Saturday, 15 March 2014

Drawing Updates

I am in the stage of trying to tidy everything up and get this baby into testing for you people to enjoy.

I noticed that the drawing performance in QGraphicsView was becoming very slow especially if you tried to zoom in. It wasn't really obvious why but through investigation I noticed that this was because of a QGraphicsItemRectangle that was being used to render the blank page background. This was even with caching enabled and redrawing seemed to persist which was the cause of the performance penalty observed.

The improvement I made was drawing the background page (a white rectangle) in the QGraphicsView drawBackground method. Instantaneously the performance was improved irrespective of zoom level. Everything comes at a price. The caveat was that we don't have a shadow for the background, but the main issue was very random segfaults. After hours of probing, it the cause was peculiar. An empty QGraphicsItemGroup was not updating its bounding box correctly. In short this got fixed with ample amounts of frustration. What is also nice is that much of the Drawing Canvas is cached so there should be little redraw slowing us down.

As a result the performance is significantly better and the user interaction on my computer is smooth.

I also was investigating the Task View created by Joe to see what can be used to create organised orthographic projections. Much of the functionality is built already in at a lower level except the automatic scaling. It's in all best interests to use code, but I am in the position where it might be easy to start with a simple interface that doesn't have all the logic embedded inside it. I'll post a topic on the forum for people's thoughts.

Through this investigation, now in a collection of Orthographic views it has an anchor view which is used to move the whole group. It already feels quite intuitive to use. This was misleadingly obvious to implement and I started off using Qt's signal and slot mechanism but this was causing a reciprocal effect, whereby movement was  exaggerated. After a few beers, I stumbled upon QGraphicsSceneMouseEvent::ignore() which allows a child items event to bubble through the child-parent hierarchy. To my surprise this work instantly and was also smooth.

Getting bored one evening, I wanted to experiment and see if we could have user-editable text fields for the SVG templates, rather than the cumbersome Property Editor. To my surprise it's quite straight forward using previous code and using the text elements in the SVG document to create QGraphicsTextTtem which can be used very easily.

Time for screenshot!

The picture above is a culmination of what's been done. The text block on the right were edited in the document. All that needs to be figured out is if people are happy with this and a mechanism for storing the data fields more intuitive than an array.