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SVG Essentials [Paperback]

J. David Eisenberg
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 52.95
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Book Description

Feb. 15 2002 0596002238 978-0596002237 1

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.


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From Amazon

SVG Essentials is a programmer's guide to Scalable Vector Graphics, the official W3C recommendation for portable, scaleable images on the Web. SVG is an XML application, and has great potential as a standard, open and powerful technique for including rich graphics and animation in Web pages. Macromedia's proprietary Flash plug-in is widely used for the same purpose, but SVG is the official solution. Complete with hundreds of code examples along with both colour and black-and-white illustrations, this title describes the SVG specification and shows how to create and manipulate SVG documents. The book uses open-source technology throughout, and readers should already be familiar with both XML and Java.

The author begins with an overview of SVG, and goes on to describe the coordinate system, the basic shapes, and how documents are structured. Chapters on paths, patterns and gradients show how to create and fill any shape, including Bezier curves. Text gets a chapter of its own, explaining how to make text follow a path or even make it read right-to-left, for international language support. Sections on clipping, masking and filters cover these more advanced graphical techniques, and an important chapter covers animation and Javascript scripting. The book goes on to show how to generate SVG from other XML data, such as MathML, used to describe mathematical symbols and equations. Finally, there is a chapter on how to serve up SVG using Java servlets.

Clearly written and logically presented, this is an excellent choice for Web developers who want to get started with SVG. --Tim Anderson

From the Publisher

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. This insightful book takes you through the ins and outs of SVG, from the basics to more complicated features. Whether you're a graphic designer looking for new tools, or a programmer creating and managing graphics, this book provides a solid foundation.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction, needs more recipes March 22 2004
Format:Paperback
The book provides a solid introduction to SVG through an increasingly complex set of examples of SVG use. It is well written and edited, it also provides a thorough description of the entirety of the standard. What it lacks is more depth in the area of recipes for commonly used image effects. It also needs more advice about how complex SVGs are organized and built for efficiency. I understand that SVG is still on the adoption curve, so perhaps we could see these improvements in a second version of the book when the standard has picked up a little more.
For the time being the book earns it's four stars by providing a nice learning curve and having high quality examples that demonstrates the concepts effectively.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best ORA book since HTML: The Definitive Guide Oct. 2 2002
Format:Paperback
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.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Good starter book, but... Sept. 26 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Not a bad book if you want to learn just the basics; however, I think you can easily find everything in this book on the Web if you take the time to dig around. If you're looking for a book to get you started, this one will do nicely. But if you're looking for more advanced/esoteric SVG material, I'd keep looking.
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5.0 out of 5 stars In a Nutshell March 16 2002
Format:Paperback
This subject perfectly fits O'Reilly's "In a Nutshell" tradition, for SVG itself is just that: Web design, including text, graphics, animation, and programming, all in a nutshell -- concise, pithy, simple, and deep.
SVG, a refactoring of several generations of Web technology and a public standard approved by the World Wide Web Consortium, can be authored without any special tools and without any special background, other than the immediately productive background provided by this book.
Eisenberg swiftly, but with diverting variety, illuminates the process of drawing, assembling shapes, creating textures, transforming coordinates, structuring documents, enriching text, creating reusable components, fine tuning color, animating shapes and colors and structures, creating lighting effects, and programming user interactions. All of this is built upon the simple SVG architecture: arrange your elements in a hierarchy and set their attributes.
There is an art to conveying important points without belaboring them and Eisenberg moves from example to example with perfect pitch.
The book also contains an eight page section with full color images.
Some people have complained about the lack of reference books on SVG. The SVG reference is in fact widely available, all 500+ pages of it, on the W3C site. What is really needed, and would have been useful in this or any SVG book, is a five page guide to using that reference -- how do I, in ten seconds or so, determine whether this element can be a child of that element, or if this element supports this attribute?

While I was developing SVG Composer the only book available was Watt's "Designing SVG Web Graphics" (another fine book with a rather different pitch)..
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars In a Nutshell March 16 2002
Format:Paperback
This subject perfectly fits O'Reilly's "In a Nutshell" tradition, for SVG itself is just that: Web design, including text, graphics, animation, and programming, all in a nutshell -- concise, pithy, simple, and deep.
SVG, a refactoring of several generations of Web technology and a public standard approved by the World Wide Web Consortium, can be authored without any special tools and without any special background, other than the immediately productive background provided by this book.
Eisenberg swiftly, but with diverting variety, illuminates the process of drawing, assembling shapes, creating textures, transforming coordinates, structuring documents, enriching text, creating reusable components, fine tuning color, animating shapes and colors and structures, creating lighting effects, and programming user interactions. All of this is built upon the simple SVG architecture: arrange your elements in a hierarchy and set their attributes.
There is an art to conveying important points without belaboring them and Eisenberg moves from example to example with perfect pitch.
The book also contains an eight page section with full color images.
Some people have complained about the lack of reference books on SVG. The SVG reference is in fact widely available, all 500+ pages of it, on the W3C site. What is really needed, and would have been useful in this or any SVG book, is a five page guide to using that reference -- how do I, in ten seconds or so, determine whether this element can be a child of that element, or if this element supports this attribute?

While I was developing SVG Composer the only book available was Watt's "Designing SVG Web Graphics" (another fine book with a rather different pitch).
Read more ›
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