[SciPy-dev] Re: [AstroPy] Python version of IDL Astron library

Fernando Perez Fernando.Perez at colorado.edu
Tue Sep 14 02:24:15 CDT 2004

eric jones wrote:
>>>>2. Matplotlib for all plotting.  Try it.  You'll like it!

> While I agree, I also appreciate the amount of progress that matplotlib 
> has made.  In some sense, it takes the pressure off of Chaco.  For 
> overall development efficiency in the long run, I believe it would have 
> been better if the matplotlib energy had gone into Chaco.  Perry and the 
> STSci team tried though, and didn't make the headway the wished for.  
> So, in the short run, I don't think as usable of a tool would have 
> resulted as soon -- we just didn't have the resources to coordinate with 
> the community over the last year to fix the deficiencies that made it 
> difficult for scientist to use.

I've been one of those waiting for chaco since its first announcement, and my 
approach was to use Gnuplot2 (IPython's Gnuplot.py extensions) while Chaco 
evolved.  But this has taken a while, and in the meantime for day to day 
scientific use matplotlib has rapidly matured.  So I actually think it will 
work out for the best in the long run: those of us who need something better 
than gnuplot/grace now have a realistic option to switch.  I hope it's clear 
that I'm NOT bashing Chaco in any way, but those of us who needed high quality 
EPS 6 months or a year ago simply couln't wait for it :)

We should not underestimate that having these tools _today_ makes it much 
easier to 'sell' python to new scientific users.  I've committed effort on 
ipython to coexist with matplotlib as efficiently as possible precisely 
because I believe this is an important piece of the puzzle.

Matplotlib's existence also gives Chaco room to breathe and develop as it 
needs, at its pace.  I'm sure that in the future, useful Chaco/matplotlib 
cross-feedback will occur when that makes sense.

Perhaps we all would have wanted J. Hunter to hack on Chaco for the last year. 
  But at least now we have two viable systems, one which works today and the 
other which is building a very solid foundation for the future.  I can only 
see this as a good thing in the long run.



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