Book Review

Interactive Data Visualization for the Web – Book Review

I've just finished reading Interactive Data Visualization for the Web (An Introduction to Designing with D3), by Scott Murray. This book covers the basics on how to use D3, a library to make it easier to do data visualizations (see the very cool gallery for an example of what has been done with it).

This is Early Release Version 3 of the book, so there may be changes in the finished release.

The book covers the basics on how to use D3 – starting with a bar chart all the way to how to convert shapefiles and display maps.

One thing I found interesting is how similar using D3 feels to JQuery. They very much are helper libraries. I expected D3 to be more of a delphi component – point it to the data, set a few parameters and it goes from there. But in reality, there will be a quite bit of code for anything you do. The advantage is that it is very, very flexible.

The style of the book is quite light, and it is targeted to all users who want to do data visualization – not just programmers. Thus, there is a quick introduction to a lot of basics, including the Web, HTML, DOM, CSS, Javascript and SVG. It seems feasible that a dedicated reader would be able to follow it without much programming experience.

Overall, I liked it. The examples all work and are useful, and it took me about 4 hours to read it, including trying out all examples and following some of the links to useful resources.