#WebAssembly #Visualization #Plotting #Drawing


Plot Drawing Library in Pure Rust for both native and WASM applications

13 releases

✓ Uses Rust 2018 edition

new 0.1.12 May 25, 2019
0.1.11 May 11, 2019
0.1.3 Apr 26, 2019

#26 in WebAssembly

Download history 5/week @ 2019-04-18 47/week @ 2019-04-25 76/week @ 2019-05-02 39/week @ 2019-05-09 40/week @ 2019-05-16

69 downloads per month

MIT license



Plotters - Another Plotting Library in Rust

Why plotting in Rust?

Although rendering a figure doesn't requires too many computation power in most of the case, and programming language such as Python and Javascript is used for visualization purpose. Sometimes we need to make a figure based on huge amount of data, for example, rendering some human gene data may requires to downsampling trillions data points, which isn't even doable with many high-level programming language. In this case, Rust is a perfect candidate for rendering figures, since it runs very fast while having high-level abstraction abilities.

What type of figure is supported?

Currently, we support line series, point series and candlestick series. And the library is designed to be able to render multiple figure into a single image. But Plotter is aimed to be a platform that is fully extendable to supporting any other types of figure.

Plotting on HTML5 canvas

Plotters currently supports backend that uses the HTML5 canvas. To use the WASM support, you can simply create CanvasBackend instead of other backend and all other API remains the same!

There's a small demo for Plotters + WASM under examples/wasm-demo directory of this repo. And you should be able to try the deployed version with the following link.


Quick Start

use plotters::prelude::*;
fn main() -> Result<(), Box<dyn std::error::Error>> {
    let mut backend = BitMapBackend::new("examples/outputs/0.png", (640, 480));
    let root: DrawingArea<_, _> = backend.into();
    let font = Into::<FontDesc>::into("Arial").resize(20.0);
    root.fill(&RGBColor(255, 255, 255))?;
    let mut chart = ChartBuilder::on(&root)
        .caption("y=x^2", &font)
        .build_ranged(-1f32..1f32, 0f32..1f32);


        (-50..=50).map(|x| x as f32 / 50.0).map(|x| (x, x * x)),
        &RGBColor(255, 0, 0),

    return Ok(());

Concepts by examples

Drawing Backends

Plotters can use different drawing backends, such as SVG, BitMap, etc, even real-time rendering. For example a bitmap drawing backend.

use plotters::prelude::*;
fn main() -> Result<(), Box<dyn std::error::Error>> {
    // Create a 800*600 bitmap and start drawing
    let mut backend = BitMapBackend::new("examples/outputs/1.png", (300,200));
    // And if we want SVG backend
    // let backend = SVGBackend::new("output.svg", (800, 600));
    backend.draw_rect((50,50), (200, 150), &RGBColor(255,0,0), true)?;
    return Ok(());

And this will produce

Drawing Area

Plotters use a concept called drawing area for layout purpose. Plotters support multiple plot integrate in a single image. This is done by craeting sub drawing areas.

Besides that, drawing area also allows customized cooridnate system, by doing so, the coordinate mapping is done by the drawing area automatically.

use plotters::prelude::*;
fn main() -> Result<(), Box<dyn std::error::Error>> {
    let backend = BitMapBackend::new("examples/outputs/2.png", (300, 200));
    // A backend object can be converted into a drawing area
    let root_drawing_area:DrawingArea<_,_> = backend.into();
    // And we can split the drawing area into 3x3 grid
    let child_drawing_areas = root_drawing_area.split_evenly((3,3));
    // Then we fill the drawing area with different color
    for (area,color) in child_drawing_areas.into_iter().zip(0..) {
    return Ok(());

And this will produce


In Plotters, elements are build blocks of a image. All elements are able to draw on a drawing area. There are different types of elements, such as, lines, texts, circles, etc.

You may also combining existing elements to build a complex element.

use plotters::prelude::*;
fn main() -> Result<(), Box<dyn std::error::Error>> {
    let backend = BitMapBackend::new("examples/outputs/3.png", (300, 200));
    // A backend object can be converted into a drawing area
    let root:DrawingArea<_,_> = backend.into();
    // Draw an circle on the drawing area
    root.draw(&Circle::new((100,100), 50, Into::<ShapeStyle>::into(&RGBColor(0, 255, 0))))?;
    return Ok(());

And this will produce

Composable Elements

Besides the basic elements, elements can be composed into a logic group we called composed elements. When composing new elements, the upper-left conner is given in the target coordinate, and a new pixel based coordinate which has the upper-left conner defined as (0,0) is used for further element composition purpose.

For example, we can have an element which includes a dot and its coordinate.

use plotters::prelude::*;

fn main() -> Result<(), Box<dyn std::error::Error>> {
    let backend = BitMapBackend::new("examples/outputs/4.png", (640, 480));
    // A backend object can be converted into a drawing area
    let root:DrawingArea<_,_> = backend.into();

    let root = root.apply_coord_spec(RangedCoord::<RangedCoordf32, RangedCoordf32>::new(0f32..1f32, 0f32..1f32, (0..640, 0..480)));
    let font = Into::<FontDesc>::into("Arial").resize(15.0);

    let dot_and_label = |x:f32,y:f32| {
        return EmptyElement::at((x,y))
               + Circle::new((0,0), 3, Into::<ShapeStyle>::into(&RGBColor(0,0,0)).filled())
               + OwnedText::new(format!("({:.2},{:.2})", x, y), (10, 0), &font);

    root.draw(&dot_and_label(0.5, 0.6))?;
    root.draw(&dot_and_label(0.25, 0.33))?;
    root.draw(&dot_and_label(0.8, 0.8))?;
    return Ok(());

Chart Context

In order to draw a chart, Plotters need an data object build on top of drawing area called ChartContext. The chart context defines even higher level constructs compare to the drawing area. For example, you can define the label areas, meshs, and put a data series onto the drawing area with the help of the chart context object.

use plotters::prelude::*;
fn main() -> Result<(), Box<dyn std::error::Error>> {
    let backend = BitMapBackend::new("examples/outputs/5.png", (640, 480));
    let root:DrawingArea<_,_> = backend.into();
    let root = root.margin(10,10,10,10);
    // After this point, we should be able to draw construct a chart context
    let font:FontDesc = Into::<FontDesc>::into("Arial").resize(40.0);
    // Create the chart object
    let mut chart = ChartBuilder::on(&root)
        // Set the caption of the chart
        .caption("This is our first plot", &font)
        // Set the size of the label region
        // Finally attach a coordinate on the drawing area and make a chart context
        .build_ranged(0f32..10f32, 0f32..10f32);

    // Then we can draw a mesh
        // We can customize the maxium number of labels allowed for each axis
        // We can also change the format of the label text
        .y_label_formatter(&|x| format!("{:.3}", x))

    // And we can draw something in the drawing area
    let smaller_font = font.resize(10.0);
    chart.draw_series(LineSeries::new(vec![(0.0,0.0), (5.0, 5.0), (8.0, 7.0)], &RGBColor(255,0,0)))?;
    // Similarly, we can draw point series
    chart.draw_series(PointSeries::of_element(vec![(0.0,0.0), (5.0, 5.0), (8.0, 7.0)], 5, &RGBColor(255,0,0), &|c,s,st| {
        return EmptyElement::at(c)    // We want to construct a composed element on-the-fly
            + Circle::new((0,0),s,st.filled()) // At this point, the new pixel coordinate is established
            + OwnedText::new(format!("{:?}", c), (10, 0), &smaller_font);
    return Ok(());


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