Getting Started with D3
Creating Data-Driven Documents
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: June 2012
Pages: 70

Learn how to create beautiful, interactive, browser-based data visualizations with the D3 JavaScript library. This hands-on book shows you how to use a combination of JavaScript and SVG to build everything from simple bar charts to complex infographics. You’ll learn how to use basic D3 tools by building visualizations based on real data from the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Using historical tables, geographical information, and other data, you’ll graph bus breakdowns and accidents and the percentage of subway trains running on time, among other examples. By the end of the book, you’ll be prepared to build your own web-based data visualizations with D3.

  • Join a dataset with elements of a webpage, and modify the elements based on the data
  • Map data values onto pixels and colors with D3’s scale objects
  • Apply axis and line generators to simplify aspects of building visualizations
  • Create a simple UI that allows users to investigate and compare data
  • Use D3 transitions in your UI to animate important aspects of the data
  • Get an introduction to D3 layout tools for building more sophisticated visualizations

If you can code and manipulate data, and know how to work with JavaScript and SVG, this book is for you.

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oreillyGetting Started with D3
 
3.7

(based on 13 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

77%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to understand (8)
  • Helpful examples (7)
  • Well-written (6)
  • Concise (5)
  • Accurate (3)

Cons

  • Not comprehensive enough (7)

Best Uses

  • Intermediate (7)
  • Novice (7)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Developer (10)

Reviewed by 13 customers

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3.0

Not a good book for getting started

By ahmetRasit

from Ankara, Turkey

About Me Developer, Educator

Verified Reviewer

Pros

    Cons

    • Difficult to understand
    • Not comprehensive enough

    Best Uses

      Comments about oreilly Getting Started with D3:

      I've read two of the O'Reilly books to learn D3, this book is not a good place to start. There is some pedagogical thing missing. It might be an overlearn material, not a good primer. The other one (Interactive Data Visualization for the Web) by Scott Murray is much more better for an introduction to the subject. It's a bit disappointment in the standards of an O'Reilly publication.

       
      4.0

      Good place to get started with D3

      By Rob

      from Brisbane Australia

      About Me Developer

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Concise
      • Easy to understand
      • Helpful examples
      • Well-written

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Novice

        Comments about oreilly Getting Started with D3:

        I picked up a review copy of this book quite a while ago, being intrigued by D3, but not really knowing what it was. It was only more recently that I have been working on a codebase that uses D3, and so had a need to read the book. I'd been tinkering around the edges, but then had a strong need to do some d3 codeing, so picked up my copy of "Getting Started with D3″.

        It's a good thin little book that does a really good of introducing D3 and how to work and think in the D3 way. I found it a really useful tool for learning D3 and it gave me enough to do what I wanted. It's a good entry point, and helps give an idea of how to work with the D3 APIs. The book shows good examples of consuimg JSON data, and how to render the data into the DOM with D3. It additionally goes through some SVG and charting examples. It is worth noting that the book is a short read. If you are expecting a detailed reference to D3, this isn't the book for you.

        I'd recommend the book to any developer who wants to know more about D3. I'd strongly recommend it to someone who wants or needs to get started writing D3 code quickly.

        [This book was reviewed as a part of the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program]

         
        4.0

        A good intro to D3

        By Ian Oxley

        from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK

        About Me Developer

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Intermediate
            • Novice

            Comments about oreilly Getting Started with D3:

            D3 is a powerful JavaScript library for creating HTML, CSS, and SVG visualisations. Getting Started With D3 provides a good introduction to the library, and guides the reader through creating charts using real data from the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority.

            The book starts off by helping you get your environment setup so you can get the most out of the book, from downloading D3 and creating a basic HTML template used throughout the examples, to setting up a basic web server using Python.

            Subsequent chapters help the reader build up their knowledge of D3 by working through a series of examples. The first example focuses on using selections, and uses data from the data set to create a HTML and CSS-based bar chart. Next, the book helps you create a scatter graph, and a line chart, using SVG. It then covers making your visualisations more interactive by showing how you can add mouseover effects, and animations. The final set of examples gives you a brief glimpse of the range of possibilities D3 can open up for you by discussing force layout, histogram layout, and stack layout.

            As an introduction to using D3, it's very good. Each chapter builds on what has been discussed before, and the examples were easy enough to follow along with. If you've always wanted to get to grips with D3, but were daunted by it's steep learning curve, this book could be just what you're looking for.

            (6 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

             
            2.0

            Sloppy

            By Hoytie

            from Oakland, CA

            Pros

            • Easy to understand

            Cons

            • Too basic
            • Too many errors

            Best Uses

              Comments about oreilly Getting Started with D3:

              This book was obviously thrown together very quickly. It's full of errors, and causes confusion by being inconsistent between examples. I did learn from going through the book (It's extremely short and you can go through the whole thing in a day), but I think I'd have been better off looking at other resources. I also find filler such as "Knowing when the trains are running in New York can make all the difference to your day" somewhat patronizing, and the conclusion chapter was basically having the author read the table of contents back to me. Thanks dude. Anyways, there are plenty of resources online that are superior to this book that are free, so why bother?

              (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

               
              2.0

              Too many errors and not comprehensive

              By Andreas

              from London

              About Me Developer

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Easy to understand

              Cons

              • Too many errors

              Best Uses

              • Intermediate
              • Novice

              Comments about oreilly Getting Started with D3:

              Promising overview, but marred with errors and omissions, especially in the last two chapters. So rather frustrating if you try to follow along and do the examples. The early examples help you to get started, and the "unconfirmed" errata page helps a bit with the later ones, but ultimately not up to O'Reilly editorial standards, and not comprehensive enough.

              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              3.0

              Not a detailed book, but it helps.

              By Dillie-O

              from Prescott, AZ

              About Me Developer

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Concise
              • Helpful examples

              Cons

              • Not comprehensive enough

              Best Uses

              • Intermediate

              Comments about oreilly Getting Started with D3:

              A project I am currently working on required me to find an efficient way to displaying a "heat map" of data throughout the United States. While one approach would be to simply create static images, the map also needed to be updated based on different data parameters. We also wanted to be able to generate tooltips and zoom in and out of the map. These requirements led me to the D3 library and a nice book entitled, Getting Started with D3 by Mike Dewar that helped get me up and running.

              This is a short book, designed to get you up and running quickly, using a real world scenario of the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority in order to provide working examples of code. There is a short introduction about the D3 library itself and then you are brought straight in to a basic example of data binding to an unordered list. From there the book increases complexity, going to scatter maps, dynamic interaction with the data, and even timed updates.

              This is a "learn by doing" book that doesn't go into much theory or structure. For some people this may be an issue (I wound up using some online sources to cover the mapping specific needs I had in conjunction to this book), but if you need something to get up and running immediately, then this is an invaluable resource. I will be going back to this book often in the future, as it outlined how many powerful features are available through the library and I will have many projects in the future where this will come in handy.

              Getting Started with D3 gets you up and running with this powerful Javascript library quickly and easily. It does not provide detailed documentation on it's library and background, but it will help you get data visualizations on your site immediately, from which you can dig deeper to enhance your site later on. I recommend it if you need to get up and running quickly, or if you want a brief and fully functional overview of the library.

              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

               
              4.0

              A useful introduction to D3

              By Nick Matthews

              from Kitchener, Ontario

              About Me Developer

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Accurate
              • Concise
              • Easy to understand
              • Helpful examples
              • Well-written

              Cons

              • Not comprehensive enough

              Best Uses

              • Intermediate
              • Student

              Comments about oreilly Getting Started with D3:

              For the past several weeks, I've been working with some visualization libraries in JavaScript. There are a number of different options available, from using the bitmap graphics in the HTML 5 canvas, to writing vector graphics with SVG output.

              One of the more popular libraries at the moment is D3, which provides a flexible framework for visualizing large datasets in SVG. While the examples and API documentation available on the D3 website are helpful, I have also found Mike Dewar's book, "Getting Started with D3" to be a helpful resource.

              Dewar uses a publicly available resource, the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority Data Set, to demonstrate how the library can be used to present data in a number of ways. The book covers all the basics with D3, from the selection model, to interactive graphs, and specialized layouts, such as force-directed graphs. While it covers some of these concepts, it never goes into great detail about anything in particular. While this is a "getting started" book, it's very much an introductory title.

              Still, this is a relatively short book. It's a good introduction to D3, but leaves a great deal about the library to be explored. In chapter 3, the author notes that the standard D3 visualizations are rendered in SVG, which limits the usage to modern browsers. While it is noted that Internet Explorer 9 (March 2011) provides SVG support, the book fails to explain exactly what that means today. As I've mentioned before, IE 8 is the most recent version of Internet Explorer that can run on Windows XP, which still has a sizeable market share. While there are workarounds, such as using d34raphael to render VML output in earlier versions of IE, or using svgweb to render the SVG output in Flash, these problems are glossed over with a simple aside.

              In the end, D3 is a very useful tool, and Mike Dewar's book does a decent job of explaining how to go about using it. It's unfortunate that the book doesn't go into greater detail, especially since the book is so short to begin with.

              This book was reviewed as part of O'Reilly's Blogger Review program.

              (1 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

               
              4.0

              Good Introduction to D3

              By d m

              from India

              About Me Developer

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Easy to understand
              • Helpful examples
              • Well-written

              Cons

              • Not comprehensive enough

              Best Uses

              • Intermediate
              • Novice
              • Student

              Comments about oreilly Getting Started with D3:

              I used this book to get started developing visualizations.
              Very good introduction.
              Lots of great examples to get us started.
              Clear explanation.

              No cons.

              (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              A gentle intro into murky waters

              By DJ Rev. Dr. T.

              from Washington, DC

              About Me Developer, Educator

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Accurate
              • Concise
              • Easy to understand
              • Helpful examples
              • Well-written

              Cons

              • Not comprehensive enough
              • We want more -

              Best Uses

              • Intermediate

              Comments about oreilly Getting Started with D3:

              D3 is a strange, strange beast. Its not for the faint of heart, even if they are JavaScript experts already. For a JS novice... fuggedaboutit! It doesn't help that the examples on the D3 site are written by the 80th level JS Wizard and thus are utterly incomprehensible to a 6th level Carpenter.

              This book changes the equation. It's a clear, concise intro text that de-obfuscated many things. It took all of 5 hours to blow through this short book and do every example, and gain a huge amount of insight and understanding. Using real data for the book was a huge plus, and the examples are immediately adaptable to using other kinds of real data. My only concern was data transformation -- if you happen to have a non-modern version of Python things might prove dicey.

              As any good book, I was sad that it was over just when I really got into it. My skills have now been upgraded to maybe 20th level -- which is a huge improvement -- but I still got that 80th level Wizard to stand up to.

              So -- Mike, please write a 2nd, expanded edition! Perhaps with explanations behind some of the cooler examples on the D3 site. A stream-graph would be cool, or clustering diagrams, or really anything with a high visual "wow" factor.

              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Visualizations for the modern web

              By Aaron Sumner

              from Lawrence, KS

              About Me Developer

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Concise
              • Easy to understand
              • Helpful examples
              • Well-written

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Intermediate
                • Novice

                Comments about oreilly Getting Started with D3:

                I recently inherited some code at work that makes good use of the D3 visualization library for Javascript. I'm admittedly not the biggest Javascript fan, but I also recognize that it's now the de facto language of the web. And D3 is the library for people who want to do heavy-duty visualizations–in other words, not just bar and pie charts.

                Getting Started with D3 by Mike Dewar is a short but sweet introduction to D3. In about 90 pages, you'll have a solid understanding of how to use D3 to create pretty visuals of your data. As it turns out, it's not as difficult as I was fretting–in fact, I've already picked up some ideas on how to make the code I inherited work a bit better.

                My hands-down favorite thing about this book is its use of actual data to create visualizations of real-world situations–in this case, data provided by New York City's public transit system. I also like that the book doesn't require its readers to be Javascript experts–but then, that might be a selling point of D3, too. If you understand the basics of jQuery, you can pick up D3's style of chaining methods together to build rich data visualizations. Dewar clearly outlines each step of the process to show how any given visualization is built from a series of D3-related functions. That said, you may want to find some supplemental information on SVG to get the most out of D3–you can create some visuals using just Javascript and CSS, but SVG awareness will help your visualizations really shine.

                All in all, I strongly recommend Getting Started with D3 for anyone looking to create high-quality data visualizations for the modern web. It's a quick read that will bring you up to speed quickly on a well-done Javascript library with lots of potential.

                Note: I wrote this review for O'Reilly's Blogger Review Program.

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