A hvif rendered in modern standard C without extra dependencies.
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A simple library to render Haiku Vector Icons

⚠️ Do not use this library. It is not ready yet.

The Haiku operating system uses a custom format to represent vector icons. The Haiku Vector Icon Format (hvif) is optimized to create tiny files that can be saved with the file metadata. For a good technical overview of the format see this blog post by Leah Hanson. The goal of this library is to allow the usage of this format independent of the Haiku ecosystem. The best way to create new icons is to use the Icon-O-Matic tool that ships with Haiku.

The library is written in modern standard C and MIT licensed. When finished it will feature a parser and rasterizer without any dependencies beyond libc. Furthermore, a toy tool to convert hvif files into png files is included.

The author is not associated with the Haiku project.

Current Status

The library is currently under heavy development. The current parser should be able to parse hvif files created with current Haiku builds, but is mostly untested. There is no standalone rasterizer yet, but an experimental rasterizer based on cairo is included. The purpose of this rasterizer is testing. It is not feature complete, but renders most real world icons reasonably well.

The next step is the preparation of a testing infrastructure. This should be done before work on the standalone rasterizer begins.


The File_GoogleFS icon from the Haiku distribution as rendered by Haiku:

and as rendered with the current cairo based rasterizer:

While not perfect, the result is quite decent.


Release Distribution

The build system is standard auto tools. When downloading a release distribution the usual

$ ./configure
$ make -j

and make install as root should work. Beside a recent C compiler and pkg-config the cairo library is required for now. Since no sensible functionality independent of cairo is implemented as of now, cairo is a hard dependency.


To compile a freshly cloned repository run:

$ autoreconf -i
$ ./configure
$ make -j

On NixOS the included shell.nix script can be used to bring the dependencies and a couple of development tools into scope.


HTML documentation can be generated with make html if Doxygen is installed.


Contributions are very welcome. Please send patches or bugreports to commits at schurr dot at. If you are unfamiliar with the Email based git workflow, see this excellent tutorial.