D3 and CoffeeScript
A Python Programmer's Introduction to Web Visualizations
By Nikhil Gopal
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: October 2014
Run time: 1 hour 48 minutes

Create powerful data visualizations by learning how to use CoffeeScript and D3. With this fast-paced video course, you’ll leverage your knowledge of Python syntax to pick up the basics of CoffeeScript, the language that compiles to JavaScript. Then you’ll tackle the fundamentals of the D3 JavaScript library for implementing visualizations that are attractive, well designed, interactive, and updatable in real-time.

If you’ve been scared away by JavaScript in the past, or hit a frustrating roadblock in previous encounters with D3, download this video or stream it through our HD player, and learn how combining D3 with CoffeeScript will allow you to build some awesome data visualizations.

  • Work step-by-step on three simple but compelling D3 visualization examples
  • Use Coffeescript as a stepping-stone to ease your way into Javascript
  • Reduce D3’s notoriously heavy learning curve by learning the basics
  • Walk away with rudimentary understanding of CoffeeScript and D3 that you can apply to other projects immediately
  • Use CoffeeScript to abstract away some of the more difficult aspects of Javascript

  • Nikhil Gopal has worked as a programmer, analyst, and scientist at major biotechnology companies such as Affymetrix and Illumina. He’s currently working on his PhD at the University of Washington in Seattle, specializing in novel algorithms and data visualization strategies in the realm of biomedical and health informatics.

    Note: learners can access practice files at

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By Michael O'Sullivan

from UK

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    • Frustrating Presentation
    • Not comprehensive enough
    • Too short

    Best Uses

      Comments about oreilly D3 and CoffeeScript:

      Conceptually, this looked interesting: CoffeeScript and D3 from the point of view of a Python programmer rather than a web developer.

      Unfortunately it doesn't really work. Two very simple Python scripts are compared and contrasted with CoffeeScript analogues; but there is very limited discussion of CoffeeScript syntax, mostly involving the observation that it sort of looks a bit like Python (though, really, it looks to have more in common with Ruby).

      The D3 section is more interesting, but here the pace is increased from the glacial Python section to the other extreme so that chunks of code are glossed over.

      The video is really hampered by the screen presentation in the later D3 stages. Three quarters of the screen real estate is wasted by a browser window and terminal that for the most part serve no purpose. The code is pasted into a non-wrapping Sublime text window that is too small to accommodate the line widths, forcing the author to occasionally (but, crucially, not always) scroll to show the end of the lines. Fortunately, there is a blink-or-you-miss-it moment in the introductory video that shows most of the stock market code in a JSPasteBin, so with a bit of effort you can piece it all together. If the code were made available in an online repository, this would be less of an issue.

      It's not clear who the intended audience should be. If you don't already know web, JS and some D3, it may be confusing. The Python hook itself is actually a waste of time. As a quick dash around CoffeeScript with D3, it is OK, but not good value for money.

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