Interactive Data Visualization for the Web
Interesting and thorough introduction to visualization with D3.
The code samples for the book can be downloaded from Github and you basically just need a modern web browser to run then. I like the idea of using a couple of common examples throughout the book. This illustrates the process of how one start with a simple visualization and gradually make it more advanced by adding more features. However after having read half the book I found it really hard to understand that D3 can be used to create such advanced visualization as found on The New York Times website. Basically it would seem that the visualizations created in the first part of the just a well could have been created using Excel charts.
The real power of D3 is not revealed until the last part of the book where topics like Updates, Transitions, Motion, and Interactivity are covered. If you have knowledge about GUI frameworks you will not be surprised to discover that updating and interactions with the visualizations is based on event handling. The ability to create visualization transitioning into another visualization in just one line of code is amazing. By now I begin to understand the powerful capabilities of D3.
If you have interest in visualization then you probably already know the Choropleth map which is simply a geomap where different areas of the map is filled with different colors reflecting some associated data. A well known example is the US presidential election display states in either red or blue depending on who won that particular state. The book shows how to construct a Choropleth map with different green shapes for each US state corresponding to the agricultural productivity. The true strength of this topic lies in the fact that afterward Murray explains how to create similar visualization for other geographic areas so if you are more interested in visualizing European data you have all the tools necessary at your service.
Interactive Data Visualization for the Web provides enough information about basic D3 concepts for one to be able to start creating your own interactive visualization. This is not an advanced book that will teach you to create complex visualizations but you will be able to use this book as a starting point for further exploration of D3. If one accepts this premise then I believe the book provides value for your time and money.
I review for the O'Reilly Reader Review Program and I want to be transparent about my reviews so you should know that I received a free copy of this ebook in exchange of my review.
Title: Interactive Data Visualization for the Web
Author: Scott Murray
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Release Date: March 2013