[chimera-dev] examples of 2-D plotting in plugins?

Tom Goddard goddard at cgl.ucsf.edu
Tue Dec 16 10:16:06 PST 2008

Hi Randy,

  On the Mac the Chimera python executable finds the Python framework 
and runs it.  When you start Chimera's Python from a shell it is finding 
the Mac system Python framework instead of the one included in 
Chimera.app.  The way Chimera gets its own Python framework instead of 
the system one is that the start-up script


sets the DYLD_FRAMEWORK_PATH environment variable to point to the 
Chimera Python (and Tcl/Tk) frameworks.

  We discussed including matplotlib in the Chimera distribution and 
agreed it is a good idea and we plan on doing it though a date has not 
been set.  I would like to try using it this month or next month so I 
may add it to Chimera soon.  The trick is to get it to build on all 
platforms (Windows, Linux, Mac).  Have you built it for Chimera on 
Windows.  Any tips?



Randy Heiland wrote:
> Hi Eric and others,
> I've returned to this little exercise of trying to build matplotlib  
> using Chimera and have a basic question:
> - using the Chimera-1.3.2577-osx_aqua, when I bring up IDLE, I see:
> Python 2.5.2 (r252:60911, Dec  9 2008, 02:00:10)
> [GCC 4.0.1 (Apple Computer, Inc. build 5370)] on darwin
> however, when I run Chimera's python manually, I see:
> $ /Users/heiland/dev/Chimera-1.3.2577-osx_aqua.app/Contents/Resources/ 
> bin/python2.5
> Python 2.5.1 (r251:54869, Apr 18 2007, 22:08:04)
> [GCC 4.0.1 (Apple Computer, Inc. build 5367)] on darwin
> Why am I seeing 2 different Python builds?
> One of the initial things I'm trying to resolve is the ability to  
> 'import Tkinter'.  I can do so from the former, but not the latter  
> (even after setting sys.path to be what it is in the former).
> thanks, Randy
> On Nov 3, 2008, at 5:52 PM, Eric Pettersen wrote:
>> FYI, the last paragraph of my reply below may be of general interest  
>> to developers interested in plotting data...
>> On Oct 31, 2008, at 10:09 AM, Randy Heiland wrote:
>> Hi gang,
>> For one of the Chimera plugins that I now maintain, I'm considering
>> eliminating the use of matplotlib and wondering if Chimera's innards
>> are capable of doing what I want.  For starters, are there any
>> example plugins, etc that demonstrate how one could do simple
>> plotting and simple (image) contours?  In addition, I'd need to
>> handle mouse events, e.g. to retrieve x,y positions on the contour
>> image.
>> Hi Randy,
>> I'm thinking that what Chimera currently provides will not be an  
>> adequate replacement for the capabilities of matplotlib that  
>> NLOPredict uses.  Aside from the basic Tk widgets themselves (the  
>> most salient of which is Canvas) the only relevant widgets I can  
>> think of is an interactive histogram widget in CGLtk.Histogram, and  
>> a basic line/point plotting widget available through  
>> Scientific.TkWidgets.TkPlotCanvas (Scientific.TkWidgets.TkPlotCanvas<http://dirac.cnrs-orleans.fr/ScientificPython/ScientificPythonManual/Scientific.TkWidgets.TkPlotCanvas-module.html 
>>> ).
>> But I think NLOPredict needs interactive contour and bar graphs.  As  
>> long as you can generate the contour image yourself somehow, I think  
>> you can pretty easily gin up an interactive contour plot using the  
>> Image item of Tk.Canvas.  As for the bar graph, would BLT (A User's  
>> Guide to Pmw.Blt<http://heim.ifi.uio.no/~hpl/Pmw.Blt/doc/>) provide  
>> enough functionality if we decided to provide that?  It seems to  
>> provide bar charts (A complete reference to the Pmw.Blt plot widget<http://heim.ifi.uio.no/~hpl/Pmw.Blt/doc/reference.html%23bar_create(...) 
>>> ).  It also might or might not be easier for you to provide BLT for  
>> NLOPredict as a stopgap measure.
>> So the Chimera developers will be discussing possibly providing some  
>> kind of plotting library at our next weekly meeting.  Clearly,  
>> matplotlib is the "Cadillac" of plotting libraries.  And like a  
>> Cadillac it has the downside of large size -- probably in the range  
>> of 60-80MB before compression.  It also has the drawback of  
>> depending on a lot of other packages which we would also have to  
>> include and port to all our supported platforms, including 64-bit  
>> versions thereof.  So I guess the question is whether we could get  
>> away with including something smaller like BLT, which we would also  
>> be able to deploy more quickly due to the lower effort involved, or  
>> do people really need the unique capabilities of matplotlib?  Anybody?
>> --Eric
>>                        Eric Pettersen
>>                        UCSF Computer Graphics Lab
>>                        http://www.cgl.ucsf.edu
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