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libgnomeprint22 - Printing library for GNOME.…  more info»


This file is Outdated (Chema Celorio, Dec 2002) things have chagned a lot
since it was written. I still belive it is usefull
Gnome Printing Library

This is an implementation of the Gnome Printing Architecture, as
described in:

An updated description of gnome-print and future plans can be
found in :

We have a mailing list setup:


1. Imaging
Gnome-print uses semi-standard PostScript imaging model. I.e. all
shapes are described as sequences of path commands (moveto, lineto
curveto, closepath) and images created through fill and stroke

2. Coordinates
The initial coordinate system is identical to the PostScript one,
i.e. unit is 1 typographic point and y grows upwards on the page.
Coordinate system can be modified, using concat operator.

3. Graphic state
Graphic state is manipulated through usual operators, like
setrgbcolor, setopacity, setlinewidth. There are gsave and grestore
operators that manipulate graphic state stack.
Currently the only supported colorspace is RGB, as we have yet to
figure out the patent issues involved in CMYK and other colorspaces.

4. Text
There are 2 primary text operators. The simpler one (show) accepts
UTF-8 encoded string, and outputs it as well as possible using
current font from graphic state.
The other one (glyphlist) accepts device idependently formatted
sequence of glyphs - i.e. user program should do exact layout and
languge analyzing itself. Glyphlist can include glyphs from different
fonts, use different colors and position glyphs either in
predetermined coordinates or use simple font-specific positioning
rules (glyph advances for latin-like fonts).

5. Fonts
Gnome-print uses type1 fonts for all rendering, so printed output
is always identical to onscreen preview.


1. Client side page description API

* Basic vector path mainipulation, using newpath, moveto, lineto,
  curveto and closepath

* stroking and filling - stroke, fill and eofill

* generating outline of stroked line - strokepath

* clipping to vector paths - clip, eoclip

* rgb, rgba and grayscale bitmaps - rgbimage, rgbaimage, grayimage

* graphic state manipulation - setrgbcolor, setopacity, setlinewidth,
  setlinejoin, setlinecap, setfont

* graphic state stack - gsave and grestore

* coordinate system manipulation - concat

* utf-8 encoded text display - show

* prepositioned text display - glyphlist

Several basic page description commands are also combined to easier
frontend function - bpath, rotate, scale, translate

2. Rendering context

There exist several stock rendering contexts, and new ones can be
easily derived from GnomePrintContext base class, using Gtk+
object system.
All rendering contexts use same fonts, so display is guaranteed
to be identical.

Generates high-quality antialiased representation of page on
gnome-canvas. Resulting image can be zoomed without re-rendering.

GnomePrintPs and GnomePrintPs2
Generate PostScript representation of page. Although PostScript
itself cannot use transparency, stock PostScript rendering
contexts are wrapped into GnomePrintFRGBA meta-context, so
semiopaque shapes and images are rendered through temporary

Generates page description metafile, that can be replayed to
any other rendering context.

Generates high-quality antialiased bitmap from arbitrarily
positioned part of the page.

GnomePrintPDF (in development)
Generates Portable Document Format file from page.

Allows placing more than 1 page of input to single output

3. Fonts

Gnome-print encapsulates fonts in opaque Gtk+ objects, giving
applications consistent API. This allows us to extend font
system using Gtk+ object inheritance, so taking advance of
OpenType, multiple-master and composite fonts. At current
stage only type1 fonts are supported.
There are three levels of font objects, representing different
logical rendering frameworks.

* GnomeFontFace - is unscaled unmodified typeface, using
  1000x1000 unit em square.
* GnomeFont - is typeface scaled and adjusted for certain output
  device (certain priner, screen)
* GnomeRFont - instance of font, adapted to certain raster
  resolution. If raster resolution is the same, as one used by
  GnomeFont, gnome rfont glyph shapes are identical to the
  gnome font ones. Otherwise there can be slight differences.

Thus structure allows us to keep single, high optimized layout
for certain device and yet adapt it as well as possible to
different actual output device (on screen preview, draft printer)
At current stage gnome-print does not do grid-fitting, so
actually GnomeFont and GnomeRFont are identical for all

GnomeFont is explicitly glyph, not character based. For simple
cases, when 1:1 mapping between unicode character and glyph is
possible, there exists lookup function to find certain
font glyph value, given unicode character. For more complicated
cases user-side software has to do font and language analyzing
and generate output consisting of glyph values.

If glyph mapping rules are simple, one can use gnome-print
show or show_sized operators to print UTF-8 encoded text
For complicated languages layout program can generate
GnomeGlyphList object, encapsulating series of glyphs, fonts
and positioning rules.

Font information is currently read from xml fontmap files,
describing pfb and afm file locations. Fonts are referenced
internally by GnomeFont objects. Each print context decides
itself, transparently from user, how to guarantee font presence
in final rendering destination, i.e. nonstandard fonts are
embedded in PostScript streams.

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