13 Jan 2005 pvanhoof   » (Master)

Having fun with Dia code: The properties of all selected objects in a diagram

Yesterday (and other evenings this week) I had some fun with the code of the famous diagram drawing application Dia.

While I was doing a diagram for my current customer (Maia Scientific for whom I'm developing software for a scientifically microscopical device) I got very annoyed with the fact that Dia cannot handle setting the properties of multiple selected objects simultaneously. The current release will only set the properties of the first selected object. And it isn't a bug. It's actually coded that way.

So I decided I was going to fix that when I was done at Maia Scientific, that day. This illustrates how much of a code addict I am. I just can't stop, also not in the evening. Luckily my girlfriend knows how to stop me, from time to times. IMHO, an addicted programmer, is a healthy programmer. No? We ought to be addicted. It's our passion, job and life. (or replace "our" with "mine" if you're a programmer and dissagree with this).

A few hours later I mailed my intentions to the mailinglist of Dia. A day later I had my first prototype diff file ready. Some other Dia developers responded. Eventually also the man in charge, Lars Clausen, who appears to be one of the current Dia-maintainers, responded.

Lars told me he likes the idea. There's still a few features and bugs attached to this new feature (manipulating properties of all your selected objects). Like how to show which property has changed and thus will be applied on all selected objects, and which property isn't changed. And how to store the undo/redo history (make the whole set of propertysets atomic. The undo will have to undo all applies on all objects that where selected at the time).

However. We or I am expecting support for this in Dia in the next release. They told me this has been a very frequently requested feature. So I guess it's good news for all the Dia users that people, like Lars and me, are working on this today.

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