[cairo] OT (slightly) - which surface should an application use?

Owen Taylor otaylor at redhat.com
Wed May 18 16:13:36 PDT 2005

On Wed, 2005-05-18 at 18:15 -0400, John Ellson wrote:
> Given cairo's abilities to render to various different window
> surfaces: xlib, glitz, xcb, sdl, egl, ...
> its possible for a single application to be capable of  working with all 
> of them.
> How should an application choose?     Is there a complete-ordering of 
> quality
> or performance such that one is always preferable over the others if it 
> is available?
> Or should the choice always be left to the user?
> If the choice could be automatic, can anyone point me to some example code
> for evaluating the choice on a system at run time and settling on a 
> particular surface type?

My opinion is that you should write to the Xlib backend on X, and write
to the Win32 backend on Windows, and let other people worry about
making it fast. That's the approach I'm planning to take for GTK+.

(The xcb backend is just a copy of the Xlib backend using a different
X protocol wrapper library.)

Write to glitz only if you are working in an environment where you don't
have a windowing system, or if you are trying to integrate Cairo with
direct use of GL.

Glitz on top of GLX may be useful if you need a real lot of speed
right now on today's X servers, but it is only going to work well
on a small set of drivers, and should only be used if the user
explicitly configures it.


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