What is SVG?

  • SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphics
  • SVG is used to define graphics for the Web

The HTML <svg> Element

The HTML <svg> element is a container for SVG graphics.

SVG has several methods for drawing paths, boxes, circles, text, and graphic images.

SVG Circle


<!DOCTYPE html>

<svg width=”100″ height=”100″>
  <circle cx=”50″ cy=”50″ r=”40″ stroke=”green” stroke-width=”4″ fill=”yellow” />


Differences Between SVG and Canvas

SVG is a language for describing 2D graphics in XML.

Canvas draws 2D graphics, on the fly (with a JavaScript).

SVG is XML based, which means that every element is available within the SVG DOM. You can attach JavaScript event handlers for an element.

In SVG, each drawn shape is remembered as an object. If attributes of an SVG object are changed, the browser can automatically re-render the shape.

Canvas is rendered pixel by pixel. In canvas, once the graphic is drawn, it is forgotten by the browser. If its position should be changed, the entire scene needs to be redrawn, including any objects that might have been covered by the graphic.

Comparison of Canvas and SVG

The table below shows some important differences between Canvas and SVG:



Resolution dependent

Resolution independent

No support for event handlers

Support for event handlers

Poor text rendering capabilities

Best suited for applications with large rendering areas (Google Maps)

You can save the resulting image as .png or .jpg

Slow rendering if complex (anything that uses the DOM a lot will be slow)

Well suited for graphic-intensive games

Not suited for game applications