[dojo-contributors] Re: Draft: Unified 2D graphics subsystem for Dojo

Tom Trenka ttrenka at gmail.com
Tue Jun 6 10:28:00 EDT 2006

> While I have no idea about DDD approach, I am in contact with Gavin. I
> want to unify all input under one roof. It's not about ownership, it's
> about a reasonable solution, which is easy to implement, and easy to use.

Of course :)  This is one of the reasons we thought working on the XSL
approach would be best...

> the OpenLazslo guys are also wanting/looking for a drawing API--for some
> > of the same reasons you've described--and they were pretty keen on
> > having it follow the Canvas spec as best as possible.
> Of course, with Canvas being the worst API in our stable it is not a
> good thing but I am open to suggestions.
> > I'd also like to point out that starting with charts is probably not the
> > best way to go; charting solutions are among the most complex things we
> > can try to pull, and starting with the most difficult thing (IMHO) is a
> > really bad idea.  This is why I'm working on a Gauge widget right now,
> > as a test platform for pure SVG and VML support.
> I don't want to start with "charts". I want to start with "a chart" ---
> in this case it is a pie chart. I don't think it is too complex. It has
> no axes, I am not going to do a legend (should be done by a different
> widget). It will have just graphics and simple labels --- did I miss
> something important?

No, not at all.  We'd started a couple of discussions on IRC in which the
sentiment was expressed for a beefier chart engine, and I'd made the
assumption that you were thinking the same thing...my apologies :)

> So...with that in mind, I'd *really* like to get a nice, big list of the
> > things we're really aiming to support *first*, and *then* start talking
> > about an API.  Let me start:
> >
> > 1. Interactive flowcharts.
> > 2. Interactive drawing tools.
> > 3. More informative charting.
> > 4. The ability to use an API like this to create much prettier widgets
> > (a la Apple's Dashboard).
> You almost covered my wish list. :-) Anyway I am talking about low-level
> part, while you are talking about high-level functionality. I understand
> your point, but at the end of day we will have the same Canvas/SVG/VML.
> If they don't support something, we cannot do it efficiently. Not in
> JavaScript anyway.

True, true.

> (btw, if you'd like to work together on the chart stuff offlist, I'd
> > love to talk; the current Chart widget supports a lot more than you'd
> > probably expect, and I have some definite ideas on where it's
> > going...including support for pie charts, radar/polar charts, log
> > charts, and 3d contour/surface plots).
> I am all for it. BTW, do you have *real* use cases for these widgets?
> For example, when I worked for certain oil and gas software company our
> customers wanted basemaps, 2D contours, seismics, welllogs, but nobody
> cared for radial/polar charts. It never came up in my experience.

Back in 1998-99 I wrote an application for the energy utility of St. Paul,
MN (District Energy St. Paul) called ClearStory that was a real-time (well,
as real-time as an hourly meter reading can get) energy analysis
application, based on a chart engine made for ColdFusion (yes, I know,
shudder).  Among the many charts I wrote were a set of radar plots showing
basic energy usage (including a number of variants including weather
correlation correction) as an average over a 24 hour period, particularly
with a range of a week of days (resulting in 7 lines).  The plots ended up
being really useful; you could tell what days of the week and what time of
day the most usage and waste was happening.

(It was particularly useful to the 3 major hospitals in the area, since they
were able to tune thier HVAC systems much better with that kind of anaylsis

I'd suggest that while rare, they *can* be pretty useful.  One of the nice
things about radar charts though is that, in general, you're talking about
translation around a center point, which can be relatively easy to do once
you figure out the initial approach.

Interesting on the seismics and welllogs...I've also done a fair amount of
(light) work for at least one environmental engineering company (as well as
a web site for BP aimed at community outreach for a site that was, let's
just say, very badly polluting the adjoining community), so I've a small
interest in that as well...one other thing I wanted to mention in terms of
charts is setting up a set of financial chart widgets (which I think would
probably end up being the most used); I've already started with a number of
trend line calculations with the Chart widget but I'm going to revisit it at
some point in the *near* future...the current Chart was almost a proof of
concept and I'd like it to be an incredible, ass-kicking engine in its own

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