[Pythonmac-SIG] A very helpful page on Python, gnuplot, and Aquaterm

Dinu Gherman gherman at darwin.in-berlin.de
Sat Oct 18 10:29:04 EDT 2003

Drew McCormack:

> On this topic, can anyone recommend a plotting library for use on the 
> Mac with python. I have seen the list on the python.org, but there are 
> a lot there, and I would rather not have to try each one individually. 
> My requirements are:
> - Publication quality
> - Must be able to do contour plots
> - Preferably a nice python object-based interface

It depends a lot on what you really want to do. I'd recommend either
of these:

a) ReportLab
    + more business-like charts (bar, pie, line, scatter, etc)
    + quite fine-tunable
    + you can write your own
    + PDF and EPS output (plus SVG and bitmaps)
    + color-seperated EPS "on demand"
    + pure Python API
    - no contour stuff (unless you add it using Numeric, perhaps)
    - no 3D
    - lacking general scientific plots
      (unless you write them yourself)

b) Gnuplot
    + EPS output (among others)
    + Python wrapper module
    + GnuplotEddie <ShamelessPlug/>
    + contour stuff (also 3D)
    - probably more difficult to extend

Otherwise look for Chaco or Ploticus, but I think neither of these
has builtin support for contour plots, which I guess is hard to
find outside Gnuplot, Mathematica, etc...

Personally, I'd like to see some real Science-stuff based on the
ReportLab Graphics API, but ok, I'm slightly biased. In any case,
some output samples of the more exciting stuff I've done using RLG
is hidden on my website:


Have fun,


Dinu C. Gherman - http://python.net/~gherman
"I once asked Ivan, 'How is it possible for you to have invented
computer graphics, done the first object oriented software system
and the first real time constraint solver all by yourself in one
year?' And he said 'I didn't know it was hard.'"
(Alan Kay on Ivan Sutherland)

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