Manual:Coding conventions/SVG

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This page describes the coding conventions used within files of the MediaWiki codebase written in SVG. See also the general conventions that apply to all programming & markup languages, including SVG.

On per-project base we make use of SVGO as optimisation tool, see automated optimisation below. Another helpful tool for further manual optimisation is SVGOMG. It provides a visual before/after comparison.

Code structure [edit]

Minimal code as possible with readability in mind is the premise.

Example for simple optimised file – subtract.svg from OOUI:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<svg xmlns="" width="24" height="24" viewBox="0 0 24 24">
	<path d="M18 13H6v-2h12"/>

Example for slightly more complex, optimised file – BetaFeatures screenshot template:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<svg xmlns="" width="264" height="162" viewBox="0 0 264 162">
        BetaFeatures screenshot template
        <clipPath id="jagged-edge">
            <path d="M0 0v152l12 10 12-10 12 10 12-10 12 10 12-10 12 10 12-10 12 10 12-10 12 10 12-10 12 10 12-10 12 10 12-10 12 10 12-10 12 10 12-10 12 10 12-10V0z"/>
    <g fill="#eaecf0" clip-path="url(#jagged-edge)">
        <path id="background" fill="#fff" d="M0 0h264v162H0"/>
        <path id="logo" d="M11 22c0-8 6-14 14-14s14 6 14 14-6 14-14 14-14-6-14-14M38 45v-5H13v5h25"/>
        <path id="sidebar" d="M38 163V58H13v106h25"/>
        <path id="personal-tools" d="M233 5h26v6h-26V5zM209 5h22v6h-22zM185 5h22v6h-22zM162 5h13v6h-13zM177 5h6v6h-6zM154 5h6v6h-6z"/>
        <path id="search-input" d="M258 16v4h-92v-4h92m1-1h-94v6h94v-6z"/>
        <path id="search-icon" d="M168 17h2v2h-2z"/>
        <path id="article" d="M252 162V29H48v133z"/>
        <path id="border" d="M0 0v162h264V0zm1 1h262v150.533l-11 9.166-12-10-12 10-12-10-12 10-12-10-12 10-12-10-12 10-12-10-12 10-12-10-12 10-12-10-12 10-12-10-12 10-12-10-12 10-12-10-12 10-11-9z"/>

We will explain the different coding conventions in the following section.

Automated optimisation (SVGO)[edit]

A standards set of conventions can be enforced by help of SVGO. If your original SVGs are well-formed, you should be able to automatically optimise them. As some SVGO v1.x plugins (options) might result in unexpected appearance with more complex SVGs, we differentiate between safe, considerably less-safe and unsafe plugins. With latter it's recommended to involve per-file quality assurance.

Safe plugins:

Mentioning only plugins, that are changed from default setting or that might be counter-intuitive:

  • Sorting attributes ('sortAttrs' – set to enabled; disabled by default)
  • Remove DOCTYPE ('removeDoctype' – using a DOCTYPE in SVGs is considered harmful by SVG standards authors as of SVG 2 Working Draft; enabled by default)
  • Remove or cleanup enable-background attribute when possible ('cleanupEnableBackground' – deprecated attribute, only supported by IE/Edge; enabled by default)

See SVGO Readme for other enabled, safe plugins.

Plugins to consider carefully: 

  • Round/rewrite number lists ('convertPathData' – can cause imprecise rendering; enabled by default)
  • Remove unused and minify used IDs ('cleanupIDs' – might negatively affect readability in more complex SVGs; enabled by default)
  • Remove raster images ('removeRasterImages' – as general rule dangerous; disabled by default)

Unsafe rules to disable (don't use!):

  • Remove XML processing instructions, aka XML declaration <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> ('removeXMLProcInst' – issues when viewed as standalone file in some editors, also possible issues with MIME type interpretation; enabled by default)
  • Remove <title> ('removeTitle' – problematic for accessibility reasons; enabled by default)
  • Remove <desc> ('removeDesc' – problematic for accessibility reasons; enabled by default)
  • Remove viewBox attribute ('removeViewBox' – results in troublesome appearance in some browsers, therefore both, width/height and viewbox should be featured; enabled by default)
  • Remove dimensions width/height when viewbox is available ('removeDimensions' – as above; disabled by default anyways)

Exemplified safe configuration:[edit]

$ svgo path/to/image.svg --disable={cleanupIDs,convertPathData,removeDesc,removeTitle,removeViewBox,removeXMLProcInst} --enable='sortAttrs' --pretty

Manual optimisation[edit]

Beyond automated optimising SVGs there are further steps to consider:

  • Remove standalone="no" from XML processing instruction, as it's default
  • Lowercase (for better gzipping) and shorten hex color values – #fff over #FFFFFF
  • Merging paths <p> where applicable
  • Paths are preferable over certain SVG shapes like <rect> or <circle>

If you want to dig even deeper, there are more more optimisations to compress delivery, such as:

  • auto-closing paths (aka removing z for certain shapes),
  • use relative commands when creating paths (instead absolute commands, e.g. "m" for "move by", instead of "M" for "move to"),
  • optimising for compression backreferences

that might save some extra bytes depending on what it's worth.