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Protovis – Visualization Toolkit for Javascript using Canvas

Posted · Category: BSD License, Charts

Protovis is a visualization toolkit for JavaScript using the canvas element. It takes a graphical approach to data visualization, composing custom views of data with simple graphical primitives like bars and dots. These primitives are called marks, and each mark encodes data visually through dynamic properties such as color and position. Although marks are simple by themselves, you can combine them in interesting ways to make rich, interactive visualizations.

To facilitate this, Protovis supports panels and inheritance. A panel is a container for marks; the contained marks are replicated for each data point on the panel. You can vary the panel position to create small multiple displays, or you can overlay panels. Inheritance lets you derive new marks from existing ones, while sharing some or all of the same properties. This is the same principle as cascading in CSS, or prototypal inheritance in JavaScript.

Please note: Protovis is in its early stages of development. At the moment, they only support Firefox 3, but they plan on adding support for Chrome and Safari 4.


Requirements: Firefox 3
Demo: http://vis.stanford.edu/protovis/ex/
License: BSD License

  • Aleksejs

    Wrong demo URL. Should be:

  • Ray Cheung

    @ Aleksejs

    The URL has just been fixed. Thanks.

  • Nice approach. Not quite ready for prime time yet, as users of IE cannot see any charts, and with IE still having 50% of the userbase, half of the visitors won’t be able to see it. Error is with ‘Object doesn’t support this property or method.’ Keep at it though: with a little more browser comatability, this could be a very good tool.

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  • SDC

    I salute tools that focus on getting it right on Firefox, Safari, and Chrome before getting hungup on IE. This is kind of geared more toward researchers and such than click-n-drag show off in the boardroom eye candy.

    Nicely done to the Protovis devs!

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