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REVIEW: "Visualizing Data", Ben Fry

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Han
    BKVSLZDT.RVW 20080418 Visualizing Data , Ben Fry, 2008, 0-596-51455-7, U$39.99/C$39.99 %A Ben Fry benfry.com/writing %C 103 Morris Street, Suite A,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 17, 2008
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      BKVSLZDT.RVW 20080418

      "Visualizing Data", Ben Fry, 2008, 0-596-51455-7, U$39.99/C$39.99
      %A Ben Fry benfry.com/writing
      %C 103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472
      %D 2008
      %G 0-596-51455-7 978-0-596-51455-6
      %I O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
      %O U$39.99/C$39.99 800-998-9938 fax: 707-829-0104 nuts@...
      %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596514557/robsladesinterne
      %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596514557/robsladesin03-20
      %O Audience a- Tech 2 Writing 1 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
      %P 366 p.
      %T "Visualizing Data"

      The preface states that the book is intended both for graphics
      designers without a computer science background and for software
      developers who do not have a graphics background. The examples use
      Processing, an open source Java API (Application Programming
      Interface) developed by the author.

      Chapter one is a basic introduction to data visualization, noting the
      importance of asking the right questions. There is also a mention of
      a seven-stage iterative design model for creating visualizations.
      Processing is introduced in chapter two, and will feel familiar to
      those acquainted with Java programming. There are also suggestions on
      how to approach and use the language, based on the design model given
      previously. In chapter three an example is provided of building a
      display using "random" data. There are a few points on display
      element choices, but most of the content deals with specific API
      calls. Much the same is done in chapter four, with more APIs, a few
      options for display element choice but even less analysis of the
      alternatives, and a rather poor illustration since a three dimensional
      problem is forced into a two dimensional chart. Chapter five starts
      with twenty-two pages of acquisition and parsing, twenty-six pages of
      the display including ten pages of source code, with figures that are
      even less clear. Code for the example used in chapter one is provided
      in chapter six. Chapter seven demonstrates the creation of a treemap
      where the rectangles show relative sizes of values. Network graphs,
      showing relations and interactions between items, are shown in chapter

      Some tools for acquiring data are listed in chapter nine. This
      includes MySQL, which is rather odd, since chapter ten reviews the
      parsing of data. The Processing language, and integration with Java,
      is covered in chapter eleven.

      Graphics designers comfortable with Java programming would find this
      work very useful. Software developers probably wouldn't get a lot out
      of it.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2008 BKVSLZDT.RVW 20080418

      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... slade@... rslade@...
      Metabolically challenged - politically correct term for dead
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