News archive

23/07/2018

SVGGraph 2.28

Over the years that I have been working on SVGGraph I have always been grumbling about text. Don't get me wrong - SVG is perfectly capable of displaying text, the problem is that I can never be sure what it is going to look like.

Version 2.28 is an attempt to improve things by using font metrics to calculate the sizes of strings of text more accurately. The two example graphs below demonstrate the difference between the new method and the older method.

Using metrics
no_font_metrics = true

Both graphs are using the "Times New Roman" font, where it is easy to see that "Amanda" is a longer string than "Illicit". The new method is used for the left-hand graph, where it displays the label boxes packed quite closely to the text. The old method is enabled with the new no_font_metrics option, shown in the right-hand graph. The label box is a bit tight around "Amanda", but much too wide for "Illicit". There is more space at the left side of the graph too, because the old method thinks the seven-character string "Illicit" should be longer than the six characters of "Amanda".

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22/06/2018

JPEG Saver 5.1

JPEG Saver 5.1 is a fairly small update to version 5.0, but it does include a couple of important changes. The first of these is the replacement of JasPer with OpenJPEG. These are two different software libraries for handling JPEG 2000 images, which is still a fairly obscure format even after all these years.

If you are using JPEG 2000 images, JPEG Saver should now be able to load them a bit better. OpenJPEG actually supports loading some quite unusual images, but I didn't attempt to support them in JPEG Saver because I would have first had to figure out a way to produce the weird images for testing. So if you have some JPEG 2000 images that JPEG Saver refuses to load, please get in touch and I'll see if I can get them working.

The other quite large change is to how transitions work. It shouldn't really be noticeable in the screensaver, but internally the transitions now use a much more flexible way of deciding what happens when. This should allow for more complicated transitions in future versions.

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24/05/2018

JPEG Saver 5.0

When I replaced the NSIS installer with a WiX Toolset-built MSI file for version 4.20 of JPEG Saver, I wasn't all that happy with it. It worked fine, it installed and uninstalled the files, but it still had to include the DirectX 9 installer just in case it was installing on a machine that didn't already have it installed. JPEG Saver 5.0 is the first version since 2009 that doesn't need DirectX 9 installed - because it uses DirectX 11 instead.

DirectX 11 should already be installed on Windows 7 and newer, as it is now part of the operating system instead of a separate install. I've tested on 64-bit Windows 10 with Nvidia graphics, 32-bit Windows 10 with AMD graphics, and on a 32-bit Windows 7 virtual machine with no real graphics card at all. JPEG Saver ran without any problems on these, so I'm fairly confident it should run on most configurations.

What's new?

So what is actually new in this version? Very little, to be honest. I had to rewrite all the 3D rendering code used for the transitions and the real-time items on the main display, but hopefully JPEG Saver shouldn't look or behave much differently to the last DirectX 9 version.

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29/03/2018

SVGGraph 2.27

Every now and then I receive an email from someone wanting to do something a bit unusual with SVGGraph. My first response is to try to figure out if it is already possible, and then if it isn't I have to decide if it is something that anyone else will ever want to do. Version 2.27 contains a couple of new features that might not get used very much.

Shapes on line graphs

But is it art?

The first of these new features comes in the form of a pair of new options for the line and multi-line graphs*. The line_figure option allows line graphs to draw shapes, and the line_figure_closed option closes the shape. The options don't do much to change how the line graphs are drawn, they mostly reduce the validation of the data - repeated keys are allowed and the data will remain in the order it is provided.

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27/02/2018

JPEG Saver 4.20

As I said when I released the 64-bit TrayBlank 1.9.1, I really wanted to release a 64-bit version of JPEG Saver. So here it is, along with the 32-bit version and both of them packaged up in .msi installer files created using the WiX toolset.

I suggest uninstalling the previous version before installing this one. It won't actually break anything if you don't, but you'll be left with the uninstaller from the earlier version hanging around on your machine.

As for actual changes in this version, there isn't much. I've made the style editor dialog resizeable so you can actually see the text preview when you are using really big fonts, and I've updated the list of built-in presets to include filters for files created in 2017 and 2018. To help use that, I've added another button to the filters dialog to reset the presets to the defaults list (otherwise JPEG Saver uses the list saved with the config file).

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