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EazyDraw Graphic File Formats

The EazyDraw native file format is an open non-proprietary public format. The data content is in a human/machine English readable text. We use macOS's XML Parameter List (pList) dictionary based format. This is the best archive format, since it is human readable text a corruption can be easily found, corrected or isolated allowing recovery of a damaged file.

Alternatively file data may be saved in a raw binary format which is more compact, may be quicker to open and save. This is the best format if the drawing contains bitmap images, or for email attachments.

The third native format is a macOS bundle. Bundles are actually just special purpose folders. The bundle contains one drawing file for each Layer's graphics and a separate file for the information needed to set up the display window and determine which layers are needed for quick display. This format saves system resources by not reading (or writing) layers that are not in immediate use, or layers that have not changed since the last save. This architecture allows your system, which likely has multiple CPU's to assign different CPU's the task of reading and writing individual layers. Most of todays Macs are so fast and efficient that little gain in performance is seen, although those with solid state drives (mac-air's) can be very responsive using this mode.

An XML style data file is much larger than a corresponding binary file. Both forms are provided by EazyDraw. It is somewhat counter intuitive, but the larger text based XML form should always be used for long term archival. If data is lost or corrupted, a binary file is probably lost completely with little hope of recovery. While a corrupted text based file can usually be recovered with a little patience and a good text editor.

But will my drawings be usable on other operating systems?

The answer is YES. A full set of export graphic file formats will allow you to match the file type requirements of your audience.

macOS provides full support of PDF and TIFF file formats. You can directly export these platform independent formats.

A rich complement of export file formats is supported, including format, resolution, and compression control.

Or if your audience is macOS capable-have them download the free reader. This solution is ideal-they can do much more than just view static graphics using the reader and EazyDraw native files.

Compatible with the future

A dictionary based file format provides developers additional freedom to advance and evolve an application. Additional features can lead to additional archive objects. This is not a problem for a dictionary based format-older executables just skip over the newer dictionary keys.

You can inspect and edit an EazyDraw drawing with any text editor. This opens a great number of possibilities for the more experienced user.

Use the Property List Editor provided with the macOS developer tools. With this tool you can see the definitions of all the "keys" and corresponding dictionary "values".

Sometimes what you need to understand is not documented, or not documented clearly. An inspection of the actual graphic objects may provide the needed information. Generate an example and have a look at the raw data-a powerful self documenting tool.

SVG Open Format

EazyDraw supports both import and export for the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format. This is an open standard defined and maintained by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium). It is a formal XML language. It is not dictionary based but it (like the EazyDraw graphic format) is extensible.

While EazyDraw's SVG export is robust, it is not recommended for use as the primary master for a drawing.

It is recommended that long term archival (for example the master files saved at the end of a project) be saved uncompressed as SVG and the EazyDraw native graphic format. The dual information will likely prove useful at times in the distant future.

Like the EazyDraw native format, the SVG / XML format is text based and is accessible with any text editor. If these files are damaged with a minor data loss, it is feasible to locate and correct the corruption.

DXF CAD Format

EazyDraw supports both import and export for the Autodesk's DXF (Drawing Interchange Format). This is a standard published by AutoDesk. It is in common usage for cross application and cross platform communication of technical drawings.

EazyDraw supports both import and export of DXF. It is a rich import and export, supporting Hatched Fill (this is the color and pattern fill technology commonly used by CAD software). EazyDraw round-trip converts this hatch information to more Mac-centric postscript attributes of fill and stroke or EazyDraw vector Hatches.

EazyDraw supports the current AutoCad DXF standard , "AutoCad LT 2010", all older formats back to R12/LT2 are supported. AutoCad LT 2012 running on Windows 7 is used by EazyDraw development and support as the gold standard for testing and implementation.

EazyDraw download is a 80 meg 64 bit standard intel binary, runs on macOS Mojave

The current version of EazyDraw is 10.7.3 which is a universal Intel - Apple Silicon (M1 processor) application for macOS 10.13 and newer.

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