Declarative visualization for Elm
This package allows you to create Vega specifications in Elm providing a pure functional approach to declarative visualization. It does not generate graphical output directly, but instead allows you to create JSON specifications that can be sent to the Vega runtime to create the output.
Note: If you are wishing to create Vega-Lite specifications, use the sister-package elm-vegaLite.
Visualizing a set of geospatial centroids as a Voronoi diagram:
let ds = dataSource [ data "centroids" [ daUrl (str "https://gicentre.github.io/data/uk/constituencySpacedCentroidsWithSpacers.csv") , daFormat [ csv, parseAuto ] ] |> transform [ trGeoPoint "projection" (field "longitude") (field "latitude") , trVoronoi (field "x") (field "y") [ voSize (numSignals [ "width", "height" ]) ] ] ] pr = projections << projection "projection" [ prType transverseMercator , prScale (num 3700) , prTranslate (nums [ 320, 3855 ]) ] sc = scales << scale "cScale" [ scType scOrdinal, scRange raCategory ] mk = marks << mark path [ mFrom [ srData (str "centroids") ] , mEncode [ enEnter [ maPath [ vField (field "path") ] , maFill [ ifElse "datum.region == 0" [ transparent ] [ vScale "cScale", vField (field "region") ] ] ] ] ] in toVega [ width 420, height 670, ds, pr , sc , mk  ]
This generates a JSON specification that when sent to the Vega runtime produces the following output:
A rationale for Elm programmers
There is a demand for good visualization packages with Elm, especially ones that incorporate good practice in visualization design. Vega provides a theoretically robust and flexible grammar for specifying visualization design but is based on the JSON format. elm-vega provides a typed functional mapping of Vega, so affording the advantages of the Elm language in building up higher level visualization functions. Because Vega is widely used, you can take advantage of the many thousands of visualizations already shared in the Vega language.
Characteristics of elm-vega
Built upon the widely used Vega specification that has an academic robustness and momentum behind its development.
Full access to lower level expressive visualization design.
Strict typing and friendly error messages means "the compiler is your friend" when building and debugging complex visualizations.
A rationale for data visualisers
By wrapping Vega within the Elm language, we can avoid working with JSON directly and instead take advantage of a typed functional programming environment for improved error support and customisation. This greatly improves reusability of code and integration with larger programming projects.
Elm and elm-vega provide an ideal environment for educators wishing to teach more advanced Data Visualization combining the beginner-friendly design of Elm with the robust and theoretically underpinned design of Vega.
- If you have not done so already, to get familiar with the approach of declarative visualization you may find it helpful to look first at the simpler elm-vegaLite.
- Then try creating your first Vega visualization with elm-vega and specifying a Vega bar chart.
- For a rich set of Vega examples see the Vega example gallery.
- To get coding, see the elm-vega API documentation.
- Further examples can be found in the elm-vega examples and elm-vega tests folders.
- You can also work with elm-vega in a litvis – a literate visualization environment for embedding visualization specifications in a formatted text environment.