Development Project Ideas

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See also Projects and Refactoring projects.


  • Improve startup time and initialization performance (i.e. improve font cache).
  • [Done?] Improve icon cache: Convert the icon cache (widgets/icon.cpp) to create the PNGs with a directory structure and index file matching the icon theme specification. Use this to get rid of customized classes InkAction, SPIcon, and so on. GTK supports SVG icons, no need to convert to PNGs.
  • Continue C++ migration:
    • Use Glib::ustring for UTF-8 data and std::string for filenames and raw byte strings instead of C-strings (char*).
    • [Done] Replace uses of GList and GSList with STL containers.
  • Extension system improvements: Refactor the extension API. Clean up the kludgy class hierarchy, possibly using multiple inheritance. Use GInputStream and GOutputStream as parameters instead of file paths, so that things like the clipboard can write data to memory without going through a temporary file.

XML tree

  • SAX parser: Convert the current document parser from DOM to SAX, so that it creates our XML tree right away, instead of creating the libxml2 DOM tree, creating our tree to match it, then freeing the libxml2 tree. This should improve performance and allow more robust fixes for some problems.
  • Typed XML tree: Improve XML tree so that it can store some attributes in parsed, binary form. The main target of this are the data URIs used to embed images, which could be stored as binary data only. This work should be done after completing the SAX parser, as this will make it easier.

2Geom geometry library

  • Investigate whether it is possible to store subpath data in a more compact way and make the Curve objects only convenience facades. Right now, if the path has only linear segments, every point is stored twice.
  • Remove SPCurve: SPCurve is a thin wrapper around Geom::PathVector which exists for historical reasons. Its functionality should be added to PathVector, and SPCurve should be purged.
  • Provide a quick bounding box routine for stroked paths.
  • Boolean operations and stroking: Add methods to PathVector objects:
    • Set operators (& | - ^), which perform the relevant Boolean operation on the paths. Use the algorithm from CGAL or devise a new robust algorithm. The CGAL implementation is horribly broken and doesn't work; there is an implementation of the Greiner-Hormann algorithm in 2Geom now, but it's not robust and runs pretty slow.
    • stroke(double line_width, LineJoin join, LineCap cap, double miter_limit), which performs the stroke-to-path operation.
    • dash(std::vector<double> const &dasharray), which performs dashing.

User interface

  • Shape manipulators: The idea here is to rewrite shape tools in the same paradigm as the node tool. Instead of storing all information about the shape in knots which differ only by their callbacks, allow to store information in a higher-level manipulator object. This would enable things like dragging the side of a rectangle, consistent outlining / update preferences for all shapes, and editing more than one shape at once.
  • Transformation Anchors
  • Extend the Symbols dialog to include generic objects.
  • Connector tool improvements - Expose new libavoid functionality: orthogonal routing, connector ports, curved connectors. (Mentor: Michael Wybrow)
  • Fillet/Chamfer tool
  • Provide more actions in the context menu depending on the content of the selection, e.g. show "Put on Path", "Flow into Frame" etc. when the selection contains the appropriate objects.
  • When right-clicking a control point, show a transient dialog which would allow one to key in its coordinates.
  • Numeric input widgets with floating precision (instead of fixed field width like offered by GtkSpinButton and our derived classes). Potentially create a general implementation that can be included in GTK+4).

Project infrastructure and platform support

  • Migrate argument parsing to GOption and remove the dependency on popt. Update the devlibs version of Glib to one where this bug is fixed: [1]. Once this is done, port argument parsing to GOption.
  • [DONE] Common build system for all platforms: Migrate the build system to CMake for all platforms and remove Autotools.
  • [DONE] GTK3 on Windows: Rebuild the Windows devlibs so that they contain GTK3. Make the Windows port work with them, possibly sending the appropriate patches to the GTK maintainers.

Rendering Improvements

  • ICC Color Management for cairo outputs - Would allow Inkscape to produce CMYK PDFs and PSs with Cairo.
  • Box blur: Currently we always use a very accurate method to compute the Gaussian blur filter. Add an alternate method which approximates Gaussian blur using three stacked box blurs (simple averages). This is detailed in the SVG 1.1 SE specification.
  • Pluggable renderers - allow writing rendering backends which use something other than Cairo, e.g, OpenGL, Skia, Mozilla Azure or GEGL.
  • OpenGL renderer - implement an OpenGL 3.x+ canvas which would render Beziers using this method: Investigate whether this generalizes to S-basis and circular arcs. Since the described method does not handle stroking, this work depends on implementing boolean operations and stroking. Also check how OpenGL path rendering is implemented in Qt, since apparently the performance there is very good.

Better SVG standard coverage

SVG 2 and CSS3

See: SVG2.

This includes providing suitable GUI and SVG 1.1 fallbacks.

Note: Some of the above items are somewhat low hanging fruit and would need a few of them to make a good proposal, others alone are worthy of a full GSoC project.

Improve Inkscape SVG for use on Web

A proposal should fix most if not all of these problems:

  • Fix "plain" SVG to not remove <script> section, etc.
  • Add option to set viewbox attribute to Document Properties.
  • Easily add/edit hyperlinks.
  • Better CSS support.
  • Option to add title to SVG (searchability and accessibility).
  • Remove XML prolog/DOCTYPE.
  • Move sodipodi namespace items to Inkscape namespace.

Live Path Effects related

Import/export projects

Generic ideas