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Corel Draw

Corel Draw is a vector-based drawing application developed and marketed by Corel Corp. of Ottawa, Canada.

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Supported Platforms

Corel Draw is currently available for Microsoft Windows and Macintosh. It was originally developed solely for Windows, starting with Windows 2.0. It actually ran on the PC/XT, but was too slow for practical use on such hardware.

Although an experimental Macintosh port of Corel Draw existed as early as 1994, the official release was the 6.0 version in late 1996.

Overall Characteristics

Although Draw was likely to have been developed as a clone to Adobe Illustrator for the PC market, its user interface evolved to make it more approachable to novices. This is logical given that Illustrator was developed first and Corel's engineers felt that there were issues that could be improved when building a newer product.

The chief differentiating factor was the way Draw provided shape transforms. In Illustrator, one had to choose a specific transformation tool (such as the scaling tool), click once on the document window to define the scaling origin, and then click and drag to actually scale the selected objects. In contrast, Draw implemented traditional object handles and scaling could be performed simply by dragging these handles. To access other transformations, one would simply click on the handles' box to change the "transform mode" the handles would operate with if dragged.

Draw was also closer to Aldus FreeHand[?] in that it supported true gradient fills[?] early on.

Draw came into its own with Microsoft's release of Windows 3.1. Although a 16-bit application, the inclusion of TrueType in Windows 3.1 suddenly turned Corel Draw into a serious illustration program capable of quality typography.

Development History

In the late 1980s, Dr. Michael Cowpland[?] and Terry Matthews[?] founded Corel, and hired software engineer Pat Beirne[?] to develop an illustration program to bundle with the Intel-based desktop publishing (DTP) systems Corel was selling. The program was well received and Corel soon focused on software alone.

When Windows 95 arrived and ushered in the Win32 API, Corel Draw was also updated to use MFC (Microsoft Foundation Classes[?]).

The 6.0 Macintosh port (Power PC[?]) began in August 1995. The existing Windows sources would be used (and almost all of them, too, by using a custom Win32/MFC emulation layer).

Around the same time, so many additional components had been developed (e.g., Corel Trace[?], Corel Texture[?], Corel Photo-Paint[?], etc.) that the Corel Draw brand was used more to market a graphics software suite. The DTP market had become saturated, and competition with Adobe (and soon with Microsoft, after Corel acquired WordPerfect) was such that customers had to be gained by offering more value for the same price.

Engineering Staff

Pat Beirne, original developer, Windows version

For the 6.0 Macintosh port (codename 'Gecko'):

  • Young Hui, contractor
  • Ian LeGrow, project manager
  • Gavriel State, lead developer
  • Marc Sherman
  • George Storm, contractor
  • Tapio Vocadlo (now Ray Gardener)


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