Does anyone have a good reference for laying out non-rectangular user elements? I don't just mean circular buttons which are laid out as if they were in a square box, and I don't mean placing them exactly - I need an automated way to lay out a number of circular or oval shapes, taking into account their exact shape, in different container objects.
To clarify, I am look for research on this subject or ideas for principles on how to do it. I'm not looking for code examples or implementation details. This is not something I've seen, so any indication that it exists would be helpful. The closest thing to this I've seen is the "cloud layout" used by some "associated topic" interfaces.
To clarify again, this does not have to be related to web design, or even to currently available systems. I'll settle for any work, no matter how theoretical.
My last attempt to clarify for those who keep asking. Sorry for those who understand the issue. Taking Java as an example, the Java UI toolkits have LayoutManager which is used to control the placement of components, buttons or images or text boxes. There are many implementations of LayoutManager, which place the components in different ways. However all the implementations rely on the underlying mechanisms of components which assume they are rectangular, having a width and a height. The question is: what would a LayoutManager paradigm look like if we didn't need to assume that the components were rectangular, but could be circular or oval.