Supported Graphics Devices
Dataplot supports a number of graphics device drivers. Some
of these (e.g., Postscript) are built-in directly and are thus
available on all implementations of Dataplot. Other drivers
require local installation (typically, this just means linking
with an appropriate graphics library) and may or may not be
available on a given implementation. Certain types of graphics
output may be post-processed by external software.
Chapter 7 of Volume I
of the online Reference Manual discusses the commands for
specifying the graphics devices. The
Frequently Asked Questions discusses
the issues of printing graphs and importing graphs into word
processors in the PC Windows environment.
Built-in Device Drivers
DATAPLOT supports the following built-in device drivers:
Many devices support either Tektronix, Postscript, or HP-GL
Device Drivers That May Require Some Local Installation
In addition, the following devices are available, but may
require some local installation (usually linking the proper
device library). The installation notes give instructions for
installing these devices (when the appropriate vendor library is
- X11 - MIT windowing system, supported on most Unix based
workstations. Has been tested on Sun, SGI, HP-9000, VAX
workstation, IBM RS-6000, Linux, Cray, Convex, MAC OSX.
Unix installations (including MAC OSX) will include the
X11 driver when they are built. Windows installations
will not. For non-Unix, non-PC platforms, you may need to
investigate whether your system supports X11 before
- QWIN - available only for the PC version built with the
Microsoft PowerStation Fortran compiler or the Compaq
(now Intel) Visual Fortran compiler. These compilers
are currently used to build the command line version
for the Windows 95/98/ME/NT 4/2000/XP platform.
- LAHEY - available only for the PC version built with the
LAHEY compiler. Note that this was built using the
version of the compiler for DOS/Windows 3.1. It is
obsolete for the Lahey F90 and Lahey F95 compilers.
The graphics library for the current version of the
Lahey compilers (LF90 and LF95) is Winteractor. Although
I have done some testing with this library, there are
some problems. Specifically, Winteractor combines
the graphics and GUI. As we use Tcl/Tk for the GUI,
this presents some compatiblity problems. The Lahey
compiler is used for the GUI version under Windows.
Screen graphics are generated using Tcl/Tk. There is
currently no screen graphics if running the Lahey
version independently of the GUI.
- VGA - available for the PC version built with the OTG
compiler only. As we no longer support this compiler
with Dataplot, this is an obsolete driver.
- GD <PNG/JPEG> - creates PNG and JPEG format
files using the GD library of Thomas Bouttel. This is
the library used by Perl (and a number of other popular
PNG and JPEG are primarily used to support web
applications. Almost all web browsers support JPEG
graphics and most of them now support PNG as well. These
are alternatives to the GIF format. Note that there are
patent/royalty issues with the GIF format. For this
reason, freeware programs such as Dataplot do not
typically support GIF.
The PNG driver is currently available for the
pre-built Unix executables (including MAC OSX). I
am currently working on porting this to the PC.
The situation is the same for the JPEG driver with the
exception that JPEG does not work on a few specific
PNG and JPEG can also be useful as an alternative format
for importing into word processors and page publishing
programs. Although they do not provide the high
resolution quality obtained by importing Postscript,
they are sometimes more convenient to work with.
- Calcomp - uses the standard Calcomp library. Many vendors,
particularly plotters, support this library.
Although this is essentially an obsolete driver, note that
there are graphics packages that still operate with a
Calcomp interface. This means that you could possibly use
the Calcomp driver to link to a graphics library that
might support a device that Dataplot does not support
- Zeta - uses a slightly modified version of the Calcomp
library for Zeta devices (dashed lines handled
This is essentially an obsolete device.
- Sun CGI - available on the Sun only. Uses the CGI
library and runs in a gfxtool or suntool window. Sun no
longer supports the CGI library. Use the X11 device if
you run Open Look or Solaris Common Desktop Environment.
SunView is obsolete. You would only build this version if
you are running a very old Sun that is running SunView.
To use it, do a global replace of "CSUN" to " " in the
files dp37.f, dp38.f, and dp39.f and then link in the
needed CGI libraries.
Adding New Device Drivers
I have a number of devices that I plan to add support for in
Dataplot. Feel free to send me requests for additional
device support. My criteria for deciding to add a device
- Availability - the most basic criterion is simply
whether or not I have a device (and related, the
documentation) to do the testing.
- Usefulness - I have limited time/resources to develop
device drivers for Dataplot. Therefore, device
drivers with wide applicability will take precedence
over a device driver for a specific, narrowly
available device. For example, Postscript and X11
have extremely wide applicability (essentially all
Unix environments support X11, many offline devices
use Postscript). On the other hand, a device driver
for a specific printer is unlikely to get written.
- Device drivers for specific devices are good
candidates for user contributed code. I (Alan Heckert)
am willing to provide guidance.
The device drivers I am currently considering are:
- OpenGL - the main purpose for supporting OpenGL is
to provide a foundation for improved high performance
3d graphics. I believe OpenGL provides the best
balance between high performance and portability
(i.e., it is available on the major platforms:
Unix, Windows, MacIntosh).
- GDI - graphic device interface for Microsoft Windows.
The purpose of this would be to provide generic printer
support in Dataplot under Windows.
This one is complicated by the fact that graphics
under Microsoft is typically mixed with graphical
interfaces. Our use of Tcl/Tk for the Dataplot
GUI probably prohibits the use of this driver
with the GUI version of Dataplot. However, it might
be possible to implement this for the command line
As alternatives, I am also looking into using the
ghostscript library. This would not be as general
as a native GDI driver, but it would support many
common printers in both the PC and Unix environments.
Another alternative is a GDI Tcl/Tk extension. This
would only apply to the GUI version for PC's, but it
might be a way around the window compatibility issues
in this environment.
NOTE: See the NOTE in the Ghostscript/Ghostview section
below. This provides a Ghostscript interface to GDI for
the PP command. For this reason, I have lowered the
priority for this device driver.
- Quartz - this is the native mode graphics library for
MAC OSX. Quartz outputs PDF format files. My initial
implementation will probably be for file output
(i.e., a PDF format output file). The next step
would be to generate screen output. This step will
require my obtaining the Absoft MAC OSX
compiler first (Quartz does not provide the windowing).
The advantage of this would be to allow a version
of Dataplot for MAC OSX that does not require
installing an X11 server. However, as with the GDI
driver for Windows, there is intermixing of
graphics/windows issues. This means the quartz screen
driver would probably be limited to the command
line version. The Tcl/Tk base GUI would still need
to be run in X11 mode.
- Latex using EEPIC package - this will be a fairly
specialized driver. Its main purpose would be for
generating high quality presentation graphics for
publication. It will primarily be of interest to
those already familiar with Latex who would like
to incorporate some of Latex's capabilities into
Using the popular and
freely downloadable Ghostscript/Ghostview programs can
greatly extend the list of supported devices on the Unix
and Microsoft Windows platforms. Ghostscript/Ghostview can
read Postscript files and view them on the screen or convert
them to many other common formats. In particular, the most
common use of Ghostscript/Ghostview is to print Postscript
files on non-Postscript printers.
NOTE: Recent enhancements (as of 1/2003) to Dataplot now invoke
Ghostview or Ghostscript automatically. Specifically,
- Under Windows, the SET GHOSTSCRIPT PRINTER ON command uses
the Ghostview program GSPRINT (this is installed when
Ghostview is installed) to implement the PP command (PP
prints the most recent graph). See the
PRINTER command for details. GSPRINT uses the
generic Windows printer driver, so most Windows printers
should now be supported.
- Under Windows and Unix, the SET POSTSCRIPT CONVERT command
can be used to invoke ghostscript to automatically
convert Dataplot Postscript output to JPEG, TIFF,
PDF (Portable Document Format), or any of the four
PBM formats (PBM, PGM, PPM, and PNM). This provides
additional options for formats that can be imported into
external programs (e.g., word processors). See the
CONVERT command for details.
Using PC as Terminal
If you are using a PC as a terminal for a version of
DATAPLOT on another host, there are 2 basic approaches:
- find a communications package that provides either
Tektronix, REGIS, or HP 26xx emulation.
- If Dataplot is running on a Unix host, you can use an
X11 software package for the PC. As a technical note,
the X11 driver in Dataplot is built using only the "xlib"
library (not Xt or Motif or one of the other toolkits).
This means just about any X11 server software should
work with Dataplot (e.g., on my own PC, I use a free
X11 package that works just fine for Dataplot).
Dataplot Post Processor
Many years ago I wrote a post-processor for DATAPLOT. This
will read either DATAPLOT metafiles (i.e., the GENERAL device)
or Tektronix 4014 format files. There are currently 2 versions
available. One uses the Disspla subroutine library while the
other uses the Template subroutine library. If you have one of
these commercial libraries available, this is a way to provide
support for additional graphics devices. This works fairly well
for off-line devices such as film recorders or plotters, but is
less useful for terminals.
With the availability of Ghostview/Ghostscript and the
emergence of Postscript, I don't really find any particular
need for this anymore. However, the source is available
upon request (the most likely use is to adapt it to a local
If you are interested in the post processor, contact
The CGM metafile can be used if you have a local post-processor
that reads CGM format files. DATAPLOT currently only generates
clear text ecoded CGM files. Many post-processors only read
binary encoded CGM files.
Date created: 6/5/2001
Last updated: 2/13/2002
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