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Experiences with d3.js – Glenn

by on October 24, 2012

I already had some experience programming in Javascript from the Multimedia and User Interfaces courses, so I already was quite familiar with it’s concepts (functions as first-class citizens, syntax etc.).

Here are some of my remarks on d3.js:

  • Nice level of control. You have the possibility to alter everything to the finest details. Some (graphing) “libraries” I’ve worked with so far force you to use their style. Often they provide you the means to apply your own styles and formatting, but this takes quite the effort. d3 lets you/forces you to define your own styles from the beginning (yet in a pretty concise way), and I think this is a good thing. This allows for much more diversity in the things you can create with d3, just look at all the examples.
  • Helpful tutorials and documentation.
  • Pretty clean and compact code. Little redundancy (unlike the standard Javascript library). Chaining helps keep code nice and short.
  • Sometimes unpredictable outcome of types of objects and effect of methods. This is a downside of using any dynamically typed language, I guess. Chaining does make this worse, try adding a mouselistener to a selection after having put a transition somewhere in between (or vice-versa).
  • Lack of decent debugger for Javascript (I was using the chrome console). I was especially lacking a decent view on the stack of variables. Anyone got any suggestions?

My visualisation can be found here.


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