Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A little bit of work on the icons

I've started to transition the LibreCAD icons to Tango. The existing LibreCAD main toolbar is on the left, SodaCAD on the right.

My first step is to go through the tool bars and select Tango icons that already exist and also convey the intend functionality of the tool. For example, the select tool in the lower right corner on the LibreCAD tool bar (hand appears to be selecting a point) was confusing to me as I started to play with LibreCAD. I had to hover over the toolbar button until the tooltip information revealed select. Clicking on the button reveals several select options, which I would not have assumed were there. I switched that out for a simple pointer. I had similar difficulties with the draw points tool. Can you guess which tool that one is? I replaced it with the plus sign above a point on a line. This may not be the best replacement icon because it implies that you can only add points to a line where LibreCAD allows for points anywhere on the drawing space. This is perhaps one option that will change for SodaCAD. I'm still debating the dimensions tool (changed to a compass). Is there something better? Or the import image changed from a camera to the arrow pointing at a piece of paper?

There is still a lot of work to be done. Icons which do not have a Tango equivalent will need to be created to Tango specifications.

The things I ask myself as I work through this:
1. Does the visual representation of the icon convey proper meaning?
2. Does the replacement icon fit within the visual theme?
3. Does the replacement icon improve the overall look?

The hope is that the Tango and Tango-style icons will conform with other open source graphics apps like Inkscape, Gimp, and Scribus and convey equivalent meaning and understanding among users.

I've updated the code base to reflect these changes but they are in no wise the final say. I welcome feedback.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Icons for sodaCAD

When LibreCAD was forked from QCAD, the icons were not allowed to transfer over. So a LibreCAD developer quickly pulled together the Lime green icon set that ships with LibreCAD. For the moment, those icons are sufficient and LibreCAD developers are working on improving drawing functions. The developers would prefer to create an icon theme setup similar to Inkscape. In this situation, the icons are stored in an SVG file and extracted via a script. This would be ideal because it would make it easier to maintain the icons. For now, the icons are added to a resource file and automatically scaled by the QT libraries as needed. This setup will continue until someone is motivated to improve the situation.

As for sodaCAD, the icons will need to be improved, both from a visual standpoint but also for usability. Some of the LibreCAD icons are confusing and need clarity. sodaCAD will over time need custom icons. So this is what I've started working on:

1. Convert current LibreCAD icons to the Tango Art Libre and/or Inkscape Tango-fied set.
2. Create icons for LibreCAD in which there are no equivalent icons in the Art Libre set, but which abide by the Tango guidelines.
3. Donate the new icon set back to the LibreCAD community.
4. Create custom icons for sodaCAD as needed.