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RE: Chart description language?

From: Johnson, Tony S. <tony_johnson@SLAC.Stanford.EDU>
Date: Mon, 14 Oct 2002 10:05:28 -0700
To: "'afaus@corp.vlex.com'" <afaus@corp.vlex.com>
Cc: www-talk@w3.org
Message-id: <4ABE591494FF5246B38C0CDA4CBFAFE871FEA9@exchange4>

We have worked on something vaguely familiar to what you describe, which we called PlotML. It allows charts (or plots) to be specified in XML. The XML can either include the data itself, or can point to an external source of data. It can be used for archiving plots, or for displaying plots in web pages (currently either via a servlet which converts PlotML to GIF, or using a Java applet on the client).

Doubtless what we have is somewhat specific to the field we are using it in (scientific data for High Energy Physics), but feel free to take a look:


Tony Johnson
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Angel Faus [mailto:afaus@corp.vlex.com] 
> Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2002 3:11 PM
> To: www-talk@w3.org
> Subject: Chart description language?
> Hi,
> Has anyone considered adding a language for description of charts to 
> the W3 family?
> Charts have a very broad range of applications: statistics, 
> financial,  
> bussines reporting, scientific data, etc..
> Such a language could be used to embed charts in web pages, while 
> preserving the separation between the actual data and its visual 
> representation.
> The idea would be to break any chart in three parts:
> - The actual data being represented. 
>    This data could come from another part of the hosting 
> document, such a html table or a xform, or even from a 
> external document.
> - The chart caracteristics
>    Such as the char type (bar, lines, pie, 3D, etc.), the scale 
> (logarithmic, linear), etc. 
> - The presentation of the chart.
>     Line colors, font styles for the legend, placement of the legend, 
> backgrounds, etc. Ideally this should be done with CSS.
> Such a separation has many benefits for the end user. The user can 
> copy-and-paste the data to a spreadsheet, choose a different 
> representation, etc. 
> Combined with scripting and xforms, this allows for very easy 
> development of reporting applications. 
> One could argue that this could be implemented using SVG + scripting, 
> or with some server-side infraestructure. While this is true, such 
> implementation would loose large amounts of information, and it is 
> exactly the kind of presentation-driven applications that the w3c is 
> trying to avoid. 
> (In some aspects, it would be like using SVG to represent MathML. It 
> can be done, but it's not the same).
> And maybe more important, such a standard is easy do define 
> (very easy 
> if it is compared to SVG or MathML), and easy to implement. 
> Finally, this language would benefit a lot from being developed with 
> the W3C process. This would garantee that it "plays well" with others 
> standards and with the W3C overall vision, and it would increase the 
> likeness of browser vendors actually implementing it. 
> I realize that standards are not created with such an ease, but in my 
> opinion, there is a strong case for this one.
> Has this already been considered? Is anyone interested?
> Best,
> Angel Faus
> afaus@corp.vlex.com
Received on Tuesday, 29 October 2002 18:36:28 UTC

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