State of the Project, Week 9

Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 11.29.23 AM


Visualization currently looks like what you can see above. Things I did to get there:

  • Tree can now build, instead of just switching root nodes – this is done by storing the original json in memory and then adding to it as nodes are clicked.
  • Switched from tree to cluster layout, which is essentially the same thing as a tree layout except all the nodes start at a fixed depth. I customized it somewhat, so there are two levels – the species level drops down below all the other nodes.
  • UI changes: LINKS – red links are links that are in conflict with others (meaning, the target node has more than one parent). Teal links are not. Opacity and thickness strengthen as there are more sources that agree on that particular link (though you can’t really see that in the picture above – there aren’t many sources in this particular database). NODES – size depends on the number of children immediately below it. They are filled when they have children collapsed below them, and just an outline when they are expanded or if they have no children. They all shrink to the same size once they are expanded, as well. TEXT – at a 45 degree angle for better readability.
  • Tried and failed to find a solution to the graph/tree problem. The major (i.e., near fatal) problem with this layout is that cluster and tree layouts are hierarchical, meaning that they allow only one parent. As the tree is properly a graph (multiple parents and children) instead of a tree (directed with only one parent to each child), this poses a much more serious problem than I first thought. There is not really a solution to the problem, at least not one that is feasible for a Javascript/d3 beginner like me to accomplish. I spent about four days researching possible solutions with little progress.
  • Tried and ultimately abandoned a force directed “tree” graph layout, which was the only solution I could find in any detail about dealing with the multiple parent problem. Though impressive technically, quite frankly, it is ugly (see example here) and just doesn’t stand up to the way that d3 can pull off a cluster layout.

It was determined that the original cluster layout would be more useful, even with the multi-parent bug, and is something that could be tackled later by someone with more Javascript chops.

To do:

  • Make a “backwards tree” split screen – a tree with the leaf node as the root, going backwards to the parents, that pops up with a double click
  • Space efficiency – reload tree with right-clicked node as root, with addition of the path back to “life.”

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