This guide is broken up into a number of tasks, which we can think of as little modules or recipes.
Each task tries to encapsulate a concrete lesson around common data manipulation and analysis processes. Tasks attempt to be self-contained and stay focused on the, well, task at hand.
This guide was built with for client side data processing (in the browser), but can easily be used in a server side (Node) application with a bit of tweaking (you can check out the analyzing data with Node section for the details later).
D3.js is largely known for its data visualization capabilities - and for good reason. It is quickly becoming the de facto standard for interactive visualization on the web.
Its core feature of binding data to visual representations happens to require a lot of manipulation of said data. Thus, while this toolkit is focused around visualization, it is well suited for data processing as well!
And, a typical output for data manipulation is at least some sort of visualization of that data, in which case you are all ready to go.
In the not too distant past, a major rewrite of the D3.js library was completed and released into the wild. In includes quite a few API changes and a very modular structure (meaning in theory you can just use the bits of D3 that you want and not the rest).
This major rewrite makes D3 a lot better - but it also makes it more challenging to read and use old code and sometimes to understand the documentation. But don't despair! We've maintained the old version of this guide using D3v3 in case you have old code you need help with.
Lodash is fast, popular, and fills in some holes in D3's processing features. Plus, it's functional style and chaining capabilities make it work well alongside D3.
There are a bunch of useful snippets in this guide. Here is an example:
var theMax = d3.max([1,2,20,3]); console.log(theMax);
We use a little arrow,
=>, to indicate output from a code snippet. This same output you can view by opening the console of your favorite web browser.
I typically download these scripts and include local copies in my page. You can keep "libraries" that you are using but didn't write in a
lib folder, and the code you write yourself in a
src folder. Then you want to load all these files on an HTML page. To do this, you would want to have your HTML look something like this:
<!doctype html> <html> <head> </head> <body> <script src='lib/d3.js'></script> <script src='lib/lodash.js'></script> <script src='src/analysis.js'></script> </body> </html>
src/analysis.js would be where your analysis code goes. I put these
script tags at the end of the
body - just so that if there is other content on the page, it won't be delayed in loading. Typically, I name this main HTML file
index.html - so that its loaded automatically as the root page.
D3's functions for reading data require you be running the page from a server. You can do this on your own machine by running a local server out of the root directory of your site.
There are many options for easy-to-spin-up web servers:
npm install -g http-server
-g flag stands for global - which allows you to access
http-server from any directory on your machine.
cd to your analysis directory and start it up!
cd /path/to/dir http-server
In your web browser, open up http://0.0.0.0:8080 and you should be ready to go!
http-serveron your machine.