Picking the best python graphs for beginners – Plotly, Seaborn, Matplotlib, Chartify

Are you new to Python and trying to make a beautiful graph? I’ve reviewed four of the most popular and picked the best option for beginners.  For the cells below, I used Jupyer Notebook with these modules that can be installed via pip (pandas, numpy, plotly, cufflinks, seaborn, chartify).

In a normal day, I’ll open my Jupyter Notebook, import a CSV that I created using SQL/Hive.

remember, this doesn't go in jupyter notebook, it goes in your terminal (the thing with a black screen, sort of looks like that thing from The Matrix)

pip install plotly
pip install cufflinks
pip install chartify
pip install seaborn
import pandas as pd
import numpy as np

%matplotlib inline

import pandas as pd

%cd -q Downloads 
#%cd this changes my directory to the Downloads folder

#this uses pandas (pd) to read the csv in the Downloads folder
#this example data mimics Google Ad Manager data, but for this exercise, it's full of random numbers

#I now have two dataframes: df1, df2. This will be used later, depending on the graph

#.head() will show the first five rows of df2 

Download example data here.



Learning Curve: Low, my pick for best graphing module for beginners.

What I like: Interactive, easiest library to use for beginners, pretty themes out of the box, other features (export, save as png), easy to understand documentation for new users.


What I don’t like: version 2.x is slow.  If you don’t use cufflinks, this becomes one of the most difficult graphing libraries. Requires additional code to run in offline mode.


import plotly
import cufflinks as cf

#cf.go_offline() allows you to use plotly in jupyter




What I like: Easy to write, built by Spotify Data Science team.

What I don’t like: Requires an additional exe to run (from Google).




import chartify
#chartify can handle a flat table, no need to pivot it

%cd -q
#%cd was needed to change the active directory to 'python', earlier in this lesson I moved it to the Downloads folder. 

ch = chartify.Chart(blank_labels=True, x_axis_type='datetime')




pip install seaborn
#sns.set is optional, but I like the formatting
sns.lineplot(x='day',y='imps',hue='subset' ,data=df1,ci=None);

What I like: Pretty visualizations out of the box, great at heatmaps.

What I don’t like: I’ve personally had trouble writing

and remembering the formatting of the plotting functions.



pip install matplotlib


Learning Curve:

What I like: Customizable, lots of documentation on StackOverflow

What I don’t like: Difficult to remember all the features.  Learning curve is prohibitive to new users.

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