[metapost] A couple of basic questions

Mojca Miklavec mojca.miklavec.lists at gmail.com
Wed Feb 15 16:55:23 CET 2006

On 2/13/06, Will Robertson wrote:
> On 11/02/2006, at 9:31 , Mojca Miklavec wrote:
> > I'm a beginner, but if you have any suggestions about what could be
> > improved in metapost output, please drop me a note. (I'm slowly
> > working on an slightly improved version of metapost output; stressed
> > on *slowly*.)
> How do you mean with this? Yet another metapost-like program?

No, not another metapost-like program, only an intermediate step
between gnuplot and metapost. Gnuplot can output Metapost source, but
doesn't do the job optiamally. Cyclic paths (boxes, ...) aren't closed
with --cycle, graphs are drawn with "mitered" linejoin (ugly), no
support for 3d graphs yet, ...

> I know MP isn't perfect, but it's been around long enough that I hope
> it will be good enough "for ever".

I wish that too. I use it extensively (not to say exclusively) for
drawing, but I don't know about any plans for supporting animation,
3D, ... big numbers (megapost) are planned at least. I have a feeling
that it's very difficult to develop metapost, so people who need these
feeatures keep developing other (incompatible) metapost-like programs.

> On 11/02/2006, at 8:58 , Reinhard Kotucha wrote:
> > All the MATLAB graphics I've seen had been quite ugly.
> :) It depends. It can do some stuff quite nicely, and it's very quick
> to play around with data sets (especially in 3d). I'm interested in
> MP for the publication of the data, not the inspection.
> I find most of the plots out of matlab are created with no real
> understanding of how to make decent plots, and the defaults don't help.
> > Recently I
> > used gnuplot to produce metapost code from ASCII data files produced
> > by MATLAB.
> >
> > The metapost output had been piped into a Perl script which fixed a
> > few ugly things:  You certainly neither want labels in FORTRAN
> > ("1e-5")
> > nor something like "0.00001", for example.
> Oh, do you mean entirely processing the .fig format that matlab saves
> its figures in? It seems easier to me just to export the data into
> a .dat file and let metapost do the rest.
> I guess I should also say I'm interested in using it for mathematica
> as well, to provide a standard way to plot the data irrespective of
> where it can from.
> It does sound like there haven't been any "advances" since mpgraph,
> which is fair enough. (metafun looks very powerful but a look in the
> contents didn't reveal anything for graphs, specifically.)

You have
    draw function (2, "x", "sin(x)" , 0, 2pi, pi/40)
for example and functions for drawing grids and axes in different ways
(including logaritmic scale), although I'm really not sure if it
provides methods for including external data.

I would say that id depends a lot on your needs. Metapost may also
fail if you need to use big numbers (>4096). You can circumvent these
problems of course, but it takes some more effort.


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