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[OT] Book on low-level 2D graphic layout programming

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I hope this question is not too far off-topic...


Does anyone know of a book on the basics of developing low-level graphic layout libraries?


I mean the basics/theory of implementing layout engines (bounding boxes, margins, padding, 2D transforms, representing container hierarchies and other layout info, etc)


Every book I find is aimed at end-users of such software, but I'm looking for the theory of how to architect and implement such software


(If anyone knows of an active forum that would be more suitable for this question please let me know)




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There isn't much theory beyond arithmetic and coordinate systems. The difficulty of designing layout engines is wholly on the software design side: offering a reasonable way to obtain any reasonable layout of any structure the framework cares to support.

Therefore, in order to learn both the requirements and the corresponding solutions, you should simply study good examples of layout engines:

  • HTML+CSS, which might be enough
  • Swing (Java)
  • Qt
  • FLTK
  • tk (tcl)
  • XUL (Mozilla)

and many others; practical use is very important to get a feeling of what the different competing mechanisms are good at and how they should be used.


What are you trying to do? Why can't you do it with existing libraries and tools?

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