. I have not found any other book that does this so well.
There are a few SVG books out there but none match the friendly but authoritative style of O'Reilly yet again seen in this book. Some O'Reilly books carry the Definitive Guide perhaps this should have been one of them too.
Even though this book has been published for a while it is still pretty much relevant to the SVG standard also available for a some time, which is encouraging to know that such a standard looks like it will have longevity.
1 star missing off the full 5 star mark because: the book could be extended to include use in HTML5 and also because the book is not available as an ebook.
Bottom Line Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
This book is still a good buy. It remains my favorite SVG book. However, SVG is now big in HTML5. Therefore O'Reilly should publish a new version that includes HTML5 specifics and more DOM scripting.
Also, Eisenberg, like many other SVG authors back then didn't test SVG within a native browser and missed the fact that namespaces must be declared. Add the following within the first SVG tag of examples that break with a "prefix not bound to a namespace" message:
Bottom Line Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
While it's difficult to separate my excitement over SVG from the contents of this book, it's quite possible that the two are so directly related as to be inseperable. Within a few hours of buying this book, I was producing and printing extremely high quality images that I had found all but impossible to produce w/other technologies (JPEG codecs, etc.). If you are familiar with the basic mark-up language concepts, then you should have no trouble gleaning the essential elements of SVG.
After an excellent introductory chapter that provides a general overview, subsequent chapters cover aspects of SVG in detail, such as how to create basic shapes or generate text. One thing I particularly liked was that the author mostly uses a single example (SVG code to create a picture of a cat) to illustrate new concepts, creating a sense of cohesiveness that tied the chapters together. This book is *not* just a scattershot collection of essays that characterizes so many other technical books -- the text is clear, concise, and to the point. Finally, there is a very uselful appendix that summarizes the most frequently used attributes.
Perhaps the only drawback is that if you are coming to SVG from a non-technical background, you might find this book a little too gear-headed for your liking. For technical readers that want a thorough introduction (i.e., not a PhD thesis) to this exciting and useful technology, however, this book is a must.
A fantastic introduction - thoughtfully presented, and with some great example architectures in the later chapters and appendices. However, I was disappointed to find that the examples in the "Scripting SVG" section do not work in Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 with the Adobe Plug-In (presumably because of IE's object model) - surely (whatever one thinks of IE) this is likely to be the most common end-user platform?