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Visualizing data in the RAW

During the search for a better, easier ways to create images to represent software concepts, I’ve come across a few tools that do a good job creating basic, official-looking graphs. Many of these tools offer teaser trials in hopes of inducing you to buy a full featured version. Not so with the open web app called RAW. Combining clean vector-based graphics with a powerful D3.js JavaScript library, I was able to create a number of different graphs that, with just a few tweaks, surfaced a number of interesting conclusions. In about ten minutes, I was able to build the following graphs, illustrating some interesting possibilities that can be created with a few numbers, dates, and strings. First off, the Sankey diagram: 1-Alluvial-Diagram-Ex. Created originally to illustrate the direction and volume of data flowing through a network, the Sankey diagram relates multiple types of data, and based on the width of the line connecting each point, shows relative amount of that connection. By adding additional levels, this diagram can be quickly adapted for use as a Requirements Mapping Matrix, or even a Data Flow Diagram. In a similar vein, the Cluster Dendrogram, below, splits out cocktail ingredients in just about any drink you can name: 2-Cluster-Dendogram-w.-drink-ingred. The Circular variety of Dendrogram has three levels of comparison, showing how many parts, per ingredient, are in each cocktail: 3-Circle-Dendogram-w.-drink-ingred.-e1424834485751Similar to the Sankey diagram, the Dendrograms can illuminate connections between multiple levels of data, and could be used for just about anything with correlative data from a system diagram to a status report. Continuing with the circular theme, we have the Clustered Force Layout, shown below, which groups varying sizes of circles to represent proportion between data points, or in this case, proportion of drink ingredients…it’s got to be happy hour somewhere?! 4-Circle-ingrediant-group-by-drink-Ex. Finally, in honor of Oscar season, I made this Scatter Plot, showing movie titles, arranged by budget, with dot volume representing the film’s IMDB rating. 5-Movies-by-IMDB-score-and-Budget RAW can create a number of other types of graphs not mentioned here, but once you have added data to the tool, it couldn’t be easier to play around and experiment. That flexibility allows RAW to serve both as a fun exploration tool that helps slice up and reformat you data, and a high-quality image generator, able to spit out illustrator-ready vector files that can be used in print or presentation. Play around with the tool and share some of the graphs you come up with! And remember… this is our little secret!

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