Wed, 27 Dec 2006

SVG Presentation Pain

As something of an experiment, four of us are presenting at LCA on how to write a hypervisor. It's a nuts and bolts talk, and while there aren't too many tricky details, there are a lot of them, mainly obscure things about the x86 architecture. This means one thing: the talk needs lots of good, consistent diagrams.

So I started drawing the diagrams in Inkscape, which finally replaced the venerable xfig as my figure creator of choice after seeing its use by Andy Fitzsimon. Only then to discover (re-discover, actually) that OpenOffice doesn't import SVGs. Exporting hundreds as PNGs and trying to match sizes didn't excite me at all.

So I decided to do the whole presentation in Inkscape; each slide would be a layer. It's a little awkward to view that way, but with appropriate placement of guides, and a heuristic that layers with names which are a substring of others should be combined, it makes for painless diagram creation! So now my presentation is in one SVG file with 49 layers, with names like "Virt" (section heading) and "Virt 1" (first slide in section, leave section heading layer showing), and I hacked up a little proggie to convert to PNGs (I wanted to do direct display but that was more complex. Anyway, shouldn't it be possible to write a modern web thingy to do it all in a browser? Anyone?). Here's the tarball weighing in at a glorious 16k! SVG rocks.

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