Create Stunning Visuals with D3.js

D3.js Header

You’ve surely heard the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Conveying information or an idea through an image can be much more effective than through words alone.
This is why D3.js (or D3) is such a powerful tool. D3 or Data Driven Documents is a JavaScript library that produces dynamic visualisations of data for the web. It provides the building blocks for displaying data through colourful charts, graphs, and maps – instead of through boring text and spreadsheets. 

D3.js helps you attach your data to DOM (Document Object Model) elements. Then you can use CSS, HTML, and/or SVG (scalable vector graphics) to showcase this data. You can also make the data interactive through the use of D3.js data-driven transformations and transitions.

D3.js: A Retrospective

The first web browsers appeared in the early 1990s. In those days, web pages were static – the only way you could interact with a page was through clicking on links and scrolling down pages. One significant change to this was the development of JavaScript, which made it possible to create web pages with rich user interactivity.

Researchers and engineers then began to look at ways to visually present their data on web pages in an engaging format. Multiple projects were attempted to reach this goal, some more successful than others. In 2011, Professor Jeff Heer, Ph.D. student Mike Bostock, and M.S. student Vadim Ogievetsky developed D3.js – a JavaScript library that generated SVG from data while focusing on web standards and improved performance.

Two Stunning Examples of D3.js

D3 allows you to create engaging visuals with charts that move and transform in front of your eyes. Not only is the result fun – it’s also a way of presenting data so that it’s easier for your audience to understand.Above is an amazing example of what D3 can do is the New York Times’ “How Facebook Compares” analysis of tech company valuations. Shown above is a screen shot of a motion chart created in D3.

It displays a dynamic fluctuation of company value and adjusted worth over the last 30 years. Wanna see it action yourself? Check the animation of D3 at work.Our second example is an analysis of the property market in a bid to discern: “Should I rent or buy a house?”

Again, the animation is what makes this amazing. See for yourself how easy the NY Times wealth of property information is to digest.

That’s the beauty of D3.

D3.js Advantages

D3 is a fantastic tool used to bind data to a visual representation. And it doesn’t restrict you to a set number of configuration options – there are thousands of ways to visually represent your data, through various types of flow charts, graphs, diagrams, and maps.

D3.js is tailored to facilitate animation. You can plot a simple static graph, but why would you when you can visually transform that graph into a moving animation that you can interact with?
It is one of the best supported libraries and is backed by a large and active community. So if you’re having trouble figuring something out with your data chart, chances are good you’ll receive help quickly.
D3.js is not a graphics library, it’s not a data processing library, and there aren’t any pre-built charts that limit your creativity. Instead, it has the tools to make the connection between data and dynamic graphics easy.

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