XFig is not young. It's not beautiful either. It is still in use though.
Even on Windows, there are people setting up cygwin only to get xfig.
And that is because it has one killer feature.
Export to Postscript/LaTeX in a way that lets latex replace the text in the drawing.
That way the font and text size etc are consistent with the rest of the latex document.
And you can add LaTeX text relatively easy and comfortable to your drawing too.
Usability wise XFig is a killer...
Even though it is possible to work fast with it thanks to keyboard shortcuts and quite advanced functions below the gui.
I wish there was something like this available in a modern graphics application like Krita.
Looks like I will have to learn getting along with XFig...


Try IPE, it has the same set of features (in particular use of LaTeX to generate figures) but a more modern UI: http://tclab.kaist.ac.kr/ipe/

By dominic.battre at Sun, 04/27/2008 - 19:02

This looks quite impressive!
I'll definitively have a look, just installed it :)

By frederik gladhorn at Sun, 04/27/2008 - 21:53

I was under the impression that you could use even inkscape to accomplish this. The psfrag package helps with this. The requirement is that you do not convert the text to curves when you do the eps export. I think that I have done this on some of my drawings. (inkscape is such a cool program, I have not tried with Krita though...)

By prophecy at Sun, 04/27/2008 - 19:14

Yes, but I don't like to use psfrag because it separates the image and the text. When changing the image, I'll forget to update the text most of the time. Having the text in the image seems easier to me.

By frederik gladhorn at Sun, 04/27/2008 - 21:44

You can do this with the tex commands right in the image. There is no need to have separate files for the text and the image. psfrag does this automatically. XFig used to save this as two separate images, but I believe it can be done in a single file.

By prophecy at Mon, 04/28/2008 - 15:19

Yes, usability of xfig is really impressive. It uses the three buttons of the X mouse in a really advance way. Some would say though that the learning curve is too hard, but I don't agree with that

By kleag at Sun, 04/27/2008 - 19:54

While its still in Alpha, the work I have done on KOffice2 includes a text component that all koffice apps use.
This means that you will indeed have the exact same text layout engine for your images as well as your word processor.


By Thomas Zander at Mon, 04/28/2008 - 07:03

While I look forward to KOffice2 crushing other office packages, I simply don't use any office suite. I am only concerned about latex. And what I want is not text in images, but rather a placeholder that latex can pick up and replace with the same font that already is in the latex document.

By frederik gladhorn at Wed, 05/07/2008 - 18:30