[okfn-labs] Progress with the Data Explorer + Request for Assistance

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Mon Mar 11 14:24:43 UTC 2013

Hi All,

This is an update on progress with the Data Explorer (aka Data Transformer)
and a request for assistance!

Progress is best seen from this demo which takes you on a tour of house
prices and the difference between real and nominal values:


There is also further detail about the new features is below.

(Feedback is *very welcome* - either here or the issues

## What It is and Recent Progress

For those not familiar, the Data Explorer is a HTML+JS app to view,
visualize and process data *just in the browser* (no backend!). It draws
heavily on the Recline library and features now include:

* Importing data from various sources (the UX of this could be much
* Viewing and visualizing using Recline to create grids, graphs and maps
* Cleaning and transforming data using a scripting component that allows
you to write and run javascript
* Saving and sharing: everything you create (scripts, graphs etc) can be
saved and then shared via public URL.

Note, that persistence (for sharing) is to Gists. This has some nice
benefits such as versioning; offline editing (clone the gist, edit and
push); and bl.ocks.org -style ability to create a gist and have it result
in public viewable output (though with substantial differences vs blocks
...). More technical details can be found in the developer docs:

## What's Next

There are many areas that could be worked on -- a full list of issues is in
github [2]. The most important I think at the moment are:

* Storing the data "locally" in the data project [3]. At present, data is
always loaded from an "external" source. This probably involves extending
the current Recline datastore to back on to IndexedDB.
* A better project creation & data import process [4] - I think we could
learn a lot from Refine here
* "Fork" support [5]
* More documentation and tutorials especially for scripting [6]
* Getting rid of the many rough edges especially on the UX side of things!
(e.g. read

I'd very interested in people's thoughts on the app so far and what we
should do next.

I'd also welcome contributions whether in the form of ideas or code! (The
app has already benefitted from the efforts of many people including the
likes of Martin Keegan and Michael Aufreiter to the app itself; and from
folks like Max Ogden, Friedrich Lindenberg, James Casbon, Gregor Aisch,
Nigel Babu (and many more) in the form of ideas, feedback, work on Recline

I'd be happy to coordinate a short IRC or Google Hangout session if people
were interested to talk about this.



[2]: https://github.com/okfn/dataexplorer/issues
[3]: https://github.com/okfn/dataexplorer/issues/88
[4]: https://github.com/okfn/dataexplorer/issues/60
[5]: https://github.com/okfn/dataexplorer/issues/84
[6]: https://github.com/okfn/dataexplorer/issues/52
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