[Talk] Drawing Tool XFIG

Luigi luigi.cantoni at auug.org.au
Thu Jun 12 13:52:35 EST 2003

I said I would report back how I went with this.

XFIG is great!!!! It is perfect for what I wanted.
Thanks to all those who suggested it.

It's data is stored as plain text.
The project is still ongoing but is shaping up well. The actual amount
of time I have spent on this project is probably only about a week or
two spread over the last couple of months.

The actual drawing tool works like a dream. I have consulted the on line
manuals a few times but most things are fairly intuitive and so you just
point and it does what you expect.

I have been able to create up my own libraries etc. of items I will need
to use.

It did make me have to learn post script and pdf file formates etc.

I have had to change the application to write out post script files (and
I mean writing source code to write out post script not just changing to
pick an existing option). There is a lot of post script manuals to read
to find the bits you want!!!! The output includes into it post script
encapsulated files created by XFIG within the document and then I can
both print these new combined documents or view them on the screen. This
all happens automatically when they just pick what items they want to
quote on as they create their quote in the application. This actually is
an improvement as you could never see the drawing being included on the
screen also.

One of the good bits is that XFIG allows you to output bits of your
drawings so not only am I creating an engineering drawing with those
details but I also create human pretty pictures (several different views
all in the one drawing) that get included in quotations for clients.

The loading of engineering details into the application is still to be
done but I know it can be done. As they will have to make several
thousand of them I got the pictures code working first so that they can
get some return (and see improvements) now while the detail gets done
more slowly.

I do have some work I have to do on it before I can start on the
engineering load up. My library items are compound items with the
engineering part and text (which tells me what it's properties are). The
unfortunate thing is that compound objects put boxes around the item and
it is this box you position as you move it about. This box cannot (and
believe me I tried and it puts it back again) be made a size that means
the actual sub-object is located in a corner. That means you have to
guess where the actual item is in to box to put it exactly where you
want it. You could split the compound object, move the actual bit and
the compound it again. Bit of a pain. 

What I will be doing is actually looking through the data and adjusting
certain points so that if they are close enough they are considered to
be in contact and the points moved to touch. This should work for the
types of items them manufacture here. That will be a bit of fun as I am
sure as I work though it I will get the odd tug or war where one end is
pulled one way and then the other end gets moved in another and it just
bounces around. Oh well I am sure I'll work a solution out to stop that
sort of case.

A couple of down points but these are so minor in the overall project I
still think it is great.
1) When you deal with file names it only knows about delete character
and so marking an area you have to delete it character by character
rather then all in one shot.
2) You have to hold the mouse button down with pull down menu's rather
then click and move to the sub-menu.
I know these are real petty and maybe even a configuration option but
really these as bad as the problems get. XFIG works and works well.

I hope this little bit of positive feed back puts a smile on some
peoples faces, thanks again for giving me the pointer to just the right

Thanks Luigi

Luigi Cantoni
04 0326 2243
PO Box 51
North Perth WA 6906
luigi.cantoni at auug.org.au
Luigi <luigi.cantoni at auug.org.au>

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