What would you like to see in a book about Matplotlib?

James Stroud jstroud at mbi.ucla.edu
Tue Jan 6 09:33:31 CET 2009

Sandro Tosi wrote:
> Hello and Happy 2009!
> I received the interesting proposal to author a book on Matplotlib,
> the powerful 2D plotting library for Python.
> While preparing the arguments list, I'd like to hear even your
> opinion, because different points-of-view will lead to a better
> product.
> Some basic question I'd like to ask are:
> - what are you using matplotlib for?

Matplot lib shines for interactive environments wherein graphs and 
charts must be produced. I have incorporated it into a simple program 
for analysis of fluorometric data: http://fluorit.bravais.net/

(The forthcoming version 1.0 is a quantum improvement in speed and 
function over the SLOW *prototype* version 0.9 currently available--see 
the wish list, feature requests, and known issues for details. Version 
1.0 is very fast.)

> - what are the things you like the most of matplotlib, that you want
> to give emphasis to? And why?

The ability to embed a figure (composed of subplots) into a custom 
window is my favorite aspect. Also: massive configurability of plots, 
event driven plot canvas, antigrain geometry antialiasing are also all 
very important. Additionally the toolbar of standard interactive 
functions and the ability to export plots in a variety of formats are 
also invaluable features.

> - what are the (basic) things that, when you were beginning to use
> matplotlib, you wanted to see grouped up but couldn't find?

The documentation for basic plot configuration, especially for embedded 
plots, and also tapping into the event model is very weak currently. 
These need the most improvement.

> - what would you like to see in a book about matplotlib?

A big, huge, gigantic, chapter---no make that 3 chapters--on programming 
  interactivity with the plot canvas.

> - what are some those advanced feature that made you yell "WOW!!" ?

I listed them above, but my most "WOW" moment was when I saw the Tkinter 
backend doing beautiful antialiasing. I was also very happy to 
seamlessly add new functionality to the toolbar.

> - what are the things you'd like to explore of matplotlib and never
> had time to do?

I want to program a lot of interactivity with the plots in my current 

> Your suggestions are really appreciated :) And wish me good luck!

Good luck! I can't wait to read your book!


James Stroud
UCLA-DOE Institute for Genomics and Proteomics
Box 951570
Los Angeles, CA  90095


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