Embedding in a web application server (Flask)

When using Matplotlib in a web server it is strongly recommended to not use pyplot (pyplot maintains references to the opened figures to make show work, but this will cause memory leaks unless the figures are properly closed).

Since Matplotlib 3.1, one can directly create figures using the Figure constructor and save them to in-memory buffers. In older versions, it was necessary to explicitly instantiate an Agg canvas (see e.g. CanvasAgg demo).

The following example uses Flask, but other frameworks work similarly:

import base64
from io import BytesIO

from flask import Flask
from matplotlib.figure import Figure

app = Flask(__name__)

def hello():
    # Generate the figure **without using pyplot**.
    fig = Figure()
    ax = fig.subplots()
    ax.plot([1, 2])
    # Save it to a temporary buffer.
    buf = BytesIO()
    fig.savefig(buf, format="png")
    # Embed the result in the html output.
    data = base64.b64encode(buf.getbuffer()).decode("ascii")
    return f"<img src='data:image/png;base64,{data}'/>"

Since the above code is a Flask application, it should be run using the flask command-line tool Assuming that the working directory contains this script:

Unix-like systems

FLASK_APP=web_application_server_sgskip flask run


set FLASK_APP=web_application_server_sgskip
flask run

Clickable images for HTML

Andrew Dalke of Dalke Scientific has written a nice article on how to make html click maps with Matplotlib agg PNGs. We would also like to add this functionality to SVG. If you are interested in contributing to these efforts that would be great.

Keywords: matplotlib code example, codex, python plot, pyplot Gallery generated by Sphinx-Gallery