Author: Vladimir Geroimenko & Chaomei Chen (Editors)
Publisher: Springer-Verlag, 2004
Aimed at: Web programmers
Pros: Good coverage of web graphics technologies
Cons: An odd mix of articles at many different levels
Reviewed by: Mike James
This is a strange mixture of articles collected together in a single volume. It deals with SVG, the XML-based vector graphics language, and X3D, the successor to the VRML 3D web graphics language, at a range of levels from the most basic to the most academic. There is also much use of terms such as "semantic web" and there are some long and tedious listings. Even though most of the fuss at the moment is about the new HTML 5 canvas tag which also provides a way of implementing vector graphics there are lot of reasons why SVG is still important. For one SVG provides a retained graphics approach to vector drawing and it integrates with the DOM adding graphics objects as the drawing is created. The canvas is more like a bitmap that a script can draw on.
The book covers a lot of useful material and it covers it in fairly practical detail but at the sort of level that means you really don't need or want to know the minutiae. It is more a collection of outlines and case studies mostly written in an academic style. There are also some contributions that read like "SVG/X3D" for high court judges – "What exactly is this XML of which you speak..." It is difficult to know why academics sometimes feel the need to pretend that they have been living in a remote cave for some years - unless of course they have.
Of its sort it is not at all bad but it is expensive and if you are really interested in getting your hands dirty there are better, and more practically-oriented, books particularly when it comes to SVG. Its real value is as an introduction and an overview of X3D in particular.