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17.2 Coordinates for Graphics

Each graphics device has two different coordinate systems associated with it: device coordinates and virtual coordinates. Device coordinates are generally defined by low-level characteristics of the device itself, and often cannot be changed. Most device coordinate systems are defined in terms of pixels, and usually the upper-left-hand corner is the origin of the coordinate system, with x coordinates increasing to the right and y coordinates increasing downwards.

In contrast, virtual coordinates are more flexible in the units employed, the position of the origin, and even the direction in which the coordinates increase. A virtual coordinate system is defined by assigning coordinates to the edges of a device. Because these edge coordinates are arbitrary real numbers, any Cartesian coordinate system can be defined.

All graphics procedures that use coordinates are defined on virtual coordinates. For example, to draw a line at a particular place on a device, the virtual coordinates for the endpoints of that line are given.

When a graphics device is initialized, its virtual coordinate system is reset so that the left edge corresponds to an x-coordinate of -1, the right edge to x-coordinate 1, the bottom edge to y-coordinate -1, and the top edge to y-coordinate 1.

procedure: graphics-device-coordinate-limits graphics-device

Returns (as multiple values) the device coordinate limits for graphics-device. The values, which are exact non-negative integers, are: x-left, y-bottom, x-right, and y-top.

procedure: graphics-coordinate-limits graphics-device

Returns (as multiple values) the virtual coordinate limits for graphics-device. The values, which are real numbers, are: x-left, y-bottom, x-right, and y-top.

procedure: graphics-set-coordinate-limits graphics-device x-left y-bottom x-right y-top

Changes the virtual coordinate limits of graphics-device to the given arguments. X-left, y-bottom, x-right, and y-top must be real numbers. Subsequent calls to graphics-coordinate-limits will return the new limits. This operation has no effect on the device’s displayed contents.

Note: This operation usually resets the clip rectangle, although it is not guaranteed to do so. If a clip rectangle is in effect when this procedure is called, it is necessary to redefine the clip rectangle afterwards.

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