Note! It's much easier to use PGPLOT::Device::PGWin instead of using
PGPLOT::Device directly. It handles much of the complexity of dealing
with interactive devices.

It is sometimes surprisingly difficult to create an appropriate PGPLOT
device. Coding for both interactive and hardcopy devices can lead to
code which repeatedly has to check the device type to generate the
correct device name. If an application outputs multiple plots, it needs
to meld unique names (usually based upon the output format) to the
user's choice of output device. The user should be given some
flexibility in specifying a device or hardcopy filename output
specification without making life difficult for the developer.

This module tries to help reduce the agony. It does this by creating an
object which will resolve to a legal PGPLOT device specification. The
object can handle auto-incrementing of interactive window ids,
interpolation of variables into file names, automatic generation of
output suffices for hardcopy devices, etc.

Here's the general scheme:

*   The application creates the object, using the user's PGPLOT device
    specification to initialize it.

*   Before creating a new plot, the application specifies the output
    filename it would like to have. The filename may use interpolated
    variables. This is ignored if the device is interactive, as it is
    meaningless in that context

*   Each time that the object value is retrieved using the "next()"
    method, the internal window id is incremented, any variables in the
    filename are interpolated, and the result is returned.

  Interactive devices

Currently, the "/xs" and "/xw" devices are recognized as being
interactive. PGPLOT allows more than one such window to be displayed;
this is accomplished by preceding the device name with an integer id,
e.g. "2/xs". If a program generates several independent plots, it can
either prompt between overwriting plots in a single window, or it may
choose to use multiple plotting windows. This module assists in the
latter case by implementing auto-increment of the window id. The device
specification syntax is extended to "+N/xs" where "N" is an integer
indicating the initial window id.

  Hardcopy devices

Hardcopy device specifications (i.e. not "/xs" or "/xw") are specified
as "filename/device". The filename is optional, and will automatically
be given the extension appropriate to the output file format. If a
filename is specified in the specification passed to the new method, it
cannot be overridden. This allows the user to specify a single output
file for all hardcopy plots. This works well for PostScript, which can
handle multiple pages per file, but for the PNG device, this results in
multiple output files with numbered suffices. It's not pretty! This
module needs to be extended so it knows if a single output file can
handle more than one page.

Variables may be interpolated into the filenames using the "${variable}"
syntax (curly brackets are required). Note that only simple scalars may
be interpolated (not hash or array elements). The values may be
formatted using sprintf by appending the format, i.e.
"${variable:format}". Variables which are available to be interpolated
are either those declared using our, or those passed into the class

The internal counter which tracks the number of times the device object
has been used is available as "${devn}".


This is a Perl module distribution. It should be installed with whichever
tool you use to manage your installation of Perl, e.g. any of

  cpanm .
  cpan  .
  cpanp -i .

Consult for further instruction.
Should you wish to install this module manually, the procedure is

  perl Build.PL
  ./Build test
  ./Build install


This software is Copyright (c) 2017 by Smithsonian Astrophysical

This is free software, licensed under:

  The GNU General Public License, Version 3, June 2007