[Clipart] a few things

Alan Horkan horkana at maths.tcd.ie
Tue Jun 29 12:59:19 PDT 2004

Sorry I didn't respond to this thread,
I'm only now clearing out unread mail from during my exams.

On Mon, 19 Apr 2004, Nicu Buculei wrote:

> Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2004 10:51:42 +0300
> From: Nicu Buculei <nicu at apsro.com>
> To: clipart-list <clipart at freedesktop.org>
> Subject: Re: [Clipart] a few things
> Bryce Harrington wrote:
> > Having all the symbols available in Dia is a great idea and definitely
> > something worth having.  I recall someone had investigated this once

I've drawn a bunch of symbols for Dia, most of them look fairly simple but
authoring shapes using Dia can be very difficult.  (And the automatically
generatd PNGs were all antialiased so if I wanted icons that actually
looked sharp and clear I had to do loads of pixel editing which took
forever).  I created the Assorted sheet (arrows, stars, crosses,etc), but
only because the drawing tools in Dia are not as powerful as in
applications like Inkscape, so those files wouldn't be worth including at

I've drawn some Isometric Map shapes that are either in 0.93 or will be
included in the next version of Dia, there is a nice little car sybmol,
and I also quite like the tree and factory symbols.  I'd being willing to
put them in the public domain but absolutely not interested in doing the
conversion, particularly if it meant two sets of the files.

> > before but found that they're not in SVG and not easy to export into

There are 3 types of Dia files, Diagrams (.dia), Shapes (.shape) and
Sheets (.sheet), all are XML but Diagram are GZipped by default.

> > SVG, so may have to be redrawn.  Also, some of them are more than mere
> > symbols, in that they have snap points, specialized Dia dialogs (like
> > the UML symbols), etc.  But at least if we had SVG versions of all of
> > them, that'd be an important start.

Not all of the Shapes/Objects you seen in Dia are necessarily .shape
files, some of them such as UML are programmed objects.

The shape files use SVG but only as a namespace within the file, it is
wrapped in some custom XML.  The additional XML is needed for information
such as Connection points, the SVG is used for the actual 'shape' (paths,
polygons, lines etc) and converting it to SVG should be relatively easy.

If there was a developer willing to help improve support for importing SVG
in Dia, the shape file format could probably reversed so that the primary
doctype was SVG and that with the additional XML was subclassed and put
inside a <dia:dia> namespace or something.  That way it could more easily
be used by other programs, I suggested but I didn't implement it and
neither did anyone else.  Dia just doesn't have that many active
developers, but they do willingly accept patches.

> when i started drawing my clipart collection, the first gallery was the
> one with arrows and the second with flowchart symbols. i used Dia as a
> reference for what flowchart symbols to include
> the work can be speed'ed-up by saving the shapes from Dia as SVG and
> adjust them in Inkscape as needed, but for this we probably need
> permission from the original authors, so probably is not worth the effort

It might be worth looking at Kivio which automatically converts the Dia
shapes to their own custom xml format but I have no idea how they do it.

We have wondered (without coming to any conclusive answer) what the
licensing implications are of creating files in Dia.  The diagram files
merely list the sybmol being used but when you export to something like
SVG you are embedding the shapes into your file.   At any rate even if
strictly speaking Dia shapes should be Public Domain the clear
intent is to allow others to use and embed them so the issue was allowed
to drop.

Hope that helps


Alan Horkan

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