Moved here from SO, please inform me if need to move elsewhere again. Here's the post:

I've been using Excel to manually plot data from CSV to timeseries charts and histograms (with cumulative percentage). I've been looking at alternatives to automate the process with code, without the dependency on Excel (with VBA/VBScript automation of Excel functionality).

I started using matplotlib for Python. But it's not quite like Excel, particularly with line charts approximating time series data.

I'm looking for a graphing/charting library (for any language platform) that's as easy to use in generating charts as Excel, with good default scale (no need to tweak x/y scales to get the right presentation of the data, typically one doesn't need to do that much in Excel - didn't work so well for me in matplotlib), and with the same ease of passing in arrays (or columns of) x, y data without having to format dates, etc. (I'm using ISO8601 date strings, in matplotlib, had to much around with date formatting to plot it). Something I can use in code as easy as Excel manually - plug in data and it generates good graphs by default without (much) tweaking.

Anyone have suggestions what graph/chart libraries for a programming language offer that off the shelf? matplotlib didn't seem to fit the bill for me. Ideally something free or open source.

Update: programming languages could be any of the popular mainstream ones: Java, .NET, Python, node.js, Ruby, Perl, etc. I've only tried few graph/chart libraries, I know, but there's so much out there, I'd rather hear some expert recommendations on which ones for a given language they'd recommend rather than me blindly try from arbitrary web searches. Intended use is for back end automation - running via scripts/code from a terminal or as a scheduled task/job, etc. No UI, no web facing service. Just feed the script/code a CSV data file and it will plot out the data for a timeseries chart (may have 2 lines/series on chart) and perhaps histogram (ideally with cumulative frequency indicator). The CSV data is pretty dense full of data every second over several hours to a day or week's worth of data. So I'm not plotting a simple graph with just a few data points. Looking for something like InfluxDB's Chronograf kind of real time graphing and Excel's nice and easy to use graphing capabilities but in a UI-less API/library form. The OS platform should be neutral or Linux/Mac, I don't want something tied to a specific OS ideally.


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