What is SVG and its Importance - ByteScout
  • Home
  • /
  • Blog
  • /
  • What is SVG and its Importance

What is SVG and its Importance

Web and formats go hand to hand. And, if you are new to the web, you will surely have been introduced to a bunch of them. One of the notable format you would surely have heard about is SVG.

In this article, we will explore SVG, its history, and its importance in web development. So, by the end of the article, you will have a complete understanding of SVG and can use the knowledge in your project. Let’s get started.

What is SVG

SVG: Old And Effective

SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphics.

It is a popular file format that lets developers show vector images on websites. The biggest advantage of using SVG is its ability to scale based on requirements. So, if you want to resize the SVG image, you can do it without losing any quality. SVG images are the right choice as it meets the demands of modern responsive web.

SVG is not new. It was first conceived in the 1990s. Yes, almost two decades ago. At that time, it was not used that much, and that’s why it was not supported by the majority of applications. However, its usage started picking up in the early 2010s. By 2017, all modern browsers were capable of rendering SVG-powered images.

The major browsers that support SVG support are as below:

  • Firefox 4+
  • Chrome 4+
  • Opera 9.5+
  • Internet Explorer 9+
  • Safari 4+

Apart from that, all the major drawing programs also supported SVG. Right now, it can easily be said as one of the most used image formats out there as it offers a better feature-set compared to other graphic file formats like PNGs and JPGs.

The key factors that make SVG so amazing its responsiveness, scalability, programmability, accessibility, performance, and interactivity.

SVG: The Technology Behind It

Under the hood, you will find a lot of XML. XML stands for eXtensible Markup Langauge(XML), and that’s why we can define SVG as an XML-based vector graphic format. XML is widely accepted on the web and you must have used it in the HTML. However, SVG uses a very strict XML format.

For instance, the code for a rectangle drawn using SVG is as below.

<svg width="500" height="120">
  <rect width="250" height="120" style="fill:rgb(0,0,234);stroke-width:4;stroke:rgb(0,0,0)" />

The SVG cannot be displayed as the browser doesn’t support SVG.


The above implementation is the inline style sheet implementation.

In the above code, we first need to display an SVG window of 500 x 120, and then within it, we go and create a rectangle with blue color with width. Also, the code ensures to display a message if it is rendered on a webpage that doesn’t support SVG generated images.

By this, you should be able to guess how complex a proper SVG can get. However, this doesn’t mean that it is not readable. The code is human-readable which means that it can be edited and maintained by the developers who know how to do it. But the strict restrictions mean that small changes can render the SVG image useless. So, if you are a developer playing with SVG format, then you need to be careful when working with it.

Another thing that makes SVG so popular is because it is a W3C standard. The standard ensures that it can easily work with other technologies including HTML, DOM, CSS, and most importantly JavaScript.

How you can use SVG?

There are mainly two ways you can implement SVG. These two ways are as follows:

  • Using inline SVG code: You can opt to use the SVG code within the main web page. This gives you more control over the image as you can manipulate the code as per your requirement.
  • SVG file format: In this method, you use a .svg format file for displaying an image. This is similar to using other image formats such as .png or .jpg. To use the .svg image file, you need to use the <img> tag. You can also embed the .svg file using CSS code.

Why SVG is important?

To completely grasp the concept of SVG, we also need to take a look at what makes it so important. In other words, we are going to look at its benefits. Let’s go through them one by one.

  • W3C Standard: As SVG is a W3C standard, you do not have to worry about compatibility issues. This means that you can develop without restrictions.
  • Scalability: The biggest advantage that you get when using SVG is its scalability. As a developer, you do not have to worry about resolution as SVG files are resolution-independent. So, you will not lose quality even when you resize the SVG file. This is not possible for PNG or JPG.
  • Editing Capabilities: As SVG is XML code, it offers excellent editing capabilities, especially using graphic editing solutions such as Sketch or Illustrator. The SVG file can also be edited using a simple text editor as well.
  • Performance: Another big benefit that SVG format offers is performance. If you use SVG on your site, you are bound to have better performance as it removes unnecessary HTTP requests for loading images. A faster site also means improved user experience.
  • File Size: SVG files are generally smaller compared to other file formats. So, if you are looking to optimize your site’s image size, then it is always better to go for SVG file format images.
  • Finer style controls: With the SVG file, you get finer controls with the image style. For instance, you can change color, sizing, stroke color, and other image properties with the use of CSS. Moreover, you can also add effects to the image.
  • Tons of SVG tools: As a developer, you get to play with plenty of tools including Microsoft Visio, Inkspace, OpenOffice.org Draw, and so on!
  • Compatibility: SVG format is compatible with different rendering engines — giving the format the necessary forward and backward compatibility.
  • Search engine optimization: Last, but not least, SVG files offer better SEO as search engine bots can understand the image content better, and hence can rank them accordingly.


SVG is an industry-leading format for creating and sharing images. If you are a developer or a web designer, you surely need to invest time and effort in mastering it. With W3C standard support, you also have the freedom to experiment and work with different technologies without worrying about compatibility issues.

So, what do you think about SVG? Comment below and let us know.


About the Author

ByteScout Team ByteScout Team of Writers ByteScout has a team of professional writers proficient in different technical topics. We select the best writers to cover interesting and trending topics for our readers. We love developers and we hope our articles help you learn about programming and programmers.