Book Review: Learning Raphaël JS Vector Graphics

Learning Raphaël JS Vector Graphics is Damian Dawber’s new book about Raphaël. It was released on May and has been written for anyone with an interest in frontend browser technologies with little or no knowledge of vector graphics drawing.

The book starts introducing the library and the background of vector drawings, explaining how it was done in the IE times, how it is done now, and how the SVG spec is evolving. Into the core of the book it goes over almost all library functionalities, from the basics like the canvas, basic shapes, text and images, to paths, transformations and animations. In general, it gives basic examples of the functionalities, not going into too much depth. One of the things that stands out are the examples of custom attributes, in my opinion, a really nice functionality that is not very used. All examples are uploaded in the book samples page.

Then it has a specific chapter for working with existing SVGs, a chapter worth reading if you are going to work with SVG not generated by Raphael.

Finally the author creates a suite of social media visualisations using all the things explained in the previous chapters using jQuery for DOM interaction. He mixes paths, custom attributes, animations, and DOM interaction for building widgets with social media data. Complex enough for all the concepts explained before. And then to finish, explains where Raphael is going and mention some supplementary material.

In summary, great book to get to know Raphael and become an experienced user, but not enough to build a complex app with it. I would have liked a more “app example” than a widget example.

Do you want to start using Raphael? This is definitely a good start.

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Tomas Alabes

Passionate Software Engineer from Argentina living in Silicon Valley.


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