Sunday, December 04, 2011

Something for the Weekend? 006 - Visualisations

tl;dr:     visual representations are lovely

Christopher Warnow and onformative have worked together to make a movie which gives a visual dimension (not an explanation) for various sorting algorithms.

I came across Warnow because @cunabula had retweeted a link to his visualisation of Amazon's recommended books, A Thousand Milieus. Warnow uses Amazon's recommendations to find a hundred related books - then shows you them as clusters.

Delightfully, Warnow has made his tool available (not open source, but available*) - so here are visualisations** for books*** about testing that I've been known to recommend:

Hope you've had a lovely weekend.

* data walking and munging is done with Processing, which is dead easy to get a handle on, and the graphing side is basically Gephi. So go on - have a play. Here's your map: download the tool (which brings the Processing library for Gephi), download and install Processing, chuck Francis Li's http library into the right place, fire up the tool script (all 12Kb of it) and check that its behaviour seems reasonable. That's the hard stuff done. Now everything is open to you - your first task is to make the tool search for 30 books, rather than 100. Feel satisfied?
** two visualisations per book? Certainly. Running the tool twice produces diagrams with similar content, but very different layout. Compare and contrast.
*** U.S. Amazon store

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