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Asymptote (vector graphics language)

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Title: Asymptote (vector graphics language)  
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Subject: 3DMLW, Linden Scripting Language, ISO 10303, IGES, Scalable Vector Graphics
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Asymptote (vector graphics language)

The Asymptote logo (SVG file created with Asymptote)
Paradigm(s) imperative, typesetting
Designed by Andy Hammerlindl, John C. Bowman, Tom Prince
Appeared in 2004 (2004)
Stable release 2.32 / May 23, 2014 (2014-05-23)
Typing discipline duck, dynamic, strong
Influenced by Metapost
Implementation language C++
OS Cross-platform
License LGPL
Website .net.sourceforgeasymptote

Asymptote is a descriptive vector graphics language — developed by Andy Hammerlindl, John C. Bowman (University of Alberta), and Tom Prince — which provides a natural coordinate-based framework for technical drawing. Asymptote runs on all major platforms (Unix, Mac OS, Microsoft Windows). It is free software, available under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL).

Syntax and notable features

Asymptote typesets labels and equations with LaTeX, producing high-quality PostScript, PDF, SVG, or 3D PRC output.[1] It is inspired by Metapost, but has a C++-like syntax. It provides a language for typesetting mathematical figures, just as TeX/LaTeX provides a language for typesetting equations. It is mathematically oriented (e.g. rotation of vectors by complex multiplication), and uses the simplex method and deferred drawing to solve overall size constraint issues between fixed-sized objects (labels and arrowheads) and objects that should scale with figure size. Asymptote fully generalizes MetaPost path construction algorithms to three dimensions,[2] and compiles commands into virtual machine code for speed without sacrificing portability. High-level graphics commands are implemented in the Asymptote language itself, allowing them to be easily tailored to specific applications. It also appears to be the first software package to lift TeX into three dimensions.[3][4] This allows Asymptote to be used as a 3D vector file format.

Asymptote is also notable for having a graphical interface coded in Python (and the Tk widget set), — this allows an inexperienced user to quickly draw up objects and save them as .asy source code which can then be examined or edited by hand.

See also


  1. ^ Asymptote: A vector graphics language, J. C. Bowman and A. Hammerlindl, TUGBOAT: The Communications of the TeX Users Group, 29:2, 288-294 (2008).
  2. ^ The 3D Asymptote Generalization of MetaPost Bézier Interpolation, J. C. Bowman, Proceedings in Applied Mathematics and Mechanics, 7:1, 2010021-2010022 (2007).
  3. ^ Asymptote: Lifting TeX to three dimensions, J. C. Bowman and Orest Shardt, TUGBOAT: The Communications of the TeX Users Group, 30:1, 58-63 (2009).
  4. ^ (2012).44:5Surface Parametrization of Nonsimply Connected Planar Bézier Regions, O. Shardt and J. C. Bowman, Computer-Aided Design,

External links

  • Asymptote (vector graphics language) on
  • Asymptote Wiki
  • Philippe Ivaldi's extensive Asymptote gallery
  • Art of Problem Solving Wiki
  • Art of Problem Solving Forum
  • Asymptote examples by Gaétan Marris
  • Programming with Asymptote (in Dutch)
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