Plotly: Here’s What You Can Do, One Year In

September 10, 2014

(This article was first published on Plotly Blog, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Plotly is now a year old. We wanted to update you on what you can do, and let you know how other folks are using Plotly. For example, NASA scientists and engineers track satellites with Plotly. Google Chrome ships a Plotly Chrome App for high school students and businesses. Reporters at the Washington Post and Wired explain current events with Plotly. Let’s jump in. You can also see more in our graph feed.

A Plotly version of a Facebook Data Science team graph shows the age of children on the x axis and the distance between children and mothers on the y axis.

Move your mouse over the graph to see data. You can also zoom by clicking and dragging, or toggle and pan. Every graph is interactive as soon as you make it. We use a JavaScript visualization library called D3.js for your graphs. You don’t have to code to make graphs that are beautiful, interactive, and web-based (though you can if you want).

Plotly is different in a few ways:

  • Collaborative Graph, analyze, and stream data with your team
  • Cloud-based No downloads or installations
  • Flexible Works with Excel, Python, MATLAB, R, and any data or file type
  • Comprehensive 2D, 3D, and streaming graphs, plus stats, fits, functions, and data wrangling

You can edit anything about a plot in our web app or add a fit to a graph to see trends and analyze our data.

Collaboratively make graphs and analyze data with our easy-to-use web app or with APIs for Python, MATLAB, and R. Upload, analyze, and graph data from Excel, Google Docs, Dropbox, csv, txt, MATLAB, SAS, or SPSS files. Or copy and paste data.

Your graphs are online, and can always be embedded in an iframe in your blog, Notebook, or website. The plot above is embedded with this HTML snippet.

 width="640" height="640" frameborder="0" seamless="seamless" scrolling="no" src="">

Our Facebook graph, like other plots, is at a URL: “Cimar” is the username. This was her 38th plot. Plots contain the data, code, and graph, and are in a user profile:

Here is how the publicly shared version looks. The online graph–the one shown above–is interactive). Every graph and URL has (1) the plot (2) the data and (3) generates code to make and edit your plot in different languages (Python, R, MATLAB, Julia). It is an entirely contained, editable, reproducible figure.

You control your privacy and sharing, can comment on and discuss graphs online, get a profile of your figures, and can use Plotly for version control. It’s like a Google Document for charts and data. Public sharing is and always will be free. See our plans to learn more and learn about our enterprise plans.

You can embed plots in a website, Notebook, or blog using an iframe, like the Washington Post.

Plotly covers many chart types. We have tutorials on how to make these with our APIs or web app.

You can turn your Excel, MATLAB, ggplot2, matplotlib, and Igor Pro plots into Plotly graphs and get an interactive, shareable Plotly graph. Plotly also supports LaTeX and lets you stream data to your browser with connected devices. Check out our workshop for more.

For collaboration between languages (see our APIs for more), call, import, and edit the data and code from any language for any plot.

Plotly also lets you stream data into graphs using APIs, an Arduino or Raspberry Pi, or as shown here using an IPython Notebook.

You can also make 3D plots in our web app and from our APIs.

We love 3D plotting, and hope you do too.

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