How determine type of plot object?

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Stephan Heise
Stephan Heise on 8 Feb 2012
Edited: Julian Hapke on 14 Mar 2016
Say, I am given an axes containing unknown plot objects. I am searching for a way to determine the type of these plot objects, i.e. I would like to know whether they are a lineseries object, a barseries object, an errorbarseries object, etc.
For core graphics objects (e.g. line, patch, surface, text,...) this isn't a problem because one can query the object's 'type' property,
get(h, 'Type').
However, most plot objects such as barseries or areaseries return 'hggroup' as type.
I have tried to find unique properties of each plot object type (e.g. 'BarPeers' for barseries objects) and then used a cascade of isprop calls to identify the plot object, but this obviously isn't very elegant.
Matlab itself seems to know the plot object type, because e.g.
set(handle_of_barseries_object, 'Color','r')
returns the error message "The name 'Color' is not an accessible property for an instance of class 'barseries'." So the plot object type must be determinable somehow.
Any ideas?
Stephan.

Accepted Answer

Julian Hapke
Julian Hapke on 11 Jul 2014
here's the probably dirtiest code I've written so far, but does, what you want:
% make an example plot with several classes
figure;
hold on;
X=rand(10,1);Y=rand(10,1);X=sort(X);Y=sort(Y);
plot(X,Y);
errorbar(X,Y);
bar(X,Y);
barh(X,Y);
contour([X Y],[Y X]);
plts = get(gca,'Children');
% determine plot class by catching the error message that is
% generated when a nonexistent property is addressed
type = cell(size(plts));
for kk = 1:length(plts)
try
get(plts(kk),'nonexistent')
catch err
tmp = strfind(err.message,'''');
type{kk} = err.message(tmp(end-1)+1:tmp(end)-1);
end
end
regards
julian
  3 Comments
Julian Hapke
Julian Hapke on 14 Mar 2016
just found out that pre 2014b
class(handle(h))
also does the trick

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