The Uprising of Data Driven Documents
Data Visualization – History Repeating
As with many approaches in current technological innovations, the D3 community wanted to go back to the roots of data visualization. While William Playfair’s “Statistical Breviary” from 1801 is considered to be the milestone for statistical charts, Florence Nightingale’s “A contribution to the sanitary history of the British army during the late war with Russia” from 1855 and her famous “polar area diagram” (also “rose charts”, “nightingale rose” or “coxcombs”) is where data visualization began.
Touch the Data
Just like in those days, today’s data visualizers come from interdisciplinary contexts. One of the vanguards of contemporary data visualization techniques is Martin Krzywinski, who developed a number of amazing visualization for the Human Genome Project and developed CIRCOS. With the advance of better web browsers and techniques such as two-way data-binding, a collective dream of every information aesthete is about to become true: Data visualizations with rich interactions and animations you can touch.
Business Value in Data Driven Documents
Business Applications are striving for reports and control dashboards. Most concepts of reporting applications lack the fundamental research the Data Driven Documents community has been doing. As a result, Business Leaders are presented with visualizations they simply do not understand or are presented with a varying “Lie Factor” (see Tufte 1983). Today’s data visualization research tightens the binding of data and visualization: The graph presented should not be result of some computation logic elusive to the beholder. Rather the visualization should be a real representation of the nature of the data and any event the has an impact on this very nature must have an impact on any visualization bound to the data.
Let me explain, what we mean by “any event” when it comes to Business Application Development with Sclable. Interactivity isn’t a bad thing for exploring data. Most interactions are limited to data filtering though. Let’s think of other events such as data being modified by a business application’s user or automations while you are viewing a visualized representation of it. Or imagine the impact of extremely volatile “viewing permissions” for users of a business application on reports or control dashboards.
Sclable Visualization Development Environment
At Sclable we are about to start a research and development project within the next few weeks with the prospective outcome of a concept along with a prototypical implementation for a complete Visualization Development Environment built upon the Sclable Platform. Our goal is to make it a breeze for developers to build rich and lie-factor free, accurate and pleasing visualisations. Just as fast you can build up your business domain model along with your application with the Sclable Platform.
New features for Sclable’s Core Engine
There are a number of ground breaking features we will implement into Sclable’s Core Engine during our R&D project. Just to name a few: Aggregates will let you bind aggregation computations to the domain model. A complete refactoring of Calculated Attributes and Calculation Functions using the event system, already built inside Sclable since the early beta of version 2.0, will give you the freedom of any computation detached from the model. Selections will get an overhaul as they will get used extensively with data visualizations.
A Glimpse on what is Upcoming
The upcoming release of the Sclable Platform’s Domain Designer component will feature some conceptual Ideas: While manipulation your business application’s domain model, rich visualizations are shown to ease getting the big picture on large and complex models. Model subsets such as workflow and relation graphs are written in D3 bound to the data of the Sclable meta model domain via angular’s two-way data-binding.
Outlook on more Insight
The world of Business Application Development is changing a lot right now. At Sclable, our prediction is that data visualization as a topic will become one of the next big things soon. We have been seeing the “Big Data” hype along with a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings around it. What is needed urgently within the field of business application is insight. Sclable is on the way to give you the tools to create such insight.