Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cairo 1.12.0

A couple weeks ago, the good folks that give us Cairo announced that version 1.12.0 is ready for consumption.

In the last couple weeks, at sundry moments, I've been updating the VisualWorks binding to it, and playing with it some. There's some exciting news and some not-yet-good news. First, the good.

Doing a build for Linux was quite simple. And that allowed me to update/play right away. You can build it yourself, or ask me, I'm curious how portable the binaries I built are for consumption.

On of the exciting things new in 1.12.0 is at long last, Mesh Gradients. Mesh gradients are the "you can do anything with it" gradient. They can be used to simulate any other kind of gradient. Radial and Linear gradients can be done with them (Cairo gives us first class versions of these already). You can also do the elusive conical gradient.

Here'a round one (they don't have to be round) which varies evenly on hue. This can be fun to build pie charts with. Or you can build a conical gradient useful for doing highlighting masks after clipping to a shape

You can do more complex things with them, such as display map data, but I didn't find any simple ones to read and map to mesh (if anyone knows of some, let me know). Other than cones I haven't done to much with the meshes yet. But I'm excited to figure out what kinds of data visualization one could do with them for an application that might be written with VisualWorks. I have an idea of something, but... that'll have to wait for a later post if it works out.

The not-yet-good news is that so far, I only have this working on Linux. The build method I've used in the past, doesn't seem to work with this new version (it could just as well be that I'm now running Lion and newer versions of Xcode). I did manage to grab a binary from someone who had built just prior to release. While that worked for many things, it crashed when using the MeshGradient stuff. And the same goes for Windows so far. I hope to do some looking and have more/better news on these fronts in the weeks to come.

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