I swear at some point I ran across a project to come up with a generalized schema to describe (plots|graphs|charts). But I can't seem to dig it up in google now. The idea was that every plotting package (e.g. Matlab, ggplot, plotly, matplotlib) has their own API. The project was trying to define a rational and consistent one that could be used in general.
I think this is a great idea. I'd love to see something like this be a standard, with other packages acting as wrappers. But I haven't investigated to see how robust this is yet relative to
plotly.js or Matlab.
Maybe The Grammar of Graphics, which is what
ggplot2 is based on?