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Asymptote: The Vector Graphics Language

Asymptote is a powerful descriptive vector graphics language that provides a natural coordinate-based framework for technical drawing. Labels and equations are typeset with LaTeX, for high-quality PostScript output.

A major advantage of Asymptote over other graphics packages is that it is a programming language, as opposed to just a graphics program.

Features of Asymptote:

  • provides a portable standard for typesetting mathematical figures, just as TeX/LaTeX has become the standard for typesetting equations;

  • generates high-quality PostScript, PDF, SVG, or 3D PRC vector graphics;

  • embeds 3D vector PRC graphics within PDF files;

  • inspired by MetaPost, with a much cleaner, powerful C++-like programming syntax and IEEE floating-point numerics;

  • runs on all major platforms (UNIX, MacOS, Microsoft Windows);

  • mathematically oriented (e.g. rotation of vectors by complex multiplication);

  • LaTeX typesetting of labels (for document consistency);

  • uses 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;

  • fully generalizes MetaPost path construction algorithms to three dimensions;

  • 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.