Handwritten Web-Pages?

What is that?

Originally hand-written text can be scanned and then vectorized. The result is an image in a vector-graphics format, consisting of many curves.

Depending on the way that the curves are produced, each single word can become one curve, which allows its formatting independently of the remainder of the image.

Using the Inkscape program, I have tried to optimize the procedure in order to create publishable content from handwritten documents. The SVG image format lets me integrate hyperlinks and other image-files. This leads to a functional web-page, although no actual fonts are used for the creation of content.

Difficulties and remedies

Size

An image-file contains an arbitrary number of data, describing the image to be produced upon lecture of the file. By just scanning and vectorizing a hand-written text, you create huge files. But much of the information, gathered during the process, is non-essential or even superfluous.

Letters enclosing empty space

Letters like a, e, b, P, Q will be transformed into curves which enclose empty space. Upon vectorization, the surface of the whole letter becomes a shape and the enclosed empty space another shape. As each shape has a line-color and a fill-color, the smaller shape will overlap with the bigger one. But as the big shape covers the whole surface of the letter, the small shape will only be visible, when kept in the foreground. Else, the letters, listed above, will look like this after being vectorized: misformed letters.

Simplification

Different from a photograph, where you want to include as much detail as is practicable in a file, text does not have to comply to many rules to convey an information. The most important constraint for the readability of a text is the discernibility of the letters. About everything else is either a convention imposed by a language or the preferences of the author and, thus, present in the original, hand-written document. Scanning and vectorization have no part in the handling of syntax, grammar and orthography, let alone in the creation of content.

To diminish the size of a scanned vector-graphic file, you have many options and in the case of handwriting, all is good that does not impede the readability of individual letters. Notably, curves can be simplified by reducing the number of nodes. This has an surprising effect on file-sizes.

The problem of disfigured letters has been resolved by integrating the small shape of empty space into the bigger shape of a letter to create one single curve which simply excludes the empty space within a letter. For this, Inkscape offers two different functions which produce identical results.

Why this?

Basically, I played around with Inkscape.

I had often hoped to improve the readability of my own handwriting but lack opportunity to exercise. The first page was in size Din-A 5 and I wrote it to provide a proof-of-concept, although there was neither a concept, nor the certitude that my idea made any sense.

Now I wonder if handwritten web-pages would not merit some thought. Until April 2021 I have though not advanced any further.