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I use SVG a lot and I'd say the reasons are:

* Browser support is still new and in places still a little rough

* IE support has only recently arrived

* SVG creation tools are either rough or expensive

* SVG can create sub-Flash-like performance if used carelessly

* SVG has no detail optimisation (or detail hinting)

I think we're about to see SVG usage pick-up steam now that IE has support and retina displays are becoming commonplace. Hopefully we'll get the tools and performance we deserve.

I'm very hopeful for SVG in the next 18 months.




SVG can create sub-Flash-like performance if used carelessly

Perfect. You just know that it will be used carelessly, too. Some of my low-powered devices are already stumbling under the concept of a "modern" website (which seems to revolve mainly around using as much js as can possibly fit onscreen), I'm not looking forward to widespread adoption of this next piece of "progress".


Last I tried to use an SVG workflow during a stint working for Wikipedia's Map Workshop three years ago, Inkscape broke in subtle ways every other map it had to open, and Illustrator had near-zero chance of successfully rendering an SVG map created somewhere else even moderately close to the desired appearance, and only 75% chance of correctly rendering an SVG map exported from itself five seconds earlier. They both have some ugly filesize bloat in the way they handle styles.

On top of this was Wikipedia's use of an SVG->PNG renderer that is openly acknowledged to render worse than its competitors (which were not great), for better performance.

Until there's a reference implementation of SVG... a real spec with an exhaustive ACID-style test on every single feature... I won't revisit trying to work in it.


Also PNG file size is typically smaller than SVG size unless you are literally drawing Bezier curves.


[Not trolling, genuinely interested in the answer]

> * SVG can creat sub-Flash-like performance if used carelessly

Could you elaborate on that? What should I be aware of if exporting vector art from, say, Illustrator or Inkscape?


From Inkscape? Little, as SVG is its native format and thus Inkscape's feature set aligns nicely with the capabilities of the format (if used carefully, e.g. using clones instead of copies for identical shapes, etc.). Illustrator, however, will export more or less with a minimum SVG feature set used and for complex drawings that may end up fairly large and fairly inefficient.

Drop shadows and filters in general are a concern. Not so much on desktop browsers nowadays, but in mobile very much.


iOS performance is generally awful with SVG. Scrolling used to be bad but I think Webkit fixed that bug.

Too much detail has been the cause of the worst performance (and crashing) I've seen — one image of a playing card froze my iPad.

http://code.google.com/p/vectorized-playing-cards/

try this guy: http://www.totalnonsense.com/misc_images/Jack_of_Spades_vect...

Blurs can be slow on large images.

Drawing Big SVGs can be problematic too.


Just open any SVG map from Wikipedia at full resolution... Guaranteed browser hang.




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