The documentation is quite intimidating at first, unless you have had the misfortune of trying to draw something purely by code using the standard canvas method. However, this library offers some fantastic shortcuts. Drawing a circle with the standard canvas language would look a little something like this:
context.arc(centerX, centerY, radius, 0, 2 * Math.PI, false);
whereas with the Raphael library is would be:
var circle = paper.circle(50, 40, 10);
The elements created by Raphael use VML as a base, so each object is actually a DOM model. This means they can easily integrate libraries like jQuery into existing systems, or become part of one in development.
One element of this library I have found particularly useful is the Raphael.svg that returns a Boolean value of TRUE if the browser supports SVG. It’s such a straightforward operation, but an invaluable one when you are dealing with some of the dinosaur browsers out there that are still getting used.
For those more technically orientated, click here for the Github page.