I am familiar with Flash's symbol library. How does SVG's concept of a symbol differ from Flash's?
- Actually, SVG's handling of symbols is very similar to Flash's.
Conceptually, the two handle symbols the same. In Flash, an item is stored
in a library by converting it into a symbol and is then visually stored in
a separate library palette. In SVG, a symbol is also removed from the artwork
content by placing it within a defs or symbol element.
SVG offers an advantage in terms of its ability to apply considerable amounts of style information to the instance of a symbol. Although Flash allows certain adjustments to be made to a symbol (such as opacity and overall color), SVG can pass any style rule on to a symbol via the use element.
Can a use element reference a symbol in an external file?
No. Sadly, the use element can only reference material within the same document. Such a feature would be highly useful, however. You can consider writing the W3C to suggest such functionality, as this technology will continued to be improved upon as time goes on.