Getting Started

Welcome to clip! This page will guide you through creating a simple first plot and then give you pointers to more in-depth documentation. If you don't have clip installed on your machine yet, please take a look at the Installation page first.

clip is a data plotting program; it reads an input text file containing a description of the plot and outputs an image, either in a vector graphics format such as SVG, or as a bitmap.

A clip input file consists of a tree of 'element' specifications which describe graphical elements such as charts, lines or text boxes. Each element can have a number of properties that control its contents and appearance.

However, instead of loosing too many words on the terminology, here is a minimal example file that you can save to your machine and run:

Example #1

The example below defines a new image which contains a single chart/scatterplot element. The scatterplot element will draw axes and a dot at each coordinate that is specified in the data-x and data-y properties.

(chart/scatterplot
    data-x (csv tests/testdata/gauss2d.csv x)
    data-y (csv tests/testdata/gauss2d.csv y)
    limit-x (0 400)
    limit-y (0 200)
    axes (bottom left)
    grid (color #fff)
    background #eee
    border none)

Save the content from above to a file called example_chart.clp and run it through clip using the following command:

$ clip --in example_chart.clp --out example_chart.svg

When running the example locally, you can use your own input CSV file, or you can download the example CSV file from here. If everything works, you should get an output file similar to the one below (example_chart.svg):

A simple scatterplot

It's not the most exciting example in the world, but it illustrates the general working principle of clip and shows you how to run files through it.

Further reading

In the interest of keeping this Getting Started page short and easy to digest, this is it for now. You have seen how to create a simple plot using clip -- the rest is just adding more elements to your file and fine-tuning the appearance of individual elements using the properties described in the specification.

For more information, please take a look at the remaining documentation chapters or the Examples page. Here are some pointers to pages that might be interesting to read next:

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