[PYTHON MATRIX-SIG] Plotting packages

Konrad Hinsen hinsen@ibs.ibs.fr
Sun, 9 Mar 1997 19:23:46 +0100

> We have had an OO attitude from the first about how the Python/graphics
> interfaces should look, but also recognize there has to be an easy 
> plot(y,x, color="red", style="dashed", scale="linlog") 
> sort of interface for casual use. It is possible to do both, and we are doing
> it. 

Good. The availability of both a simple and a flexible access to graphics
is the main reason why I still use Mathematica for plotting, in spite
of some major inconveniences.

> We have tried to create our work in layers so that the graphics object and
> plot(y,x, ...) sort of layers are INDEPENDENT of the underlying graphics
> library choice. It could be a reasonable goal for us to try to agree on the

That seems to me the only reasonable choice. Clearly there is no
single good-enough-for-everyone plot package on the market, much less
on the freeware market. And if some day someone does it right, we will
surely want to profit.

In fact, I wonder whether it might be easier to write a library from
scratch, in Python, using some high-level graphics library such as
OpenGL, than to deal with the intricacies of libraries that are
sometimes so old that they predate modern graphics hardware.

> On the subject of graphics packages, there are graphics packages and then
> there are graphics packages. In this discussion little has been said about
> the capabilities of the packages mentioned. It is one thing to need to graph
> a curve; another to need to do colored contouring on irregular grids of data
> with missing values. The set of available output-file formats matter, too.

True. We should concentrate on getting something for the most common
needs first, without of course forgetting about more sophisticated
stuff for later. Straightforward 2D curve plots on all platforms would
already be a big step forward.

Konrad Hinsen                          | E-Mail: hinsen@ibs.ibs.fr
Laboratoire de Dynamique Moleculaire   | Tel.: +33-
Institut de Biologie Structurale       | Fax:  +33-
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