Designing SVG Web Graphics

Author: Andrew H. Watt
List Price: $45.00
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ISBN: 0735711666
Publisher: New Riders (15 September, 2001)
Edition: Paperback
Sales Rank: 170,935
Average Customer Rating: 3.83 out of 5

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Customer Reviews

Rating: 4 out of 5
absolutely fantastic book on SVG
The basics it has. It introduces you to the coding needed for a great start into designing SVG. A few header errors may frustrate in the beginnning, but with a little reading, they can be overcome.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Great Introduction - but not comprehensive
If you'd like to get a grasp of what SVG is all about and how it works and you find the SVG standard (600+ pages) to be rough going then I would highly recommend this book as a starter. It provides a good introductory overview of SVG and then systematically illustrates, using lots of basic examples, how much (but certainly not all) of it works. I'd consider this to be more of an illustrative exercise book to help someone get a running start using SVG. The book certainly isn't comprehensive, SVG is WAY too big and complicated to be completely explained and illustrated in a single volume. Nor are the examples in the book particularly long or sophisticated - however, once you learn the basics you can quickly start writing your own SVG scripts (or better comprehend existing SVG code or code generating libraries). The main problem now is that the downloadable Adobe SVG plugin (Windows/Mac)is really the only mostly complete standard SVG viewer available so it may be a while before SVG really catches on (not to leave out the Apache Batik project!).

Rating: 1 out of 5
Great technology, terrible book: lacks scripting, reference
I was excited to find a book about SVG finally in print: the technology will clearly revolutionize the web. Unfortunately, this book is totally inadequate for all but the simplest introduction to SVG, perhaps as a guide to editing the output of graphics packages.

The code examples will make any programmer cringe, as the same extensive property settings are declared over and over again for related objects. This produces dozens of lines of unmaintainable code where 5 lines of JavaScript would suffice. In fact, there is practically no discussion of generating SVG programmatically using Perl or Javascript. Although there is a chapter on "interactive graphics", it basically covers menus and rollover effects. If you were hoping for something on data-driven graphics, look elsewhere, because this topic is strangely absent from the book.

Worse, external CSS style sheets are only introduced in a desultory way near the end of the book, after hundreds of pages of code examples with the same inline styles declared over and over again and applied to every object individually. The code examples would be many pages shorter, and far more readable and maintainable, had CSS been introduced early and used appropriately.

Finally, there is no reference section. If you are hoping to find (for example) a list of methods and properties for each object, DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK! There are too many shocking omissions to list. One example is that animatable transformations such as scaling are simply not discussed. The author gives an example of a series of animated rectangles, where the sizes are altered by changing the individual width and height attributes. Worse, if you look up "scale" in the index, you'll find an example of a graphical scale (think ruler) where each of the lines is an individual object defined by hand, presumably by cutting and pasting the line of text and changing the x offset!

Unfortunately, at present there is NO adequate book on SVG for programmers. This book, however, is unsuitable even for designers (its primary audience) because it encourages excruciating coding habits and ignores the tremendous possibilities for automating repetitive design tasks.

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