AEWAN Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know which keys do what?

Start Aewan and press F1 to see an onscreen key reference.

Under xterm, nothing happens when I type Alt+Something. What is the matter?

For some reason unfathomable to me, XTerm produces the same key codes for 'A' as it does for 'Alt+A' unless some strange X Resources are correctly configured. Therefore, rather than use 'Alt+A' in XTerm, use instead Esc A (that is, press Esc and then A). Same with the other 'Alt+' key combinations.

How do I view my drawing without having to start Aewan?

See next item.

How do I export my drawing to other formats?

Use the provided export filter programs. Exporting to other formats is not done in the editor itself but rather by saving the file in the editor then running a separate program on that file. Currently, the only export filter provided is aecat, which converts Aewan files to ANSI escape sequences suitable for display on standard terminals. For example:

$ aewan
[draw a beautiful picture and save as]
$ aecat -o mypicture.ansi
$ cat mypicture.ansi
[your beautiful picture will be displayed on the terminal]

Alternatively, aecat can be used directly if all you want to do is display the picture onscreen without generating a file:

$ aecat

Type aecat without parameters for more information about the syntax.

Transparent layers don't seem to work. I can only see one at a time!

The default behavior of the program is to display one layer at a time in order to make the display clearer. If you want to see all the layers superimposed with transparency and such you have to turn on "Composite Mode" by pressiont Ctrl+P or selecting Edit | Toggle Composite from the menu.

My picture is multi-layered. How do I export a composite?

Pass the -p flag to aecat.

What is 'metainfo'?

It's just a field in the aewan file format that can contain arbitrary text. Aewan allows you to modify this information by calling your favorite text editor (indicated by the environment variable EDITOR or VISUAL, as is the UNIX tradition). Aewan does not care about the meta-info of your document and does not interpret it in any way. It's just there so that you can include additional information in the file that will later be read by a program that you wrote, for example.

How do I create ASCII animations?

For something quick and dirty, you could play your animations like this:

$ for i in `seq 1 100`; do clear; aecat -l $i; sleep 0.1; done

If you want to export your animation to a better format, you can use the aemakeflic utility, which comes in the Aewan package. Consult its man page for more information.

What is the Aewan file format?

It used to be a binary, platform-dependent format. However, starting from release 0.9.0, aewan now saves files in a simple ascii text format, but gzipped. Thus if you run zcat you will see a simple ascii description of your art file.

Thus if you want to write a program that uses aewan art files in some way, all you have to do is code a routine to read this format. See the included aewan(5) manpage for more information regarding the file format.