10 SVG Books for Developers & Designers

Scalable Vector Graphics are a graphic format that store the specified shapes within an XML file, which then gets rendered by an SVG viewer. In the modern age, majority of web browsers are capable of displaying SVG content just like they would display the regular image filetypes.

I recommend browsing the Can I use… page to find out which browsers, and mobile devices are fully compatible with SVG. By taking a quick look, it seems that only the really new versions of browsers and operating systems are supporting the format, but it also comes down to features that we’re looking up.

Today, I’d like to go over some of the most popular books on the SVG subject. You won’t be finding very much books on this topic right now, but I’ve heard a few people saying that they’re looking to write books about SVG, and surely there will be the demand for them – so as long as the quality, and freshness of the content can live up to the standards.

1. SVG Pocket Guide

Joni Trythall took it to Kickstarter to get her project funded, and it looks from here that she was right, the project was a success, and only two months after her initial campaign – the book has been published, and is now available for purchase to anyone.

Getting into the world of inline SVG can be vast and intimidating. It’s difficult to understand where to start and get a handle on all the syntax involved. This “pocket” sized guide provides designers and developers with the base knowledge needed to get started with writing SVG and better understand its overall syntax and behavior through clear examples (with fruit images!) and quick descriptions of properties and attributes.

The book covers all the nifty basics of SVG, and because there are lots of examples, snippets and explanations to look at – Joni decided to call it a ‘pocket guide’, something that you can carry around with you at all times. Well, on your digital devices anyway!

2. SVG Compressed

I’ve not seen many developers recommend this book, but let me tell you – it’s one of the best books when it comes to mastering the fundamentals of SVG. The book is written in four parts, covering the basics, and the more advanced features of SVG. The book is full of examples making it easier to grasp the concepts explained in the book. The book is targeted at somewhat experienced web developers who already have a reasonable understanding of HTML, CSS and JavaScript (although you do not need to be an expert).

3. SVG Tessellation

I couldn’t find any reviews for this book, but after having a quick look myself – it seems a reasonable resource for beginners, definitely has the appeal to those who’re picture learners, as most of the books content is displayed trough pictures. Learn some, practice some, and eventually become a better developer!

4. Learning Raphaël JS Vector Graphics

Raphaël is an exceptional library that makes drawing vector graphics in the browser straightforward. It boasts a large number of methods that facilitate drawing and animating graphics, allowing developers to create flexible, interactive web applications and data visualizations.

In this book you’ll find advice, steps to take, and information on how to work with your pre-exisiting, and yet to build SVGs, as well as information on how to make your vectors more complex. You’ll become proficient in building complex drawings using SVG and Raphael. You’ll even learn how to add some interactive user stuff to your applications. Very, very resourceful book.

5. Sams Teach Yourself SVG in 24 Hours

Now, by spending around 2hours a day on reading and practicing this book – it would take you around two weeks to finish it. So, don’t get confused by the title trying to imply the impossible. It’s very possible to grasp the basics of something by practicing on daily basis, and this book will do exactly that – teach you the core of SVG.

Given the fact that there isn’t a lot of information out there regarding this new technology, we need to utilize whatever comes our way. The Sams Teach Yourself SVG in 24 Hours book is a great way to expand and deepen your knowledge of SVG, plus – it’s also incredibly fun! Think of your friends who’ve yet to catch up!

6. Building Web Applications with SVG

At the moment, we’re still just exploring what is what, but with time – SVG will begin to appear in more places than just a blog tutorial, or a fancy page built for a new product. We will experience SVG in apps, platforms, software, and everywhere else where HTML5 is supported. I’m excited, are you?

This particular book is focused around SVG 1.1, and the author discusses topics like client-side graphics, complex and reusable patterns, and also addresses some useful JavaScript – Pergola, D3, and Polymaps – libraries for SVG developers.

7. RaphaelJS: Graphics and Visualization on the Web

RaphaelJS is the leading library for those who’re looking to experiment more with JavaScript animation, and graphic design. Chris Wilson (author) takes us on a journey with all that RaphaelJS has to offer. Learn how to build custom shaped animation, make things come alive through live interaction, and find out how to sharpen up your pictures and other web elements!

The one thing you’re going to walk away with from this book is the ability to build amazing animations for the web, I’m pretty sure there are good career opportunities available in this field as well, watch this space!

8. SVG Essentials

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.

9. Interactive Data Visualization for the Web

You probably noticed that some of the books are aimed at teaching you about JavaScript libraries, and while it is true – they’re essential parts of your learning curve for SVG. It’s all about animation, and if you don’t like it – then don’t bother with it. This book is another essential to add to your list. It has thirteen chapters covering everything about interactive visualization of data, as well as more than one hundred examples for you to play and experiment with.

10. Learn SVG Interactively

Are you Mac, iPhone, or iPad user? You’ll love this book! Basically, it’s a collection of samples, guides and other snippets that you can interact with from within your mobile device. It’s packing some really great examples, and the reviews suggest that this is a great app to play with whenever you’re on the go.

SVG Books for Developers & Designers

I think that was a great list of books, majority of them are from 2013 – so quite up to date, but I’m looking forward to all the new stuff that’s going to come out in late 2014, and early 2015. The community is getting all pumped up for the possibilities that this technology is going to bring, and I feel like I need to start working on implementing SVG on my own sites.

Have you got any questions, or feedback that you’d like to share? I’m always open to questions, or suggestions on how to make these posts better.

1 COMMENT

  1. I think that a book about SVG on mobiles could draw web developers to using SVG and also point to how W3C and browsers should better proceed towards web and ‘mobile’ web pages being having the same code.

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