[Numpy-discussion] wanted: decent matplotlib alternative

Joe Kington jkington@wisc....
Thu Oct 13 14:21:57 CDT 2011

Have a look at Chaco: http://code.enthought.com/chaco/  If you're wanting a
more pythonic api, it's a good choice.

Personally, I still prefer matplotlib.

You don't every need to touch the state machine interface.

The OO interface is slighly un-pythonic, but it's hardly clunky. I think
you're referring to one of the webpage examples of it which avoids _any_
convenience functions.  You can still use the convenience functions without
having to rely on the state machine in any way. E.g.:

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

fig, axes = plt.subplots(ncols=4)

for ax in axes:


All in all, matplotlib deliberately tries to mimic matlab for a lot of the
conventions.  This is mostly to make it easier to switch if you're already
familiar with matlab.

To each his own, but for better or worse, matplotlib is the most widely used
plotting library for python.  It's worth getting a bit more familiar with,
if nothing else just to see past some of the rough edges.


On Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 1:58 PM, Christoph Groth <cwg@falma.de> wrote:

> Hello,
> Is it just me who thinks that matplotlib is ugly and a pain to use?  So
> far I haven't found a decent alternative usable from within python.  (I
> haven't tried all the packages out there.)  I'm mostly interested in 2d
> plots.  Who is happy enough with a numpy-compatible plotting package to
> recommend it?
> Thanks,
> Christoph
> A few things I can't stand about matplotlib:
>  * It works as a state machine.  (There is an OO-API, too, but it's ugly
>   and cumbersome to use, and most examples use the state machine mode
>   or, even worse, a mixture of OO and global state.)
>  * It uses inches by default. (I propose to switch to nails: 1 nail = 3
>   digits = 2 1/4 inches = 1/16 yard.)
>  * subplot(211)  (ugh!)
>  * Concepts are named in a confusing way. ("ax = subplot(112)" anyone?)
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