What Is SVG? Guide to SVG Files

Though it was conceived back within the late Nineties, SVG is in many ways the “ugly duckling” file format that grew as much as turn into a swan. Poorly supported and largely ignored for a lot of the 2000s, things have modified since 2017. All modern web browsers now render SVG without issues, and most vector drawing apps supply the option to export it. SVG has turn into a widely used image format on the Web.

This hasn’t happened by chance. Though traditional raster graphic file codecs like JPGs and PNGs are good for photographs or very complicated images, it seems that SVG is the one format that meets as we speak’s web development demands of scalability, responsiveness, interactivity, programmability, performance, and accessibility.

SVGs can be much smaller than 60KB, of course. This bigger illustration helps us make some extent about SVG’s flexibility, but it’s a perfect format for icons and interface parts, some of which may not even weigh a full kilobyte.

SVG is an eXtensible Markup Language (XML)-based vector graphic format for the Web and other environments. XML uses tags like HTML, although it’s stricter. You cannot, for instance, omit a closing tag since this will make the file invalid and the SVG won’t be rendered.

As you possibly can see, under the hood, SVG paperwork aren’thing more than easy plain text files that describe lines, curves, shapes, colours, and text. As it’s human-readable, simply understandable and modifiable, when embedded in an HTML doc as an inline SVG, SVG code can be manipulated through CSS or JavaScript. This offers SVG a flexibility and versatility that may’t ever be matched by traditional PNG, GIF or JPG graphic formats.

SVG is a W3C commonplace, which implies that it can inter-operate simply with other open commonplace languages and applied sciences including JavaScript, DOM, CSS, and HTML. As long as the W3C units the worldwide industry standards, it’s likely that SVG will proceed to be the de facto standard for vector graphics within the browser.

What about HTML5’s Canvas? These two technologies are very completely different, however this query understandably comes up often. We’ve broken down the needs, pros, and cons of each in SVG vs Canvas so you have got the understanding to make the suitable selection every time.

Why Should You Use SVG?

The awesomeness of SVG is that it can clear up most of the most vexing problems in fashionable web development. Let’s breeze via some of them.

Scalability and responsiveness

Under the hood, SVG makes use of shapes, numbers and coordinates quite than a pixel grid to render graphics in the browser, which makes it resolution-impartial and infinitely scalable. If you happen to think about it, the directions for creating a circle are the same whether you’re utilizing a pen or a skywriting plane. Only the dimensions changes.

With SVG, you may combine totally different shapes, paths and text elements to create all kinds of visuals, and also you’ll be certain they’ll look clear and crisp at any size.

In contrast, raster-based formats like GIF, JPG, and PNG have fixed dimensions, which cause them to pixelate once they’re scaled. Although various responsive image methods have proved valuable for pixel graphics, they’ll never be able to really compete with SVG’s ability to scale indefinitely.

Programmability and interactivity

SVG is totally editable and scriptable. All kinds of animations and interactions will be added to an inline SVG graphic through CSS and/or JavaScript.


SVG files are text-based, so when embedded in a web page, they are often searched and indexed. This makes them accessible to screen readers, search engines like google and yahoo and different devices.


Some of the important points impacting web efficiency is the scale of the files used on a web page. SVG graphics are normally smaller in size compared to bitmap file formats.

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