Monday, 6 March 2006

Deming, in SVG


I found this diagram in one of my lecturer's papers on quality management. It's pretty straightforward and don't think I need to elaborate on it. Just something I felt like sharing for us to think together about, especially in these days of itu naik, ini naik.

W. Edwards Deming is widely regarded in this field, mostly for his contribution in resuscitating the Japanese economy after the Second World War ended. He was invited by the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers (JUSE) to help them tackle various issues plaguing the industries at that time. He is also well known for his 14 points of quality management and is attributed as one of the main contributors in the development of the Japanese quality management system. This system helped Japan to bounce back from a post-war slump to becoming competitive field leaders in a matter of decades. The Deming Chain Reaction shown above is said to be the guiding principle for Japanese managers since the 50s in making quality their topmost goal.

An SVG foray

(NOTE: Earlier I mentioned SVG as scalar vector graphics, but it's actually scalable vector graphics. I've already corrected it and I apologise for this careless oversight.)

The diagram above is also my first attempt at drawing a diagram using Inkscape, the open-source scalable vector graphics (SVG) editor I downloaded not too long ago.

It took some time to familiarise myself with the tools and techniques of working with SVG. My earlier tries were more on copying other people's works and drawing simple things like the stop signboard.

My first impression of SVG is that for drawing diagrams, it's awesome. I don't think you can get the graphics to appear as smooth as SVG using other tools like Microsoft Paint or Office. Paint and Office uses bitmaps, and bitmaps loses out to SVG in the scaling department. You can stretch, shrink, skew and deform SVGs in many ways and it will retain that smooth, jag-free appearance. For years now people have been using SVG to create cliparts, products packaging and artworks.

Inkscape isn't the only SVG program. Flash, CorelDraw and Freehand are just some of the few commercial packages available for creating SVGs.

The diagram was first designed in SVG and later converted into GIF file format in order to reduce its size. For this I use another indispensable graphic tools arsenal, Irfanview.

(NOTE: If you were to check the format for the diagram above, you would notice that it is in .jpg, not .gif as I claimed. Actually I uploaded the diagram in .gif, but it became .jpg after the upload was successful. I have no idea what happened because I tried to upload the GIF files twice and the same thing happened again. I suspect Blogspot/Blogger automatically convert GIF files to JPG files after they are uploaded.)

Inkscape is still in version 0.43. There some parts that is still need work like the XML Editor, but overall it is a capable performer. I've seen some of the amazing things that other people have accomplished with Inkscape and frankly I'm blown away by them. But for now I'm sticking to simple stuff first. I highly recommend it if you're interested in graphics and can't afford to burn a hole in your wallet.

The definition for scalable, according the book, A Guide to Inkscape by Tavmjong Bah.

Scalable refers to the notion that a drawing can be scaled to an arbitrary size without losing detail.

Scalable also refers to the idea that a drawing can be composed of an unlimited number of smaller parts, parts that could be reused many times.

IMHO, if you ever need good reasons to use or to like SVG, I can vouch for scalable to be one of them.


dzul said...

Shahrul aku rasa hang ada bakat utk tulis artikel dalam majalah komputer terutamanya pasal penggunaan software-software ni. Aku cakap serius ni, hang tak minat ka kerja mcm tu? Kalau hang ada keutamaan lain boleh buat part time kot.

Anonymous said...

Hm, you do realise that you can export direly in inkscape to bitmap (.png), much easier and quicker. you also have more control if you only want certain parts of you picture to be exported File->Export Bitmap (or Shift+Cirl+E). Thats my one tip!

rollie said...

Thanks or the tip. I've never tried importing just some or one part of a picture before, and I think I would try it one of these days. I've been playing around with SVG, turning them to PNG and using them in Powerpoint. The result: more polished looking images, shapes, texts, etc., and less of the jagged-edges often seen with resizing of bitmaps, and with objects like graphs and autoshapes. But drawing a graph manually using the method above can really take a lot of time. Trust me, you don't want to try this if you're doing your Powerpoint slides at the last minute. Unless of course, you enjoy stress and sleep deprivation.

rollie said...

Terima kasih. Aku ni bukanlah pakar, cuma tahu benda tu sikit, benda ni sikit. Aku bukan tak minat nak kerja, tapi menulis secara profesional buat masa ni adalah benda yang luar kemampuan aku.

Sebenarnya aku kali ni nak tulis pasal benda lain, tapi akhirnya benda ni yang jadi topik. Hari tu aku sembang dengan Nizar, tanya dia pasal harga barang dah naik ke belum. Mak ayah dia ada kedai kat stesen bas Alor Star. Aku tanya dia pasal 'cost absorption' dan peniaga tahap kecil/sederhana. Dia cerita best, tapi aku yang tak pandai nak cerita semula kat sini.

Lagipun kalaupun aku tulis artikel tentang software dan sebagainya, aku tak berminat nak buat duit daripada benda ni. Dulu memang kalau nak menulis ke masuk majalah atau buku, tapi sekarang dah kaedah online yang boleh kita guna macam laman web, wiki, forum, blog dan sebagainya. Kita boleh jugak tulis dalam PDF dan edar guna 'file sharing' atau 'file hosting'. Atau bagi kat orang je kot emel. Banyak cara sekarang untuk menulis tanpa membuat membuat satu sen pun. :) (Keluar duit lagi adalah)

Aku dah lama nak buat projek macam ni. Dulu Nasir ada ajak aku buat forum/website untuk 'engineering'. Tapi nak buat ni kena ada komitmen. Nasir pun sibuk masa tu, jadi tutor kat UTM.

Aku ingat nak try 'maintain' satu wiki. Tentang apa aku tak pasti lagi. Kalau hang minat bagitaulah. Aku sekarang nak cari orang sebab buat seorang diri benda macam ni tak semangat sangat. Mereka yang berminat sangat dialu-alukan, untuk temuduga pusingan awal, hehehe.

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