Saturday, September 13, 2008

Inkscape 'shell' patch

I'm not sure why, but you can now launch Inkscape in a mode with a simple interactive shell. Someone submitted a patch a few weeks back that presented a "server" mode so they could run multiple Inkscape commands without actually relaunching the application.

I wasn't sure myself of where this would be most useful, but a few of our guys said it could help in some cases. I finally had time to clean up the bits of the implementation (though there still might be some lingering Windows issues) and get it submitted. There's a warning that pops up when exiting, but otherwise it seems ready to start using. We probably need to give a little thought to tweaks like the character or string for the prompt, etc. A bit more refinement is probably good.

It takes the same command format as the command-line interface that has been in Inkscape for some time. We might need to add a bit more, but finding out how people use it and what they run up against will probably shake all that out.


David Gerard said...

This is of interest to the Wikimedia projects. We currently use rsvg because it's much faster than Inkscape, but since pretty much everyone drawing SVGs for Wikimedia projects uses Inkscape, there's obvious advantages to using that as the default renderer.

(There's also the notion of in-browser rendering - Firefox 3.0/3.1 render SVGs slowly but fairly accurately - though there's no Mediawiki code to this effect yet.)

What's the likely timescale for an Inkscape shell going into the release version? I'll need to rerun those SVG benchmarks!

David Gerard said...

Whoops! That first link should have been:

David Gerard said...

gawd, half my original email got lost in the archive. This is what I wrote:

From those I disrecommended Inkscape on Unix systems - the rendering is good, but rsvg is twice as fast and uses much less memory. (On Windows, the fact that Inkscape comes in a standalone package makes it much easier to set up and use, and mediawiki-l has many happy users of Inkscape for SVGs on Windows.)

But rsvg is a library and Inkscape is a full application, so that would *plausibly* explain the overhead (I don't know if it's actually the case).

Obviously those will need rerunning with the Inkscape shell if anyone has a spare moment :-)

What's the quality of in-browser SVG rendering on Firefox 3.0 and 3.1? Looking at it casually, FF 3 betas did good rendering but weren't very fast. OTOH, sending the hard work to the client when you know it's up to the task is reasonable these days. I believe ordinary HTML <img
src="something.svg" height=nn width=nn> works fine. (Haven't tried Safari, Chrome or Opera.)