Between the good old days of the Apple]['s hgr and pretty recently, just plotting a line on a computer screen was absurdly complicated. It was like one of my most important computer functionalities was lost for 25 years! In desperation, in 2002 I even personally wrote a C program called gradu ("graphics dump") that took text input using a custom flexible grammar, from a Unix stream for example, and plotted vectors using the GNU plotutils library.

But folks, those dark days are gone! Rejoice!


There are tons of superb resources and excellent official documentation. Here are my SVG notes and my post on using Unix and SVG to make pie charts.

(Yes, I know that the SVG in the example graphic is lame, but that makes the point—I schlocked that to produce a graphical output with almost no effort at all. If that program had been designed with SVG in mind, it’d be even better and easier. And yes, I could have made that graphic entirely out of SVG. But that’s another important point—you can do that, or not. You have complete flexibility.)