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Published on Nov 20, 2008
The Lineogrammer project, from the Microsoft Center for Research on Pen-Centric Computing at Brown University (http://pen.cs.brown.edu/).
Lineogrammer is a research system for Tablet PCs that allows you to create a diagram by, get this - drawing! Instead of switching tools to create and edit text and primitive shapes, Lineogrammer interactively beautifies diagram strokes as they are hand drawn with a stylus. When each stroke is drawn, Lineogrammer immediately recognizes whether it represents a primitive shape (ie, curve, line, square, circle, etc), text element or command gesture. When a shape is drawn, Lineogrammer replaces the users ink stroke with a precise drawing element that is snapped to features of the diagram. But just as when drawing with pencil and paper, you can freely modify previous shapes by scribbling out parts of them to remove, or augmenting them with new features by drawing additional lines - you're never stuck with a primitive that is close to what you wanted but not quite right.
Lineogrammer also supports a number of other features that assist precise diagram creation, including: gestural zooming, an enhanced ruler for creating symmetric objects and evenly distributing and aligning features, and a handy floating toolbar for making repeated copies and grouping. Unlike many other research systems, Lineogrammer is easy to learn despite its fundamentally new (but still somehow familiar looking) style of interaction.
Lineogrammer uses a novel GestureBar that looks like a typical toolbar, but when you click a button it shows animated examples of how to perform the gesture alongside a practice area so that you can gain expertise as you need it.