Visualizations: Making Your Data Make Sense [w/Video]

The world and its many, many systems are infinitely complicated and unquantifiable. Yet we hold out hope that if we can collect enough information, we can find the answers to big questions about science, medicine, life, and everything we can imagine. Unfortunately, the more data we collect, the harder it is to interpret. Big data […]

Creating Charts with Rickshaw.js

I was recently introduced to Rickshaw, an open source JavaScript charting framework built on top of D3.js. Rickshaw specializes in creating timeseries graphs. When recently integrating Rickshaw into a project, I ran into a few hurdles that weren’t terribly well documented or explained online. In this post I’ll provide an overview of Rickshaw and go […]

Visualizing Project Scale, Risk, and Options

We discuss scale, risk, and different options with our customers and team members continually throughout the lifetime of a project. Having a visual representation of the conversation points can be very useful. A well-designed visual makes it easy to identify the highs and lows, draws conversation to the most important points, and helps everyone navigate […]

Visualizing Garbage Collection Algorithms

Most developers take automatic garbage collection for granted. It’s just another amazing feature provided by our language run-times to make our jobs easier. But if you try to peek inside a modern garbage collector, it’s very difficult to see how they actually work. There are thousands of implementation details that will confuse you unless you […]

Charting Data with jqPlot

Some of the most interesting and challenging projects involve data visualization. It can be very difficult to express data in a clear way and also make the product aesthetically pleasing. There are many different ways of presenting data to users, and choosing the “correct” visualization is not always a simple decision. Having numerous tools at […]

D3 is for Drawing – JavaScript Data Visualization with D3.js

D3.js is an excellent library for creating in-browser data visualizations. It’s harder to get started with D3 than with other JavaScript graphing libraries, but where other libraries support only a few types of graphs, D3 provides endless possibilities. Using D3 is the most fun I’ve had with a JavaScript library, possibly because it isn’t just […]

Making Diagrams with graphviz

graphviz is a great tool for creating quick diagrams. While it does not have a particularly polished WYSIWYG editor such as omnigraffle, it can automatically create diagrams from its simple markup language, DOT. After reading in the DOT markup, it uses various layout algorithms to automatically arrange the diagram. The DOT language is pretty flexible […]

Puppet + Gephi: Visualizing Infrastructure as Code

Justin Kulesza and I have been using Puppet to manage the configuration of some virtualized servers. Recently, we added some modules that introduced unexpected dependency cycles. As we worked to untangle the complex series of dependencies, it became difficult to keep track of just how everything was connected. In order to make sense of the […]