Thursday, August 24, 2006

What's Wrong with DraGo & GoWrite?

I greatly respect those programs and their programmers - complex pieces of work by highly competent software engineers.

But (as always, there is a but), there often is a simpler, easier way to do things, and at the same time achieve more powerful rendering abilities. DraGo, for example, requires the use of scripting to define a page layout, which I find cumbersome.

So there isn't anything "wrong" with those programs, it's just a rhetorical question I ask myself, in order to fire myself up for a new round of development, setting my requirements as high as possible. I don't want to reach the same level as what already exists, I want to exceed it.

As far as I know, both programs don't allow the selection of different fonts for title, header and footer. But above all, I want to make MoyoGo's printing module most powerful, and most easy to use. I will have to extend the SGF standard a bit, because an improvement I will introduce is alignment properties for diagrams. This allows to break free from the straightjacket of "templates" or the dullness of auto-positioning heuristics and lets you design a document as you would do a web page, for example. Of course there's nothing wrong with templates and positioning heuristics (they are often the best option), but I want to have more flexibility than that. Just as I extended SGF to add Rich Text and Audio, I will extend it for kifu markup as well.

The image here is a fully functional page margin selector for the upcoming printing module. It took me a while to make, but it's worth that investment in terms of intuitiveness for the user. Those black bits are splitters. Of course, the first incarnation of that printing module will be less feature-rich than the long-proven kifu printing classics such as the aforementioned DraGo and GoWrite, but my intention is to slowly supplant the current kifu publishing favorites.

Of course I am still working on the TsumeGo module - the printing is just an intermezzo of no more than a month, then I'll continue with the tactical engine.

The printing module, as with all the other modules, is ruthlessly implemented - the font is the best Go font money could buy and I'll use a font editor to fix it up a bit.