Author: Scott Murray
Publisher: O'Reilly, 2013
Aimed at: Web designers wanting to use D3
Reviewed by: Kay Ewbank
While the title of this book suggests general data visualization, the subtitle ‘An introduction to designing with D3’ gives a more accurate picture of the contents.
Once you’ve got the basics of charts, you can make use of the fact you’re showing them on a screen rather than on paper by updating the data or display in response to user interaction – button pressing, for example. Transitions from one graph display to the next and how to delay and time them are also covered.
Interactivity gets a chapter on its own, with more coverage of how to react to user interactions and how to set up tooltips to give the user more information. There’s a short section on dealing with touch screen devices. As Murray points out, touches are handled as click events, but you have to deal with how to handle multitouch events yourself.
There’s a chapter on geomapping looking at GeoJSON that starts from a simple map projection and goes on to look at Chloropleth where map items such as states or countries are colored differently to represent associated data values. The classic use of this is the red state/blue state maps at US election time for Republican and Democrat, but Chloropleth has many more uses. Murray also shows how to add point values to your maps, and even how to create your own GeoJSON file for use with D3 for those developers who are working with data not already covered by the existing files. This was a short section of a few pages, but might be the basis of more customized solutions.
The book is well written and while it’s code dense, the descriptions are easy to read and understand. There are reports that the Kindle version of the book has formatting errors with missing letters, but the paperback edition and other electronic formats are fine, and the layout is good with nice use of color.