Getting Started with D3 by Mike Dewar; O’REILLY Media

  Getting Started with D3 by Mike Dewar is a great introduction to get you up and going really quickly.  Just as the title of the book implies, and also stated by the author, the intent of the book is to provide an introduction to the basic functionality of D3 and is not a complete reference of D3.  The author does a great job of walking you through examples that will get you presenting data using Bar Charts, Histogram, and Graphs within a web page.  The book is a very quick read with only 70 pages to get you an introduction to how to use D3.  I feel that the author has done a good job with the limited number of pages to be able to demonstrate some of the basic capabilities that D3 has and how things work.  The examples are simple to follow and implement on your own.  Again there is more information that could have been put into a book to give you a deeper understanding of all the capabilities that the language has to offer, but that was not the intent of the book.  In addition, all of the examples do use publicly available data source to be used in the examples with the caveat that the format of these files might change over time.  The author also provides a warning that some of the visualizations are rendered in SVG and that not all version of browsers will be able to support this ability, but majority of the latest versions of the browsers do support it (like Internet Explorer 9).  Therefore, I would perform a small example and check the browsers that you will have available to your customers before creating all of you visualizations using the SVG capabilities.

I am personally interested in the ability to display data using a graph and being able to interact with the graph within a web page.  I have working with other thick client graphing capabilities like Prefuse and its predecessor Protovis.  When I found out about the ability to do the same type of capabilities that you have with those with D3, I was very excited.  Providing the ability to present a graph of data to the user and allow them to interact with the nodes and edges will be a great feature to have in future web applications that might want to display social network graphs, ontologies, and other graph related data.

Overall, Mike does exactly what he set out to do and provide a quick introduction to some of the features in D3 and allow you as a reader to get up and going quickly.  Again, by no means is this an in depth coverage of the D3 language and you will have to look to D3.org in order to find more information on it.  Therefore if you are looking for an introduction to D3 and want to be able to create some simple graph, charts, and histograms; then this is the book for you.  You can find Getting Started with D3 by Mikie Dewar at O’Reilly.com.  On the other hand, if you want an in depth and complete coverage of the topic, then this is not the book for you.

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