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A simple C# library for graph plotting

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4.90 (246 votes)
4 Sep 2014CPOL
An easy to use C# library for quick and simple graph plotting.

Introduction

In our application, we had to display the output of a multichannel ECG (Electro Cardiograph) device. I had a look at some commercial libraries, but none of them met by demands. So, I decided to design a simple solution by myself.

This is my attempt to design a flexible, easy to use library for drawing graphs.

The library is capable of displaying multiple graphs in different layouts. Right now, five modes of display are possible:

  • Normal: means that all data sources are displayed in one graph window, with separate ordinates.
  • Stacked: means that all data sources are displayed in one graph window, stacked vertically, with shared ordinate and shared abscissa.
  • Vertical aligned: means that the graph windows are displayed vertically aligned, with separate ordinates and shared abscissa.
  • Tiled horizontal: means that the data sources are displayed in tiled windows (preferred alignment direction is horizontal).
  • Tiled vertically: means that the data sources are displayed in tiled windows (preferred alignment direction is vertical).

Graphs can be displayed unscaled or auto-scaled. In the auto-scale mode, the visible graph is automatically fit to the visible area.

The following images show examples for the different display modes:

Normal:

GraphPlotting/graph_normal.png

Stacked:

GraphPlotting/graph_stacked.png

Tiled horizontal:

GraphPlotting/graph_tiled_horizontal.png

Tiled vertical:

GraphPlotting/graph_tiled_vertically.png

Vertical aligned:

GraphPlotting/graph_vertically_aligned.png

Autoscaled X-Axis

GraphPlotting/graph_fixed_x_range.png

The following images show a sample of an ECG application, where eight data sources are displayed vertically tiled and auto-scaled.

GraphPlotting/sample_2.jpg

Using the Code

The control is very simple to use. Just have a look at the sample application. The following code shows how the part in the demo application where the graphs for the different examples are generated:

protected void CalcDataGraphs()
{

    this.SuspendLayout();

    display.DataSources.Clear();
    display.SetDisplayRangeX(0, 400);

    for (int j = 0; j < NumGraphs; j++)
    {
        display.DataSources.Add(new DataSource());
        display.DataSources[j].Name = "Graph " + (j + 1);
        display.DataSources[j].OnRenderXAxisLabel += RenderXLabel;

        switch (CurExample)
        {
            case  "NORMAL":
                this.Text = "Normal Graph";
                display.DataSources[j].Length = 5800;
                display.PanelLayout = PlotterGraphPaneEx.LayoutMode.NORMAL;
                display.DataSources[j].AutoScaleY = false;
                display.DataSources[j].SetDisplayRangeY(-300, 300);
                display.DataSources[j].SetGridDistanceY(100);
                display.DataSources[j].OnRenderYAxisLabel = RenderYLabel;
                CalcSinusFunction_0(display.DataSources[j], j);
                break;

            case "NORMAL_AUTO":
                this.Text = "Normal Graph Autoscaled";
                display.DataSources[j].Length = 5800;
                display.PanelLayout = PlotterGraphPaneEx.LayoutMode.NORMAL;
                display.DataSources[j].AutoScaleY = true;
                display.DataSources[j].SetDisplayRangeY(-300, 300);
                display.DataSources[j].SetGridDistanceY(100);
                display.DataSources[j].OnRenderYAxisLabel = RenderYLabel;
                CalcSinusFunction_0(display.DataSources[j], j);
                break;

            case "STACKED":
                this.Text = "Stacked Graph";
                display.PanelLayout = PlotterGraphPaneEx.LayoutMode.STACKED;
                display.DataSources[j].Length = 5800;
                display.DataSources[j].AutoScaleY = false;
                display.DataSources[j].SetDisplayRangeY(-250, 250);
                display.DataSources[j].SetGridDistanceY(100);
                CalcSinusFunction_1(display.DataSources[j], j);
                break;

            case "VERTICAL_ALIGNED":
                this.Text = "Vertical aligned Graph";
                display.PanelLayout =
                    PlotterGraphPaneEx.LayoutMode.VERTICAL_ARRANGED;
                display.DataSources[j].Length = 5800;
                display.DataSources[j].AutoScaleY = false;
                display.DataSources[j].SetDisplayRangeY(-300, 300);
                display.DataSources[j].SetGridDistanceY(100);
                CalcSinusFunction_2(display.DataSources[j], j);
                break;

            case "VERTICAL_ALIGNED_AUTO":
                this.Text = "Vertical aligned Graph autoscaled";
                display.PanelLayout =
                    PlotterGraphPaneEx.LayoutMode.VERTICAL_ARRANGED;
                display.DataSources[j].Length = 5800;
                display.DataSources[j].AutoScaleY = true;
                display.DataSources[j].SetDisplayRangeY(-300, 300);
                display.DataSources[j].SetGridDistanceY(100);
                CalcSinusFunction_2(display.DataSources[j], j);
                break;

            case "TILED_VERTICAL":
                this.Text = "Tiled Graphs (vertical prefered)";
                display.PanelLayout = PlotterGraphPaneEx.LayoutMode.TILES_VER;
                display.DataSources[j].Length = 5800;
                display.DataSources[j].AutoScaleY = false;
                display.DataSources[j].SetDisplayRangeY(-300, 600);
                display.DataSources[j].SetGridDistanceY(100);
                CalcSinusFunction_2(display.DataSources[j], j);
                break;

            case "TILED_VERTICAL_AUTO":
                this.Text = "Tiled Graphs (vertical prefered) autoscaled";
                display.PanelLayout = PlotterGraphPaneEx.LayoutMode.TILES_VER;
                display.DataSources[j].Length = 5800;
                display.DataSources[j].AutoScaleY = true;
                display.DataSources[j].SetDisplayRangeY(-300, 600);
                display.DataSources[j].SetGridDistanceY(100);
                CalcSinusFunction_2(display.DataSources[j], j);
                break;

            case "TILED_HORIZONTAL":
                this.Text = "Tiled Graphs (horizontal prefered)";
                display.PanelLayout = PlotterGraphPaneEx.LayoutMode.TILES_HOR;
                display.DataSources[j].Length = 5800;
                display.DataSources[j].AutoScaleY = false;
                display.DataSources[j].SetDisplayRangeY(-300, 600);
                display.DataSources[j].SetGridDistanceY(100);
                CalcSinusFunction_2(display.DataSources[j], j);
                break;

            case "TILED_HORIZONTAL_AUTO":
                this.Text = "Tiled Graphs (horizontal prefered) autoscaled";
                display.PanelLayout = PlotterGraphPaneEx.LayoutMode.TILES_HOR;
                display.DataSources[j].Length = 5800;
                display.DataSources[j].AutoScaleY = true;
                display.DataSources[j].SetDisplayRangeY(-300, 600);
                display.DataSources[j].SetGridDistanceY(100);
                CalcSinusFunction_2(display.DataSources[j], j);
                break;

            case "ANIMATED_AUTO":

                this.Text = "Animated graphs fixed x range";
                display.PanelLayout = PlotterGraphPaneEx.LayoutMode.TILES_HOR;
                display.DataSources[j].Length = 402;
                display.DataSources[j].AutoScaleY = false;
                display.DataSources[j].AutoScaleX = true;
                display.DataSources[j].SetDisplayRangeY(-300, 500);
                display.DataSources[j].SetGridDistanceY(100);
                display.DataSources[j].XAutoScaleOffset = 50;
                CalcSinusFunction_3(display.DataSources[j], j, 0);
                display.DataSources[j].OnRenderYAxisLabel = RenderYLabel;
                break;
        }
    }

    ApplyColorSchema();

    this.ResumeLayout();
    display.Refresh();

}

The functions CalcSinusFunction_0 CalcSinusFunction_1 and CalcSinusFunction_2 are used to calculate the different sinus functions for the graphs:

protected void CalcSinusFunction_0(DataSource src, int idx)
{
    for (int i = 0; i  < src.Length; i++)
    {
        src.Samples[i].x = i;
        src.Samples[i].y = (float)(((float)200 * Math.Sin((idx + 1) *(
            i + 1.0) * 48 / src.Length)));
    }    
}

The functions RenderYLabel and RenderXLabel are used to render the X and Y legends of the graph.

private String RenderXLabel(DataSource s, int idx)
{
    if (s.AutoScaleX)
    {         
        int Value = (int)(s.Samples[idx].x );
        return "" + Value;     
    }
    else
    {
        int Value = (int)(s.Samples[idx].x / 200);
        String Label = "" + Value + "\"";
        return Label;
    }    
}

private String RenderYLabel(DataSource s, float value)
{ 
    return String.Format("{0:0.0}", value);
}

Summary

There are lots of parameters that can be twisted which are not explained here - just look at the code. This library is far from being finished, but it is a good point to start from. The code is simple and self-explaining. From here, it will be simple to adopt the code for your needs.

I got so much inputs from here, and I wanted to give something back. So, here is my first article on The Code Project. I hope you like it.

To Do

  • code clean ups.

Version History

  • 04.09.2014 - First update in 4 years. Found back into my code ;-) Upgraded solution to VS 2013 Express.  Cleaned up some magic numbers. More to follow soon ;-)
  • 12.07.2009 - Updated article.
  • 12.02.2009 - Implemented x autoscaling.
  • 28.01.2009 - Some more cleanups. Implemented Print Form.
  • 27.01.2009 - New display mode, some cleanups.
  • 25.01.2009 - Initial release.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Zimmermann Stephan
Software Developer (Senior)
Austria Austria
I have started programming at the age of 13 on the commodore 64.

Ever since then I have been programming on many systems in many languages.

During the last 12 years I have been working as professional programmer in different companies and different areas.

Now I am working as freelancer programmer / consultant

Comments and Discussions

 
GeneralRe: Real-time update? [modified] Pin
dim.grey4-Feb-09 4:33
Memberdim.grey4-Feb-09 4:33 
GeneralVery nice Pin
Hamed Ebrahimmalek2-Feb-09 21:50
MemberHamed Ebrahimmalek2-Feb-09 21:50 
GeneralMicrosoft Chart Controls alternatives Pin
Minimon KANKARTI2-Feb-09 1:29
MemberMinimon KANKARTI2-Feb-09 1:29 
Generalgood solution Pin
ali_reza_zareian1-Feb-09 1:26
Memberali_reza_zareian1-Feb-09 1:26 
QuestionZedGraph, WPF alternatives Pin
TobiasP29-Jan-09 0:13
MemberTobiasP29-Jan-09 0:13 
AnswerRe: ZedGraph, WPF alternatives Pin
str_test1-Feb-09 18:53
Memberstr_test1-Feb-09 18:53 
Generalgreat, and I hope you can continue and expand it to be better than MS chart control Pin
Seraph_summer28-Jan-09 23:58
MemberSeraph_summer28-Jan-09 23:58 
Generalstacked! Pin
reyntjesr25-Jan-09 22:10
Memberreyntjesr25-Jan-09 22:10 
For a long time I'm looking for a chart library where you could draw stacked plots like in this link: http://neurocog.psy.tufts.edu/courses/images/eeg_tracing.htm[^]
I thought that finaly someone made such a library when you said your library did have stacked plots.
I was very dissapointed when it turned out that with stacked you just meant a normal plot.
Your library looks Ok though. It draws very fast.
Also when settings are changed an automatic redraw would be nice.

Robert
GeneralRe: stacked! Pin
Zimmermann Stephan25-Jan-09 22:45
MemberZimmermann Stephan25-Jan-09 22:45 
GeneralRe: stacked! Pin
reyntjesr26-Jan-09 1:00
Memberreyntjesr26-Jan-09 1:00 
Generalgood one Pin
sameer1325-Jan-09 8:50
Membersameer1325-Jan-09 8:50 

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Article
Posted 25 Jan 2009

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