Charts Definition Language (CDL)

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The Charts Definition Language gives the user the possibility to define his own charts on the basis of the CumulusMX infrastructure through the ChartsCompiler. This article gives the specification of that language.

The charts are defined in the definition file (CutilsCharts.def which resides in the utils directory) which contains one or more chart specifications according to the figure below. All attributes of a plot variable are optional and if not specified have a reasonable default.

All white space characters are used as separators so it is easy to make a visually attractive, readable definition file.

The text in the CutilsCharts.def is case independent, however for clarity CamelCase or a variety thereof is advised.

The specification

The Language

The Chart block

 CHART <id> TITLE [<word>...<word>]  CONNECTSto [1 … 24]
 [ PLOT [ALL|RECENT] <Plotvariable> [ EVAL '[' <Expression> ']' ]
            AS <Line Type> 
            COLOUR <HTML Color>
            ZINDEX <Integer>
            LINEWIDTH <Integer>
            OPACITY <Integer>.<Integer>
            AXIS <Axis Type>
 [ STATS <Plotvariable> <Stats Type> ]
 PLOT blocks repeated
 STATS blocks repeated
 CHART […] ENDCHART blocks repeated

Plot blocks can be repeated as many times as you wish but different parameters can result in many yAxis (making the plot area smaller) and the chart may become crowded and unreadable. Experiment and try-out.

Syntactically the STATS block can be many as well but it requires semantically the Plotvariable of which you want statistics to be plotted normally. So you can have e.g. three STATS blocks for one PLOT block.

Output specifier

An output file can be specified for each chart by putting OUTPUT <filename> after an ENDCHART. All charts from that point on will be written to that specified output until a new output is specified for another chart. If no output is specified at all, all charts will be written to cumuluscharts.txt (the default output)

If you are using the website it is important to know that the first chart will always be used as the chart for the Home page button and that cannot be changed (the file is always cumuluscharts.txt). If, however you specify an output on the first chart, that chart will be duplicated in the output you specify.

The output specifier gives the user the possibility to define charts as he likes and to place these in the menu wherever he likes. In the Website Generator the placements of the charts at the moment will be limited to the User Defined Menu. In modular use the user can do whatever he likes with the resulting files. In the website the charts require the datafiles to be in the current directory.


All capital written words in the Chart block section are keywords (reserved words) and have meaning.

Explanation of the definition Keywords

  1. EQUATIONS: Starts an equations block. Such block only defines (partial) equations, it does not cause code generation in itself
  2. CHART: Starts a chart definition
  3. TITLE: Starts the title. All words until the next keyword comprise the title of the chart
  4. CONNECTSTO: The integer numbers which follow CONNECTSTO represent a pane in the realtime dashboard. When clicked on that pane this chart appears. This is only valid on charts in the default output. For other outputs there is no semantics for CONNECTSTO and a warning is issued in the logfile if it is specified in any second or higher output.
  5. PLOT: Starts the plot specification using one of the possible variables
  6. STATS: Starts the statistics block using one of the possible variables. Semantics demands the variable to be plotted normally as well.
  7. ALL: Defines the variable to be taken from the Dayfile and all data for that variable will be plotted (Note that the CMX parameter ChartMaxDays will not be used)
  8. RECENT: Defines the variable to be governed by the CMX parameter GraphHours and are similar to the CMX RECENT graphs (though not equal).
  9. AS: Defines the type of charting for that variable.
  10. EVAL [ ]: Defines an expression for the plot variable. The equation must be placed between the square brackets, space has no value here (does not act as separator).
  11. COLOUR: Defines the colour of that variable.
  12. ZINDEX: Defines the zIndex plane for that variable.
  13. LINEWIDTH: Defines the linewidth for that variable.
  14. OPACITY: Defines the opacity for that variable (important for area and column graphs)
  15. AXIS: Gives the user the possibility to specify an axis when using the EVAL construct otherwise an error is generated.
  16. ENDCHART: End the chart definition
  17. OUTPUT: Gives an optional name of an outputfile which starts at the chart where it is defined. Any chart after this OUTPUT specifier goes to this OUTPUT until another OUTPUT is found. Only the first OUTPUT specifier accepts click events as defined by CONNECTSTO.

The keywords for the actual parameters and the Graph Types speak for themselves.


The following PlotVariables are reserved words:

With the RECENT qualifier
     "InsideTemp", "Dewpoint", "ApparentTemp", "FeelsLike", "WindChill", "HeatIndex","Temperature", "Humidex",
     "WindGust", "WindSpeed",
     "Bearing", "AverageBearing",
     "UV", "SolarRadiation", "TheoreticalSolarMax",
     "RainFall", "RainRate",
     "Humidity", "InsideHumidity",
With the ALL qualifier
     "MinTemp", "MaxTemp", "AverageTemp", "WindChill", "MaxDewpoint", "MinDewpoint","MaxFeelsLike", "MinFeelsLike", 
     "MaxGust", "WindRun", "WindSpeed", 
     "UV-Index", "SolarRadiation", "SunHours",
     "RainFall", "MaxRainRate",
     "MinBarometer", "MaxBarometer",
     "MinHumidity", "MaxHumidity",


Graph Types

The following graphs are possible

     Line, SpLine, Area, Scatter, Column, ColumnRange

All graph types can be combined in a chart except for Scatter.

ColumnRange only works for DAILY and ALL range specifiers. If the Max and Min lines of the range must be shown, they need to be specified as a separate line. The range can be specified for either Min or Max, the range will automatically be applied and no line will be shown. The ColumnRange is valid for all variables in the datafile with a Max/Min range: Temperature, Dewpoint, FeelsLike (and other derivatives), Barometer and Humidity. Other variables will generate an error.

Axis Types

The following Axis are possible.

     Temp, Wind, Distance, Hours, Solar, UV, Rain, Rrate, Pressure, Humidity, DegreeDays, EVT

This only has meaning if there is an EVAL with a valid expression present. As an EVAL may modify the value of the plot variable to something completely different, the original Axis belonging to that plot variable may be useless or scale wrongly. Therefore you can choose your own Axis. If there is no valid equation, a warning is given and no axis is generated.

In future a generic (without title or unit) Axis will selectable to accommodate plotting in combination with other variables.

Other Types

For other types such as STATS types (or methods) and FUNCTION types for EVAL, see those respective pages.


The Equations are in BETA, by the nature of all possible combinations and the recursive parsing not all possible equations have been tested (haha)

See page CDL - EVAL.

The Chart Axis

All PlotVariables have their own defined axis and those axis will be coupled automatically to the chart. Multiple axis will be alternately added left-right where the order in the definition files determines this order. So it is the user who ultimately can define where the axis are places: left or right and from inside to the outside in the order where they are encountered during the parsing process.

The following axis are currently defined and implicit for the plot variables (the user has no options here):

  1. None
  2. Temp
  3. Pressure
  4. Rain
  5. Rrate
  6. Wind
  7. Direction
  8. Humidity
  9. Solar
  10. UV
  11. Hours
  12. Distance
  13. DegreeDays
  14. EVT
  15. Free (has no title, unit or context associated with it. It just displays values)

Translations for the axis titles come from the [Website] section and should require no additional effort.

Additional details

  1. All parameters can be combined in one graph with the corresponding axis automatically added. Only when scatter is defined as Line Type it is forbidden to combine it with one of the other possibilities. This may change in future.
  2. The Legend texts are implemented as translations of the PlotKeywords (the Plot Variables). You will find these in the translation file section [Compiler]. Legend entries can be multiple words (the keywords can not).
  3. The width of the graph container is 100% of the viewport.
  4. The height of the graph container can be specified in the options (not defined in the language to prevent overcharge):
 ChartContainerHeight=650 (Default)
  1. The Plot Variables Evapotranspiration, CoolingDegreeDays and Heating DegreeDays are not supplied by CMX in the JSONs. CumulusUtils provides those automatically when used in the definitions (on request) with the commandline parameter UserAskedData. See also ChartsCompiler Operation.
  2. You have to schedule this command if you wish to use the FTP frequency CMX uses for its JSON's. Note that these JSON files specific to CumulusUtils always reside in the website root of CumulusUtils, even if you have more websites and define the CumulusRealTimeLocation.
  3. If the user uses different locales for CMX and CumulusUtils the monthly log filenames will be according to the locale of CMX. This creates an issue which is solved by the inifile parameter:

Default this variable contains the abbreviated month names according to the locale of CumulusUtils. The user may edit those names to the ones used by CMX.

Example CutilsCharts.def

The Chart definitions below are operational on, contains Dutch descriptions and should give you a good impression of the possibilities. As the Compiler will develop this code will change.

 Chart Overzicht Title Overzicht van de huidige weerstatus ConnectsTo 2 4 15 20
   PLOT Temperature Colour #058DC7 zindex 90
   PLOT DewPoint Colour #50B432 zindex 80
   PLOT pressure Colour red zindex 70
   Plot Humidity Colour #64E572 zindex 60
   Plot SolarRadiation As Area Opacity 0.2 Colour Orange zindex 20
   Plot RainFall As Area colour #33B4FF opacity 0.2 zindex 10
 Chart Temperature Title Temperature and Derivatives ConnectsTo 1 13 14
   Plot InsideTemp As Spline Colour #DDDF00 zIndex 100
   PLOT Temperature As SPline Colour #058DC7 zindex 90
   PLOT FeelsLike As SPline Colour #ED561B zindex 80
   PLOT DewPoint As SPline Colour #50B432 zindex 70
 Chart Wind Title Wind ConnectsTo 5 8
   Plot WindGust
   Plot WindSpeed
 Chart Windrichting Title Windrichting ConnectsTo 6 7
   Plot Bearing As Scatter
   Plot AverageBearing As Scatter
 Chart Regen Title Regen and Regensnelheid ConnectsTo 3 21 22
   Plot RainFall As Area Colour green Opacity 0.2
   Plot RainRate zIndex 100
 Chart Vochtigheid Title Relatieve vochtigheid binnen en buiten ConnectsTo 11 16
   Plot Humidity
   Plot InsideHumidity
 Chart Zon Title (Max)Straling en UV ConnectsTo 12 23 24
   Plot UV zIndex 100
   Plot SolarRadiation As Area Opacity 0.4 Colour Orange zIndex 50 
   Plot TheoreticalSolarMax As Area Colour Gold zIndex 10 Opacity 0.2
 CHART DagelijkseTemp TITLE Daily Average Temperature with Min/Max of last year
   PLOT DAILY AverageTemp colour green
   Plot DAILY MinTemp colour blue
   Plot DAILY MaxTemp colour red
 EndChart OUTPUT AllTempChart.txt
 Chart DagelijkseRegen Title Daily rainfall of last year
   Plot DAILY RainFall As Column colour lightblue
 EndChart OUTPUT AllRainChart.txt
 Chart DagelijkseZonuren Title Sunhours per day of last year
   Plot ALL SunHours As Column colour gold
 EndChart OUTPUT AllSolarChart.txt
 Chart TempEVT Title Temperature and EVT historical ConnectsTo 12 23 24
   PLOT ALL AverageTemp As SPline Colour #058DC7 zindex 90 LineWidth 10
   PLOT ALL Evapotranspiration As Column Colour #cc0000
 EndCHART OUTPUT RarityCharts.txt
 Chart TempEVTRecent Title Temperature and EVT Recently
   PLOT Temperature As SPline Colour #058DC7 zindex 90 LineWidth 10
   PLOT Evapotranspiration As Area Colour #cc0000
 Chart CoolingDays Title Residual variables
   Plot ALL CoolingDegreeDays
   Plot ALL HeatingDegreeDays
   Plot All Evapotranspiration
 CHART DagelijkseTemp TITLE DAILY Temp with ColumnRange
   PLOT DAILY AverageTemp colour green As ColumnRange
   PLOT DAILY AverageTemp colour black As spline
 EndChart OUTPUT ColumnRange.txt
 CHART DagelijkseBaro TITLE All Barometer with ColumnRange
   PLOT All MinBarometer colour Crimson As ColumnRange
 CHART DailyRain TITLE Rain with statistics
   PLOT ALL RainFall colour CornflowerBlue as column 
   PLOT ALL RainFall EVAL [ SUM( RainFall ) ] COLOUR crimson AXIS Free
   STATS RainFall SMA colour green
 EndChart OUTPUT Statistics.txt
 CHART DailyTemp TITLE Temp with statistics offset 5
   PLOT ALL AverageTemp colour pink
   PLOT ALL AverageTemp EVAL [ Sum(AverageTemp-5) ] COLOUR green AXIS DegreeDays
   STATS AverageTemp SMA COLOUR crimson