Monday, October 23rd, 2006

Animation & Data Visualization in Javascript

Category: Presentation, The Ajax Experience

The argument against data visualization in JavaScript is obvious: it’s intense stuff. Potentially millions of computations running continously under the covers is daunting enough – throw in the animation monkeywrench and the prospect of a JavaScript implementation may be just a tad daunting. The answer to the question “Where do we have available CPU cycles?” may be “The client”, but unfortunately “The client” is also the answer to the question: “Who lacks the patience to wait for CPU cycles to complete?”.

Kyle Scholz’s talk at The Ajax Experience carried the disclaimer “may not be suitable for your large dataset”, but he provided an overview of how the process can be both practical from an efficiency standpoint – and even entertaining to the impatient user, using animation of the graph reaching a static state.

The talk began with some general background on JavaScript, as well as some background on force directed layout algorithms (*flashback to high school chemistry) using a graph of adolescent relationships (*flashback to the _other_ high school chemistry). The jewel of the talk was JSViz – A JavaScript library for generating animated connected graphs (Tree and Force Directed). JSViz prefers SVG for it’s shape and line rendering but falls back to a plain(er) HTML implementation when it detects that SVG is not an option (which, I would imagine, would be fairly often at this point). It’s extendable and open source.

Kyle walked through several tutorials that are available out on his site (code also available there). If you want a quick example of what this is all about: an example app is also available out there demonstrating an implementation of JSViz used to graph music “familiarities” via an Amazon web service mashup.

…if you’re fiending for some more complex graphing examples (not necessarily having anything to do with ajax), check out

Posted by Jim Halberg at 11:44 am

3.9 rating from 23 votes


Comments feed TrackBack URI

Whose this new guy? Where was the announcement? Apparently “Jim” has no last name.

Nice first post, jim, welcome.

Comment by Rob Sanheim — October 23, 2006

Thanks Rob – looks like I have a lastname now… I was hoping it would just be changed to “The Jim”, but I guess I’ll take it!

Comment by Jim Halberg — October 23, 2006

[…] Ajaxian is running a series of recaps from their Ajax Experiene: Boston conference. Among the early highlights so far: Animation & Data Visualization in Javascript, which introduces us to JSViz, a JavaScript-based visualization engine. I’ve only tinkered around with the demo, but it looks killer. […]

Pingback by A Modern Fable (AJM) » Blog Archive » Untitled — October 24, 2006

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.