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|Single message by Martin Wynne Topic: OpenTemplot - where next?|
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Hi Rob, Trevor, Paul,
Thanks for your thoughts. I did say at the start that I would open-source Templot and then leave it to others, while I get on with Templot2 in my own way. So in theory I have no reason to be frustrated by any lack of feedback.
But the point I'm making here is that I haven't yet finished the first part of that. There are still significant chunks of Templot2 not yet included in OpenTemplot. The fact that none of you picked up on that, and that there has been total silence about it, makes me wonder if it is worth spending my time on the significant amount of work still needed.
The biggest task is in open-sourcing the sketchboard. Apart from licensing issues, the sketchboard is based almost entirely on Windows metafiles -- which are not supported in Lazarus. So open-sourcing the sketchboard means either completely rewriting it to use other mechanisms, or creating TMetafile support in Lazarus. Either way is a massive amount of work, at least it would be for me. I'm assuming that those already working on Linux or other platforms may have solutions, but no-one has popped up to say so.
Likewise the PDF export. To find an open-source replacement ought to be easy. But I haven't found one. Writing one from scratch would be another major task. There is the option of using a virtual printer application instead of the dedicated export, but they are all focused on standard paper sizes and can't produce the large single page PDFs which Templot's dedicated PDF export can create for wide-format long-roll printing.
The alternative approach to both these issues would be a half-way house in which OpenTemplot makes use of a pre-compiled Windows helper executable. I have already adopted that approach for the screenshot maps, there apparently being no other easy-to-use embeddable browser other than the Windows I.E. control. In that case I have open-sourced the (Delphi) code for the helper exe, but that wouldn't be possible for the PDF or sketchboard. The big disadvantage with this method is that it will always be Windows/Wine only, and it might stop working in future versions of Windows and/or Wine.
So I have to decide whether to try to get the full Templot2 functionality into OpenTemplot, or whether to leave it as it is now? The total silence about any of this, or offers to assist with it, leaves me assuming that no-one is much bothered?
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