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Dash vs Plotly: What are the differences?

Introduction

In this article, we will explore the key differences between Dash and Plotly, two popular libraries for building interactive web-based data visualizations. Dash and Plotly have some similarities as they both use Plotly.js for rendering charts, but they differ in their main purpose, architecture, and deployment options.

  1. Dash is a framework for building analytical web applications in Python: Dash is designed to create interactive web applications with rich visualizations and controls using Python as the primary programming language. It provides a high-level interface for creating web apps with a reactive workflow, enabling users to easily connect visualizations with data sources and dynamically update them based on user interactions or changes in the underlying data.

  2. Plotly is a JavaScript graphing library for creating interactive visualizations: Plotly.js is the core library that powers Plotly, enabling the creation of fully customizable charts and graphs in JavaScript. Plotly supports a wide range of chart types and offers extensive customization options, making it suitable for creating static and interactive visualizations. It integrates well with other JavaScript frameworks like React and Angular and can be used in web applications built with any programming language.

  3. Dash provides a Pythonic API for building web apps: Dash provides a Pythonic API that makes it easy to create interactive web applications using Python syntax. It includes components like graphs, tables, and dropdowns that can be easily integrated into a layout, and allows users to define reactive behavior through callback functions that are triggered by user interactions or changes in the data.

  4. Plotly offers more advanced customization options: While Dash provides a high-level API for building web apps, Plotly offers more advanced customization options through its JavaScript library. With Plotly.js, developers have fine-grained control over the appearance and behavior of charts, including the ability to create custom markers, annotations, and hover interactions. This allows for greater flexibility in creating visually appealing and interactive visualizations.

  5. Dash is designed for easy deployment and scalability: Dash applications can be easily deployed as standalone web servers or integrated into existing Flask applications. Dash also supports deployment on cloud platforms like Heroku and AWS, making it suitable for production use. Additionally, Dash applications can handle high traffic and scale horizontally by adding more instances, allowing for efficient and scalable deployment of web apps.

  6. Plotly is language-agnostic and can be used in any web development stack: While Dash is primarily focused on Python, Plotly.js can be used with any web development stack. This means that developers can use Plotly to create interactive visualizations in web applications built with different programming languages like JavaScript, Python, R, or PHP. This flexibility in language choice makes Plotly a versatile option for web developers working with diverse technologies.

In summary, Dash is a Pythonic framework for building analytical web applications, while Plotly is a JavaScript graphing library with extensive customization options. Dash focuses on providing an easy-to-use API for creating web apps with Python, whereas Plotly offers more advanced customization options and can be used with any web development stack. Dash emphasizes easy deployment and scalability, while Plotly provides versatility in language choice.

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Pros of Dash
Pros of Plotly.js
  • 17
    Dozens of API docs and Cheat-Sheets
  • 12
    Great for offline use
  • 8
    Works with Alfred
  • 8
    Excellent documentation
  • 8
    Quick API search
  • 5
    Fast
  • 3
    Good integration with Xcode and AppCode
  • 2
    Great for mobile dev work
  • 16
    Bindings to popular languages like Python, Node, R, etc
  • 10
    Integrated zoom and filter-out tools in charts and maps
  • 9
    Great support for complex and multiple axes
  • 8
    Powerful out-of-the-box featureset
  • 6
    Beautiful visualizations
  • 4
    Active user base
  • 4
    Impressive support for webgl 3D charts
  • 3
    Charts are easy to share with a cloud account
  • 3
    Webgl chart types are extremely performant
  • 2
    Interactive charts
  • 2
    Easy to use online editor for creating plotly.js charts
  • 2
    Publication quality image export

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Cons of Dash
Cons of Plotly.js
    Be the first to leave a con
    • 18
      Terrible document

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    - No public GitHub repository available -

    What is Dash?

    Dash is an API Documentation Browser and Code Snippet Manager. Dash stores snippets of code and instantly searches offline documentation sets for 150+ APIs. You can even generate your own docsets or request docsets to be included.

    What is Plotly.js?

    It is a standalone Javascript data visualization library, and it also powers the Python and R modules named plotly in those respective ecosystems (referred to as Plotly.py and Plotly.R). It can be used to produce dozens of chart types and visualizations, including statistical charts, 3D graphs, scientific charts, SVG and tile maps, financial charts and more.

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      What are some alternatives to Dash and Plotly.js?
      Shiny
      It is an open source R package that provides an elegant and powerful web framework for building web applications using R. It helps you turn your analyses into interactive web applications without requiring HTML, CSS, or JavaScript knowledge.
      JavaScript
      JavaScript is most known as the scripting language for Web pages, but used in many non-browser environments as well such as node.js or Apache CouchDB. It is a prototype-based, multi-paradigm scripting language that is dynamic,and supports object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles.
      Git
      Git is a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency.
      GitHub
      GitHub is the best place to share code with friends, co-workers, classmates, and complete strangers. Over three million people use GitHub to build amazing things together.
      Python
      Python is a general purpose programming language created by Guido Van Rossum. Python is most praised for its elegant syntax and readable code, if you are just beginning your programming career python suits you best.
      See all alternatives