with a bullet

Things got a little slow in the last week. I spent last week tweaking bits of graphics.library and graphics.hidd to force the alpha channel to be set when calling ReadPixelArray() on a surface that has no alpha (so it can be fed directly to a cairo surface with alpha). Each attempt worked, but also introduced subtle incompatibilities into the Cybergraphics API. I still think its important to have (along with software alpha compositing, which is an entirely seperate issue), but it can’t be done comfortably via the current API, so for now I just post-process the returned pixel data and force the alpha channel on before handing it to cairo. I don’t like it, but it will do, and it makes it possible to use any system bitmap as a source. So now you can use cairo to take a snapshot of the entire screen with this simple code:

    struct Screen *screen = LockPubScreen(NULL);
    cairo_surface_t *surface = cairo_aros_surface_create(&screen->RastPort, 0, 0, screen->Width, screen->Height);
    cairo_surface_write_to_png(surface, "snapshot.png");

I’ve now turned my attention to the font backend. Its taken me a while to even begin to understand it, because I know basically nothing about font rendering, but I think I’m at least starting to see what’s going on. I began an implementation based on the graphics.library functions for font rendering, but it really felt wrong as the interface really doesn’t seem to support much - very few facilities for controlling rendering options, limitation to ASCII, etc. It seemed that there must be something more powerful available, as its clear from just loading up AROS that we support TrueType fonts and non-ASCII characters.

After a lot of digging, I found out about the existence of the bullet.library interface for outline fonts, and our implementation of it in freetype2.library. From there, to Google, where I discovered that there’s next to no documentation out there for it. I did find reference to a document in the AmigaOS 3.1 development kit, and a quick ask-around in #aros gained me a copy of BulletLibrary, which I offer here for reference.

The interface is complicated, but appears to have most of the features I need to map to cairo font functions. I have no idea how it will go, and I imagine our implementation is deficient, but I will write some tests this afternoon and see what I can do with it, then start hooking it up to cairo.