The report is a statistical analysis of the development of about 2,000 children aged three and four. For those interested, I’ll try to post it here once the final version is ready to go. In the past when making the report, I had been frustrated because there was no easy way to script the creation of the 30 or so charts that need to be made. Excel had been our data analysis tool, and as such, we were stuck with either using VBA to create charts, or to do it by hand. Since nobody knew VBA, we always just buckled down and did the work by hand.
This time around, I discovered the
matplotlib Python library,
and used that to create the charts. It was an pretty rough experience all
in all. While simple graphs can be created in about five lines of code,
creating complicated ones took a good amount of work. For example,
to change the tick markers on a graph requires that you create tick
objects, and then manipulate them each individually in a for loop. Granted,
I couldn’t customize them at all in Excel, but figuring out that kind of
change was a pain indeed.
The report itself required about 1,000 lines of code, and each chart required about 100-200 lines. For custom charts, I didn’t find the library that useful, however towards the end of the report there are 30 charts, all of which are identical, except for the data. For these charts, I was able to make a for loop that created them all in about 20 minutes, whereas previously these took me a few hours to make by hand.
Another library I spent some time learning was
which allows pixel by pixel editing of pictures. I had planned to use it to
do any editing to the charts that I was unable to accomplish with the
matplotlib library, but in the end, it was unnecessary. I have another
project coming up though that will use the
so look for that soon.
I love getting feedback and comments. Make my day by making a comment.