[NTG-context] Charts, Graphs, Tufte, and ConTeXt

David Wooten dw at trichotomic.net
Fri Jul 21 21:22:12 CEST 2006

Mojca Miklavec wrote:
>> Thus I'm curious as to what others use... is R an efficient method to
>> produce elegant charts? Is straight MetaPost preferable?
> With metapost you can surely achive most beautiful results and it is
> not as difficult to learn as TeX-programming. Of course you might need
> more time to draw what you need or to write your own set of macros,
> but if you have high demands about quality this might be the way to
> go.
> However, if you prefer doing it quicly using the existing tools (be
> aware that you have to learn how to use those tools as well), R or
> gnuplot might be an interesting choice. You'll be limited by the power
> of those two tools, but in most cases they should suffice for the
> normal usage.
> The gnuplot module is still in development (I've been just begging
> Hans for help a few hours ago ;). Take a look at the demo section of
> gnuplot (http://gnuplot.sourceforge.net/demo_4.1/) to see if it can
> offer you what you want to do. In that case ask on the list again,
> I'll give you further pointers how to use it with ConTeXt
> (http://pub.mojca.org/gnuplot).
> But basically you can take any program to draw graphs and include the
> resulting PDFs. I'm afraid that the macros from the paper which you
> pointed to, use some PostScript code that cannot be handled as-is (you
> need some conversion to PDF first) and I'm affraid that the effort put
> into making it work woudn't pay off now that you have a great varienty
> of other plotting programs, including metapost itself (esp. if the
> package has never been released - you'll probably hardly get any
> support for it).
> Mojca
Thanks very much for your reply. Your advice seems strong, and in truth 
I have been intrigued by MetaPost for many years. This certainly seems a 
valid excuse to delve into it ;)


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