123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930313233343536373839404142434445464748495051525354555657585960616263646566676869707172737475767778798081828384858687888990919293949596979899100101102103104105106107108109110111112113114115116117118119120121122123124125126127128129130131132133134135136137138139140141142143144145146147148149150151152153154155156157158159160161162163164165166167168169170171172173174175176177178179180181182183184185186187188189190191192193194195196197198199200201202203204205206207208209210211212213214215216217218219220221222223224225226227228229230231232233234235236237238239240241242243244245246247248249250251252253254255256257258259260261262263264265266267268269270271272273274275276277278279280281282283284285286287288289290291292293294295296297298299300301302303304305306307308 Notes on the gnuplot help files and documentation. -------------------------------------------------- Gnuplot documentation is available in three ways: 1 - interactively, within gnuplot 2 - as a printed document. 3 - as a manual page, through the Unix man(1) facility The third form tells how to run gnuplot. The first two forms describe the inner workings, and contain equivalent information. They derive their information from the file "gnuplot.doc", which is the master copy of gnuplot help information. All other forms, except for the man page "gnuplot.1", are derived from it. gnuplot.doc -> gnuplot.gih -> gnuplot.hlp -> gnuplot.html -> gnuplot.info -> gnuplot.ipf -> gnuplot.ms -> gnuplot.rnh -> gnuplot.rtf -> gnuplot.tex On Unix, AmigaOS, and MSDOS the interactive help is built into the program, and uses the file "gnuplot.gih" ('make gih'). On VMS, the interactive help is supplied by the system help facility, using the file "gnuplot.hlp". This is built by default, either by doc2hlp, or doc2rnh and RUNOFF which format gnuplot.doc for the VMS HELP indenting conventions. The help file is placed in a help library, "gnuplot.hlb" but it may be also be placed in one of the system-wide help libraries, using lib/help ('help lib'). If VMS users prefer the gnuplot interactive help facility to the system facility, this can be easily changed by not defining NO_GIH. On the World Wide Web, the gnuplot manual can include demonstration plots; the links for these are included in the file "gnuplot.html" ('make html'). Under EMACS, interactive help uses the file "gnuplot.info" ('make info'). On OS/2, the Information Presentation Facility Compiler converts the file "gnuplot.ipf" to a "gnuplot.inf" file. The printed document is available in troff/nroff (ms) format, using the file "gnuplot.ms". For nroff, use 'make nroff'. For troff, type 'make ms' and then 'troff -ms gnuplot.ms' in whatever way you use troff. For groff (on linux), use 'groff -t -e -mgs gnuplot.ms' On MS-Windows, the Microsoft help compiler converts the file "gnuplot.rtf" to an 'hlp' file which is used by the standard Windows help program. The printed document is also available in LaTeX format, using the file "gnuplot.tex" ('make tex'). If you use LaTeX on your computer, you can type 'make dvi' to create "gnuplot.dvi", and then run your dvi-to- PostScript converter to generate "gnuplot.ps". Manual entries for the terminals are not included in "gnuplot.doc"; instead, each "driver.trm" file (in the directory /term) contains its own documentation section. See "term/README" for details. When you build gnuplot, only some of the terminal drivers are loaded; these are selected in "term.h" by compiler directives specified in the makefile. The interactive help generators use the same set of compiler directives in "term.h", and thus interactive help contains information for just those terminals actually loaded. The printed manual generators and the html generator contain information about all terminals. This is accomplished by concatenating all of the ".trm" files into a single one, "allterm.h". The file "termdoc.c" is used by each of the eight processing programs ("doc2gih.c", etc.); it #includes either "term.h" or "allterm.h", as is appropriate. If you wish to override the default decision about which terminals are to appear in the documentation, edit the appropriate target in the Makefile and add/remove -DALL_TERM_DOC to/from the compiler flags. Description of the gnuplot.doc format: -------------------------------------- Here is an example of the DOC master help format: ? 1 gnuplot GNUPLOT is a command-driven interactive function plotting program. It ... ?exit 2 exit 'exit', 'quit' and ... ?expressions 2 expressions In general, any mathematical expression accepted by C, ... Topics: functions operators ?expressions functions ?functions 3 functions The functions in GNUPLOT are ... Topics: abs acos arg ... ?expressions functions abs ?functions abs ?abs 4 abs This function returns the absolute value of its argument. The returned value is of the same type as the argument. ?expressions functions acos ?functions acos ?acos 4 acos This function returns the arc cosine (inverse cosine) of its argument. 'acos' returns its argument in radians. Some notes about the format: ---------------------------- Remember that all text must be able to be processed by gnuplot, VMS, nroff, troff, info, itl, and latex, and always do something reasonable. The first column is reserved for control characters. Text does not start in the first column. Lines that start in column 2 may be typeset by LaTeX. Lines that have a space in column 2 are to be printed in a verbatim environment by LaTeX. Tables must have a space in column 2. Do NOT use tabs in the help file. Conversion from this format to vax .hlp file involves removal of lines starting with [?@#$%] (see doc2hlp). VMS uses the numbers to represent a tree. Conversion from this format to gnuplot .gih file involves removal of lines starting with [0-9@#$%] (see doc2gih). Gnuplot matches your help query against the ? lines to find the help information. Multiple ? lines for one text block constitute synonyms. The most specific should be first, eg 'expressions functions' before 'functions'. Spaces are allowed here, but should be single. Backquote pairs are converted by the doc2tex program into boldface; that is, some text is converted to {\bf some text}. Be sure to pair the backquotes, or the whole document will be boldface! doc2ms converts  pairs to \fB...\fR, except inside tables : for the moment, this has to be done manually on the lines starting %, but we ought to find some way to allow tables to be entered just the once ! Control characters in first column: ? used by .gih format, for builtin interactive help - keyword 0-9 used by VMS help and by doc2{tex,ms} formatters to define level,keyword @ used by doc2{tex,ms,rnh} to define table start/end # used by doc2tex: table entry % used by doc2ms: table entry ^ used by doc2html : hypertext link < the help from the terminal driver files is inserted at this point. C comment (mainly for RCS ID line) C# reserved form of comment (used internally by termdoc.c) Tables: ------- Here is a sample table: @start table - first is interactive cleartext form Symbol Example Explanation ?: a?b:c ternary operation #\begin{tabular}{|ccl|} \hline #\multicolumn{3}{|c|}{Ternary Operator} \\ #Symbol & Example & Explanation \\ \hline #\verb~?:~ & \verb~a?b:c~ & ternary operation\\ %c c l . %Symbol@Example@Explanation %_ %?:@a?b:c@* ternary operation @end table "doc2tex" and "doc2ms" are the formats that do something with tables other than copy them verbatim. It is best to bracket a table in a "@start table"/"@end table" pair. Inside the "@start"/"@end" block are three independent sets of commands: those that begin with "#" will be processed by "doc2tex" only, those that begin with "%" will be processed by "doc2ms" only, and all others will be copied verbatim by all other "doc2"s. So the commands may be shuffled together, as long as the order of each of the three sets is unchanged. That is, the example could be written this way without any effect on the result: @start table - first is interactive cleartext form #\begin{tabular}{|ccl|} \hline %c c l . #\multicolumn{3}{|c|}{Ternary Operator} \\ %Symbol@Example@Explanation Symbol Example Explanation #Symbol & Example & Explanation \\ \hline %_ ?: a?b:c ternary operation #\verb~?:~ & \verb~a?b:c~ & ternary operation\\ %?:@a?b:c@* ternary operation @end table In LaTeX, the command "\begin{tabular}{|ccl|} \hline" creates a three-column table having the first two columns centered, the third column left-justified, a vertical line at each side, and a horizontal line drawn first. Thus the table will be enclosed in a box ("doc2tex" provides the closing "\hline"). A double-backslash is a line skip. In the table entries themselves, the ampersand is the column separator. If any LaTeX special characters are in the table, they must be written within "\verb" constructs, as is the case with the question mark in the example. In nroff, the command "c c l ." creates a three-column table justified the same way as the LaTeX table discussed above. The ampersand is the column separator. Rules for stylistic consistency (courtesy Jens Emmerich): --------------------------------------------------------- 0. General * Use your brain -- the reader has one, too (at least in theory). * Format according to the logical structure, not according to visual charm. * Keep things short. Don't split lines without a good reason. Many people still use 24 line terminals/screens. Backslashify lines only in code examples. 1. Verbatim lines: start column and line length * Verbatim text starts in column 8 (7 spaces before the text). The reason is that "Syntax:" is 7 and "Examples:" is 9 characters wide. Adding the space in column 1 we have 1 resp. 3 characters "overlap" in the online text versions, which is still easy to read as all commands are at least 3 characters long. This does not apply to the "interactive clear text form"-tables. * The rightmost used column is column 73 (counting from 1). This allows LaTeX formatted documents with only slightly wider text than default, which adds to readability. 2. Line spacing * An empty line goes before "Syntax:" and "Example:", but not after them. Without these keywords, add an empty line before verbatim lines if they are not embedded in a sentence. * Leave blank lines within verbatim environments only if it is really needed for clarity. * Verbatim environments are separated from the following text by a blank line, but not if they are embedded in a sentence. * Short explanations within examples can be embedded within comments if they are really short, otherwise use "normal" text (beginning at column 2) and leave no blank lines between the text and the example. 3. Spaces around braces * In general don't put a space after an opening "{" or before a closing brace "}". This makes everything wider and harder to spot. * Do insert a space in the following situations: - where it adds clarity to nesting levels >=3 of braces; usually only one brace for the outermost brace on a particular line (see 'set grid') - on multiple line optional constructs (see 'set xtics') * Separate multiple optional constructs by a space. * Don't separate them if they belong together. (see 'set title') * Do separate them if they belong together but require a space in between (see 'set ticscale'). * Part of these rules are really a consequence of gnuplot's inconsistent syntax. 4. Placing and spaces around "|" * Place a space before and after the "|". Otherwise the alternatives tend to optically 'melt' and they are harder to read. * Keep or-expressions on one line, if possible. * On multi-line expressions place the "|" at the beginning of the next line rather than the end of the first. This makes it easier to see that the expression continues. Align the first components; this requires indenting the first line a bit further (see 'set cntrparam'). 5. Comma-separated optional argument lists * Place the space before the opening brace rather within the braces after the comma (as one normally does) (see 'set isosamples').