Dr. Kim Foale

Researcher and developer. Thoughts on senses, data, access, and equality.

Elephants In The Dark
Art of Noises
June 22, 2012

Experiments in JavaScript: arbor.js

I'm the first to admit I'm pretty horrible at elegant coding nowadays. When I was younger I used to have all the code skillz and none of the ideas - now it's totally the other way around, a direction I'm pretty happy about! In order to try and rectify this I've been playing with a few JavaScript libraries recently when it's come up for various projects.

arbor.js demo

Arbor.js is a great little library that lets you make visual thesaurus style springy node diagrams using JSON network descriptions. I worked on a visual intro for a client, and while it wasn't right for them in the end I had fun playing with the library. A lot of the power of this comes from the renderer.js file, which essentially allows you to write your own functions for outputting the data. In this case, I added a method to allow images to be used. It is, however, fairly badly documented and you'll have to work out a lot from the examples.

This has in no way been performance tweaked,  doesn't run on IE and crawls on a tablet. Also you may need to refresh a few times to get the images to load properly. I know, it's basically perfect right?

Documentation aside it's a very elegant, easy to use library and I'd definitely consider it for other projects.

Try it out!

Thanks to the folk at ION.

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