Once upon a time, I advertized for creating instrument faces with MetaPost.
This worked reasonably well for simpler layouts, but had some annoying

  - no (semi)transparency
  - insufficient font handling
  - PostScript output not (really) editable

Now I've made some tests with SVG. You have probably heard of this rather
new W3 standard, although support for it is still quite sparse. The SVG
language is quite powerful and easy to write by Perl/Python etc.
Generated files can be edited in programs like sodipodi/inkscape/karbon
and converted/displayed by GIMP, ImageMagick, etc. Unfortunately, *all* of
these programs (as shipped with SUSE 9.2) failed to display the example
file correctly. This is because I used SVG 1.1 for text along paths. But
support will certainly improve a lot in the next time. Only KDE's ksvg
could deal with the file correctly:

  generatorscript:   http://members.aon.at/mfranz/test.py    (3 kB)
  output:            http://members.aon.at/mfranz/test.svg   (8 kB)
  converted to PNG:  http://members.aon.at/mfranz/test.png  (57 kB)
Note the comparatively easy use of fonts, the semi-transparency of the
yellow arc, and the full transparency of the background (well, in fact
it's just a chequerboard, but you knew that, didn't you? ;-)


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