A free/open tool for making XKCD-style "hand-drawn" charts

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/08/20/orthographic-unorthodoxy.html


Many years ago (~2013?) this style of chart drawing was added to the matplotlib Python library: https://matplotlib.org/xkcd/examples/showcase/xkcd.html

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Six would be “many years” in internet years, right? (I think I have condiments in my fridge older than that.)

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Needs work, as it doesn’t work in Safari. Firefox was also flakey. Seems to be optimised for Chrome only.


It is weird in that the interactive hover portions work in safari, but not the other chart areas.

Still not that greatly documented, but github can easily show the source to figure out some of the ins and outs. I do a lot of data analysis, and I’d been looking for something simple like this because everything is so smooth and polished that folks just ignore the charts. With this, it kinda fits right in with the text and you are drawn to it. I sent a note to my staff and used this in an informal message and I git three responses immediately! I wish I could format the axises and set min and max as well as data type (percentage) but I think I can hack that stuff in.


Well, I may clone his project from Git and have a closer look, but I think it’s because it uses canvas and SVG code that is implemented only in Blink at the time, not in Webkit or Gecko.

I didn’t even bother to test Edge, as I hate having to rev up a VM to do that.

P.S.: normally, something like this is right up my alley as I have been working with enterprise-level webapp dashboards for the past 5 years. It’s become the niche in web development that I have settled down in, though my current tasks are more related to Grafana, ElasticSearch and so on.


I’m an IT noob so I can only say from my perspective I have been wanting something like this for years!!! I’m laying in bed typing this and here is a live video of my reaction when I found out:

*don’t want to hear I will be disappointed when I try to use it

Edit: yeah went to the page, and my four hours of training in HTML at the community centre in 2004 has not prepared me for this.

If you get something, please commit to the main branch!

I don’t know SVG all that well…back in the day, I had an open source library for easy graphs that used…I think ImageMagic (and then something else and then something else) and outputted gifs. Always felt ‘hacky’ because I had to run it as a Perl CGI. These days, TABLEAU!!! But I have a lot of personal projects that I can’t use my Tableau server for, that I need to start using open source libraries for! I mean this library isn’t it, but it is cool for fun stuff! And pretty easy to use…right now.

I just want it to work with Safari and I have no clue where to start!

When the scandals of 90 days ago feel like 10 years ago, then yeah… “many years ago” seems like the right turn of phrase for the pace of internet life these days. lol
(please clean your refrigerator)

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