[Pdx-pm] Fwd: large worksheets

Mccraw, Chris (ETW) Chris.Mccraw at nike.com
Tue Jan 15 10:49:03 PST 2008

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 10:29 AM, Thomas Keller wrote:

> Perl is great for extracting the data, but what would you recommend
> plotting? 

I fought with gnuplot for a long time before I finally gave up and tried
ploticus (http://ploticus.sourceforge.net).  The nicest thing about
ploticus is the flexibility and huge number of templates and examples--I
wanted to do something weird (a time-based sideways bar graph with a
zillion categories, that was also a clickable imagemap) and figured it
out with minimal hassle.  There's a learning curve on understanding how
ploticus works, same as gnuplot, but it does tend to reward the
investment well, since its scripting language is pretty practical and
pragmatic.  I never quite found the Zen of gnuplot, but ploticus was
friendlier.  As well, it does stuff like cgi's, imagemaps, and quite a
bit of internal calculation (ie calculate an average in place, do
color-based-on-input-values, etc) if you need it, for free.  Its input
file format is maybe not Turing-complete, but it's a scripting language
of its own, should you choose to use it.  I tend not to, since I prefer
to program in perl =)

I've been a user of gnuplot for years (not an advanced one, but
consistent) and I will never go back.

You do lose out a bit--there's a CPAN module for gnuplot that might make
your life easier that I failed to check out, but I've always been a
spit-out-data-file-and-exec-external-graphing-program kinda guy anyway,
even when I was using gnuplot with perl.  Ploticus' ability to quite
literally *be* a cgi program made the decision for a front-end for the
support people I was feeding the info to quite trivial:  just go to this
URL, folks;  the data is refreshed as often as my datasource spits out
new data (every 5 minutes over here), so you can reload when you're
feeling stale.

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