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README for LibStroke 0.4
(http://www.etla.net/~willey/projects/libstroke/)

LibStroke is a stroke interface library. Strokes are motions of the mouse that can be interpreted by a program as a command. Strokes are used extensively in CAD programs. I fell in love with them when I was using the Mentor Graphics CAD tools and the CAD tools internally developed by Intel. I am writing this library so that others can see how useful strokes can be and so that more programs take advantage of this extremely natural human-computer interface.

The basic idea:

Your program forwards certain events to a LibStroke function called record(). These events are built up into a string of numbers representing positions on a grid. The size of the grid is 3x3. Then, when the final event is sent to the library, a sequence of numbers will be returned in a string. This sequence represents the path that the stroke followed. Currently, there is only one interface to the library -- the record() function will return the string as an argument. In the future, this will be adapted to make it more flexible with a multitude of interfaces.

This grid looks like this:

1 2 3

4 5 6

7 8 9

I am resisting my natural computer engineer tendancy of starting to count with zero... ;-) Just so it looks like a phone keypad and for other hysterical raisins.

For more detailed information on the algorithm, please see the paper I wrote on stroke recognition for an IEEE paper contest. It's on the web page.

The library comes with a test program for the purpose of experimenting with the library. Run stroke_test and try a few strokes on the window. Depress the middle mouse button and drag it for a bit. Release the button. The stroke sequence will be printf'd out by stroke_test.

To help you add LibStroke support for your application, there are reference applications included in the tarball and links to real applications that use LibStroke (FVWM2, gEDA) available the LibStroke home page.

Try it, you'll like it. :)

Mark Willey, ETLA Technical Solutions, willey@etla.net


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