wxFreeChart project need contributors

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MAB
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wxFreeChart project need contributors

Postby MAB » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:35 pm

Hello all,

I'm developer of wxFreeChart project (http://wxcode.sourceforge.net/components/freechart/).
It's a free open source framework for variuos types of charts.

And i need people, who can help with folowing:
1. Need wxPython binding.
2. Testing. I plan to release january next year.
3. If you see this project first time, i'm need your feedback, about what is clear for novice user, and what's not.
4. Bugfixes.
5. Documentation. It has examples, but they are need to be improved.

You can see new release annouces at FreeCode (http://freecode.com/projects/wxfreechart).
If you wish to be tester, please, see changes at SVN repository (http://wxcode.svn.sourceforge.net/viewv ... freechart/).

Best regards,
Moskvichev Andrey V.

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Re: wxFreeChart project need contributors

Postby evstevemd » Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:35 pm

I think major drawback in many libs wxChart included is missing starter tutorials
I once wanted to do something quickly with charts and I didn't found any solid tutorial.
I think beginners walk thru tut will be a +1, something of likeness of zetcode.com
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Postby PB » Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:47 am

I discovered and started using wxFreeChart just 3 days ago. While it doesn't have any tutorial per se, I found the included demo app to be of great help and had my (admittedly very simple) chart up and running in mere minutes (not counting the time I spent to make the library properly build), when I needed something more I checked the online documentation. And I'm not even a programmer and had been away from C++ and wxWidgets for about a year.

On the other hand, it didn't make a very good first impression. The demo app asserts after closing - this bug is very easy to fix and is an issue just with the demo and not the library itself. The said demo also produces quite a big memory leaks dump (debug build in VS 2008, wxWidgets 2.9.3). This is also likely an easily fixable problem with the demo and not the library but I believe that for some people just encountering these two issues upon the first demo run may be enough to give up on wxFreeChart immediately and don't look any further into it.

Speaking about the demo app, "XY Demo 5 - dynamic" shows just an empty white rectangle, it seems that data are being added in the timer event but the chart doesn't get updated for some reason.

I've also noticed that axis titles get centered against the whole plot area and not just the axis, which is rather unusual. See e.g. "XY Demo 1 - simple". This is a problem within the library.

All that said, I'm very thankful to Andrey for creating wxMathChart and releasing it for free. It has a lot of features and I believe could prove very useful to many people. I'm sorry if my post reads as it were a bug report. I've listed the issues I encountered just so someone more skilled than me may be able to fix them and help improve this already great product.

Unfortunately, I probably won't be able to help with any of the requests in the original post, I'm not a programmer and used wxFreeChart just for a basic XY plot in a throwaway application.

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Re: wxFreeChart project need contributors

Postby MAB » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:43 am

On the other hand, it didn't make a very good first impression. The demo app asserts after closing - this bug is very easy to fix and is an issue just with the demo and not the library itself. The said demo also produces quite a big memory leaks dump (debug build in VS 2008, wxWidgets 2.9.3). This is also likely an easily fixable problem with the demo and not the library but I believe that for some people just encountering these two issues upon the first demo run may be enough to give up on wxFreeChart immediately and don't look any further into it.

Yes, it really valuable feedback for me.
Demo is quick and dirty, i really didn't make good testing for it, to spent this time on library itseft, rather than demo.
Many examples are need rewriting too.

Speaking about the demo app, "XY Demo 5 - dynamic" shows just an empty white rectangle, it seems that data are being added in the timer event but the chart doesn't get updated for some reason.

This bug is fixed in internal version.

Unfortunately, I probably won't be able to help with any of the requests in the original post, I'm not a programmer and used wxFreeChart just for a basic XY plot in a throwaway application.

The most valuable contribution, is your feedback as you see this project at first time.

And thank you for your interest, and your feedback.

Best regards,
Moskvichev Andrey V.

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Re: wxFreeChart project need contributors

Postby PB » Sat Dec 17, 2011 7:39 pm

Hello Andrey,

if you're interested in any feedback at all and not just fixed code, I will mention few experiences I had during my brief encounter with wxFreeChart. All I needed was a simple XY line chart, having 6 data series associated with a single axis, so my usage of wxFreeChart was very limited.
Issues with the demo aside, here's what I found:

Axes titles
1. Neither vertical nor horizontal axes titles are properly centered against the axis they belong to.
2. The width of the vertical axis area is too wide (because the width for axis title is computed from the title width and not height, despite it being always drawn rotated by 90 deg.).
3. Title for the top or right axis is drawn between the plot and the axis itself, which I believe is not the best choice.
Because one picture is worth a thousands words, here's a screenshot of slightly modified "Multiple axis demo 2" chart from the wxFreeChart, the product of original code on the left, on the right with my few simple fixes to "labelaxis.cpp" file.
Image

Combined chart
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that wxFreeChart has out-of-the-box support for plots with a shared axis. Unfortunately, when the left vertical axis label lengths are different for the two plots, the plots go out of alignment, see the picture below. Perfect alignment of plots sharing the horizontal axis was a must for my chart, so I had to abandon using this feature, but as it was no big deal I didn't look any further into it.
Screenshot of slightly modified (y values for the bottom chart multiplied by 100) "Combined axis demo 2"
Image

Further suggestions
I recommend implementing an optional "nice labels" function, the charts look prettier/natural when used. It may not be obvious with sample data, but when you have a lot of varied natural data, the numbers chosen for tick label can look odd to an end user. On a similar note a better default autodetection of label format may be also a good idea, display of labels is currently fixed at two decimal places at the moment, regardless of the magnitude of values of data linked with an axis. Of course, both these things can be easily done by an application programmer just as I did, but I believe it's for the best if such common functions are implemented within the library itself and the sensible defaults should be applied without application programmer intervention.
Image
You can also notice there's a slight problem with a legend placement, the legend overlapping the last horizontal axis label a bit. But there's another issue with legend placement, when you want it placed on the top right, it makes plot jump down under it - is it by design?
Image



Well, I think it's (more than?) enough for one post. I hope that my nagging is not bothering you or even making you to lose interest in working on such useful library which wxFreeChart undoubtedly is. As I wrote before I lack skills to properly contribute to wxFreeChart project and also I'm not its regular user, so I'm sorry I can't be of more help.

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Re: wxFreeChart project need contributors

Postby MAB » Sun Dec 18, 2011 11:21 am

All of this bugs are fixed in internal version.

Best regards.

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Re: wxFreeChart project need contributors

Postby utelle » Sun Dec 18, 2011 3:19 pm

MAB wrote:All of this bugs are fixed in internal version.

I would strongly recommend you make that internal version available at least to those which show interest in helping to enhance wxFreeChart, for example by committing it to the wxCode SVN repository.

Regards,

Ulrich

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Re: wxFreeChart project need contributors

Postby fatinbrain » Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:24 am

Hello, Andrey!
I'm new to wxFreeChart. With help of example, I created my first chart and it was quite easy. But I have a problem. Is it possible to create simple chart with Y-axis labelled with double values and X-axis labelled with string values? Which type of chart and dataset should I use? I tried to use XYDynamicSerie and I like it. But my chart display double-double values as labels of axis. How to customize them?
[I'm sorry, if it is not right place to ask direct questions here. Original question was posted here http://stackoverflow.com/q/8575855/1035174]

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Re: wxFreeChart project need contributors

Postby PB » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:24 pm

Fatinbrain, can't you do what you need using Category* classes, e.g. overriding GetLabel() for CategoryAxis.? But I'm just blindly guessing, never used these classes myself.

Also, shouldn't this question have its own thread, this one was created for suggestions for future development of wxFreeChart. Speaking of which, I agree with utelle - Andrey's "internal" version should be posted somewhere so people who are interested we can check if the bugs were fixed and eventually suggest or even implement new features. In my opinion It's somewhat pointless to comment on obsolete version.

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Re: wxFreeChart project need contributors

Postby MAB » Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:59 pm

Hello, Andrey!
I'm new to wxFreeChart. With help of example, I created my first chart and it was quite easy. But I have a problem. Is it possible to create simple chart with Y-axis labelled with double values and X-axis labelled with string values? Which type of chart and dataset should I use? I tried to use XYDynamicSerie and I like it. But my chart display double-double values as labels of axis. How to customize them?
[I'm sorry, if it is not right place to ask direct questions here. Original question was posted here http://stackoverflow.com/q/8575855/1035174]


Yes, as PB said, you can try to use CategoryAxes.

Also, shouldn't this question have its own thread, this one was created for suggestions for future development of wxFreeChart. Speaking of which, I agree with utelle - Andrey's "internal" version should be posted somewhere so people who are interested we can check if the bugs were fixed and eventually suggest or even implement new features. In my opinion It's somewhat pointless to comment on obsolete version.

I'm agree with you and Utelle.

Ok, i'll take all bugfixes, and patches, sent me from other people, and then commit them to SVN.
People, who are interested to conribute to project as testers, will use SVN version.
Release will be public version for all others.

Best regards.

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Re: wxFreeChart project need contributors

Postby utelle » Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:10 pm

MAB wrote:Ok, i'll take all bugfixes, and patches, sent me from other people, and then commit them to SVN.
People, who are interested to conribute to project as testers, will use SVN version.
Release will be public version for all others.

Great news. :)

As far as my limited resources will allow I'll spend some time on inspecting the SVN version.

Regards,

Ulrich

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Re: wxFreeChart project need contributors

Postby MAB » Sat Dec 24, 2011 5:48 pm

Also, i think to move project from wxCode, because it needs different website design and forum.

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Re: wxFreeChart project need contributors

Postby MAB » Sun Dec 25, 2011 7:43 am

Just another way to help project:
Can someone help with creating rpm and deb packages?

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Re: wxFreeChart project need contributors

Postby utelle » Sun Dec 25, 2011 8:45 am

MAB wrote:Also, i think to move project from wxCode, because it needs different website design and forum.

Of course you are free to do so, but if you want to have a different website design for your component just make your own design and upload it to the wxCode webspace of your component. You are not forced to use the wxCode template. The template is for those wxCode contributors not wanting to spend much time on web design.

In respect to a forum I would recommend to use this wxWidgets forum. Here you reach thousands of wxWidgets developers. I don't see an advantage in having just another separate forum. If you feel the need for having a separate subsection for wxFreeChart in this forum you may contact the forum's administrators to set it up. But you should wait and see how much forum traffic your component gets. Take my wxCode component wxSQLite3 as an example: wxSQLite3 is a very popular wxCode component and this forum has a subsection for wxCode related questions and one for database related questions where developers ask questions about wxSQLite3 among other topics. If you take a look at these subsections you'll detect that the wxCode subsection has less than 500 topics (within about 5 years) and the database section has less than 50 topics (within 2 years). I wouldn't call that high traffic. In my opinion it's much better to have a central place to ask wxWidgets related questions than to be forced to search several different forum systems to find answers.

Regards,

Ulrich

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Re: wxFreeChart project need contributors

Postby MAB » Sun Dec 25, 2011 1:26 pm

Of course you are free to do so, but if you want to have a different website design for your component just make your own design and upload it to the wxCode webspace of your component. You are not forced to use the wxCode template. The template is for those wxCode contributors not wanting to spend much time on web design.

One thing, that wrong with wxCode website is that, when user wants to download component, it will be shown all components, instead that he/she selected to download.
Do you know it's possible to fix it?

In respect to a forum I would recommend to use this wxWidgets forum. Here you reach thousands of wxWidgets developers.

Yes, it's great forum. Having subsection for wxFreeChart is very good idea.

In my opinion it's much better to have a central place to ask wxWidgets related questions than to be forced to search several different forum systems to find answers.

I agree.


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