SVG paths have a pretty good set of shape commands, enough to let you draw any 2D shape you might want in an authoring tool: horizontal, vertical, and diagonal straight lines, elliptical arc segments, and cubic and quadratic Bézier curves. Béziers are great, giving you precise control over the position and curve interpolation of each point in a concise format, using control points (“handles”), and are easily chained together to create complex shapes.
But let’s say you have a series of points, and you want to draw a smooth line between them, e.g. for stock data, an audio wave, or a mathematical graphing equation. Béziers are not as handy there, because not all the points needed to define a Bézier spline are on the curve itself. Obviously, you can decompose any set of points into a set of Béziers, but that takes math, and who wants to do that? (Put your hand down, nerd. I’m talking to the normals.)
Sometimes, you just want to lay down a set of points, and let the browser draw a smooth curve (unlike polylines, where each segment is just a straight line between the points). Like this:
Recently, a browser implementer asked me for examples of SVG. He was having trouble finding good examples of SVG in use, particularly as parts of an HTML document. This question has come up again and again, actually, and it always vexes me. I’ve been active in the SVG community for close to a decade, and I’ve seen thousands of amazing SVG files (and many more of mediocre to average quality), but somehow they seem to have disappeared or bitrotted over the years. Some of those files only worked with the slightly-unstandard Adobe SVG Viewer, or didn’t quite work with Firefox’s incomplete support, I know, but surely not all of them. Where is all the great SVG content I remember, the games and GUIs and design and development? Where are all those files to be found?
I hear some browser implementers say that people just don’t use SVG. Intuitively, this feels false to me, based on my own experience. But could it be true?