Prototype: Web-Friendly Visualizations in R

May 18, 2010

(This article was first published on » R, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Developing web-friendly data visualizations is not very difficult, though as far as I know, a package that allows one to do this directly in R does not exist (e-mail me if you know of one). As someone who has been developing lots of data-oriented software tools, it’s always nice to post visualizations online. To facilitate this task, I’ve been fooling around with creating a data visualization prototype in R. While the package is very limited in what it does, I hope it’ll generate a discussion on the types of visualization tools that could help R users post their work on the web.

At this stage, the package has three functions to illustrate scatter plots, line graphs, and social networks. Each function creates a new directory with all the necessary JavaScript and HTML files. The HTML file could then be embedded using an inline frame (as done below) or used as a standalone website.

You can download the prototype here, and below are some examples of visualizations.

Scatter Plot

x = rnorm(25)
y = rnorm(25)
wv.scatterplot(x, y, "/wv-scatterplot", height=300, width=300, marginsize=0.1)

Line Graph

x = -100:100/10
y = sin(x)
wv.lineplot(x, y, "/wv-lineplot", height=300, width=300, marginsize=0.1)

Social Network

g <-, 0.175)
wv.sna(g, "/wv-sna", rnorm(15, 2, 0.75), width=400, height=400)

Next Steps

I apologize in advance, as some of the code above may be buggy and it certainly isn’t very customizable. The next step — assuming there’s interest — is to abstract the graph drawing to individual functions so one can then produce multiple graphs in one canvas or frame. Making more options for interactivity, labels, and so on is also a must. Again, comments and suggestions are very welcome.

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