I have a pretty functional JavaScript based graphing calculator.

Functions like \$\space tan(x)\$, \$\space\frac{1}{tan(x)}\space\$ and \$\space x^{high\space number}\space\$ look weird, however because the interval it graphs isn't small enough. If I make that interval any smaller to fix the gaps though, it severely impacts its performance.

Is there a more efficient way to do the plotting?

Here is the pertinent code. It draws rectangles on an HTML canvas. The page of the complete version can be found here.

var mathjs = require('mathjs');
//JavaScript parser that evaluates the user input
var canvas = document.getElementById("graph");
var ctx = canvas.getContext("2d");

var width = canvas.width;
var height = canvas.height;
var center = width/2;

function plot(){
    var f = mathjs.eval('f(x) = '+($("#function").val()));
        for(var x = -250;x<250;x+=0.001){
            //"x+=0.001" is the interval in question
        throw new Error("Syntax error or invalid function sent to mathjs.");
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Is something going wrong with the repl? TypeError: plot is not a function \$\endgroup\$
    – Mast
    Mar 8, 2018 at 20:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mast It's working for me. What causes that error? \$\endgroup\$
    – Carson
    Mar 8, 2018 at 22:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Apparently it only triggers on invalid input. I'll blame JavaScript, but you might want to catch it somehow anyway. On valid input it appears to work fine. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mast
    Mar 9, 2018 at 16:31

1 Answer 1


Increase the interval but shrink the view

Because you're plotting points you can't just increase the number of points you have, as you know, that will take up much more processing power. To mitigate this processing power issue, you need to shrink the view of your graph to display a smaller area. This has the effect of zooming in.

If you were using a more advanced way to draw the functions (i.e. estimating the area between points and drawing curves) you would most likely not have this issue, but using only points and a for loop limits you.

Another problem I barely noticed, you're overdrawing. It would seem that you're plotting past the borders of your canvas/graph. This causes unnecessary drawing that slows down everything. You should be basing the size of the area you're drawing on the width and height of the canvas.


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