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Visualizing Data: Exploring and Explaining Data with the Processing Environment
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Visualizing Data: Exploring and Explaining Data with the Processing Environment

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  284 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Enormous quantities of data go unused or underused today, simply because people can't visualize the quantities and relationships in it. Using a downloadable programming environment developed by the author, Visualizing Data demonstrates methods for representing data accurately on the Web and elsewhere, complete with user interaction, animation, and more.

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Paperback, 384 pages
Published December 25th 2007 by O'Reilly Media (first published January 1st 2007)
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Mar 23, 2008 Tom rated it liked it
Recommended to Tom by:
Visualizing Data explores data visualizations through the Processing Environment, a Java-based IDE used as a sort of visual sketchpad to plot out visualizations without heaps of Java code. The author, Ben Fry, is well schooled - PhD from the Aesthetics + Computation Group at the MIT Media Laboratory, the 2006-2007 Nierenberg Chair of Design for the Carnegie Mellon School of Design, amongst other achievements. Fry stresses the 7 stages of visualizing data:

Acquire -> Parse -> Filter -> Mi
Sep 12, 2010 Chris rated it liked it
This was a helpful (re)introduction to the Processing language for me. I found Fry's characterisation of the process of developing a visualisation ("acquire, parse, filter, mine, represent, refine, and interact") useful in that it provides a structured framework for thinking about something that can be a messy endeavour. I also liked the strong emphasis on questions and narrative - the notion that data visualisation should actually have something to say is all too often lost in technical books.
Aug 06, 2009 Lucas rated it really liked it
Shelves: computers
The best parts of this book are early and late chapters on the fundamentals of Processing. It's easy to pick it up and learn from the online documentation and forums only the specific functions and concepts that allow me to do what I know I don't know how to do, but of the foundations I had no idea: like the preprocessor that turns the code into Java, and the differences between the different graphics modes.

Middle chapters on plotting 2D graphs was pretty good, I hadn't thought of using it for s
May 31, 2008 Dale rated it it was amazing
To quote from the first chapter:

The process of understanding data begins with a set of numbers and a question. The following steps form a path to the answer:

Acquire: Obtain the data, whether from a file on a disk or a source over a network.

Parse: Provide some structure for the data's meaning, and order it into categories.

Filter: Remove all but the data of interest.

Mine: Apply methods from statistics or data mining as a way to discern patterns or place the data in mathematical context.

Alex Ainslie
Nov 21, 2009 Alex Ainslie rated it liked it
Shelves: bcc
Fry, a co-creator of processing, presents a series of visualization case studies with clean code snippets and concise explanations. It seems a little bizarre to claim that acquisition is a stage of the visualization process (might visualization start after you have a dataset and are trying to find a new way to understand and share its nuances?). Still, this is a manual I will keep nearby.
Sep 11, 2011 Dgg32 rated it it was amazing
Fry tried really hard to teach and it is delightful course. I really learn something from this book. Processing is still not a mainstream language (or dialect as Fry put it), but its potential as a animation web app is still huge. So if you want to start with Processing, this book is better than the thin "Getting start with Processing". The latter one is just plain too simple and too surface.
Jul 29, 2008 Joshua rated it really liked it
Pretty solid introduction to processing and generically, how to think about visualizing data. I was able to kick out some useful (and/or just pretty) graphics after reading this book, where previously I'd just done basic dabbling. I found the 'Treemap' section especially helpful, as the online resources around making them are weak/hard to find.
May 13, 2008 Kerry rated it liked it
Shelves: programming
As some reviewers have stated before; this book contains more examples of how to visualize data using the processing language rather than an overview of visualization techniques. The examples are very concise and easy to follow while still maintaining reader interest and I was able to use some techniques from the book to apply to my own projects.
Jun 04, 2013 Doug rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebook
Contains a lot of (Java) code, especially on capturing data. Little on design approaches for visualization of different types of data. What design suggestions exist, delve into details like the length of a dash and what font to use. Published in 2007, this book is showing its age. Touch devices are not mentioned.
Feb 23, 2009 Billy rated it it was ok
Not so much a book about Visualizing Data as it is an instruction manual for using his language, Processing. There were a few good tid-bits of knowledge but, overall I was underwhelmed. I thought there would be a lot more about the theory of how to effectively visualize data and less code.
Jan 01, 2011 Geoff is currently reading it
So far I really like this. There's a lot of code, but also some good insight into how to think about data and the questions that it can answer. It's really pleasurable to be inspired to write code in service of answering questions instead of laboring over clean, slick code.
Ben Sweezy
Feb 24, 2010 Ben Sweezy rated it liked it
This book is basically a manual for the "Processing" engine for displaying custom graphs and charts. This is helpful for me because it's time I get confortable with breaking away from Excel and friends.
Feb 10, 2012 Peter rated it really liked it
Loving it. A must have for any designer wanting to get engaged in Processing

A better, more accurate title would be "Visualizing Data with Processing."
Sep 30, 2008 Thomas rated it really liked it
Ben Fry has some excellent ideas how to make interactive displays, a thing I really miss in science :)
Vuk Trifkovic
Dec 28, 2010 Vuk Trifkovic rated it liked it
Shelves: o-reilly
Should have been called "Vizualizing Data with Processing" but good stuff otherwise...
Feb 28, 2009 Douglas rated it really liked it
Great code snippets...
Nov 17, 2012 Wendy rated it really liked it
Makes use of the Processing framework for dynamic data visualization.
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