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Overview of Inkscape: Free Open Source Web Design Software

written by: Summer Banks•edited by: Robin L.•updated: 11/29/2008

Inkscape is a free, open source web design software that provides some of the best interface functionality of any free tool for web developers. Backed by a fantastic how to guide and support, Inkscape is quickly gaining popularity.

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    Inkscape is a vector graphics application for editing, which is available as open source. It is fully compliant to CSS, SVG and XML standards and by competing in the market with commercially available competitor tools, such as Adobe Illustrator, Macromedia Freehand, Xara X, Draw and CorelDraw, it is still in its earlier stages and already it is giving the commercial applications a run for their money with acceptability by users’ rapidly increasing.

    The Neglected Interface

    It has focused where open source applications of old had neglected: Interface. Text objects, paths and objects have too received attention by the creators, making critics dub this application as one of the more promising applications of the recent past and one to look out for in the future, through its future versions. It is a capable version of vector illustration, with all the essentials covered: text tools, freehand drawing, Bezier curves, zooms and shapes, among many other features that abound in this product. Critical path transformations for example intersection, divide and union are also present. It is described by some to be similar in tool behavior to Flash, though improvements have been made to the Inkscape experience.

    Great Documentation and How To Guide

    It is also credited as containing one of the more extensive documentation and detailed tutorials, more so than most other projects of an open source nature. This allows new users and old hands to be able to gain more knowledge on the tools available to them and hope to more effectively use them. Many of the SVG features that Adobe Illustrator charges a premium for are free on Inkscape, such as alpha bending, clones and markers. It is easier than ever to trace bitmaps, perform difficult path operations and edit notes, as well. The development of this application is community oriented and open, thereby maintaining a thriving developer and user environment. The version that was released in late March of this year is version 0.46, which is the latest stable version available. Added features from the former version include the ability to open PDF files, support for most filters for SVG, effects for Live Path, box tools in 3D and Paint Bucket.

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