Fast, Interactive Tcl Graphs
August 10, 2012 5:32 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a good, simple plotting package.

Here are the requirements:

- Tcl/Tk bindings and embeddable in same
- ability to make interactive graphs (i.e. not just images)
- able to handle large data volumes (1e6 points in a scatter graph, say)
- not super complicated

Here are some examples of things that don't fit.

gnuplot: fails on interactivity and embeddability
VTK: fails on not super-complicated
BLT/RBC: fails on able to handle large data volumes
Several others: fail on Tcl/Tk bindings

I think VTK probably does exactly what I need, but the 2D charting is extremely poorly documented. There's 2 pages in a wiki, basically. All the other docs are just a massive class diagram dump that's impossible to learn from. Is there another Tcl-enabled, hardware accelerated graphing package out there that I'm too search-fu-weak to find?
posted by DU to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Oh I forgot to put plplot among the failures. It's a very old project (80s era) that very recently had interactivity tacked on in one mode but they haven't documented it at all. Already not very promising but I also couldn't get simple test programs to work right.
posted by DU at 5:38 AM on August 10, 2012

ggplot2 in R?
posted by shothotbot at 5:51 AM on August 10, 2012

I also suggest R. If you're learning it from scratch, ggplot2 is probably the way to go, but I've always been able to make nice looking stuff using the base graphics.
posted by chrisamiller at 6:27 AM on August 10, 2012

Yeah was gonna say... there's a tcltk2 package in CRAN, have you looked at R as your solution?

On a side note: people still use Tcl/Tk? Not trying to be a jerk, just curious where this language is still used.
posted by teabag at 6:27 AM on August 10, 2012

So...I'm embedding R in my Tcl and then calling R's plotting functions? Or do I have to do everything in R and it calls out to Tcl or what?

people still use Tcl/Tk?

It's a fairly active community but IMO is kind of losing steam because of things like my problem here. Too many itches, not enough scratchers.

It's a pretty nice language, actually. It has problems, but imagine a combination of Lisp and shell script.
posted by DU at 7:19 AM on August 10, 2012

R Tcl/Tk Interface
posted by Loto at 8:38 AM on August 10, 2012

I'll take a deeper look, but on the surface this looks backwards. This is a way to run Tcl from R. I can't run my application inside of R.
posted by DU at 9:27 AM on August 10, 2012

Oh in college I used to use Tcl/Tk to manage a twiki; I don't miss it.

I agree, the Tcl/Tk examples linked don't answer your question. What you CAN do is programmatically generate an R script, invoke R from Tcl and pipe the script in. That may be your best bet. With the Tcl/Tk interface linked before you can also generate a consistent interface by piping in the necessary GUI elements. Not sure if this helps... seems like duct tape.
posted by teabag at 9:40 AM on August 10, 2012

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