Picture Elements

The presentation library provides the presentation.Picture element that allows creating more complex line drawings, and similar. Its design is inspired from TikZ in LaTeX. As such, a picture contains a set of nodes and a set of edges (actually implemented as a single set of picture elements, presentation.PElement).

The picture itself acts as a regular element with regard to the remainder of the presentation. It automatically computes a bounding box of the pictures, and centers its contents in the allocated area. It is also possible to scale the entire contents of a picture using its scale attribute.

The picture element is integrated with the remainder of the presentation library. As such, a custom syntax is available for creating picture elements conveniently. Furthermore, it is possible to apply animations to individual elements inside a picture, just as to elements in a presentation.


A picture element can be defined anywhere a regular element would otherwise be defined using the keyword picture. The keyword is then followed by a block that contains the definition of the picture. Note that a limitation in the picture syntax is that it is not possible to define parameters for the parent layout inside the picture block. If this is necessary, wrap the picture in a Stack layout or similar.

The syntax inside a picture block is similar to that of the layout language, but with some minor differences. Each line corresponds to adding some element to the picture. Lines have the form:

[<var> =] <name> <parameters> { <attributes>; }

As in the layout, <name> is the name of a function or type, and <parameters> is a comma-separated list of parameters to the function or constructor. Optionally, a number of <attributes> may be specified. These have the form <name>: <parameters>; where <name> is the name of a member in the created type, and <parameters> are parameters to the member. If <name> refers to a member variable, and only one parameter is provided, the member variable is assigned instead.

The optional <var> = allows assigning the created element to a variable in addition to adding it to the picture. This makes it possible to reference the element later on, which is handy to position other elements relative to the element, or to connect edges to it.

The language also contains special syntax for relative positioning. If a property is specified as <cardinal>: <number> of <element>, then the library will automatically set the element's position and alignment to achieve the desired positioning. <cardinal> can be any of the cardinal directions in the layout library, <number> is any number, and <element> is either a Node or a Point. If the element is a Node, then the measurement is relative the edge at <cardinal> to ensure that the distance between the closest edges of the two elements two is as specified.

For example, two nodes with a connecting edge can be created as follows:

use presentation;

presentation Picture "Picture" {
    slide content "Picture" {
        picture {
            // Create a rectangle at position 0, 0 with the size of 100, 100.
            a = rectangle { minSize: 100, 100; at: 0, 0; }

            // Create a rectangle of the same size, use the relative positioning
            // to place it 200 to the east of a:s east side.
            b = rectangle { minSize: 100, 100; east: 200 of a; }

            // Connect them with an edge. Will automatically pick the proper start
            // and end points of the rectangle.
            edge a, b { toArrow: FancyArrow; }

As with other parts of the presentation language, all names are resolved using the normal rules for Basic Storm. As such, it is possible to create custom elements by subclassing the relevant classes. It is also possible to set default values by creating a function that creates an element, sets the defaults, and returns it. For example, a rectangle with a default size can be created as follows:

Rectangle largeRectangle() {
    Rectangle r;
    r.minSize(500, 500);

This would allow using the node type largeRectangle in the picture syntax.


All nodes inherit from the presentation.Node class. A node is specified in terms of a point (at), and an anchor (anchor). The anchor is of the type Cardinal, and is used to determine what part of the node should be located at the point at in the picture's coordinate system.

The size of the node is specified in terms of its minimum size (minSize) and the size of the contained text (if any). The final size (as returned by size) is then the maximum of the minSize and the size of the contained text.

There are multiple ways to access the final node's position in order to easily position other elements relative to already created nodes. For example, pos can be used to get the final rectangle that the node occupies. There are also functions that correspond to the cardinal directions (i.e. center, north, northEast, east, southEast, south, southWest, west, and northWest) that extract that particular point of the node's rectangle. Furthermore, the member atEdge computes the point at the edge of the node that is at a particular angle of the node. This is used for determining where edges start and end.

The Node class has the following properties:

In terms of appearance, a simple Node only draws the contained text. To give the node an appearance, use any of the provided subclasses to define the geometry of the node itself. The following nodes are available by default:


An edge is a line between two points, or two nodes. The edge may optionally have arrowheads at each end. An edge may also be bent to create a round shape if desired.

Edges are created by the edge function that accepts two parameters. These parameters may either be points, or nodes. If they are nodes, the library will automatically determine the starting point based on shape of the node. Since parameters may also be points, the behavior can be fine-tuned by passing for example node.east as an explicit starting point.

An edge has the following attributes:

Arrow Tips

The following arrow tips are provided:


A path is a final type of elements that may be contained in a picture. They expose an interface similar to the ui.Path class in the UI library. They are created using the name path and have the following attributes for creating the actual path: