I think Inkscape needs to change its versioning scheme. Knowing nothing else, what would you think of a product that went from version 0.45 to version 0.46? Only minor changes? About half-done? One percent improvement? Not very polished? All of these are far from the truth with the latest preview of Inkscape 0.46.
Some highlights from the release notes:
- 3D Box Tool
- Implementation of many filters to generate cool Photoshop-like effects
- Import/Export of a variety of useful formats (PDF, XAML)
Last night when I toyed with it to create my Lost clip-art, I came up with the following two suggestions:
1. Make the Colors Panel Easier to Find.
Honestly, it took me awhile to figure this out. This used to be the “Stroke/Fill” dialog, I think. The icon looks like a paintbrush. It’s next to the big ‘T’ on the Commands toolbar. Honestly, I think people coming from other graphics program will think of this as a “Colors Dialog” and not a “Stroke/Fill” dialog – so come up with a better icon, one that reflects colors. The tooltip needs reworking too: “Edit objects’ color, gradients, stroke width, arrowheads, dash patterns”.
2. Create a Clip-Art Mode of Exporting
In this mode, Inkscape should:
- Remove all elements and attributes not in the SVG and XLink namespaces
- Remove unused id attributes
- Vacuum defs automatically
- Remove width/height attributes on the <svg> element and replace with a viewBox attribute. Removing the intrinsic size will allow the image to scale to the browser window when viewing standalone.
- Remove the style attribute and replace it with several equivalent attributes (style=”fill:#939393;” would become fill=”#939393″)
- Remove unnecessary/redundant attributes (“stop-opacity:1″, for instance). In particular, if there is no stroke on a path, remove all stroke-related attributes.
- Collapse <g> elements as necessary, properly adjusting transforms
In my experience, this roughly reduces the SVG to about 1/3 of the original size. Compressing afterwards gets it even smaller (by at least half). For instance, my Lost logo is only about 700 bytes! What raster graphic format could display such high quality at full-screen at seven hundred bytes? Looks most impressive with Opera or Firefox 3 because there is a blur filter in place.
All in all, I’m pleased where Inkscape is heading – it’s really becoming a world-class graphics editor. If they could just make options for their SVG output quality (I know that you can save as Raw SVG and you can manually vacuum defs, but I think the above type of steps are necessary).