D3.js in Action

Elijah Meeks has recently published his book, D3.js in Action. Elijah is one of the best in the business of humanities data visualization. He is now an engineer at Netflix, and as an Academic Technology Specialist at Stanford he was one of the creators of Orbis: The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World, among other projects. I got an early access edition of his book, and have dipped into chapters here and there over the past few months. I’m looking forward to working through parts of the book now that it is in its final edition.1 You can see interactive versions of all of the figures for the books here. There are lots of introductions to the D3.js library, but Elijah’s is especially strong on mapping and network visualizations. What this book does better than almost all technical books, however, is explain what makes for good visualizations (in particular, in the humanities). In other words, the book does show you how do to x, y, or z techniques with D3, but even more it shows you what kinds of visualizations are worth doing. That is much harder to teach.

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Figure 1: A figure from one of the mapping chapters in D3.js in Action. [PNG]

  1. On a related note, I was pleased with Manning’s Early Access Program. I was skeptical when I bought the book that I would get any value from having access to the book in advance. But the draft chapters were very high quality.