background=None should be transparent

Bug #339754 reported by Michael Wayne Goodman on 2009-03-09
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Cairo Plot
Rodrigo Moreira Araújo

Bug Description

For any given plot, saying background=None should cause there to be *no* background (that is, fully transparent). This might only be applicable for certain filetypes, but I think png, svg, ps, and pdf can all handle it.

The default white-to-gray background should be accessible by one of the color-themes.

What you're saying is correct.
This problem will be addressed when pre-set backgrounds are implemented this week.

Changed in cairoplot:
assignee: nobody → alf-rodrigo
importance: Undecided → Low
status: New → Confirmed

I don't think the default should be fully transparent as it's less needed than the white-to-gray.
That said, on revision 30 the white-to-gray background is still the default, but it's now possible to pass color strings for the background. Whenever you wish a transparent background, just pass it like this:

data = [1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14]
cairoplot.vertical_bar_plot ( 'bar_background_color', data, 400, 300, background = "transparent", border = 20, grid = True)

Changed in cairoplot:
status: Confirmed → Fix Committed

Thanks for your attention to all the bugs I submitted (there'll be more ^^)

I never said that transparent should be the default (even though for me it's much more needed than white-to-gray, as I am using these charts for academic papers written in LaTeX). It's just more semantically accurate and understandable if "background=None" means "No background" than to mean "Default white-to-gray background". By all means have the gradient be the default, but just change the class as follows:

default_background = cairo.LinearGradient(self.width / 2, 0, self.width / 2, self.height)


class Plot(object):
    def __init__(self,
                 .... )
    def set_background(self, background):
        if background is None:
            # do whatever is done in rev 30 for background="transparent"

or to be even more explicit, you could call it "white_to_gray_gradient" instead of "default_background". But the benefit in using "default_background" is that the user could override it and not have to set a new background for every plot if they are making many at once. Eg, I could say:


And they would all use the new default_background, which I set to None (which I argue should be transparent).

Does this make sense?

Once again you stand correct.
Sorry as I misunderstood your initial ideas by thinking you were pointing the transparent background to default.
I'll add the gradient support to my background theme solution and add the default_background global variable to work as you said.

I'm glad to know you're using CairoPlot with Latex. How is it working? I haven't heard of anyone who had tried this.
And thanks for all these bugs. Please, keep them coming.

Changed in cairoplot:
status: Fix Committed → In Progress

About the bug: that's good to hear, but I hope I'm not being too pushy.

About LaTeX: I've used CairoPlot in a LaTeX/Beamer presentation, which worked fairly well, but as of yet it's been inconvenient for use in papers. I saw a blog post about embedding Python in LaTeX ( and decided to give CairoPlot another attempt. While usable in it's current form, If a handful of things get implemented (transparent bg (which you said is already in rev 30), legend/key for bar charts, .eps output support, and length dimensions (eg 3cm, 2in, 0.5em, etc)), then CairoPlot would be nearly perfect for my needs. (Note those last two are bugs I haven't filed yet).

Thanks for the wonderful package, and I hope to be contributing code as well as ideas soon.

You're not being too pushy. Please keep the bugs coming.

About the bug itself now. On revision 31 background=None now means transparent background but the default is still the white to light_gray background. Background can now be changed using two other methods:

background = "red" #or any other color name
background = "red white blue" #or any other combination of colors separated by space

The first option will set that solid_color as the background. The second one will create a new linear_gradient object using the colors passed and use it as background.

Concerning the idea of a cairoplot.default_background, I'll postpone it for a while until I give its consequences further thought.

Thanks for all these ideas! :D

Changed in cairoplot:
status: In Progress → Fix Committed
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