Instant Interactive Visualization with d3 + ggplot2

March 4, 2012

(This article was first published on Edwin Chen's Blog, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

It’s often easier to understand a chart than a table. So why is it still so hard to make a simple data graphic, and why am I still bombarded by mind-numbing reams of raw numbers?

(Yeah, I love ggplot2 to death. But sometimes I want a little more interaction, and sometimes all I want is to drag-and-drop and be done.)

So I’ve been experimenting with a small, ggplot2-inspired d3 app.

Simply drop a file, and bam! Instant scatterplot:

Swiss Roll B&W

But wait – that’s only 2 dimensions. You can add some more through color, size, and groups:

Swiss Roll Edit

(Click here to play with the data yourself.)

And you can easily switch which variables are getting plotted, and see all the information associated with each point.

Swiss Roll Pivot

(Same dataset, different aesthetic assignments.)

I’m thinking of adding more kinds of charts, support for categorical variables, more interactivity (sliders to interact with other dimensions?!), and making the UI even easier (e.g., simplify column naming). In the meantime, the code is here on Github, and tips and suggestions are welcome!

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