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• Prefabs handbook
• Script handbook
• pl(1) man page
Ploticus is a free GPL software utility that can produce various types of plots and graphs
like shown here and here.
Data input is usually csv files or text files such as used with sort, awk, etc.
Output options are GIF, PNG, PostScript, SVG and some others. HTML imagemaps are supported.
Ploticus can produce just-in-time plots in dynamic web content systems, or in batch production settings.
It can be invoked from your command line, in shell scripts, via system() calls in web content environments and other programs,
or via the libploticus API.
There are two distinct usage approaches depending on what you're doing:
1. Prefabs produce quick one-off graphs without a lot of
customization. All desired parameters are supplied directly on the command line, with everything else falling back to sensible defaults.
For instance, to produce a scatterplot (GIF) on fields 2 and 3 of dataset 'mydata' you might do eg:
pl -prefab scat data=mydata x=2 y=3 -gif -o out.gif
develop more elaborate customized graphs or unattended production applications.
The developer writes a script in a text editor. The script is
essentially a sequence of plotting procedures along with some attribute specifications for each,
indicating how to get the data, set up a scaled plot region and axes, and render one or more plots and graphs.
More control over the order that things get drawn, and access to many more detail attributes.
Other things fallback to sensible defaults.
To run it (producing an SVG result in this example) do eg: pl myscript -svg -o out.svg
Requirements: gcc or similar C/C++ compiler.
Can be built without requiring any specific libraries.
A ready-to-run Linux x86-64 binary also available.
variety of standard graphs and plots supported
lots of control over minutae of displays, graphical elements, labelling
production-oriented features eg. automatic cropping of output images
fairly flexible, semi-automatic legends
pretty good clientside imagemap support for tooltips and clickthru
work with numeric, categorical, date and time data
some statistical, curvefit, summarizing, and data manipulation capabilities built-in
small footprint, fast performance
both vector (PS, SVG) and raster (GIF, PNG) output formats with decent consistency
full documention and lots of examples available;
can be invoked using pl(1) command or via libploticus API
mature stable GPL package with many public contributions and improvements over the years
command line tool with no interactive/GUI approach;
sprawling package with substantial learning curve to get the most out of it;
no direct connectivity with DBMS
limited superscript, subscript, special character support
no formula or equation support
generic build GD fonts somewhat ugly
old-school installation method; some may find it hard to get going
lacks 3-D effects, embedded logos and other marketing-oriented niceties
various capacity limitations
Script language is non-standard and inelegant
C code mostly written 10 yrs ago or more, not much ongoing new development
Ploticus data display utility © 1999-2013 Steve Grubb