Visualizing Data
Exploring and Explaining Data with the Processing Environment
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: December 2007
Pages: 384

Enormous quantities of data go unused or underused today, simply because people can't visualize the quantities and relationships in it. Using a downloadable programming environment developed by the author, Visualizing Data demonstrates methods for representing data accurately on the Web and elsewhere, complete with user interaction, animation, and more.

How do the 3.1 billion A, C, G and T letters of the human genome compare to those of a chimp or a mouse? What do the paths that millions of visitors take through a web site look like? With Visualizing Data, you learn how to answer complex questions like these with thoroughly interactive displays. We're not talking about cookie-cutter charts and graphs. This book teaches you how to design entire interfaces around large, complex data sets with the help of a powerful new design and prototyping tool called "Processing".

Used by many researchers and companies to convey specific data in a clear and understandable manner, the Processing beta is available free. With this tool and Visualizing Data as a guide, you'll learn basic visualization principles, how to choose the right kind of display for your purposes, and how to provide interactive features that will bring users to your site over and over. This book teaches you:

  • The seven stages of visualizing data -- acquire, parse, filter, mine, represent, refine, and interact
  • How all data problems begin with a question and end with a narrative construct that provides a clear answer without extraneous details
  • Several example projects with the code to make them work
  • Positive and negative points of each representation discussed. The focus is on customization so that each one best suits what you want to convey about your data set
The book does not provide ready-made "visualizations" that can be plugged into any data set. Instead, with chapters divided by types of data rather than types of display, you'll learn how each visualization conveys the unique properties of the data it represents -- why the data was collected, what's interesting about it, and what stories it can tell. Visualizing Data teaches you how to answer questions, not simply display information.
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oreillyVisualizing Data
 
3.3

(based on 6 reviews)

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        1.0

        Book full of source code

        By Thierry

        from Belgium

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          Cons

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              Comments about oreilly Visualizing Data:

              10 and 10 of pages of source code does not belong in a book

               
              3.0

              Short on design, long on capturing data

              By Doug Domeny

              from Manchester, NH

              About Me Developer

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Helpful examples

              Cons

              • Becoming Outdated
              • Too Detailed

              Best Uses

              • Intermediate
              • Novice

              Comments about oreilly Visualizing Data:

              Contains a lot of (Java) code, especially on capturing data. Little on design approaches for visualization of different types of data. What design suggestions exist, delve into details like the length of a dash and what font to use. Published in 2007, this book is showing its age. Touch devices are not mentioned.

               
              3.0

              Lots of Processing/Java code and details

              By Doug Domeny

              from Manchester, NH

              About Me Developer

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Novice

                  Comments about oreilly Visualizing Data:

                  Contains a lot of (Java) code, especially on capturing data. Little on design approaches for visualization of different types of data. What design suggestions exist, delve into details like the length of a dash and what font to use. Published in 2007, this book is showing its age. Touch devices are not mentioned.

                  (6 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  3.0

                  Well written but focused on Processing only

                  By jdruin

                  from Undisclosed

                  Comments about oreilly Visualizing Data:

                  I found this book to be well written. When I first looked into it I was expecting a bit more on the theories behind data management such as relational algebra, set theory, or other data management theories. This book is focused almost solely on how to use the "Processing" language to perform data analysis. Their is value in the Processing language and the tools were free to use and try. You can follow the examples in the book or you can plug in your own data and follow along with that. I would recommend going to the Processing website and checking out the tool first. If the toolset looks lke it could help you then by all means get the book.

                  (5 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  THE methodology for visualizing data

                  By Julien Bayle

                  from Undisclosed

                  Comments about oreilly Visualizing Data:

                  Before to read this book, I experimented a lot Processing environment.

                  I'd like to visualize data with an artistic approach.

                  The obvious lack of method, lack of knowledge about that were very frustrated.

                  The Fry's book has just bridged these gaps with a very structured methodology to organize our ideas, our datas and our projects.

                  This is definitively a must!

                  (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Tremendously useful!

                  By Michael Cytrynowicz

                  from Undisclosed

                  Comments about oreilly Visualizing Data:

                  What a great book - I knew about John Maeda and his students, and later got interested in Processing, which is very, very cool - but Ben Fry's book opens the door to Processing being useful to my work. The worked out examples were thoughtfully chosen for extensibility (do more interesting things, use your own data, etc.).

                  A star in O'Reilly's series, I think this one will become a classic.

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