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Web Design Reference Guide

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Other Graphics

Last updated Oct 17, 2003.

As explained in SVG, vector graphics are based on mathematical instructions, and no matter how large or small the image, the memory remains the same. To put it in meaningful terms, a circle with 10 pixels takes 10 pixels to create the image in bitmap format, whereas a vector-based circle takes only one line of mathematical instruction to create. When scaling vector-based graphics, the image retains its perfect shape; in bitmap, the image can become jaggy-looking.

SVG isn't the only vector-based format available. Macromedia Flash also uses vector-based graphics, which produce SWF (Small Web File) files. Like SVG, SWF files require a plug-in to be viewed on a Web page, which is Flash Player. The plug-in isn't a problem as it was in the past because it comes preinstalled with most browsers and operating systems.

Connecting to the Internet through wireless devices such as handheld devices and cellular phones is growing each year. Such devices also have a black and white 1-bit graphics format called WBMP, wireless bitmap, which is part of the WML (Wireless Markup Language). It's an uncompressed image format. Like SVG, there are development tools that are specifically for working with WBMP.