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

eric jones eric at enthought.com
Tue Sep 14 14:03:20 CDT 2004

Fernando Perez wrote:

> 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.

This is exactly what I was trying to say, but perhaps not as well.  
Having a solution sooner fixes many issues, and that is very beneficial 
for the reasons you mention.  However, from a strictly person-hours 
required to reach the long term goal of a utopian plotting toolkit, it 
would be more efficient to have all hands working on the same project.  
There are alwasy tradeoffs, and I think that the current situation (two 
packages) is not bad at all.


> Cheers,
> f
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