REBOL Technologies

Update on the AGG/Draw Project

Carl Sassenrath, CTO
REBOL Technologies
18-Feb-2005 19:14 GMT

Article #0129
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As you may know, we've been working in collaboration with a few good developers to add the AGG ( scalar vector graphics to REBOL within the DRAW dialect. It provides a nice improvement to the functions of DRAW. We had hoped to officially release these changes a month ago, so I wanted to give a quick update as to the status of the project, and why it has been temporarily delayed...

We have a rather simple, but hard to satisfy, requirement in REBOL (including REBOL/View): it must work the same way on all platforms. In other words, if you use REBOL/View on an X Windows system like Linux, you had better see a window that looks "really close" to what you see on MS Windows. (Of course, your X system needs to have decent fonts installed.)

Currently, the new DRAW function prototype includes a few features that depend on outline fonts (vector-based fonts). This allows for some rather spectacular results from very little code. It's quite nice.

Unfortunately, our initial investigations indicate that X11 (X Windows) does not provide us with the font vector information we require. It is possible that we have missed something in the depths of X11, but if not, we are forced to rethink our implementation strategy for the DRAW related fonts.

We are leaning toward being pragmatic here. We think it is more important to get the new version of /View released than to support some of these fancier (but much less often used) font features. Doing this will allow us to release the improved /View sooner.

Later this year we can take a closer look at what would be involved to add some other type of standard font engine into REBOL to make up for what is missing in X Windows. Until then, we will need to just do the best that we can with the existing X system.

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