New tools/apis for visualization
Lately, there have been some new API’s and tools for creating new visualizations as well as creating visualizations more easily. Some of these tools/api’s are not-so-new (but are new to me). Readers of this blog already know my inclination to Many Eyes to which I have referred to before.
Google Visualization API – Is an excellent Visualization API released by Google to allow the creation of new visualizations from multiple data streams. Users are encouraged to not only use pre-built visualizations but are also able to create and share their new visualizations for other users. Their Gadget gallery has some excellent examples.
Processing – Processing is an open source programming language that is increasingly being used for creating captivating visualizations that not only provide insight but as serving as art pieces. It has been used widely in exhibitions as well as talks. A visualization created by processing is called a Sketch. A collection of such sketches can be found at the gallery on the processing website. There is also another movement to share processing sketches at OpenProcessing which as described by the author “is a ‘flickr’ish place for processing community to share their sketches, comment on each other’s pieces, etc..” It is also being used as one of the tools to teach a new course at Harvard by Hanspeter Pfister. More details at http://www.seas.harvard.edu/courses/cs171/
Flare – is a flash based version of the Prefuse toolkit (authored primarily by Jeff Heer and others), which is an excellent visualization toolkit. Prefuse has been used very widely in numerous projects and I anticipate the same for Flare. As per the website, Flare is already being used in Many Eyes. Checkout some demos on their website.
If you know of any more interesting API’s tools that allow the creation of new/cool visualizations, please feel free to post here in the comments.