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Skencil / Release Notes for the Development Version

All changes since version 0.7.5 are covered in detail in the ChangeLog files. Here you'll only find the most important changes.

Sketch 0.7.12 (February 7th, 2003)

  • Translucency works for raster images with alpha channel. Most of the code for this came from a patch by David Boddie.
  • Export filter for EPS files. You can now save drawings as EPS by saving to a file with a .eps extension.
  • Updates to the CGM filters by Antoon Pardon. These updates are also in 0.6.15

Bug Fixes:

  • The SVG import filter now handles the viewBox attribute of the svg element (it doesn't handle the preserveAspectRatio attribute though). The filter also makes sure that non-text object won't get a font attribute and it understands more color names. Bugs reported by Keith Hopper. These fixes are also in 0.6.15
  • The CMX import filter handles poly-curves with a large number of points better now. Reported by Tim Wright. These fixes are also in 0.6.15.

Sketch 0.7.11 (September 14th, 2002)

  • CGM import/export filters. Contributed by Antoon Pardon

Bug fixes:

  • This release contains the missing the Plugins/Filters/Lib subdirectory.
  • The SVG import filter now only accepts ASCII font names. Before unicode strings could end up in .sk files which Sketch couldn't read.

Sketch 0.7.10 (August 2nd, 2002)

  • New dialog with a color palette. Contributed by Mark Rose
  • New dialog to edit object properties. Contributed by Mark Rose.
  • Nodes inserted into bezier segments are now 'smooth' instead of 'symmetric'. Reported by Antoon Pardon
  • Files can now be saved in the older format used by Sketch 0.6 by using the extension ".sk1".
  • Import filter for Acorn Drawfiles, the same as published with 0.6.13. Contributed by David Boddie.
  • The wmf import filter supports a PolyPolylines now. Patch from Antoon Pardon.
  • The SVG import filter parses paths more correctly now. The old version didn't accept numbers without delimiters in between, which is legal in an SVG path if the second number starts with a sign.
  • The SVG export filter now escapes text properly. Bug reported by Stefan Eilers (SF #545267).
  • The SVG export has some basic support for Text. Based on a Patch by Paul Giotta
  • The Illustrator-import filter now gives a warning if the file looks as if it's not generated by AI. Furthermore it understands text alignment now.

Internal Changes:

  • The load_immediately flag of plugins ported over from 0.6
  • Plugins can now have plugin specific libraries. Also ported over from 0.6.

Bug fixes:

  • Quote filenames of EPS files properly when rendering the preview. The previous behavior was a security problem. This is the fix that was already part of Sketch 0.6.13.
  • The extension modules in Sketch/Modules and Filter now use the Python Memory API correctly as specified for Python 1.5.2 but it should also be compatible with later versions including 2.3 (according to the discussion in April 2002)

Sketch 0.7.9 (November 28th, 2001)

  • Russian translation contributed by Andrey Kiselev
  • When given a non-existing file on the command line, open a window for that file anyway instead of just giving error messages. Based on a patch by Han-Wen Nienhuys.
  • Ungrouping works now. Based on a patch by Han-Wen Nienhuys.
  • Support for Python 2.1
  • The beginnings of a simple test suite in the test/ subdirectory

Bug fixes:

  • uses libart-config instead of gnome-config to correctly support systems that have libart but not GNOME.
  • Read AFM-files without per character bounding boxes correctly. Based on a patch by Han-Wen Nienhuys.
  • Sketch still used an Xlib function directly to read XBM files. This is now fixed by reding them through PIL.

Internal Changes:

  • remove some code in the insert/remove implementation that was still left over from the old representation of the selections.

Sketch 0.7.8 (April 4th, 2001)

  • Make bezier segments draggable. Ported from demo code by Simon Budig. This is the same code that's also in 0.6.8
  • New menu "Xtns" in the tool box window.
  • A new dialog reachable through the Xtns menu that displays error messages
  • All graphics objects support meta data. There's also a dialog to add, edit and remove meta data in the Xtns menu.
  • A PDF export filter. This is the same that's also in 0.6.9.
  • New implementations of the impert and export filters for the sk-format. The format has also changed somewhat. The new format is the native format now. Sketch 0.6.8 can't read those files currently, but documents can be saved in the old format by saving them with the extensions .sk1.
  • As part of the filter rewrite, the way plugin objects are saved has changed. The PluginObjects that come with Sketch have been updated accordingly.

Bug fixes:

  • Some small fixes to make Sketch compile with Python 1.6/2.0. Based on a patch contributed by Thomas Gellekum.
  • Push the gdkrgb visual and colormap once at the beginning in main before any widgets are created. This fixes one common cause of the segmentation faults many users experienced.
  • Several small fixes in the SVG filters.

Internal Changes:

  • The plugin management code is now in the new subpackage Sketch.Plugin. This package has its own config file ~/.devsketch/plugin.prefs
  • Tools are now identified by an object and not just by their name anymore. These objects are derived from the new class ToolInfo and have some attributes that describe the object including a method that instantiates the tool for a given document editor. The old tool classes like MouseTool and derived classes are the classes for these editor specific instances.
  • The code for the old representation of the selection has been removed.
  • Added ASCII85 filters to the streamfilter module (In the Filters/ subdirectory)

Sketch 0.7.7 (June 24th, 2000)

  • Added a button in the top-right corners of the editor windows that indicates whether the document in the window is the active document. Clicking on the button makes the document in the window the active document.

  • A document can have multiple views and editors now. The menu item View->New View creates a new view but the same editor as the active window and View->New Editor creates a new view with a new editor.

    A document window always has one associated editor and an editor always has one associated document, but a document can have multiple editors and an editor can have multiple windows. Windows that share an editor (and hence also a document) always have the same selection, windows with different editors may have different selections even for the same document.

    The "New Editor" command is an advanced feature IMO in that the difference between "New View" and "New Editor" isn't all that obvious and I'm not sure whether the "New Editor" command is really useful. The current implementation has some limitations when the same bezier curve is selected in different editors in edit mode. The selected nodes will be the same in both editors. This feature is mostly a side effect of internal changes anyway. It may be that the "New Editor" command will not be included in 0.8, but the functionality is unlikely to be removed.

  • A somewhat incomplete fill pattern dialog.

  • The 'modified' label works now.

Internal Changes:

  • Sketch/Base is now a subpackage. All objects and modules that used to be directly available in the Sketch package and whose files were in Sketch/Base are now part of Sketch.Base. The Sketch.base_init function is now Sketch.Base.init

  • All objects that are implemented in the Graphics subpackage are now exported directly by it and should be taken from there and not from the Sketch package. E.g. Use Sketch.Graphics.Rectangle instead of Sketch.Rectangle

  • Pattern and gradient objects are now immutable. This change involves removing all of the methods that change a pattern/gradient in place and the addition of new methods that return changed copies of an object.

  • A new class of document editor that manages the selection itself. In the old implementation the selection was managed by the document. The new approach makes more sense in my opinion and, together with a somewhat different representation of the set of selected objects, it offers some new features:

    • It will be possible to 'remember' selections. E.g. the user could name a particular set of selected objects and later. This isn't implemented yet.
    • It's possible to have several views of one document with different selections.
  • The document's TRANSACTION_END messages now have parameters.

  • The representation of menus has changed. Normal menu items are only stored as command names now which are looked up in the command registry every time the command object has to be accessed. The title of the menu item is taken from the command object.

Sketch 0.7.6 (March 26th, 2000)

  • Sketch is in GNOME CVS now. See README for access instructions
  • The tree view is actually useful. It reflects the current selection and you can use it to select objects.
  • 8-Bit PseudoColor visuals are supported again. The implementation is not very good at the moment, though. The anti-aliased rendering mode should be fine and you'll even get error diffusion dithering thanks to GdkRGB, but the colors in the non-anti-aliased mode may be a little off.
  • User preferences are no longer saved in ~/.devsketch/ but in four different files in the same directory: base.prefs, graphics.prefs, editor.prefs and ui.prefs. See below for more detail.
  • Various enhancements for the anti-aliased mode including outlined drawing of individual layers and the whole document as already possible in non-anti-aliased mode.

Internal Changes:

  • Added a number of new message channels to the document object which are also forwarded by the context object.

    TRANSACTION_START and TRANSACTION_END are issued at the start and end of each transaction. OBJECT_CHANGED is issued whenever an object changes. The message parameters describe which object changed and what changed, i.e. whether its geometry or properties changed among others.

  • The graphics objects aren't message publishers anymore. They only report changes to their parents and to the document object they belong to. To be notified of a change in an object, subscribe to the document's or the context's OBJECT_CHANGED channel

  • The way the redraw region is determined has changed completely. Before, it was basically the bounding rectangle of the current selection and if necessary a few additional rectangles. Now, this is automatically handled by the object's _changed() methods.

  • Changed the way user preferences are handled. Instead of only one preference object in Sketch.config there are now several objects which are also saved in different files in ~/.devsketch: Sketch.config.preference for basic configuration (saved in base.prefs), Sketch.UI.preferences for GUI prefs (ui.prefs), Sketch.Editor.preferences for GUI independent editor preferences (editor.prefs) and Sketch.Graphics.preferences (graphics.prefs).

  • The main entry point for Sketch as a GUI program is now Sketch.UI.main. Sketch/Base/ has been removed.

Sketch 0.7.5 (January 23rd, 2000)

  • The libart renderer now supports dashes, arrows and tiled image fills.
  • "Snap To Objects" now also works for raster images and eps files. They can even be used as guides by moving them onto the guide layer. They behave just like rectangles in this regard.
  • bzip2 compressed sk-files (and also ai and svg) can now be uncompressed transparently if bzip2 is installed. The same functionality for gzip was already present in 0.5.0.
  • More accurate papersizes for the A<n> formats, contributed by Martin Glaser. The sizes used to be derived from first principles, so to speak, everytime, but that does not yield exactly the same values that the standard defines. The old code is still there in Sketch/Graphics/, if you're curious.
  • The DSC parser, used for e.g. extracting the bounding box of EPS files, can cope with non-Unix line separator conventions.
  • Fixed a bug in the code that draws axial (linear) gradients on the screen, postscript output was not affected. In some cases the direction of diagonal the gradients was incorrect, most noticable for very large border values.
  • The way paper formats are stored in the sk-files has changed slightly. Only formats of a fixed list are stored by name now, for all others, only the dimensions are saved. This was done to prevent problems if users add new formats in their
  • The files ARROWS and NOTES are now in a subdirectory Doc with lowercase filenames
  • A new file Doc/styles that describes the ideas behind the dynamic styles currently implemented in Sketch
  • The --imaging-include option of should work properly with relative filenames now.

Sketch 0.7.4 (December 23rd, 1999)

  • Sketch can use libart for anti-aliased rendering now. The libart-drawing code is not complete yet, though. For instance, arrow heads, dashes and tiled images as fill patterns are not yet implemented. By default sketch still uses the gdk-based drawing routines but you can swith to antialiased mode with the "Antialiased" command in the "View" menu.

    libart is the rendering library of the GNOME canvas. If you have gnome installed, the setup script should be able to find libart automatically. If the script can't find libart, anti-aliased rendering will not be available.

    Sketch only uses libart itself at the moment and it is possible to install libart without the rest of GNOME as it is completely independent. If you have installed libart without GNOME, you might have to use the --libart-cflags and --libart-libs options of to point it at your libart installation. E.g. if libart is installed under /usr/local you could use:

    ./ configure --libart-cflags=-I/usr/local/include

    --libart-libs=-I/usr/local/lib -lart_lgpl

  • Experimental changes to the arrow head code to make the tips of the arrows `snappable'. See the file ARROWS for a more detailed discussion. The two solutions described there are available in a new "Devel" menu for commands only needed for development purposes. Both commands assing two arrow heads and a line_width of 4 to the selected object. Both solutions are only implemented in the editor and the screen display code, you can't print or save them.

  • Started to work on a property/style dialog, available in the "Devel" menu. It's very primitive and you can't change anything yet, but it allows yu to see the information Sketch actually stores with each object. This is especially interesting if you have a drawing with styles.

  • Moved more of the curve fitting code for the freehand tool to C to make it faster.

  • Added some experimental Drag and Drop code to the toolbox. It should be possible to drop files from gmc on the toolbox to make Sketch open them.

  • When editing bezier curves, the ctrl-key now restricts the movement of nodes to horizontal and vertical and when dragging a control point, the angle of the tangent is restricted to multiples of 15 degrees.

  • When drawing bezier curves the ctrl-key now restricts the slope of the tangent to multiples of 15 degrees.

  • When drawing poly-lines, the ctrl-key now restricts the slopes of the lines to multiples of 15 degrees.

  • Selecting a blend group works a little different now, so that clicking on the interpolation selects the entire blend group. In earlier versions only the interpolation object was selected in that case. Clicking on a control object of a blend group still selects just the control object. (The blend group object contains both the control objects and the interpolation objects).

    The reason for this change is that it makes it easier to select two blend groups to create an interpolation betweem them.

  • There a new option for ~/.sketch/, fallback_font. This is the name of the font to use when a font or the corresponding metrics can't be found. The default is 'Times-Roman'

  • Fixed a bug in Sketch's postscript procset (Resources/Misc/ that caused problems when a sketch-eps that contains eps's that use showpage was embedded in a ps file which was then run through psnup (got that? :) ) To reproduce it, create an eps with dvips, embed it in a Sketch drawing export as eps, embed it in a tex-document, create a psfile from that with dvips and 'psnup -2' it. The resulting psfile executes a superfluous showpage at the end of the embedded tex-eps.

  • Blending of two path-text objects works now. In previous versions attempting this would leave the document in an inconsistent state and the user could neither undo the operation or even save properly.

  • Fixed bugs in the type1 font file parser and the underlying postscript tokenizer. Some type 1 font files caused segfaults in the tokenizer (e.g. the UTB_____.pfa font that comes with X11).

Internal Changes:

  • Switched _skgtkmodule from using _gtk's _private dictionary to access _gtk at C level to using init_pygtk().

  • In, distinguish between the associated window (self.window) and the current drawable (new instance var self.drawable) to facilitate switching to a pixmap temporarily. All drawing takes place on self.drawable.

  • Introduced a new class PatternDevice between SimpleGC and GraphicsDevice in PatternDevice knows how to draw gradient and other special fills and is used by the new properties dialog to draw the preview pixmaps.

  • Introduced a new class SketchDrawingArea which is basically a clone of pygtk's GtkDrawingArea class, but has some Sketch specific features.

  • Changed the way redraw region is handled inside the document object. In the old scheme, only the area covered by the selected objects before and after the transaction were automatically redrawn and some objects (the blend group) and operations (update style) had to add rectangles to this region themselves to make sure everything is redrawn properly. Undo/Redo were also treated specially.

    In the new scheme, the object's _changed() method adds self to the list of changed objects if self is part of a document by calling the documens object_changed() method. This covers all special cases listed above and is also much better for user scripts as they might modify arbitrary objects and not just the selected ones.

Sketch 0.7.3 (October 17th, 1999)

  • A freehand tool. The implementation of the curve fitting is a bit slow at the moment, because much of the computation is done in Python. Moving more parts to C should improve performance substantially.

    The freehand tool has an accuracy option, which you can set by double clicking on the tool's button. The accuracy determines how close the fitted bezier curves match the sampled mouse positions, it's basically the maximum deviation in pixels.

    The algorithm, which is basically the same as found in gimp or autotrace, also needs some more fine tuning

  • A most recently used file list in the file menu

  • "Save" and "Save As" commands

  • Updated svg import filter. It's the same as in 0.6.2 now.

  • fixed a bug that caused the first few characters of a path-text to be misplaced if the start position coincided with a node (but not the start-node) of the curve-object.

  • The afm-file parser is more tolerant now. It had problems with empty lines.

  • The script knows a few more foundries and has a new commandline option '-f' to specify the foundry used when it can't be determined from the afm-file. I also increased its version to 1.2.

  •'s build command accepts arguments of the form <KEY>=<VALUE> now. These are passed through to make to let you override variables like CC or OPT. See the generated Makefiles or for more details.

Internal Changes:

  • I've begun to split the document class in Sketch/Graphics/ into a base class for all Sketch documents and, derived from that, an InteractiveDocument class that contains code only needed for an interative editor. InteractiveDocument is defined in Sketch/Editor/

Sketch 0.7.2 (September 7th, 1999)

  • If your Python is thread enabled, you should upgrade to GTK 1.2.4.

    With a thread-enabled Python, Sketch will hang in some situations with GTK 1.2.3 and earlier. The reason for this is a threading-related bug in GTK which was fixed in 1.2.4.

    Sketch 0.7.1 contained a workaround for this bug, but I took it out because it caused Sketch to hang with the fixed GTK. You can reenable this workaround by uncommenting the lines marked THREADBUG in Sketch/UI/

  • Import/Export filters for the SVG format. They also work with the current stable release (0.6.1); just copy them to the Plugins/Filters subdirectory of your Sketch installation.

    Both filters are very incomplete and experimental. I don't know how much time I will have to improve them because at the moment working on the core parts of Sketch is more important, so I'd appreciate it if somebody could take over development of these plugins.

    SVG is likely to become a very important file format for vector graphics. I think the ability to read and write SVG files will become a crucial feature for Sketch to have.

    The import filter requires the python xml package. See the INSTALL file for details on where to get it.

User Interface:

  • The edit tool can edit several objects at the same time now. This is especially useful when editing bezier curves. This feature is quite experimental at the moment and may not work as expected in some cases.

  • The (UI of the) text tool is more sophisticated.

    • If you click on an existing text object, it is selected and you can edit the text. The caret is positioned where you clicked.
    • If you click on a curve-like object, i.e. a bezier curve, a rectangle or an ellipse, a path text object is created an you can start editing the text.
    • If you click somewhere else, a normal text object is created and you can start editing it. If you click and drag, you create a rotated text object (This already worked in the stable releases).

    The mouse cursor changes to indicate which of these things will happen.

Internal Changes:

  • The code reorganisation is practically complete.

Sketch 0.7.1 (July 16th, 1999)

  • The rewrite of the scripting/command infrastructure continued and supports keystrokes and toggle menu entries now
  • Snapping has been added to the UI
  • I've begun to implement a tree view of the object hierarchy, but you can't do anything yet. This will replace the layer dialog and allow the user to rearrange the stacking order of objects more easily.
  • There's a simplistic text-tool now.

Internal Changes:

  • Most of the code reorganization is complete. In particular, the python-level gtk-specific code is in Sketch.UI and the C-level gtk-specific code is in a separate module,

Sketch 0.7.0 (June 18th, 1999)

  • Sketch uses GTK instead of Tcl/Tk now.
  • The directory for user specific configuration files is ~/.devsketch to avoid conflicts with a stable Sketch version.