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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book about technical graphics
I have been using Gnuplot for more than twelve years, so I thought the
author could not tell me anything I did not know. I was completely
wrong. As it turned out, I did not know how to use color palettes
efficiently to visualize a structure in complex data.

Gnuplot became the tool of choice for many scientists and engineers.
It combines a...
Published on October 1, 2009 by Boris Veytsman

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's useful, one of the few books on gnuplot
gnuplot is an extremely powerful graphing program available for most computer platforms. It can produce stunning plots (see the online gallery), but is not particularly easy to control. It's been around since the late 1980s, and doesn't feel very modern. Hence my interest in this book.

Based on a couple of weeks of use, I've found this book frustrating to use...
Published 16 months ago by John Busco


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book about technical graphics, October 1, 2009
By 
Boris Veytsman (Sterling, VA, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gnuplot in Action: Understanding Data with Graphs (Paperback)
I have been using Gnuplot for more than twelve years, so I thought the
author could not tell me anything I did not know. I was completely
wrong. As it turned out, I did not know how to use color palettes
efficiently to visualize a structure in complex data.

Gnuplot became the tool of choice for many scientists and engineers.
It combines a powerful language, an intuitive and simple command
interface, publication quality graphics and the ability to quickly
generate many different plots for data exploration. It is free and
easily integrated with other programs (LaTeX, Octave, Maxima to name a
few). This book is a long awaited "Gnuplot bible" - a must for
anybody seriously working with numerical data. It is very well
written, the examples are carefully chosen and explained. It is
nicely typeset. The book is a pleasure to read or browse, which
becomes progressively rare for technical literature.

The book does not require a pre-existing knowledge of Gnuplot, and can
be used as a textbook for self-teaching or maybe as a part of a course
of data analysis and visualization. Nevertheless, it contains many
tips and tricks interesting not only for a novice, but also for a
seasoned user.

The book also contains a treatise on data graphing "in general", not
related specifically to Gnuplot. The principles discussed there are
sound, and could be of a general interest.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A power tool for plotting, October 3, 2009
By 
This review is from: Gnuplot in Action: Understanding Data with Graphs (Paperback)
Gnuplot is a small program that I always find on unix systems I work with. Every now and then, I start it (mostly by accident) and then I'm unable to do anything with it. It has an interesting name, but... as someone who rarely needs to draw graphs, I never had the urge to study it at all.

When I saw Gnuplot in action, I got interested though. A whole book on this 'small' tool which I don't know anything about. So, I started reading and was amazed about the things you can do with gnuplot. It is an incredibly powerful tool for drawing graphs and analyzing data. The book didn't cause me to suddenly draw more graphs, but I do know which tool to use and how to use it when I *do* need to analyze data.

The book consists of four different parts. The first part is called Basics and covers exactly that. It explains how to draw simple graphs and how to work with data. The second part is called Polishing and takes the basics further and shows how to draw graphs that look good.

Part three probably surprised me much -- called Advanced Gnuplot. Chapter 8 discusses how to draw 3d graphs and chapter 9 discusses how to use color in the graphs. The examples the author uses are really impressive (and luckily, the book has some color pages to show the result). Chapter 12 reminds us that gnuplot is in the spirit of unix tools and shows how to script it and how to combine it with other applications. Part four, the last part, covers graphical analysis of data.

I was positively surprised about the book. It was well written, so well that even a person who only started gnuplot by accident could understand it. And, already very early in the book is demonstrates the usefulness of gnuplot in real life. Then it increases the complexity so that, as reader, you come to see why it is such a powerful tool also for more complex work.

If you are interested in plotting or in learning about gnuplot, I would strongly recommend this book. For people who don't need to do advanced plotting, this book is probably not for you. Four our of five stars as it does exceptionally well what it should do -- explain gnuplot.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gnuplot explained!, February 19, 2010
By 
Darryl Pace (Nashville, TN USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gnuplot in Action: Understanding Data with Graphs (Paperback)
I'm excited about Gnuplot as a graphing tool and about "Gnuplot In Action" as a guidebook on how to effectively use Gnuplot to produce the graphs I need in the work I do.

For a couple of years I used and experienced the limitations of several plotting software products. The primary limitation of the products was their inability to handle very large data sets. I found Gnuplot via google, and it set me free, as far as plotting data sets of seemingly any size. My only beef with it was not with the Gnuplot product itself, but with its documentation. I found the Gnuplot docs and online help pages to be a little difficult to decipher. Then along came the book, "Gnuplot In Action". Problem solved.

This book is great.

It is thorough and covers all aspects of Gnuplot.
It is clearly written, well-organized, and easy to understand.
It will open up a world of graphing possibilities to the Gnuplot user...at least, that's what it did for me. It shed light on the little I understood about Gnuplot before reading the book, and introduced me to many additional Gnuplot capabilities I was unaware of.

Plain and simple: if you use Gnuplot and would like to understand it better, this book is for you. If you are looking for an excellent plotting tool -- one that is highly configurable and can easily handle millions of data points, then download Gnuplot and get this book. If you need to do graphical analysis and/or produce publication-quality graphs, Gnuplot is the tool for you and "Gnuplot in Action" is the book that can shed light on how to achieve those goals using Gnuplot software.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book, One Critical Shortcoming, June 18, 2011
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This review is from: Gnuplot in Action: Understanding Data with Graphs (Paperback)
Considering this is the only Gnuplot reference available, it needs a "Cookbook" chapter covering essentials like file types, file formats, workflow, extensions, backslashes, and quotes. In short, there is nothing here to tell you why Gnuplot is not reading your data file. There are a couple pages of generalities that could have been omitted in favor of something more specific. Considering that many users will be importing data that they need to clean, this is a critical oversight. If you are using Gnuplot because it's already installed and being used in your department, this is a wonderful book. But apparently the authors barely considered other scenarios.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good practical guide to Gnuplot, July 30, 2010
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This review is from: Gnuplot in Action: Understanding Data with Graphs (Paperback)
After using Gnuplot for years, relying on the help system for explanations of even routine things -- which I find it easy to forget if I don't use Gnuplot every day -- I am very pleased to have this book. It is well organized and easy to use for reference. Like any book, it is a little dated, but it is close enough to the current release version of Gnuplot to cover 98% of what I need to know. An example: I never had the courage to understand time axes from the help system, but it was easy to use them after referring to "Gnuplot in Action".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's useful, one of the few books on gnuplot, August 22, 2013
By 
John Busco (Silicon Valley, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gnuplot in Action: Understanding Data with Graphs (Paperback)
gnuplot is an extremely powerful graphing program available for most computer platforms. It can produce stunning plots (see the online gallery), but is not particularly easy to control. It's been around since the late 1980s, and doesn't feel very modern. Hence my interest in this book.

Based on a couple of weeks of use, I've found this book frustrating to use. In my opinion, it's not as well-written or easy to use as your typical O'Reilly book, for example.

* Not easy to use as a reference. I think this is because each time I look up how to do something, there's a little story and very specific example rather than a general definition and explanation.
* Goes on at length with narratives setting up the scenario that generated the plot data.
* Uses command abbreviations, whereas I think spelling them out would be more clear for a text.
* The conversational tone seems odd--the book may have benefited from more editing.

On the plus side, the book does have a good index (helpful for reference) and seems to cover all the major features of the software.

Overall, I would recommend this book if you're the type to learn more from a book than finding all the information online. It's one of the few books on gnuplot. It's just that it could be better with stronger editing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great working with Gnuplot, February 3, 2010
By 
Ainsley Gibson "Ai" (SILVER SPRING, MD, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gnuplot in Action: Understanding Data with Graphs (Paperback)
This book offers a very user friendly start, no need to be intimidated by the command line. Making corrections is now much faster than with other graphing apps. Once you have read the first three chapters you will be well on your way to producing the graphs you've always wanted to in a timely, scriptable, scale-able and highly reproducible manner. The fact that the author is a scientist helps, he can really relate to other scientist (speaks our language) plain and simple.

Excellent book. Highly Recommended.

Ai
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very clear both for beginners and advanced, January 30, 2010
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This review is from: Gnuplot in Action: Understanding Data with Graphs (Paperback)
I bought the book because I had seen some of my colleagues work with gnuplot, but had no idea about how to use it, so when Amazon offered it to me I was curious and decided to give it a try.

I am working on the book since two weeks and I am really delighted. It is a very clear introduction, helping you from the very beginning, but covering lots of applications and useful hints. I think this book is really wonderful for anyone wanting to do both quick, working-graphs and very well finished publishing quality graphs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars gnuplot in action, February 14, 2010
By 
TideMan (New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gnuplot in Action: Understanding Data with Graphs (Paperback)
Excellent tutorial and reference book. First, I used it as a tutorial and now that I'm reasonably familiar with gnuplot, I've found I use as a reference as well. Today, I wanted to read-in time from a file and plot it along the x-axis. I couldn't remember how to do that, but this book showed me with examples and I had the problem solved in minutes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction, February 10, 2012
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This review is from: Gnuplot in Action: Understanding Data with Graphs (Paperback)
PROS: This is a good introduction to gnuplot. I had a presentation to do within a couple weeks and I needed to analyze AND generate plots for it. Using this text along with online resources, I was able to master what I needed to get the job done. Just beware that this book is rather short (only ~400pages including indices), meaning that it is meant to be good at getting you started. It is wonderful if you are a beginner and once you've become competent at gnuplot, it is a decent reference. Also, this book is INCREDIBLY easy to read, which is something that can't be said for many programming books.

CONS:I wish there was a more in depth description/more examples of working with the different terminals (i.e. x11 vs. eps) and formatting with multiplot. However, the 'help' in gnuplot does provide good explanations where this book leaves off. More examples would have also been useful. However at some point all these extra things would probably ruin the tone of this book. It would then become way too dense and more like many an opaque programming text.

NOTE: when I purchased a physical copy of this text NEW, Manning publications gave me an electronic version for free! I don't know if that is the case for all new purchases, but it was with mine. They included a sheet of paper inside the book to provide access to the electronic copy, so I imagine all new copies should have the same sheet of paper. It turned out that I used it more than the physical copy, b/c it is so much easier to be looking at the pdf while programming.
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Gnuplot in Action: Understanding Data with Graphs
Gnuplot in Action: Understanding Data with Graphs by Philipp K. Janert (Paperback - August 28, 2009)
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